Speaking of timeout…..that got me to thinking. Maybe it’s time for the “milkmaid” to take a timeout instead of the “farm boys”. I’m not planning on camping out in a calf hutch or anything crazy….just a simple R&R from writing. I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorite farm pictures while I take a rest……. I love the red calves and the red and white. Brings some extra color into my black and white world. This calf was born with an extra dose of attitude. Cute little stinker. Oh my….what a sweet little pup. My favorite little Dixie chic. Her bark is definitely worse than her bite. She barks at the big cows and when they turn on her…….she runs for her life. Haha Sissy girl! This calf was born two days ago. I saw it hiding in the grass on my return trip from feeding calves. Those big furry ears were a dead give away. Fall sunsets are the best! I was in the barn milking and decided to sneak out for a little break. I’m so glad I did or I would’ve missed this beautiful scene. I was sitting in one of my favorite garden chairs and had a perfect view. I just sat there and enjoyed. I eventually went back to work. Our farm boys….couldn’t do this without them. Michael is a senior this year. He used to be my big helper……now I’m his little helper. He’s bigger, stronger, and faster than what I am. Time flies when you’re having fun……or something like that. Marshall is still the baby of the family….keeps us entertained with lots of drama. Our farm girl is finally coming home in December. Praise the Lord! It’s been a long time a comin’. This was on a short visit home and the pup was soakin’ up some sun while listening to some tunes. What a sweet picture. Last but not least…..my morning sunrise while feeding calves. All was peaceful and quiet. What a lovely start to another day. I’ll miss you and hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Eat plenty of Halloween treats and lots of turkey for Thanksgiving……..not to mention the scrumptious ham for Christmas. I love the holidays. I’ll catch up with you all after the first of the year. See ya soon………………………..Carol
I wish I had more time and energy. I’m so behind in my “story telling”. There’s so much to say, but so little time. And when I do have time…I’m too tired. It’s a vicious cycle I’m living in. Things are looking up though…it’s football season…..and pumpkin season. This is our first “pumpkin” of the calving season. A cute little stinker-pie. We had 4 angus bulls with the herd since spring. So, you know what that means. Lots of black calves this year. I’m kinda excited and overwhelmed all at the same time. I know what awaits me for the next 6 months. Help! Here’s Momma. She’s proud as a peacock. She’s a first time heifer which means this was her first calf ever. She did a fantastic job as first timer. Young heifers don’t always cooperate. They’re young and dumb. Cows and humans are so much alike. I remember being young and dumb. I’m not young anymore, but still dumb at times. Black angus calves are so much easier to take care of than any other breeds. Holstein calves tend to be frail and weak. Little Jersey calves are stubborn and tiny. Black calves are stout and strong. That’s just my personal opinion after feeding calves for 25 years. Feeding calves is an “art”.
It was quite a rodeo getting “momma” into the barn. First time heifers have never been milked before and they have no idea what to do. It takes lots of patience (which I don’t have) and time. It’s maddening. Some don’t have a forward…just reverse. Some are wild and mean and others are stubborn as a mule. Once they realize they get to eat though, you can’t get them to leave. They eventually figure it out and behave like the rest of the herd. So, we’re getting geared up for lots more little pumpkins to come……………………….Carol
Today is another “farm girl” recipe day. This is my all time favorite salad for summer. Most of the ingredients come fresh from the garden and the flavor is fabulous. I can easily eat the entire recipe myself. Earl will eat this but the boys won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. It has way too many colors…….. Fresh basil……the secret ingredient. This stuff is wonderful. I’ll even stick a stem of it in my hair before I head to the barn for chores. Crazy, I know……but it works wonders. When the stress level gets to be extreme I just reach up and pinch the leaves and the smell is “heaven”. You can imagine what the leaves look like by the time milking time is finished. So, do you have this in your garden? If not……sneak into your neighbors garden after dark and “borrow” some. Confess your mess later. Grocery store basil sucks. Chop up some fresh cucumber. I eat cucumbers all summer long. Store bought doesn’t have near the flavor, but they work in the wintertime when I’m desperate. Chunk cheese. Here I used Colby-Jack….but any yellow cheese will do. Yellow, because you want color……and Colby is my favorite. You could also use smoked cheddar. That sounds kinda daring. Of course…..tomatoes. All those little cherry tomatoes that you don’t know what to do with. I only have red ones this year, but I’ll add yellow if I have them. More color?! Here’s the recipe……….
16 ounces penne pasta Cooked and drained. Let cool.
Cherry tomatoes sliced in half (I eyeball these and add whatever I feel the need for)
Yellow chunk cheese cubed (here again I dump in to my hearts desire because I’m a cheese lover….maybe 3 cups or so)
Fresh basil chopped to pieces (I love this, so I put in lots….maybe 2 cups chopped)
These ingredients are very versatile, so add and detract whatever fits your taste buds. Don’t forget the dressing……this is very important.
1 cup mayo (my extended family members are die-hard miracle whip fans. I almost got excommunicated when they discovered I did the “switch” to mayo)
1/2 cup whole milk (notice I said “whole”)
5 tablespoons white vinegar
4-5 teaspoons adobo sauce (canned chipotle peppers)
3/4 teaspoon salt
sprinkling of black pepper
Stir all dressing ingredients together and pour over the pasta. I always eat a bowl full right away, but after you let it chill and pop the lid off you’ll gasp in horror. Where did the dressing go?! Do not panic…..just splash in a bit of “cream” and give it a stir. Perfection! And there you have it….the best in the West!! Leave a spoon in the bowl and help yourself every time you walk past the fridge. Addictive……………………….Carol
Today I want to share with you my love for pumpkin cookies. I’ve been thinking of these “melt in your mouth” cookies for weeks on end. So, yesterday was my baking day. I finished my morning chores and fired up the ole’ mixer and whipped up a double batch in no time. They are heavenly! I got the recipe from my Mom years ago and it is now a tradition for the holidays. I can never stop with just one cookie. I turn into a cookie monster when these dudes are laying around. They are delicious! All you need yet is a tall glass of milk or a pot of coffee. Whichever “floats your boat”. I haven’t heard that quote in awhile. Alright…..here we go……
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
Cream together first three ingredients. Then add…..
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix all together and bake on greased baking sheet at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Now for the icing……
3 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
Cook first three ingredients together for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and add……
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
The powdered sugar can be a bit “dicey”, but just add until it’s of spreading consistency. You want it smooth and a little on the thin side. It’ll harden on the cookies and look nice and fancy. Whatever “fancy” is?! Now, you must work fast, because the icing gets thick and contrary when it cools and then it won’t spread nice at all. At that point you’ll either get mad and throw the whole pan in the trash or you can heat it back up and get it nice and smooth once again. Trust me…..I’ve been there. It took me several tries to get the hang of it. These are a favorite around our house, so I never mess around with a single batch. It’s always a double batch. I put some in the freezer and they make a great snack while doing chores. Oh yeah….it’s a happy day. We have lots of pumpkin cookies in the freezer. Our only Brown Swiss is feeling fat and sassy. Or maybe I’m the one that’s feeling fat and sassy…………………Carol
Ok, I’m back. The milkmaid/farm girl had to take a few days off to reconnect with my hometown. Back where it all started. Back where I picked up my farm girl habits. It’s in my blood and there’s no getting rid of it. It was great to see it all in action again…..the “great harvest”. All the sights and sounds brought back so many memories. Let’s take a quick look at what farming is like today…………….. Here we are…..farm girls at heart. Candace had friends to meet up with and so I decided it was now or never. Let’s head back home. Ohio is where I come from. No, I don’t cheer for the “Buckeyes”. Shhh…..do not tell my brothers. They will disown me. This is what it’s all about. Farmers are a whole different breed of people. We carry around a heavy burden all. the. time. We help feed the world you know. How stressful is that?! Besides that….Mother Nature is in charge, someone else decides what our product is worth, everything we do hinges on world markets, and sacrifice…..so much sacrifice. But oh…..what a beautiful life. Just look at that beautiful corn. I grew up doing all this. The smell took me back about 25 years. I hadn’t experienced this for quite some time. This is where I learned how to drive tractor. How to haul corn to the elevator. How to live like a farmer. The only thing I didn’t learn how to do was milk a cow. I was in the dark on that one. Deception runs deep! Haha My Dad is still going strong….see him raise that arm?! All farmers have hand signals. I’ve learned a lot about that over the years. My brother is slowly taking over the operation. He was born a farmer….and he’s doing a fine job today. Any time I head home……I always have to take a tour of all the barns. I can’t help myself. That’s what farm girls do. I like all the old time tractors. Still running after all these years. Sweet! I see a lot of old, but also a lot of new tractors that I wish we had back in my day. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to run this tractor?! This wasn’t around when I was a teenager. Of course, my sisters and I would’ve fought like cats and dogs to be able to run this outfit. So, for the sake of peace…….my Dad waited until we were out of the house. I think. Maybe. I rode in the combine for about an hour. I’m sure I drove the “farmer” crazy that was running it, but I was in “hog heaven”, so that was the least of my concerns. I think I could run that machine. Haha This is what they do…….drive along side the combine and unload and all the while still cutting corn. There’s no time to stop. Remember Mother Nature is in charge? Work while the weather cooperates. Day and night. Farm wives pack lunches or deliver. Whatever the farmer wants. The future generation of the farm. Let me just say this……girls are some of the best “farmers” around. They can do just about anything. Why else am I milking cows?! We must persevere. It builds character. I thought I had enough character about 10 years ago….and I’m still building. They have beautiful sunrises in Ohio too. Yes, you heard me……sunrise. I was up with the sun. My internal alarm clock just won’t shut-up. It’s maddening! It’s sweet though, because I can sit in Mom’s kitchen and sip coffee and not run out to the barn to milk a single cow. Yee-haw! I look at the temperature, stare out the window and watch it snow with a smile on my face. It’s the little things that make life beautiful……………………Carol
P. S. It did snow while I was there. No joke!
I think it’s high time I introduce you to my world of “fitness”. We don’t have time for the “gym world”……besides, what would I wear?! I don’t have all the cool and cute gym clothes. All I have is old and ragged chore clothes that have “forever stains” on them. Besides that, I don’t have to worry about anyone watching me out of the corner of their eye. It’s just me and the bossy bovines. So, roll up your sleeves……I’m going to give you a little workout. First of all…..do you remember what a pitchfork is? It’s important to have 3 to 4 of them laying around the farm. They sure come in handy when it’s time to bed down calf hutches. This big pile of straw needs to be distributed down that row of hutches. Nobody gets to eat until this is finished. I wanted to run and hide when I saw this big pile. Help! The dogs are absolutely no help at all! Just me and the Boss Man. Too bad it’s a school day. Earl took the loader tractor and tried to pull the bale apart and put it on smaller piles. That makes it a little easier to “fork” and “throw”. Still……it’s a shoulder and arm workout that will make you ache by the time you’re done. I feel about bedding down calf hutches the way the boys feel about Cross Country running. Here we have Earl demonstrating how it’s supposed to be done. Take a huge bite with your pitchfork and throw it inside the hutch. Over and over and over. No stopping for a drink either. Well, just a little one. Maybe this is where I get my “big bite” eating habits?! Then the cows have to walk over and investigate. In their minds, they have to check and make sure we’re doing a good enough job. It’s for their babies, you know. If they’re not satisfied, they proceed to drop a “full load” on the fresh straw to show their displeasure. That’s about the time I go “nuts” and lose my temper. This is what it looks like when everything is finished. Nice and fluffy and ready for the next wave of brand, new calves. Great job! Wait! Don’t leave just yet, I have another job that needs to be done. Go ahead and unload this pile of firewood. I picked this up to clear the way for more hutches. So, now I’m going to use it for my “ring of fire”. This is good exercise, I’m sure. I’m not interested in exercise right now….I’m hungry as a bear! Well, it’s finally time to eat breakfast. Or is it lunch? We’ll call it brunch. This should help me gain back all the calories I just “burned” off. Maybe a nap would help put it back on too…………………..Carol
First of all…..this is another post that is not meant for the “faint of heart”. I’m going to throw my “girl manners” out the window and talk “straight talk” for a bit. I’ll call it “farm lingo”, so you know what I’m talking about. If you can’t take the heat, turn away. If you’re a brave soul….come along for the ride. I want to show you what’s going on in my world besides cows and calves. Oh my goodness! What have we here? Yep! It’s a basket full of little puppies. And they’re all ours…..for now. I just about had heart failure. What in the world am I going to do with more dogs?! Something has got to give…..and I have the perfect solution. It’s my farm platform…..”off with the nuts”! All the drama started right here. This is Sausage……also known as “Saw Mutt”. I have no idea where the kids come up with these crazy nicknames. Remember back some time ago when it was a “humping frenzy” around here with four male dogs? Yes, I was in a frenzy myself, and so the dogs took a nice little trip to the veterinary clinic. All of them except for Sausage. We felt sorry for him because he was such a little runt. So, he was allowed to keep his “nuts”. Huge mistake! Some pathetic loser dropped off a female dog that they didn’t want anymore. I sure wish I could get my hands on them. This poor dog was so skinny and skittish that we couldn’t even get close to her. She still looks pathetic. I guess Saw Mutt thought she was very beautiful because here we are, five puppies later. We’ve been able to pet her and get close enough to feed her, since she’s had her puppies. When cows are skinny and frail like this, it’s impossible to get them bred. I guess that doesn’t apply to dogs?! We’ve never had puppies before. It’s always been cows and cats that procreate around here. This is all new to us. Candace is so excited. My heart sank when I first heard the news, but now I’m getting used to the idea. They are kinda cute. I warned Candace that we cannot keep them. She’s going to have to find homes for all of them and the Mother. Yessiree! Sausage is a proud Papa! His “nuts” are dragging the ground, but not for long. I am going to be a responsible adult and take the Saw Mutt for a little “road trip” to the veterinary clinic. No more “hanky panky” for him. He isn’t meant to be a family man. All of our dogs are just plain ‘ole hounds. That’s the only way. Meanwhile, one of our many black cats decided to also give birth. I was walking out to the barn on a rainy, chilly morning and discovered this “thing” giving birth right there on the concrete. For heavens sake cat, can’t you find a better place?! So, being the responsible adult that I am, I found a box for her to lay in. She popped out 7 little “maggots”. Here again, what in the world am I going to do with more cats?! Free kittens anyone? So, there you have it. The facts of life! Things are getting pretty “spooky” around here. It IS getting close to Halloween. My, my, my…..baby calves, kittens and puppies. Sure hope the chickens don’t surprise me with baby chicks. The only thing left to do is to pick up my “girl manners” again, dust myself off, and go out and make my Mother proud. Is that the responsible thing to do…………….Carol