Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who Knew Cows Were Master Gardeners?!

The other day Dan the Man was checking the cattle down on the creek
and stumbled upon a weird phenomenon

I know this doesn't seem like a rare occurrence, this squash plant,
but let me go on to explain.

The Squash plant is growing almost 1/2 mile away from the house, and I, nor did anyone else in our family plant it where it is growing.

Not only that, but there are about 6 squash plants down there
growing in the middle of a non-irrigated pasture.

And I have never seen any squash that look like these.
The pictures don't show the true color of the squash.
They are a bright orange, just like a pumpkin.

Then I remembered that last year, when I was cleaning out my garden in the fall, I had thrown several zucchini, yellow crookneck squash and pumpkins over the fence to where the cattle were grazing. I knew that the cows would enjoy the pumpkins. Did you know that cows love to eat pumpkins?

After the cows were done grazing in that pasture behind the garden, we moved them down on the creek.

Apparently, the cows planted the seeds by way of the cow patty planting method. The seeds germinated and produced squash that are a cross between the zucchini, yellow crookneck squash and pumpkins.

Dan the Man picked them and the laying hens are enjoying them now.

Wow, who knew cows are master gardeners too?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

RECIPE: Glazed Peach Habenero Grilled Pork Chops

Last night for dinner we had a meal totally comprised of local food purchased at the Farmers' Market. Wow, that makes me feel so good. Not a single ingredient was purchased at Wal-mart or any other store for that fact except for vinegar, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper.

The menu consisted of Glazed Peach Habenero Grilled Pork Chops, Sour Cream Cucumber Salad, Roadside Melon, Corn on the Cob and French Bread (warmed on the grill). I should have taken a picture of the whole meal, but it was late and I was tired.

Here is a list of the Cast of Characters and their producers:

Pork Chops (milk-fed pork) from Victory Hill Farm
Peach Habenero Jam homemade by Nancy Butcher
Fresh Garden Cucumbers from Mitchell Valley Farm
Sweet & Juicy Roadside Melon from Gary's Garden
Tri-colored Sweet Corn from Mitchell Valley Farm
Homemade French Bread from FlowerField Farms

And the recipe for the pork chops:

Glazed Peach Habenero Grilled Pork Chops


4 Pork Chops from Victory Hill Farm
1 jar Peach Habenero Jam from Nancy Butcher


  1. Preheat Grill to 350 degrees.
  2. Rub grill grate with oil. Use your tongs and dip a wadded-up paper towel in oil. Easy!
  3. Grill chops for around 5 minutes per side. Brush a generous amount of jam on both sides of the chops while you are grilling.
  4. Heat extra jam in a small sauce pan and serve with the chops for extra sauce!!

Try it! You'll like it!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Morning Inspiration: August 25, 2010

Moon Rise Over Open A Bar 2 Ranch

The other night Dan the Man and I took a walk down on the creek to check on the cattle that we have grazing down there. It is so pretty and peaceful down in the small ravine where the creek flows. It is my favorite place on our property.

Dan the Man and his Country Chicken Girl

Although we spend the majority of our time together working, we often forget to spend quality time together just enjoying the company of one another. When we take walks together, go on purposeless drives through the country or enjoy a meal alone at a restaurant, it helps me to see the man that I married who is not only my husband but my best friend, my soulmate, my partner and my lover.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.

Ephesians 4:26-27

26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bill & Arlene Grassmick, Wildcat Produce and Nita's Catering & Event Planning

Country Chicken Girl here continuing my little ditties about the vendors at the 2010 Scottsbluff Farmers' Market which is held every Saturday from 7-11am downtown at 18th & Broadway.

Meet Bill & Arlene Grassmick of Gering, Nebraska. This is one of the most lovely couples I have ever met. They have been coming to the Farmers' Market ever since it first started.

Bill & Arlene Grassmick

Bill has been building beautiful handcrafted willow furniture for about 20 years. These pieces of art are truly unique and beautiful. Bill creates each piece from green willow branches that have a short working time, since once they become too dry, the branches will split and break. He also uses weeping birch, pine and black walnut. All the woods he uses are found locally.

Arlene will tell you that she has a home filled with Bill's furniture. She'll tell you about each piece they have in their house and where it is situated. I would love a tour sometime so that I can see all the lovely pieces. I can tell you that not only do they have a home filled of Bill's beautiful handiwork, but I believe that they have a home filled with love for each other and the family that they have raised together.

I don't know what time Bill & Arlene show up at the Farmers' Market to set up because Arlene is always set up and ready to go before I arrive at 6:30 am. Last year Arlene told me that they come early, set up and then Bill goes off to the hospital for his dialysis. Bill then returns to the market when he is done at the hospital. This has been their Saturday morning routine for the last 5 years.

Bill & Arlene rest their feet on a foot stool.

You won't believe how sturdy and comfortable these chairs are.
Arlene will be sure to tell you that they are made to sit in!

I bought a chair like this last year,
only mine is made of birch, looks like the foot stool above.

Bill also makes smaller decorative pieces.

Bill and Arlene live in Gering. If you would like more information on Bill's furniture you can call Bill or Arlene at 436-5469.

Tracy & Tegan Rahmig
Wildcat Produce

Meet Tracy & Tegan Rahmig of Wildcat Produce. Tracy has been doing farmers' markets since she was a kid. Her daughter, Tegan who is 10 years old, has been helping Tracy for the past three years now. Tracy says it's their way of spending time together. It's hard to believe how much Tegan grows each year. I have seen her grow and mature each summer and it is amazing how much taller she is each year! Tegan is a great sales person and is just as much as a business woman as Tracy is.

Baby Red Potatoes

Their produce is grown between Melbeta and McGrew. Tracy's dad, Mike Chrisman is the master gardener of their operation. They offer baby red potatoes, yellow & green zucchini, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, cabbage, hot peppers and gourds. Tracy and Tegan live south of Gering while Tracy's parents are from McGrew.

Cabbage for those Cabbage Burgers!

Beautiful Ripe Tomatoes

Juanita Rodriguez

Meet Juanita Rodriguez of Nita's Catering & Event Planning. Nita offers home style cooking featuring Mexican/American Food. Her specialties are enchiladas and salsa. Nita takes special request weekly. I tried some of Nita's enchiladas last year and I must say they were delicious! She also makes stellar enchilada sauce.

Nita's enchiladas and burritos

Be sure to come visit with these local producers and more at the Scottsbluff Farmers' Market held every Saturday morning from 7-11am on 18th and Broadway. Support your community, BUY LOCAL!!

Thank you and goodbye for now...

Monday, August 23, 2010

RECIPE: Grilled Famous Dave's Country Roast Chicken

I've been on a serious chickn' grillin' kick lately because we have been working such long hours and grilling chicken is so easy, doesn't heat up the house and doesn't take much prep time or baby sitting while it is grilling. It's so easy to butterfly the chicken, throw it on the grill, flip it after 15 minutes and come back when it is done!

The star of the production!


One roasting chicken (I can not endorse any other chicken besides an all-natural pastured poultry from Open A Bar 2 Ranch, all others are junk!)

Famous Dave's Country Roast Chicken Seasoning (I got mine at Wal-mart)


  1. Heat your grill while you are prepping the chicken. (Don't ask me why there are two steps that are numbered 1. I don't care and I don't want to take the time to figure out the html code either. Just deal with it.)
  1. Butterfly your chicken. What you still don't know how? Are you serious that you haven't tried it yet, even though I have given you several recipes now that involve butterflying a chicken? What is the point of reading these recipes if you are not going to try them??? Just joking, I love you and am glad you are reading the recipes even if you don't try them. Here's a secret, I have been known to sit on the couch and watch exercise shows on tv and not do the exercising! LOL Isn't that kind of the same thing? Oh and all the cooking shows I've watched and have never made the dishes they did!
  2. Here's the link for you slackers who still don't know how! How to Butterfly a Chicken
  3. Oil your grill. Take a paper towel, dip it in oil with tongs and rub it on your grates. There, that was easy! Oh, do not, I repeat DO NOT spray cooking spray on the grates when you have a flame. If you do, I can promise you, you'll never do that again! And you'll be missing your eyebrows for a few months.
  4. Place the lovely Open A Bar 2 Ranch pastured all-natural free-range chicken skin side down on the grill. Adjust your burners so that the flames in not under the chicken, but on each side of the chicken. This is called indirect grilling. I have a four burner grill so I place the chicken in the middle and use the two outside burners.
  5. Generously season the chicken with the seasoning, don't be skimpy.
  6. Close the lid, and adjust the heat to 350-325 degrees.
  7. Walk away for 15 minutes or so.
  8. Come back... Baby come back, any kind of fool could see, there was something in everything about you... remember that song?
  9. Flip the chicken over and season again. Shake, shake shake... the seasoning not your booty.
  10. Close the lid, check your grill every once in a while to make sure you haven't run out of propane... I hate it when that happens. Roast until done. Take the chicken's temperature. It should read about 175-180 in the thickest part of the thigh and breast. The juices should run clear too, no tinge of pink or red in it.
  11. I roasted a 6.6 lb chicken for around 2 hours. It was perfectly tender and juicy!

Ummm, Ummm, good.
Wish you could smell it!

I just noticed that you have to give your email address to watch the above video clip from Cook's Illustrated, so if you don't want to do that, here is a video you can watch without the hassle. Although I do love the Cook's Illustrated website and I think it worth the hassle to become a member. They have lots of good cooking stuff.

I also ran across this one and it made me laugh. The guy is wearing gloves (?), the chicken looks pathetic, no doubt a grocery store chicken, that must be why he is wearing the gloves. Like I said, grocery store chickens are junk. He also says to use a 3.5-4 lb chicken. I bawk at that. Are you serious? A roaster in my humble opinion is at least a 6 pounder! He also has you take out the breast bone, but I don't, more work, but I guess maybe I'll try it next time to see which way I like it better. And finally, he says there a "little clean up to do!" Uhh, not with an Open A Bar 2 Ranch chicken dude! He says to cut-away the fatty material... Once again, no fatty material on the Open A Bar 2 chicken. Go ahead and watch it, but don't believe everything he says!

The End

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Remember Sweetheart?

A while back we had a contest to name this little girl...

Click here to see the posts concerning the contest if you missed it and have nothing better to do.

Spring is Coming


Last Chance to Enter the "Name the Calf" Contest

and finally...

And the Winner Is...

Well, the other day Dan the Man and I were out checking the cows that are down on the creek since we hadn't checked them in a while and of course I had my camera so I took a couple of shots of Sweetheart so you could see how much she has grown.

Sweetheart, now 16 months old.

Dan the Man will have to beat the boys away with a stick!
She sure is a looker!

Actually, Sweetheart has been paired-up with Mr. Chalk Butte and
if he has done his job, Sweetheart will be expecting her first calf in the Spring.

She hasn't learned that it's impolite to talk with her mouth full.

The End.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ewww, What Is It?

NOTE: You should know by now, but if you're new, you need to know that you can click on the photo for a full screen view of the picture, then hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.

You really should click. Seriously.

I found this weird looking insect in the chicken's waterer.

Oh look, it's washing it's face!

Check out the antenna!

Look carefully, see those little cream colored spiders on it??

There's one of those little spiders crawling on the top of his head.

It was swimming around in a 5 gallon bucket so I fished it out so I could take pictures of it.

Yes, that's right... I saved your life Mr. Bug.

Who knows what it is?

I'll be waiting for some smarty pants to let me know!

Please excuse me while I go take a shower now,
I feel like a gazillion bugs are crawling all over me!
How about you, can you feel them crawling down your back or in your hair!

The End

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Handsome Calendar Men! Whoo-hoo!

Some of the men in my life...

So cute they should be calendar boys!

Since we had a month of Calendar Girls, I thought I'd start doing one for the boys!

Do yourself a favor and click on each picture to see a full screen view of the photo
then hit your browsers back button to return to the blog.

Big Red

Mr. Big Guy


Big Red, again

My main man, Tatum
Ta-tee Cakes

That's all. Just wanted to share those pictures.
Goodbye and good night!

Wednesday Morning Inspiration: August 18, 2010

Proverbs 3:1-10

1My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;

2For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.

3Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

4So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

8It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.

9Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;

10So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RECIPE: Lemon White Chocolate Mint French Toast

Oh.... My.... GOODNESS...

I have died and gone to heaven, french toast heaven that is!

I love the Lemon White Chocolate Mint bread from the Styria Bakery. You can buy it at the Scottsbluff Farmers' Market (see my last post). I have been buying it for the past three years and several times when I have bought it, they have told me that it makes excellent french toast. Well, I would have made french toast way before now, if I could have kept from eating the bread one piece after another until it magically disappeared.

A couple of Saturdays ago I saw Jim & Lisa, a couple of friends of mine, at the market and we were talking about the bread. I said my favorite was the Lemon White Chocolate and they said they had tried it as well and made french toast. They convinced me that I really did need to try it. So I bought a loaf and restrained myself from eating it all when I got home, but by the time dinner rolled around, I could not contain myself and I fixed french toast with it. I made a deal with Dan the Man and Skyman (aka Skyler), that if they did my chores for me, I would fix them a "special" dinner. Men are so easy to please, or maybe I should say bribe, that way. They did my chores and I fixed dinner!

Oh my... oh my, my, my!


Lemon White Chocolate Mint French Toast


Lemon White Chocolate Mint Bread from Styria Bakery
6 farm fresh eggs from the Open A Bar 2 Ranch
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbs. butter plus more for serving (real butter, please don't ruin it by using margarine. If you do, I'll never post another recipe again.)
4 Tbs. powdered sugar.


Heat an electric skillet to 350 degrees.
  1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Add milk, vanilla and flour to the eggs. Beat mixture until the flour is well combined.
  3. Grease the electric skillet with butter, lots of it!
  4. Cut the loaf of bread into approximately 3/4" slices. Generously dip the bread, one slice at a time, into the batter, being sure to coat each side well. Place the bread onto the hot skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the surface is golden brown.
  5. Arrange nicely onto the serving platter, remember presentation is everything, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with REAL butter and REAL maple syrup.

Lemon White Chocolate Mint French Toast
Fresh Colorado Peaches
Vermont Maple Breakfast Sausage Links

I think I'll buy another loaf this weekend and do it again!

Styria Bakery, Roger Brown, Victory Hill Farm and Ernest Griffiths

More 2010 Scottsbluff Farmers' Market Vendors

Country Chicken Girl here continuing my little ditties about the vendors at the 2010 Scottsbluff Farmers' Market which is held every Saturday from 7-11am downtown at 18th & Broadway.

Can I just say that I am amazed at the number of vendors and products that are at this year's market? Can I just say that I am as equally amazed at the amount of people who are actually venturing out and coming to see what the excitement is all about!! Can I say that I'm just so excited?? Well, I just did, so don't tell me I can't.

Anyway, I'd better get straight to business. I've got four people to profile this week!

Long line at the Styria Bakery booth!

Starting on my left is the infamous Styria Bakery, better known simply as "The Bread Man." Although this year, well the last two Saturdays, it has been a bread lady! She's so incredibly busy, that I haven't actually asked her what her name is. How rude of me. I'd better ask next week.

Bread Lady

If you haven't tried any of the Styria Bakery bread, you really should. It is simply delicious! Seriously. They are by far the most popular vendor at the Market. I have tried every variety of freshly baked bread that they offer and can honestly say that there hasn't been one that I didn't absolutely love. My favorites are the Lemon Mint White Chocolate and Cranberry Walnut. Skyler loves the Jalapeno Cheddar. Dan the Man likes what ever I bring home.

Settle down ladies, no pushing, please.
Everyone must take their turn!
Only three baskets of bread left.
Looks to be yet another sell-out day!

The Styria Bakery is actually located in Frederick, Colorado which is 190 miles from Scottsbluff, just north of Denver. What a long drive they have to get here. I'd hate to have to make that long drive back after the market. Sheez, I know for a fact that I would have a hard time trying to stay awake.

Focaccia, another good choice!

I will be posting a recipe for Lemon Mint White Chocolate French Toast in the near future. WARNING: One try of this recipe and you very well may be addicted!! But don't say I didn't warn you.

Psst... inside info just for you special people who read the Country Chicken Girl Blog... you can order bread from the Styria Bakery and they will mail it to you (at least that is what they say on their website.) And if you seek them out in the winter, you will find them at various events and craft shows, like I did last winter. Here's the post, can you find the bread man? Weekend Getaway: Colorado Garden & Home Show.

Psst... another insider secret... I think that Jane Sedman's bread is just as good and she is more local than the Styria Bakery. She sells at the Morrill Farmers' Market and the one in Torrington. Check out this post if you missed the writeup I did on Jane, Morrill's Farmers' Market 2010.

Roger Brown, such a nice guy!

Next is Roger Brown of ... uhh, idk (I don't know). Roger where are you from? I want to say Gering, but I really don't know that for a fact and that would be a totally uneducated guess. I'll ask him on Saturday.

Roger Brown and one of his helpers.

Roger has a great booth. He offers Colorado fruit, garden veggies, plants and craft items. I have bought peaches from him the last two markets and they have been out of this world sweet and ripe. Eat your heart out Wal-mart. I'll eat Roger's peaches any day over store bought peaches even if it means I can only have them in the summer. If you read my last column in the Gering Citizen Newspaper, you know that I'm talking about eating what is in season. (Sorry, my column isn't online but you can subscribe to the paper, it's only $30 for a whole year.) I'm going to make sure to get a case of peaches so I can freeze and can some so we'll have some this winter.

Potatoes and BIG cabbage, think of all the cabbage burgers you could make!

Cool ornamental grasses and houseplants!

Cute as a bug concrete decorations for your garden.
I bought a set of these last year, or was it two years ago,
for a friend of mine who collects ladybugs.

More plants, look at the cool urn planter!
I want, I need that urn, it's soooo pretty!
See the scroll saw windmill clocks on the trailer setting on the tire thing?
What are those covers over the tires called? I just had a total brain freeze.

Another pretty urn planter, ornamental grasses, beautiful hanging baskets.
Roger also has water plants for your pond.
AND his prices on the plants are way below what you would pay at the bigger nurseries here, that is in my opinion!

Moving along... across the street from me *big wave to Sarah* is Sarah Pinet of Victory Hill Farm. Sarah is the goat girl who makes goat cheese. We met this spring on Facebook, but I feel like I've know her forever!

Sarah and her cheese.

I have bought Sarah's feta and mozzarella cheese. I simply adore the feta! Sarah gives samples of all she has to offer at each market, so if you've never tried goat cheese, you won't have to buy it and then "hope" that you like it once you get home. But trust me... try it, you'll like it.

Sarah dishing up a sample.

Victory Hill Farmstore Hours, duh.

From the Victory Hill Farm website about the Farmstore. "We recently built a Farmstore which we will sell our cheese from. Other farm products grown and produced on our farm are available including fresh eggs, raw honey, milk fed pork, chevon and in-season produce. We will be carrying other local products from area producers as well."

Uhhh, what's chevon? Goat meat!

Last week I bought some milk fed pork breakfast sausage from Sarah, but haven't tried it yet. I'm sure it'll be delightful.

Ka-ching, another sale!

Please go check out their website, it is a great website and very informative, vhfarm.com.

Moving along to the last vendor for this post. Set up next to Sarah is Ernest Griffiths, the local honey guy. He's a honey of a guy! hee, hee! I didn't have much time to talk to Ernest, so I don't have a lot of info on him, sorry. But I do know he is from Scottsbluff and he sells local honey!

Who can resist honey in a teddy bear bottle??

Ernest also has produce for sale.

Last week he had zucchini, cukes and squash.

Ka-ching! Another sell for Ernest!

Ernest sells his honey at a very reasonable price, $3.00/12 oz., $5.00/24 oz., $7.00/48 oz. Need a ton of it?? You can buy a gallon for $25.00 Ernest, what do people do with a gallon of honey??? He also sells it by the comb for $5/lb or wax for $5/lb. If you can't catch him at the market you can give him a call at (308)635-2931.

Yikes, that was a long one. Thanks for sticking with me to the very end.

The end, for now!