Farmers of all shapes and sizes!

Farmers of all shapes and sizes!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Making marmalade

On the wee hours of this morning I could be found ladling piping hot marmalade into the 32nd jar. Taking a deep breath of relief that the first four batches were complete. My culinary assistant had long since dozed off and the multiple cups of coffee were losing their power to keep my eyes open. One third of the citrus is soaking still waiting to be turned into gel. (A process that takes almost 2 hours.) My kitchen smelled so heavenly fresh and I do believe the temperature was above 80° for once. I believe I would like to keep a jam pot constantly bubbling now! Thank you to my dear new Zealand friend and her mum for the gift of her delightful recipe.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hello from the hibernating hermit.

With the church program and Christmas shopping behind me, my days have been anchored to the farm here. I have been working slowly but surely, trying to take care of the majority of things before Winter descends upon the valley in earnest and I fly off to celebrate the new year in Bolivia.
I have found homes for all the kittens, laid in a small store of feed, tried to shut up the barn against the cold southern wind, and trying to anticipate any needs that could arise while I am in the southern hemisphere. Of late the mornings find me shuffling through papers, finances and checking in with my fitness group. I should read the stack of books that kind friends have lent me and have probably despaired of ever seeing again. Still when I sit down to read I feel restless and unfocused, like I should be doing something instead of just sitting here relaxing into the pages of unrealistic fantasies. It is about the same when I have time off, like I should be rushing about doing something, anything.  
 The very stillness I once treasured now seems to haunt me. The saying "you are who you are when you are all alone" has echoed relentlessly in my mind especially in the past 3 months. On the flip side of the coin, constant solitude interrupted only periodically can cause you to dwell on yourself too much and you must fight to achieve balance so you do not become bitter and cynical. Strengths and flaws equally reveal themselves in the moments of silence. I have found that even when I am out amongst people the camaraderie and sense of belonging evade me. I have never invested in the social circle, always too busy working and I now find that my efforts to blend in are fruitless. Embracing what sets me apart, I sit back and contemplatively study the people and events that surround me. I watch the world go by, they do not realize what they miss when they are constantly chasing what the do not have. While it is commendable to pursue dreams and ambitions, they fail to find the peace and solid foundation that is found in the quiet moments of examination and self discovery.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hunting in a winter wonderland.

Happy Thanksgiving from a fridged tree stand. Counting my blessings by the bags of meat in the freezer not the number of antler points on his head. Thank you GOD!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas is coming around again.

The Christmas Cactus is going all out this year, apparently it like its new location on the kitchen window sill. A light dusting of snow is covering the yard as I type, putting me in the mood for decorating, Christmas music and baking. Last year I didn't care if the season came or went, I only did the necessary expected traditions. Really if I was banking on circumstances this would be the year to be depressed but some unseen hand of hope is keeping me positive. Soon I will drag the lights out of storage and see how many strands I have to replace. I have written my newsletter and it is now waiting to be proofed and typed. My miniature tree awaits its ornamentation on the inside porch near Ruger's kennel. I don't believe I'll use strung popcorn or cranberries though or Ruger will end up in trouble and the tree would be devoid of it's adornment. Maybe snowflakes and snowballs, we'll see. Maybe a little something in the milkhouse too! Shhh don't tell my boss, it'll be our little secret!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fitness for the farm.

So the picture of Green slime is sure to grab some of y'alls attention, but I ask you to bear with me and not write me off as some kind of eccentric nut that has jumped off the deep end. With all my critters and living in semi-hermitage the eccentric part may not be too far off, but all I ask is that you hear me out. 
When I moved to my own place my eating habits went haywire. I was getting used to a new schedule, trying to afford groceries and discovered that I hated cooking unless I had someone to complain about what I was fixing. Over the summer things went from bad to worse as I got busier with the demand of the season. In October, my friend and fellow worker left on a 9 month mission trip, leaving me with more responsibilities and tasks to accomplish. Most of it I didn't mind doing but I quickly found my strength insufficient and my stamina exhausted. My knees were bothering me again and I was constantly tired. During this time my sister got me addicted to pinterest, where I met two girls who liked my fitness board. Up until then my motivation was about nil and I'd only made a few attempts at increasing my activity levels. So I started trying a bit harder, the lack of sunshine combatted my efforts to get out and walk Ruger. Then one of the Girls invited me to do a clean eating challenge for 5 days. It was such a short amount of time that I  decided to commit to it. It was not as hard as I'd expected and I enjoyed the accountability to the group. When the time was fulfilled I had a party to attend and ate like I had prior to the challenge. BIG MISTAKE! I felt awful. I had not experienced the cleanse symptoms many have on the challenge, but I felt the effects when I stopped. I know that working in peoples homes I cannot totally eliminate all the filler food that makes me feel so toxic but, if I continue eating fresh, wholesome, local food when I am home, I can feel so much better. So I am making small steps to nourish my body not just fill it up. My health is worth the investment. I AM WORTH IT. I need to be strong.  That is where the green slime comes in the picture. Vitamins are better derived from your food instead of the form of supplementation. Greens are a powerhouse of nutrition and I have an abundance of cold-hardy varieties in my garden. I get tired of eating salads and I'd heard if people using them in their smoothies, so I thought I would try it. using the basic recipes from the challenge and Bulk Herb Store videos I concocted something that tasted awesome with no evil additives, chock full of vitamins and nutrients and passing the taste critic's skepticism.
3 rough chopped green leaves
1 banana
1/4 c. greek yogurt
 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1/2 c. pineapple and juice
6-8 ice cubes
Blend. If you need more liquid add some more juice.
I'm gonna farm, woman strong!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Today was productive but hard, leaving me feeling accomplished sad and exhausted. Getting things in order for my upcoming absence. Ruger got his first rabies vaccine. I took Peepster to his new home with John M's chickens. And bid goodbye to miss Mayberry. Her CAE test was positive and she has been growing increasingly uncomfortable so I chose the merciful and hard decision to let her go. Still reeling from the loss of my buck Spot last week, I can't help but feel that life is not quite fair. Tired. Tired of trying so hard to be strong, capable and efficient and only resulting in failure. I am backed against the wall and I have no choice but to fight and so I do. Still, I have this unnerving feeling that the greatest battle is waged against myself.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Autumn in the Valley

 Here in the valley our autumn days are often cold and dreary, taxing the strength we will need to get us through the winter ahead. When the sunshine peeks out for even a moment I try to take the time to soak up its rays, steeling myself for the inevitable bluster that is bound to follow. By now the gardens stand nearly bare, only the resilient varieties remain, as if in rebellion of the chilly gusts. The urge to escape the foreboding storm is stronger than the restless spring fever I usually experience. It seems that my default strengths and emotions have been altered in my sojourn here. Still one would find cause to wonder if I remained unadapted to my environment. Each new challenge has etched the way I relate to those events that unfold day by day. Some of the marks it has left are deep and painful, but necessary to achieve greater heights of knowledge and independence. I should know by now that when I become satisfied with things as they are, that I have become too attached and dependent on something. Circumstances change, I become unsettled but it produces growth when I am forced out of my comfort zone. Time and time again the lessons seem to have a common theme: I am the only answer I have to my problems. "Because when push comes to shove, I taste what I'm made of. I might bend until I break, because that is all I can take. On my knees I look up, decide I've had enough. I get mad. I get strong. I wipe my hands, shake it off then I stand." Rascal Flatts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Operation rescue.

Heroism isn't as awesome as its cracked up to be. Way overrated. Fishing wet, stinky, saturated, filthy, angry kitties out of the gutter and manure pit in the pitch dark is not my idea of a pleasant evening. I put them in a cage for their own safety and to keep them out from underfoot as I rushed about trying to catch up on my delayed evening chores. But once they were all cleaned up, fluffy and dry who could resist their sweet little mews. Lol I'm a sucker.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Slowly but surely.

Today I sat down to eat my breakfast and I realized all the ingredients in my hash/ scramble except one were raised by me or my mom. And that 1 ingredient was the butter which I could have made if I had exerted a little more effort. Little by little, bit by bit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Never underestimate...

...The power of a woman farmer wearing brand spankin' new boots. She is invincible!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

...And I did what I could.

Life is usually harder than expected. Things always go wrong when you especially need then to go right. Moments of revelation when you realize that 'you' are the only answer you have to the problem. You must learn to rescue yourself, figure out the solution on your own. As a woman, I do not always have the muscle power to wrestle things into submission. This does not mean that I am incapable or inadequate or incompetent. It simply means I have to work smart, analyze and evaluate before I jump in over my head. Sometimes I need to humble myself and ask for assistance so that I do not end up gimping around for the next few weeks. Often I will have to do things differently. It may take longer but I can do it and just because it is different doesn't make it wrong. Don't limit yourself by the opinions of others. Stay focused and positive. Be strong and humble. Live with determination and faith. Believe that you can. For months every time the waterlines sprung a leak o called for assistance. Today I figured out how to fix it on my own. It was simple, boosted my confidence and the look on my boss' face when I told him was very gratifying. Last week I maneuvered a round bale on my own without popping things in my back. I had to take my time and use gravity and leverage to my favor but it was satisfying and I didn't have to OD on ibuprofen just to get out of bed the next morning. Every day and the tasks it contains are not easy. But I try to accomplish one good task each day. It helps me focus, be more motivated and often leads to more accomplishments as I don't feel overwhelmed by the daunting list. Try and try again. Blessings.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My ideal morning

Involves a coffee pot that senses my mood and energy level and adjust brew strength accordingly!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monsieur marmalade

He has grown up and become the great orange bird hunter and boss of the barn.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

All sacked out.

Every time I go away and have to tie Ruger in the barn, he wears himself out. It has been good for him he has come to a greater respect for the cows, and has the freedom to bark his little heart out. When I come home he is elated to see me wagging his entire rear-end, making little half whines and begging for scratches under his chin. After the dreadful required bath and rub down he settles quietly in his kennel or at my feet and snoozes for the next couple days only rousing for food and bathroom breaks.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sister time.

Enjoying every moment with my sister before she starts her fall college classes!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fresh from the garden

Didn't get a picture of the kohlrabi or lettuce... nothing beats fresh food!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I've been trying to come up with a name for this cute little bundle of claws and teeth. The other day I just randomly called her Sylvia and it stuck. Now the hard part, getting Ruger to be nice to her.