Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Canyon Hike!

 Looking below to the Canyon highway from up in the cave.

Woody mosses growing on the rocks.  
It's a rock moss,
in cushions, very branch-like underneath.
 I'm trying to figure it out.

Here is a photo closer up from another source.
If you know this moss/plant, please let me know in the comments.

Son, Sasquatch and Me.

While Hubs went golfing on Monday, I took a hiking trip with Sasquatch who lives near Spearfish Canyon.  He's a lover of the Canyon and hikes all over it, mostly with his dog, Hope.  He tries to find new paths and places to hike instead of always taking the established trails.  We went to what he calls No Name Cave, and we hiked almost an hour straight up over fallen rock and trees mostly.  It was hard work for me, but Sasquatch climbs like a mountain goat.  It was exhilarating and so fun to be hiking with my son.  He grew up learning local plants, grasses, and tree names and he has continued to discover and learn in the Black Hills.  I enjoyed talking with him about the plants as we went along.  Poison ivy was one that was abundant and so was the choke cherry.  There were many flowers just coming up, but not yet in bloom.  I told Sasquatch to send me photos when they are in flower.  He pointed out mountain snails among the limestone rock that only live in the Black Hills.  He easily popped off the name, Oreohelix cooperi, without even thinking!  We saw several along the way which indicates a healthy ecosystem, so the scientists say.  

Above all else, it was just great to be together.  The hike and sharing our love of nature was a bonus!

Now I'm feeling all that leg work, two days later!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May lambs...

Spring lambs are arriving daily!
I love seeing baby lambs on the green grass.
We are keeping our distance from these yearling ewes and 
letting them have their babies on their own terms.  
Everything is looking good!

A Frisky Lamb
A frisky lamb
And a frisky child
Playing their pranks
In a cowslip meadow:
The sky all blue
And the air all mild
And the fields all sun
And the lanes half shadow. 

~Christina Rosetti

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Purple and blue hues...

The purply-blue skies are providing the rains that are making our country green up and grow lots of grass and hay and flowers.  The reservoirs are filling up too.  It's an exciting time.  The earth is slow to awaken this spring, but it's coming.  We have gone from the golden pea, daffodil, and dandelion yellows to more purple and blue hues of chives and allium, columbine and creeping charlie on my garden steps, catmint and violets, and the wild-growing blue flax.  The iris are just about to open too!  I love seeing the varied colors of spring coming and going.

As you see by my last picture, we have got the yearling ewes in and they are ready to lamb any day.  Since these will be their very first lambs, we will not fuss with them, but let them have their lambs on their own without our intervention.  Oftentimes when you fiddle too much with these yearling ewes, they get nervous and take off and leave their lambs behind.  We'll keep watch on them from field glass distance.  If the weather turns extremely wet for a long period, we will get them to the Big Barn, but still let them alone for the most part.  I love seeing newborn lambs on the green grass of May!

My gardening is slow-going right now.  It's just not been warm enough to plant too many things.  We had a low of 29* a couple of nights ago so we aren't totally out of the frost yet.  So I've been busying myself outdoors with mulching.  I brought over a couple of old, rotted, round bales of hay and set it on the bank near my yard.  I've been forking it up and wheel barrowing it here and there where I need it.  I've been mulching shrubs and trees and flowers, and I've thrown a good bunch of it over the potato patch.  I've also been tossing a lot of mulch over my veggie beds.  I don't really need it much yet, but I will, and I figure it might as well lay on the good soil and rot a little more and keep the weeds in the dark.  Later I'll tuck it around  new plants.  I plan to deep mulch everything in the garden when plants get large enough, that way I'll conserve water and soil moisture as well as make a good weed barrier with it. The mulch also helps with keeping water from running down slopes and hills.  The worms will love it, and so will I.  Needless to say, I'm feeling it in my hands, arms, and shoulders, but I'd way rather fork hay and push a wheel barrow and have something to show for it rather than do aerobics.  (I don't like exercise.  I'd rather do physical work.)

I've been taking a few Epsom Salts baths to relieve my tired body and I rub my achy spots with a  homemade magnesium butter.  I think it helps me sleep better at night besides soothing my muscles and joints.   This is the recipe I use from Wellness Mama.  You can also buy magnesium lotions and creams online like this one.  I like to rub it into my feet before bed.  I think it helps keep my feet smoother and it really feels good too.  The big plus is you get a good dose of magnesium right through your skin!  Have you ever tried magnesium butter or magnesium lotions for stiffness and achy muscles?  I think it's great.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Spring!  What colors are blooming where you live?

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair... ~Susan Polis Shutz

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day and a recipe

Happy Mother's Day to all you mamas out there!  It's been a nice day in my neck of the woods with a little lawn chair sitting, a little iced tea, and a little book and magazine reading.  I did also do a little mowing with the rider, but just a little bit.  I'm trying to be more restful on Sundays.  However, I know several mamas out there who are "on duty" this fine Mother's Day.  They are nursing sick children, feeding hungry babies, disciplining unruly toddlers, and moving college students home from school.  A mom's job is never done, really.  We must always be able to see the good and be thankful for each day and each duty and each Someone that God gives us under the sun.

Today I'm sharing a picture of my flower patch and my lawn chair sitting spot along with my rhubarb patch.  It's growing beautifully.  We had a nice thunderstorm overnight and it was just the thing for the rhubarb as well as all the other green things growing.  I also want to share a recipe with you for Rhubarb Salsa.  I know!  Can it really be good?  Yes!  It's fabulous!  OnlyDaughter brought some out a couple days ago for us to try and we all loved it.  I insisted that we make another batch so we did and we tried it out on the rest of the families here.  Even the kiddos liked it.  I'm sorry I don't have a fine picture to show you, but we ate it all up!

Rhubarb Salsa
Serves: 4-6 persons
The rhubarb replaces tomato in this unique salsa. To balance the tartness, I've added some honey and the kick of a jalapeno will bring it together for a surprising burst of flavor!
  • rhubarb (1 to 1½ cups) diced small
  • ¼ cup of sweet bell pepper, diced (I used red and orange)
  • 2 tablespoons of diced white or red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of diced scallions
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and diced (used red pepper flakes)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of honey (raw if you have it)
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Heat 2 cups of water in a saucepan to boiling. Blanch rhubarb by placing in the boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds. Quickly remove the rhubarb and place in a colander. Run cold water over the rhubarb to stop the cooking process. Blot the rhubarb with a paper towel to dry.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add rhubarb and mix ingredients.
  3. In a small separate bowl, dissolve the honey in the lime juice and apple cider vinegar. Drizzle this dressing over the rhubarb salsa and stir. Add the salt and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
This recipe comes from Simply Fresh Dinners 
so if you want to see a beautiful picture of the salsa, you can click over there and see how wonderful it is!  I wanted to tell you that I didn't have jalapeno so I used red pepper flakes.  I didn't have scallions either so we added a little more onion.  I had lemon juice instead of lime juice.  I also threw in a tablespoon or so of diced Hatch chilies from my freezer.  So you see, you can fiddle with this recipe to your tastes as I always do as I did.  We at our salsa on corn chips and later that night I had it on my tacos.  Scrumptious! 

Some of my fondest memories are picking rhubarb at my Grandma & Grandpa's farm.  It was a prized fruit and Grandpa took good care of it making sure to heap on the decomposed horse manure every fall.  We kids would eat the picked stalks raw, dipped in sugar.  (We also ate crab apples and choke cherries fresh -- SOUR!)  Do you grow rhubarb?  What are your favorite rhubarb recipes?

Monday, May 08, 2017

Potatoes and Pie...

 One of my favorite seasons 
is Rhubarb Pie Season.
Do you know it?
We only have it for a short time in spring
and early summer.
Such a treat.
I make a rhubarb custard pie (recipe below).
It's our fav!

My tulips are blooming like crazy and it's been so windy that I decided to cut a few and bring them indoors to enjoy.  I think the snow and early rains have really helped to bring up the tulips varieties that I haven't seen in a long, long time.  It's exciting to see old friends that I planted years ago.

Today Peach and Toodles helped me plant potatoes.  It's so nice to have littles, who are closer to the ground, put the potatoes in the hole I spade open. 205 hills of potatoes planted!  I had scab on my potatoes last year so one of the ways I am going to try to avoid it is by planting a variety that is scab resistant.  I planted Red Norland.  I'm waiting a little longer to put in the rest of the garden veggies and flower seeds.  We could easily have a frost yet this month.

Rhubarb Custard Pie with Crumb Topping

1unbaked pie crust
4 cups chopped rhubarb

Put rhubarb into crust.

1 1/4 c. sugar
3 T. flour
2 eggs
Pour this custard over rhubarb. Spread evenly.

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c.  butter

Cut in butter into flour and sugar so it resembles small peas. 
Sprinkle over top of pie spreading it evenly to the edges.
Bake in a 350* oven for 1-1/2 hours. Pie will be dark golden in color and have a dry crumbly top.
Cool and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream and coffee.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Work and rest...


We've been branding bunches of calves and moving pairs out to summer pasture.  We de-wormed the lambs and wow, have they ever grown!  Watching a big set of twins lambs nursing on a ewe that's not much bigger than they are is quite a sight.  We're getting to the end of the calving season which means we will be on the cusp of the next thing.  It seems we no sooner get done with one major job and there's another one coming right up behind it.  A few more brandings and we'll have all the cows and calves turned out to summer range and then we'll be ready to start making hay.  It appears we're going to get some hay depending on how much more rain comes our way.  And there's fencing.  Always fences to mend or to take out and replace with new.

Last Sunday I spent some time doing a little yard work and as I walked into the house to fix a mug of tea, I thought to myself, "I'm going to do my resting in the yard and appreciate the work I've been putting into it."  It seems so often that I spend hours and hours of time weeding, digging, planting, mowing and trimming and then spend very little time appreciating it, resting in it.  I took a couple magazines with me and enjoyed a quiet and refreshing time reading and looking around me and being thankful.  It was a gift, and I took the time to receive it.  Do you ever have to remind yourself to receive the gifts all around you?  I do.  It seems I get so busy with everything I'm doing that I forget to take it all in.  To just sit and be and rest and receive.  I want to be more deliberate about that this summer.  I love everything about gardening and I'm gung-ho to get things done, but I need to remember to enjoy the process, to slow down, and receive the rewards of work well done or even partially done.  

I read a fine quote from one of the magazines I was given.  

"It's not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret to happiness."
~James Barrie  

I think that's very true.  I'm not about seeking my own happiness, but I think it is a contentedness that we all desire --being content with what we've been given, whether much or little.  Whether we have a pot of daisies or a whole field of them, it's good to let our hearts be satisfied and be thankful in that.

See you next time!  Be blessed!


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