June 25, 2011

A Perfect Day

Today was a very good day to be on the prairie.  I had fresh spinach from my own garden with my breakfast.  I was able to get quite a bit of cleaning done in the house (and it stayed clean).  I made buns from scratch to go with barbequed brisket for lunch.  My kids took at nap at the same time, which allowed me to nap as well.  My mother-in-law worked her tail off in the garden, weeding and tilling and planting new things (celery!) and now it looks so much nicer.  I learned how to use the weed-eater (sort of) and cut lots of weeds.  In the afternoon I was able to mow the lawn in front of the hired man's house, a chore I really enjoy (it helps that we have a riding lawnmower I think).  My kids played with their cousin outdoors, and for the most part they were content.  The weather was gorgeous- sunny, not too hot, and hardly any mosquitos.  Pretty much a perfect day on the prairie. 

June 22, 2011

Sun Tea

A refreshing alternative to ice water is iced tea.  But who wants to heat up the kitchen even a little bit by boiling water?  Instead, use the natural power of the sun!  All you need are a clear glass pitcher or jar with a lid, water, and a couple of iced teabags.  Fill your pitcher or jar with cool water (I even put ice in to fill it up faster).  Then pop the teabags into the water.  My tea directions say to use 8 glasses of water with 2 teabags, but I don't measure.  If the tea comes out too strong, you can dilute it with more water.  Put the lid on the container and set it outside in a sunny spot for several hours.  I like to set it out in the morning and it's ready by lunch.  To serve, fill a cup with ice, then pour the tea over that.  Store it in the fridge. 


You should use a glass container so the BPA from plastic doesn't leach into your tea.  But I used a plastic pitcher, because I don't have a glass container that's big enough.  Shhhh, don't tell my Real Foodie blogging friends...

You really do need a lid for your container so you don't get bugs in your tea.  Unless you think you need the extra protein.

June 19, 2011

How Far I've Come

The first time I visited the ranch, my future in-laws welcomed me by slaughtering a pig.  I was a sheltered suburban girl, and while I wasn't an "animal lover", it bothered me to watch my man kill the pig.  I turned around, shut my eyes, covered my ears, and cried until it was over.  I couldn't even eat eggs at breakfast that day.  I barely got some toast in me.

But at lunch... I ate pork.  I can't remember if it was side pork or pork chops. 

Many people find the idea of killing your own food revolting.  I used to be one of them.  Now that I've lived here awhile though, I believe butchering my own meat has given me a greater respect for the animal I'm eating.  I care about what the animal is eating, and the condition of her health when she is killed, because I don't want to eat a sick animal. 

And of course, I have come to believe in the health benefits of eating the beef we raise.  I know the cow has had minimal, if any, antibiotic.  I know she's eaten lots of grass and hay, has been finished on corn.  I know she hasn't been given synthetic hormones to make her grow bigger, faster.  I know she had a nice life- she has roamed the wide prairie for months and only for the past few weeks has she been confined to the corral.  If I want to, I can watch her die humanely, with a single shot to the head.  I can even kill her myself.  It is a quick and painless death.  I know she doesn't suffer.  I will have the privilege of processing the carcass myself (and it is a privilege to me). 

We've branched out from beef since I've been here.  Now we are raising meat chickens, turkeys, and ducks (for our own consumption, not to sell).  I love seeing the birds run around in the grass eating bugs, just as God intended them to eat.  We got araucuna chickens, and they look great.  I really like their multi-colored feathers.  Amazingly, 11 turkey poults are thriving (I once read that turkey poults are suicides waiting to happen- they are very difficult to raise).  And the ducks are my favorite.  Every morning we herd them out of their "nest" and into the reservoir.  They race through the grass, chirping happily, splashing in every available puddle.  They spend their days swimming in the reservoir.  At night we herd them back inside to keep them safe from predators. 

We are interdependent on these animals.  They would not be alive if we did not care for them.  We would not care for them if we were not going to eat them.  We would not be alive without these animals to eat.

Now, when the time comes, I am able (mentally, emotionally, and physically) to kill them and eat them (although usually not in the same day).  That's one way that I have really changed since moving out here.     

June 10, 2011

Gardening With Baby

We had a cool day after some extreme heat last week.  We jumped at the chance to garden.

There's something for everyone in the garden.

Nice kitty.

 Now let me examine your teeth.

Oooh, there's a paw!

Hee hee!

I'm so funny!

June 7, 2011

Important Safety Message

Please go to Parenting's website and read this article on ways to prevent hot car deaths.  According to the article, some 30 children die every year in hot cars, usually because the driver forgets the child is in the car.  Here are some ways to prevent tragedy, from the article:

- put a stuffed animal in your child's carseat, and move it to the front seat when your child is in his carseat

- put your briefcase or purse in the backseat

- have your daycare provider call you if your child is not dropped off promptly

- there are alarms you can purchase that will go off if you leave a child in his carseat; for more information on where to purchase these, please refer to the end of the article

Also, please be aware that cars can heat up very quickly, even on relatively cool days.  A child can die in 15 minutes when it's 75 degrees out, depending on what the child is wearing and when he last drank soemething.  And you can't depend on a cracked window to keep it cool either, contrary to popular belief.

Please take a few minutes to read this article.  It could save a life.

June 5, 2011

Water Baby

Almost as soon as the Great Flood of 2011 happened, it was over.  Now we are officially into summer!  We bought a $20 blow-up pool and tried it out for the first time today.  It met with approval.

I love summer!!!

June 2, 2011

Honey Fruit Salad

If you are looking for the world's easiest side dish to take to summer barbeques, look no further!  My grandmother used to slice up strawberries and toss them with honey for a simple side or dessert.  This weekend I had some berries staring at me from the fridge and I remembered her way of dressing up fresh fruit.

Honey Fruit Salad

1 tsp melted honey
1 cup summer fruit (mixed berries, strawberries, peaches)

Combine honey and fruit.  Serve.