Sunday, February 23, 2014

Frogs and Willow Trees

This has been the coldest winter we've had since moving here 15 years ago. One night it was -30 with the wind chill. The air made my skin hurt.  We've had lots of snow - and two storms that covered our farm with at least 6 inches of snow each time.  Nothing compared to y'all up north but quite  different for us here in the south!

However, towards the end of last week I stepped outside one evening to enjoy the stars.  There are not many lights out here in the country so sometimes it looks like the stars could be plucked from the sky. And then I heard it.....down in the far field.....frogs!  When the frogs begin to sing again, spring is in the air!  I love the song they sing and always wonder if it isn't praise to our Father!  I'd love to hear the translation but I'm just sure they are singing about His glory.

The next sign I'll be watching for is the "greening" of our willow tree by the pond.  It happens quickly.  Brown in the morning and tinges of green in the evening.  I expect it soon.  Then the peach trees will begin to blossom - usually too soon because we almost always have another frost that kills the buds.

At about the same time the willow tree begins to turn green, mint will spring up everywhere!  Come April, it will be time to start cutting and drying it.  I love mint in my tea, mint to season our food with and making ice cold "mint tea" for hot summer days!

In honor of spring, I'm putting all of our "mint" soaps on sale this week! Refreshing Rosemary & Mint Shampoo, my'll want to taste it (but don't!) Chocolate Ice, my germ busting Peppermint Tea Tree,  my best selling soap and personal favorite  Remy's Rosemary & Mint, and that scent from the past... Double Mint.  Save 20% on my "mint collection" starting now and ending at Friday at noon!

Hope spring is in the air at your home!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Whipped body butter volunteers?

I'm looking for a few local guinea pigs volunteers  who would be willing to try out my new whipped body butter and then give me an honest review!

This scent is based on my very popular Chocolate Ice if you don't like peppermint, this is not the time to volunteer.

Isn't she lovely?

 To volunteer...

1.  You must be local :)

2.  You must suffer from dry skin.

3.  You must be willing to give me your honest opinion ....I'm talking brutal people!

4.  I'd really like my jars back too!

Leave your name or zip me an email if you are brave enough.

Oh...Elijah says it tastes faintly minty with a hint of chocolate...seriously?

Maybe we should make another rule....this is not to be eaten - just slathered on your dry skin!

 Thanks in advance!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Life With Boys....

Don't know...

didn't ask....

 And yes....they are under my kitchen table...   

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Cow Chasing...the new Olympic Sport!

We just tried sending 2 steers to the butcher. 

Notice the word tried.

My sons put the steers into the corral the night before the butcher came to pick them up. 

The plan: Butcher backs trailer up to the gate, we open the gate, steers walk into the trailer.  It is how it always goes....usually without a hitch.

Notice the word usually.

Elijah went down to open the gate for the butcher.  I watched from my window. The steers balked.  Even the butcher was surprised. Usually Jersey steers are pretty docile and cooperative.

There is that word usually...again.

They began snorting and tossing their heads. Backing away from the gate and moving forward.  I then watched one of them jump the fence! A 4 foot fence.  Like a cat or dog would do.  In 15 years, I've seen cows push through fences, try to walk through fences, find ways around fences but NEVER have I seen a cow just jump a fence. 

He got his feet tangled and fell on the other side of the fence.  Elijah got him untangled but now he was in the far field...that goes to the creek...that goes to the valley...

Elijah took off after him.  In the meantime, the other steer walked into the trailer and the butcher secured him.  I got my farm boots on, grabbed my coat and took off to help.

As I headed down the hill,  Elijah chased that steer back into the field that was secure.  That steer saw the open gate I was headed towards and began to run.  I know he was thinking "freedom".  I began to run downhill and it was a race to see who could get to the gate first!

I won. Barely...don't know if you know this but cows can run really fast!

As I swung that gate shut, Elijah tried to drive that steer back towards the corral.  And once again, that steer jumped a 4 foot fence next to the corral.  No...he didn't jump....this time he sailed over it.  Like he had wings.

Forget the "when pigs fly" about "when Jersey's fly"?

Elijah took off after him - now he was in the pond field - a whopping 11 acres with hills and valleys.  Elijah has the gift of perseverence, he would have chased that steer all day. What should have been a 15 minute operation had now turned into one hour of chasing this steer.

I called Elijah back and told the butcher to go ahead and haul the one steer.  We'll call him back to get the "jumper" when we have a few more people here to help.

Our new plan? Open to suggestions!

We may try to make that fence look bigger than it is. He only has to walk 6 - 8 feet to the trailer.

I know one thing...that jumping cow is going to taste so much better than the cooperative cow.  We've learned over the years that we always enjoy the more difficult cows the most.  Relief, and victory,  are lovely things to taste when it comes to cows!

This has been a wild winter.  According to the weatherman - it's about to get a lot wilder. Evidently, snow will start here in just a few hours and continue to Friday.  5 to 10 inches is what they are calling for.  It's headed our way from the gulf which has the locals murmuring about the winter of '93. I wasn't here then but after asking some questions I found out that 21 inches of snow came down pretty quickly.

I thought I lived in the south! 

This does not look like the south! This is our last snowfall...just about 2 weeks ago!

I like one good snow fall a year.  I still like to sled and make snowmen with my sons.  I might even throw a snowball or two (ok...I definitely throw snowballs!). Then I like to come in to warm by the fire with a cup of home made hot chocolate while a pot of baked potato soup simmers in the crockpot!  The best of winter...but once a year is enough.

Our temps have been to -17 (-30 with windchill). When it is that cold out it makes your face hurt, your skin burn, your bones ache and you just can't seem to get warm. You'd think we lived in the North Country like my friend Scott!  I'll spend this snowy Friday listening to his interview with Richard Grossman. Hope you'll join me - Scott talks about all things agrarian and Richard is an extremely knowledgeable farmer!

I think even our animals have been cold this winter.  It's so odd to see them walk around in a snowstorm with several inches of snow on their backs. We've been giving them a treat of beet pulp now and then with their hay. 

And we've been spoiling our horse with frequent apples.  He is spending a lot of time at the fence in front of my kitchen window looking very forlorn.  He looks across the yard right at me with those big, soft, brown eyes. I'm pretty sure he is begging.  I usually go out with a carrot or apple so I can stroke that lovely soft nose of his!

When the temps drop to single digits, we bring the farm dogs in for the night.  Boy are they getting spoiled! They've been in so much they now think it should be a daily thing.

The barn cats burrow down together into the hay in the hayloft and keep toasty warm. All that shared body heat!

Our chickens seem to be thriving through this very cold winter.  We've had no frostbite to their combs and we are still getting 6 to 8 eggs every day.  When it warms up to 32 we usually get 10 or more. I think I need recipes that use a ton of eggs!

I'm so thankful to my Father that all of the creatures he has entrusted to us have remained healthy this snowy winter.

How are y'all faring in this crazy weather?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Marketing World...

Dear Marketing World,

I know you are infatuated with me.  This is obvious since you can't stop calling me, mailing me, emailing me and even texting all hours.... even when the world is sleeping you are trying to sneak a little time together.  Shame on you! I think it is time for a serious discussion.

There are some things you need to know.  Please take notes.  Memorize them.

I am not a massage parlor.

I do not EVER attend "Spa and Beauty" conferences.  I don't attend any conferences when they are held in Las Vegas.  Or when the cost is only, $2999.99 excluding airfare.

I do not give "therapeutic" massages.

I do not want your help with Google+. Really.  Believe me on this one.

I do not give Botox injections.  In fact, I don't give ANY injections of any kind. Never will.  I am firm on this.

I do not give any massages.

I do not do hair or nails AND I don't want to spend my last dime to learn how. 

I do not want to know about the latest chemicals I can use to "better my products and increase my sales".

I do not give massages...ever...for any reason...EVER. Stop asking!

I do not want to pay you skads of money so you can help me increase the traffic to my blog. Nope..not a dime. I'm serious.  Call me crazy, I know!

I do not employ "skin specialists" that I want to send to your 2 day conference for $5,000.

I do not want your help with Google+. Calling me twice a day...EVERY day will NOT change my mind.

Do not call me and warn me "DO NOT HANG UP!"  It compels me to hang up immediately.  Yes, I'm that kind of woman. It's the principle you see - do you really think I'll take orders from a stranger?

I'm sorry it has come to this (not really) but we must part ways.  I think you might fall in the category of stalking.  You waste my time.  When I did answer the phone, you were pushy and rude.

I no longer read your letters, folders, packets of are just fodder for bonfires we now enjoy at your expense.  Toasted marshmallows...mmmmm....yummy!  Thanks!

I don't answer your calls anymore.  I have renamed you...phones let us do that now.  Your new name is "SPAM".  

I want to break up. 

Don't call me, mail me or text me anymore...and as Grandma used to say "don't let the door hit you on the backside as you go".

By the way..."Rachel with card services"...just in case you are reading this - go away.  forever.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You Can Can!

I'm not talking about dancing.  I'm talking about something much loved in the winter (like right now!)  when I see these on my shelves...

and much disliked in the summer (when you do it every day for weeks on end).  It involves heavy pots, lots of hot water, steam, chopping, grinding, and lots of cleaning up!

Yes, we are talking about canning!  Do you do it?  Do you water bath? Do you pressure can?  Both? If you've never done it before, will you start this year?

If you are a crazy canner during the summer, do you can when you don't have a garden? I just discovered this different type of canning a few years ago but....more about that in another post!

It's time to start thinking about canning this summer - and yes...I know it is snowing outside right now.  Begin to gather your equipment (more on that in another post).

Start picking up jars - so easy to find at estate sales, auctions and thrift stores.  I often see ads in our little paper from elderly ladies who have finally given up canning and they are selling off all of their jars!

Pick up a copy of the Ball Blue Book - it's inexpensive and is a good basic place to start!

Keep an eye out for sales at Tattler - my favorite re-usable canning lids - yes re-usable! I don't buy canning lids anymore and I save a lot of money because of that each year!  I love my Tattlers!

Also, check out your local county extension office.  They usually have a canning expert on staff! I make good use of this resource myself.  When I am going to can one of my own recipes and want to make sure I have the times and pressure down correctly, I always run it by our local extension agent just to make sure I haven't missed something!

Let me know if you have any canning questions, and I'll respond to them in future posts on canning.

More on my favorite equipment coming soon with some giveaways to help you on your path to putting up food!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Things you never thought you'd say to your children...

This is a common topic in our home..."things I never thought I'd say to my sons".

Tonight it was this...

"Your eyeliner and eyebrow pencil are waaaayyy to dark"....

I should, perhaps, mention that I have a son involved in community theatre and ballet...

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