Archive: January 2013

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Feeding Cows

posted by Chelsea

Just a quick post to say we’ve been feeding cows…

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for about a month now.  It was REALLY cold, but we’re thankful it’s warming up.  We were freezing (wah!) but more importantly the water was freezing… the cows’ water was dangerously close to freezing straight through.  We’re so thankful that disaster was diverted by a little bitta sunshine…

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… sunshine that came in the knick of time!

Such as the cycle of our life goes, we’re in the daily cow feeding routine…

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…and we can expect to start seeing calves in the next couple of weeks.  We don’t have any yet, but you can bet I’ll be showing you calves like this one…

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… just as soon as they start hittin’ the ground!

Recipe Of The Week: Greek Spice Cake

posted by ~ ann

It was the perfect storm…….I had offered to bring the dessert for a baby shower and I needed to try a new recipe from out of my piles files.  The search was on for the perfect baby shower dessert and it didn’t take me long to settle on a winner.  This cake is a “home run” in my opinion.  It is a spicy, rich, beauuutiful cake and it’s easy to boot!  Needless to say, this will go from my “Try a Recipe a Week” notebook to my recipe box.  Hope you enjoy it!



Grease 10-inch bundt pan or tube pan with shortening; lightly coat with with 2 Tbsp. flour.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the sugars, oil, buttermilk, eggs and extracts until well blended.  Combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda; gradually beat into the sugar mixture until blended.  Stir in nuts.

Transfer to prepared pan.   Bake at 325 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes for until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

*I did reduce the sugars by a little less than 1/4 cup apiece.

**I couldn’t resist using a powdered sugar glaze instead of just the confectioner’s sugar.

A Big Month

posted by Chelsea

It’s been a big month for our Katelyn.  She learned to ski…

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… and learned super fast.  She has been anxiously awaiting her turn to get on skis ever since she watched Lucy (via the backpack on my dad) last year.  She told us “This year I’m going to ski and Lucy can ride in the backpack!”  We decided to give Papa’s back a break and put both girls on skis. :-)

And now I will interject something that seems completely unrelated.  Every year my mom’s sister and her family come to Idaho to ski for a couple of weeks.  They are from Hawaii.  And we call them the “Hawaii cousins”.  Lucy remembers them from a coinciding trip we took to Idaho a couple of years ago, but Katelyn doesn’t really.  Except she talks about them like she does.  She actually gets a little edge-y when we imply that she probably doesn’t really remember them.  Well, while we were at the ski hill we ran into some friends who have twin daughters named “McKenzie and Owyhee”.  We chatted with them for awhile and after they walked away Kate looked up at me and said, “See Mom! It was the Owyhee cousins!”  And suddenly it all made sense!  She does know the Owyhee “cousins”… just not the Hawaii cousins!

Anyway, in addition to learning to ski, Katelyn also learned to write her name this month! And the best part?  She did it all with ease and excitement and a sparkle in her eye.

Turning 65

posted by Donna

The title is probably misleading since you understandably think it’s me turning 65. It is not. It’s my husband…


We all rang in the new year about 3 weeks ago, and since then I’ve been thinking about it.  It’s a milestone. As the day approaches closer and closer, I’m in a state of quiet reflection. Let me share a few thoughts with you today.

Whatever birthday you celebrate, 16, 30, 50, 65, 83, 96, or 101, God knew all about your life. Psalm 139 says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Wonderfully complex. Marvelous workmanship.  Every moment. Every day. Before a single day had passed. I love that my God is so involved. So….able.

But wait, you exclaim. Are you saying God was THERE when life was formed in the womb of every single solitary pregnant woman, including my mother-in-law’s 65+ years ago? Yes and no. No, I didn’t say it. Yes, God’s Word does. King Solomon, the man who requested wisdom of God, said: “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” (Ecc 11:5)

But wait, you exclaim again. Are you saying God was THERE, like, actually THERE? Here’s what God told Jewish Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (1:5) And in Psalm 119, which many believe was written by King David (There is a tradition that King David used this psalm to teach his young son Solomon the alphabet—but not just the alphabet for writing letters: the alphabet of the spiritual life.), we learn this:  “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” (73) Yup, He was there!

So perhaps that explains my state of quiet reflection.  Job knew. He said: “Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (14:5) This man whom I’ve spent 38 out of 65 birthdays with had all 780 months (so far!) laid out for him by a really wise and creative God who knows him because He oversaw the process in that mysterious place of total darkness and who’s keeping track of every single day of my husband’s long life. And when that life is over, and I hope it’s none too soon, I have the assurance that God’s stamp of  craftsmanship is on it.

So the next time we wish somebody of any age a happy birthday, remember that they were made and knit and watched and woven and formed and known and set apart by the Giver of Life and then it’s time to celebrate!

Ham and Bean Soup

posted by ~ ann

I’m always on the look-out for new soup recipes, especially those that include beans and ham.  Don’t let this mild-mannered title fool you into thinking this is an ordinary ham & bean soup……No, this is chocked full of veggies, meat from a smoked ham hock and a variety of beans.  This soup can be made on the stove top or in the crock pot, if you prefer.  I love how my kitchen smells while this is cooking away on the stove.  Serve it with a fresh green salad and some freshly baked french bread and you will be queen-for-a-day, or at the very least queen-of-kitchen! :-)



Rinse beans.  Soak beans in 6 cups of water, covered, for 8 – 24 hours.  **Fast soak:  In a large pot, combine beans and water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover;  let stand for 1 hour. ** Drain and rinse.

In a large pot or Dutch oven brown pork hocks or ham bones in hot butter, turning to brown all sides.  Remove from pot.  Add celery, carrots and leeks (or onions) to pot and cook until tender.  Return hocks to pot.  Add beans, broth, 3 1/4 cups water, rosemary, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and bay leaf.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 – 1/12 hours or until beans are tender.

Remove ham hocks and cool slightly.  Meanwhile, if desired, mash beans slightly.  When hocks are cool enough to handle, cut meat off bones and chop; discard bones and bay leaf.  Stir meat into soup.  Add kale or spinach; heat and stir must until wilted.  Season to taste with salt and additional pepper.

*I found that there was a lot of grease on top of the soup from the ham hocks.  I skimmed the grease off before serving.

Slow-Cooker Directions: Rinse and soak beans as directed in master recipe; drain and rinse beans.   Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.  Ad hocks, celery, carrots, leeks, broth, 2 1/4 cups water, rosemary, pepper and bay leaf.  Cover and cook on low-heat for 11 – 13 hours or on high for 5 1/2 – 6 1/2  hours.  Remove hocks and cool slightly.  Continue as directed in master recipe.

Godspeed, Little Man

posted by Chelsea

I think I’ve told you before that I’m a real sucker for the Dixie Chicks.  They represent a chunk of my life, my teenage life, that really isn’t complete without their “soundtrack” to accompany it.  From “Wide Open Spaces” to “Cowboy Take Me Away“, my teenage self identified with the words of many of their songs.   I don’t so much identify with “I want to sleep on the hard ground in the comfort of your arms” now that I’ve actually been “taken away” by a cowboy, but the thought was quite romantic and I’ll just say the whole thing helped put words to my dreams.  Now days my dreams revolve more around just sleep in general, but I’m not sure anyone writes (or sings!) songs about baby induced sleep deprivation.

All of that to say, ever since we had Cooper, I keep coming back to one particular Dixie Chicks song.  And since I’ve been feeling particularly sappy the last few days I’m going to share the song and my sappyness with you.  I think it’s important to capture sappyness when it happens.  You can feel free to quote me on that.

Here’s the thing.  After 7 short months since his arrival…


I can already tell how completely different this whole boy thing is.  No, not because he’s more aggressive.  Not because he’s more energetic.  Not because he’s more daring.  Not because he has a shorter attention span.  I know the stereotypes and I’m sure I’ll probably see some of those things in our boy, but not so much as of yet.


I’ll tell you the difference that has really struck me lately.  As a mama our “job” is to be needed.  We go around meeting needs- day in, day out, night in, night out.  Day after day, night after night, little needs here, big needs there, we take care of them all.  My girls, if all goes as planned, to a certain degree, will always “need” me.  I still “need” my own mom.  Sometimes for a recipe, sometimes for advice, sometimes I have no idea why… my hand just picks up the phone and calls her.  And more often than not, she’s off galavanting on some adventure like biking or snowshoeing or skiing and she knows I still need her and so she picks up her cell phone and chats, and in the midst of her adventuring she still feels needed and is therefore, in a nurturing sense, still providing for me.  And if you followed that big-ol’-run-on-sentence, I’ll be so bold as to say my brother doesn’t do that.  Nor does my husband do that with his mom.  While they both love their mamas, they don’t have “needs” to be met by them anymore.  They enjoy them, they value them, they respect them and adore them (are you feeling OK Mom? Jackie?) but they don’t, generally speaking, “need” them.  Make sense?

So… as I rock Cooper to sleep,


as I snuggle his wiggley little body into my chest…


as I nuzzle my face against his,


as I smell his little milk breath, and ultimately as I look past his baby chub and I see beyond the baby into the little man I’m holding in my arms,


I don’t want to let go.  And of course, for now, I don’t have to.  I just realize that as he grows, the “wings” I give him will look much different than the “wings” I give my girls.  While the girls will someday forge their own nest out of twigs from mine, I’ll be giving Cooper the wings to fly completely out of my nest.   While I might be over analyzing or over thinking (I have been known to do both), I don’t think I am this time.  I realize, this little moment of time called “baby” is ever so brief.  And as he grows and he makes steps into new seasons of life I will ever so slowly be letting him go.  And this sappy and now crying mama doesn’t want to waste one moment of the time that he is “all mine”.   Godspeed, little man.


newborn photo credits to cousin Lacey at Milepost 13 Photography 



posted by Chelsea

It’s been cold.

Ice chopping…

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Tractor not wanting to start…

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Cows waiting for food…

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As Lucy…

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wisely said the other day (after finding her lotion frozen solid and therefore un-use-able in the pickup)… “when everything’s frozen, it has a way of ruining my day!”


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…doesn’t seem to mind. When he and the animals aren’t making eyes at eachother…

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…he’s being lulled to sleep in his carseat.  Speaking of which, I’d like to end by saying… I think the pickup is the reason our little man doesn’t want to sleep at night.  His crib isn’t nearly as helpful as the pickup at getting him to sleep.  The pickup, humming along in 4-low, lull-ing over frozen cowpies, playing quiet country music (or the weather report!) in the background,  makes his crib seem super lame.  No rocking.  No music. No weather report… and of course, no cowpies?!

Tangy Glazed Pork Roast

posted by ~ ann

**About a month ago I shared that I was organizing the piles of recipes I’d clipped from magazines or found on the web.   My challenge to myself was to try (at least) one new recipe a week and try, (try ) being the operative word, to post said recipe.  Well, since then I’ve succeeded in making a least one new dish per week, but I’ve fallen behind in actually posting the aforementioned recipe!  All that to say…’s another recipe from my files, that is piles.  See you next week!! (Or sooner if Chelsea says so!). :-)

This is a delicious, easy recipe for pork loin roast, tenderloin for a regular pork roast.  I had a couple of tenderloins thawed out and needed dinner in a hurry…..this recipe fit the bill.  I served it with creamy noodles, pan-fried brussel sprouts and french bread.  Everyone in my family loved it.  The sauce comes together quickly and the meat smells de-licious as it’s cooking away in the oven.  Hope you enjoy it! :-)



In a small bowl mix sage or rosemary, seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic.  Rub mixture over the whole pork roast.  Place roast in an oiled roasting pan.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 -45 minutes (cook longer for roast).  Meat thermometer should read at least 150 degrees.
For the sauce:  Combine sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, water & soy sauce in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken.  Remove from heat.  Brush sauce over the roast 3 or 4 times during the final 1/2 hour of baking time.  Remove roast from oven, pour remaining sauce over roast.
Serves : 8


Our Season

posted by Chelsea

Morning snuggles: reminder that our bed is too small for five- motivation to get up.  Yogurt with jam.  Toast with honey.  Mugs: plain white, yellow birds, or polish pottery.  Ahh…. coffee with cream.  Planning.  Deciding.  Going.

Cold floors.  Fans to push warm air through the drafty old house.  Slippers.  Keeping the fire stoked all night, all day.  House dreams: natural light, less walls, more space, outlets and storage.  For now: cozy and ours, enough.

Baby giggles, smiles, coos.  Nursing and naptimes.  Short nights and long late hours; teeth popping through.  Navy blue flaps hat.  Cozy blankies and rub his eyes tired.  Bubble blowing, rolling, scooting, grabbing, tasting.  Full body “double hock” kicks.  Joyful intensity.

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Story telling and (not!) pretend play.  “I am a doctor” and “I am a mama”.  A task too big, too demanding, too frustrating: “I am just a kid today!”  Silly games and high pitched screaming laughs.  Owies and bandaids.  Hogwash  and cubby verse memorizing.  “I just need to tell ya”.  Afternoons of grocery runs, bess helper and her “school”.  Oh and naptime…. when mama’s tired.

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Sight words and learning to read.  “The” “this” and “have” frustrate us all. Making friends and playing freeze tag.  S’s, S+’s and working hard.  Bus riding and monkey bars.  Curls wild. Curls pulled back in braids or one big messy ponytail.  Determinated, bounding energy.  Gainer of responsibility.  Diaper and sibling clothes changer.  Baby entertainer.  Meticulous.  And color coordinated.

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Laundry and dishwashing.  Daily mud room cleanings.  Organizing and downsizing.  Purposing and prioritizing.  Mom calls: how do I make that?  how do I clean that?  what do you think about that?  Nest building.  Tea drinking.  Bill paying. Budget finageling.  Workout of the day.  Squeezing in Psalms; study and memorizing.  Rich friendships.  Exhaustion.  Fulfillment.  Meeting needs, constant.  What’s for dinner?  Take one more bite.  Encourager, motivator, reassurer: coach.

Feeding cows.  Fixing fence.  Summer spraying and finding time.  Planning and praying– working, wondering, worrying, waiting.  Can we buy replacements now?  Will we have enough hay?  Playing.  Tickling.  Ever teasing. Keeping receipts.  Cows, calves, bulls, culls, and heifers: number knower, number runner.

Family clean up.  20 minute timer.  Run 20 laps.  Tubbies, handfuls of conditioner and curl untangling.  Bedtime.  Brush your teeth and put your jams on.  Reading books.  Settle down. Practice good attitudes.  Teaching, learning, never stopping.  Stay in bed.  Snuggle in.  Water sips.  Not another word.  Sleeping hard, at last.

Baby cries.  Baby snuggles. Baby sways, shushes and songs.  Baby set down, baby back rub, mama tip toe, mama sneak.

Evening house pickup.  Morning prep: coffee bean grind, water fill, nightime firewood, dishwasher start.  Couch.  Conversation.  Deep breaths of sanity.


Living it.  Loving it.  Making it.


THIS Time of Year

posted by Chelsea

I’ve done a “I love this time of year” post for every season… except winter.  I think it’s high time I share about all of the good in winter. Amen? Amen!

There is so much to love about winter…. one just has to think a little harder than during the other seasons of the year :-)

NUMBER 1.  After the rush of the holidays, January is an especially sweet slow-ish month.  We haven’t started calving yet and so the only “daily” is feeding cows…


This is wonderful in several ways:  1. Buck is home, or at least close to home, a lot.  I love having him around- coffee together in the morning, afternoon projects that are put off during the rest of our busy year, and early dinners with time for games and living room basketball in the evenings.  2.  The girls get to help…


…and I love that.

NUMBER 2. What’s not to love about this view…


NUMBER 3.  I have  a really cute winter hat and a really sweet black scarf.  Both Christmas presents.  I have a solid 3 months to wear both of them.  I will take full advantage.

NUMBER 4. Skiing! We only get to do this…


… in the winter!

NUMBER 5.  Hot drinks… tea, coffee, hot cocoa.  Those are winter things and I love them.

NUMBER 6.  Soup.  I recently made this CORN & CHEESE CHOWDER. I added Salmon to make it “CORN, CHEESE & SALMON CHOWDER” and then combined it with ANN’S FRENCH BREAD.  Yum!

NUMBER 7.  Flannel sheets.  Red flannel sheets.

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NUMBER 8. Finally, it doesn’t matter what season it is, because what I really love is right here:

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