Ok, I’m going to do one more story on “garden” before I go back to “cow talk”. Sunflowers….I love them. All colors, shapes and sizes. Sunflowers and dairy farms go together like peas and carrots. I like to plant a couple of rows every summer. It’s very important to start with good quality seeds. And I failed this year. I messed around and didn’t get my order in to my favorite catalog. Therefore, I had to go buy them at the garden center. Big mistake! They had the hardest time sprouting…..and some of them never did come up. I was banging my head against the wall! How could I have been so dense?! But look…..a few “cheap seeds” survived. Whew! Close call! I couldn’t remember what kind I bought, so I had to wait until they started blooming to know what I was getting. Turns out I had some really nice colors. They come in some really cool colors now a days, but I had the basic yellow, orange, and red. The stems were loaded with buds and I hated to cut any off, but I sure wanted to make a bouquet. Now don’t you think that the cows would look lovely with a few sunflowers stuck between their ears? Especially our Brown Swiss! I could duct tape it on and see what happens….haha. Something to think about. I made a few bouquets for my kitchen. It always cheers things up to have fresh flowers. Especially if it’s been a hard day. Yes, give me more sunflowers. I had enough to make several arrangements. I left one on the patio to enjoy. My “happy place” just got happier. Sad to say….they’re done blooming for the summer. They’re all hanging their heads and looking sad and forlorn. The birds are probably having a feast eating the seeds. Of course when I was busy arranging, the cat had to insert herself right in the middle of the action. I had several comments on the “header” of my posts. Those sunflowers came out of my garden. I always try to place a picture that comes from somewhere on the farm. Just wanting to keep it real. So, coming up next we’ll be back to the bovines………………….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
Happy Friday! I’m still ticked off at the calves for trying to cut my leg off. So I’m going to talk about food and put “cattle” on the back burner. How about those poppers? The only reason I plant jalapeno plants in my garden is so that I can make poppers. Can you take the heat? They are fantastic……. First on the list is to take out most of the seeds. Leave just a few to give your mouth a good burn. And ALWAYS wear latex gloves! I use my milking gloves. They work great. If you live next door to a milkmaid she may let you borrow a few. Otherwise, you are on your own. Next comes the filling. Cream cheese and chunk cheese (don’t get me started on shredded), and a few diced onion to give it pizazz. I’m assuming that everyone always keeps chunk cheese and cream cheese in the fridge at all times. Never run out! Those are the rules! Aren’t these cute?! Fill all your little pepper boats with cheese. I know these are very time consuming, but they are worth it in the end. I think. Just don’t ask Marshall. He had a major meltdown after trying one a few weeks ago. He will like them some day……I hope. Next comes the beautiful bacon. I cut mine into thirds. I need to keep enough back for breakfast. Almost to the finish line. May I remind you that this will be worth it in the end. Do not share with your neighbors and friends. Make them prep their own. Too much time invested……enjoy them yourself. Alrighty…..now for the barbeque sauce. I always use Head Country. The best in the West! I buy it by the gallon. My “carnivore boys” love barbeque on everything. Here is the recipe……….
8 ounce package cream cheese
1 cup grated Colby cheese ( I prefer Colby cheese over cheddar….and I never, ever buy shredded. That is taboo! )
2 Tablespoon finely diced onion
1 lb. bacon cut into thirds ( I never count the bacon slices. Just slice and dice until your poppers are wrapped. )
Bake at 350 for about an hour or until the peppers are soft and the bacon is done. Grilled is delicious too, but I hardly ever have time for that.
I will sit down and eat 12 of these dudes back to back no problem! Milkmaids have big appetites…………………………..Carol
Seems like every week has it’s own drama. This week was no different. This time it was directed at the milkmaid. My whole week has been “messed up”. I feel totally out “of sync”. Here’s what happened…… Take a good look at these calves. They are the “tweens” of the dairy farm. Don’t let that “look” fool you. That calf is daring you to come inside their pen and try to feed them. That’s exactly what I did. (notice my gangly arms taking the photo) They caught me by the trough and proceeded to torture me. They pushed my knee up against the side of the trough and hyperextended, twisted and turned…..trying to break every muscle. I thought my leg was going to fall off. I could hear the muscles “crunching”. I have no idea what I said…if anything at all. I do know that if I uttered any sound it was probably not very nice. If I called them names….it was every name in the book. It was a very stressful moment! I managed to haul my butt out of there and immediately sat down to assess the damage. My leg was not falling off! So I made it back to the house and rubbed this salve on my bruised leg…..and wrapped it with bandage. Ok, now stop laughing about my salve and let me explain. This is used on a cows udder when she has edema. (swelling of the udder) And because I have mad-cow I use this stuff to soothe sore muscles and now my extremely painful knee. Milkmaids do not go to the doctor unless they are dying or need a tetanus shot. This is what my leg looks like when I’m milking. No, I did not get to sit in the house…put my feet up…and sip ice tea. I needed to keep moving so the dumb thing wouldn’t lock up on me. Then I’d really be up a creek without a paddle. I wrapped saran wrap around the bandage and then duct tape to hold it in place. I could walk, but couldn’t bend it. So, my nickname is “log leg”. Very attractive….don’t ya think?! Every day gets better. I can now slowly bend it part way. I can’t dance just yet, but give it time. No sudden turns and definitely no running. That would send me straight into orbit. Holy Moly! I’m still feeding calves, but with help. I haven’t stepped foot inside that den of lions….and have no plans to. Ever! Amen! I’m no spring chicken anymore…………..Carol
I’m sure you have all heard the term….”party till the cows come home”. Well, I’m here to tell you that the cows ain’t comin’ home…..they ARE the party animals! Yep, they have parties all the time. Do you really think they’re sleeping at night? I don’t think so. They’re busy planning their next attack on the “milkmaid”. It’s true! Nasty tails….fierce back legs….flying cow poop….stomping on the milkers…….I’ve seen it all. Take a good look at this calf. What color is this? Where did this “red” come from? Another phrase you’ve all heard…..”the grass is greener on the other side of the fence”. I’m pretty sure that’s what the neighbor bull was thinking at the time. So, apparently the cows had a rockin’ party about 9 months ago. I had forgotten all about this incident until we had 2 red calves born in the last few weeks. Ahhhh….yes! I remember now. Cute little stinker! I’m sure the cows thought they were getting away with all their “hanky panky”. Not this time. A prime example of “Be sure your sin will find you out”. Haha Cows, bulls, heifers…..not a one has any respect for barbed wire or panel fencing when there’s a party to go to. They’ll flatten anything. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. I wonder though……how many more “red” calves are we going to have before this whole thing blows over?…………………..Carol
I’ve been procrastinating writing this post for several reasons. First…I don’t want to be a “whiner butt”. Second…I’m not asking for any sympathy. Third…everyone else has a “thorn in the flesh” too. But I have to do it and get it over with. So, here goes nuthin’………. Well, for starters the dairy industry for farmers in the U.S.A. is painting a very bleak picture. Farm magazines are saying…sell out as fast as possible. Milk prices are plummeting low and deep. Co-ops are under-cutting each other. The pricing system is outdated. Milk companies have the right to “leave us high and dry” with no place to market our milk. All this and more was working on my brain as I headed out to run errands. Needless to say….I was feeling the anguish deep down in my soul. Maybe it was divine….but I felt the need to stop by my favorite antique store and see if I could cheer myself up. Wow! Look what I found! So many treasures and they were having summer sales. Dirt cheap! I couldn’t believe it. Should I laugh or cry?! I felt the dark cloud lifting and just a small ray of sunshine “peeking” through. By the time I got home I was feeling pretty special. Special….because the Lord saw my “silent tears” which I wouldn’t allow to run down my face. Special….because I was reassured that I wasn’t forgotten after all. Special….because I now had enough energy again to keep forging ahead and hang on amid all the chaos and uncertainty. As soon as I got home I raced into the house and hollered for everyone to come look at the treasures I had found. Of course, I immediately started placing everything here and there and everywhere. What fun! So now that I exposed myself and our bleak future in the dairy industry I’m going to go drink an iced coffee and do a little gardening. Chore time is right around the corner. The moral of the story is this…..I felt like my prayers were bouncing off the walls and hitting me in the face. Nothing is fair…but I’m not allowed to give up. (even though I feel like it) I was encouraged with just a few simple “junk finds”. Thank you Jesus………………..Carol
I haven’t talked food in awhile. It’s zucchini time. Fresh from the garden. Did you know that zucchini is delicious in cake form? Chocolate cake at that. I make this cake every summer. I finally let the “cat out of the bag” and told the boys what the secret ingredient was………zucchini. They took it quite well. Surprise! Surprise! They don’t normally eat “green” food. They’re still very much carnivores. This is the finished product. It is delicious! It’s actually better the next day……gives it time for the moisture to soak in. Here’s the shredded zucchini. I always peel mine first. Simply because the less green the boys see the better. Ready for the oven. I never measure the chocolate chips. I sprinkle according to how my day has been going. Hot out of the oven. It’s difficult to allow for cooling time. I want to dive right in. And by the way……we put a fork in the pan and everyone stops and takes a bite as they walk by. Does anyone else do that? Now back to the finished product. Give it time to cool and then sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Fit for a king or queen or a milkmaid! Here’s the recipe……
1/2 cup butter, softened (real not fake)
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoon cocoa (a little rounded won’t hurt)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (weird but important)
2 cup zucchini, shredded finely
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I sprinkle a least a cup)
Cream butter, oil, and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Beat well. Stir together dry ingredients and add to first mixture. Stir zucchini in by hand. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
There’s more than one way to eat your veggies……………………Carol
For the first line of business……my parents visited last week. Therefore, I took a few days off. Well, not totally off. The cows still needed to be milked and calves fed, but other than that I didn’t do much. When company comes I get to head to town and get off the farm and do fun stuff. You know……more than just gas and groceries. When the “milkmaid” gets company…..this is where I like to take them. The PW Mercantile. It’s a fun little road trip. Then we always have to hurry home to those bossy bovines. I decided that next time I’m leaving the farm dudes at home. They’ve seen it once now…no need for them to see it again. That way I won’t have to rush home. Haha….great plan. Don’t ya think? As far as the farm work goes….this was a job that we procrastinated on. Cleaning and stacking all those calf hutches. So finally one day the “farmers” decided to get the job done. See that pink broom? That would be my kitchen broom. Why is it that they always take Mom’s good “tools” for their dirty farm work?! I kissed that broom good-bye. I don’t want it back! Think calf poop, cobwebs, big nasty spiders, and more dirt than you can shake a fist at. Marshall needed a broom too. So, I improvised. An old rag and duct tape…..ta da…..good as new! They swept each hutch clean. Inside and out. What a dirty mess. Lots of creepy, crawly spiders. Yuk! So, while the boys did the “clean sweep”, the main man came along and picked them up with the tractor. Before we know it, it’ll be time to get them all lined up again. Ahhh….I’m not ready for that just yet. That means cold weather. Yuk! Earl stacks them onto the flat bed trailer and hauls them off to the “dump site”. That looks so nice to have all that mess cleaned up and put away. I ride this area every day and all those memories “flood my soul”. Hungry calves screaming my name, freezing cold temperatures, fingers so cold I had to dip them into the warm milk to keep from crying. And then trying not to cry when I get to the barn and the “thaw” begins. Yes, I’m enjoying the summer heat. I’ll take it any day. The work here is almost done. Just scraping away all the bedding. And more bedding. As I ride along here I always remind the boys how this whole tree line was lined with calves. We just shake our heads in unbelief…..wondering how we did it. In all that wicked, cold weather? Those are the days when we slip into “survival mode” and don’t come up for air until spring time. Here you go….the final resting place. We have learned not to stack them more than 4 or 5 high because it’s a total nightmare to get them apart. So, this fall when the weather turns cool and all the little “jerks” are popping out everywhere, we’ll come back to these. And start the loooong line up again. Until then…..I’m enjoying having just a handful of calves to feed……………………..Carol