Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Gratitude List

Life on the farm isn’t always a bed of roses, what life is? But this morning was just another reminder of how fortunate I am to be a farmer’s wife.

When I walked outside this morning, the temperature was in the high 60’s, that’s very unusual for this month, which normally is in the high 70’s or low 80’s in the morning. A lot of times the air is dry and humid, but not this morning.

Baxter and I took our walk up and down the driveway, around the fields, lingering to take in the sights: geese on the pond, red-headed woodpeckers snatching the cat’s food, baby pears hanging on the trees, and the wonderful smell of fresh-cut grass, which daughter #4 cut last night. Even the weeds around the flowers were a pleasure to pull out this morning. (wow! Starting to sound a little too mushy :)

At any rate, the peacefulness of the morning gave me another occasion to be thankful for my "haves" instead of dwelling on the "have-nots".

Do you ever do that? Take an inventory of the blessings you have received this side of Heaven, whether big or small.

Here's a small part of my list:

  1. knowing Christ as my Kinsmen Redeemer

  2. having family, both close and faraway, that know me and still love me (some of them even like me)

  3. the freedoms that we still have here in America



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Onward And Downward

I have just finished one of my favorite breakfasts—oatmeal and blueberries—and was feeling so good about my diet that I had to sing it's praises once again. I started The Fast Metabolism Diet in May and have been steadily, although slowly, losing weight. (Before, I was slowly and steadily gaining weight)

I have been overweight and on an upward climb for more than 20 years. Through that time, I have been on several diets, taken several "supplements", and tried several habit altering techniques. I have counted points, taken shots, and have been hypnotized. I've done without specific food groups, and overloaded on others. Through the years, I have bought a boatload of exercise machines and tapes (both on VHS and CD).  And although I had experienced some weight loss doing most of these things, I was never able, or willing, to maintain, and soon the weight that I had lost would always come back.

For me, The Fast Metabolism Diet has been different. The first week that I was on the diet, I followed the plan religiously, although I did find out later that some of the things I had eaten weren't the right products. For example, the oatmeal is supposed to be steel oats, I used old fashioned oats (still do). Nitrate free lunch meat is allowed, but mine wasn't always nitrate free. And watermelon is only allowed on phase 1, I had been eating it on all 3 phases.

However, following the diet plan (mostly), I lost 5 lbs. my first week, and then began losing 1 lb. or so every week thereafter. I was a little disappointed, but determined to follow through, realizing that I was in fact losing weight, but just as exciting, I was not gaining any weight. For the last couple of weeks (wk 10-11), I have been on and off the diet, however, when I weighed myself yesterday, I had lost another pound. (yay!)

Haylie Pomroy, the author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, promised me that this diet would heal my metabolism and speed up the burn. And fortunately I believed her. I think it has taken at least 6 weeks for my metabolism to kick into gear and start working with me instead of against me. Therefore, even though I haven't been following the diet plan meticulously, the momentum of weight loss has taken a turn and I continue to lose weight without too much effort.

With summer time events and crazy schedules I've been a little lackadaisical concerning the diet, however, by making wiser eating choices and getting more exercise, I have been able to keep from gaining anything back. And come August 5, I have made plans to restart The Fast Metabolism Diet for 28 days and hopefully re-rev up my metabolism!

Here are my latest statistics:

DateWeightWeekly LossTotal lbs. to Date
Starting Wt.230
Week 1225-55
Week 2224-16
Week 3223-17
Week 4223-07
Week 5222-18
Week 6220-210 (Yay!)
Week 7219-111
Week 8-9219-011
Week 10218-112
Week 11217-113

I have also lost 11 inches overall!

Should we talk about exercise next? Hmm…maybe…

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Important Than A Royal Birth

The top story of the day is "Kate Middleton In Hospital Having Royal Baby". Even as I write this, the mob of reporters (some who have flown in from all over the world) are stationed in front of the hospital awaiting the arrival of the third heir in line for the British throne. People are placing bets on the gender, the name, time of arrival, and the length and weight of the little Prince or Princess of Cambridge.

As a mother of nine, I realize as much as anyone does the importance of the birth of a new baby. I can see how the next heir to the British throne would be important to the Brits, but we broke ties over 200 years ago, so maybe our top stories for today should start with one of these headlines:

  • Detroit Declares Bankruptcy after 60 Years of Financial Irresponsibility (18 billion dollars in the red)

  • Top Government Leaders Undermine Court Ruling by Injecting Racism into the Zimmerman/Martin Verdict

  • Gas Prices Soar Nationwide- Up $.12 in One Week

  • Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Employer Mandate Delayed-Employees Will Still Be Held Captive

  • Unfair and Unjust Furloughs for Our Military Heroes

  • Congress Needs to Stop Wasteful Spending (and live on a budget like the rest of us have to)

  • The Tea Party Demands Answers Involving the IRS Scandal

  • All Americans Should Demand Answers to the NSA Scandal

  • Family Members of the Murdered Victims in Benghazi Want Washington Held Responsible

  • Underemployment/Unemployment—Highest it's Been Since 2003

Okay, in case you are really curious (and living under a rock), Here is the announcement:

The Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son

Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.

Friday, July 12, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow

For many years The Farmer and I  put in a fairly nice sized garden. We planted about 12 tomato plants, 2 rows of green beans, some peppers, onions, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers and whatever other plants my Dad would give me from his greenhouse

Personal plug:

My parents own A & N Greenhouse, out on Hwy 47 towards Potosi. (you know where that is if you live locally) It's too late this year, but that's the place to go when you want really good garden plants and flower baskets.

Ok, back to my story. As I was saying, we used to put in a nice sized garden. A couple of years ago, Daughter #1 enlightened me to the efficiency and ease of square foot gardening.  I really loved the idea. The Farmer made boxes for the plants, we put down a weed cloth to deter weed growth,  we sectioned off the boxes into 1 ft. squares, and then we planted the vegetables according to a chart that I had drawn up. I was really excited to do this, because square foot gardening was supposed to be easier (less weeding), until I saw The Farmer re-seeding the yard around the boxes. When he was finished, the garden was full of grass seed. It didn't take me long to lose interest in this gardening style (there were still weeds!)

So the gardening set idle for a season or two, until we determined that we were going to have fresh garden tomatoes on our BLTs. We both like the idea of having a garden, but he doesn't have time to weed the garden and I don't want to. :) So, necessity being the mother of invention, we came up with what I thought would be a simple plan--patio gardening.

Here's what we did:
Early one morning, The Farmer went out to get our special mix of highly organic soil.

This is the field where the cows winter.

  A visitor came as he was mixing the fertilized soil with peat moss

At one time these tubs contained protein supplement for the cows. I guess Otis (the bull) remembered.

 The Farmer mixes the soil and peat moss, and loads the tubs into the bucket of the tractor.

He lifts the tubs onto the deck using the bucket of the tractor.

You can see the remnants  of the square foot garden in the background.

We only did three tubs.

I planted 1 tomato plant and 2 pepper plants in each tub.

I later discovered that I should have planted the pepper plants in a tub by themselves.

Live and learn!

Have you planted a garden this year? Let me know how your garden is growing.

This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure >>here

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From The Pasture To The Picnic

It takes over a year to get the perfect steak on our picnic table.

The calves are born in the spring. They stay with mama until weaning time, which is sometime in November. At this point, we put them in a pasture by themselves where they stay until they are well over a year old. Soon afterwards, their diet is supplemented with locally grown hormone-free/antibiotic-free corn. This is what gives beef it’s highly prized marbling texture and increases the meats flavor and tenderness.

At the beginning of the next summer, when we see the calves approaching their optimal weight, we begin contacting our customers and set an appointment up with our butcher at Swiss Meat. A quaint locally owned family business (but that’s a story for another day).

After two or three weeks processing time, The Farmer and I pick up the meat and bring it back to the farm so our local customers can pick up their meat from the farm where it was raised.

The steak that took 16 minutes on a hot grill took 16 months to prepare.

      So we savor every bite!

This is what we had for supper last night. I also made Homemade Peach Cobbler for dessert.

I added the recipe >>Here<< or go to the "Recipe" tab on the right of this page.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Out Of Control, But Not Uncontrollable

Week 10

I've been on sort of a hiatus from my diet for the last two weeks. Some days I would start off the day by following the diet, but then I would get sidetracked throughout the day or throughout the week.

I could blame this lull on my circumstances; The Farmer took some days off and messed me up, the kids demanded that I make dessert and messed me up, I couldn't get to the store to buy everything I needed and it messed me up, it was Monday and it messed me up. But whatever the excuse (or lack of excuse) I messed up. I put my guard down, allowed my circumstances to dictate my life, and was just plain lazy about doing what I knew I should have been doing.

Here's the difference:

Before I went on The Fast Metabolism Diet (by Haylie Pomroy), I would have given up and called it quits on this diet.  I would have gone back into my comfort zone of eating what I wanted, and I  would have gained more weight.

But this time I didn't gain any weight. I maintained the weight that I had already lost, I didn't have the uncontrollable desire for unhealthy food and sugar, and I was able to make healthy choices even though I wasn't following the diet. This way of eating has done what it has promised, it seems to have reset my metabolism button back to start, allowing me to eat a little out of control for a short time without being uncontrollable in my eating habits, which quickly leads to weight gain.

So, this week being a brand new week, I get to push the restart button, again, and I have a new resolve because I have new results! Take a look...

DateWeightWeekly LostTotal lbs. to date
Starting wt.230
Week 1225-55
Week 2224-16
Week 3223-17
Week 422307
Week 5222-18
Week 6220-210
Week 7219-111
Week 8-9219011

Best news is I have lost 7 inches around my waist! Very excited!!!

Looking for some great blogs to read this week?

Below is a blog hop that I have joined. Take a look at the blogs involved. Leave a comment, like their Facebook page (it really shows you care) :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Family Reunion

This past week we had our annual family reunion on my Dad’s side. Besides a funeral or wedding, this is usually the only time families living far apart get together. I have a great family (for the most part :)), and I love seeing uncles, aunts, and cousins that I haven’t seen since last year, or sometimes haven’t seen for longer than that. We enjoy catching up on what everybody has been doing and meeting new additions to the family-sometimes through birth, sometimes through marriage.

 My Dad and Mom have officially hosted all the family reunions since 1995. There were many other impromptu reunions that just happened over the years, because people decided to come together at their house. Thanks Mom and Dad!

One of the first family reunions that we went to when The Farmer and I were first married, I volunteered to bring a dessert. The only cookbook I had at that time (or maybe one I had borrowed from Mom) was one that my Grandma Lorene’s church put together for a fundraiser, which is probably one of the best I’ve ever had.

Searching through the pages, I found the recipe for Banana Split Cake. Sounds great, right? I recognized all the ingredients, except one. The recipe called for one stick oleo. I know what you’re thinking, but at the time I was a young bride and didn’t have much experience in the kitchen, unless you count a frozen pizza or a TV dinner.

So I went to my local IGA searching for oleo. Much to my relief I found the oleo next to the sticks of butter (imagine that!). Taking my one pound of oleo home, I followed the recipe to the letter, measuring the ingredients meticulously, allowing the oleo to come to room temperature before mixing it with the other ingredients.

The last thing I had to put on top of the cake was the whipped topping. Remembering the way my Mother spread meringue or icing by making little peaks, I spread the whipped topping onto the cake. It turned out beautifully! Off to the reunion we went. Carefully packing away the little dessert that I was sure would WOW everyone! My first dessert, a Banana Split Cake—how impressive!

When dessert time came, I got out my beautiful Banana Split Cake, and just as I had anticipated, the ooos and wows started coming in. I cut a piece for The Farmer (before he was THE farmer), because I figured since it was my first dessert, he deserved to be the first to eat it. Then I cut pieces for my uncles and others.

But then a hush settled among the ooos and wows, and someone asked (I remember who it was, but they shall remain nameless here), “Did you put butter in this cake?”

“No”, I answered and started naming off the ingredients.

“There’s a lot of oleo in this”, chimed in others.

I remembered I only put in one stick, just like the recipe called for. And began to think that maybe there had been something wrong with the recipe. Someone must have typed it wrong.

“How much oleo did you put in?” asked one proficient cook.

“It called for 1 stick”, I answered defensively.

“It tastes more like 1 pound!” stated the cook.

At that time—the time when my whole family was turning against me, the family that I had been born into, that I had spent all my life with, extended family that I had shared my summers with, the people that I would have given my life for—I turned to look at The Farmer who was not only eating my dessert, but he was ENJOYING my dessert. It was at that moment that I knew I would always love him and support him. ;)

Although the memory of that first family reunion may have been idealized just a bit, the unadulterated truth is I did make a Banana Split Cake that called for 1 stick of oleo, but I ended up using 1 pound of oleo.

To redeem my reputation, I made the same Banana Split Cake at the next reunion; it was the special dessert that I had hoped for. I began making this dessert for every reunion we have, and every year it’s turned out perfectly, but every year I’ve been reminded of that first time when it tasted like butter. It’s just something I’m always going to be known for, but that’s okay.

Something else I’m known for is being late (unfortunately), so my Mother and I had decided long ago that I would never bring a salad or side (something that needs to be there when the meal is first served). But I would bring a dessert, then it wouldn’t matter how late I was. I began bringing most of the desserts for the family reunion, and now that my girls are women with their own husbands and households, they have been helping, too. This year we ended up taking 10 desserts.

Here are the desserts I took.

apple pie, cherry pie, cheese cake, coconut cream pie, lemon meringue pie

and of course a Banana Split Cake.

For several years, I have been making a double sized Banana Split Cake;

not as pretty, but I believe I have been completely exonerated. :)

I have included some of the recipes under the Recipe tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Checking The Cattle

The other day Baxter and I went out to check the cows, and I couldn't believe the enticing aroma wafting in the breeze. I stopped the 4-wheeler and just sat there for a bit enjoying the sweet smells of the summer pasture. Mmm...

The field is covered in little white flowers, which I think resemble some type of small daisies, and The Farmer thinks that it is a weed called Snowcap. But whatever they are, they make the fields look beautiful.

Baxter and I found the herd laying around under the cool shade of a small group of trees in the field. The babies are looking so good. With the abundance of pasture this year, mama is doing well, so baby is doing well.
Look at this baby! He was born in March.

Not bad for 3 months old.

We have other babies on the farm, also. A few weeks ago we discovered that we had eggs; not chicken eggs but Kildee eggs. The poor mama laid her eggs in our busy driveway. These birds like to lay their eggs on gravel or small rock, but I’m betting they didn’t realize how busy our driveway would be. I put a little table over her nest to keep the eggs safe from some crazy motorist.

When the Kildee perceive someone or something is going towards their nest, they run in the opposite direction. Their nature is to lure you away from their nest. They begin running, then they begin to squawk, and if that doesn’t get your attention, they flap around and at times appear injured. It’s quite a routine.

Unfortunately, when The Farmer was bringing in the bales of hay, the mama bird (I assume) about worked herself to death, because she is nested in front of the gate where he brings in the bales. So every time he brought a bale through the gate she would begin her ritual.

We are not the only ones awaiting the arrival of these new babies—so is the cat!

Update: The eggs are missing! I don't believe it was the cat's doing, because there is no physical evidence. So I choose to believe that the mama and daddy birdies rolled their eggs off to safety where no human being nor cat being will be able to ever harm them.

(I Do believe in fairies; I DO believe in fairies...)

Disclosure-Some posts and pages may contain affiliate links.