Archive: May 2012

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Project Complete!

posted by Chelsea

The picnic patio area is now complete!  I still want to paint the picnic table, but otherwise project accomplished.  Let me quickly remind you what we started with…

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And what we had after we dug out the grass…

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Before we laid down the bark, we put in weed liner…

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Then we hauled in a couple loads of bark and spread it all out….

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We ate our first dinner out there last night. Then we planted the girls Easter “baskets” with flowers and put them on the table.  Oh! and we put “Rocky” back in his rightful place….

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Mission accomplished!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

posted by ann

I am always sooo happy when I try a new recipe and it turns out to be as good as it sounds!  This recipe is surely one of those.  The richness of buttermilk combined with fragrant cinnamon produces a sturdy bread that smells and tastes great.  I love the fact that this recipe makes two loaves and freezes well.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat 1- 1/2 cups sugar and oil.  Beat in eggs and buttermilk until combined.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in raisins.  Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; set aside.

Spoon half of the batter into two greased 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans.  Sprinkle with half of the reserved cinnamon-sugar; repeat layers. Cut through batter with a  knife to swirl.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.



My Branding Role

posted by Chelsea

I just wanted to take a minute to show you my role at brandings this year.  It involves a lot of chatting, leaning against fences, and watching.

This picture was taken yesterday when we were “helping”(some of us less helpful than others!) Uncle Todd brand some calves…


I’m not entirely sure what the conversation was at this particular moment, but I’m venturing to guess Emily is trying to explain to me why she was willing to be in my pregnant situation FOUR times in five years… or maybe she’s trying to understand it herself.  It’s tough telling.

Anyway, I would like to note that I am officially past the “baby bump” stage of pregnancy.  This is not a bump, folks.  This is a serious back straining, pelvis aching, rib stretching, it’s-not-funny-anymore situation.  Needless to say, we’re ready for our baby boy to be on the outside instead of the inside.

Summer Love

posted by Chelsea

One of the reasons I love summer is the amount of time we get to spend outside.  This year I’m enjoying it more than ever.  Our girls are old enough not only to be out with me, but they actually help!  I’ve had the best playing, digging, and playing crew I could’ve asked for this past week.  They hung out with me in the dirt pile and in the trees overlooking our digging area the entire time…

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Hanging out with these two girls is so much fun.  I loved our work together this past week and am looking forward to more outside projects with this kind of help!

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Yard work, too

posted by ann

Just over these mountains


from Chelsea’s yard, is, well, MY yard.  And just like Chelsea’s yard, mine is under construction.  We, too, are dealing with bi-polar weather…..sunny, then rainy, then snowy (all in one day) and WIND to boot.  Ah, well, such is spring  in the high country of Eastern Oregon.

Although I opted out of a garden this year, even a manageable one like Chelsea’s, I am fully engaged in my yard, adding to some existing beds and creating new areas for flowers.

A good friend of mine, who is a terrific gardener, gave me several numerous boxes and buckets of starts from her beautiful garden.  These items included raspberries, lilacs, day lilies and several plants of  unknown heritage, but guaranteed to love my yard and thrive!

This is an established bed to which I am enjoying adding new plants.  In a couple of weeks it should be in full bloom.


In fact, here are a couple of brave souls who have already made an appearance.


This is a little bed I have been working on for a couple of seasons.  It was completely hammered this winter by dogs and children who thought it made a great short cut to the barn! All but a couple of these plants are new additions, thanks to my friend!


Some of my newest endeavors include a birm burm berm that now graces the front yard,
a re-purposed bathtub that will contain climbing, as well as cut flowers (in-bloom photos to follow),


and a cute little aspen tree.

Of course I have purchased several flats of annuals that will eventually reside in my whiskey barrels…


but for now, they are going to stay out of the wind and the cold, tucked safely under the deck!

Project Update

posted by Chelsea

Last week I showed you the start to our “patio”…..

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An area that is destined to be a new little picnic table area in our backyard. This morning I wanted to give you a little update- a little digging update, that is.  The picnic area is ready for a liner and some wood chips/bark because the whole area is dug out…

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We’re really excited about it and anxious to get the project finished up.  Of course, I have alterior motives in the process– I’d like this kind of work to make me go into labor.  If that kind of digging didn’t start some uterine contractions I don’t know what will!


posted by Chelsea

It’s been another full week of projects— this time a round of outdoor projects.  The weather has been slightly rainy and on the cool side- not bad for hard work.   Our friend Ella-Mae came up early in the week and it would be putting it mildly to say she “helped” with yardwork.  She pretty much rocked it in the yardwork department and not only gave me some direction, but helped me get a really good start knowing what to do and where to do it.  We dug, weeded, planted, edged and mowed.  It was highly productive.  And we even managed to get a trip in to the chocolate shop, an important detail.  She also cooked our favorite Salmon and filled my Costco list for me.  Needless to say, she not only rocks it in the yardwork department, but the friend one, as well.

We had a couple of little helpers for our yardwork…

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Judging by their attire in the next picture, you’d think one of them was in Siberia and the other in the tropics…

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… one of them is slightly wiser than the other.  I’ll let you guess which one.

I was able to get a few flowers planted…

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….but will wait until the weather is more tropical and less Siberian before I get carried away.

My new and big project involves a lot of digging…

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While it may appear that we are digging out a swimming pool, my goal is to have a little “wood chip island” surrounding the trees, a place for the picnic table to live and some potted plants.  Basically it will be a “patio” of sorts.  The grass in this area has never grown well because of the trees and the whole area needed to be revamped.  So… this is the start…

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.. and it will soon be dug out and filled with wood chips.

The dirt coming out of here has a new place to live– I’ll show you that project another time.

Until then, happy project-ing!



Delight Of My Day

posted by Chelsea

Check this out:

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Why?  You ask.

Let me tell you why.

We have a hard water problem at our house.  You can’t tell in the picture because I took it AFTER I found a solution for the hard water stains that were reeking havoc on my pots and pans.  The stains were so bad that Kate asked, “Why you put white paint on those dishes mama?”  They literally looked like I took white paint to them.  They looked ugly and felt mineral-y (technical term) AND as you can see I hang them “on display” in my kitchen.  Problem.

Solution: distilled white vinegar mixed in hot water.  I set each pot in a big bowl full of the mixture, then I let each one soak for approximately 28.2 seconds, and finally used a scrub brush to get the stains off.  This took VERY LITTLE elbow grease folks- like little to no elbow grease.  I was amazed.  I’m still amazed.  I keep looking at my pots in disbelief.  I also soaked (didn’t even have to scrub AT ALL) a few glasses that had succomb to the stains as well as some plastic cups.  Talk about easy- and so everything is so clean looking!

It worked so well that I was even able to get the hard water stains off of this little monkey…

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…. who knew it worked on kids, too?! :-)

Our Crew

posted by Chelsea

This weekend we had about 40 cows and calves to “work”… meaning they all needed to be vaccinated, and we had a few calves who still needed to be tagged and bull calves who needed to be banded.  We also have some new replacement heifers who needed to be branded.  Basically we just needed to tidy things up a bit and get them taken care of.  So our crew, which consisted of our immediate family, spent Saturday getting the work done.

There are a few things I love about taking our girls with us for these adventures…

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First, I love that they get to be a part of the process.  Second, I love days when we all just get to be outside and they are entertained not by toys or anything else, but just by the events of the day.  They can watch from the sidelines…

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And at times, they can jump in and help…

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I really love that they’re learning to keep themselves entertained.  They love to collect any and all old ear tags and use them as “money” or “notes” or to practice their numbers…

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Weekends like this one remind me that working together as a family is definately on my list of favorite things to do!



Garden Tour

posted by Chelsea

The inside of our house is basically “done”.  Besides a remodel at some point in the future and a few projects I have planned- my work is pretty much complete.  It’s only taken two years to tidy up our 800 square feet, but I feel organized and like everything, for the most part, has a place to live.  I’ve decided a small house is actually a wonderful blessing- one that keeps us from having too much stuff and to be honest, I love that it’s quick to clean!  That said, one thing that excites me about this summer is that I get to work out in the yard!  With inside projects finished the outside is my new priority, to which I say YAY!

So… ever since we moved into our little place, we’ve had a weed flower bed on the side of the house that I haven’t known what to do with.  It’s too big to plant full with flowers.  I’ve thought about tearing it out completely, but that’s ugly, so for the last two summers I haven’t done anything with it, which is also ugly.  Earlier this spring Lucy was begging to plant a vegetable garden and it finally dawned on me that we could just plant a veggie garden right there along side the house!  So we did.  There were already some rock “barriers” in the flower bed so we’ve planted more flower-ish

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than produce-ish items around the rocks and filled the rest of the space with strawberries, carrots, onions…

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….squash and all sorts of varieties of lettuce…

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I hadn’t quite gotten everything planted when I took this picture…

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… but you get the idea of the full bed.  It’s just our size, really.  I don’t have it in me to tend to a huge garden, but this is do-able and the girls love it.  They check for new growth everyday and have thoroughly enjoyed helping plant as well as water.  There is much more work to be done, but we’re off to a good start!



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