Country Living Series

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Snark du jour

On this past weekend's WND column entitled "Is Feminism Killing Women?", I hadn't caught up on the comments for a few days and was astonished to see there were over 100.

One commenter named Robert has taken it upon himself to criticize every column I write, particularly addressing the regressive, knuckledragging methods we used to raise our daughters (how dare we homeschool!). I don't mind this in the least, because it generates additional comments, and lovely people step in to my defense.

However Robert does raise one good point: I've neglected to keep readers updated on our daughters' progress.

Here is Robert's comment (referencing my aversion to feminism): What gets to me is that PL's home-schooled daughters were spoon fed a steady diet of this pabulum. Last I knew, neither was college bound and the eldest was working as a hotel maid.

So, without further ado, here's an update on the kids:

Older Daughter, as many of you know, did indeed work as a "hotel maid" for a couple of years. It was actually an upscale motel, not a hotel, and she was the best durned housekeeper the motel owners ever had. She was 16 and 17 at the time. I don't know what else Robert expected a teenager to do to earn money -- CEO of a huge corporation, perhaps? -- but the job gave Older Daughter the opportunity to cultivate her work ethic and save her pennies. As a result, she was able to garner a glowing letter of recommendation from the motel owners and emerge with a substantial savings account.

She took that work ethic and letter of recommendation with her to nanny school last summer, and graduated top of her class.

With yet more glowing credentials, she landed a job as a live-in nanny to four boys with a family in New Jersey, starting last November. She enjoys the job and the family thinks the world of her. Because she's a live-in, she has very few expenses and is banking about 80% of her salary -- a salary, I'll add, that exceeds the pay of many first-year teachers. Her savings account at the moment is a hair's breath away from five figures, and she's been on the job less than six months. Not a bad position for a 20 year old.

Younger Daughter is taking preliminary classes at the nearest college toward her goal of becoming a radiographer. She's acing her exams -- on her last two tests, she scored 100% on one and 94% on the other. To earn money, she's doing yard work for an elderly neighbor as well as picking up other part time work as available. This summer her former violin teacher, who also happens to be CEO of the local hospital, has promised her a job at the hospital where she can work directly with the radiography department. Younger Daughter is 17 at the moment, though she turns 18 in just a few days.

Like Older Daughter, our youngest is cultivating a work ethic, saving her pennies, and earning the esteem of college professors and hospital CEO's. Both our daughters are moral, honest, and hard-working young women.

I dunno, I think our girls are doing pretty well, considering they've been "spoon fed a steady diet of this pabulum" their whole lives.

But maybe that's just a proud mama talking.

Notice: This property is a farm


Monday, May 2, 2016

Feel the “magics”

Every so often I get a spam blog comment that's so funny I just have to share it. Here's a classic case in point. Read this through so you, too, can feel the "magics" and (among much else) "remove the black spot that keeps on taking your money away."


Hello friends..i never believe and tough that me and my ex husband could ever come back and live life happily again after been divorce for years..I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when, i contacted this man called .Dr Okeyto. me and my husband was going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when my husband came back from work he tender to me a divorce letter and he packed all my properties away from is house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have him back because i love him and i really want him back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 5years.So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for his full name and his picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i have to gave him a try cos i have tried so many spell casters and there was no when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that him is with a woman and that woman is the reason why he left me.The spell caster said he will help me with a power spell that will surely bring him back.but i never believe all this.he told me i will see a positive result within 24 hour..24 hour later after the spell has been cast,him called me himself and came to me apologizing and him toldme he will come back to me..I cant believe this,it was like a dream cos I never believe this will work out after trying so many spell casters and there was no solution..The spell caster is so powerful and after that he helped me with a pregnancy spell and i got pregnant again ..we are now happy been together again and with lovely kids..This spell caster has really changed my life and i will forever be thankful to him..he has helped many friends too with similar problem and they are happy and thankful to him..This Dr Okeyto is indeed the most powerful spell caster that i have ever experienced in life..Am Posting this to the Forum in case there is anyone who has similar problem and still looking for a way out.

1. Get your scam money back
2. Bring back lost lover, even if lost for a long time
3. Remove bad spells from homes, business & customer attraction etc.
4. Get promotion you have desired for a long time at work or in your career.
5. Read all your problems before you even mention them to him
6. Remove the black spot that keeps on taking your money away
7. Find out why you are not progressing in life and the solution
8. Eliminate in family fights
9. Ensure excellent school grades even for children with mental disabilities
10.Stop your marriage or relationship from breaking apart
11. heal barrenness in women and disturbing menstruation
12. Get you marriage to the lover of your choice
13. Guarantee you win the troubling court cases & divorce no matter how what stage
14. Ensure success in work and business
15. Mental illness & bewitched
16. Can?t sleep at night or walking at night
17. Recover stolen property and whereabouts of people that hurt you.
18. Bring supernatural luck into your life
19. Do you need help to win a lottery
20. Pregnancy spell to conceive baby

you can reach him here. [email deleted] or contact him on his number [phone number deleted] /whats-app..he is willing n ever ready to help.okay. This is what i want to tell you all out there,That is thinking that all hope is lost ..Thanks to you all

Joyceken Williams May 1, 2016 at 10:42 AM

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Incoming squall

We're having the usual mix of spring weather here -- today is gloriously beautiful, for example -- which includes the occasional sudden violent squall.

Last Friday we had one such example. Here it is, moving in from the southwest, our prevailing wind direction.

The cows, grazing in a new spot, paid no attention to the looming clouds. (They changed their mind, fast, when it hit.)

Preceding the rain was an enormous crash of wind, which kicked up distant dust (visible as a yellowish blur center-right, obscuring some trees). It was about this time the cattle went racing for shelter under the barn awning.

Even in the midst of the pelting rain, the wind kicked up dust and scudded it down the dirt road before our house.

And then -- it was over. Within ten minutes the skies were clearing and the birds were twittering. We even had a pretty sunset.

Go figure. Welcome to spring.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Is feminism killing women?

Here's my WND column for this weekend, entitled Is Feminism Killing Women? It's a bit edgier than my normal stuff.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Welcome Primo

Early this morning, around 5:30 am, I heard a commotion among the herd near the bull pen. It's the kind of commotion that denoted excitement, not fear. I wasn't entirely surprised when I walked out and saw a calf.

The baby belonged to Shadow -- who, if you remember, surprised us with her calf last year, little Ninja.

Shadow, still in the hormonally-deranged phase that happens right after giving birth, was distressed that so many others wanted to see the baby.

The baby was on his feet, but still wet -- and we weren't sure if he'd had his first critical drink of colostrum either. Shadow had not yet dropped the placenta, so I'm estimating the baby was born around 5 am.

Cows just loving having newborn calves in the herd.

But suddenly Shadow -- who, as I said, was still hormonally-deranged -- got into a rip-roaring fight with Sparky. They went back and forth, bashing heads together, and the calf got knocked off his feet. Fearing he would be trampled, I didn't waste any time -- I scooped up the calf and hauled him into the corral and closed the gates. The poor little guy stood in a daze, swaying on his feet (he wasn't too steady yet) while Shadow and Sparky continued to whale on each other on the edge of the woods.

Other animals milled around near the gate, watching the newcomer.

Meanwhile I broke up the fight between Shadow and Sparky, but Shadow took off into the woods. I knew what was coming: she would wander around for a bit, then return to where she'd last seen her calf, but not know how to find him (remember, cows aren't bred for brains).

The baby waited patiently. "Are you my mother?"

Don and Younger Daughter were still asleep during all this, of course. So when Shadow came back to where she'd given birth, looking for her baby, I tried but failed to get her into the corral with the calf (who was by then curled up in a corner, sleeping.)

Later, when Younger Daughter got up, she assumed Gate Duty on the corral while I went looking for Shadow. I found her down in the woods in a dense grove of bushes and trees, eating the placenta. It's a revolting thing to watch, but it's instinctive and even arguably healthy (blech).

The fact that she had passed the placenta was good news, so I left her alone until she finished consuming it.

Once Don got up, it was a fairly straightforward matter to get Shadow in with the calf. Took a bit of work, but we did it.

By this point it was abundantly clear the baby was a boy.

We named him Primo -- not only because he's the first calf of the season, but because he'll be "primo" eating in two years.

Shadow is a good mama, attentive and protective.

Newborn calves are unspeakably darling.

As is typical for very newborn babies, everywhere Primo went, Shadow, well, shadowed him. Dogged his every step.

This got pretty funny when Primo tried out his newborn muscles and did the happy little skippy-hops and short-burst runs of a healthy baby. Shadow trotted after him, udder swaying, mewling in concern.

This intense attention will decrease over the next week or so as Shadow's hormones adjust.

This is the first of as many as eight -- eight! -- calves we're expecting this year. Yikes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Northwest Preparedness Expo

I'll be speaking at the Northwest Preparedness Expo held in Prosser, Washington on May 7.

I'll be giving two talks:
  • Preparedness 101
  • Moving Rural for Greater Self-Reliance
I hope some of you can make it!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Chocolate-peanut butter balls

I wanted to make something a little different for dessert for our weekly neighborhood potluck. After some thought, I decided to make chocolate-peanut butter balls.

These are similar to peanut butter cups, but I didn't bother with trying to shape them into the standard Reese's shape. Balls were easier.

I found a recipe here. These are the ingredients:

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups milk chocolate chips (two 11.5-oz bags)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Since I was making these for a group, I doubled the recipe.

I started by melting the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar on the stove.

It melts very readily.

While it heated, I measured out the powdered sugar I needed.

I added the powdered sugar a bit at a time, rather than all at once.

By adding the powdered sugar a bit at a time and stirring after each addition, the peanut butter mixture turns grainy and thick and is no longer "liquidy."

At this stage, have cookie sheets lined with waxed paper ready.

Then I made a mistake: I chilled the peanut butter mix. Wrong thing to do. Chilling makes it too brittle to roll into balls, so I had to re-heat the mix in the microwave to make it malleable again. Lesson learned: roll the mix into balls while it's still warm. Then chill.

Next step is to make the chocolate coating. Though I doubled the recipe, I only "singled" the chocolate part, figuring I could make more if needed. As it turned out, it wasn't needed.

Melt the chocolate chips/shortening in the microwave in 30-second increments. Everyone's microwave is different, and you don't want to go overboard on melting the chocolate, so take it slow.

Once the chocolate/shortening is melted and mixed, it's time to dip the peanut butter balls. A slotted spoon didn't work for me (the slots were too small and the chocolate didn't drain from the spoon), so after a bit of juggling, I ended up using a fork to sort of roll the balls around the chocolate, then fished them out with tongs.

I laid the wet balls on waxed paper.

When everything was dipped, I put the cookie sheets in the chest freezer for a few hours, just to harden things up.

The results are positively addicting.

I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator, but it's almost guaranteed they won't last long.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day in Idaho

Here's my WND column for this weekend, originally entitled Conversation with a Green Friend.

As a bonus, here's an article a reader sent entitled Seven Earth Day predictions that failed spectacularly.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cute birdie pix

This blog post has nothing in it but cute pics of Young Daughter's Quaker parrot, Lihn. She was taking a bath in a bowl of water and was just too durn adorable to ignore.

High five. Er, four.

Think of these photos as just a bit of brain candy, a little mental break from your busy day.

That's it. Bath-time is over.