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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Full Bull Story

This actually happened on Sept 1st.  I started this on Sept 2nd, but have had in draft since then.  LOL  In the intervening time I have forgotten quite a few details....maybe on purpose!  Haha

To begin with let me just say that  in the almost-13 years I have been on the dairy,  I have had minimal trouble with any of our bulls, and have only been in dangerous situations a couple of times.  All of those times were up the road in the heifer/bull pasture where we take the open heifers to be bred for the first time, and Gary was always with me.

 (Hi! I'm Ellen :P ) (Um, this is what happens when you walk away from your blog for a moment.)

Yesterday however I was on my own.

Last year I went into the heifer/bull without hesitation as the bull was quite docile, minded his manners, and stayed with his ladies.  We were in and out of the multiple times from Nov through Feb; feeding, getting calves and cows...etc.  He didn't make a moo about it.

All summer however I had been going in the side "keyhole" access gate that goes directly into the corral, instead of taking the 4-wheeler through the big gate into the pasture.

Then yesterday I had to catch him because unfortunately his number was up to be culled.  So I thought, erroneously, that it'd be easier to catch him by going inside the enclosure, so I could nip out the gate after I closed it behind them.

Didn't work.

Soon as I went in to the pasture he saw me and came after me, chased me around a bit, with me screaming.  AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Then I threw a bucket at him which distracted him a bit until I got to the corral.  Then I grabbed the bucket of feed, tossed that toward him (as well as I could with 30 lbs of feed in it) and got to the corral.

He displayed a bit, moaned and groaned at me a bit, but I chased him away from the bucket, got the feed, or what was left, into the bunks and got him caught.

It was rather hair-raising.  He wasn't actually attacking me, per se, he was just excited about getting his breakfast.  But when an animal weighing almost a ton gets excited and shows that excitement by butting at you or your 4-wheeler, things can get out of control.    He could easily have flipped the 4-wheeler.

At any rate.  He's hamburger now and I am still around, undamaged.  So all is well.

(Thankful: thankful that God is good!  I am still alive.  Life is good!)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Here I am again


I am trying to get back into the groove here of blogging.  But I am failing abominably at it.  Nothing for it but to get back up and write about anything that comes to mind.  Here's what's happening on the dairy now.

Last Saturday I started "The Whole30" plan.  It's not really a "diet" as you'd think a diet should be.  It's more of a lifestyle change really.

There are no calories to count.
No points to keep track of.
No portions to weigh.
Just lots and lots of whole, delicious foods to eat.

A friend asked if my food was boring.  No, not really.  I am, or was, a boring eater anyway.  Though I do like the varied spices in Indian foods, and try to imitate their cuisine when I can.  I am attempting to be a bit more creative with making my meals compliant to the program.  We are supposed to go easy on the fruit, but I am probably pushing that rule to the limit.   

Here's what the basic rules consist of:

For 30 days thou shalt not consume:

Wheat, in any form
Soy, in any form.
Legumes in any form, including green peas and peanuts or peanut butter
No dairy in any form
No sweeteners of any make or model in anything
No additives like MSG, modified corn starches...etc.  They have a list.
Nothing that has any of the above as an ingredient in any amount.

If you mess up; even a lick of a spoon or a stick of gum, you start all over.

Thou shalt consume:


Easy peasy!

You do this for 30 days.  Today is day 8 for me.  I feel pretty good.  I can honestly say I don't really have any cravings for sugar or sweets now.  Today I made a batch of apple butter.  I didn't even lick the spoon.  I let Ellen taste it, she said it was good, so I took her word for it.

What I do really miss, and this sort of surprises me, is gum.  Usually I have a piece after a meal, so it's more habit than anything else.

Several people have asked "Why?"


Until I started this program I would go to bed at night berating myself for my poor food choices during the day.  I would wake up determined to do better and then fall off the wagon again.  Since Ellen was about a year old I have gained so much weight and seem to have little energy.  And no matter how I tried I just couldn't break the sweet tooth habit. I would make small efforts that would last a day or even maybe a week, and then I'd give in to the cravings and start gaining weight again.  A never-ending cycle.

It was awful.

I had come to the realization that I needed to take a drastic step.  The old cliche about the definition of insanity has a grain of truth in it; you can't expect different results if you are doing the same stupid thing over and over and over and over.

So I took a drastic step.  I am glad I did.  I sleep better at night; not only because by body is no longer trying to come down off of a sugar high, but also because I no longer feel emotionally drained by mentally flogging myself for my poor food choices.  I wake up in the morning knowing that I can eat as much as I want of wholesome foods.

Knowing without a doubt what I can and cannot have to eat really made things easy.  And for me it's kind of a fun challenge to come up with menu items for ME that the fam will eat too.  Really it's not that difficult.  A chunk of meat, some peeled veggies, salt, pepper, garlic...another spice or two: chuck it in the crock pot.  Voila! 

Tomorrow I am going to make sweet potato chili.  We shall see how that will go over.


(Thankful.  I am thankful for that scripture: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.  Several people6 have commented that they couldn't live without cream in their coffee, or some such.  But I have a promise from God to sustain me.)

(Ellen added the number above, the one that's out of place.  See if you can find it!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two Questions

Recently...well...a month or two ago...two people asked me two different questions:

"Do you do what you do in the garden because you enjoy it or because you are expected to do it?"

"What keeps you motivated?"

One question came via a phone conversation and one by Facebook, within the space of a week or so.

I have been pondering these questions since and I believe the answers are almost the one and the same.

To me gardening is, in many ways, magic.  God's magic as it were.  It is the old, old story of death and rebirth.  The circle of life. The sort of magic that never gets old, that never ceases to thrill. 

How miraculous is it that you can take teensy little dead things like this...


plant them and get a plant that grows taller than you are and produces, under ideal circumstances of course, pounds and pounds of fruit like this?


I love to watch the little green beans sprout and unfold their initial umbrella leaves.

 The sweet potatoes fascinate me as well.  Just plant a little slip like this:


and then you can get several pounds of these.


What could be a better motivator than this?  I dunno.  But in the dead of winter when the temps are hovering around ten degrees I love to pop open a quart jar of green beans and heat them up for supper.  For dessert it's fun to roll out a couple of sheets of pie crust, pop open a jar of apple pie filling or blueberry pie filling and slop it into the crust, cover and bake.  Super easy.

In the freezer are stacked bags of corn, ready to be taken out, cooked and enjoyed: the taste of summer in mid-January.

Or a jar of homemade salsa to go with some tortilla chips.  That is another taste of summer in a jar.

The list could go on, but I guess this is enough to give an idea of my motivations for gardening and also to answer whether I do it because I like it or because it's expected of me.

Of course okra and cabbage fall under a different category.  I grow them because Gary likes them and I need a variety of things to feed him.  But I wouldn't be inspired of my own self to grow them for me.  If that makes any sense.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Learning Life Skills

It needs to be said now at the beginning here; I am not and likely never will be much of a homemaker.  It's a fact.  But I have a daughter; therefore I needs must teach her SOME life skills of homemaking and sitch.  This summer I have been attempting to do that. 

We are transitioning her laundry into her responsibility.  I still help a bit, but she does most of it.

This morning I had her put it in the washer and then we went down to visit my mom.  (Who is doing quite well, BTW, though it's routine that she forgets to take her meds.  Which story is for another blog post perhaps.)

My mom, after a bit of chitchat, inquired about our activities for the day.  I told her we'd harvested our onions, weeded in the garden a bit, and played with the dog.  But we needed to go home so Ellen could hang out her laundry.

My mom was puzzled: "Ellen needs to hang out HER laundry?"

"Yes." I said.  "She's learning how to do her own laundry."

Mom:  "Why does she have to do her own laundry?  I always just did your laundry and all of it all together."

Me: "Yes, I know, Mom.  That's why I reached age 20 and had no clue how to do my own laundry.  This is not happening with my child."


Ellen giggled and my mom laughed.  As she does at every thing, serious or not.     
I distinctly remember one morning, way back when, when Mom was at work, I had the morning off from college classes and I thought I'd do some laundry.  I was quite proud of myself for figuring out the washing machine and getting a load done.  I remember being a bit crushed at my mom's rather irritated comment as to how I could have been doing it all along.  Ha!  True enough.  But I was never forced to learn how and was never given regular chores to accomplish.

I had an ideal childhood.  True, I did plenty of outside choring around; cutting kindling and hauling wood was a year round job. I remember working hours in the garden, weeding, hand-plowing, harvesting, shucking corn, picking peas by the wheelbarrow load, shelling them, trapping gophers...  But as far as day to day chores; laundry, housecleaning...I had little to no part of it.  And very little got done.  I am not trying to pick on my mom here, or criticize her parenting, but I do want to make sure that Ellen grows up knowing how to do the things that I had to struggle to learn on my own...and am still struggling with this day to a certain respect. 

I am not going to overload Ellen with responsibilities, but as she masters one chore or skill I am going to add another.  She's going to know how to cook when she gets into her teens, how to do laundry, run a vacuum cleaner...etc. 

I have very little self-discipline of my own, so trying to teach my daughter is a challenge for me, but I am persevering at it.  

Thanks:  I am thankful for a daughter who realizes that she needs to learn how to take care of herself, even though she does protest at times.  I am thankful that I am aware enough of that need to force myself to teach her, even though I have to endure her occasional prolonged protests.  I am thankful that I can spend the time with her teaching her these things instead of someone else teaching her.  I am thankful that my mom can laugh at the past even when I make snarky remarks.  I am thankful that my mom didn't catch my snarky remark.  I am thankful for the wonderful onion harvest that we got today. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ellen's "Times"

In various books that we have read together the children in the story have written their own newspapers.  Ellen wanted to follow suit, thus here is her newspaper, spelling errors and all. 

May 29, 2016  By Ellen

Memorial Day
Tomorrow, as we all know, is Memorial Day!  It is a day to remember all of the Vetrans.  Lots of people celebrate with barbecues and such.

Fashion Trends
The most popular fashion Items are swimsuits.  Of corse they will be, well because its summer, and it's also time for swimming.  Popular patterns are usually cheveron and Polka dots.
   Boy fashion: Plaid shirts and Nike/Under Armour are very popular

Hard Times
As we most all likely know, the Beloved Long Lane Elem. has closed. ):  My Long Lane friends and I are trying and have secksessfully ajusted to the new school.  How did we do it?  Easy.  4 cups of faith and one of friendship.

5 Questions ansewerd

Today unknown has ansewerd 5 questions to the book The Dragon's Whim, By Pamela Dean.  Here are the questions:

What is this book about?  Five children in an imaginary land.
Who are the characters? Ted, Ruth, Patrick, Ellen and Laura
What is the setting?  The Hidden Land
Why do you like this book?  It's fun
What about this book do you like?  The literary style

Bluebirds day
Today a local blue bird nest's eggs FINALLY hatched!  There are five baby blue birds in the nest.

From the author
Dear Reader; Thank you for reading this.  If you love it don't throw it away.  I did it, exept for the front, by hand..  Ellen

Thank you for inspiring me to do this.

I guess we don't need one.