Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice & Snow, Winter is Still Here

I'm anxious for spring. Or at least weather where I can get out and do something. We've been here since Sunday, and I am climbing the walls. So is Emily! I pulled out some boxes of toys that I boxed up about a year or so ago for her to play with. They are all new to her now, and they keep her from being, in her words, "bored".
We had a lot of freezing rain the night before last, as did a good part of the U.S. Our county was on a Level 2 snow emergency, and the county just north of us, that we do a lot of shopping, was on a Level 3. We live on a back road, and I wouldn't even try walking on it.
I am thankful that we didn't lose power. It flickered a couple of times, but stayed on. We have a back up generator just in case. I feel that every dairy farm should have one, unless the farmer wants to milk the cows by hand.
Our baby bull has been doing very well. He's becoming a big baby! Emily will have him spoiled soon! She loves laying in the hay with him, of course our dog Annie and barn cats have to join in too. I will have to get a picture of that!

I did get a couple more pictures of Emily with the baby bull. He comes running when he hears her voice.

With the "all tucked in" feeling, I've been doing more cooking. Came up with a recipe the other day with a few things I had on hand. Who knows, this could be a recipe that is already somewhere in a book, but I didn't follow a recipe when I made it.

Renae's Cheesy Shells
1 cup instant rice cooked according to package directions
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) pkg. jumbo shell pasta, cooked according to package directions
Mix cooked instant rice, ground beef, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, garlic powder and salt together in large bowl.
Fill jumbo pasta shells and place in a 13"x9" baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and bake, covered, for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
*We had this with warm crecent rolls and spinach salad.

Friday, January 23, 2009

First New Baby of 2009

Our first new baby calf of 2009 is doing just fine, so is his mama. Since he is out of a good bull, that isn't related to the cows in our herd, and his mom is a good cow (she's 9 yrs. old and is milking very well), we'll be keeping him for our future herd bull. May 2010 he'll be put out with our maiden heifers.
I did get some pictures of him with Emily. Couldn't get a good pic of his mom since she was already in her stall in the barn waiting to be milked.

It warmed up yesterday too. I'm glad it did since the baby came. I hate it when the cows decide to have their babies either in a blizzard, or below 0 temps. We thought that he would be a heifer (girl) since she had him 9 days early. Usually girls come early and bulls come late. Since the temps warmed up yesterday, the snow became good snowman snow. We made a very small snowman, because I forgot how much work is really involved in making a big snow man. Emily had fun looking around the yard for pinecones to use for eyes, mouth and buttons. I did remember to get a carrot for the nose. First time I think I ever actually used a carrot for a nose.

Today is finally Friday! Most folks are thrilled when it's the weekend, but for us, the weekend isn't too much different than the rest of the week. I will be heading to the farm market like usual. I'm looking forward to it this week since it won't be -20. Sunday we may be going to Cabela's over on the other side of Wheeling, WV. I have 2 gift cards that I got for Christmas. Not sure what I'll get with them, but Cabela's has a lot of goodies!
Today we are heading to the chiropractor. Al was playing on the floor with Emily the other night, and ended up hurting his neck. Emily was riding on his back pretending daddy was a horse, but instead of riding on his back, she ended up on his neck. Hmm... I clearly remember the same sort of thing happening to me back in November! I was the horse then, and did my back in. Our dr. clearly said no more horsie rides...
Hopefully we have learned our lesson at this point!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Cold, Snowy Walk

Me & Emily, both very cold!
A Sweet Little Cold Smile

Emily with our barn cats tagging along.

Brrr....Taking a very cold walk!

Took A Ride Today...

Our driveway is not the best right now, but I had to get out for a little bit, get some fresh air. I guess working at home seems to be ideal at times, but I can feel a little bit cooped up at times too! The last time I went anywhere was last Saturday. Emily and I went to the library. She loves going there! We both feel better after getting out for a couple of hours. We have a good system going too. We get to the library, go over the "library rules" while we are in the van, go to her books first, she picks out one or two books, then wants to play with the wooden puzzles they have set up at a little table, I pick out another book for her, then we pick out some videos and off to find some books for me. She usually sits on the little stool in the aisle where the cookbooks are at. That's what I usually find to bring home. Today I found 2 books with all slow-cooker recipes. This time of year I love to use my slow-cooker. Makes dinner easy!

Milking is not done yet for the morning, and it's almost 4 in the afternoon. Our milk pump broke when Al turned it on early this morning. So, he's been working on it all day. Thankfully we have a back up, but hope that it works just fine. Seems like things break on the coldest mornings! There is little that I can do to help right now. That makes me feel antsy, because I feel like I should be doing something in the barn to help. When he gets it fixed and is able to start milking, then Emily and I will go down and help out. So until then, I'm doing laundry and going to get some dinner going. I do feel bad for the cows, since they are used to being milked 2 times a day, and as late as it's getting, they will be milked once. They will be just fine, just as long as it's only this one time of having the delay. We also had the first baby calf or 2009 born just a few minutes ago. One of our "granny" cows had her baby, it's a bull. We'll be keeping him for a herd bull when he gets older. Both mama cow and baby are doing good.

Now I'm off to make a pot of coffee to fill up Al's thermos and take it to him so he can get warmed up!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Snow Days

Since we've had a few snow days and can't go anywhere, I've been having some fun in the kitchen. I guess when I'm bored, my thoughts go to FOOD! Keep in mind, I am doing more healthy cooking, or attempting to.

Today we had a simple (very simple) lunch of scrambled eggs and hamburger gravy with toast. So easy, and didn't involve a lot of work!

This evening for dinner we had Crispy Taco Chicken, Mexican Rice, salad (spinach with ranch dressing and some croutons).
For a quick dessert I made a Pound Cake, made with Splenda and topped off with some splenda sweetened strawberries. Very good!

Crispy Taco Chicken
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. mayonnaise
Combine bread crumbs and taco seasoning; set aside. Spread chicken with mayonnaise; coat with bread mixture. Arrange on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet; bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Makes 4 servings.
Mexican Rice
(This is something I put together because it sounded yummy)
2 cups instant rice
2 cups water
1 cup salsa
1 cup black beans
Mix rice and water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high power for 6 minutes.
Stir in salsa and beans and add salt to taste.
Pound Cake
1 cup margarine
1 2/3 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream margarine; blend in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour. Pour into a greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Makes 8-10 servings.
*I substitued the sugar with Splenda cup for cup.
With hopes of pushing winter along, I have however, decorated my blog background with some Valentine images. Trying to move January right along, hoping it gets the hint! I am such a spring and summer person.
I did manage to fill up my bird feeders last night and the birds were in today. That is something that brightens up winter for me, and Emily is excited when she sees the different birds that come in. Of course, Miss Kitty seems to enjoy sitting under the trees, that is when I have her come inside!
Off to the barn and hopefully sit back and relax this evening!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Am Procrastinating

Ok, I am procrastinating. I shouldn't, but it is COLD outside! And I need to go up to the cheese house and get things ready for the farm market tomorrow. Which, I don't know if I'm really looking forward to going this time. Right now we are at -7. BRRRR... It will be much colder than that by morning.

I'm not even sure if the poor van will even make it up the hill, with all the snow and ice. So, I had my husband move his truck (which was in the way), just in case I have to slide the van backward to get back down the hill.

This staying positive stuff is a hard thing to do in the winter!! Our milk check came today, and I was supposed to get it to the bank by 6 p.m. Of all days, our mail carrier came around 5:30 p.m. (she is supposed to run around 2 p.m.). Al is going to try to make the bank in the morning, if not, we'll have to wait until Tuesday. Crap!!!!

Even though today didn't go as I had hoped/planned, I do want to try to jot down a few Positive things that has happened this past week, since today is Friday:

~ Shipped out some cheese that a few stores ordered.

~May have a new store opening up in New Concord that wants to handle our cheese!

~ We have been healthy (no colds, flu, etc)

~ Cleaned up my crafting room, and managed to do another page in Emily's scrapbook, and made a couple of cards.

~ Emily is really into crafting!

~ Annie (our dog) and Miss Kitty (our housecat) have finally called truce.

~ Have almost all the laundry caught up! This is a first in almost a year!

~ Have managed to make some really creative meals considering no grocery $$$! Gotta be a pretty good cook I guess! Or just really lucky!

~ Got a good start on our tax books (another thing I procrastinate!)

~ Had a nice lunch and visit with our church's youth pastor and wife.

So, it hasn't been a bad week. Could do without a lot that has caused some extra stress, but we're not the only ones that say that, huh?

So, off to the market tomorrow, where I'll probably freeze my "you know what" off. ( I can only hope that may happen literally!) Hoping some customers actually stop in, regardless of the cold temperatures.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Staying Positive

Making sugar cookies!
Rolling out the dough..

Cutting cookies out..

Baking up some cookies! Made the house smell YUMMY!!

Can't wait to decorate them, just eat them plain!

I have to say that my goal of staying positive this year is going to be a challenge. And it's only the beginning of January!
But, I'm still hanging in there! :)
The mistake I made with our business checkbook last week kind of set the tone for the whole week. It was the dumbest mistake (but then, have you ever heard of a smart mistake?) So, the money that I had to use to correct it was my grocery money for the week. Let's just say I'm getting very creative in the kitchen when putting dinner together. Since we have more eggs than we can keep up with, we've been eating a lot of eggs, and we have our own milk and cheese, and I made my own flour tortillas for the first time, very easy and Yummy!! We had those for lunch the other day. Filled them up with scrambled eggs, italian sausage, some cheese and salsa. Not too bad. Had some yummy Golden Delicious apples that I made apple crisp with for dessert. Can you tell that I'm feeling hungry? Can't eat anything at this point in the evening though... Just had some fish for supper so I don't know why my mind is on food!
Packed up some cheese orders to send out tomorrow. My goal is to get my butt up early, help Al start the morning chores (the milk truck goes tonight, so my job is to clean the bulk tank before milking), so that Al can go up with me. We have to stop off somewhere so he can get the paperwork started on a gov't program for dairy farmers. Hoping it is something that will help us out this year.
Went to church yesterday morning, despite the ice on our road. Slid a little bit. Emily is finally starting to sit nicely until junior church is dismissed. She looks so cute marching out to go downstairs, usually holding hands with her friend, Kassie. Someday I have got to get a picture of it. After church we had lunch with the youth pastor and his wife at their place. Enjoyed it very much, and even Emily seemed to enjoy herself. Usually she is bored when it's the grown ups time to chat.
I finally cleaned up my craft room!!!! Yay! So, today I took about an hour and did another page for Emily's scrapbook and made a birthday card. That is something I like to do for some R&R. Emily gets a kick out of crafting too. I give her some stamps and an ink pad (a very small one) and turn her loose with some paper and childrens scissors. Amazing what she can come up with!
I may even start working ( a little bit) on next year's Christmas cards, since I'm still kind of in that Christmas-y mood.
Speaking of Christmas, here are some pictures from our Christmas 2008. I'm a little slow at getting them here.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I usually like Monday's. And even this Monday wasn't the worst in the world...but...

Made a mistake in our check book for our cheese business, so that made the morning hectic getting it taken care of. First time mistake, so I guess I'll be thankful, and learn to be more careful!

While Emily and I were in town, we figured we might as well stop at the library. She loves to go there. Usually we pick up a few videos for her instead of books, since we practically have a library here at home. But, today I let her find two books that she liked. She found a Dinosaur Hide and Seek and a flap book about Fairies. She did say she didn't want to ever take them back, I guess we're still learning about the "borrowing" thing! I found a couple of books for myself too, which is rare when I have Miss Em with me, she's usually more wound than she was today. Whew!

After I came home I called a few of the stores that handles our cheese. Thankfully we had a few orders. January can be a slow month. Hoping to maybe pick up a couple more stores in the near future. Also, got an email from a lady in Columbus doing an article and will be doing an over the phone interview with me on Wednesday!! I'm so excited and nervous. We've been featured several times before, but that was when my Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law had the business. This will be my first interview. We're excited to have another article feature us.

We were also invited to send a sample of our Gouda for a Domestic Gouda review. I'm planning on doing that too.

So, even though the day started out kind of "eh", it still has been a good one.

My goal this year (well, one of many), is to remain positive about things, or at least try to be more positive than I have been in the past. Try to see the good, even though something stressful is going on.

So, I guess my word for this year will be Positive!

And since we're hoping to have a sibling for little Diva Emily, hoping that word may have another meaning too!!! ;-) Ha!

I managed to update our cheese site. Been needing to do that for a few weeks, but our computer was out of whack with a virus. Thankfully, our virus protection fixed it all. We were ready to pronounce this computer dead.

I'm so excited, we bought a food slicer to slice cheese with. I used it last night for the first time. Slices the cheese so nice! So, now we offer sliced cheese for sale, makes it so much nicer for sandwiches and even to put on top of a casserole to melt. I've been wanting one for about a year now, but just didn't have the $$ for it. Still don't! But figured we might as well get it now or never!! I hope that customers will find this handy.

I'm also brainstorming about putting together a cookbook featuring recipes that can be made with our cheeses. Crazy!! But, again the word for the year is Positive, so I'm moving the business forward and trying new ideas!

Amazingly, ideas seem to come to me in the middle of the night, that's probably why I'm so tired during the day!

That's pretty much been our day here. Hoping that the rest of the week continues on the up side!

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