Less than a Month

I’m getting married on June 18th. Today is May 19th. Can you sense a little panic?

Can’t say I’m panicing so much as just hoping it all pulls together. We’ve got the food, and beer/wine organized, so once we have the music done, that’s all we need, right? RIGHT?!

Oh and my dress is just about done. My Mom’s dress is getting remade for me! I’m very excited to be wearing my Mom’s dress.

I haven’t been blogging much. I spent Sept-April tied to the computer with school, I needed a bit of a detox. Here’s what we’ve been doing.

Hunting Morel Mushrooms…

Cowboy went to 2nd year Carpentry school…and passed with 78%! (73% theory, 85% practical) So proud of you! So he was able to come home from Victoria and spend time with our little scholar

Ummm…does he not look ALOT like Cowboy!?

We spent a lot of time outside in the nice weather…

Had a few sick days

Did our fair share of play doh playin’

And overall had a good time together! To all the single parents, or even those who are single parenting while the spouse is away, you have my 100% admiration. It is tough! I am so glad that Cowboy is back now. We’ve been fishing, playing outside, eating lots of yummy food as more starts to grow here, gardening and this weekend…

We’re going Bear Hunting!

See y’all later!

“H’yuk, h’yuk, That’s all folks!”

(Step-dad’s dog Roscoe)

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Taste Testing

While I do my fair share of taste testing. Mac is the best at it!

He handles everything from quality control during the actual mixing process

To the first nibble test. Otherwise known as the, should we have waited until they were cool or are they just as good warm test. This one is always a pass, because what baked good isn’t delicious warm?

Then we get into consistency testing. Is one muffin the same as the other? A guy can’t just have ONE muffin! He takes his job very seriously, by the way.

Then we get the “If I crouch and close my eyes will it still taste good?” Test

Followed by the “If I lay down on my side will it still taste good?” Test

Once these are complete he’ll give me the final verdict.

 

Delicous.

This is, by the way, what I get when I ask him to give me a smile.

 

Priceless.

Teach ’em young

My Poppa (Maternal Grandfather) has short term memory loss. He’s always in pain. Doesn’t remember a new person. Doesn’t remember to put on clean clothes. (But my Dad says he never did before anyways!)

But…he is the only one who can tell my three sisters and I apart on the phone, first try

When Cowboy and I told him and my Grandma I was pregnant,(and 16) he got up right away, gave me a big hug, and said, “Well you know we’ll be behind you 100% of the way”.

Isn’t that crazy how a man who has forgotten the social courtesy of only taking one scoop at a potluck,

Can know exactly what to tell his 16-and-pregnant granddaughter?

Poppa’s Dad taught him many things. One, was that a job worth doing, was a job worth doing right the first time. Another, is to teach children how to do things young. Poppa’s Dad may have stretched that a bit, seeing as he was milking a few cows before breakfast on his way to kindergarden, but I think there is something to be said for how much we coddle our children.

Because we have a hobby farm, we are always encouraging families to bring their children to come try their hand at milking, collecting eggs, riding the horse (When we had one).

Mac has been collecting eggs since he could hold an object in his hand. Just ask him “Want to go to Minnies and collect eggs?” He lights up and smiles nodding his head.

Mac has been in the garden since he was days old. From being in the sling helping Daddy pick veggies for a snack, to helping me plant when he could barely crawl. He’s a mean weeder. Emphasis on the mean. (He doesn’t know the difference between plant and weed!) I know this year at 1 1/2, he’ll be starting to get the hand of things. My Grandma said that her oldest daughter was really good at plucking off the tulip heads. Sure she stopped her, but only from picking the heads off, never from being in the garden. That daughter to this day, has a love for gardening. All her daughters do! (5!)

Today I grabbed my 9 month old niece when we were at my Moms house. Cowboy was heading to milk while Mac and I were going to collect eggs. Amy came along because being exposed to these things young is fantastic. And, homegirls always up for a cuddle with her Auntie!

She watched eagerly as I collected eggs out of the nesting boxes and Mac ran around checking the feed and water and chickens. Then, we went up to where Cowboy was milking and I set them both to sit down on a sapling that’s tied between two trees holding up the milking stansion. (Where the cows head goes through when milking, not that our cow ever does, but she’s so patient!). Mac LOVES to watch Daddy milk, and Amy stared the whole time, not fussing once, just amazed at what he’s doing.

(Look at her determination!)

THESE are the things I want to expose my children to. Not violent TV, not junk food, not families never spending time together. I want them to see where there food comes from, to know how to get it from the dirt or animal to their plate. To have a connection to what they’re eating and appreciate God’s blessing of abundance in every meal we have.

You say Why take extra time doing chores or making dinner, when you could do it faster on your own?

You say Why should you take the time to call up a local farmer to see if your children can check out their animals?

You say Why bother growing one pot of tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers or lettuce on your teensy patio-porch-deck?

I say Why Not include your children in real, hands on education that goes back farther than any school district or one room school house.

This is their homegrown education.

This stuff goes back to the farmyard baby. To the homestead with a log house.

That’s where all the fun happens anyways.

Happy Valentines Day!

While trying to find a picture that someone represented Valentines day, or Love, all I found was pictures of teeny  fish we never actually ate,

Four great-grand children laying together

 

A cute little Squirrel

 

My Stepdad and I milking, with Poppa holding the kicker rope. We don’t usually have a kicker rope, but she had a sore udder and thought it was a fantastic idea to kick the bucket on a regular basis. The kicker rope gets pulled tight around their abdomen, in front of the udder, right tight in the hip socket. For some reason, this helps. If I were a 200lb 6′ 2″ man (Cowboy anyone?) I could milk with my shoulder in the same place, or put a fist there, and it would do the same. But alas, I am nowhere near that. And my Stepdad couldn’t fathom the coordination to milk and do that. (See how wide her back legs are? That is a fantastic stance for milking, because it allows access to the back teat which is the smallest and hardest to milk. Hello hand cramps!)

 

This ca-yute picture of Mac!

 

 

And Mac, driving the tractor. (Don’t worry, Grandpa is tucked down in there out of sight)

 

 

Happy Valentines Day,

 

Don’t think of it as a day to buy candies and spend money on gifts or cards. Bake some cookies to decorate, make a homemade card! Much more heartfelt and easier on the wallet. I treasure every homemade card I’ve ever been given.

 

 

Nint’s S’mores

Nairn (Nint) with her daughter, Sarah.

Nairn went home to the Ranch in the Sky on December 25th, 2005. She leaves behind memories of her smile, hug, love, laughter and cooking. She was like a second Mum to my sisters and I and I miss her everyday.

This recipe is one that I make all the time, it’s so easy, so delicious and you’re family will love ’em! (And you’ll be trying to keep your fingers off of your 6th (8th?) one.

You no longer have an excuse not to bake homemade cookies.

I consider the ingredient list to have 3 parts. The Fat, The Flour and The Bits.

The Fat

HAS to be butter. Don’t you dare use margarine or substitute oil. Use butter.

The Flour

While it calls for 2 cups of flour, I’ve used 1 1/4 c flour and 3/4 c oatmeal, you could use some wholewheat. It’s nice to a bit of cocoa too! (And more chocolate in the bits sections) Mix it up baby!

The Bits

The original recipe calls for 1 c chocolate chips and 1 c chopped walnuts. For old times sake, I made the batch tonight with them! I use any of the following in the bits:

Milk, dark or white chocolate

Butterscotch chips

Mini Marshmallows

Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds

Walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts

Raisins, Dried cranberries or blueberries

Coconut

Some of my favourite combos? White choc and macadamias, mini marshmallows and butterscotch chips, dried blueberries and coconut, raisins and milk choc! The list goes on and on and on.

Here is the recipe!

Nairn’s S’mores

Makes 2 dozen

1 cup (easier if soft) butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Add flour. Then bits! Mix er good, then press into an un-greased 9″x13″ pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown all over and slightly browner on edges. Wait until cool (as cool as you can!) and cut into four sections length wise, turn the pan around and cut into 6 sections width wise. 24 cookies, so easy!

Puhlease mix it up and try different flour combinations and bits! But don’t you dare use anything about the butter!

De-stress yourself

Big statement for me to make, eh? You’re thinking, okay, what makes her qualified to tell us about this?

Well, let my School of Hardknocks education teach you. In my family, that means that you’ve learned the hard way, you’ve been taught with real, raw materials, but you’ve come out better because of it.

Finding balance seems to be the ‘key’ everyone talks about,

but here is a little secret I’ve found. Inorder to get that balance? I need help. I need to relax and look at what is important. For me, it comes in forms of encouragement, a little push here and there, and a hand to hold me steady when I am about to go off the deep end

I need Cowboy to tell me it’s JUST FINE to have an easy dinner, that it’s OKAY to spend the morning outside with Mac, instead of tidy, tidy, clean, clean! In my mind, I know it’s okay, I know he will NEVER judge me if I spend the whole day in front of the fire eating bon bons. In fact, he would congratulate me, saying good for you! If I didn’t spend my whole day run off my feet. Encouragement from Cowboy, encouragement from the Lord, maybe an extra-long nap from Mac. All those help me.

When it comes to actual strategies?

Dirt.

Digging in the dirt and getting dirty is the best stress reliever there is. Working with the earth to grow a garden, or when it’s not that season, just playin’! It’s said that dirt as many natural de-stressers to help you relax.

Neat fact about livestock? I’ve got many of those. If a pig that lives in a concrete pen with access to no or old dirt, get sick, the best cure is dirt. If a few shovel fulls of dirt in their pen doesn’t make them better within a couple days, plieing them with tons of meds is going to be costly and ill effective. There are of course, exceptions to this, such as if it’s really cold and they get pneumonia.

 

Do something fun!

Splash in the water! You say it’s winter? I say towels on the floor and a rubbermaid tote full of warm water and containers! When we’re lucky enough for it to be summer, spend the afternoon at the beach. My mom used to pack us up after nap-time with a picnic lunch and tell my Dad to meet us at the beach after work!

 

 

Go out on a limb


Do something different, try something new! We have a list of “Do as a family” and “Do as a couple” for new things we want to try. Where we live, we don’t have many options, so most of these are trying new outdoor places, or getting dessert together at a new place. Trying something new as a couple, that you have never done before, is a learning experience that draws you together. Our newest thing? We do nightly devotional from The Daily Bread series. It’s a 10 minute time in the day where it’s just us after Mac has gone to bed, and we sit in front of the fireplace. Another new thing? We recently dove into the world of Asian cooking, with help from Jaden Hair over at http://www.steamykitchen.com . We have her book, and it’s made many fun evenings for us!

 

Take a moment

To think about all those little things you are thankful for. If God puts this much effort into the colouration of a teeny flower, then he’s put much more work into your life. He’s instilled all sorts of beautiful things to be thankful for. A list of ten things off the top of my head that doesn’t include people: Wood stove to keep us warm, the opportunity to go to school, enough wood to fill that wood stove!, freezer full of nutricious food, the knowledge of cooking, my wedding in June, Books to read, a phone to be in contact with family and friends, a wonderful Church to attend and the creative outlet that is this blog. (That means I am thankful for you!). It’s such a lift to think of all the wonderful things we are blessed with in our life that we take for granted. Don’t take anything for granted.

 

 

What does all this mean? It means that we need to get back to our roots, to our things we have long ago forgotten. Remember the little things you used to take Joy in before everything became industrialized. Take life back a notch! Take time for yourself!

 

Then, my friend, you’ll be sittin’ on top of the world.