Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cookies are made of butter and love...

It's been raining all week.. and I've been bored... and one thing I love to do when bored is Bake.. So, I stumbled upon a Dog Biscuit Recipe on Mary Janes Farm Forum and then decided to make some Cookies for the puppies..

 

But, I didn't stop there, I decided to try out shortbread cookies while I was at it... they came out really good.  I used a basic Shortbread Cookie recipe.. :)


Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients
2 sticks Plus 2 Tablespoons Salted Butter, Softened
1 cup Sugar
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 cup (scant) Corn Starch
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together. Sift in flour and cornstarch and blend together using a pastry cutter until the ingredients all come together. (If mixture seems excessively dry, cut in 1 more tablespoon of butter—but only if you really need it.)
Form dough into a big ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Roll onto a lightly floured surface and cut into rounds. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Bake for 20 minutes. Do not allow shortbread to brown; the edges should have the faintest golden tinge.
Check your oven sooner if it runs hot.

But I used Splenda :)


We need to talk...............

about this time last year... my cowboy and I were sitting down having a real nice meal for supper.. and It was almost April 1st.. and we all  know what that is... April Fool's day.  So I was eating and thinking about how I hate having practical jokes played on me..
Ever since I was a little girl, my dad would always taunt me about having a horse in the backyard or starlite from rainbow brite was in my room waiting... but, I have always hated April Fool's day.
Therefore; I opened my mouth and uttered the words "We need to talk".  Well you should have seen the look on my Cowboy's face. He froze...... dropped his fork on the plate and said "what?".  So I simply said something to the affect of absolutely no april fool's jokes will be played on me, I HATE them.  when I was finished speaking.. he said "that's it?" and I said "yeah".  Well then I got a lecture about how I shouldn't use those 4 words in  row at ANY point in time. Now it's just a big joke between us.. Like the other night I said "we need to talk" he says "alright" and I said, "I'm not sure what's on the menu for supper.." heh.

Speaking of food.. This is my week of firsts..
I made my first Quiche today..  I had spent a good 6 months looking for a quiche/tart dish and I couldn't find one anywhere in, near or around Newberry.  Until a few weeks ago, I was down in Columbia getting Vegas's Ears taped up and the vet told me to go hang out for about an hour.  So I moseyed on over to Bed Bath and Beyond and Viola! they had my little tart pan...
So to make a long story short... too late.. I decided to make a spinach quiche today :)
First I made a nice little pie crust.. Then sauteed up onion, celery, some salt, pepper, pinch of cloves and cayenne pepper. and instead of using half and half.. I used whole milk and 3 tbsp of butter. (I added the butter for the fat to replace the extra fat in the half-n-half) and some eggs.. and here is what I came up with.. If you look closely I cut into the quiche and then remembered I had to take a pic! It was Go-od. Flakey crust, and creamy spinach goodness...
And two nights ago, we had ran to costco for our bulk supplies.. and we came across lamb chops.. I love me some lamb.. but, I've never prepared lamb.  So I decided to give it a whirl.
I marinated them in olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper, chopped fresh garlic and paprika for a few hours, then made southwestern butter and chilled that... then broiled the lamb 5 minutes on each side and then put a big heap of the southwestern butter on top of the lambchop and then broiled for 30 seconds more.
and mmmmmmmmhmmmmm it was good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who'll-ll bid it at a fifty dollar bid? Fifty dollar bid it now, fifty-five Will you gimmie fifty-five..

We frequent equipment auctions a lot, and today we went to one upstate for a road tractor... I wanted this fuchsia Western Star.. but, I don't think my cowboy was impressed with it...
I saw myself driving that bad boy down I-26.. breaker breaker 1-9..  Rollin' wheels and shiftin' gears.. Whinin' down the asphalt.. the rumble of the Jake brake.. Sweet Tea written in silvery metallic fancy cursive letters on the side.. our ranch brand... a big I <3 Beef sticker.. Fuzzy black dice... and some steer horns on the front....... *le sigh*
But, that bubble was burst when he bid on this International... I think he got the international because when he used to drive a truck he had a dark blue international.. that he has talked very highly of..
Therefore; this is our new truck for our rodeo travels... It has much potential.. he gave me the go ahead to remodel the whole inside :) I'm still putting the steer horns on it...
but, this is not the story of this story...
Here in South Carolina... There are some men... that I can only say... wow.. and It seems that I find them mostly at the auction... I'm not sure what rock they crawl out from under but... boy - oh - boy... hold me back...
Now... When Billy Ray Cyrus had a Mullet... they were in..
But, now-a-days... not so much.,..
Every auction we go to I find someone to take a picture of.. and my cowboy just shakes his head and walks off telling me I'm going to get caught.. and Maybe I will.. but these are great photo opportunities...
like this one... he's a frequenter.. I saw him again today actually...

And this one.... I mean... how could you not think the hair and the hat combination is NOT Se-XY?????
Just sayin'


But listen ladies.... don't get disappointed thinking you can only find you a man like this at an auction....
I took this next picture. NO JOKE, at lowe's while I was in line waiting to purchase supplies for the first chicky poo cafe'



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

pftttth

I was thinking about all the good times my cowboy and I have had traveling in the horse trailer.. and one of the funniest stories I can think of is from Florida.  We had finished a competition in Unadilla, Ga and headed off towards the Atlantic Coast Classics in Jacksonville, FL.  We stopped in Ocala, and stayed the night then met up with some friends that were also going to the competition and headed to Jacksonville the next day.  But, That morning is where this story starts.
I woke up to my cowboy asking me what the heck I was doing.. I just woke up and in that confused sleep hangover I had no idea what I was apparently doing.. So he informed me that I was sleeping and making noises.  I'm like what kind of noises.. he told me I was making these Pftth pftth noises.. he said I kept doing it over and over and over..  I started laughing so hard.. I was so embarrassed, but I was crying laughing so hard watching him imitate how I was sleeping then putting my lips put together going pftth pffth pfttth pffffth.  Hey at least I wasn't snoring right?? indeed.
Well, I was dreaming about Maya...  In my dream Maya was in my face and she wouldn't move so naturally the only thing to do is make the pffth noise to get her to move! Well it worked out fine in my dream until I woke up and found out I was living out the actions of my dream..  See now with Maya if you make a pffth noise at her, she flips out and goes running.. I mean she goes nuts. Sometimes even barks at you while she's running away..   Well I couldn't explain this too well since I was laughing so hard.. and I didn't think he really believed me by the look on his face..  So finally when we got back to Georgia.. I showed him just what Maya does..  But, every time I think of that story.. I just start laughing..

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Traveling Circus

 This weekend was the first South Carolina competition of the season.. So, we loaded up the horse trailer, with my Maggie Mae, My Cowboy's pregnant mare, Amazing Grace,  Vegas, Bailey, Maya and Bradley.
Gracie is going to foal any day now, so we didn't want to leave her alone since it's her first baby and she is near and dear to my cowboy's heart.
And If you don't remember Bradley is my calf that I have been bottle feeding...  I tried to put a halter on him, and he let me put it on with no fuss.. but, when I tried to lead him around.. he pulled back a bit.. and I gave in and stopped.. Then tried to walk again.. and he stopped dead in his tracks and fell over like a sack of potatoes.. I was laughing so hard it wasn't even funny.. we tried that about 5 times and I gave up.. So I went up to the feed mill and got him a purple dog collar..  See he's wearing it in the pic :) Now mind you I didn't try this collar thing at all until Friday right before we were leaving... My other option was picking him up and carrying him to the horse trailer.. but, low and behold.. he just came along trotting behind me like a pro.. I was proud of my little man.. I loaded him up first and put him in the stud stall, so he wouldn't be able to get under the dividers in the trailer... he moo-ed a little but he rode just fine.
But before all that.. I had to move the baby chicks into the new Chicky-Poo Too Cafe'.  Because no part of me was going to be in that trailer with 3 dogs, 6 chicks and 2 ducks..  I had to run 3... count them.. 3  100' extension cords from the milking barn down to the Chicky Poo Cafe' before I could reach with the heat lamp.  And that was a sight... I had one plugged into the milking parlor.. I get to walking down the hill with it towards the Chickens.. and I'm thinking wow.. 100 feet is long.. I made it all the way to the chickens, when I turned around and saw I had been dragging the other end... hahahah.. So I left the cord there attached to the heat lamp.. and placed the heat lamp in the position I wanted it in the coop.. then went back to the milking parlor.. grabbed ANOTHER 100 foot extension cord plugged it into the plug.. THIS time I closed the door on the parlor.. to secure the cord in the socket... then headed off towards the chickens again.. I made it back down the hill and bam... I ran out of cord... I could see the other half.... but I couldn't quite reach it... therefore; back up the hill I went.. and got ANOTHER 100 foot cord... yes a little overkill and yes, it only needed to be about 40 feet.. but better be safe then sorry.... Well I got all that taken care of, and loaded the ladies and the ducks into a big plastic container and headed off to their new home from the house...
Oh my GOD I was happy to get them out of my laundry room.. I went out there like 3 days before, and they were flying around like a bunch of hoodlums.. I had fun catching them and trying to keep Maya the rabbit killer off of them... So after that was over and Maya was in the house and they were all back in their cage... I clipped their wings...  Then I built them a new chicken coop..  :)
So I got them all set up down there and left them to be chickens.. They seemed pretty happy when I left them.
Now back to the Arena,  We got there and I put Bradley in his own little stall right next to Maggie, and settled the horses in and got them hay and water buckets.. everyone was content... So off to the trailer I went to help unhook the truck and get electric and water set up... I went inside and turned the hot water heater on so I had hot water for Bradley's bottle... While I was waiting for he Hot water heater to heat up.. all you could hear was him mooing at me...Poor lil fella was hungry from our long little drive..  (That was a picture of me feeding him in this stall).
So the next morning I wake up, get dressed, fix his bottle, walk outside...... There are a bunch of kids standing around taunting him like he was a circus freak.  making those AWWWWE ooooooh he's so cute stupid noises at him.. he was just kinda looking at them like.. whatever... So I walked up and asked if they were done gawking at the barnyard animals yet... Most of them are snotty, so I tend to be snotty right back to them..  No matter what I said, Every time I went by there were kids sticking their hands in between the stall gate trying to pet him..
It was about competition start time, so I got Maggie all saddled up and ready to go.. we had our safety meeting, and the match was on the way... I was freezing.... it has been 80+ here for the past week.. then it went down to 40.. I am sooooo over the cold... So My First stage I get Maggie in the arena.. she's dancing around and rearing ready to go.. we get the green light and maggie takes off running towards the timer.... I hit my first target and tried to pull the hammer back on my six shooter and bam.. just like that.. my gun jammed... lucky me. So that set the tone for the weekend.. which wasn't good at all..

 I had one good run and that was it..  That is me screaming in that video.. when I'm having a good time, I get into it.. and it seems the more I scream, Maggie gets going and I don't have to spur her. . But, the rest of the weekend I couldn't hit the broad side of the barn.. which leads me back to what I've been thinking since last season.. My heart just ain't in this anymore..
Just so it happens... I was at a huge barrel racing arena.. So I got some schooling about barrel horses and blood lines and getting them started on barrels.. and Apparently I'm going to give "can chasing" as I refer to it, a try. Maggie can't do this yet... her barrel turns aren't exactly tight.. But, I have a roany pony (when I said I, I meant my cowboy, but he hates Lebo and I love him.. so automatically he's mine right? Ri-Ight) Anyways.. his name is Lebo.
I believe he's just as burnt out on Shooting as much as I am... And I think it will do his horsey mind some good.. And yes he has a few screws loose in that brain of his. But, I think it will do us both some good to do something quite different..
I mean look at this picture of him doing a barrel Turn.... Lebo has it in him... That was Lebo and I last year in North Carolina.
I was supposed to practice with him last night.. but, we have had some horrible rain, and the arenas are all washed out.. I'm just going to take him to a Jack pot barrel race and see what happens.... Hey Y'all watch this! I'll let you know how that goes.. The jackpot is Wednesday... and it might get rained out since there is rain in the forecast for the rest of the week... I reckon March is going out like a lion since it came in like a lamb..
I guess that's all for now.. That was my weekend in Short..

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg!

I now am the head hen in charge of 6 lil' americana chicky poo's.. Oh and 2 wood ducks. 
This is my first experience with chicks, I have always wanted one, ever since I was a wee little girl, but alas I never got one.. Until now :). My Cowboy came home with these little bundles of joy.
I researched a bit, and got them some starter scratch and a heat lamp, a little waterer and a metal feeding pan.  and they have been doing well.. Except the ducks are crazy..  they have been making a muck in that little cage, spilling water all over and throwing feed around and they aren't very friendly..  I told them to shape up or I'd put them in the manure pond outside the milking barn... and I know for a FACT there is a snapping turtle in there the size of a pizza. Just sayin'. 
Well they are still causing havoc in my little cage so I had to build them a new house. I am calling this one the Chicky Poo Too!  I'm a chain ;) kinda like Truvie in Steel Magnolias, at the end, where she got the other hair salon... Truvie's West and she was like, omg, I'm a chain!  Haha... SO yeah, Chicky Poo Too.  And that great idea and name came from my best shittin' friend Mel.    I guess a sign is in order.. I'll do that after I cross some other things off my list... Yes I have a ranch list..
This past week has been busy busy did I mention Busy? 
Sunday after taking a 6 hour medical written exam in Spartanburg.. I found my cowboy on the tractor plowing me up a garden!!

That's My Cowboy's Dog Bailey in the picture...  It's a good thing he got my garden tilled up for me, Because all My seedlings are sprouting, 3 different peppers, Tomatoes, and Eggplant.. mmmmhmmmm.


 Monday was a great day, Went to the cow sale, sold our escape artist hereford and bought 2 more cows for the price we sold her for.. so that was a deal.  And I think I need to go into raising goats... There is some money in that. ..  I'll put that on my list.... Oh, one more thing about the Cattle Sale, I got a Jersey Cow, She's supposed to be my milk cow.. But Sunday my cowboy surprised me with two new Jersey Steer babies...


And little miss Babycakes over here stole my little baby Ray from me.. I went out there with his bottle today.. and he wanted nothing to do with it... He has been nursing from her.. which I'm glad, it's a lot more healthier for him to be nursed by real milk instead of the milk replacer.  here is a picture of Ray: 






And Bradly, I named him brad because of his big jaws.. kinda like Brad Pitt ;)






And Here is lil miss babycakes herself..






She's Skinny, but, so is most the cows that are brought to the cattle sale... She'll have some weight on her in no time flat.. I'm feeding her some fancy dairy cow stuff from the mill :)


Which brings me to Tuesday, I built the chicken coop.  But, First a picture of my Doberdork Vegas hiding in the grass.. little did I know.. Him and Maya (killer) were staking out some rabbits... and, I found a dead rabbit..  Maya got it, because she ran away and was chasing something ALL day, poor little thing was exhausted by dark when she finally wondered back home.






On to the chicken coop. First I scouted out where I wanted to put it.. which wound up next to the original chicky poo cafe'.

Then I framed it out.



And by the time I got that done, It was feeding time for the livestock, so off we went to do that.

Then My cowboy LOVES casseroles, so I made a jalapeno chicken casserole.. and let me tell you what.... it was good. It had spinach, jalapenos, chicken, sour cream, crushed up doritos, Mexican 4 cheese blend, and I added green peppers.  He had a big ole smile on his face :)



We ate supper on the front porch.  I have missed doing that all winter.  It's just so beautiful sitting out on the front porch watching the sunset.

So This morning, I put chicken wire on all four sides, so the hawks and turkey buzzards don't get my girls. And here is the finished project, minus the paint..  I still didn't finish painting the other half.. but I just found the paint sprayer yesterday.. so Tomorrow that's on my list.. :)



I know it ain't fancy and stuff.. but, For one person.. I think I did pretty darn good. And believe you me, its hard hanging from the barn nailing things into wood that is 100 years old and hard as a rock, I bent some nails now...  It will look better painted.. So I'll take pictures tomorrow after I'm done.
Today I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck watching our cows eat. And I really just realize how awesome it is to live on a ranch, and how blessed I am for all these animals in my life. I sure do Love them all...


Some of the Girls Eating tonight :)





Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Well I have learned that St. Patty's Day isn't a real holiday down here in South Carolina... But, I still regarded it as one! Ever since I was a little girl, my Mom always made St Patty's day special, and so I have always celebrated it.
Therefore;  I started the day off by making my honey Green eggs and ham ;)
Then while he went to work, I put in a 3lb corned beef with carrots, potatoes, onions and topped with cabbage.  mmmmmmm I love me some corned beef like a fat boy loves cake... but, I set that on low and let it marinate for 9 hours....
 Later that day I got the urge to also make Irish Soda bread...  I love soda bread.. and I had buttermilk on hand.. so it was meant to be..  Plus I was a little stressed and making some bread helps my nerves..
 So I turned this.... into this ->
The crust was awesome.. side note on home made bread...  You never get a crust in the store like home made bread.. its hard and crunchy.. with the smooth textured inside.. its just pretty short of the best thing since sliced bread ;)

 It only seemed right to have a desert. I should have made a key lime pie... and added some extra green food coloring... but I felt like Pecan..  and that picture reminds me of that cast iron muffin pan..  that is an antique.. The tall handsome cowboy bought me that at a yard sale..  it's a really neat, and that present meant a lot to me.  and I'm trying to re-season it.. so I've been keeping it in the oven to bake off some of the years of use and misuse.  Then we had a few friends over, and to my surprise none  of them have ever had a "St. Patty's day dinner" I was thinking.. say whaaaaa? But, anyways This was my first St. Patrick's Day in South Carolina.. and It was wonderfully spent with good food and great friends. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Shooting Season has officially Started

We had us a little practice today... People, their horses, guns, sunshine, gunpowder and country music... All part of a good day...  This was a practice to get some new people involved in the sport.. Well I was nominated to do the demonstration... Poor ol' Maggie.. She hasn't been ridden since..................... January :)
I jumped on her, loaded up my guns, and she was rearing to go. Boy I'll tell you what it felt good to feel her 4 feet pounding the soil below us and the rhythm of her movement and shooting that gun.. I love riding horses... but not necessarily that sport.. I can't say it's the most fun I've had on horseback.. Because the most fun I've had in the western saddle is Ranch Sorting.   Maggie was so excited though, I guess she likes having a job...  I better start riding her more that the weather is nice.   I also think I will start training her with some english discipline.  We are getting a 150'x300' arena built next week, and I can't wait.  I also have a halter broke 4 year old registered appendix, that I am about to start working with.  I need to start doing what I love best and that is hunter/jumper.  There is something about approaching a jump, you give your horse that last bump as you go up in 3 point position and for that single moment your horse leaps up tucks his front legs under him and launches, all 4 of his feet are off the ground you both are weightless in the air and in one fluid motion you are back on the ground headed for the next jump... That right there.. is what gives me chills and what I know how to do best...
Now men that I have encountered that rode jumpers were usually.... not batting for my team..
but, you give me a strong handsome cool glass of water on a wild horse and in a cowboy hat...
I'll keep riding western... I was just lucky enough to find a cowboy that has all the same interests as I do, and we are both working for the same goal.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Baby Biscuit

I picked Biscuit up at a Dairy farm down in the southern part of the state.. about an hour away from our ranch.  He was one of 6 that I came home with.. Biscuit was about a week old, and so Were 4 of them, and two were about 12 hours old.  One of the 12 our old ones didn't make it through the night, I had named him Mayfield, because he had the same markings as the mayfield cow...
Well I know nothing of calves and bottle feeding.. but, I figured it out and every morning around 7:30 - 8:00 I was out there with 5 warm bottles of Nuture Plus milk ready to go.  
Biscuit was the first baby to get sick, and I was out in the barn with him one night, he was laying on the ground, coughing and his ears were drooping and he looked pitiful. I felt so bad I got down on the ground with him and I laid his little head in my lap and I was just petting him and loving on him and telling him please don't get sick and die. And I gave him a little shot of Duramycin and stayed with him a little longer.. Then went back to the house and hoped he was still alive in the morning.
These Dairy cows don't have very good immunities since they don't always get colostrum from their momma's and they don't get fed momma's milk..  they are all pretty much bottle fed.  But they sure are sweet babies to have.
So the next morning I go out there.. and there he was.. standing up sticking his head through the panels waiting for me to feed him.. and Ever since then.. Biscuit has been my little baby... I have had him since he weighed 10lbs or less and now he is about 100lbs and I still go outside every morning and see him, even though he's weaned off the bottle and on free choice calf starter/grower feed. But, he just comes a runnin' to me, and sometimes If I go out there in the afternoons (who am I kidding I'm always out there ) and he's laying down sunning himself, I'll sit down next to him and he'll put his head in my lap and I'll still love on him the way I did that night.  I love my baby Biscuit.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring has almost Sprung!

The weather has finally broke... and there has been nice warm days where i just want to soak up the vitamin d that has depleted through the winter...

I'm not so sure that the danger of frost is over... but, none-the-less I have planted my seeds and started growing my plants indoors so when i plow a spot for my garden, I can plant the started plants, and then the seeds that don't need to be started. But about 10 days ago i planted a bunch of seeds and my Tomatoes have finally come up, I was pretty darn excited.. and yes, they are planted in little dixie cups... they work just as good as those fancy little recycled paper things they sell at lowe's. .. Now i'm just waiting on the peppers, eggplant and a few other veggies...
The springtime also means.. flowers... Ever since I was a little girl, I Have always had a flower garden. My favorite being Iris's, which I planted a few last fall, and I can't wait until they bloom.  I have found daffodils around the farm in random areas, many different types of Clover. 
I haven't planted the flower garden yet, but I'm waiting for the weather to get right, then I'll also make my Herb garden, I have these spots already scouted out. 
and so far I have also planted, blueberry and black berry bushes, Roses and Next week I'm starting work on a Grape Arbor. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ciao Y'all...

My March edition of Southern Living came in the mail... So after about a week of staring at the cover with a strawberry cream cheese swirl pound cake on it... I decided it was high time I made me one..
which is just what I did.. but lordy lordy that recipe called for 3 cups of sugar.. so I baked with splenda..
and boy it was good...
which brings me to my love of baking..  I love, and I mean absolutely LOVE baking and cooking.. if it was all I had to do, I would do it..  at least once a week I make fresh bread.. different kinds, whether it be whole wheat, egg bread, pumpernickel or honey wheat.. I like to mix it up..
Baking is therapeutic... When I was studying for my doctorate and I had big tests.. I baked off my stress.. it relaxes me.. I just enjoy making cookies.  
and especially around Christmas.. Christmas is not Christmas without a cheesecake and Struffoli...
Struffoli I have been making since I was a little girl, every year my grandmother would call and say it was time to make Struffolis.. so I would go up and my grandfather would mix the dough and we'd begin cutting up the little dough balls and grandma would fry them.. then we would make the honey mixture to coat them with... oh they are amazing..
But years have went by and My grandfather has passed away, but I will never forget what it was like to bake with him and my grandmother over the holidays.
this year.. by myself for the first time since my grandpa passed away...I made struffoli.. and introduced this "interesting" treat to a very wonderful southern family... 

Here is a picture from the last time My Grandfather and I made Struffoli



Now don't think the only thing I do is bake.. I make some wonderful real food too.. Like this one dish I call shrimp a la Greek... My Cowboy LOVEs this dish.. Since Shrimp is one of his favorites..
I love Stuffed peppers as well.. mmmmm..

I make all sorts of "fancy" stuff my cowboy never had.. but he don't complain.. and I make a lot of southern stuff too..  He loves Broccoli casserole, so I try to make that a lot, and home made biscuits.. mmmm hmmmmmmmmm we have biscuits and gravy every sunday...

But, all this magic happens in my little country kitchen... that I absolutely love...



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bull Calf

This baby was a surprise.  We bought this cow not as a bred cow, just as a skinny poor looking cow.  we've had her a few weeks. and she's been packing on the weight... and it was a pleasant surprise to see this in the morning.. He's stout looking...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maggie Mae

I'm not braggin' I'm just sayin' we've got some good memories.. From Earl's Ford.... Texas and as even far as South Dakota..