Monday, October 29, 2012

Breakdowns on the Farm

So there are always breakdowns on the farm...combine belts, flat tires, fences that go down, water tanks that suddenly start leaking, you name a calamity and the farm is home to it.  Well I had a breakdown on Friday....and this is how it went.....

Readers let me introduce to you Hamburger...he likes pina coladas, long walks at sunset, alfalfa, and moonlights as Houdini.

Hamburger, as seen in the picture above, was not in his appropriate location.  We really did have chickens and cows and cats running across the yard.  So Hamburger is pretty in so tame my car was inches away before he languidly looked over and realized he wasn't in the right place.  I run him towards the corral and head to the house.  No steer is worth getting shit on my super-cute White House Black Market red suede heels and dress slacks!   Take off the work attire and put on my farm-work attire and run him in.  And its really annoying because he knows the routine. 
I grab my little Lucky man and take him on his daily walk around the farm and come around the front---and what is this yard ornament?  Oh Hamburger!?!  WTF Houdini!  How did he even walk across the pasture, find his hole, jump out, and end up in the front yard within 10 minutes?  Ugh!

Here we go again,  running him back to the gate, open the gate, and somehow all the cows thought "its time for a walk"  oh helll nooo.  All you mofos get back in--that means you too Hamburger. 
So I walk around the pasture and sure enough there's this gaping hole where Hamburger was litterally walking through.  And of course J is cutting soybeans--so I'm here by myself.  Choices are: 
a) fix/stretch electric fence--doesn't sound tooo appealling and kind of freaks me out
b) try to fix the regular fence
c) kill Hamburger
So I try and yank the post back up, but its old, broken, and really heavy, but I think I have it somewhat ghetto-rigged.  I yell at Hamburger and pray for the best.  Head back to the house and call J and tell him what is going I am on the phone...I see Hamburger knock over my best efforts and cruise right on out.  Ughh!!!!
By this time I am pissed off.  I grab my sorting stick and go running/yelling after Hamburger.  Get him back in, try to get him in a corral--no go...and thats when it breakdown.  I just start crying in the field.  These cows keep getting out, I am phyically unable to fix the problem, and it will continue happening.  The hopelessness just sets in...I call J freaking out.  Thankfully he's on his way. 
So I do the only thing I could think of--I plop my happy ass down right in front of the hole in the middle of the field.  I hold up my sorting stick and dare Hamburger to cross my path.   
This farmwife business just doesn't pay enough...LOL!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Apple Butterscotch Cake

So my friend, Cat Poland, who does a fabulous job blogging at Mom on the Range, posted today about apple-picking and going to orchards.  Well she asked what is your favorite recipe and I had to share mine.  Here in Whitewater, I trade a local producer farm fresh eggs for fresh off the tree apples and pears (its a great trade).  So I tend to have a lot of recipes that use apples and pears.  Here is Apple Butterscotch Cake...and it is delicious! 

You need:

2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon (I tend to do a heaping teaspoon--who doesn't love a little extra?)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup oil
3 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups apples (diced or shredded)
1 bag of butterscotch chips

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Stir all the wet ingredients together into the dry, adding the apples last, reserve the chips for later.  Pour the patter into a 9x13 baking pan (or bundt pan) and sprinkle the chips on top.  Bake at 350 for about 40-50 minutes.  Your house will smell delicious!

Note:  on the apples, just core them and throw them in a food processor with the peels on.  Its tastes just fine...and I've never had anyone say "hey are there peels in here?"...their mouth is usually full  :-)

Monday, October 22, 2012

I could see the hangmans noose....

So yesterday I busted my butt running around, getting chores done, cleaned house, etc, etc, with the goal in sight of fat pants and the couch in the evening.  Hmph.  Hubby gets home and went to disc some ground so he could burn the wheat stubble off.  Fine, fine.  Comes back and says "ready to go?"  Huh?  But my fat pants...and my drink...and the couch!  The vision was evaporating into a thin mist.  And into the thin mist came this vision of a hangman's noose I could see from the jailhouse window.  I knew the inevitable--this was not going to be a pleasant evening.  Why?  Because I have never done it (helped burn off a field) and J has about a million times and works in a fashion that...well goes about like this:

J: We're just going to drive back and forth
J:  I'll ride on the tailgate and you just drive--but slow
BB: roger

BB:  I'm in first!  What do you want?!??
BB:  Is there 1L!?!?!
BB: (thinking) is there a 1/2 gear I don't know about?
BB: Which way?  I've never driven in this field!
BB:  (thinking) I need another drink...sigh

Now, I know that J doesn't mean to yell, and I know he's not yelling about me.  But I'm the only one who can hear him so it lands on me.  And I knew it was coming--I've never burned a field off or knew where we were going in the field--so yes the hangman's noose was visible through the bars of the jail window.  Next time it will be better  :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Life with a Mini-Donkey

So remember when I wrote the post that I was in love with a furry little brown-eyed critter?  Well we found one!  Yeah!  After much searching and driving around Central Kansas looking at various ones for sale, we found one just a few miles away.              (J deserves major kudos for humoring me in this mini-donkey endeavour!).  Meet Lucky!  Isn't he cute?

Isn't he just cute?!?!  He was born on January 16, 2012--he'll grow a little bit bigger but not by much.  Why a mini-donkey?   Well I think they're just too cute--and they don't eat too much...and I can work with them.  Unlike most farm people, I wasn't in 4H and didn't show animals.  So the whole leading them around and getting them to do something is foreign to me.  A little animal like Lucky couldn't be that hard to work with right?  LOL--we'll see  :-)   

They are interesting little critters and definitely have mannerisms that are different than the other animals on the farm.  He comes up to me in the pen, but then runs off, then will come back, run off, then finally comes back.  Then if I walk off, he follows me--just weird  :-)   We have put him to use trimming the grass in the backyard a few hours a day (it's a way he can earn his keep on the farm!).  It's pretty funny to see a donkey back there, but he just struts around and eats the grass.  Gunnar (the lab in the backyard kennel) doesn't quite know what to think of his new long-eared yard-mate. 

And yes, he does bray.  It's not a full-on bray yet, but its getting there.  Sometimes it sounds like an old smoker laughing and that just makes me laugh too  :-)

Now we're on the hunt to get him a little jenny-friend...and I think we might have found one--stay tuned  :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Here A Cluck, There a Cluck, Everywhere a Cluck Cluck

So several people have asked what I feed our chickens and how "organic" or "free-range" they are.  Here's a little picture tutorial  :-)

Chickens LOVE scraps!  They think its Christmas whenever they see me coming with a plate or a bowl of veggies, fruit, or bread (they eat about anything, I don't give them meat however).  Their favorite is tomatoes!

Here they are eating veggie scraps.  They also eat all kinds of bugs (crickets, grasshoppers, rolly-pollies, etc).  When one of them gets a good bug, she runs off with it and all the other chickens follow...kind of like at the playground when one kid has the lollipop the others follow.

Here is their scratch grain.  Its from Orscheln's and it has a mixture of Milo, corn, and other grain.  They also get layer pellets for protein.
Bingo!  Egg in the coop!  And even though we got them this nice coop....

...they really prefer to lay in the little nests they've built around the barn. 

They are probably the most organic and free-range chickens available.  I can tell when their temperaments are flaring or when its just too hot or too cold for them to lay.  They also do better at laying when they get to run around all day, than when we have to have them in their pen because we're away from the place for too long.

If you have any questions regarding chickens, just let me know...I'm not an expert, but I do see their crazy little habits everyday  :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chili Surprise!

First thanks for making the previous "tips on dating a farmer" the most read post yet!  *insert happy dance*

Anyways, here's a quick and easy recipe that is delicious!

Here's what you need:

leftover chili
cornbread stuffing (could be leftover, could be from the box)
cheese (sliced or shredded works...just not processed american cheese)

Adjust amounts to what you need and what you have on hand.

Put chili into pyrex dish, cover with stuffing, cover dish with foil.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.  Remove cover with cheese.  Broil for about 5-10 minutes until brown and bubbly. 

SO GOOD!  And so easy!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Barnyard Barbie's Guide to Dating a Farmer

So there always seems to be this romantic image in people's heads of farm couples who literally ride off on their horses into the sunset with the sounds of cows gently mooing and the wind whispering in the breeze.  LMAO.  That is for the movies is my guide to dating/being married to farmer  :-)

1-PRAY for rain!  If it rains or is raining its a double bonus.  One--crops do good in the rain, farmers smile when crops do good.  Two--if it's raining the chances of your farmer gallivanting with his mistress Jane Deere are greatly reduced.

2-Dinner at 6pm?  Please!  I'm happy when J and I get to eat together.  A farmer has the same schedule as the sun, so if you are one of those women that likes routine...a farmer is not for you.

3-Sh*t and mud.  Like a spotless dust free house?  Hmmm living in the country and marrying a farmer is not the best idea.  Sh*t, mud, hay, all follow a farmer around like Hansel and Gretel.

4-Scared of germs?  The life of a farm wife is not for you!  This follows #3...there is so much poop on a farm....chicken poop, cow poop, dog poop, bird poop, cat poop, horse poop...and no matter how hard you will get on your shoes, pants, hands, gloves, etc (I just try not to think about it).

5-Date nights?  What are date nights?  If you want a date with your farmer--you need to pull out your handy-dandy Farmer's Almanac and check the planting and harvesting dates for all crops and plan accordingly.  Getting a farmer to date during harvest or planting season is likened to "when hell freezes over."

6-It will only take 30 minutes.  If you hear a version of your farmer say afraid be very afraid.  Don't start cooking dinner, don't get the DVD player ready for a movie.  Pour yourself another glass of wine, because when you hear those "It will only take...." it will most likely take 1 1/2 hours.

7-If hell breaks loose--your farmer will be away.  In all the instances when things have gotten crazy (animals getting out, snakes trying to attack me, animals not getting along, etc, etc.) J was at work.   Its like country karma knows the husband is away and sicks its mighty bad voodoo on the wife at home.  Oh gee the wife is enjoying her day of relaxing on the couch reading a good book.....hehheeee its time for the cows to decide to test the fence.....

8-Team-Realize that it takes 2 teammates to make a farm run..and that you both have each others back.  Maybe that Hollywood image of horses in the distance is phony, but the walking out to the barn hand-in-hand during a snowstorm together to feed animals image is real.