Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shepherd and the Sheep

Do you ever hear a story or watch a movie, then read/watch it years later and have this a-hah moment, like you finally get what was going on?  Well my a-hah moments lately have been with Jesus' parables about sheep and the shepherd.

I have heard the Gospel stories 100s of times, I've taught them in Sunday School, I've read them to myself in Bible study.  I don't think I really ever got them though, until I moved onto the farm and the animals started to know me.  The animals do know their master's voice.  They hear it, they follow it, they know there is safety in it.  There is trust in knowing that the master's voice means shelter and nourishment.  They almost dumbly follow without even thinking about it.  Isn't that how we are supposed to follow God?  Are we supposed to follow the spirit within us without hesitation, trusting without repercussion that the master has our best interests in mind? 

During Jesus' time there were many more agricultural workers than there are today, so the stories made sense to them.  If he was around today, the fable might take the form of what did Siri say to do or there is something that knows you better than your google calendar.  But in his time, he spoke to them about what they knew.   And today unless you work with animals some of the meaning is lost in centuries of translation. 

How are we shepherded?  Do we follow dumbly like animals?  Or does our mind become cluttered with the what ifs? 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Puff Pastry

So a few blogs ago, I said that I would be adventurous and try to do something with Puff Pastry...and I did, I made empanadas...and they were fabulous!  Here's what I did:

1 box of Puff Pastry
2 cups of meat (I used pulled pork)
Shredded cheese
Taco seasoning
Onion and jalapeno

Let the puff pastry defrost.  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl.  Cut the puff pastry in circles about 5 inches in diameter.  Scoop the mixture into the puff pastry and fold over and make a little pocket.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 400.  They were delicious!  The only thing is, they do not re-heat well.

Happy cooking  :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Cows come from Happy Farms

I've noticed a plethora of blogs lately talking about food and nutrition:  Through the Lens of a Farmgirl; Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch; Chasing Cherubim, among others.   Got me to we really know where our food comes from? 

When I look out into our fields, I see the cows, and in my mind they are happy cows.  We don't have a feed lot where they are all shuffled together, they have room to go and play and get their fun on.  The chickens get to roam and peck and find grasshoppers galore (sidebar it cracks me up when I see eggs marketed as Free Range Grain Fed Only...exactly how are you going to stop free range chickens from eating other stuff as well as grain, but I digress).  They know that someone is looking out for them and we treat them with respect and love.  Hmm--does that make the meat taste better?  I don't even know if the USDA could test on that--maybe they could. 

Do we really as consumers know where our food comes from?  Our clothes?  What we drink?  Do we just turn on the faucet and assume that the city/rural district we are in is accurate in the testing of the water samples?  Do we know what is in the food that we feed our animals?  Birds, dogs, gerbils, fish, cattle, whatever your chosen pet is.  How far are we removed from the production of said item to the final consumption?  Has mass merchandising created a mass-ive disconnect in society?  I realize there are more questions than answers in this rambling thought.  I guess the only real answer is that we, as humans, have the choice.  We can choose to grow a garden if we desire; we can contact a local farmer and get fresh meat and eggs; we can pack kids lunches to avoid school lunch nutrition; we can choose to take a sewing class and make our own clothes; all of these things we can choose to do, or we can just go to Wally World and fill our basket with a variety of what we want.

Me--I do believe that happy cows come from happy farms and when I made pizza the other night from fresh pork, fresh vegetables from our garden, eggs in the dough from our was pretty tasty and definitely a good choice  :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Mystery of the Farmer Wave

So J waves at every truck he passes, and most generally the other driver waves back (this is when he's driving his truck).  Now when I drive his truck, I keep up the wave-thing because I know that as a person driving a truck, I need to wave.  However, people don't wave back!  Hmph!  Now when J started driving my car, he would wave and people wouldn't wave back-HA!.  To which I said, well do you wave to cars?  Well no, well then they aren't going to wave back to you--LOL.  However, lately people have started waving at him when he's driving my car--I don't get it!  Maybe I need to start wearing a baseball cap and go all farmer-incognito.  And yes, its a minute detail of life...but its just odd...well at least to me. 

If anyone can solve this mystery, please let me know  :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Adventures of Crunchy and Nancy

Nancy was often called Fancy Nancy because she was very particular in how she looked.

She would gaze up at the warm Kansas sunshine and look at her reflection in the sparkling water and smile at herself.

Nancy held her head high and proud and her black coat was always gleaming without a speck of dust or dirt.

Her little calf Crunchy Peanut Butter was the cutest little girl heifer she had ever seen.  Her coat was the rich color of peanut butter and when the sun shone on Crunchy, Nancy smiled.

One day, Crunchy had laid down and was covered in mud.  Her friends Creamy Peanut Butter (people always thought they were twins because they looked so alike and were the best of friends), Chocolate, and Milky Way were all headed across the creek to play. 

"Oh no Crunchy, you wait right here."  Fancy Nancy grabbed her by the tail before she took off.

She started to lick Crunchy, taking off the dirt.

"But Momma, I wanna go!"  Crunchy was stopping her hoof and shaking her head, trying to give her Momma the slip.

"They are all getting to go play!  And I'm just stuck here!"  Crunchy continued.

In the distance she could see her 3 friends almost to the creek, laughing and jumping, and having a great time.

"Now Crunchy, what have I told you in the past?"  Nancy said between licks.

"You said 'A lady never leaves her spot until all her dirt spots leave her'" Crunchy said, standing up on a hoof and reaching up to see her friends.

"And..." Nancy continued, she knew that Crunchy wanted to leave and go play.

"'A lady will stand up straight and hold her head high and be a proud cow.'" Crunchy finished.  She really wanted to go play with her friends, and wondered how much longer Momma was going to take.

"You might not like this now Crunchy, but this herd has pride, and one day when you grow up, you will be part of this herd and have the responsibility of making sure the herd stays that way."  Nancy looked down at her little Crunchy, wondering if what she said made sense.

"Now go off and play with your friends, all the dirt spots are gone."  Nancy nudged Crunchy and sent her on her way.

Crunchy bounced off, yelling as she went "Creamy!  Chocolate!  Milky Way!  Wait for me!!!"

As she neared the creek, she looked back and saw her Momma looking at her.

She was standing with her head held high and there wasn't a speck of dust on her.

Then Crunchy saw the rest of the herd behind her, they were looking at Momma too.  Some with awe, some with reverence, but all with respect.

Maybe that's what Momma was talking about, Crunchy thought to herself.

She subconsciously straightened her shoulders and inched her head up and thought I want to be just like Momma when I grow up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hall of Fame Shame

So in my prior life, before I was Barnyard Barbie, I was Suzy Server---as in waiting tables (I've probably mentioned this somewhere along the blog, but oh well).  Serving is one of those things I'd done for so long, I think its in my blood.  Strange things like my left arm being stronger than my right, even though I'm right-handed, from carrying plates upon plates upon plates; having really no feeling of heat sensitivity in my fingers from carrying hot plates upon hot plates; having an internal timer in that I know it doesn't take longer than 12 minutes to cook a medium steak; I could go on, but its just a bundle of things that were habits and then became a learned muscle and body behavior.  Well my job is awesome in that it combines a little bit of serving with a business background.  I love it.  However, dealing with the general public is always an experience and you really begin to wonder if people have lived under a rock and for how long.  Most servers have a very-high shock meter, because once you've served people for any amount of time you've seen or heard everything.  Here are some things that I really have heard people say or ask (and no I can't make this up--LOL).

-Is there blue cheese in your blue cheese dressing? 
-How do you use the ketchup bottle?
-Why is there a bone in my t-bone steak?
-Is butter in the dairy group?
-I really didn't think the prime rib would have fat on it...
-I'll have a glass of the MER-LOT.
-Is the filet Mignon a filet?
-(Pointing to pitchers of tea and water) Which one is tea?

There are probably others, but those have got to be the best of the worst. 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Sally Gets a New System

So the radio system in Sally (the swather) was a little in didn't so much work all the time.  Now this really didn't bother me as I have an Ipod and would just put in the earphones, grab a drink and away I go.  Well J doesn't have an Ipod and it really isn't his thing, so we went and got a new radio for her.   The poor girl at Best Buy had no idea what she was in for.  LOL.  J said something like "yeah I'll have to make the wiring harness on the old one work for this new one."  The poor girl says "well we should be able to find a new one for you, what vehicle is it?"  J says "A swather" and laughs.  Well the girl doesn't quite get the swather part and asks "what's the make and model?"  she must have thought swather was a new foreign thing-a-majig.  To which J responds, "A New Holland Swather farm implement."  LOL.  Poor girl that would have been me 4 years ago!  She just kind of laughed, but still looked a little confused.  Check out the sysetm though...its better than the one in my car.....hmmmm....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vintage Heaven

One of the great things about my husband is that we both love to flea of the greatest things about him as that when we stumble upon a flea market with a HUGE vintage clothes he patiently waits  :-)

Could be Heaven!

He waited and gave his opinion on all the items I tried on  :-)  Isn't he fabulous?!?!  And he bought me the 4 dresses that worked  :-)

One of the things that was amazing was that in the pile of 15 or so items I picked up to try on...all of them pretty much fit.  Some might have been a bit loose here or a bit tight there, but nothing that totally screamed "yeah that's not going to work".  Was that luck or just picking up items that I have a gut feeling would work?  Hmm, I'm going to say its my savvy shopping skills  :-)  Here are some of my tips for vintage/flea marketing/thrift stores or general mass merchandisers.

-Know what works for your body.  And if you don't know, find something in your closet that you have been complimented on everytime you wear it.  A-Line?  Pantsuit? Wrapdress? 50's flare with a poofy skirt? Jeans and a white tank?  Whatever it is, if you've been complimented on that style, most likely its something that you wear well and can pull off.  Me--I know I can't pull of a wrap dress or wrap-shirt, even if it was a DVF I still wouldn't pick it up, because anything wrap makes me look 7 months preggo.

-Don't pay attention to size.  Especially when it comes to vintage things.  Sizing 50 years ago is so different than today's sizing and one designer varies on size versus another designer.  Know your body--if it looks like it will fit, it probably will, regardless of size.

-Be willing to stretch your fashion boundaries.  So a pantsuit makes you feel like you run a 5 million dollar company and you get a free drink at your local coffee shop because people think "you're somebody", well stretch those pantsuit boundaries with a flirty tank underneath or some killer shoes to poke out.  What doesn't say sassyfrass like some leopard pumps peeking out from under a black hemline?

-Make sure to check for stains/rips/seaming etc, some of those are easy fixes, some make the item a loss (I secretly believe those beautiful vintage pieces with a tear go to some vintage store in the sky where they get fixed and are beautiful again)

-If in doubt take a tried and true friend that will give you their honest opinion.  If that doesn't work, leave the item and go back a week later, if you still love the piece and its still there--it was meant to be--take that sucker (or seer-sucker) home  :-)

Happy Shopping!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adventures with Chickens

So we have chickens and we got our first egg about a couple of weeks ago or so. So exciting!  And being that I'm kind of nerdy I read up on chickens and what to expect and blah blah blah.  Well one of the things the author said was that chickens have their own little personalities and quirks.  I did not see any of this behavior...until we let them go free range.  Man did their personalities come out!  They have got to be one of the funniest farm animals known to man.  I mean have you seen a chicken run?  That sh*t is just funny!  Its like watching penguins run-awkward and cute all at the same time.  One of the funniest things is the way they grotesquely look at the garden.  It's this mixture of hunger, anger, and confusion that they can't get past the metal fence.  It's really pretty intense.  However, they have figured out that I throw out the bug-eaten tomatoes or ones that have turned bad, etc.  So they just sit on the other side of the fence while I do gardening like starving children in Africa.   Then they follow me around if I don't give them anything, its like a herd of chickens cluck clucking around me.   They are just funny!  And of course now my husband also says I'm the chicken whisperer because I call them and they come running--which in turn just makes me laugh....I wonder if they realize I'm laughing at them....hmmmm.