Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Snow Shots

Our snow came a day later than it did for everyone back home. However, we did get a little skiff of snow about a month ago. Nothing compared to the 3-4 feet that hit SW South Dakota about a month ago. So we aren't complaining.
I ventured outside to take some photos. I hate this time of the year...snow on a not frozen ground. Such mud! Thank goodness I have gum boots, but they aren't insulated so I just have cold feet instead.
The heifers are back around the yard now likely until they're done calving.  They "can't" get into my garden. But they can get through fences every now and then.....

Heifers on the other side of my garden

I love that the colours are still around :) 

Sassy is the less aggressive pup. Oddly enough she was the most aggressive when they first got her, and up until the cows came around. Now Dan is SUPER aggressive with the cows while Sassy is not! Funny how that changed!  

 The above pic is the trees at the river yesterday when it started to snow. Crazy to think that just last week they were bright yellow and a week later the leaves are gone and replaced with snow!

Monday, October 28, 2013

All Things Handmade

Sometimes I feel bad when Jed has to go to work and I can stay home and not have to dress up for the cold and slave away all day. But then I remember that he gets to come home to a clean (mostly) house, his laundry done, the bed made (the "last one in it has to make it" theory doesn't always work), and all his meals made for him! If you ask me, I'd say it's pretty fair!

Today it was a snowy, cold day. And when it's a snowy, cold day, it just motivates me to make things. It started out with making Jed's breakfast. I had (re) seen a recipe on pinterest, of course, that I wanted to try out.  It was called a Honey Cloud Pancake. How wonderful does that sound?  It is a mix between a pancake and company's breakfast. I only stole one bite and it was quite tasty I'd say. Plus it had no sugar
in it so that's a bonus. Just honey as a sweetener.  The recipe can be found here.  I think I will be making this again. Maybe in a larger pan so Jed can share.
The Honey Cloud Pancakes with bananas and blackberries. Who knew blackberries went red when cooked!

I wanted to make an enchilada soup for supper because a) we have free beef so I tend to cook a lot more with ground beef since we aren't paying for it (other than cow work) b) we like soup. Especially on a snowy day.
Most of the recipes I saw needed cream of chicken soup which I don't have. Since I tend to make a lot of stuff from scratch, and avoid the processed stuff as much as possible, I just made the "soup". Who knew it was so easy! When I get my chickens, we MAY butcher them so I can make my own chicken stock. We typically just buy chicken breasts so can't really make stock out of that...Jed will likely say otherwise when it comes to butchering chickens as that was a horrid part of his childhood. Haha!
Making my own "Chicken Soup"
Enchilada Soup, Salsa and Chocolate pudding

This is today's makings. I feel like I made a lot more than just this. But maybe that's because I have the privilege of washing every single dish, down to a little spoon, by hand. After washing, drying the odd dish or two, (I believe in air drying my dishes) and then putting the dishes away, about 4 different times today, you start to feel that you made enough food to last a year....
We had gotten 25lbs of tomatoes from the Bountiful Baskets, so I used a tomato, and some peppers to make Jed some salsa. And then used some tomatoes in the enchilada soup.

I've been saying for oh, maybe 2 weeks that I'm going to make Jed some chocolate pudding for his lunch and I finally made some! Also, super easy to make! We had bought a massive pack of pudding packs from Costco, but alas, our Costco puddings have run out, and we haven't gone to Costco :(   (Costco is my favourite store. Hands down.) Plus, why buy it if you can make it just as easily AND you know what's all inside of it! Conveniently enough, I had all the ingredients, all in one cupboard minus the milk and butter. Hurrah.
I made enough for about 4 little containers, and just enough for me to lick clean the bowl and spoon. Delish.
My dad used to always make puddings for us to eat after meeting. The instant kind. Those are definitely yummy, especially the pistachio one, but the homemade kind is just as good. A different taste, so not really comparable if you ask me.

Then on Saturday, I made these Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels.  They lasted maybe 12 hours.  Luckily, I had to go help give calves shots. Otherwise they may have only lasted a few minutes. 
The original recipe called for a full bag (16oz) of pretzels but I only had half a bag because pretzels were kind of my addiction for the last while. 
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

I altered the recipe a little bit, due to my lack of pretzels.
1/2 bag pretzels
                1/4 cup melted coconut oil
                                                                      1/4 cup sugar (I used less than that and had tons to spare)
                               2 drops Cinnamon Bark essential oil
                  a splatter of dried cinnamon
(coconut oil+pretzels+sugar+cinnamon+salt=obviouslythegreatestthingever)

Mix oil, sugar, and cinnamon together. Mix evenly over pretzels.  Cook in a preheated to 300 oven for 30 minutes, stirring periodically so you can sample them.

Also, notice that little utensils holder behind the pretzels? You actually can't tell it's a utensils holder, but it is. It holds all our wooden spoons, and trust me we have a lot! Anyways, when we were in Nebraska last week, we stopped at some friend's of Jed's who he had met when he went to school there. They gave us the holder as a wedding gift. Isn't it the most adorable thing Ever?! It was handmade by a lady in Valentine, NE. We love it.

I've really started to enjoy the satisfaction of making things from scratch, instead of buying them at a store. Since having been married, I have made yogurt, pudding, enchilada sauce, every single meal, bread, salad dressings, cookies etc from scratch, and that's just what I remember off the top of my head! It's super convenient/forceful that we live in the middle of nowhere, and the nearest Walmart is 1.5 hrs away and the Costco is 3 hours away. We try not to buy at the local IGA as prices are quite high (for Montana at least!) and we are cheap.  We buy milk, eggs (hopefully only for a year more, as my chickens that i'll get in the spring will be laying by winter!) icecream, chips and the other odd thing from the store. All our produce is from Bountiful Baskets.
Note to all Canadian family and friends: 1) for 1.5qts of icecream, we get it for between $2.50 and $2.99 each (tax free, thanks Montana State)
2) for $15 with the Bountiful Baskets, we get about 6 varieties of fruits, and 6 varieties of veggies
which is roughly a $50 value! That'll last us just about 2 weeks! I often order extra things from BB, like this week it was 25 lbs of tomatoes for $13!
That saves us a TON of money on produce! Plus the local store has the smallest produce section I've EVER seen. We went to Safeway in Spearfish last week, and I had forgotten what a nice produce selection looks like!
I wish Canada had a produce co-op program to offer, as it is SO good. Or maybe it does, in larger cities?!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Force Growing Bulbs

The other day I was talking to my mom who was planting some hyacinth bulbs. But force growing them. I had never actually heard of that before so I was asking her all about it, hoping to do it! I also didn't know what hyacinths were so I had searched some, and Loved them! I told my mom I was going to pick some up the next time i'm at a bulb selling place. 
Fast forward a few weeks, and we stop at a Menards and I bought a little package of bulbs. We come home (we were out of town for a few days) and there is a whole package of hyacinth bulbs awaiting me!!
Turns out my mom told my sister or something was conversed between the two of them, and she ordered me some bulbs because she knows I LOVE mail day!! She currently holds the "favourite sister" status! 

Now I had two sets of bulbs to force grow...I could plant them in my garden but it's getting fenced (fingers crossed) soon, and I won't know exactly where it'll be fenced or not! Plus, who doesn't love indoor flowers, especially during the winter? :)
It's fairly easy to force grow bulbs as I just learned. Depending on how well these turn out, I think I may be doing it every fall so I can have flowers during the winter!

Force Growing Bulbs: 

The bulbs which were waiting for me at my doorstep!

Find some containers that are the right size for the bulb. I'm growing hyacinths and they get tall, so I wanted a deeper pot. Let's hope this work. I had to find some containers which were deep enough as hyacinths get kind of tall and would be top heavy.  I'm not sure some of them are big enough, but I guess we will find out! 

I filled my containers about 3/4 full of soil, maybe a little more, and than put the bulbs in with the roots down, and just Barely touching each other.
Tip: always plant bulbs/flowers etc in odd numbers. An even number of bulbs is just Too perfect! 
I planted two blue hyacinths and 1 Tequila Sunrise (or vice versa)

And then I covered with dirt and didn't take a pic of that
 You can plant the bulbs so that the tops are even with the soil. I never did this because I figured that when I watered them, that the water would move around the dirt anyways. Maybe next time?!
I watered them and once they are not as wet, i'll move them to the fridge. That dog LOVES water. She is sitting beside the water in hopes I will turn it on again for her to "eat" 

After you have planted the bulbs, store in a cool, dark place for about 10-12 weeks. It should be between 34-45F.  Keep the bulbs moist, but not wet for the entire time. Once they are done being in the "cool" place, they should take another 3-4 weeks to bloom! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Young Living Essential Oils

My oils came in! I've been waiting for this day for about a week. A week since I ordered them. I've been making oil lists for a few months now, but finally was able to make the order last week! I may or may not have been stalking the online tracking info for that whole week either...
Considering that the majority of those who read this blog right now are either close friends, or family (or just Mom or Dad!) you will quite likely know all about the Young Living Oils. For those who are strangers to me or strangers to oils, here's the basics:
-Young Living Oils are the highest quality oils available.  Click here for more information about the processing in which Young Living oils are made
-There are oils for pretty much every reason use you can think of!
-You can use the oils for cooking, cleaning, externally, internally, diffusing, etc etc etc.
You can purchase the oils as a regular member (retail prices) or as a distributor (wholesale prices and a few perks)
I signed up as a distributor for a two definite reasons:
1) I can get the oils at 24% off (I don't know how they came up with 24% and not 25%!)
2) I can eventually get others to sign up with YL through me.
There is a lot more information about the oils, the quality, how good they are, and just the background information. However, I know that the oils help me and Jed so I don't really spend time learning the background of oils yet, rather than learning more and more about how to slowly bring them all into our home!  With time I will learn more the history of the oils and "Why Young Living" but in the meantime, I'm focusing on completely using Young Living in our home instead of Advil (which I to this date, haven't bought an Advil, Tylenol, etc! Jed has, but not me!)cleaning and disinfecting instead of Mr Clean or Windex, for cooking and baking, and most commonly, for fixing injuries, pain etc.
A lot of distributors know the history and the facts.. but me, I know how they help me and how they affect me. So any information I've written on this blog about YL is from a personal experience. Either me, my hubby, or family and friends!

To sign up as a distributor, you have to get a starter kit. There are 3 available. This is the premium/most expensive.  It comes with a diffuser (value: (retail) $98.68), Everyday Oils collection ($159.54). That alone comes to $258.22 but cost $150 if you signed up as a distributor.  It also comes with a 5ml StressAway bottle, 10 sample oils, a filament roller, some NingXia Red to try, and a bunch of information to read!
The dusting rag did not come from YL. It came from Norwex, but it was a part of my mail day which btw, is the high of my day! Or at least when we have something in the mail and bills don't count!

Rainbow of health!

This is my oil collection so far. Minus a few that are straggling up on our night table. I had 'accidently' taken some of my mom's oils when I was back home last winter. But in all fairness, I accidently left her a Panaway which is a fairly pricy one and I ended up with 2 Peace & Calmings, a Thieves and a peppermint. Fair 'trade' if you ask me!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Garden progress

This was my first year having my own garden. Back when I was younger, I had a part in my mom's garden, which usually ended up being just a part of her garden under her care! Fast forward 10 years and here I was spending much time in my own garden!  My garden didn't do so well this year..thanks to what we think is too strong manure.  (The joys of living on a ranch is you get some extremely nutrient packed soil. Too much nutrients!) My beans and peas came up and then died, and I had one carrot living and then it died. I managed to get corn, potatoes (kind of), pumpkins, zucchini by the millions, one cucumber, some squashes and tomatoes.
With all that being said, i'm quite looking forward for next years garden... It will be fenced so I don't have some 4 legged creatures eating my tomatoes, potatoes, corn, etc. Plus I'm going to plant much earlier than I did this year. I hope to have a massive garden and have so much produce coming out that I get to can and freeze it all! Here are some pics to recap my little garden year! Sorry for the photo overload

My corns coming up (back in June)

I had found that old wagon wheel and planted herbs and some flowers in. NOTHING came up except for some random flowers which got eaten by rabbits or just kept near dying and then coming back to life. Fail.

Back when my beans were doing good. When my mom was here in June, we counted in one row to see how many beans were up. 2 days later it had nearly doubled the number! 2 weeks later or so, they were practically all dead. 

Quite a change; me putting my mom to work!

I had bought some marigolds which did amazing! I loved seeing the little splashes of orange. Next year I am hoping to have much much more flowers!

I had gotten that crib thing at the local recycling depot and used it for a trellis. I had planned to use it for the peas. Well they died/got stepped on/ate by deer or rabbit, so then I planned to use it for cucumbers. Well they didn't show up until August! So it worked Amazing for my sprinkler once the corn got taller than me!

Ladybugs Love the corn!

Doing so good before the hail hit
In June or July sometime, we got a pretty bad hail storm. Just shredded my garden. It was quite discouraging. However, everything snapped back!  Or at least didn't die.  It really hit the corn at a bad time as once it was ready to harvest, they had little flavour, and missing lots of kernels! I thought for sure that the pumpkin and zucchini would die, but they came back just as strong! Here are some pics I took right after the storm.
The size of some of the hails! 
The corn looks a little pathetic!
The pumpkin looked like death
The garden snapped back pretty good after the hail hit. This was taken a few weeks after. Or a month. I actually have no clue. Oops.

picking the first corn!! 

I think every garden has its own deformities, quirks or just weird things about them! This particular corn was growing through a corn leaf...don't know how that happened!

something weird going on here! 


The thing on the left is a pumpkin bloom at its early stages!

SO heavy!!

So we used them as target practice. 

He had the bigger gun

and mine was smaller!

All the potatoes I got. :( Not much, not much in size, but no peeling required! 

They are much more orange now! 
After the first freeze! Looks hilarious!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Middle Of Nowhere

Fall is my absolute favourite part of the year. I wish we could have gotten married in the fall, but once again, immigration has other plans!
On Saturday we had to go get some heifers that were in the middle of nowhere.  We live in the middle of nowhere to start with. And then we drove up the road 20 mins which is in the middle of nowhere and then took a glorified dirt road another 10 mins to end up in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere.
Fall here is about a month or so behind than what it is at home. It was so gorgeous, and as usual pictures don't do justice!
 My father in law called and told me to look outside...there were thousands and thousands of cranes (birds!) flying all around! Quite cool actually.
The best lighting Ever!

Those clouds <3

Bringing in our beef

I often walk while they bring the cows in. Or at least once they're near the end!

The. Middle. Of. Nowhere.

More cow work! And a warm hat, of course!