The Four Seeded Bread with only Three Seeds -- and since I had a small glob of dough left over that was not big enough for a loaf, I decided to roll it out and make a pizza crust for supper tonight. Hubby loves his meat pizza in the traditional manner with tomato sauce, pepperoni, hamburger, and cheese. I like it too, but since the tomatoes are ripening, I chose to make myself a girly pizza.
Monday, August 27, 2012
I've been thinking a lot about the wind lately. When you live on the prairie, you do that. There's so little that stands in the way of the wind that one has to take account of it every single day. So many, many things depend on the wind and the direction it's coming from. It was said that when we had a strong east wind, it meant that there was a storm on the way, but this year that old belief has come to naught. There was hardly a storm at all no matter the wind direction, and we didn't lack for wind.
Wind is what took a lightning strike in our north pasture and blew it up into a prairie fire that blazed for seven miles. Neighbors from upwind and downwind where there ready to take action. Thankfully, we did get a rain that day that took the fire down almost entirely.
There was a wind storm that blew over us a week or so after the fire happened, and it was such a gift. As we watched dust and tree limbs blowing, we saw something else which looked like another fire had started. It looked a lot like smoke, but what was blowing in the wind was soot from the fire. All that smelly, dirty, oily stuff blew from the pastures to Who Knows Where, and gave us a cleaner place to start fencing on this summer. The men were dreading going out there to repair and rebuild fence, but now the range is sort of clean and it's even sprouting some green grass.
We plant shelter belts to protect our homes and buildings from wind and to protect livestock from high winds and snow. The trees provide shelter against the prevailing northwest winds, but can also protect from easterly winds depending on which side of the trees you are.
Closer to home, I am constantly checking the wind when I hang out the laundry. A few days ago, NumberOneSon shot a skunk just north of our house, and even though he took it away, the odor lingered enough that I hesitated to hang my clothes on the line. I waited until the wind switched from the north to the west and managed to keep the stink off the fresh, clean clothes. I also take note of the wind direction when deciding which line I will begin hanging the clothes from first; I always want to pin clothes to the downwind line so I'm don't have clothes flapping me in the face when I pin them up. The same rules apply when I take the laundry down. I try not to hang clothes out when I know the men are going to be driving on the road next to the house because of the dust. I really don't have set rules about hanging clothes, but it's something that just comes naturally when a girl's got to battle the wind all the time.
Setting sprinklers has a wind factor too. Most of the time, I don't water on windy days since the majority of the water is apt to evaporate rather than soak in. If I do water on a windy day I always set sprinklers upwind so the majority of the water goes onto the flower bed or veggie patch or whatever it is that I'm sprinkling.
The mailbox is another place where a prairie savage like me has to consider the wind. When I set letters in the box to be mailed, I have to think about our mailman opening the box and the wind whipping inside there. Most of the time before I ever put the flag up, I set a rock on the mail because so often when you open a mail box that is located on a hill, the wind will catch the letters and bills and it'll fly right out of there! I've chased a few pieces of mail down and it's a challenge. I wonder if my mailman is glad that I keep a rock in the mailbox?
In the fall when the leaves are coming off the trees and it looks like a dump truck just tipped a one ton load of leaves in my yard, I don't worry too much about raking because I know sooner or later the wind will whisk them away! Wintertime we really have to pay attention to winds. Winds with cold and snow can freeze up water tanks and can send livestock drifting with the winds.
Last week we pregnancy tested 199 heifers. I wanted a record of it here in my journal. It really doesn't have anything to do with the wind because we always work livestock in the barn. But then again, it does. We set up the corrals and barn that way so we don't have to always fight the wind, rain, snow and sun whenever we have to pregnancy test or brand or weigh bulls or any number of things. Our lives really are built so much around the weather.
Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Sweet Refrigerator Pickles
4 c. sugar
4 c. vinegar
1/2 c. plain salt (not iodized)
1 1/2 t. mustard seed
1 1/2 t. celery seed
1 t. turmeric (opt.)
6-7 pepper corns
Bring to a boil and pour over...
1 gallon combined: 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced cucumbers, onion, peppers, carrots, green beans, or any other garden veggies you prefer. Allow to cool on counter and then refrigerate. Allow to sit 24 hours before eating. Lasts a long time under refrigeration.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
~A double-yolk pullet egg!
~Cool nights for sleeping and cool mornings for gardening.
~Painting rocks with Peach & Toodles.
Holding hands with Bee and hearing her "amen" at the end of a prayer.
~ Peeking under the straw of the potato patch, I discovered potatoes!
~Summer veggie skillet dish: zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes sauteed together with Swiss cheese melted over top.
~Working the ewes and moving them out to the hayfield stubble to fatten them up before breeding.
~Going back to my old ways of leaving the clothespins on the clothesline so I don't have to take the pin bag back and forth. The Good ol' Lazy Homemaker is back! Clothespin bags are cute, but for me, impractical.
~Fresh Colorado peaches are here! Yum. I'll be making pies and canning some of these beauties tomorrow.
~An afternoon visit with my parents.
~Finished a good, good book, Mrs. Mike.
~Rose embroidery stitching.
~Nighthawks flying overhead in the evening.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Do you plant a few flowers in your vegetable garden?
I always put some marigolds in amongst the tomatoes, and my dear mother-in-law taught me to plant a row of gladiola bulbs in the veggie patch. This summer I have some volunteer sunflowers that I let grow up in the onions.
There's just something magical in a few bright orange marigolds
peeking out here and there
or towering gladiola stalks lording their beauty
over mounds of green vegetables.
For mine is just a little old-fashioned garden
where the flowers come together
to praise the Lord
and teach all who look upon them
to do likewise.
If you would like to read some of the most beautiful words about flowers and gardens, you'll be delighted with An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Hubs is counting sheep.
We sorted the bucks (above) and sold the undesirable fellows along with a few cull ewes.
After we had the wethers loaded, the guys left for the sale barn in horse trailers while I stayed home and checked the cows. This is buggy is what we drive out in the pastures -- a Polaris Ranger. It's easy on the grass and it can go anywhere. We check cows every day and make sure that their water tanks are flowing and that the herd bulls are healthy and doing their job. We also look for bogged cows or calves or for any problems that might happen on the range.
Isn't she a beaut?
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The Littlest Billy Goat's Gruff has returned home today for a weekend visit before he drives away to Tucson to go back to college. I decided that since it's drizzly, cloudy, and even a wee bit rainy here, it's a perfect day for a Donut Day!
Raised, glazed donuts.
Raised, glazed donuts.
My donuts aren't traditional.
They're puffy, long donuts.
Easy to cut, easy to turn, easy to eat.
I wouldn't want to make it difficult you know.
Afternoon Tea and Donut!
Friday, August 10, 2012
I noticed a few odd holes in the lawn and in the garden path this morning and wondered what critter made them. I didn't know who the culprit was until this afternoon when I spied this li'l fella drilling with his handy woodpecker beak. This is a young Northern Flicker (red shafted). The adult flickers have a nice solid black crest across the breast, but this guy still has his baby speckles.
Do you like the red mustache?
I'm thinking about drilling for.... ANTS!
Drill baby drill!
Thursday, August 09, 2012
One of the kids embroidered this bunny tea towel for me a long time ago.
August is already whizzing by, isn't it? This past Monday FourthChild left his job here on the ranch and went back to college where he will be a senior RA for a dorm. He's helping the staff to get ready for the residents that will be arriving very soon. He was excited to get going and I was happy for him, but I'll admit, I shed a few tears after he hugged me good bye and drove away. He's not even very far away from us -- just an hour and a half -- but we've had a fun summer together and now it's all done. This is likely his last summer at home as he will be graduating in the spring and hopefully he'll find a job. The BabyoftheFamily has just a few more days before he takes off to Tucson for another year of college there. He'll spend the weekend with us and then he is away. Back to just the two of us again. It is as it should be. I'm glad our kids want to go make their way in the Great Big World, but I can't help missing them a little bit. I love them after all.
I've been spending some time at the sewing machine these past couple afternoons. It's been fun. I made a sun dress for Miss Bee and a top for myself. It's been a long time since I've sewn clothes for myself, but this was an easy pattern to make. It's New Look 6871. No buttons or snaps or zippers. It turned out cute, but it seems a smidgen wide so I may give it away to OnlyDaughter who is now 20 weeks pregnant. She might be able to wear it through August and September. The next time I make this top, I will use a cotton voile so it's a little bit more flowy and light.
We had locally grown corn-on-the-cob tonight. What a treat! I made a Zucchini-Parmesan Casserole with zukes and onions from the garden and we cooked burgers on the grill to go along with the corn. Sometimes we have Just Corn Suppers, but we had the neighbors over and I thought it best to make a full supper. DIL brought the dessert -- Lava Cake (scrumptch!). The garden is coming along. The cucumbers are setting on and I'm picking a ripe tomato every other day or so. You know how it goes -- pretty soon, all-at-once, everything is ripe and the entire garden needs picking! I hope you're enjoying what August is bringing you.
Friday, August 03, 2012
The men sprayed down the edges where they could reach and the fire ran on ahead with the wind through pasture after pasture paying no mind to fences. I went back to help direct more trucks up to the fire, and as I was taking one rancher up, a big crack of thunder and lightning hit and it began to pour. Rain! Blessed rain! We stopped and radio'd up to the guys and they said they were getting rain too but they weren't sure how long it would last. We drove up to the corner gate and waited, but it was so muddy we felt it best to wait until they called us up. It kept raining and all the firefighters came back to the gate and we drove back home. We were all so thankful. Hubs said, "There is no way we could have caught that fire. It would have burned to the highway without the rain."
This morning Hubs and I went out to look things over in the daylight and to bring hot coffee to those left watching the fire. Ash, soot and remnants of sagebrush remained along with needle-less cacti and a few sturdy fence posts. The cows and sheep that were out in the pastures were fine. They evidently found their way to safety so there was no loss of livestock. Five trucks and their men stayed on site all day today and left this evening as they felt confident the fire was totally contained. The state department flew down to measure the area of the fire and their figures were: 1008 acres burned within a 14 mile perimeter. When we drive out into the pasture now, I think, "This could happen again. Anywhere, anytime." On a positive note, with a little rain this fall we hope to see a lovely green pasture come back. Fire so often improves the land it burns like nothing else can. This evening I heard on the radio that a prairie wildfire has broken out in Oklahoma. My heart aches for them. God, be their help and strength, and please send them rain.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
I thought I knew how to walk. After all, I've been walking since I was a year old. I took up walking in earnest for fitness and for my sanity when I was pregnant with OnlyDaughter back in 1985-86 and I've been walking 2+ miles almost daily ever since. Originally I started walking for my health, but as it turns out, I primarily walk for my mind and spirit. I found that taking a half hour or so each day to walk gave me time to pray, to think my own thoughts, to observe nature, or just to allow my mind to rest, and all while my body was moving. If you have a somewhat ADD personality like me, you will understand that movement is a good thing for the brain and spirit.
Now that I'm
One way that I am trying to improve the strength of my feet is to go barefoot a lot more. When you think about it, when we were babies learning to walk, we walked barefoot in our homes or in the soft grass of our backyard. Then we moved out onto the cement sidewalk and trekked over gravel and rocks and never blinked an eye, but as we grew up, our parents thought it best to civilize us -- to put proper shoes on our feet. And what kind of shoes did we wear? The typical hard-soled, stiff things that made us have to learn to walk all over again. And so the trouble began. We continue to conform our feet to our shoes rather than letting our feet walk like feet. I've heard it compared to wearing a cast. I don't know about you, but I have always preferred to walk around the house and yard with bare feet, but that is where it ends. It's hard walking down the gravel road or out in the corrals with bare feet.
Have you heard about the new rage in running -- barefoot running? I am not into ANY kind of running, but some runners are finding that running "nearly barefoot" strengthens the feet, legs, hips, and core as God and nature intended. From what I understand, when you walk or run barefoot you step more gently and flex your foot a lot more. Your foot doesn't land hard on your heel as it does with a traditional padded heel shoe, and you tend to flex the arch and toes much more when running and walking because that's what arches and toes naturally do when they are not confined to stiff shoes. The signature shoe of barefoot running is the Vibram 5 Fingers. It looks like a glove for the foot and the sole is so thin that it gives the feeling of running barefoot. Since the shoe's first appearance, the barefoot running shoe market has exploded and there are now a lot more choices to be had.
After reading a lot of material online, I decided to take an inventory of the shoes I own. My mission was to determine which shoes had the flexibility in the arch I need to promote a barefoot type experience when I walk. Guess what? I had just ONE pair of shoes that had good flexibility, and those were my Minnetonka Moccasins. My tennis shoes had very limited flex. The Birkenstocks, which I mostly wear, had no flex, but in their defense, the foot can rock in the foot bed. I do have a pair of Merrel boots that I like to wear which were pretty flexy in the arch, but nothing like the moccs. So...... I decided to do some online shopping. My nearest runner's store is 120 miles away so I figured if I tried Zappos, which I am apt do do on occasion, I might get lucky and find something without having to drive 240 miles. The best part about Zappos is that I can send the shoes back postage-paid if they don't work out. Yay for Zappos! Here are the shoes I'm trying out: The Nike Free Run 3 which is not really a barefoot style running shoe, but is SO flexible and light weight that it allows the foot to perform as it should. The Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove is the other choice I made. It has a much thinner sole and has extreme flexibility. For me, the real test will be how they perform on my gravel road where I do most of my walking. From what I have read about transitioning from traditional walking shoes to minimalist, barefoot-type shoes is that it takes TIME. The foot has to go through an adjustment period of learning how to walk without a lot of tread and cushioning. After trying both shoes out, I have chosen the Nike Free Run 3. These shoes feel like slippers and they are so flexible that after a 2 1/2 mile walk/run (yes, I did run a very little bit) my feet do NOT hurt one little bit. In fact, they feel terrific! The only negative I have about these shoes is that rocks get in stuck between the traction because the sole opens up with the foot movement. Not a problem. Just flex the sole after you're done wearing them and the rocks fall right out. LOVE these shoes. The Merrell was also very comfy and light, and I was thinking about keeping them both, but I decided to send the Merrell Pace Glove back for now with the idea that once I walk for a while in my Nikes, I might transition to the Merrells.
Below I have gathered up some helpful links to articles and videos that I have found very good. First, this diagram shows you simple posture for good-form walking.
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.