Monthly Archives: October 2009

Menu Plan Monday 10/26 – 10/31

menu plan

Monday: Chicken Patties & Buttered Noodles

Tuesday: Baked Rotini w/ garlic bread (based loosely on this recipe)

Wednesday: Hamburgers/hot dogs on the grill w/ rice

Thursday: Short ribs in the crockpot (I think I’m going to try this recipe and alter it for the crockpot)

Friday: Sirloin steak & roasted potatoes (I inventoried our freezer and we have 8 packages of sirloin steak!)

Saturday: Steak sandwich & chips

Sunday: Leftovers

A lot of these are carried over from last week since we had some late nights and just snacked when we got home. I have a knitting class after work this Thursday and next so I’m going to try to use up some of the cuts of beef that are hiding in my freezer. I’m making a point to post more of the recipes that I use here on MPM, whether it be my version or a link to the original.

What’s on your plate this week? See what’s on cooking over at this week’s Menu Plan Monday.

Why would you want to be so busy?

I saw my Mom today and she was telling the ladies at our knitting group how busy I am. Like crazy busy. I guess she’s right, and I probably do tell people I am busy a lot, but it still surprised me to hear her say it.

When I was in high school I was close friends with my cousin in the same grade. She was in every sport there was, went to church, etc., etc. It seemed like every time I asked her to do anything she said, “I’m really sorry but I’m just so busy… I have practice… I have a game… I have ____”. It sort of drove me crazy. I never understood why she would let herself be so busy. What about enjoying life and having fun!?

Now I get it. 100%. Sure, people might think I’m busy and I agree. However, I am really enjoying the things I’m doing. Even when I get tired and burnt out I still feel like this is all worth it. For example, here’s what I did today: made 6 loaves of bread, knitted for several hours including 1 hour at class, posted twice on here, completely emptied out our spare bedroom and cleaned it, went grocery shopping, made chili (with a mix), talked with my husband, made homemade chocolate pudding, and listened and learned from the Dave Ramsey show almost the entire time. I am gaining so many life skills that will stick with me forever, I’m loving it!

I don’t post about the stuff I do all the time to make anyone feel lazy (Abbie! 🙂 ). I hope it is mostly encouraging! This time, too, I hope anyone reading and wondering why some people are so busy may have gained a better understanding. Kudos to those of you who make me feel lazy (like pretty much anyone with children). And remember to take a breath and make sure you’re doing it all for the right reasons. Life’s too short to work hard for the wrong reasons!

Taking the Sheep

I didn’t mean to be “away” so long. I spent my day off trying to help my cousin out with her new baby. It went pretty well but that on top of not sleeping well the night before I had to take the sheep in means I’ve been very tired! I’ve got a knitting class this afternoon but wanted to sneak in an update about how things went.

Brian worked in the soybean field until after dark on Monday night so we got up at 5 on Tuesday morning to load the sheep before he went to work. The loading went pretty smooth, almost too smooth. That darn sheep has only had a halter on him 2 or 3 times but he walked on a rope like a pro and jumped right in the trailer. Figures! 😉

I memorized the little map Brian drew me so I knew exactly where to go and where to park at the slaughterhouse. Normally, with cattle, you back the trailer right up to the gate. Since I just had the one sheep it was quicker for me to just park and walk him in. As I was driving in I could see in through an open door on the one side. Their was a whole steer carcass hanging, already skinned and ready to hang until further processing. I didn’t see much else in there.

I walked up to the gate before unloading the sheep. There were two pigs squealing in a corner pen and a small group of muddy steers in another pen. Two men were in there attempting to rearrange the steers. The man I talked to was nice enough as he pointed to a small, narrow pen where I could put my lone sheep. His appearance was something that I should have expected but didn’t. He wore a thick plastic apron. Stains all down the front of it were evidence of the blood that had run there. Two or three different meat cleavers and knives swung from his belt. On his face were black, thick rimmed glasses that were so cliche I almost laughed.

The pens were not what I expected either. For some reason I pictured pens made out of wooden slats with muddy straw for bedding. Perhaps under a leaky metal roof off the side of the building. Instead this was more like a garage: completely enclosed and part of the main building. The pens were almost as tall as the ceiling and consisted of round metal bars. Picture jail cells for lack of a better description. The floor was cement. Relatively clean – since the pens are empty most of the time – and with no bedding. I led my sheep in the pen, removed his halter, and shut the gate. Then I got the hell out of there!

I pulled around the the front and went in the customer entrance. By chance Brian had mentioned our meat chickens once while he was picking up a quarter of beef. The owner, Sally, apparently gets a lot of requests for chickens. She has already referred over two customers and promises to send more. She wanted to try one of our chickens for herself so I dropped one off while I was there. The customer area was pretty tame with a glass meat display and view of the offices. Everyone I spoke with was very friendly.

So overall, not bad. I worked it up to be way worse than it was. I did NOT sleep well the night before and was so stressed out that I didn’t feel good. I was fine after dropping him off besides wondering a few times throughout the day if he had met his fate yet. Considering the purpose of that place it wasn’t as bad to visit as it could be. Maybe someday I’ll be really brave and ask for a behind the scenes tour. I bet the actuality of what goes on there isn’t as bad as one could imagine.

Our cattle and sheep get to sleep in the sun on grass pastures until hours before their demise. If they are in a pen it has fresh, soft bedding with clean water and plenty of food. I greatly regret that their last few hours must be filled with horrible sounds and smells. I can only find solace in the fact that the bulk of animals butchered for the masses spend their entire lives in the conditions that mine only spend a few hours. That alone makes all of this worth it to me!

For those in the area we take our animals to Caro Packing and are very happy with Sally, her staff, and the service they provide.

I Admit It…I’m A Softie

I went to college with a bunch of animal loving vegetarians. “How can you eat your animals!?” they would ask.

My response? I’m not ready to stop eating meat so the next best thing I can do is make sure the animals I eat have the best life possible and that their lives are ended in a humane way. Even my classmates could respect that.

And blah blah blah. I know what I told them is true. I do. It is my responsibility to raise our meat, raise it well, and well… decide when it is time for them to go. If I have a bunch of pampered farm animals and buy my meat at the grocery store that doesn’t make much sense. But it isn’t always easy.

What’s making me think of this? Well we have that one lonely ram lamb and his date with destiny is scheduled for tomorrow. We’re going to “try a lamb” ourselves as in eat one to see how to cook it so we can share our experience with any of our customers who may want to buy some lamb.

The lamb has to go to the same place the cattle go to. Brian usually takes them. Sure, the calves are cute but by the time they’re big enough to go they are big and rude and could care less about me unless I’m carrying a bucket of corn. He takes them and they come back in a cooler. Well, this time Brian can’t take the lamb so I have to. I’d love to say that I’m all in touch with my food chain and can’t wait to tour the slaughterhouse. To be honest, I’m scared. What if I show up and they’re offing some animal in the next pen. What if the lamb looks at me with that look in his eyes. Ugg.

What’s the difference? Well, sheep are already scared and prone to panic by nature. I’ve spent this lamb’s whole life trying to convince him that I’m not going to hurt him.

I’m really going to be fine with this, it’s not like I’m crying in my Wheaties or anything. I just wanted to put it out there that I’m not heartless and these things aren’t always easy. If anyone wants to jump in and make me feel better I’d love that!

Menu Plan Monday 10/19 – 10/24

menu plan

Monday: Hamburgers/Hot dogs on the grill w/ rice

Tuesday: Chicken patties & buttered noodles

Wednesday: Homemade chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes w/ chicken gravy

Thursday: Baked Walleye w/ Alfredo shells

Friday: Baked rotini w/ garlic bread

Saturday: Pizza & breadsticks

What’s on your plate this week?
Check out what others are eating over at this week’s Menu Plan Monday.

Harvest of Friends Blog Party

This is my post for the Harvest of Friends blog party hosted by Lynnette Kraft over at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground.

HarvestofFriendsSBSm

Lynnette has come up with the following 20 questions so that we can get to know each other better. I thought it would be fun to try to answer all 20 so here goes…

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you’re blogging? Lately it is apple cider or, more recently, homemade bread made in to garlic toast.
2. What is one thing you wouldn’t want to live without? My family. That is kind of general but for me it includes my husband, parents, sister, extended family, and our pets (of course!).
3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice? Umm… since we have the farm covered already I’m going to say the beach! 😉
4. What’s your least favorite chore/household duty? Cleaning our back room/entryway. Lucky for me hubby will usually do it if I do almost all the other chores. Maybe I’d be better off just cleaning that room myself…
5. Who do people say you remind them of? My aunt. No one famous, sorry!
6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam? I am definitely a homebody. I can be social but I have to force myself.
7. What’s your all time favorite movie? The Horse Whisperer is the only thing coming to mind right now.
8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night? I rarely wear it so removing it is easy.
9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you’ve never had a chance to learn? What is it? I don’t know about a hidden talent. I’d like to become a better seamstress and learn to quilt someday. I think I’ve got the rest covered.
10. What’s one strange thing you’re really good at? I can hang spoons from my face, lol. Like 4 or 5 of them if I try hard. Can’t get much weirder than that! I think I’m pretty good at drawing blood on animals too. It comes with my job so it isn’t that weird.
11. What first attracted you to your spouse? He had tickets to the dinner I wanted to go to! (j/k, sort of) Physically I couldn’t really check him out the first time because he was in full Carharts. He does have awesome blue eyes though which I noticed the second time we met. And he said yes to taking me to that dinner which told me he was a sweetie since I too was in full winter gear.
12. What is something you love to smell? Dinner cooking. That’s all that matters!
13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people. I can be a little snappy and short with people without realizing it.
14. When you have extra money (HA!) what’s the first thing you think to do with it? Pay off debt!
15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest? I guess I’m medium, I don’t think I’m loud but I’m not silent. Our pets make me laugh the most. That and Three and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
16. Where is your favorite place to shop? Kohl’s on the rare occasion that I go shopping.
17. What’s one thing you’d do more often if you had more time? Sleep, knit, or play fetch with the dogs.
18. Are you a big spender or frugal? Undeniably frugal.
19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can’t be real) Lately it is Sheldon from TBBT. He just cracks me up. Winnie the Pooh is pretty cool too. 🙂
20. Would you want to be famous? No way.

If you’d like to participate head on over and see what it is all about!

Preparing for Winter: Outside

I told myself I was going to “take the day off” and relax completely. Yeah right! 😛

I did some lounging around the house this morning, then we went to see my cousin’s new baby. He’s such a cutie and so tiny! While we were “in the city” (we’re such hicks) we stocked up on some groceries. More about that in a different post.

We got back home and I was torn: lay around for the rest of the day and feel like a loser because I didn’t get anything done OR go do something and kick myself later because I didn’t relax before going back to work tomorrow. I chose the latter and went outside. Since I tend to ramble I’ll put the tasks completed in bold

First I planted some :::ahem::: flower :::cough::: bulbs. Yes, that is not a typo, I really did plant flowers. Up until now I could never bring myself to put much effort in to cultivating anything that I couldn’t eat. Luckily, flower bulbs don’t take much effort. I only bought one package so I put a few around our mailbox and the rest in that big metal pot in our front yard. I’m going to kill the dog if she digs them out. I’m kidding (maybe). Supposedly these bulbs will magically put up beautiful flowers in the spring. Hmmp, we’ll see.

This week I discovered that we have a nicer garden hoe than I thought and that it kicks butt for edging around things. I used it to pull back some of the grass around my fruit trees. I’ll need to mulch them before winter. I read somewhere that the grass shouldn’t grow right up to them so mulch might be better. Plus, I won’t have to weed whack close to them and risk damaging the bark.

Our friend showed up while I was doing that so I suckered him in to helping me with the next chore. We went out to the long garden and pulled up all the dead corn and sunflower stalks. I put some of them in the compost pile. The horses happily ate some of the ear corn that I threw in their pasture. Two big wheelbarrow loads went out to the cattle. I suspect they will eat them all as I watched a steer start at the tip and munch a whole cornstalk down, spitting out the root end when he got that far!

Then I got the lawn mower out for one last hurrah
. I mowed around those trees and across part of our front yard. It looks so much nicer!! We try but usually mowing gets pushed pretty far down on the list. If my neighbors are reading: I promise we will do better at basic maintenance once all we are trying to do is maintain. It is too hard right now when we are constantly redoing, refinishing, relandscaping, rebuilding, etc.

Anyway, I took the lawnmower out to the long garden and mowed verrrryyy slowly over the whole thing. That garden was new this summer and was so weedy, I eventually gave up. Now that it is mowed I’ll get Brian to spread some manure over it with the spreader and then I’ll mulch it with straw. Next year it should be much nicer.

I mowed some more in the front yard until it got too dark to see. Then I watered the chickens (found 3 eggs!) and came in for the night. Brian is still out harvesting soybeans with the neighbors. I’ll probably veg out here on the couch with the computer for awhile, take a shower, and go to bed. I’m happy that I got to get things done and relax a little.

What are you doing to prepare for colder weather?