Sunday, October 31, 2010

Funday Sunday: Pulled Pork

My mom introduced me to the tasty deliciousness of pulled pork sandwiches this summer and we've been making them ever since (well twice anyways). It's great for company as it's made in the crock pot and feeds a lot of people. Try it this fall, you won't be disappointed.

Perfect Pulled Pork

-5 lbs, boneless pork butt shoulder
-1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (mom found this finally at Target)
-2 tsp. black pepper
-1 tsp. cayenne pepper ( I omit this)
-1 tsp. dried thyme
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 c. water
Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meant in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.

Plce pork on large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Serve in buns with your favorite barbecue sauce on top. Yum!

Serves 16-20

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making your own flock block

I think my chickens are spoiled. I give them lots of treats, mostly left overs from the kitchen. Things like cantaloupe rinds, watermelon, pretty much any fruit and veggies and yogurt....oh how the ladies love yogurt. But lately I've been thinking about winter and how to keep them happy and full of energy (and warmth) when the temps get low. I thought about suet cakes, you know those gross lard bird seed cakes that are made for song birds? I got a few and the girls love them and devoured them in minutes flat but I"m not sure about all the pure animal fat. I might only offer them on the coldest of the cold days. For the other days I decided to make them a "flock block". This is a solid block of food, things like seed, scratch and honey baked into a rock hard block. It makes the chickens work for their food, thus keeping them entertained when they are cooped up (which my girls are 24/7...too many dogs around these parts).

So yesterday I grabbed everything I could find and dumped it into a homemade flock block. I used 2 cups bird seed, 1 cup scratch, 1 cup black oil sunflower seeds, 1 cup oats, half a cup maltomeal, half a cup flax seeds (a good way to get Omega 3's into your eggs BTW), a piece of water soaked bread, quarter cup molasses, quarter cup honey, half a cup olive oil, two eggs (crushed shell and all), a spoonful of peanut butter and a diced up apple. I mixed this all up in a bowl and them smushed it into a well greased round 9 inch pan. I put a shot glass in the middle so I'd have a hole to hang it in the coop. Then I baked it in a 275 degree oven for 2 hours. It made the house smell lovely, kind of like baking bread. It turned out ok, not solid was crumbly. The next one will have a little flour to help bind it together and maybe some applesauce to make it more moist.

I figure as long as the laydies are giving me eggs every day the least I can do is cook for them.

I got these three yesterday. The Araucana's are laying their signature aqua green eggs.

The Wyandotte gals enjoyed the block. It was gone in 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Greta's First Year

My little girl's first year, boy how it went by quickly. My favorite picture was the ten month photo. 


Month one

Month two

Month three

Month four

Month five

Month six

Month seven

Month eight

Month nine

Month ten

Month eleven

Month twelve

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Funday Sunday: Pumpkin Custard

I don't know about you but the best part of Fall for me is the food. When the weather changes and the temperatures drop out come the stews, chili and comfort foods. Nothing beats the smells of Fall. Cinnamon, pumpkin and apple....yum. I quite often have a pot of spiced cider on the stove simmering away just for the heavenly smell that fills the house. My other favorite? Pumpkin. I stock my pantry with canned pumpkin just so I can whip up some pumpkin custard at the drop of a hat. I've been making this for years and made some last night so I thought I'd share the recipe. It's basically just pumpkin pie without the crust (which I usually don't eat anyways). Hope you like it as much as our family does.

Pumpkin Custard

- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups evaporated skim milk (one 12-ounce can)
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, milk, and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, spices, and salt and sift into the pumpkin mixture. Stir the batter until combined well and pour into four 3/4-cup custard cups.

3. Place the cups in a 9 X 11-inch baking pan and add enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake for 50 minutes, or until set and browned lightly. Transfer the custards to a wire rack to cool. Top with whipping cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The $551 egg

It finally happened!

We have our first egg. Actually our first three eggs! During Greta's nap yesterday Wesley and I went outside to clean out the chicken coop and what do we find in the nest boxes? Three eggs. These are the first eggs I've ever gotten out of the eight hens I purchased as chicks back in May. I thought with Fall officially here that they might not lay for me until next spring but was overjoyed to find the eggs. I literally did the happy dance in the chicken coop. Wesley probably thought I'd lost it, I mean who gets that freakin excited over an egg? Someone that has invested that much time, energy and money on these chickens....that's who.

Eight female chicks: $16
Lumber and materials for coop: $340
Chicken Wire: $120
Feeders and Watering System: $35
Brooder: $40

I'm really excited that the nesting box design worked and two of the three eggs where laid in them.

The hen house is working great and I'm thrilled we built it (and by we I mean Sean). The best part of it is the pop door. A pop door is the little door that lets the hens out of the hen house. Sean designed it so I can open and shut the door inside the shop so that I don't have to go out in the coop every night to shut the chickens inside. Thus keeping them safe from predators. All I have to do is wait for the laydies to come roost as night and I slide a thick board into place, shutting them in.

Now what to do with all the eggs I hope to get?!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Transformation of date night

When Sean and I were first married date nights were frequent. We were up to date with all the current movies, we often ate at nice restaurants enjoying each others company. Then six years later little Wesley came along. I didn't think we'd ever have a date night again. But they returned once I felt comfortable leaving Wesley with my folks as babysitters. Sean and I would go out but all we talked about was getting home to Wesley, hoping he was doing ok with Noni and Papa. Afraid he was screaming the whole time we were gone. We wouldn't be gone long enough for a dinner and a movie so it was usually a quick meal before racing home. Then Greta came along and we began searching for anyone to dump these two kids on. My parents have taken them a couple of times allowing us some much needed time apart from the kids and some much needed time together. And that is the key phrase here "time together". It's not so much what we do, as long as we can get out together and enjoy each others company. So that's what we'll be doing this weekend. Getting out. Our definition of "date night" might be a far cry from what other people think. You see, our date night will consist of a quick bite to eat at the local rib joint and then a quiet peaceful jaunt through Lowes. And I can't wait. I think I'm officially old. I'm excited about buying a wax ring for the toilet and lumber for a dog house....on date night. Oh how things have changed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A long pumpkin hunting, Birthday wishing, poo scooping post.

I wonder if this is how life is now. Go go go. Hardly time to stop, except to wipe snotty noses. I wiped a lot of snotty noses today. Not the clear dripping snot, but the green snot rockets that hang past their chin. Gross. Cold number two since preschool has started. I think I shall keep a tally. I need to get both kids in for their flu shot but I want to take them in healthy. I'm thinking that may never happen. Preschool is still worth it.

We made it to the pumpkin patch with Wesley's preschool class last week. We had fun. It was a beautiful day. You couldn't ask for more. I'm finding Wesley is super clingy when I'm around. He won't venture out to try anything new when he can hide behind my leg. I really tried to get him to go play with his preschool class but all he wanted to do was hang with Sissy and I. Oh well. It was enjoyable.

Wesley and his class of cutie pies (he's still the cutest of the cutie pies, he's third from the left).

First year in the barrel train.

The perfect pumpkin for a three year old.

The perfect pumpkin for a one year old.

A lot has changed since the last time we were here.
They had this giant slide. It's steep but a lot of fun. Wesley decided to go down it all by himself (much to my surprise). But for some reason he couldn't keep upright. He was sideways, or upside down. It's like his tiny little butt wasn't big enough to keep him upright. Exhibit A:
Second time down. Exhibit B:
This weekend was nonstop as well. A lot was accomplished. First and foremost I want to wish a certain little boy named Alex a big Happy Birthday! He turned four years old today and we got to celebrate his birthday with him. I keep waiting for his mom to put up a blog so I can steal some pictures (pictures I took with her camera because I forgot mine)of the festivities but alas she hasn't blogged about it yet (come on Jessica, get off FarmVille and blog! hehehe). Wesley is lucky to have such a great buddy like you Alex!

We got several chores done this weekend. Sean got the Cub Cadet going and put the blade on front and pushed the horse manure around. After talking to the farrier awhile back about manure management, we've come to the conclusion that spreading the manure out so that it's no longer in piles allows it to compost on it's own and it really keeps the smell down. So instead of making big piles we are now just pushing it around with the garden tractor. Seems to work. I think I'll miss all the compost piles next spring when I'm getting the garden ready though.

Rocky is deciding if he has the guts to reach out and bite Sean.

The farrier came out today to trim up the two mini's. He makes it out about every 8-10 weeks. It's nice to not have to attempt to trim them on my own anymore.  I'm happy to report that Rocky didn't bite the farrier this time. Crappy little horse bit him in August. I've never seen a grown man swear that much. Rocky got a good smack for that one. He did some rearing and fancy footwork today but no biting. He's a handful for a 250 pound horse. Reminds me of a hyperactive 12 year old boy. You can't turn your back on him.

The chickens got to get out of their pen for the day yesterday. I figure these beautiful days are on their way out and Winter will be here before we know it. Better let these birds eat grass and bugs and be chickens while there are bugs and grass to eat. It is time consuming carrying eight chickens, one at a time, from their coop to the dog run. I think they appreciated it though.

I'm looking forward to slowing down this week and enjoying this beautiful fall weather! Hope everyone has a nice week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Write Up

-The garden is still producing! I'm up to my elbows in bell peppers, tomatoes and carrots. I would have never thought October was a good month for getting veggies from the garden. I have two bell pepper plants and one had 22 bell peppers on it. Awesome! The horses and goats love their daily carrot treat, I'll be sad when the carrots are gone for the season.

-I'm officially back to work (at home that is). Greta has hit that stage where she's Miss Independent and I'm able to get stuff packaging up and shipping out boxes. My customers are happy that I'm back to sculpting and doing orders, especially with Christmas on it's way. Our banking account is happy I'm back to work too! It's a win win situation.

-Wesley is really enjoying Preschool. He's come out of his shell 110%. We go into the classroom and he turns around and waves at me goodbye, his way of saying "get outta here Mom!". He loves to hug and when I go to pick him up he tries to hug each and every classmate goodbye, some have no clue as to why this kid is hugging them. You can tell the kids that don't come from a "hugging home". It's precious.

-I'm officially not a minivan mom anymore. I enjoyed the minivan but didn't love it. I like vehicles that handle a little bit better and I don't like feeling like a soccer mom. I don't feel old enough to be a soccer mom :). We traded it in on a 2007 Ford Freestyle. It's got low miles and it will be great for our two big trips a year. The big thing was to find a vehicle that both Britax car seats would fit into. Those are big car seats! Greta is still rear facing (and will remain that way for as long as possible) so her seat takes up even more room than normal. This car fits them both wonderfully and there is so much cargo space. We are so happy with the upgrade.

-I'm still really curious to find out if Dym the goat will be expecting babies this December so I did a little research online. Turns out the only way to confirm a goat is pregnant is to take them to a vet to undergo an ultrasound. Then I read a story about a guy that took his goat in for an ultrasound, the vet said she was not pregnant and three weeks later the goat had triplets. Ha! So maybe that's not a viable option either. I wondered if human pregnancy tests could be used on goats and it turns out human pregnancy tests USE goat hormones to make that's out. Guess I'll just have to wait it out. I don't have a ton of patience so this is killing me! I just wish I KNEW whether to expect kids or not. She's due on Christmas day so that should be a fun time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


During Greta's nap today Wesley and I walked up to get the mail. Hand in hand we walked until we found a scattering of the most beautiful red leaves on the driveway. They were a deep red and begged to be picked up, which we did. We each picked up a few, Wesley put a few in his pocket. On we went. There was a little voice in my head telling me "We don't have any trees with little red leaves on it". Didn't think much about it until we started walking back to the house at which time I started looking around for the tree with the pretty red leaves. No tree with pretty red leaves....a vine with pretty red leaves. Uh oh. I quickly emptied Wesley's pockets of his treasured red leaves and ushered him inside. A quick internet search revealed what I was afraid of.

Old faithful poison ivy. Ugg. So we stripped off clothing and put it in the washer. Wesley got a bath and I got a shower. Let us pray that will be enough to get all the oil off of our skin and clothing. We'll know in a few days. A rash from head to toe is something we don't need right now, considering all the colds we constantly are battling. Sean and I are just now getting over the last round. It took antibiotics and a steroid shot in the keister to help us through, that one was brutal.

We did have a very nice morning enjoying our annual city festival. We really pepped up the parade for Wesley telling him all about the candy he'd get. Boy was he not disappointed. It's enjoyable making new family traditions.

The coolest thing in the parade, a Boer goat trained to pull a cart.

The two candy hounds

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekly Winners

I caught these two rug rats just lying here looking at each other. Silly kids.

If I sit outside then I will inevitably have a goat in my face, sweet curious Dym.

The cat has got to be wondering what Greta plans to do with those tongs. Run away.

Quiet time with Dad. Loving the new birthday clothes, thank you Grandma's!

Partners in crime. They look sweet and all, but they're planning something.

Growing up we had collies. When my sister and I went to a neighbors house, my parents could always tell where we were because the collies would sit on the door step. Dym is like the collies, she's always near the kids. She's our guard goat.

Greta is trying out her legs more and more. Not pulling up on tall stuff yet, but puts weight on them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

To chop or not to chop

One of my many quarks is that I have to completely pulverize food before it's given to Greta. I mean I literally chop and chop and chop until it's this pile of mush. I did this with Wesley when he was a baby too. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's not like any of my children have ever choked or anything but it is one of my biggest fears. The thought of one of the kids choking to death because I didn't cut up their food small enough just makes me shiver. It's so scary. Wesley is three years old with a full set of teeth and I still quarter his grapes. Sean jokes that I'll be cutting up his food until he's in high school. Anyways, the point of this all is that there is a blog that I read that just makes me freak out. This couple (that I don't know, just ran across their blog) have a baby that is just days older than Greta. They blog about everything that this baby does. I mean absolutely everything. So when they give her a new food there is a blog about it along with pictures. First they gave her whole banana's, then a big ear of corn on the cob, then giant fist sized chunks of cantaloupe. Then yesterday they showed pictures of the little girl (who just turned a year old) sitting in her high chair with a pile of whole grapes in front of her. This baby has three teeth. I tell ya, it makes me so anxious reading their blog. I'm so afraid for this little girl. I know I over react when it comes to chopping food, but to give whole grapes to a one year old? I think I'll have to stop looking at their blog because of the anxiety I get for that baby girl. Do these parents not know the dangers? Do they not care? Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall update

I love Fall. I love the crisp cool mornings where I have to wear a jacket to go feed the animals. I love the shortening days where we play inside in the evenings instead of out. I'm a fan of this season. We have fun activities lined up for this Fall. Next weekend is our annual city festival, something I've been doing ever since I was a little girl. I'm excited to show Greta this year...I think she'll enjoy the parade. After that is Halloween. Wesley is already talking about getting candy and dressing up. He said he wants to be Thomas the Train yet again this year. Makes buying a costume easy, we already have it! His preschool class is taking a trip to the pumpkin patch next week which I think he'll thoroughly enjoy. Then in November we are all driving down to New Mexico for Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to the trip, even the drive doesn't faze me this year (that might be due to the fact we are getting a new used car but it's not a done deal quite yet...I'm not going to be a mini van mom anymore...:). It will be great to see everyone since we missed last year due to Greta being a newborn. I'm excited about the next few months!

Not much happening around here. This might explain the lack of blogging. You could say I've been in a blogging "funk". Our washing machine started acting up a couple of weeks ago. The spin cycle didn't work leaving me with soaking wet clothes piled up in the washer. I was forced to squeeze out each garment over a bucket before transferring them to the dryer. Sean did some research online and found this problem was unique to the Maytag Neptune and happened quite often. He took it apart and, sure enough, the circuit board was fried. A new circuit board was $250 but he ran across a man online in Washington that would fix the fried part on the circuit board for $50 and ship it back. You gotta love the internet! So I won't be without a washer too much longer. I had no idea how much laundry I did in a week until that thing broke. It's amazing.

I hope everyone is out enjoying this wonderful cool weather!