Monthly Archives: November 2011

Found

The neighbors phoned that they had found one of our missing calves, a nice little heifer. We picked her up, took her down to the south camp, and called Leonard to come get her. He was pretty happy to get her back. Leonard is one of my favorite members of the lease, such a nice young fellow so it was good to know we’d made him happy even though were off the payroll for the winter.

I made this from the picture of a caterpillar I took in Ontario. I’ve been thinking quite bit about that saying lately, wondering how painful it actually is to do that. Is it a case of no pain no gain? But I would love to fly. Still caterpillars are fuzzy and interesting.

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First

So many Christmases come and gone when you are my age. From the time I was 3 until I was sixteen the only thing I ever asked for, for Christmas (or birthdays or from wishes on falling stars) was a horse. Santa never brought brought one but I don’t think badly of him. I ended up saving every penny that whole time and bought my own horse (much to my parents surprise) the day before my sixteenth birthday.

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Me and Gypsy Lee, my first horse.

It’s been my privilege to own many good horses since that first one but there is something special about your first.

Bleck

Sick today. Often happens when I visit grandkids. Saw a couple of interesting things on my travels this week.

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There was this bull buffalo a very fat looking guy. There were around a hundred head in the area I could see as I drove by. I don’t often see buffalo and couldn’t help but envision myself on horseback trying to care for these big animals who have to have 7 foot fences to keep them in place. It wasn’t a pretty vision.

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but then there was this truck for sale. I rolled a similar one when I was only 13 and skipping school. It brought that whole unpleasant, long since forgotten memory back.

But I got to watch my daughter and grandkids during their karate class.

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And I got to go skating with them.

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We also watched a movie, Hoodwinked, with Red Riding Hood and her really cool granny.

Then i went to a super hero party.

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So if I’m a little under the weather I still count myself lucky. I love my grandkids, all the fun and none of the responsibilities, just right for someone who never quite grew up.

Big News

I just learned something interesting, big news from our girl.

Jazlyn
You are all looking at one of the finalists in the Western Heritage Values Photo competition! Wish me luck, hopefully I win the grand prize, which is all expenses paid to the Calgary Stampede, among other prizes!

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Christmas, Christmas! Christmas!

I found this sad instead of funny. I love Christmas as much as I love the One whose birth we celebrate. And I suppose they are gonna have to shoot me to get me to quit saying Merry Christmas instead of succumbing to the generic Happy Holidays.

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Slowcooker Yoghurt/Healthy Smoothies

So since I’m on some kind of a roll here I thought I might as well show you all my slowcooker yoghurt. It’s so easy and so much cheaper than the store-bought stuff and I think it’s even better for you.

So you start by dumping 2 liters or.a half gallon of milk (I use 2%) into your slowcooker, put the lid on and turn it to low and let it cook for 2 1/2 hours. Then just unplug it (don’t open the lid) for 3 hours.

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Then take out a couple of cups of the warmish milk.

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Mix into the removed milk, yoghurt starter or 1/2 cup of store bought yogurt that has live bacterial culture.
I used the following:

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Mix it real well then dump the milk back into the slow cooker and mix it all together real well.

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Put the lid back on and with it still unplugged wrap it in a blanket and leave it for 7 hours.

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Put into clean containers (I use quart canning jars but just washed not sterilized). Store it in the frig. How easy is that?

It makes a runnyer type of yoghurt which is perfect for me because I want it to make smoothies like this.

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I don’t mesure just dump some into the blender.

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I buy lots of bananas when they are cheap and freeze them like this. So I add one of these frozen bananas to the yoghurt in the blender. And blend them together. The banana will make it sweet enough that I don’t feel like I need to add sugar or honey. Then I add a couple odd things

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Walnut oil seems to really help my old joints not to ache. Flaxseed oil helps my brain work so much better. Other people maybe wouldn’t notice the difference but because I’m ADD and my brain doesn’t function quite the same as most folks I can really feel the difference. It sometimes makes me gassy if I put too much in but I love the stuff for how well it helps me think and remember and focus (focus is really hard for me)

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and I’m partial to blueberries so I mix those in last.

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and voila! My favorite healthy drink.
So now you know all my secrets: grinding wheat into flour, no kneed bread, slowcooker yoghurt, and super healthy smoothies.

Bread the Easy Way

Yesterday was about making your own whole wheat flour from hard red spring wheat. You do know there is a difference in wheat right? Pasta is made from a different kind of wheat. I’m not much of a farmer; we just call it soft wheat, just remember bread from hard red spring wheat.

Anyway I ground just enough for this batch of bread, 5 1/2 cups and dumped it in an ice cream bucket which is the only dish you’ll have to wash and then only in a few days but I’ll get to that later.

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So note the white flour; you’ll need to add 2 cups into your whole wheat flour and I do buy that. I could sieve out the white flour from the germ and bran and maybe will, someday when I get better organized. I have white flour on hand for making a cake here and there so I just use it.

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To the flour I add a tablespoon of salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast (not softened, just in it’s granular form). Then comes the different sort of ingredient but it’s the one that turns it into bread that you don’t have to kneed.

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You see, kneading actually developed gluten which I think is what makes the bread elasticy and holds it together. So if you buy gluten like I do and add 1/4 cup then the gluten gets there that way and you don’t have to kneed it into the bread.

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Then all you have to do is mix all those dry ingredients up real good with a wire wisk.

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Add 4 cups luke warm water.

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And stir it up with your grandma’s wooden spoon (and I personally think this is the whole secret to making bread. If you haven’t inherited that spoon yet better mention it to her now. No harm in calling dibs and I bet she’ll be a little flattered and love you for wanting something so humble. I know I would. A bought one will work and if you put your own love into your bread someday you can pass that spoon down to one of your grandkids.)

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After it’s all mixed up real good put the lid on the bucket with a little spot for the air to escape and leave it sit on the counter for a couple of hours so it can rise (it should be around double the size from when you first put the lid on).
Then pop the lid down and stick it in the frig over night.

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Just to show you how it doubled in volume.

So in the morning get it out of the frig, take the lid off and reach in and draw out a really big hand full.

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Shape that into a bowl shape then into a shape like this

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Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for about a couple of hours on the counter. Note: I put it on parchment paper (love the stuff) which makes it easy to move to the oven and helps avoid any mess too.

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After that take off and discard the plastic and paint the top with water.

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Sprinkle with seeds (I have Red River cereal so I just use that)

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Cut 3 slits in the top (not real deep).

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Pick it up with the parchment paper and put it in the oven (that’s heated to 450 degrees Farenheight) in the middle rack. Note the broiler pan underneath that rack (use what you want just not glass cause it will beak) Add a cup of hot water to the broiler pan. I forget why but I always do.

Just to show you my oven set up. I have pizza stone in there and that’s what I put the bead on. Broiler is under that.

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Let it cook for 30 to 35 minutes.

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After that take it out and enjoy it immensely like I do.

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So the best part is that you still have dough in your bucket and tomorrow morning you can shape another loaf, let it rise, sprinkle and slit the top, and bake it. And the next day and the next for however long there is dough left in your bucket and you’ll have fresh artisan bread every day with pretty minimal effort. Eventually you have one dish to wash but only if you don’t have another ice-cream bucket.

Grinding Wheat

Some days I just want to make bread. It used to be a lot longer involved process till I found this way to make Artisan bread ( I haven’t a clue what that means but I liked the art part in the word). No kneading and no mess.

The hard part is grinding the wheat which of course you don’t have to do as you can buy whole wheat flour. But I’m all for grinding my own; I figure it’s healthier and tastier. So maybe today I’ll show you all the grinding part and tomorrow the bread.

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This is my grinder or grain mill. I keep it stored in it’s original box. So this is a ‘by the sweat of your brow type’. You can get fancier ones that are electric but I had to get what I could afford so this one does me fine, especially since it’s just the two of us most of the time and I count it part of my exercise routine 🙂

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It screws down onto the countertop and my soup bowls fit under it real nice.

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Hear you can se the white part of the flour, the germ, and the bran has all come out. Nothing missing of the wheat’s goodness here.

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The bin holds two cups of wheat real nice and and that grinds up into just over 3 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour. I need 5 1/2 cups for my bread so the second time I put another cup and a 1/4 in the bin and that works out to a little more than what I need altogether.

So pretty simple, It just takes work. I, for one, believe work is a good thing.
Sorry but you’ll have to wait till tomorrow for the bread part but it will be worth it when you see how easy it is.

Good Days

Got lots of house cleaning done today now I’m sitting with my feet up feeling good about all I got done.

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Yup, pretty much love days like today.

Oh and my 2nd most favorite barn cat, Josephine, just had kittens in the backhall instead of out in the cold. So glad I let her stay in when she asked today. 🙂

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My Friend

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I’ve known this friend for about 10 years. She’s around half my age and I think of her as one of my own girls. (There’s couple more I love to add to that list, little Texas girls and maybe one from Kansas).

When we first moved up to the area we live in now she worked at the same ranch as us. I really liked it there and imagined I must have died in a head-on car accident with her and we were all in Heaven and just hadn’t realized it yet. Or maybe that she was a little angel that got sent to make us happy there.

Since that time she married the nicest guy and is no longer the hired hand but a rancher herself. And we moved to the job we have now but not far from her, just a ferryboat ride and a few miles away.

I took her and my picture together when I was over there today to record that she actually does wear a coat. Seldom but it does happen. Of course it was one of those teeth clattering cold days but I’ve seen her before on days that cold with no coat so in my mind it was an event worth recording.

I don’t know what she could have possibly done so bad as to deserve all that snow in the background ( we only got about ten flakes where we live and it’s just across the river).

A while back we went together to a farm auction and I bought the coolest old washing machine and she bought a horse drawn round bale feeder. We went over and got it today so we can feed large rounds instead of small squares which are a lot harder for us to get. I didn’t get any pictures of it cause we ran into town to get some new cable and a clevis cause I think we can maybe pull it behind the truck (for now) but I’m pressing for a team of Suffock Punches not real big and not real pretty but my Dad’s favorites. (He quit farming when they quit using horses, never drove a tractor, always a team). I so always wanted a team.

Well I’m off to check out the Western Producer Classified Ads. They always have teams in there and then I’m off to bed to dream of big horses.