Saturday, February 25, 2012

RECIPE: Crock Pot Mushroom Beef with Gravy

Beef round steak, cut into serving sized pieces
( I like the steak to be thick, 1 inch or more.)
1 T oil
Salt and pepper
Mushrooms, sliced, fresh or canned
2 cups beef stock
1 large onion, sliced
4 T flour

Season beef with salt and pepper.  Brown the pieces in a skillet with a little oil.  Do not crowd the pan.  Seer them quickly to a nice dark brown.  Place in crock pot.  De-glaze the pan with 1 cup stock and add to pot.  Combine flour with 1 cup stock and add to the pot.  Add onions and sliced mushrooms.  Cook on low several hours till beef is fall apart tender.  Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles if desired. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Target Shooting

 Josh got a new handgun and brought it over to let us shoot it.  He's also helping Ted decide what kind and size of gun to get for himself.  This one is a Sig Sauer 1911.  I have no idea what all that means but it was fun to shoot! 

 I have a handicap.  I can't wink my left eye - only my right.  But a right handed shooter needs to be able to aim with their left eye closed, so Josh stands behind me and holds my eye closed!  With his help, I hit the bull's eye on the target page below. The center hole in the top left bull's eye is mine! The bottom right bull's eye is Josh's. 

ClaireAnna practiced with Granpa's 22 rifle.
Claire's holes are on the bottom left bull's eye. 

Sniper At Fourteen Weeks

14 weeks, about 40 lbs.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

FARM TIP: Easy, Inexpensive Hay Rack

Today, I quickly made two hay racks for my nanny goats that are in the kidding pens awaiting the big event.  There are several reasons to make your own hay racks to use in small animal enclosures.
  1. They are easy.
  2. Purchased hay racks are expensive.
  3. They save hay by minimizing waste.
  4. They are completely safe unlike hay nets. 
  5. It's a good way to use up extra welded wire you may have laying around.
We've made ours out of 1" X 1", 1" X 2", and even 2" X 4" welded wire.  What ever we have on hand.  The smaller the mesh, the less hay falls out of the back side of the rack.  This rack is made of 1" X 2" wire.

1. Cut a piece of wire to the desired size. There is no perfect size, but make it at least as big as a flake of hay.  I randomly made this one 33 sections across by 14 sections high which turns out to be about 33" X 28".   

2. Cut out notches on the bottom two corners.  My notches are 6 sections by 3 sections or about 6" X 6" squares.  

This is my finished cut piece of wire for the hay rack. (Not laying flat.)

 3. Leave the verticals attached to your piece and then fold them down with a pliers to prevent sharp edges on the top of hay rack.  Trust me on this......would you like to see my arms?

 4. Attach the narrow, bottom section of your wire piece to the panel or gate first.  Then fold over the sides and attach them, being sure to pop out the wire to make a pocket.  I used zip ties to make this rack because I was alone and in a hurry.  I will go back later and use hog rings or some wire to secure it permanently.

Click this picture to enlarge and see the detail of the corner.

That's it! Easy peasy! Just fill it with hay.  The goat or sheep can just pull the hay through from the inside of his pen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

RECIPE: Cheesy Corn Chowder

1 large onion, diced
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, diced
3 slices bacon, cut into pieces
3 cups corn, frozen or fresh off the cop
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half & half
1 heaping cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 heaping cup grated monterey jack cheese
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, melt butter on medium heat and saute the onion.  Then add the bacon and saute for a couple of minutes.  Then add the pepper and saute 2 minutes more.  Add the corn and saute 2 minutes more.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir and saute 2 minutes or so.  Stir in stock and bring to a boil to thicken.  Reduce heat and add half and half.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add cheese and stir to melt and combine.  Then stir in green onions and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

*Adapted from a recipe found on

RECEPE: Potato and Ham Soup

4 cups peeled, 1/2 inch diced potatoes
2 cups 1/2 inch diced ham
1/3 cup diced celery (optional)
1/2 large onion, diced
3 or 4 cups chicken stock
5 T butter
5 T flour
2 cups milk or half & half
salt and pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, place potatoes, celery, ham and chicken stock.  Simmer till potatoes are tender.  In a separate skillet, saute onions slowly on medium heat in butter till translucent and tender.  Then sprinkle onions with flour and stir, cooking for a couple of minutes.  Whisk in milk/ half & half till think and bubbly.  When potatoes are tender, pour milk mixture into soup and stir to incorporate.   Salt and pepper to taste and serve. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

True Story

Last Saturday, I drove Ted's pick-up truck and the 24' stock trailer full of cattle to the sale barn at myself. 

Ted was busy.......

You see, he knew that ClaireAnna really wanted to get her hair cut. So after he had gotten his hair trimmed on Friday, he made an appointment for her for Saturday morning as a surprise.  He not only made the appointment himself, he really wanted to be the one to take her so he could see the excitement on her face when she saw her new style.

This is the third time she has cut off all her hair and donated it to cancer patients' wigs.

Having a husband who knows I'm capable and trusts me to do manly farmer stuff like drive the stick shift diesel truck pulling a 24' stock trailer full of cows to the sale barn 25 minutes away on the interstate......pretty neat.

Having a marriage where traditional gender roles don't really matter, in a relationship that is a true partnership.....totally awesome!

Having a husband who is so connected and committed to his daughter that he would not only make her an appointment for her hair cut but then really, really want to be the one to take her even though he had other manly farmer stuff to do........PRICELESS!

Making Dog Treats

Step 1: Raise and butcher your own steer and hogs for about 6 years. 

Step 2: Never eat the heart or liver because that's just gross. 

Step 3: Clean out your freezer and thaw all the hearts and livers you've collected for the last 6 years.  It will be 10 or 15 lbs of organ meat.

Step 4: Fry it all up. 


Cook it all the way to the well done, rubbery stage or it will be difficult to cut into tiny pieces.


Step 5: Cut it all up. 

Cut it as tiny as you can. Our bits did get bigger and bigger as we went along.  

 Step  6: Bag it all up and freeze. 

ClaireAnna helped chop and bag.

Thirty-seven cups of liver/ heart dog treats, individually bagged and ready for the freezer.
This looks like a lot, but when you are working with a dog every day, you can go through a lot of dog treats!  We'll use about a bag a day between the two puppies and Shani, who is not in training, but gets some anyway because I love her.  So at least for the next 37 days, I will not need to buy any Pupperonis!