Archive: June 2010

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Cowboy Taste

The girls and I are off to the city today- we have a pre-op appointment for our babe’s tonsil surgery next week.  We also need to do a Walmart run and other such city errands.   

But, before I go  I want to tell you something funny about my cowboy of a husband.  Here’s the background: Learning from my mom, who always thought it was nice to not over-do it on flowery bedspreads and pink walls and such, so my dad felt like it was his room, too, I’ve tried not to decorate Buck & I’s room too “feminine”.  I want him to feel like he’s not just sleeping in “my room”, but his, too.  Basically, every time I’ve wanted to paint our room purple, I’ve had to hold myself back!  

So… I recently picked out the paint for our new house.  For our bedroom, I chose a nice light brown for the walls and white for the trim.  I thought the brown would be nice and masculine, but also classy.  (Not that masculine isn’t classy, I just needed another adjective to describe it and that’s the best I could do.  Is classy an adjective? anybody?)  At any rate, I rolled one wall with the brown so we could see it, but I started painting in the living room with light yellow, “goldilocks”:

new house 2049

When I finished the goldilocks walls, Buck came in to see it.  He wouldn’t stop talking about how much he loved the color- “so bright and cheery” he would say.  The next day we were talking about the house and Buck mentioned the goldilocks again.  Then he says, “I’m not really into that brown for our bedroom.  Do you think we could use the yellow like the living room? It’d be a lot cheerier.”  Of course I thought it was a great idea- I can accent with red (!) and make it very cute… and cheery!  Maybe his taste isn’t so manly afterall.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so stereotypical afterall.  Maybe I could have used purple afterall!


The Hen House

By Charlotte

My eldest daughter came home from school one day and anounced that her class was watching chicks develop in their eggs.  And . . . the teacher had offered the chicks to anyone whose parents would let them have chickens.  I told you earlier how I feel about farm fresh eggs, so my mind was made up – definitely NO.  My daughter turned to her father.  She had a plan.  Every protest he made, she had a solution.

“Why do we want chickens?” he asked.

“So we can have eggs,” she replied.

“Where are we going to put them?” he asked.

“In the old dog kennel,” she answered.

“Chickens are loud,” he responded.

“These are all hens, so they are quiet,” she replied confidently.

After a few days she wore him down.  “Okay,” he said.  And I went to school to retrieve our four chicks.  They lived in a box for awhile. 

Then I moved them to the old dog house.  When they outgrew the dog house, I fixed the kennel for them.  I didn’t do a good job.  One unfortunate hen thought she would test my idea and escaped . . . right into the jaws of our chicken-loving dog. 

So now there are three.  I did a much better job with the kennel.  First, I dug a trench.  Dropped the panels in it.

  Then, I attatched chicken wire to the ends

and stapled it to the dog house.  The chickens have been happily living in their new abode for two weeks now. 

In September we are supposed to get eggs – farm fresh eggs – oh joy. 

(But at least there are no roosters.)


Solomo: Part III – Chorizo Meat

This is my final segment of Solomo.  It is the most used and appreciated in our home.

Solomo: Part III – Chorizo Meat

You start with the pepper sauce


– either fresh out of the mill, frozen and thawed, or off the Solomo.  If you did not add garlic and salt add it now (salt is important for the chorizo meat).

Ground pork is next.

Two to four pounds.  I had to grind my own as I refuse to pay $6.oo per pound for ground pork in a store when the loin is only $2.00 per pound.

Mix them together and let them sit for two nights – this basque food will develop patience.

Take as much as you need for the time and fry it in a pan. 

Please cook all pork thoroughly.  You can save the rest in the fridge for a few more days or freeze it.

My mom-in-law,  back in her ranching days, would fill a bathtub with ground pork and put in whole garlic cloves (instead of minced) while the meat seasoned.  Then she would have to dig around the bathtub, filled with cold meat, and retreave the pesky little cloves.  Not fun.  So glad she found a better way.  She was also a part of stuffing the ground meat into intestines to make actual chorizos.  It will probably be a long time before I try this – if ever.  That’s what the super market is for.  Thanks Mom-In-Law for sharing this recipe and your heart in discovering it.  I love you.


Crazy Summer

Why is it that winter drags along and as soon as summer gets here it’s over?!  We seem to spend the summer working to get ready for another winter and trying to take advantage of every second of daylight we have.  The weekends, for us, are packed to the gills with all kinds of stuff to do. 

This weekend, “we” managed:

–To rip the old furnace out of our new little place.
–To get the kitchen and bedrooms primed and ready for painter {me} this week.
–To squeeze in a ranch rodeo…

ranchrodeo10 045

….where  our “returning champion cowboys” managed to rock it in the team branding:

ranchrodeo10 044

but due to a series of otherwise unfortunate events,
were champions only in our hearts this year ;-) 

–To work a night shift at the hospital.

–To attend a baby shower for our sweet friends, Jimmy & Alexa.

–To get minimal amount of sleep.

Oh, and we didn’t have anything to do with it, thanks to the custom hay crew,

but the first cutting of hay…

ranchrodeo10 033

 is down, looking and smelling wonderful.

ranchrodeo10 023

Now this week is in full swing. Buck and the magpies, who live outside our bedroom window, insist on waking up at 4 a.m. to get an early start.  That way he (Buck, not the magpies) gets a full day of work in before he comes over to help work on the new house.  I can appreciate that, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a vacation, maybe an Alaskan one, once we get moved into this house! 


Verse of The Week

I know, and I suspect you do, too, a few people who seem to have endless energy.  They’re going non-stop all the time.  I’m not one of those people.  Sometimes our lifestyle forces me to be, and I kick and scream and try my hardest not to cooperate.  If I start thinking about all that has to be done I get overwhelmed, and then I call my mom and ask her why she lives five hours away and if they’ll please consider moving soon.  

This little dramatization of my life is all a precursor to the famous verses of Proverbs 31.   Basically, I read and wonder how in the world the Proverbs 31 Woman manages to do it all.  Most of the time, I’d like to do like my baby girl and snuggle up with my blankie and lay my head down, whenever and wherever, I feel so inclined…

Then I read a little note in my Bible, next to that section of Scripture.  It’s a note I wrote when I heard someone speak, probably at Ecola, about this Proverbs 31 Woman…

“The Proverbs 31 Woman… she is like a watch– from the outside we see her hands moving.  We witness the activity of those 22 verses, her busyness as she lives out her assignments from God as wife, mother, homemaker and business woman.  But there’s something inside, something deep within her heart, that makes her tick, moving her along, energizing her efforts, and motivating her activity”With that in mind, here goes… P31… in all her glory…

A wife of noble character who can find?
       She is worth far more than rubies.

 Her husband has full confidence in her
       and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,
       all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax
       and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
       bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark;
       she provides food for her family
       and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it;
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

 She sets about her work vigorously;
       her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff
       and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor
       and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
       for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She makes coverings for her bed;
       she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,
       where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
       and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
       she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household
       and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
       her husband also, and he praises her:

 “Many women do noble things,
       but you surpass them all.”

 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned,
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:10-31

And I’ll take the liberty of ending with this:

“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13



Farm Fresh Eggs

From Charlotte

I am not a proponent of  farm fresh eggs and let me tell you why.  As a teenager, we had free range chickens.  We gathered eggs daily from all over the yard.  So I know a little about farm fresh eggs.

This is a true story as correctly as I can remember it.  It was early spring and our family was in the middle of calving season.  I was the first one up as my little sister was a newborn.  Out of the kindness of my heart, I decided to cook breakfast.  Everything was going fine.  The sausage was happily sizzling and the toast was merrily toasting and I set the table.  It was time to fry the eggs.  I had the skillet ready, the eggs on the counter, and I cracked my first egg.


The egg – rotten – exploded all over the kitchen.  Luckily, I have a very poor sense of smell, but my brother yelled from the living room, “Yew, gross!  What is that smell?”  As he came into the kitchen and saw the mess, he laughed and the chores outside suddenly had to be done right then.  The parents yelled from the back bedroom, “What happened?”  I carefully explained and received a “that happens sometimes.”

I cleaned up the mess by myself.  By the time I was done the sausage was mostly burned and the toast was properly cold.  I was undaunted.  I was going to cook breakfast.  I scooped up another egg.  I am not exaggerating to make a better story – I wish I was, but the very next egg I cracked, well it was rather hard to open, but I got it open.  It had a full grown chic, just days (or hours) from hatching.  I had no choice but to get rid of it, there was no saving that poor chick.  I was defeated (it doesn’t take much to defeat a teenager).  I declared that I hated eggs, only to receive resounding laughter from the back bedroom.

I managed to get two eggs in the pan before I cracked an egg with a large red spot, and then I got the rest of the eggs fried without any more mishaps.  The scar to my psyche still remains and I steer clear of “farm fresh eggs”.


Solomo: Part II

From Charlotte’s kitchen to yours…

Solomo: Part II – Solomo

You’ll need the pepper sauce from yesterday:


(salt, pepper, garlic powder, garlic, and 8 oz. pimentos), a pork loin:

I get mine from Costco.  They are always nice and tender.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface:

Spread 1/4 of the pepper sauce on the plastic wrap:

Open the pork loin and cut it in half.  Put one half of the loin on the sauce:

Spread another 1/4 of the pepper sauce on top of the loin:

Wrap the plastic wrap around the loin and top with another piece of wrap:

Repeat (from plastic wrap on flat surface to a nicely wrapped half loin in pepper sauce) with the second half of pork loin.  Put both halves in a pan:

and refrigerate for two days.

After two days, unwrap each loin and carefully scrape the sauce off with your hands into a bowl.  This sauce will be used later to make chorizo meat:

(Photos by the elder kids. Thanks, kids!)

If you can see in the background, I also scraped the sauce off the plastic wrap into the bowl.  I usually cut these half loins in half again and freeze three for a later date.  Half a loin feeds 10-12 people unless it is our family and then we use a full loin for Christmas dinner for 10 adults and 9 kids.

Slice the loin (however much you need for a meal):

Lay the slices out.  Salt, pepper, and garlic powder one side:

Place in an oiled frying pan, seasoned side down.  (I used an electric skillet to cook more pieces at one time, but any frying pan will do).  Salt, pepper, and garlic powder the other side:

Brown and flip.  Place in a baking dish when done.  After all the loin needed is cooked, add some olive oil to the pan – about 1 tablespoon (for 1/4 loin).  Mince in 2 -4 cloves of garlic.  Saute until nice and golden.  Add 16 oz. pimentos to the garlic:

Warm.  Pour over cooked loin:

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Don’t skip this step, it makes the Solomo that much more tender:

And there it is:  my mom-in-law’s beautiful, delicious Solomo ready to eat.  Too bad all that’s left is 1/4 loin in the freezer or I would have some now.


Solomo:Part I

From Charlotte’s kitchen to yours…

Mom-in-law’s Solomo: Part I of III

This recipe is a product of my mom-in-law’s own gumption.  I love how this recipe came into being and I love what it has come to mean to me.  The recipe for the pepper sauce came from my dad-in-law’s family, only on a scale for a whole pig.  My dad-in-law’s family would then just slice the Solomo and serve it for breakfast.  The scaling down to a single family-sized portion and cooking Solomo with pimentos was my mom-in-law’s doing.  My mom-in-law is a most excellent cook and so very generous with her recipes; this is one of the many things I love about her.

This is not a recipe for timid souls.  It is easy – or I wouldn’t cook it – but it is a process.  If you are bold enough to try it, both you and your family will be richly rewarded with the most delicious, genuine Basque food.

For brevity’s sake I will divide it into sections:

Pepper Sauce.

You start with 8 oz. of dried Ancho Peppers

I bought mine at Winco.

Put them in a large-ish bowl and add water. 

 Then you put another smaller bowl on top.

Like so and fill that with water.

This is to keep the peppers, which float, submerged in the water.  Soak them overnight.

In the morning, remove the top bowl – the peppers should look like this:

Nice and soggy.

Remove the stems.

Just pull all the stems off leaving as much of the meat as you can.  Return the peppers to the large-ish bowl,

put the smaller bowl back on top,

and soak overnight again.  (Sometimes my mom-in-law speeds the process by putting water inside the peppers when she returns them to the largish bowl.)

The next day remove the top bowl, and go ahead and put that bowl away because you are now done with it.  Pour the water off the peppers – you are done with it, too.

The peppers should look even more soggy and squishy.  Now you run them through a food mill.  My food mill looks like this:

It is the only best type to use.

Put the peppers in the top,

turn the handle, and this

comes out one end and this

comes out the other.  Run the skins (from the first picture) through again, and they should look like this:

dryish and mostly skin and seeds.  Throw the skins and seeds away – you are done with them.

The sauce – keep it; it is why you are doing this :) – should look like this:

Now you need these:

Fresh garlic and salt.

Mince the garlic into the pepper sauce.

(I showed salt because that is what the recipe calls for.  I usually skip this, because most of the time I forget – it has, after all, been two days since I started this process.)

Stir.  You are now done with the pepper sauce.  You can freeze it for later or use it immediately to make the solomo (if you are going to freeze it for later wait to add the salt and garlic – salt can turn bitter with freezing).   In this case, hang onto it until tomorrow– that’s when the rest of the solomo directions will be coming at ya.


A Very Fun Surprise

Disclaimer: If you’re uninterested in home remodeling and renovating then I apologize in advance for the next 10 years of blog posts.  We officially purchased our little place 6 days ago (!!) and I’m already starting in here at “Come On Over” on house remodeling.  You’re in for it.  Majorly.  I guess it’s just that if you were, in fact, to “come on over”, this is, in fact, what I would be talking about.  So… it’s only right that I do just that, internet style. 

Your Question: What is the first thing you do when you purchase an 80 year old home? 

My Answer: If you’re me, you invite your friend Callie over so she can remind you to pull back the brown carpet:

new house 2044

and see if there are hardwood floors buried underneath there somewhere.

Very Fun Surprise: Wood floors under the old carpet!!  Red Fir floors, to be exact, in the living room:

new house 2049

….and in the bedrooms, too.  Is that not a great surprise?!  They need sanded and refinished, but they’re going to be wonderful!

House update: The living room is completely finished (Thank you Callie, T, and Pam!),  besides the obvious floor project.  We brightened up the walls, saying goodbye to the brown, brown, and brown, with yellow-ish, “Goldilocks”, on the walls, and white-ish, “Natural Cotton”, on the trim: 

new house 2050

Closing statement: There is so much work to do!!  I’ll see you in about ten years.



By Our Charlotte….

I returned to my motherland recently where the licence plates have this:

not this:

Don’t get me wrong, I like living here:

but these licence plates are way, way cooler:

This is part of the road to the motherland:

The amazing thing is that it was actually green – well, green for the motherland.

I returned to celebrate some landmark birthdays and to get together with my family.

There were some dinosaurs involved:

as well as some water fights:

and some hacky sack:

not to mention a little bit of laughter:

O.K. a lot of laughter:

( Sorry this is over exposed, I’m still learning about my camera.)

There were some family photos:

and some more family photos:

A big thank you to all of you who trekked across the country to come

(even if I have the second most kids and came the farthest:-).


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