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December 26, 2009

A project for next year

After watching the movie Julie and Julia (twice) and being inspired to learn some new techniques, we have ordered the book (Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking).
A few friends have agreed to cook and learn with me next year! I am excited about the challenge. We are going to do a couple of recipes a week, and work our way through the book. I don't expect we will do all the recipes or several recipes a day like Julie did, but it should be great fun!
The Julie and Julia Project that Julie Powell did was 500+ recipes in a year. Her original blog of the project is still online (big surprise!). The top post, which is her last post is is quite poignant:
There have been blogs about the blog, some even arguing that Julia Child did not like or agree with Julie Powell's project. Whether she did nor not, I am of the mind that both of them, Julie Powell and Julia Child are inspiring through their humor, teachable moments and life lessons. Besides, if we don't keep learning and growing where does that leave us?
(Bored and boring).
Anyone wanting to join in is welcome, this is a very relaxed type of challenge: cook two recipes from the Julia's cookbook each week, and share comments/tips with the rest of us. The first few weeks will be soups. While watching/owning the movie is not mandatory (though it is a good chick flick), owning the cookbook, or having regular access to it is.
Bon Appetit!

December 24, 2009

Week of 12/20/09

Julius wanders in to help Dave milk...

Super beefmaster steak with chipolte butter!

New farm tool!

The last week has seen me getting much stronger and more independent each day. Dave has been a great nurse, and I am so thankful he has been off for a week.
We traded the old suv in for a new/used truck. I am glad we dont have to worry anymore about having a vehicle with 180K miles on it. This year is also the last to get a tax credit according to the dealership. Every little bit helps!
We ordered a new couch for the living room, the family Christmas gift that will keep on giving. It should be here in a week or so, yippee skipppy!

Dave thawed and grilled ribeye steaks last night, these were from the beefmaster we butchered. The steaks were enormous! Delicious too with a little pat of melted chipolte butter on top.

We welcomed the winter solstice with a nod and the knowledge that the days will start getting longer now. We have not had too much of a winter yet; rather than a change in temperature we really look forward to more sunlight hours.

We wish you all a very peaceful and joyful holiday season!

December 20, 2009

Travel to a foreign land, and halfway back

The last week has been like travel to another land, or planet. I have been completely out of my comfort zone on this trip. This trip to the hospital for surgery last Monday (abdominal hysterectomy). Vital, healthy, nervous one minute and the next thing I know I feel like a mewing kitten relying completely on others for the most basic needs. I was thankful to see Dave's sweet face and know all was well. I tried very hard to be a good patient, and do everything they asked of me! It is not a role I am used to or comfortable in, I could not have done it without the excellent nursing care and Dave's encouragement.
We came home wednesday and suddenly everything looks like a hazard. I cannot stand up straight yet, and am leery of anything that I may trip or stumble on. It is a different perspective to be sure. My surgeon gave me vitamin supplements for healing, as well as arnica for pain/bruising. I am also using arnica gel. I love that they hand out homeopathics!
The only drawbacks have been the deep cough once or twice a day that make me feel like my guts are coming undone, and when I laughed a belly-laugh, which made me cry.
Dave assisted me to the back porch to get some sunshine; I felt a little like a cat taking a sun bath and a little like an invalid at a solarium! Either way, I soaked up as much Vitamin D as I could.
On a really positive note, a friend shared the name of an iPhone app she uses to track calories; it is called "Lose It". It tracks calories, nutrients, exercise, weight, goals, etc. I am using it to track all that, but especially my water intake; I love this app.
Dave has been in charge of milking and all farm chores; he and Vera are doing quite well at milking, as evidenced by a fridge full of milk! Dave banded Julius, so he will soon be a steer. Dave reports all is well in the barn and pasture, except that Julius does not want to come near anymore.
I am thankful for my family and friends and all the help and support they have been. It will be a very different holiday for us (I am not running around preparing, shopping, readying, decorating, baking, entertaining). I am certain the nice, simple holiday we have ahead of us will be very meaningful though different. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

December 12, 2009

Another week flies by...

Another week has flown by, amazing!
All is well here, Vera is doing very well at milking. No kicking, no tap dancing, just pooping and/or peeing to show her displeasure. That only lasted the first five days, this morning she did not do either! We are getting a gallon at each milking. Her edema is improving with the red raspberry leaf tea we feed her and the mint udder cream. She is not really letting down the milk supply yet, though I expect her to fairly soon. She is more relaxed with the routine daily.
Dave named the calf Julius since he was born on our friend Julie's birthday. Julius is asserting his independence by sneaking out of the pen when I am milking. He is so cute when he runs and scampers about! Hattie and Elsie have been relegated to the back pasture to simplify milking/feeding time. Hattie was in heat 2 days ago, argh. I will worry about that in a month or two.
We have had a lot of rain in the last week, the barnyard and pastures are very soft and squishy. It seems like it has been 2 weeks since we have seen the sun shine. The good news is that there have only been a couple of nights we had to drain pipes due to freezing temperatures.
Have a great weekend all!

December 6, 2009

Its a boy!!

Vera calved this morning!
We found him when we went out to feed and milk, just a hour or so fresh.
Vera and Ben are doing great; I'll update later when we have more cute pictures!

December 5, 2009

Snow, frost and calf watch

The last week or so has flown by!
Vera is definitely "springing" (getting ready to calve)! I hope to have calf pics up in the next few days, at the most a week. She is grunting, acting agitated (especially with the dog, barn cats and life in general). Today she kept going to the back pasture alone, one area in particular...I think she was nesting. Now she is peeved that we have confined her to the front pasture. Her udder is remarkably bigger, and her ligaments are obviously sunken. We just came in from checking her again and her stand-offishness from Hattie is a pretty big clue. When I put my hand on her side I can feel her contracting a little.
We had snow here yesterday! I was in Beaumont for work and when I exited the hospital at 6 pm there was about 6 inches of accumulated snow on the cars in the lot, big fluffy flakes were falling and the excitement in the air was palpable. This does not happen much in SE Texas!
This morning I took pics of the frosty flowers, pasture and the frozen fence (don't put you tongue on it)!
The cats we have been fostering for the last 3 years went home with their owner today. Lisa is so glad to have a home stateside to take them to. It was a frenzy getting them into the carriers, I hope the settle in quickly for her! It will be weird tonight sleeping without cats snuggled in the bed with us.
Have a great day and I will update when we have a calf!