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Saturday, November 28, 2020

 Today, as our after Thanksgiving activity tradition, Ellen and I went Christmas tree hunting.

We were unsuccessful in finding one that we needed.  To avoid allergy issues we try to find a female cedar tree; one that has the berries on it.  The males tend to give off pollen.  You might say I am crazy to believe this; but every year...EVERY FREAKING Y EAR prior to two years ago we have had just any tree and Ellen had had extreme allergy issues in the month of December.  

Two years ago we managed to choose a tree that had berries on it and; wonder of wonders, she didn't have severe winter allergies.  So we found another berry laden bush last year and the same lack of allergies happened.

This year we went looking for the same and were unsuccessful.  So we decided to try our fake tree this year.  I told Ellen that if we did the fake one we could set it up earlier, in early December instead of waiting until in the 20s of December to put up a real one.  She agreed.

But while we were out we stopped by and saw Anne-Shirley.  She is tamer than most of them; she will let us pet her face at least.  

She is starting to spring; meaning she should have a calf in the next 2-3 months.  I am praying she has a decent udder because I don't think we could easily cull her. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Turtle Shells

When I moved here to Missouri I was, and still remain, enchanted with the little terrapins, or box turtles that live here.  In spring and summer to mid-fall, depending on the temperature, they roam around at will.  They live their lives; generally up to 25-30 years, within a one mile radius of where they hatch. 

They die for any number of reasons and their shells litter the forests floors all over.   In my first few years here I'd collect the shells and use them to decorate garden beds or whatever.  It is actually illegal to possess to many of them, or to sell them, or transport them out of the state.  

At some point in the last few years I ceased collecting them, but just let them lay.  I have been tracking the above shell for the past year or so.  It is where I take Bella for longer walks.  At one point it was under a mossy log.  Then a month or so later it was under a small cedar tree.  That is where it has been for almost a year now.  But when I check on it every so often it usually has collected a few more gnaw marks from squirrels or other rodents.  

So these shells are good sources of calcium and probably other minerals for wildlife.  

This past summer it appears to have collected a stick and now a few fall leaves.  I am going to leave it as is and see what becomes of it later on. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

An Ellen Picture

 Here is a selfie from Ellen.  Isn't she cute?!  She is very talented.  I think this is from Fall 2019.

Sunday, November 15, 2020


Last fall our ladies group at church started a project making hats on looms...loom knitting. For some reason this enchanted me.  I did a few hats, here is one of my first ones:

Then I started getting adventurous with it and tried out a baby Yoda hat:

 Then I tried an infant set:

Then I tried an easy drawstring bag:

Here is a fuzzy dot with a mini hat!

This is one of my latest hats using two colors.  It looks complicated, but is actually pretty easy.



I am working on a headband now, but I don't really like it.  It resembles some sort of huge slug.  Haha...

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Five Years with Grandma

 It was FIVE years ago today that we brought my mom here to Missouri from California.

This is a picture of her we took not long after she came here.  Five years ago she was up for adventures and, child-like, she wanted to be involved in everything.

Now it is hard for her to even get out of the house.  She still likes to go places, but even when we go to town she rarely will get out of the car. 

She is still happy though, and says that moving to Missouri was the best thing she's ever done.  Haha...  It's probably the only major thing she can remember doing. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday the 13th

 I have few words today.  Things are not well here.  


Anyway, I have missed 5 days already; so guess it's a good thing I wasn't expecting a prize for blogging 30 days straight. 

I took Bella for a walk yesterday.  Here are a few pictures from the walk.

Bella spends her time on our walks looking for squirrels.  She is standing next to one of my favorite trees. 

Here is another shot of it.  It's a branch that survived somehow after the original tree was bent over and broken off from the trunk.  I am not sure if it was deliberate or not.  You can see the remnants of the tree/log that fell on the original tree.

There is a box turtle shell kicking around out where we do our fall/winter walks.  It was still there under the little cedar tree where we'd left it in Spring.  Over the summer it collected quite a few more squirrel gnaw marks along the rim.  

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Low Carb Hot Chocolate Eggnog

 Ellen asked for some hot chocolate a while ago, so this morning I thought I would adapt an eggnog recipe I was sent in a greeting card last December.

 I  did not like my adaptation; it was too rich for me, so I will give you my final alteration of the recipe instead of what I actually made.  

1 egg

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2-3/4 cup water, depending on how rich you want it to be

 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 1/2 Tablespoons erythritol 

2-3 drops liquid Stevia

Combine all ingredients in electric blender or food processor (I just used a wire whisk) and blend until well mixed.  Transfer mixture to double boiler; heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming.  Do not boil  Serve immediately.

I topped it with real cinnamon/vanilla whipped cream.  


Friday, November 6, 2020

Tales From Lockdown 2020

 Back in March 2020 we werwe made aware that there was a global pandemic going on.  Schools were closed, people started hoarding toilet paper, all cleaning and disinfecting products were cleared out of the store shelves.  Even things like dried beans and yeast, canning supplies...etc, were totally sold out. 

 We had to stay home as much as possible, no church...etc.  We got exceedingly tired of being at home.  So Gary had a gravel screen he'd borrowed like 10 years ago that he needed to return.  He decided to take it back.  This was in April.  I took a few pictures; this was Ellen's face as we were on our way.  It was nice to get out and see some country.  

Here we are loaded up before leaving, the gravel screen thingy in tow.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Low Carb Baking Observations

 I have been making quite a few new low carb foods this past year.  The above is a low carb Strawberry Lemonade Cake.  It took a few steps to make, but it turned out delicious.  

Really there isn't any anything you can't turn into a low carb dish...even french fries.  The thing there is just because it's low carb doesn't mean it's either healthy or nutritious for you.  The low carb french fry recipe is pretty much just fried almond flour.  You are supposed to use avocado oil which is better for you than any other oil for frying. But oil is oil and is laden with calories.  

With that said though, it is fun to experiment and make tasty things.  Here is a low carb Zucchini Spice Cake that Ellen made this past summer, I believe.  It was really good. 

Below are absolutely delish keto bread rolls.  They are almond flour based, so it's not really low calorie, but it really is a great bread substitute.  Ellen uses them for sandwiches for school lunches. 

There are other desserts I have been experimenting with.  I will have to post more later. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020


So this happened in June 2020.  

This year has been the year of the Corona Virus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, a novel virus...whatever you want to call it.  

School was totally cancelled sometime in March I believe it was.  There were many long days and weeks.  But in June we decided to add a personality to our farm and this is the one.

We adopted her from Fursaken Animal Rescue in town.  She was born April 6th, we picked her up and brought her home June 9th I believe it was.  They had called her S'mores; we renamed her Smudge.  

She is a much more obstreperous kitty than Matilda ever dreamed of being....quite the little character. 

  Now we have few boring hours.  She keeps things lively.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

New Dairy Blood

Last fall our only bull became super, super mean.  Gary had wanted to keep him for at least another season...until spring perhaps, but the bull got to where it was chasing him and cutting up really badly during round up, so we had to get shed of him.  There weren't many Holsteins immediately available soGary decided to add some new blood to the dairy gene pool with a fairly inexpensive and locally available beef bull.
Meet JuniorJuniorJunior:
He is a Beefmaster.
What I have found interesting is what his progeny look like; Holstein/Beefmaster cross calves.  
The first 5 or so calves we got from him were bulls; much to my disappointment.
Here is one of them.  We were surprised that some of them were red like this.  And a couple people who asked Gary about the Craig's List ad claimed Gary was listing pure bred Jersey bulls as beef/dairy cross.
The one below is another little bull.  He was pretty much black and white, but you can tell by his odd spots and colorings that he is a cross.             

After several more bulls we FINALLY got a couple of little heifers; both of whom are neither black and white nor truly red like their daddy.  They came out more brown.  In fact when Gary first saw the one below he thought she'd walked into the mud at the edge of the pond or something.  It took him a minute to realize that she has brown boots.  I will have to get better pictures of the two heifers.  The other one is brown/white, but totally different yet. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

This Past Summer

 So I have hardly blogged at all this year.  I guess I need to do some catching up so I will post a few pictures and talk about our lives this past year of Our Lord 2020.

For the first time in my almost-16 years of living here in Missouri Gary got me set up to help him do the hay.  Here was my view for a few hot, sweaty hours this past July.  We did the places in Windyville; first over by the old Windyville school and then on up K Highway by Rob Howell's place. 

This was my view when I turned around; the hay rake and the rows of hay ready to be baled.  It's a creaky, bouncy job.

And this was my hay raking chariot.  Gary got the umbrella and a new seat just for me to enjoy whilst raking. 

Actually it wasn't too bad.  This past summer we did have drought conditions, but the heat was tolerable, and there was a breeze to make it tolerable.  I expect next summer; Lord willing, I will be doing the same thing.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

NaBloPoMo 2020?

 Way back in the day when I first started blogging there was a site called, or something along those lines, which stood for National Blog Posting Month and was held every November.  People would join, some would donate prizes, and then everyone would try to publish a blog post every day during the month.  If you succeeded you could enter a drawing for one of the prizes. There were lists of all sorts of blogs; I met so many fun people...some of whom are listed over to the side...the blogs I used to follow but mostly no longer do.

Even though there is no longer an official forum or page or anything else I thought I would once again try to blog every day for a month this November.  I need to sharpen my writing skills.  

Here are some pics I took yesterday on my walk with Ellen and Bella:


Mostly I wanted to capture the sky in this shot.

Bella found a terrapin:

She has a particular talent for sniffing them out.  She will carry them around a bit.  She usually wants to sit and chew on them a bit, but I take them away from her.  She wouldn't look at the camera because she knew I was going to take it away.  But she is pretty proud of herself here.  


Ellen and I found this armadillo.  It was quite busy.  Thankfully Bella didn't see it.  

Ellen found herself covered in Spanish needles.  They can be pretty prickly.  I remember we used to have these where I grew up in Humboldt County California.  But I don't ever remember calling them Spanish Needles; I am not sure we ever called them anything but aggravating.