Self-Sufficiency Series

Friday, November 27, 2009

Preparing a Thanksgiving Feast

Like millions of other mothers across the country, I spent Wednesday and Thursday cooking up a storm. My big reward is to go on a cooking strike for the next few days on the excuse that there are hordes of leftovers in the fridge, so help yourself.

Here's what we had for our meal.

To the left is my bread machine (that faithful machine is 12 yrs old and still going strong), making bread for the bread stuffing. On the stove is a pot of wild rice stuffing, and two pans of baked graham cracker crust for the peanut butter pies (dessert, obviously).


Making cheesecake. The peanut butter pies are done (left), and I've whipped the eggs whites and cream for the cheesecake, and now I'm mixing the rest of the ingredients.


Desserts. I haven't yet baked the cheesecake (on the left). None of us like pumpkin pie, so when I surveyed the family's wishes for desserts, this is what they wanted.


Cheesecake, baked.


Baked bread, ready to make into bread stuffing.


Just had to throw in this photo. Several years ago while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, I lamented that I didn't have a wooden turkey platter like my mother's. Don inquired as to what the turkey platter was like. I sketched out an idea, he disappeared into the shop and emerged two hours later with a solid maple platter. What a blessing it is to have a woodworking husband!


Making Parker House style dinner rolls.




Letting the rolls rise. Just as an (ahem) amusing sidenote, I ruined the first batch of roll dough by forgetting to put in the eggs, so I had to re-do the entire batch. Oops.


Making bread stuffing.



Sharpened knives (for the turkey - which, by the way, is baking in the oven) and a pot of potatoes ready to boil for mashed potatoes.


Setting the table. We don't have anything particularly festive in terms of china or crystal glasses or whatever, so we put on the tablecloth to give the table a holiday air.



Simmering the giblets for gravy.


Making gravy. I'm lousy at gravy so this task fell onto my husband, who makes superb gravy.


The turkey, out of the oven.


One of our dinner guests, caught in the photo.


Tired kids and happy Lydia.


Oh...and the danger over, guess who showed up in our driveway this morning?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's UP time, America!

A friend sent this terrific YouTube clip with some words of wisdom from an organization called Up Time America. Enjoy!
____________________________

If you see injustice, STAND UP
If something needs to be said, SPEAK UP
If you make an appointment, SHOW UP
If you make a mistake, FESS UP
If you’re overstepping, BACK UP
If you get behind, CATCH UP
If they knock you down, GET UP
If you’re out of line, STRAIGHTEN UP
When your boss instructs, KEEP UP
When your elders speak, LISTEN UP
When your teachers teach, SIT UP
When your preachers preach, WAKE UP
When your country calls, MAN UP
Ladies too... WOMAN UP
When the fight is over, MAKE UP
If you’re being hard, EASE UP
If your heart is closed, OPEN UP
If you want to buy something, SAVE UP--
It’s not an entitlement, so SHUT UP!
If you make a mess, CLEAN IT UP
If you drop trash, PICK IT UP
If a car is waiting for you to
walk across the street, SPEED IT UP
If you’re cold busted, GIVE IT UP
If people fall down, HELP THEM UP--
Not the government, YOU STEP UP
If idiots start fighting, BREAK IT UP
If the music is wholesome, TURN IT UP
If the message is poisonous, THROW IT UP
If your words are vulgar, CLAM IT UP
If your words encourage, KEEP IT UP
If your pants are baggy, PULL THEM UP
If the belt’s too loose, CINCH IT UP
If your fly is down, ZIP IT UP
If you’re dressed half naked, COVER IT UP
If you can’t afford stuff, PASS IT UP--
No “bailouts” folks, PONY UP
If you made a promise, you BACK IT UP
And you can take your whining and PACK IT UP
It’s called personal responsibility, so TAKE IT UP
This country was founded on it, you can LOOK IT UP
It’s the American way people, so TURN IT UP
Because when life gets boring, you SHAKE IT UP
When life is good, you SOAK IT UP
When life’s unfair, you SUCK IT UP
When life is funny, you can YUCK IT UP
When life is sad, just LOOK STRAIGHT UP
And life’s too short people, so LIVE IT UP!

That's "Merry Christmas," not "Happy Holidays"


I've never heard this group before, but our pastor sent us a link to a group called "The Go Fish Guys." This song is a hoot!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random cow pix

These are some random photos of cows and dairy production for the benefit of a magazine editor who needs some pics to illustrate an article. This blog entry will be removed after the editor has looked it over.

UPDATE: I've been asked to keep this blog entry up. What the heck.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

To the rescue!

I love men! I especially love country men! Here's why.

My girls are visiting friends and my husband was out of town today. I had a rare afternoon to myself to write, clean house, do some barn chores, and batten down some hatches because snow is expected tonight. Nothing unusual. Everything was fine.

A few days ago we moved the cattle from their summer pasture to the wooded side of our property. This way they have access to our limited barn space in bad weather. The older animals are used to the routine, but it's all new to this year's calves, who have never been in the wooded side before.

Then Beefy, our little four-month-old bull calf, escaped. (A neighbor notes that most fences are merely decorative, and I concur.) It's impossible for a lone person to herd a wily little bull calf who doesn't want to be herded and doesn't know where to go. After an hour of increasing frustration (with all the rest of the cattle bellowing in sympathy and looking ready to jump fences themselves), I called the neighbors on one side to get help. No one home. I called the neighbors on the other side. No one home. I called a third neighbor. Not home. Since I was now out of neighbors, I called my friend Enola who lives a mile away and asked if I could borrow her husband to help me herd Beefy back inside the woods.

"I'm in town right now," she said (they only have cell phones, no land lines), "but I'll tell Sir Knight to go over the moment I get home."

I thanked her and tried to calm down. (So much for my quiet peaceful afternoon.)

Within ten minutes I saw an ATV coming down the road. Then another. Then a truck. Then another truck. Up pulls Sir Knight. And Dallas (another neighbor). And Master Hand Grenade (Sir Knight's son). And Sam (a friend). Then Zack and Nathan (Sam's sons). Suddenly I had six strapping men and teenage boys, all come to my rescue!

"When you put out the alarm, we don't mess around!" announced Sir Knight with a grin.

With so many willing hands, little Beefy didn't stand a chance. He was back with his mama in five minutes.

Oh, I just LOVE country men!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

People of Walmart

Okay, so I contracted a bad cold a couple days ago. I've been going through the week in a haze of coughing and aching and snorting and hacking and being unable to think clearly (you know how it goes). This morning I needed some brain candy so I started trolling the People of Walmart website.

First thing up was a photo so painful to look at that I decided I needed an aspirin:


But this one caught me by surprise. I was so shocked I immediately went into a coughing/hacking phase:


I think I'll go back to bed now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No no! Entitlements good!

In response to last weekend's column in which I lamented the desire for people to get entitlements for everything from starting a business to getting health care, I received the following email:
_________________________


You have better wake up to the realities of the 21st Century. There are no jobs out there and those few good jobs that do exist are going to the minorities and overseas workers due to diversity, Affirmative Action and visas (Over 70% of the new jobs are going to illegal aliens).

You are writing about the realities of the time prior to President Ronald Reagan. This was the president who changed everything and put America on the skids from which we will never recover.

President Reagan was the person who with his amnesty program opened the door to the fifty million illegal aliens and their stealing of tens of millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of our welfare dollars.

This is the president who with his Free Trade policies allowed tens of millions of our good jobs to go overseas and to Mexico, resulting in tens of millions of Americans settling for jobs paying half of their former wages. And this is the president who violated the civil service laws and had tens of thousands of tenured Federal employees thrown out in the streets, never to get a good job again. (I was one.)

Wake up, sister. You have been living in the woods too long.

___________________________

I'm sitting here trying to wrap my mind around the idea that this guy is still blaming Ronald Reagan for his inability to get another job that paid as well as his government job. Uh, sir, it's been 21 years since Reagan left office. And you haven't been able to "get a good job" since then? Have you considered going back to school or something?

Which leads back to my original point in the article: Why are YOU entitled to MY help in obtaining a job?

Just asking.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dexter affairs

Sorry for the silence! I've been slammed with multiple deadlines this week. I had my usual column due last Friday, another one due next Friday, an article due this morning for Crafts Report Magazine, and I had an (ahem) exciting mystery surprise also due last Friday (I won't report yet what it is, but keep your fingers crossed - it could be good news).

But my biggest shindig at the moment is putting the finishing touches on the layout for a quarterly magazine I do for the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association. This is a big issue, sixty pages. It was technically due today but I'm not quite finished.

Those are our cattle on the front cover. I took the picture two winters ago when we were still baling round instead of square bales. The bales look enormous but that's only because they're up close. In reality they're only about five feet high.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Christmas Wish

’Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ‘Holiday.’
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS
Not Happy Holiday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not a good day

We had to put our cat to sleep this morning.




We got Hopi as a tiny kitten on the weekend of July 4th, 1996 when our oldest daughter was six months old. We named him Hopi because he had the colors of the southwest in him - blue eyes, white and orange fur. Gorgeous animal.







Hopi has been an indoor cat for the last few years. He went missing on Saturday, and I found him around midnight Saturday night. He'd managed to crawl behind a stack of books in a spare bedroom. One leg wasn't working properly. I thought at first he had dislocated it, but when I brought him to the vet this morning, she said it was probably blood clots, and the leg was essentially dead. He also had congestive heart failure, failing lungs, and a host of other difficulties.

It all happened so quick. It's hard to believe I never have to kick him off my keyboard again. Or that he won't be sneaking under the covers on our bed on a cold winter night. Up to this point he looked like a perfectly healthy cat - like an elderly statesman, dignified and a bit goofy.

Damn.