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Monday, December 26, 2011

This Morning's Adventure

The past week or so there has been a heifer up the road who was nearing her calving time. Yesterday she'd been off by herself, but nothing happened all day. Then this morning when I went to feed them I went in to check on her.

She was lying down, with the hooves and the nose of a calf sticking out of her rear. I took one look at the calf and thought; "It's all over for that one." Its tongue was hanging out of its mouth and it just didn't look good. I whacked on the cow but she didn't move; just laid there with her chin in the mud.

I was going to head back to get hubby, but then I saw something.

The calf's chin twitched. I thought I was seeing things. I chucked it a bit and sure enough, it moved again.

I whacked on the cow again, but still she would not move. I thought maybe I could herd her to the corral, but no dice.

So I ran back to the 4-wheeler, got hubby's nice new rope, put it around one of the calf's ankles, dug in my heels and started hauling away.

Nothing happened.

I took a fresh grip and leaned back into it.

The calf moved a fraction of a millimeter.

The cow looked around.

I kept pulling for all I was worth, and hollered at the cow. The calf moved a tiny bit more.

The cow decided things weren't so bleak and started to shove too!

YAY!

The cow gave a big groan, and shoved even more.

We had more movement. I hollered at the cow again.

She shoved some more and...

Finally the whole head of the calf popped out!

We paused a moment and then pulled and shoved respectively until the chest came out.

By this time we had an audience of about 10 other heifers in a half-circle behind us.

I hauled again and out slipped a nice heifer calf, steaming in the 30 some degree morning air. I heard the calf take a wheezing breath, so I whacked on her a bit, and turned her upright. It was just a second or two before she had her head up and was looking around.

I looked behind me and the rest of the heifers were there, along with the belligerent bull. So I made sure the cow knew the calf was there and skedaddled. I was worried about the cow not being able to get up, but she did later.

BUT...

Hubby went up there after awhile to bring them in and the cow had just taken off and left the calf, so hubby brought it in and cleaned it up and now I am thawing colostrum for it. Other than that she's doing OK.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Confessions of a Christmas Tree Grinch

My husband has all but accused me of being the above when it comes to Christmas trees. Here, in my own words, is my story:

One of my favorite Christmas pastimes as a kid was going to get the tree. Depending on weather conditions and time we would either get one from the National Forest Service land a mile or two from our place, or we’d pack up and go for a long drive into the mountains.

We lived in the Pacific Northwest, on the rugged North Coast of Humboldt County. Dad would pack up the old Ford truck, a couple of us kids would pile in and off we would go, further inland, higher up into the wild. Up, up we would go until we’d break through the coastal fog layer into the sun, the fog a roiling gray sea below. And still up we would go. Eventually we’d get to Willow Creek, a town whose fame has something to do with the Bigfoot legend. I remember every year we’d see the town’s life-sized wooden statue of the furry creature, and we’d speculate on the possibility of seeing him for real that particular year. In Willow Creek there’d be a quick stop at the Forest Service office to purchase a permit to cut trees and wood, then on we would go, switching back and forth across the mountains, watching the ravines yawn deeper below us as we went.

We would drive off onto logging roads until we found a likely-looking spot. Out we would clamber and begin looking for trees. Often times others had been there before and we would find various trees already cut and abandoned. Sometimes we’d take a couple of those along with our own special tree. We’d “plant” those extras out in the front yard and decorate them as well.

I remember as a child the magic of being up in the mountains, above the world it seemed. Sometimes it was super cold, with a dusting of snow. We would walk around and Dad would show us the scratches of a bear on a tree, the hollow in the weeds where a deer had slept, often still warm from its body. The silence there was awe-inspiring, broken only by a coyote’s yip or a distant chainsaw’s rip. We would eat a bit of lunch and then head back down home.

Now that my father has been gone for many years, those memories seem so fragile and remind me how fleeting life is, and of the elusive magic of childhood.

In my early 20s I left Humboldt and forged a life in a city far north; Portland, Oregon. In the city there were no magical drives to the mountains to get a tree; one just paid an unromantic price at the nearest store and voila; a Christmas tree, either real or fake. No mythical monsters or elusive wildlife; how plebian. In the 12 years I lived there, not once did I have a Christmas tree of my own. I enjoyed them vicariously through family and friends and that was good. But somehow in that time the magic of Christmas trees wore off. My mom, I believe, sent me a few ornaments, and I would put them up, but not on a tree.

Now I have been married for 7 years, and though I am back in the country, I am in hardwood country, not coniferous country. There’s a large difference; no tall mountains…etc. I can’t recall whether my husband and I had a tree my first Christmas here or not. I was so stressed trying to deal with the newness of life in Missouri and the pain of being so far from family that I don’t really think I cared one way or the other. The other years, saving the one when I was seven months pregnant and hubby actually DID go along to cut down a Charlie Brown tree for us, I have had to venture out myself and hack down an invasive cedar with the very dull blade hubby directed me to use.

Two years ago I went and got a tree with the 4-wheeler. Year before that I just hacked the top out of a tree from across the road. Then; last year I had the idea that I would begin giving my 3 year old daughter Christmas memories.

I loaded the ’99 Ford up, bundled Ellen in a warm coat, heaved her protesting little highness into the truck and went all of ¾ mile up the road to the dry cow pen. We bumped across the pasture along the fencerow until a fine specimen of a cedar struck my eye.

Ellen refused to get out of the truck. So during the half hour while I attempted to avoid a cow pie or two, hacked ineffectively with my dull saw, crawled back and forth under a barbed-wire fence, and fought to the blood with the thorn bush that was also claiming the cedar, Ellen hollered out the truck window at the top of her lungs; “I AM COLD! I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE HOUSE! MOM, LET’S GO HOME! I AM COLD!”

When we got back, finally, hubby was there to help with the tree. He used the saw to try to level the end off. After two scrapes across it he says; “I can’t cut anything with this dull thing, let me go get a better saw!” I got a bit grinchy at this point.. This is the saw he’d sent me out to get a tree with for the past 5 years! Hrmph! I let him know.

This year things were different. Ellen was excited to go get a tree, she got out of the truck and gave lots of helpful advice whilst I was avoiding cow pies and crawling back and forth under the barbed-wire fence...etc. I had a sharp saw, too. (Thank you, hubby.) So the invasive cedar fell much faster. Ellen helped put the decorations on; the ones we both love: the half-peeled banana, the PB&J sandwich, the candy canes, the ice-cream sundae, the kitty angels, the snowmen bells. And even the ancient ones my mom had; the little stuffed cloth elves that came on dish detergent bottles back in the 50s or 60s. Ellen was enchanted with all of them. I love to watch her joy.

However….in my book; once Christmas dinner is over, Christmas is over. The magic is gone and the mess is left. So for the past 6 years, while hubby is out doing chores and milking cows, I take down the tree. He has accused me of shoving the dinner guests out the door with the tree, but I am not THAT grinchy. I wait ‘til they are in their own driveway at least. Ha ha.

This year I even took a nap before I started dismantling the tree, so it was about 5 PM when the invasive cedar hit the yard. I am improving. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Here's hoping...



For those of you who aren't connected on Facebook. Here is the picture I WAS going to use as one of those photo Christmas cards to send out.

Just imagine it with the caption underneath; "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Off and on all summer Ellen would drag this snowman kit out and try it on for size. She'd ask; "When is it going to snow?" "Argh," I'd say. "Don't rush things."

We did get a dusting of snow last week, but it was too dry and powdery to make any kind of snowman, even a teeny one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lo Hicimos!

YAY! NaBloPoMo 2011! We did it! I DID IT! Ha Ha!!!

If you have children who watch Dora the Explorer, you will recognize the above title as a phrase she sings at the end of each show. After they have completed their mission the characters all dance around and sing "We did it! We did it! Lo hicimos!"

This time it went by faster and easier than last year. Maybe I am just getting better at it.

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In dairy news.

On Monday, as I blogged, we got rid of one bull. Now we need to get rid of the other AND find 2 new young bulls. Hubby called one Holstein bull breeder, but he didn't have any at the moment.

Hmmmmm....

Tomorrow we are going to take about 7 of our "extra" young, open heifers down to the Norwood Special Cow Auction. I think this is located somewhere past Mansfield. Hubby will drive the truck and trailer. Ellen and I will ride in the "chase car" in case hubby has a breakdown. We always carry our walkie talkies with us.

Yesterday Ellen and I made some sugar cookies. This is the first time in my adult life I can remember making sugar cookies. They turned out pretty well. Today we decorated them.

Today I also made the layers for a checkerboard cake. I am going to put it together on Saturday morning, I think, for our church dinner on Sunday afternoon.

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Well, I shall try to keep blogging regularly. We shall see.

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cleaning Out My Recipes...etc

First: Dairy news. Today hubby is busy transporting critters from Long Lane over here to their winter quarters. This means that I will have to get up earlier in the AM to have time to feed them; TWO trips up the road on the four-wheeler in sub-freezing temperatures. Fun stuff.
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My Recipe Box For some strange reason it came to my attention that perhaps maybe I ought to go through my little recipe box. It’s not like I can’t find the recipe I need in here, because I know the general area where I keep the recipes I use the most. Some of them WERE repeats because I’d lost the original recipe in here and then looked on the internet for another copy of it; I didn’t include the repeats in my list. Some of these are recipes I have never tried before, though I have had them for years and years. Some of them are recipes I have tried once and will likely never try again. Some of them really sounded good at the time I read them, and some of them sounded do-able and maybe like I OUGHT to try them at some future point in time, but I never have.

Ellen helped me by taking a recipe out of the box and handing it to me; I’d write it down and then hand back to her to put into the pile.

Here we go:

1. Zucchini Pie
2. Checkerboard Cake
3. Pineapple Upside Down Cake
4. Rosemary Roasted Chicken w/ Potatoes
5. Award-winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
6. Reuben Roll-ups
7. Zucchini Carrot Cake
8. Chocolate Candy Bar Cake
9. 30 Minute Rolls
10. Chocolate Pumpkin Yummy
11. Colorful Chicken Casserole
12. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Garlic Cheese Biscuits
13. Dixie Stampede Cream of Vegetable Soup-Authentic
14. Sweet Potato Sausage Casserole
15. Moist Banana Bread
16. Parmesan-Pork Zucchini Boats
17. Italian Cream Cake
18. Butter Corn Sticks
19. Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams
20. Best Zucchini Bars
21. Asian Sesame Salmon
22. Chicken Tikka Masala
23. Ham and Cheese Pizzas
24. Peanut Chicken Stir-fry
25. Chocolaty Rocky Road Brownies
26. Chocolate Oatmeal Cake
27. Oatmeal Cake
28. Chocolate Macaroons
29. Maple Pecan Pie
30. Butterscotch Brownies
31. Moroccan Chicken Stew
32. Mock Chicken Salad Sandwich Spread
33. Smashed Chickpea Salad
34. Balsamic Chicken
35. Raspberry Coconut Bars
36. Marinated Venison Steaks
37. Irish Soda Bread
38. Apple Cake
39. Milk Chocolate Frosting #1
40. Milk Chocolate Frosting #2
41. Sweet and Sour Sauce #1
42. Sweet and Sour Sauce #2
43. African Sweet Potato Stew w/ Red Beans
44. Peanut Chicken Stir Fry
45. Zucchini Brownies
46. Wax Bean Soup #1
47. Walnut Blitz Torte
48. Coconut Cream Meringue
49. Fudge Ribbon Cake
50. Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake
51. Roasted Veggies
52. Italian Sausage Calzone
53. Peppermint and Chocolate Bars
54. Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling
55. Teriyaki Glazed Chicken
56. Chicken-Artichoke Pizza
57. Maple Sweet Potatoes, Chicken and Mixed Veggies
58. Cheese
59. Chocolate Surprise Cookies
60. Peach Sauce
61. Layered Salad with Walnuts
62. Easy Boston Cream Cake
63. Beef Vegetable Soup
64. Peppermint Meltaways
65. Oven-fried Drumsticks
66. Sweet Potato-Pecan Upside down Cake
67. Texas Potato Wedges
68. Eileen’s Spicy Gingerbread Men
69. Sweet Potato Pineapple Bake
70. Chicken Pizza
71. Basic Buttermilk Cake
72. PB&J Cupcakes
73. Cake-to-go with Caramel Glaze
74. Beans and Franks Bake
75. Lemon Divine
76. Zucchini Casserole #1
77. One-rise Cinnamon Rolls
78. Rhubarb, Berry Cheesecake Pie
79. Maple-Glazed Carrots
80. Chocolate Chip Pancakes
81. Black Forest Cheesecake
82. Sweet Potato Quick bread
83. Sausage n’ Sauerkraut
84. Effortless Egg Rolls
85. Lemon Fudge
86. Baked Cherry Pudding
87. Rollout Cookies
88. Butter-Pecan Rum Cake
89. Hamburger Subs
90. Berry Cobbler
91. Easy Orange-Chocolate Fudge
92. German Chocolate Cake
93. Stuffed Sourdough Sandwiches
94. Salmon Burgers
95. Fresh Blueberry Pie
96. Sausage Spinach Bake
97. Pea Salad
98. Polka-Dot Macaroons
99. Sour Cream Salmon Loa
100. Pumpkin Chip Drops
101. Pumpkin Pie
102. Perfect Pumpkin Pie
103. Zucchini Casserole #2
104. Cucumber Pickles
105. Pasta Salads x4
106. Baked Beans
107. Wax Bean Soup #2
108. Freezer Dills
109. Ricotta Cheese…homemade
110. Sourdough Starter
111. Extra Chewy Granola Bars
112. Powdered Laundry Detergent
113. Japanese Fruit Pie
114. Zucchini Bread with Streusel Topping
115. Crispy Pickles
116. Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
117. White Bread
118. Wilted lettuce Dressing
119. Pork Steak with Potatoes
120. Holstein Crinkles
121. Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping
122. Caramel-Apple Pie
123. Chocolate Chunk Cookies
124. Awesome Pepperoni Pizza
125. Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry
126. Pickled Beets –Elna’s recipe
127. Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits
128. Garlic Dill Pickles
129. Pickled Beets –Amish Recipe
130. Apple-Brandy Carrot Cake
131. Sweet Potato Pie Cookies
132. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


As I glance through them I see definite trends; desserts, pizzas, and sweet potato recipes. They say that the average housewife has maybe 10 or so meals that she fixes and just rotates around. I guess I am a bit above average, but I do tend to stick with themes.

Most of the dishes I prepare frequently you will not find on this list simply because either I don’t follow a recipe to fix them, or because they are in one of my many cookbooks. Fried chicken; now who needs a recipe to cook fried chicken; or the mashed taters and Cole slaw that go along with them? I USED to, but not any more.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gotcha!

.

In the roughly local area, there are three sale barns; one in Urbana on Mondays, one in Lebanon on Thursdays and one in Buffalo on Saturdays.

So, we had kind of a Russian Roulette for Mr Bull, to see if he'd actually come into the corral with the milking herd on one of those particular days of the week, AND if hubby had the time on THAT particular sale barn day to take him.

Today was IT! He came into corral by accident...too long of a story to relate. However, even in the trailer he was posturing and trying to act tough.

So we went to Urbana today.

We can tell Ellen is a true country girl. She wanted to go in and watch the sale in progress. She sat there and observed intently; and then waved her little arms around like she was buying or selling. Fortunately they were patient with little ones, so they didn't make us buy any of the beef stuff she must have bid on. ha ha.

Someday I'd really like to be there when they bring in one of our bulls to sell. But they only sell the dairy stuff last (after all the beef stuff) and they save the dairy bulls for the last of the last, I believe. We couldn't stay that late. But they did auction off this fairly large Brahma bull. He made up for it. He sure put the attendants into their little protected corners in a hurry. He had horns and was shaking his head at them.

They did auction off a couple culled dairy stuff. On the way home we were pondering; going to the sale barn really makes us appreciate how nice-looking our animals are; sleek, fat and sassy.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Aroma Therapy?

OK. So it has been a long month. But when I saw this I thought it was hilarious. (I think Donna posted it on Facebook. Thank you Donna.)

They say that your sense of humor can be very revealing about your personality.

Heh.

I wonder what this reveals about me?

No, don't say anything.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Blustery Day

It has been a blustery day here in Missouri. Wet, too. I am just praying that it doesn't snow before it's over. The temps are supposed to drop for the next few days.

Ellen is snoozing away. I need to wake her up, she won't sleep tonight already.

Today I will just leave you some good words of wisdom:

"These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

No matter what may be happening in your life at the moment; HE has overcome it. Trust in Him.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 25

Here I am on Day 25 of NaBloPoMo. I think, as long as my internet connection holds out, that I will make it yet again this year.

They ought to rename Black Friday. Wasn't it last year or the year before that shoppers trampled the employee who unlocked the doors at a Wal-Mart? Now this year some woman goes in pepper-spraying folks. I hope they catch her.

They ought to call this day something along the lines of Let's See Who We Can Kill or Maim Just So We Can Buy More China Junk Day.

Is "stuff" really that important to us as a society? I guess it is. That's why these storage rental places keep popping up all over. I remember one of my co-workers in Portland saying that she had a storage rental place full of stuff. And a house full of stuff too.

And I am not immune. Here we just got our second storage shed. I am all for donating or yardsale-ing all the stuff we don't use any more. But not the hubby. He is all for keeping it in case of emergencies; like if we were to have a fire or something. There is a certain logic in that. But if, Heaven Forbid, that were to happen all of our friends, family and neighbors would pitch and help us out.

Probably from the stuff they have in THEIR storage sheds....

Well, OK. We will keep SOME stuff in storage. In case of an emergency; ours or our neighbor's.

*sigh*

LOL

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

On this Thanksgiving day, the disappearing holiday, I am thankful for all the good things in life; family, food, health, salvation; not necessarily in that order. If you do not know one or any of these things then you are in my prayers.

H3 had a nice big bull calf this morning to show me. He was up and doing well. I am glad she didn't have twins. This one we can sell for a fair price, I believe.

Ellen is happily playing, hubby is taking a well-deserved rest while I am blogging.

I hope everyone has had a nice Turkey Day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pointless Pursuits

Today Ellen was watching a Charlie Brown show trailer, sneak peek, whatever you want to call it. I remember how as a kid I would get so mad at the snotty "little red-haired girl" that Charlie Brown would vainly pursue. Why couldn't she at least give him the time of day, send him a Christmas card, or whatever?

Then I would get so annoyed with Peppermint Patty and HER relentless pursuit of Charlie Brown.

According to Wikipedia the little Red-haired girl was based on a real character in Schulz's life, someone named Donna. Read about it here.

But I was thinking today that this teaches us, as Charles Schulz no doubt intended, two separate lessons.

First. The LRHG remains, in the comic strip, unseen and unnamed, and she causes Charlie Brown many sad moments...in which he pines for what is unattainable, ephemeral. But here following behind him in an equally vain pursuit, is Peppermint Patty. She is unabashed in her devotion to Charlie Brown.

How often do we vainly set our sights on something we believe to be IT? How many tears do we cry over what we can't attain? How much heartache do we force ourselves to endure over what wasn't meant to be?

And yet, right behind us, chasing us down, is what we are really looking for. True love.

Second. In Peppermint Patty's case. Here she is chasing something someone who KNOWS how she feels, who rejects her again and again, and yet she continues wasting time on him. C'mon girlfriend. Get a life! Leave him be. If he won't get a clue, if he keeps slapping you down, wipe the dust off your feet and find someone who appreciates you.

It's equally as vain to keep bloodying your head on a brick wall.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Short and Sweet

There is something sexy about a man wearing shades and operating a chainsaw.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A List of Random Thoughts on Bulls

1) The bull with the dairy herd is starting to get worse as far as temperament is concerned. Nasty, in fact. He won't herd at all. Like, if hubby wants him to get out of the way or to go with the cows, Mr Bull will just stand there, paw, huff and kink his neck. It's super scary. Twice a day I always am on pins and needles when hubby does the round up. He, hubby, is hoping Bull will follow a cow in heat into the corral, then it will be a trip to the sale barn.

2) The bull up the road that I have to feed every morning isn't quite as aggressive yet. I am always super cautious when he comes into the corral while I am dumping their grain, but he always goes to the other side of the feedbunk and starts eating. I skedaddle as soon as I can.

3) I like watching him-the bull up the road-when he is walking to the corral. There is a certain fascination in watching a dangerous animal; the muscles sliding under his skin as he walks, his big head swaying back and forth. He's huge; close to a ton, all muscle and bone and blood. His neck is like a tree trunk. And he just ambles along, but I know when he's fightin' red-hot mad, blood-in-his-eye mad; he can get the lead out and lay tracks.

4) One time we clocked a bull on the other side of the fence chasing the trailer as we drove up the road. (He hated the sound of the trailer and would chase it-most bulls do and would) He ran 20+ MPH for a couple hundred yards I believe.

5) "They" (they being the professionals)say that dairy bulls are so mean because of the way they are raised; kept by themselves and all. Heh. I dunno about that.

Just a month ago we had a little bull calf who tried to take my knees out. He was only maybe 36 hrs old and we had him in a corral. I went in to give him a bottle for the first time; the little buggar lowered his head, let out a MMMMMAAAAAAHHHHH and went for my knees. Do you know how hard it is to fend off a 90lb or so calf while trying to hold a bottle and get said bottle into its mouth?

You ought to try it sometime. Fun stuff.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter's coming...

Flocks of geese are honking their way south. If you live down south you will soon be seeing them; hanging out in the golf courses and ball parks.

So far we have missed out on super cold weather and snow. It has been down in the 20s one night, but that's it so far. We haven't had to worry about getting in too much wood so far. But it's coming.

I don't look forward to winter, but I AM glad the bugs are gone for awhile. This past summer I have had 2 grasshoppers up my pants leg, a spider down my shirt and a walking stick on the back of my head. ICK!

I can do without bugs.

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Ellen wanted to do some blogging too. Here's her contribution:

rjfigjgfngufngvhgyrftghgrfygrfhhgvhgrhghjhjyhjvhjjh1fgflgkfdglf;ghlfhflg.df,gvd,g;cgvpcclflvdg,lglvclgvkgfgjigkkglglg;;g;gfgckg,gjggbfgbvhbhbncv;c'gvcv2folopfld.l;gkdmfjdkgfgfvfdohvjnyinhcjngbvkyhbjjuhjhjgkuhj,jhky6gvknhoiuyrfkhmvkhgfjfbjgutvyhthgkhjbggfnhbgjjbvnhbjgjnbjujbjbjhjghnuh ,tgrfjvgtrjmgddkrfglbgvfgklcgrflfdkvglgfb;f;hbclfb;b;gfg;vgfglhhhh/hh;kfvmkdjkvmdfjvcmkvjkkmoo

Ellen says she's forgotten what she blogged about but that it's not very good at all.

But please notice she attempted to stick with the dairy theme; check out her last word. haha...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Leaves...

Where I grew up in the Pacific North West, mostly all we had were Douglas Fir trees and Alder. And some spruce and hemlock, I guess. Only the alder would shed leaves, only the alder even HAD leaves, aside from the fruit trees. But somehow one doesn't get many leaves from apples trees...even if there are some 30 of them scattered around the place.

At any rate it wasn't until I was in my teens that I ever heard of anyone burning leaves and I was completely bewildered as to why anyone would want to or need to do such a thing.

Here in Missouri I now comprehend all too well. This picture is a case in point.

Ellen loves to play in them after I get them all piled up like this. It was much too windy to do any burning today. But I don't really like burning them anyway. It makes a nasty dead spot on the lawn for a long time. We have started just mowing them. It seems to work just as well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

At the Dixie Stampede


Here is a less-than-stellar photo of Ellen at the Dixie Stampede last weekend. The lighting was really poor, but I got this shot of her with "Sam" the horse in the background. Before the shows they have all of the horses stabled outside where you can walk around and read a little blurb about them right under their names, which are posted in the back of the stall; you can see it just over "Sam's" back.

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I know this blog's title would lead you to believe that I blog about our dairy; but lately I seem to have been blogging mostly about Ellen.

I apologize. You see, there's just not much going on with the dairy;
Feed calves, put out hay, milk cows...and more of the same.

We do have one cow up the road who is soon to calve. H3 has a history of pushing out twins on a regular basis. In the 7 years I have been here she has had at least 3 sets of twins, I believe. Two sets of both heifers. By how wide she looks now I'd almost hazard a bet that she might have another set of twins, but we shall see. Maybe I ought to get a picture of her. Poor girl.

Oh, funny thing. Yesterday when I went up to feed the dry cows (of which H3 is one) they all got excited and did quite a bit of shoving and pushing. H3 happened to get in the wrong place at the wrong time and KA-BOOM, she got shoved over into the feed bunk, on her side, with her legs sticking out horizontally. She flopped around a bit and then got up to where her front knees were on the side of the bunk. (Another one of those, "Oh, for a camera" moments.) She finally righted herself.

When I told hubby about this he said; "Yes, that's why we have concrete bunks. Can you imagine what would have happened to one of those metal pipe frames with a plastic feed bunk in it?"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Case of the Cursed Pants

Last week when Ellen and I went to Lebanon we went to one of their excellent thrift stores downtown. Ellen loves to go to this particular store. I suspect it's because they have a kids' playroom. But she also loves to get "new" clothes.

I found a cute little pair of pants. (I don't have a pic because they are currently in the laundry...more on that later.) They are knit, light pink, with rhinestones on the bottom cuffs. They were only $1.50 because they had a faded spot on the bottom front. But since they are so light in color anyway you can't really tell, and for that price I figured they'd make great play pants, since they are in great shape otherwise.

So the first time she has them on, Friday, we go outside to play. She almost immediately kneels in the grass and gets stains on the knees. When we go in I take them off and treat them and get them clean as new.

The second time she wears them was Tuedsay, when she had that touch of flu or whatever bug. She was so draggy and tired that she was dozing and when she woke up and got up to go pee she didn't make it. Off they came for another laundering.

Today. Yes, today I put them on her again. Then after lunch she has maybe 2 bites of a brownie bar. She is still sitting there at the table but she lifts up her leg and there she's got chocolate plastered on the bottom of both sides of the pants.

Yes, they are in the sink soaking as I write this.

Poor pants.

I am wondering if I ought to let her wear them again. No telling what will happen the next time!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sneaker Holidays and a Vanishing Holiday

Sneaker Holidays

As a rule I am sorta-kinda always ready for Christmas fairly early. I usually start buying in late spring or summer. But this year Christmas kind of sneaked up on me.

Is is "sneaked" or "snuck?" I never can remember. I guess it's of no consequence.

At any rate.

This year I am not ready, except for my overseas pals. I have a vague idea of what to get a couple of people, but for the most part, I have no idea.

Halloween sneaked up on me too this year.

Sneaker Holidays. They catch you by surprised, unprepared.

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think this is happening to me because I am getting older. I believe this is a chronic and universal ailment. The older one gets, the faster the time goes. And the quicker the holidays sneak up.

A Disappearing Holiday


Thanksgiving is next week.

How about you? Are YOU prepared for Christmas? Are you prepared for Thanksgiving?

Hubby thinks that Thanksgiving is becoming an outmoded holiday. Not because he thinks it's not important, but because it is just that retail-wise it seems to be getting pushed by the wayside. Three days before Halloween I went into the grocery store and all the fall decorations were down and the Christmas decorations were up.

What? Wait; what about those fold out crepe-paper turkeys, and the Pilgrims and their hats? What about the cornucopias?

Where has all of that fun stuff gone?

I'd like to know.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Ellen..

A young friend on Facebook recently changed her relationship status to "single." I am afraid we inundated her with congratulations and advice rather than sympathy. Rather than overburden her or any one else on FB, I have been thinking through things I'd like to tell Ellen when she gets up to dating age.

Dear Ellen,

Right now you are only 4, almost 5 years old here in a little over 3 months. Your biggest worries are keeping your toys (I am constantly trying to get you to weed them out), wanting a new DVD to watch on the computer (we don't have a TV), and wanting to know what we are going to do on the next day. But a day will come when you will start thinking about boys. You will want to date them, maybe. Then eventually you may want to get married.

There are reams of books and advice out there on relationships. But there are a few things I wanted to tell you.

Here are the first three; the most critical things you ought to look for in a mate:

First off. Make sure he's a Christian. A solid Christian. That is the most solid foundation for a relationship that you can have. You need to walk together in Christ. Do not even start a dating relationship with a non-believer.

Second. Make sure he is financially responsible. You do not want a guy who cannot hold a job. This is as critical as number one up there. If he doesn't have the discipline to hold down a steady job, he probably doesn't have the discipline to make a marriage work. If he has any kind of money issues; can't keep a job, can't manage his money...whatever...light a shuck and get out of the relatinship. Doesn't matter what a sweet-talker he might be. Cut him off at the pass.

Third. Make sure that he is not a control freak. Men (and women too, but we are talking about marriage here.) who insist on controlling everything about your life way before marriage are going to be a nightmare to be married to. They often will become abusive. Oh, Ellen, you mean the world to me, and you mean so much more to the Lord, don't let anyone ever make you feel bad about yourself, that you are not worth anything. This is what a control freak will do to you to keep you in his grasp. NEVER let anyone abuse you physically or verbally. You are worth so much more than that. At the first sign of abuse, verbal or physical, do not linger in the relationship. Run. Leave it behind. Accept an apology, but don't go back. It (the abuse) will happen again. It always does. If it happens while you are dating, it will escalate after marriage, not get better.

Remember all of this sweetheart. I speak from experience here, having made the above mistakes. Learn from my mishaps and don't let it happen to you.

Love, Mommy

Monday, November 14, 2011

ARGH!!!

So I just spend half hour typing a post here, hit send and blogger logs out and gives me an error message. My post is gone, never to be recovered.

Please mourn for those words that you will now never read. For I do not have the time to retype them all.

Suffice it to say it wasn't much, though.

Maybe I will do a re-do later.

Maybe.

Happy blogging.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Give them an inch...

We had a great time at the Dixie Stampede yesterday. The show was spectacular, the horses were lovely, the food was really good. It was interesting eating a 4-course meal without utensils, but it worked out pretty well. Along toward the end they give you a hot wet heavy-duty paper towel.

What boggled my mind though was the fact that the place seated 1,100, they do 4 shows on Saturdays and EVERY seat is filled...every time. That is FOUR THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED chickens, biscuits, corn on the cob, apple pastries...ect, every Saturday! FOUR THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED! I told hubby next time I'd like a pass to go backstage and see the kitchens.

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In other news; it was opening day for gun deer season yesterday. As usual the buck madness ensued. Our neighbors, several of them who have property of their own, mind, have pestered to hunt over on our property. During bow season here a couple of weeks ago they wanted to set up a blind on the place across the road, down near the river. We let them. Then suddenly that wasn't good enough for them, they wanted to hunt in our field over near the west pasture. We let them for bow season but told them that our renter hunted over there during gun season.

Hubby had told our renter that he could go and hunt back behind the house there and even offered him a hunting lease, if he wanted.

So now, suddenly the renter has 3 or 4 buddies over there. Yesterday they got 3 deer and come over and asked if they could DRIVE back down over our place to get back behind there to get the deer out of the creek bottoms.

What?! That isn't back behind the house, that's way back off down the creek bottoms.

I said; well, the renter knows what we meant, but the other guys probably just took over. Still, hubby gets so aggravated with folks when they get carried away with this buck fever.

Last year someone had driven down into our section of the creek bed and butchered a deer down there...left the carcass even. We figure it was one of the Mennonites that our other neighbor lets hunt down on his property. They drive their truck down to his section of the creek...and that time they just kept going I guess.

On the flip side of the coin, our pastor is praying that he has a good deer season. He's a taxidermist and these 9 days or so of deer season determines the rest of his year financially; if people get good bucks and want them mounted or not. So I am praying he has a good year.

That's all..just my annual hunting season rant.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On Being a Homebody

Really, to me there ISN’T any place like home. When it starts getting dusky outside in the evenings, I like to be at home. I want my family at home with me.

When it comes time to fly away and go visiting I start having “home” withdrawals several weeks in advance. I often feel queasy when I even think about leaving and then I start having traveling nightmares.

I prefer to be with what is familiar…with those I love.

Today I am taking a day off and going down to see Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede show in Branson. It makes me nervous to be away from my husband. He is staying at home. Plus, I keep thinking of all the things I could be doing at home instead of going off and enjoying an adventure.

Not that I am opposed to having adventures. After all, I DID up and travel to Malaysia by myself several years ago. Well, my friend met me there, but still it was rather nerve-wracking.

And I DID pack up and leave my whole life back in Oregon on a one way ticket out here to Missouri.

But, all in all, when the chickens come home to roost and the cows come to the barn for milking, I prefer to be at home, too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hurry before it crashes again...

OK, so either my internet connection is bad or Blogspot doesn't like me today or something. It keeps kicking me out of here. Every other site I go to works, but this one.

So....really quickly like.

Tonight I have to write up a blog to post for tomorrow, really early, because on the morrow "we" (meaning Ellen, myself and MIL and SIL) are going down to Branson to catch Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. Hubby got us the tickets! They were the discount kind. That is why we got them. But we are looking forward to this as it will be the Christmas show, with real, live camels and sheep and whatnot. Ellen is, of course, all agog.

We are all packing plastic forks and knives in our purses because they serve you a 4 course meal, but no dinnerware. Because supposedly that's the way real cowboys used to eat. Hmmmm...

The menu (according to the flyer): tender whole rotisserie chicken, hickory smoked barbecue pork loin, butter corn on the cob, their own creamy vegetable soup, herb-basted potato, hot home-made biscuit, Dixie's very own specialty dessert, unlimited Pepsi, tea or coffee.

This should be an adventure.

Hubby says that Ellen and I can share on plate and bring the other whole plate back to him. Heh! Well, I agree, it will save me the bother of cooking on Sunday.

Ha.

Have a great weekend. I certainly plan on it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ankle Biters

Today was the last day of the home school "pre-school" for Ellen. The first hour I taught my Spanish class. The second hour I went in to help in Ellen's class because the regular teacher was going to be doing a mom's class and demonstrating how to make yogurt.

Never again.

UGH!

There were 16 kids (Pre-K age) in the second hour. Only THREE of them were girls. The rest of course were terribly rowdy boys. ARGH! They were shoving and whacking and fighting each other.

This is not the norm. Or at least it has never been like that before when I was in there.

It was the longest hour I have spent this week. Usually it goes fast because they will have a craft or something. But today even during the craft time they were cutting up.

After the hour was over I hauled Ellen out of there and skedaddled as fast as I could.

And for the record. This is the last day for this semester, and this is the only day that Ellen didn't howl when I left. I begin to have hopes for Kindergarten. Even though when that subject comes up she howls that she isn't going to go to school.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sew, sew...

I come from a family who sewed all the time. I married into a family that sews all the time. But I am a sewing dud.

I have a lovely, fancy sewing machine. I asked my husband for it for Christmas several years ago.

It has been sitting in its box in the spare bedroom for several years. Only used maybe twice.

Today I broke it out again...for a purpose that I can't reveal at this point in time because it might spill beans or let cats out of bags that ought not be spilled or let loose.

At any rate. It is always interesting to do something new and unusual with a four year old around.

She is always so very helpful.

While I am reading the instructions and trying to figure out how to load the thread and all, she keeps wanting to look at the instruction manual.

"I want to look at the pictures."

"Ellen, why do you need to look at the pictures?"

"So I can tell you how to do that."

In a few minutes, after I have figured out how to get the thread where it's supposed to be, and am trying to get the material where IT belongs Ellen peers over my shoulder and comments;

"That's not the way Auntie does it."

Well, hmmmm....!

I really do dream someday of being able to sew neat thinggummybobs and make my own curtains and napkins and potholders and other crafty things to give as gifts. But I am waiting until someone is in school. I have enough trouble attempting new things without a running commentary going on.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A bit about Ellen

So I have amused you for two days with my marriage reflections. That was fun. Now what?

Ellen?

Yes, she cracks me up. I have a book that I need to get started with recording things in. It's called; Oh, What you Said. I have a long list I have kept of the funny things she has said over the past few years, since she has started talking.

Her first phrase was; "Who is that?" She'd draw out the "who"..."Whoooooo is that?" That's what I'd say when we heard her daddy coming in from chores.

Now it is so funny how she picks up these big words and then trots them out at the right moment.

A few months ago I was reading her a book on the sofa and hubby came up behind us and was teasing her. She sighed, and said; "Daddy, stop it, you're distracting me."

"Distracting?" She's four years old. Where does she get "distracting?"

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Last month she was in a snit when I told her she needed to get a bath. "I don't like baths. I completely hate them!"

Completely!

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Last night after supper she was pestering me to watch this new DVD we'd traded for. (swapadvd.com) I told her that she couldn't watch anything until the kitchen was cleaned up.

"Why?" she wanted to know.

"Because that's the rule." I told her.

"Well, I don't like rules. There shouldn't be any rules. It's just heartless!"

HEARTLESS! Hahahaha. Once again; where do they get these things?

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I have to be careful and not collapse laughing because then she'll get her nose out of joint because she knows I am laughing at her for some reason. She is at the point where she's very, very sensitive about being laughed at. It really offends her little sense of dignity. She is so serious about her little indignations; she can't understand how anyone could laugh at them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Reflection: Internet Men

Continuing on with my anniversary reflections.

Occasionally people will ask me how I met my husband and how I ended up in Missouri when I was living in Oregon.

The world wide web snatched me up and flung me over here. Yes, it did.

At one point in 2003 I believe it was, I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a computer. (My brother was so helpful in making this happen...so he must bear some of the blame for my being here in Missouri.)

After getting the computer one of the first things I did was to join a couple of pen pal sites. One of them automatically asked me if I also wanted to put a blurb in their singles site. So I did.

Look out!

As expected, I got several replies from overseas. I also got a reply from a Baptist minister in Georgia and one from some farmer in Missouri. I had to look up Missouri on the map to see where it was. Seriously. (I know, I am bad.)

The guy in Missouri wanted my phone number. We talked quite a bit. He had a dairy. I liked him a lot. Too bad he lived way out in Missouri.

To make a long story short, after a year I went to visit him. Five months after that I married him.

What astounded me was that only one...ONE...of my friends and none...NOT ONE...of my family, said anything contrary to the whole thing. Quit your job, leave all your family and friends on the West Coast, move across the country and marry some INTERNET GUY!?!? ARE YOU CRAZY!!??

Only one, a pen pal in Kansas, was skeptical of the whole thing, but she just opined that maybe I ought to think about it more.

That was all. My family cheerfully waved me adios, and most even happily came out for the wedding. Not a word to the contrary.

In retrospect they were right to not worry. It's been seven years and we, my husband and I, are happy as clams. I miss my family and friends, I wish they were all here too. But I have more family and new friends to add to the old, so all is well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Reflection after Seven Years

This weekend marks our seventh wedding anniversary and I thought I’d share a few reflections of the past seven years.

Here is one:
Getting married for the first time at age 36 was rather a challenge in the cooking department. Cooking for one is much, much different than cooking for two; especially when the one you are marrying happens to be used to all kinds of homemade stuff; like potato salad and devilled eggs and desserts galore. In the 3 month time span between saying “Yes, I will” and “I do” there were hours of panicked ransacking of the internet to find recipes that I could maybe attempt.

I was dismayed to find out one of his favorite desserts is strawberry gelatin with bananas. As far as I am concerned gelatin is something that ought not to have been invented. The texture is just nasty. But, always game for a challenge, I bought up a couple boxes of the stuff to try my luck at it.

To start off with I discovered I’d forgotten bananas, but I was determined to go through with it anyway. So…I got out this fancy gelatin mold a friend had given me, did a 3 second perusal of the directions, sloshed some water in a bowl, stirred the red powder in and poured it into the mold.

I eyed it doubtfully; what I’d made didn’t quite fill the mold. Then I got out the second box; sloshed, stirred, poured. It still wasn’t completely full, but oh, well. That’d have to do. Into the fridge it went.

A couple of hours later I checked on it. The gunk in the mold was the consistency of one of those clear rubber balls that kids get; tough and bouncy-like. How were you supposed to get THIS out of a mold?

Oh, warm water. Right. I floated it in a bit of warm water. While it floated I re-read the directions.

AHA! Hehehehe…You are supposed to put TWO cups of water to one box of the stuff!

I turn back to the mold in the water. In the gelatin mold a small island of red rubber is floating in a large lake of red juice. It had mostly melted. Oops.

Hmmm… I sloshed in a bunch more water…into the mold that is, stirred and chucked it into the fridge for a second go round. After a couple of hours, I checked it again. Well, it was not so terribly rubbery this time. But not quite right either.

Bless my husband’s heart; he ate the stuff, no bananas and all, and didn’t complain. I knew then that we’d do fine.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Talking about Gag Reflexes

Sometimes...on the rare occasion I ponder about my gag relflexes and wonder why it is that some things can gross me out and others don't. Here on the dairy we deal with different gross things, as one might imagine. I am sure any reader could think some up without even trying. I found that most dairy things don't bother me...but there are others that trip that gag trigger.

As a rule it's not the sight of things that makes my stomach heave, but smells. And sometimes it's just the idea.

Today, for whatever reason, Ellen suddenly announced; "Skunk tastes like chicken."

I ask; "How do you know."

She replied; "I just do. And skunk hair tastes like potatoes."

Me; "Ew. Eating skunk hair would be nasty."

Ellen: "Why?"

Me; "You'd get skunk hair in your teeth."

She had to ask why about that several times and as I was trying to explain it, I just got really queasy. Even writing it down here makes me feel bleck. The thought of skunk hair in my teeth apparently triggers my gag reflex.

I remember when I was expecting there were several smells that would gag me; bananas, peanut butter, cow pee, and mown grass. URK!

I can stand and feed a new bottle calf in the back corral whilst straddling huge chunks of bovine afterbirth and not think a thing of it. But talk about skunk hair in my teeth and that does it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Of Vegetables and Acorns

So I have been trying to think of something deep, funny, and/or spiritually moving to blog about. Nothing has manifested at this time.

I therefore thought that since November is the month of being thankful I’d do a post or two or more on things that I am thankful for.

It occurs to me several times per week that I am thankful for a child who loves vegetables. When a four year old asks for more vegetables; carrots, cauliflower or broccoli, it is such a blessing. She especially loves cooked carrots. In spring she will also snarf down radishes, onions and green peppers. She remains skeptical about beets and asparagus, but that is just a minor issue. She loves peas and corn and green beans, too.

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The dairy news isn’t too great or earthshaking. This fall here in the Ozarks we have had a bumper crop of acorns. Tons of them. This is good for the turkeys, deer, squirrels…etc, but not for the cows, who love them. The girls slurp them down like they were cocktail peanuts. It’s very bad for them, unfortunately. Since the cows don’t chew them, the acorns just go down in the rumen and plug up the works. Acorns make the poop brown and yukky and stink like you wouldn’t believe. (Although I guess you have to be used to the smell of regular cow poop to appreciate the difference there.) And worst of all, milk production plummets.

On Halloween hubby took the milking herd off of the regular grazing grounds and started feeding hay and alfalfa. In about 3 days the milk production went up by 300 pounds. This is from a herd of about 35-40 cows. Their poop is back to being green again, but now it has that alfalfa stink. I am sure you needed to know that.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stray Goats...etc

This past summer and fall were good for strays.

At one point we had that stray black cow and calf; I think I blogged about them at the time. They were with us a week before we got them caught and back to their owner.

Here a month ago we had TWO stray cats show up. This is not uncommon for here on the dairy. We don't have any dogs, just Matilda the cat, and we have lots of hay sheds and barns and various outbuildings. But this one little stray; a black cat with a few white patches on his belly and throat, has adopted us for good. Ellen is enchanted with him; he is her favorite color. Yes, black.

He is a friendly little soul; more like an overgrown kitten. We are calling him "Boo" and treat him like one of the family. He needs his shots; which will happen maybe next week. I have been putting it off because putting money on the counter for him will make him OURS and not a stray. I personally could do without him. So could Matilda. But they are getting used to each other. And Ellen would pine without her Boo-cat.

To top it all off we also have a stray goat in the neighborhood. A neighbor got a wild hare to get a couple cute little goats when at a farm out of the area. They, our neighbor, did not have adequate fences for goats. Thus the stray. He took up under my mother in law's work shop and spent a month or so grazing her yard and garden area, dropping plenty of ball bearings (as it were) in the process. Hubby finally blocked off access to his hidey hole and he moved across the street to an abandoned lot. He still shows up from time to time. We are hoping someone can catch him before deep winter sets in. We shall see.

That's all for today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaBloPoMo

National Blog Posting is in full swing. I barely remembered it this year. I haven't even signed up yet. They moved their site and you have to re-enter I believe. It's on BlogHer now. I am trying to sign up but the computer is giving me fits.

In any case. This year I am just going to stick with Dairy Daze and not get fancy. I didn't make any preparations for this so maybe I will just follow their prompts. It could be interesting that way. Ha.

That's all for now. I guess. I am running out of time today.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Halloween


Ellen just had to go trick or treating. I can honestly say it's not my idea. I am of two minds about the whole deal. I'd rather skip Halloween altogether.

For one thing, everyone is so OVERGENEROUS with their candy. She went to THREE places and got almost a full plastic pumpkin.

But she's so cute and she loves going. She even says; "Trick or treat." and "Thank you." to everyone. She's slowly starting to come out of her shell.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Freezer Jam


This is my second batch of this type of freezer jam. So easy. Pina Colada Freezer Jam. It has a secret ingredient; zucchini. This is a great way to use up some of that extra zucchini and satisfy your sweet tooth as well. Even the hubby likes the stuff...which is good. I rarely ever eat jelly or jam. Mostly it's Ellen and hubby who eat it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Two for One Money


This was rather a surprise when I was making deviled eggs this evening. We had chickens when I was a kid, and the Rhode Island Reds seemed to push these out on a not-uncommon basis. But MIL's chickens (I forget the breed; they are black) are rather sparing with their double yolkers. In any case, I had never seen one hard-boiled before.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Repainted PIP Pup

Here's the picture of the repainted PIP pup. Ellen wanted it put on our porch, so hubby drug out the drill and here it is.

Ellen was thrilled with it. I am hoping it will be the only dog we have.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Heritage Days 2011

For the past 3 years or so the neighbors have had what they call Heritage Days at their farm across the river from us; in Windyville. It started, I believe, as a homeschool event and has turned into a sort of community get together.

Everyone involved or attending is encouraged to dress in 1800s outfits. There are multiple demonstrations or activities going on. It is much like a toned down Silver Dollar City-type of day.

It was super warm and all the women in their long skirts and bloomers (one person admitted to shucking hers) looked miserable. The whole experience gave those involved a renewed respect for the early pioneers and what they had to do to survive.

I have to say kudos to Tim and Carla, who are the ones who organize the whole shebang. This is the first year I have attended. It was interesting. Of course the most interesting demonstration I watched was the one I got so fascinated with that I forgot to take a picture of; the lye soap making. Oh, well. Below are some of the other attractions.

The blacksmith:


The sorghum making process was quite involved. Tim grew the sorghum there on his place:


They harvested it, stripped it and then fed it through the sorghum press:


Then they put it in the pan/vat...whatever this contraption is called. They had to skim the green stuff off with those long scoops. Whew! That was a hot job also, you can see it steaming in the photo.


They worked on a quilt:


And stood around looked pretty:



They also made shingles, spun wool, washed clothes by hand and had an outdoor survival course, but my blog is starting to protest at having too many pictures loaded into it. There were foot races for young'uns and funnel cakes for sale. Later in the evening the event was catered, but I didn't stay for that. It was, all in all, an enjoyable afternoon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The PIP pup


In case you aren't a follower of my blog, (and I wouldn't blame you) you may not know that my 4 year old has this thing with people giving her things. Here is yet another example.
This dog head was on the post for the mailbox in front of our internet service provider’s office in Buffalo. Ever since Ellen has been big enough to notice it, for the past 3 years or so, she has wanted me to hold her up so she could pet the doggy. The receptionist would smile and tell Ellen not to forget to pet the dog on the way out.

Well, I had noticed the past few months that it was getting rather wobbly. Then this summer we went in there one month and it was gone, but the regular lady wasn’t there. The next month Gary went in to pay the bill. Then just this past Friday we went in there. The lady WAS there; she saw us come in, groped back behind her desk and handed this over to Ellen because; “I know you loved it so much and it would have just been thrown away.”

**sigh**

So now I am working on a repair job on the paint. You can’t really see in this picture but it is rather chipped up.

When we got into the car with the thing I asked her what we were going to do with it, (since I didn’t think it’d be nice to refuse it and let the lady hear Ellen squall about it.) Ellen just looked at me and said; “We’ll drill a hole in a post and put it there.” I just laughed, now how can you beat that logic? She knew exactly what she’d do with the thing the minute she knew it was hers.

I almost have it repainted completely. I will post a new pic when I have it finished.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Taters 2011

Every spring when I set out those little sweet potato slips I always marvel that they will eventually take over the area and become a writhing mass of lovely vines.

They are very popular with the deer and groundhogs. Hubby's aunt's sweet taters were decimated by the deer. The tater part didn't get a chance to develop. The deer would eat the leaves as soon as they grew. My mother in law's sweet taters were decimated by a groundhog; they could see it running for cover sometimes when they went out there. Originally they'd thought it was a deer getting them, so they set a hotwire, but the leaves still kept disappearing. ARGH! I think just now they have finally started growing out, but we aren't too sure that the roots will have time enough to develop.

You are supposed to wait until just before frost before you harvest; but I always jump the gun. I pulled maybe 3/4 to 2/3 of ours already last week. I couldn't wait to see what was under there. This was my take so far:


Ellen is holding the biggest one I have ever grown so far. I think it was about 2-3 pounds; but my scale isn't the most accurate.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dairy Doings

So this past summer in the dairy department has been off and on.

We have had two sets of twins born; both either bull/bull or bull/heifer combos...meaning that we had to sell them. The cows all seemed to coordinate births. In early Aug we had two cows go on the same day, and the same on another day in early Sept I believe. I think we have had 9 calves since early Aug, and maybe 2 or 3 in July.

(It's hard to concentrate here, I have a pot of pinto beans w/ ham soup on the stove simmering; it smells very distracting.)

We don't have a regular calf buyer anymore, but hubby just puts them on Craig's List and we usually have a buyer within 24 hrs.

One guy came for two little bulls. He called when hubby wasn't here and asked me how big the calves were. Well, they weren't the biggest bulls we've had but they were fairly average sized Holstein calves. That's what I told him. Well, he shows up with a fairly flimsy dog kennel; the kind where the top lifts off. (hehehehe...) Hubby STILL wasn't home when the guy arrived, so he checks the calves out and says, "Well this thing is looking smaller all the time. Think we can get them in it?"

WE

Have you got a mouse in your pocket, buddy? It keeps squeaking..."we, we."

Anyway. Hubby does show up about this time...whew. And they DO pack both calves in there. Oh, for a camera when you really need it! I am going to start bringing one with me when these folks show up. (Wait for the next story) He had lots of straps that he and hubby put over the thing, and I guess they made it OK.

The last set of 3 calves we sold was twins and a single bull. They guy was getting them for his 2 kids' 4-H project, or FFA or something like that. He had a 20 ft stock trailer. But he declined to bring such a long one for 3 little calves.

Instead he brought his wife's Suburban.

Without her knowledge.

He put some plastic and cardboard in the very back, he and hubby loaded all 3 smelly calves up there. Of course the first one to go in freaked out when the next one was jammed in and it went scrambling into the back seat. The guy got back there and shoved it back into the back again and told his kid, about 10-11 yrs old or so, to get in the back seat and hold them in. They got the 3rd one in, paid up and took off.

Oh, for a camera.

I wonder what the wife said and if they got the smell out yet. You don't realize how badly a calf smells until you get THREE of them in a little cramped space like that.

Well, time to make the cornbread.

More later.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"He has a key."

OK So remember the post before the pallet post, just two posts down? Remember?

Tonight as Ellen and I were walking down to get the 4-wheeler just out of the blue she says; "He has a key."

Me, rather bewildered: "What?"

Ellen: "The bull has a key to open the cow. I think he opens her back."

Me, starting to catch on: "Why does he need to open the cow?"

Ellen, with a sigh at my density: "So he can put in the seed in. The seed to make a calf."

Me, trying not to giggle: "Oh."

And that's where I left it because if I started trying to explain she'd want to see things for herself and we haven't gone beyond where we were at the last discussion. And it has been a long day and I didn't feel up to discussing penises.

What I really need her to understand is how to wipe herself after using the potty, and how to not get both legs into the same underwear hole when dressing herself and practical things like that; not bovine reproduction.

But it goes to show that the discussion is never over with...she is pondering these things whether or not I am ready for them. And I think Donna up north of me is correct; Ellen is going to come out with this stuff in Sunday School or standing in line at the grocery store or somewhere else inconvenient.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Random photo-the mystery of the pallet place


Here, because I don't know what else to blog about, but I need to blog about SOMETHING, is a random photo from my files.

This is a shot of a place out west of us, close to the Kansas border. The place must be 20 acres or so of cleared, rolling land. The owners have filled it with piles and piles of rotting pallets. Piles of pallets and old broken down trailers.

We drive by this place on our way to get alfalfa, or to go to the tractor supply place out there near Lockwood.

Every time we go by there we always like to speculate on why someone would fill their property with piles of pallets. Certainly they must be snake magnets. I can't imagine why someone would actually want to do this to their property.

But to each his own, I suppose.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birds, Bees and Bulls

August 20, 2011
Last Monday, I believe it was, Ellen and I were walking down over the ridge to get the 4-wheeler from where hubby leaves it after his round-up. As is usual, the bull was standing there in the trees, a ways behind the milk barn. (He follows the herd up the hill and then stands there while hubby shuts the gate on him. He later decides he wants to join the cows and pushes the gate down to get to them. But that is a different story.)

Ellen has seen the bull numerous times. We have had many discussions about how cows have udders and give milk, but she’d never really thought about what the bull is for…until that night.

As we were walking by she suddenly asked; “Mommy, what does the bull do?”

Trying to keep it light and unthreatening (to myself, not to her) I replied: “He eats grass and sleeps all day.”

“No, Mom,” Ellen wasn’t satisfied. “What does he DO?”

GULP

Weeeelllll…

I jumped in with both feet and just gave her the truth, since she obviously wasn’t going to fall for anything other than the unvarnished facts.

“He makes baby calves.”

She thought about that for a moment.

“How?”

GAH!!!

I forget exactly what I told her, but I said something along the lines that bulls and cows make calves. She was satisfied with that and went on talking about parades and flags and whatever else 4 year olds ought to be worried about. The whole conversation took maybe less than a minute.

Hubby was aghast that I told her that much. But I doubt I did any lasting harm.

Facts is facts; as they say.

Two nights later we walked by him again. This time she paused and looked at him. I could tell she was thinking. Just a few minutes earlier she’d said that the bull was going to miss getting milked. I told her that bulls don’t give milk. So she had to check him out. Obviously he didn’t have an udder.

She pointed.

“Mommy, what’s that hanging down there?”

*sigh*

After a split second of thinking about how I could get out of it, I just gave her the clinical answer.

“Those are his testicles.”

“What?”

“Testicles.”

“Oh.”

She hasn’t mentioned it since. I hope and pray it’s awhile until she sees him in action; performing his duties. Please, God. Maybe she’ll hit her father with that question. Hahahahaha…

But really, seriously, I am glad she is noticing so young. I am just going to give her the simplest facts for now and as she gets older there won't be any overwhelming shock, surprise or disgust about it; it will just be natural and normal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Little Black Cow


A few days ago, on Monday evening right after milking, we looked up the road and saw a little black cow and calf on the verge of the road, sniffing over the fence at our herd. We knew she'd end up being trouble of one sort or another. We were right.

We had no idea where she came from. We surmised she'd come from the little herd just behind the 12 acres across the road. But the owners live in Marshfield and we have no idea of their names or phone numbers. We hoped she'd go on about her business and find her way home. I didn't want to mess with her as she's a beef cow and they tend to be aggressive when they have a calf.

A couple of people either stopped and told us about "our cow" that was out (Nevermind the fact that we don't run beef cows.), or honked loudly and repeatedly as they drove by.

Finally, at about 8:25 pm, a car pulls in. It was the owner of the cow. She'd actually come from about 2 miles from here (hubby said the guy has the old Kiekebush place)! The guy, I will refer to him as "Ed" was in a panic. Didn't know how to get her back, didn't know what to do.

Hubby came back soon and the chase was on. During the whole thing the guy, who was totally unprepared for a cow chase in the dark, had the gall and audicity and no cell phone on him, to ask ME to call the sheriff and have them send a deputy out to guard the road so she wouldn't get hit.

To make a long story a bit shorter; hubby chased the thing for 1/2 hr or so in the dark. She was wild, I mean WILD!! She took out a 20-30 foot section of our garden fence-the posts were 20+ years old, so that's no big loss. Finally hubby got her herded back behind the milk barn and closed the gate on her. Hubby was frustrated as much by the owner as by the cow; the whole time Ed had kept up a chant of "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry" until Hubby told him to knock it off. hahaha...

She hopped a fence and is now in with our youngstock; heifers about 8-12 months old.

She is still wild as a buck. Her calf stuck to her the whole chase and is with her now. The blurry picture is about the best shot I could get of her.

The poor thing originated in Texas, was transported to Oklahoma and ended up in Marshall Missouri, where Ed bought her on Sunday. When he let her out Sunday night she lit a shuck and took out for the high hills. She just wants to raise her calf and be a good mom, but these two-legged fools keep messing her up. Was I her, I'd have taken off too.

The owner was going to just write her off. Hubby told him to give her a chance to calm down and we'd try and catch her in a week or two. She is coming to eat with our heifers, but she holes up down in the ravine during the day.

The end of this story could be interesting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Party Girl


Ha ha.

Ellen went to a cousin's birthday party last night. Well, I took her there of course. The cousin turned 8, but she has a younger sister who is Ellen's age. They had hit it off at a family reunion back in May.

There were quite a few older children there, mostly family members and friends of the teenaged sister, so Ellen was quite shy at first. However she got her bearings, after a little cake and keem, and ended up having a fine time with her cousin. This is a picture of them.

This cousin's birthday will be in Sept, so perhaps there will be another party to go to soon.

And it has been revolving around in my mind that since Ellen's next birthday will be year number FIVE, perhaps we should have a party for her.

We shall see. Where to have it is the question.

Cicada Damage


In early summer those 13 year cicadas came out. They had red eyes and were quite loud. I think I had mentioned them on my Facebook account, but not on here. Anyway, they were gone, had run their course...whatever, by the time we got back from our CA trip.

But they left behind evidence. Here is a pic of the damage they did to the trees.
The females cut little slits into small twigs at the ends of the limbs and lay their eggs. These twigs subsequently die, as shown here.

You can tell which types of trees they prefer by the amount of damage. Hubby said it's mainly the white oaks that have the most dead twigs.

Monday, July 11, 2011

CA trip 2011 the second chapter


This is the husband's favorite photo of Ellen from our trip. We are out on Clam Beach. Ellen was rabid to go buy a shovel and pail and play in the sand on the beach. So the 3rd or 4th day there, off we went to the store and got those required items.

Then we headed to the beach. Clam Beach is the closest beach to where we were staying so that is where we went. It is a nice beach, but it is quite a hike to get down to the wet sand and the waves. Ellen was a bit leery this time of getting too close to the waves, so we stayed well away. We filled the bucket once, made the pictured "sand castle" and she dug in the sand with her shovel once or twice. I took 2 pictures.

Then she turned around and announced; "I have to go potty." The restrooms were, of course, a 50 mile hike back to the parking lot. (OK maybe I exaggerate the distance, but when you are walking through sand it seems like it.) When we got back she announced, "I don't have to go."

So we got in the car and went back "home" where she took a long nap.

That was the one and only time we made it to the beach in the 2 weeks we were there. Ellen didn't seem to mind, she found more fun things to do.

Like the Discovery Museum in Eureka.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

California Trip 2011-Random Story #1

I was going to tell our 2011 Calfornia trip story from the beginning; but how boring is that? So I will start with one of the funnier pictures I took.

The Saturday before we left my mom (from here on out referred to as Mom) Ellen and I went over to the place where I grew up, Mom had had to sell it after my father passed away. The folks who bought it own a landscaping business and have fixed it up so nice. They have a garden, numerous fruit trees (most of which were the ones my father planted there many years before he died), berry bushes...etc.

Down in the back they have a pen and raise a couple of pigs to butcher every other year I believe. They happened to have 2 fairly small porkers this year. So we went down so Ellen could see them. The lady gave them a couple of dog bone treats to get them to come out. I had Ellen stand in front of them so I could take a picture.

Well, Ellen complied, but not without a certain dubiousness, which shows up so well in her expression in this particular photo. After all, when you are only four years old even two little pigs seem quite large, and their grunting and shoving at the wire behind you would make anyone kind of nervous.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Facts and Frustrations


Here is my once-monthly blog entry. Really, I DO mean to blog more often, but somehow it just gets pushed to the wayside. I really need to update the photo too. Well, that will have to wait as well.

Above please see Ellen and her newest buddy; the only other little girl in the pre-school VBS class.

Fact: In 2 days we, Ellen and I, are flying out of MO and back to CA for a 2 week visit.

Fact: Last week was Vacation Bible School at church. I am still frazzled from that.

Fact: In the 2 weeks before and the week of VBS I get nothing done but the very basics.

Fact: Now I needs must do cleaning, cook lots of food to sustain my husband in the 18 days I am gone, because he won't go shopping or do any major food prep by himself, and try and prep my garden for my absence as well.

Fact: The weeds are taking over my garden.

Fact: I will not be here when the peas need harvesting.

Fact: I need to tie up my tomatoes.

Fact: Oh, yes. I have to pack for both Ellen and myself.

Any more facts and I really will get stressed.

Like: Fact; the flight from SGF goes through Chicago. I have never been to Chicago. I will probably get lost and miss the connection. Let us pray that doesn't happen.

Frustration: Why oh WHY do parents see fit to send their snot-nosed kids (or maybe the parents themselves) to VBS? Now Ellen is sneezing and her nose is running, 3 days before we leave.

Frustration: My family on the west coast only gets to see Ellen 2 weeks once a year. Last year and this year she will have been sick. They never get to see her when she is well and not cranky.

Frustration: Why am I wasting time on here when I ought to be doing all the myriad things I need to be doing to get ready to go? I dunno. Maybe a break is a good thing. :)

I still have tater salad to make, chicken to fry, a chocolate oatmeal cake to bake, eggs to double (devil, to someone who may not know Ellen-speak.), clothes to fold, luggage to find, clothes to sort....the list never ends.

It's all good. I can do this.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

UH-OH!

Yep, it was a memorable Memorial Day.

I was prepping for our annual barbecue and was back in the laundy room. Ellen was playing in the front room.

I heard a thump.

Then I heard a squall and; "Ow, ow ow ow. Mommy, mommy, mommy!" ...ad infinitum.

At a doc appointment on Tuesday they couldn't really tell too well from the X-rays, but they think it's a hairline fracture on her right shin, just an inch or two under the knee. That's where she points to when asked where it hurts. She won't put any weight on it at all; even with this walking brace/boot, whatever it's called, on. Because she wouldn't put any weight on it, they are assuming it's a fracture.

They are going to refer us to an orthopedic doc and we shall see what will happen from there.

She is not really happy about the boot; wants it off, as any sensible person would. I feel so badly for her. Poor little pumpkin. And she has a busy month ahead of her, too. VBS is next week, and she's going to this Noah's Ark exhibit down in Branson with her grandma and aunt this Saturday. She's been looking forward to that for a long time. Then on the 17th we are heading to CA to visit my mom out there.

*sigh*

*****************************

In other news.

We have a new/old grain bin that hubby is fixing up to put in Long Lane for the critters out there.

One of our heifers has a leg out of joint (we think); the bull was a little too enthusiastic with his amorous attentions. Argh!

We had a nice barbecue, in spite of bone fractures, on Memorial Day.

Ummm... I have to quit for now. Have a happy June!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Free Loot


On the 7th we went to another free barbecue. This one was a customer appreciation day held by a company hubby buys some well supplies from. They put on quite the big shindig; afterwards having a free drawing for lots of loot they have displayed up on a table in front.

They had fun games for the ladies, and games outside for the kids. Ellen wanted to do everything, cake walk, ring toss, bouncy house, face paint... She did too, except for the bouncy house thing. She just couldn't make herself get into it with all those other kids. But she did let a gal paint her face. This kind of surprised me. Normally she wouldn't let a stranger get that close to her.




At any rate, to make a long story short. My husband wasn't too hot on staying late for the drawing, but in the end he won a set of pliers and wrenches (not pictured), I won the above Stanley 123 piece socket set and Ellen won the little digital camera. She was enchanted with this camera and soon filled up the memory. She loves taking pictures. So we all came out pretty good after all. And more free food to boot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

This and That


So...it has been quite a while since I have checked in here. This is not good. This is bad. I was going to be better at blogging in 2011.

*sigh*

Well.

The news for the past almost-month....

The bull with the milking herd has started pulling capers. He did last week anyway; bellowing and pawing around while hubby is trying to do the round up. It freaks me out every time hubby has to go out and deal with him. If he shows any more attitude; the bull, not the husband, he will be taken to the sale barn post haste.

Yesterday the sale barn in Lebanon had a grand opening, with new owners. We went to their free barbecue. It wasn't too bad, though we had to park way down the highway and walk. Ellen liked the goats and the pigs. Actually she only really cared about the pigs. This is one of those rare times I actually get to eat out. What meal isn't bettered by following it up with the scent of billy goats, pigs and cow exhaust? Ha ha.

After we got home yesterday Ellen got her big stuffed lamb (pictured above), and a long pencil and conducted her own livestock sale.

The above lamb was given to her by our tenant, who was tired of having it around the house. I can see why. It sheds like you would not believe. Ellen insisted on taking it to church a week or 2 ago. My black skirt was covered in fake lamb hair.

We haven't had any new calves in quite a while. No one expecting any time soon either.

Hubby almost has new pasture fit to run the calves in. We are praying none of them get out. Time will tell.

And yes, yes folks. As you can tell by the picture, Ellen does still suck her thumb. She only does this when she is tired. She will cuddle her doll or something stuffed and lovable, and suck her thumb. I am praying that going to school will mature her out of that. Maybe peer pressure will do the trick.

Monday, April 18, 2011

601

Over six hundred posts in 4 years. That's not a really great record.

*sigh*

Let's see. What can I post about?

The peas are sprouting. I know, I know...hang onto your hats, it doesn't get much more exciting than that. Ha.

Ellen is starting to learn how to use the mouse on the computer. I pull up "Paint," draw a few overlapping shapes and then let her use the mouse to choose different colors and fill each section in. The only problem is that I think she's going to be a true lefty, and I have the mouse set up on the right side. I'm a southpaw, but I use my right hand for different things; like cutting with scissors, and the mouse...etc. Maybe if I have her learn the righty way, she'll be more ambidexterous.

Our trip to CA is set in stone. Ellen is anxious to leave. She wanted to up and go today. I am not so anxious about the traveling part. Being there and visiting everyone is great. GETTING there is hairraising to me. And for this trip our first plane change is in Chicago, not Denver. Chicago is much, MUCH bigger than Denver, I believe. Hubby says to look up the terminals on the computer and maybe that will help me get an idea of where to go. I will do that, but it still doesn't help me with the getting nervous part. For 2-3 weeks before we leave I will have nightmares about traveling; forgetting luggage, getting routed through a foreign country and not having passports, forgetting my ID, getting to the airport late...you name it.

ARGH!

However...I shall endure.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Neighbors

A little over 3 years ago our second closest neighbor's house burned down. He and his wife subsequently settled with the insurance and got out of Dodge; bought a place in Wisconsin. He had has the place here next to us up for sale for over a couple of years now.

Well, glory hallelujah! It finally sold on Friday; they went and signed the papers and such. The former owner spent all last week hauling junk off of the place.

We are so happy that the new owners are a nice couple from up near Lake of the Ozarks. They are going to use the place as a weekend retreat. At first they are going to just put up their RV here and come down and work on the place as they can.

For those in the know, the former owners, MN and his wife, are actually wanting to come back to this area and are looking for property here. Apparently Missouri is a better place than Wisconsin. From what I hear the taxes are killer up there.

*******

Dairy news

We have two new little bottle calves as of Thursday I believe. Hubby is working our new land acquisition, re-doing the fences...etc. We are going to transfer a bunch of little heifers over there as soon as he is finished.

The garden is partly in and starting to come up; onions, radishes, lettuce, carrots, a little bit of spinach and some cabbages. Once again, I could live without cabbages, but hubby and his family love it.

That's all for now, I feel like my head it about to explode. Argh!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spicing up my Life

Reflecting back upon my mother's kitchen, I vaguely remember that she had a little wooden spice rack mounted on the wall. It had maybe 3-4 shelves, 2 or 3 of which were filled with odds and ends; maybe some food coloring, a bottle of vanilla extract, and maybe 3 or 4 other flavorings, a salt and pepper shaker set or two, and then a few spices; salt, pepper, and honestly I cannot remember what else. She seasoned most every dish with garlic salt. My father thought black pepper was a heinous evil, on par with white bread, baking soda and baking powder. (Hence she hid those last 2 items in the cupboard-white bread was not allowed into the house at all-along with any other white flour products, like soda/soup crackers...etc.)

I had not had my own kitchen long (starting only a little over 6-7 years ago, a bit before I married) that I realized I was NOT like my mother. I love exotic spices. I am not into hot spices, but just exotic spices. It probably began back in Portland with my first visit to an East Indian restaurant. I don't do hot curries, but I loved their combinations of spices; the tastes and the smells.

Now that I am married I am often drawn to the exotic dishes that I remember from my visit to Malaysia; much of which was East Indian. Occasionally I modify them so that my husband will enjoy them as well, but they generally call for those non-basic spices; cumin, coriander, turmeric... I found myself collecting more spice jars than I knew what to do with. Two or three years ago I requested a spice rack to help with organizing. Hmmm....


This morning, with a bit of help-as you can see from the picture, I cleaned out my spice cupboard. This is what I found:

My Spice List

Individual bottles:
Bay leaves-whole
Allspice-ground
Allspice-whole
Ground cloves-2 small bottles
Whole cloves
Celery seed
Ground cinnamon-two large bottles
Chili powder
Ground ginger
Ground oregano
Paprika
Apple pie spice
Fennel seed
Ground nutmeg
Cream of tartar
Ground turmeric
Poultry seasonings
Ground mustard
Ground coriander
Cumin
Garlic powder
Whole cinnamon sticks-1 package
parsley

In the Spice Rack:
Italian herbs
Whole mustard seeds
Savory
Rosemary
Seasoned salt
Coriander
Pizza seasonings
Celery salt
Ground black pepper
Dill weed
Oregano flakes
Basil
Caraway seed
Thyme
Parsley
Bay leaves –chopped

In the picture Ellen is helpfully rearranging my spice rack from being alphabetical to being Ellenetical (whatever THAT may mean).

At any rate, I went through and eliminated some of the spices in the rack. I dumped the stuff I hadn't used since I got them, put stuff from the other bottles into the spice rack bottles and relabeled them. That helped cut down on the clutter greatly. But it's still obvious when you open the cupboard that I have this THING about spices.

Well, at least I know my food isn't all boring.