Comfort Food Supper

This weekend we had temperatures hit 60 degrees, amazing since we had experienced highs of 18 in the same week. Welcome to Ohio friends. Yesterday we saw our high early in the morning, then the temps dropped rapidly thru the day. By the end of milking time in the afternoon we were almost back to freezing.

I was prepared to have some warm you up, comfort food for supper. When you’re cold few things warm you up quite as well as a stick to your ribs type meal. Ours was BBQ deer roast, oven roasted sweet potatoes and sweet corn. Quite tasty if I do say so myself. I thought I would share the recipes this morning!

BBQ Deer Roast

  • 3 pounds of deer roast (I’m sure a beef roast would work in similar fashion)
  • 1 12oz can of Coke
  • Seasoning Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Approximately 2 Cups of your favorite BBQ sauce

Liberally season son the roast with the seasoning salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place in a crock pot. Pour Coke in to crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or overnight. Remove roast from crock pot and allow to slightly cool. Reserve the cooking liquid. Shred the roast and return to crock pot. Slowly add BBQ sauce until you’ve reached your desired “sauciness”. I like to use some of the liquid to thin down the sauce. Allow to cook an additional 1-3 hours.

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Olive Oil

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and slice potatoes. Place on a 9×13 cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Toss to coat all potatoes. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Our supper. Yummy!

Our supper. Yummy!

All of these recipes are easy and satisfying, but require minimal effort to do. Great for a week night meal! I completed the meal with sweet corn from the freezer.

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Baconseed Update

I haven’t talked pigs lately. They’re growing so quickly! I know with only 7 of them there aren’t that many interesting happenings with them, but they’re still in their cute stage so I thought you all may like some pictures!

Our little squealers are very friendly, much to my dismay because I am NO pig farmer. We purchase them from a friend who also has 3 little kids. While our kids were there picking out piglets he taught them how to get the piglets to come up to be hand fed. I was cool with this at 35 pounds. At nearly 90 pounds I’m starting to get creeped out a little.

Snuggled up feeding the piggies.

Snuggled up feeding the piggies.

Sometimes the father of the tribe doesn't help the situation...

Sometimes the father of the tribe doesn’t help the situation…

One thing about pigs is they’re smart. Too smart somedays. Like the day we came home and they had escaped by finding a loose board to pry open. We briefly had free range pork that afternoon.

Our pigs have one weakness, milk. They saw the truck pull up and knew what it carried for them. We feed our pigs waste milk, when they saw their pail they came running! Easy catch thank goodness!

Milk does a body good, even if you're a pig!

Milk does a body good, even if you’re a pig!

The pigs eat grain for the majority of their diet. This makes sure they get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need. The milk is just an extra treat that helps plump them up a little faster. Here’s a few more shots of the bacon seeds in their natural habitat.

If you have an itch, you have to scratch it...

If you have an itch, you have to scratch it…

Some thing had caught their interest. They're so nosey!

Some thing had caught their interest. They’re so nosey!

I can’t guarantee they will still be cute with the next update. We are quickly leaving the adorable piglet stage and just becoming big, stinky pigs. The only thing the pigs have up on the cows is they are little bacon makers!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I would like to start this blog post by saying, yes I am aware I live in Ohio. I know we have crazy weather sometimes. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Monday morning it snowed. Lots of heavy, wet snow that clung to everything. It looked like a beautiful scene from a Christmas card. My problem with this? The turkey hasn’t even begun to thaw out for Thanksgiving yet. Seriously, Mother Nature, let me eat my turkey before you make me look at that white junk.

This didn’t stop me from taking pictures of it. I mean, I hate to admit it, but it did look pretty. This is the first thing I saw after getting out of my car at the farm. I saw lots of snow all over the road getting there. Very glad we only live a half of a mile away. Could have been a long ride!

snowDark

A snowy maple tree in the dark.

Once the sun came up I could snap a few more pictures of our winter misery beauty.

Looking out the side door of the parlor.

Looking out the side door of the parlor.

Snapshot of the farm pond.

Snapshot of the farm pond.

If you look really close, those 2 black dots are some chilly ducks.

If you look really close, those 2 black dots are some chilly ducks.

Of course, with it being the first snow and my children’s horrible adaptation to the time change, the tribe emerged bright and early to play!

A little 6am romp in the snow!

A little 6am romp in the snow!

Snow also brings on snow ball fights. Who better to come after than your parents?

Taylor trying some sneaky snow ball fight skills on his dad....

Taylor trying some sneaky snow ball fight skills on his dad….

When you get caught, you need to be prepared for pay back…

I wish I could have recorded all the laughter in this shot. Now there would be some undercover farm video for you!

I wish I could have recorded all the laughter in this shot. Now there would be some undercover farm video for you!

When we were done and came home the plight with the white stuff continued…

Some snowy oak trees by our pond.

Some snowy oak trees by our pond.

The snow was also a first experience for some this year. Our trusty little wanna-be cow dog had never played in snow before. She quickly took to chasing and attempting to retrieve snow balls!

Bella's first snow!

Bella’s first snow!

Little Henry took a more reserved approach and enjoyed his first snow from inside our warm house!

Admiring the snow thru the big windows.

Admiring the snow thru the big windows.

This day was nothing compared to the next two where it struggled to get over 20. Good news is a few more days and it’s supposed to warm up and rain. Then we can enjoy our mud…

 

Dante’s Inferno

In the 14th century there was an epic poem composed by Dante Alighieri called Divine Comedy. For those of you not familiar with it, part of the poem is entitled Inferno. It involves the travel of Dante, thru the nine circles of Hell. Bet ya didn’t realize I was going this deep with a blog post. Hang with me. The nine circles of Hell Dante travels thru are (1) Limbo, (2) Lust, (3) Gluttony, (4) Greed, (5) Anger, (6) Heresy, (7) Violence, (8) Fraud and (9) Treachery.

When writing this poem, he forgot the tenth circle, my children’s toy room.

A toy room always sounds so magical and full of adventure when you’re a child. A room, that’s all yours, filled with your toys, to do as you wish. When we turned our spare room down stairs in to a toy room, I saw it as a way to get rid of the mountain of toys that were slowly engulfing our living room. It’s always so much more fun to see things the way a kid does!

Upon moving in to this old farm house, we originally lived only in the down stairs. The upstairs was being saved for when we needed more bed rooms for little ones. With the birth of Taylor (#2), we had to make the move up the steps. I didn’t want to have bedrooms on both floors with as small as our children were. When we moved our bedroom upstairs it opened up an entire room.

By this point in time Emma had a stash of toys she’d been gathering for almost 2 years, then shortly after Taylors birth people began giving him gifts of toys. The “living” area in our living room was slowly losing it’s foot hold to plethora of tiny human toys.

Now when an adult first thinks of a toy room, it sounds magical to them too. You start having Pinterest pictures flash thru your mind. Neatly organized, possibly even color coded bins. Play mats for hot wheels. A cute little kitchen set and possibly a doll house in the corner. Those cute little sand buckets, mysteriously hung, to hold small toys. Neat. Organized. Sickly adorable.

You move toys in and for the first few weeks, maybe you can squeak out a month depending on your kids, all is well. Then life happens. Someone forgets to put a toy away, a crayon carelessly left on the floor. Before you know it mass chaos has broken out. Now by this point in time, it’s also inevitable that some loving grandparent or friend has given them another toy or two. This adds to the clutter.

Fast forward four years and you are where we are at. Our toy room is the point of no return. A pit of demise. Where toys go to die. I try. There’s days I honestly think the tribe tries to keep it semi-organized. It doesn’t work. We’ve tried bins, boxes, shelves. It still is a constant, messy battle.

My last afternoon off I felt adventurous. The whole tribe and I were ready to embark on this adventure of cleaning it.I felt a moment of power. Emma had a box for toys they no longer fancied to take to the secondhand store. Taylor had a trash bag for broken toys and torn magazines. Henry had a moment of bravery, I mean the kid only crawls after all. To crawl in there is brave.

We sorted, we trashed, we binned and boxed and shelved. Progress was made. I was impressed how easily some broken toys were parted with. Although Emma would not part with “Curly Shirley”. Curly Shirley is an old, hard plastic doll. Her hair is matted, she’s had tribal paint drawn on by pen and her legs are similar to those possessed by Lt. Dan. For whatever reason, she had to stay. Whatever. I was picking my battles.

After a few hours progress had been made. The floor could be seen. The tribe parted with a few toys. I think we all left feeling happy. It always amazes me how much more time is spent in the toy room after it’s been cleaned. Hopefully, sooner than later, they realize how much more they can do in a somewhat clean toy room.

Kudos to the pinterest moms  and their neat, organized, color coated toy rooms. You have more patience than I. Ours is messy, lived in if you will. The bins are dumped and used as race cars more than they hold toys. The toy box is a hiding place. Our shelves may be sometimes used as rock climbing walls….

While a room of chaos, it is also a room where we have lots of fun. Siblings can generally find peace in it and I can get a break when they retreat there. Our toy room may not be the tenth circle, but there’s days I think it may hold a portal.

 

 

Keeping Our Babies Warm

As the temperatures start to dip, we need to keep our babies warm! We milk cows 365 days a year. In order to do this babies have to be born all year long.

Calves are born with very little fat on their bodies. During warm temperatures this is not much of an issue. Baby cows, just like baby humans, gain weight quickly.

A newborn baby that is minutes old. Not much fat for insulation.

A newborn baby that is minutes old. Not much fat for insulation.

For the first seven weeks of their lives our calves are fed a rich diet of milk replacer (think baby formula) and a starter grain. Both of these are very high in fat and protein to promote quick growth. Calves who grow quickly tend to be healthier. They have even done studies showing calves who have a higher rate of gain will produce more milk as cows.

When temperatures begin to dip calves, like any other animal, will burn fat to stay warm. We want to prevent this. On our farm we have a goal of each baby gaining right around 1.75 pounds a day. If they start to burn body fat to stay warm, their daily rate of gain will drop quickly.

Once the temperature begins to regularly dip below 50 degrees we start to take measures to keep our babies warmer. The first is lots of dry bedding. Our calves have straw fluffed for them on a daily basis. In cooler months we keep the straw deep for extra warmth. While this is a simple and great approach, we take a few more steps.

Mid-fall their diet slightly changes. The company that makes our calf feed has realized how much cold weather can effect our calves rate of gain. They change their formula to suit the season. In late fall thru early spring the starter and milk replacer contain a higher percentage of fat. This enables us to feed the same amount of feed, but get more calories in to our calves.

The last thing we do is give the babies calf jackets. Yes, you read correctly. We place jackets on our calves. This gives them an extra layer of warmth, just like when you wear a coat. A calf jacket is made of a soft vinyl so it doesn’t soak up moisture and has a middle layer of batting for insulation. All of our babies get these toasty coats once temps start to drop.

So what do calves in these calf jackets look like? Pretty cute if you ask me!

A calf sporting a nice warm coat!

A calf sporting a nice warm coat!

Don't like blue? Try a red one!

Don’t like blue? Try a red one!

When things start to cool off, we need to keep our babies warm! These are just some of the steps we take to help keep everyone a little warmer when old man winter hits. Now if they could only enjoy a hot cocoa!

Jamberry and a Farm Girl…

I am one of those people who “attend” about every party I’m invited to on Facebook. I can do it from the luxury of my home, PJ’s and a cup of coffee right? Well this generally leads to my newsfeed being full of all kinds of tempting goodies I don’t buy because I’m a Facebook party window shopper. I’ve had this problem for a few years now.

One day I clicked that I would be “attending” a Jamberry party someone was having. I knew what Jamberry was, but had never attended on of these parties. My nails are normally short and some days rough looking at best. And how on Earth were my uncoordinated hands going to get these sticky wraps on by myself? So I window shopped a few more parties.

A particular party had a game, I answered a question and some how won. The prize was a free set of wraps. Great, now what was I going to do? I picked out the color I wanted, Fuzzy Grape, and messaged her back.

In the meantime, I was invited to another one of these parties. I thought I should probably buy another color because all purple sparkly nails is a touch wild for me. For the first time since the existence of Facebook parties and my creeper window shopping, I actually made a purchase! A nice sparkly beige to mute my purple. Now being a mom to the little fashionista I am, I knew I had to order a set of Jamberry Jrs as well or the chicken kid would not be pleased.

About a week later our purchases arrived. Now I was skeptical as to how these would hold up on the farm. I mean after all it’s a nail wrap that I’m just applying with a hairdryer. Honestly I was giving them a few days at best. They’re supposed to last 14. I, like any other person searching for a good demo, watched an application video on YouTube and slapped them on. To Emma. As my guinea pig.

Emma's nails with her cute hearts and unicorns pattern.

Emma’s nails with her cute hearts and unicorns pattern.

After this going fairly well I decided it was time to do my own. I hurriedly slapped them on while watching the YouTube video again. I went to the barn not thinking anything about my nails. By the time I was done milking over half of the wraps had fallen off. Feeling defeated I removed the survivors and figured I would try again later.

A few days later I had some time to try again. I watched a different video. This one from Jamberry. The first video I watched left out the step of applying rubbing alcohol or nail primer. Note to all newbies, follow the Jamberry videos. After watching this new video, my nails looked lovely. All shiny and wrapped!

Wraps on!

Wraps on!

I really wasn’t convinced yet that these were going to last all 14 days. But figured I would give it a go.

Day 7

Day 7

All was going well one week in. Nothing had fallen off, no tears or chips and only very small growth underneath. I was starting to think that these just might work.

Dirty hands

Dirty hands

Above is a shot of some of the abuse they with held… Still pretty pretty with cow poo on them!

Day 14

Day 14

I couldn’t believe they lasted all 14 days. I even broke down and trimmed my nails around day 10 because I absolutely can’t stand long fingernails. I wasn’t sure if this was allowed or not, but I could take no more! My wraps were still on. Mildly frayed on a few fingers and some obvious growth underneath.

In 2 weeks time these wraps handled a LOT! Milking cows, inevitable cow poop on them, pulling calves, treating sick animals, brushing and bathing horses, feeding calves and cows and dealing with chickens. Seriously, I gave them a good test.

After our 14 day run was over, I removed the wraps and my nails were as good as new!

Back to my stumpy, plain nails!

Back to my stumpy, plain nails!

How do you get your hands on some of these tough little wraps you may be asking? Here’s my Jamberry consultants info!

Jen Rahde can be found on

Facebook www.facebook.com/jrahdejamberrynails

or

Her Jamberry website http://jrahde.jamberrynails.net/?ref=jrahde