Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dawgs.

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. Having dogs is like having a toddler. 

Heard around the house: 

Buddy, leave your sister alone. 
Buddy, why are you eating the floor? 
Buddy, don't throw your toys at me. 
Buddy, get your nose out of my a$$. 
Buddy, stop eating my pants. 
Buddy, put your penis away. 
Buddy, stop eating your sisters head. 
Buddy, chew your food. 
Buddy, don't pee on your sister.    
Buddy, why can't you be good like your sister?

Always an adventure!!!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Don't read this, just don't do it!

Really, just don't. You don't want to read what I'm about to say. It's down and dirty. It's really farmy. It's just wrong.



Really? Are you sure you're ready for this? 



Okay. You asked for it


So I was out milking Elsie the other day, and her keeper mentioned that she was being amorous. That she was trying to mount him and even mount her chunky monkey of a calf. Then I suddenly found myself saying, "now I'm no expert on cow 'units', but it sure looks mucous-y."  Yep, I said that outloud.  Oh, the look on the poor gentleman's face.




Part of Elsie's issues (and why she was so much less expensive than you normally find milk cows for) is that she was not bred back (preggers). The previous owner had told the current owner that her cycles were not regular and they were having a hard time getting her bred because of the irregular cycles.  Now, I've been milking her for about a month. I didn't write down the first time she came into cycle, but I swear it was 3 weeks ago.  Which is about right.  Due to the fact that she is mount-y and mucous-y, my non-expert opinion is that she is cycling RIGHT NOW.  

I decided I should learn a little something about it, since her owner has been talking about trying to breed her. Evidently the best time to bring in the bull is when a cow is in 'standing heat'.  During this period, cows stand to be mounted by other cows, as opposed to moving away.  This is a fairly brief period of time - generally 15 to 18 hours, but may be as little as 8 hours or as much as 30 hours. Other signs of cows cycling are: mounting other cows (she did that!), mucus discharge (yep), decreased feed intake and milk output (I was wondering why she wasn't producing as much!), bellowing and restlessness, swelling and reddening of the cow 'unit' (please excuse the colloquialism, I just can't go there yet).  Learn even more here.

So I learned something new, and hopefully you have, too! Bet you never knew you needed to know that!

Friday, March 4, 2016

That's great, darnit!

Well, I'm a little disappointed, even if I have some really great news.  Our generator broke, and we took it in to The Home Depot for the warranty work to get done.



And they failed miserably.  I'd had this really great blog post written and planned out to complain about The Home Depot and the repair service runaround we'd gotten and how they super sucked.  I was really excited to tell you about the whole story - I'd gotten very floral with my language and it was a great post.  I was just holding onto the post until the end of the runaround and could tell the whole story...




Then the local store went and replaced our generator at no charge even though the repair service wouldn't cover it under warranty!!!  Darn it!  They went and ruined my post with their confounded good customer service!!!  So long story short, our generator broke and the Kennewick, WA Home Depot did a great job fixing the issue.



Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dairy Fail...

I've had a dairy failure.  So sad.  Let's take a moment to mourn the loss of A WHOLE CUP OF HEAVY CREAM.  Such a sad day.
  
I tried to make sour cream.  The recipe that I found called for 1 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup white vinegar.  Mix together, set out at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate.

I pulled a cup of invaluable, luscious, creamy, precious, perfect cream from my milk stores, and did the deed.  I felt fairly positive about the process.





After 24 hours, I placed the jar in the fridge.  It never set up.  I assumed that it would be less firm than store bought, but I still was expecting a bit of a firmer texture.  It was basically just vinegary cream.  So...sad.....  

I added it to a couple baking recipes that called for sour cream, but overall it was very sad.  Just sad.

In case you missed it, I was sad to lose my cream!!!




Now, as I research my failure, I know what the problem was.  Not living at home with endless internet!  Well, sort of.  When I went to make the sour cream, I was in our temporary internet black hole, and only looked at one recipe.  And it was BAD!  Normally when I make something new, I will look at 3 to 5 recipes for the end product, and verify that the ingredients are similar - because you can't trust the internet!  In this case I went against my normal policy, and the cream paid for it in the long run.

As it turns out, the amount of vinegar should be substantially less.  Most recipes are as follows:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp vinegar

I'll try again once I decide to sacrifice another cup of cream.  After my heart heals a little....  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ah-maz-ing!


I am really loving living in casserole land.  Okay, I'd rather be in my oven-handicapped land, but YUM! CASSEROLES!  We've run this through the dinner schedule a few times already, and love on it.



Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

5 large potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1/4 inch slices (I've used both russet and/or yukon gold)
1 small onion, sliced into rings 
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb cubed ham
3 tablespoons butter 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2 cups milk 
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste 


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
2) Saute onions and garlic in olive oil, set aside.
3) Place a layer of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. 
4) Alternate layers of onion mixture, ham, then potatoes.  Continue to layer until ingredients gone.
5) In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in salt & pepper, thyme and sage.  Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. 
6) Pour cheese mix over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
7) Bake ~60 minutes in the preheated oven.  Remove foil last 5 minutes of cooking.  



Saturday, February 13, 2016

What is going on???

I've been giving some thought to the overall goals of this blog.  Originally I thought it would be fairly instructional - on topics such as living off grid and homesteading.  I've recently realized that I barely have any idea what I'm doing!!!  Really, most of my blog posts have been more along the lines of what NOT to do rather than the proper way to do things!  And you know what?  That's okay!  One thing I'd decided that I really wanted to be above all else is authentic.  If I were to provide all kinds of instructional information to you, without feeling like I knew what I was doing, it'd all be a lie.  So really I feel that the blog is going in a more memoir-ish direction.  A learn from my mistakes direction. A learn as I go direction.  And if I really know how to do something, I'll show you how to do it.  And of course there will be food!  And hopefully farm animals!  And if there’s anything you want to hear about, let me know!  I just might go that way, too!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Awesome Adventure

While living away from home has been pretty sucky overall, there have been some wonderful benefits!  I've been lucky enough to meet more of Bickleton's great residents, I've had time to cook more, and I'VE MILKED A COW!!!

One of the local ranchers had a bum calf, and picked up a milk cow to help with the feeding.  Her name is Elsie.  She was pretty close to drying off when he got her, so in addition to having the calf on her, he is making sure she is milked out daily to make sure her production stays up.  Some how I was thrown/volunteered into learning how to milk!  And that is pretty awesome!


Bum Calf???  Who wouldn't love that face?


About 2/3rds of the people I know with cows are city folk turned farmers that are super sterile about milking and procedures.  Now the last third have taught me the other way - "Good Nuff" style!  These are old farmers or ranchers that have been milking this way since they were children and since their parents were children and since THEIR parents were children.  And it has always been good enough!  Just brush the mud of the teat and go.  (Okay, disclaimer.  When I have my own cow, I will probably handle things a bit differently.  But I am not one to look a gift cow in the mouth, or to poo-poo their good-nuff approach.  Just as I tend to shy away from most of the good-nuff canning methods, I will most likely make slightly different milking choices, somewhere between the current scientifically accepted norm and good-nuff.  End disclaimer)


My first <3


As for the actual milking, the first day was difficult - mostly the bending over portion!  You should have seen these old ranchers laugh at me when I stopped milking, stood up and unbuttoned my pants! A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.  After milking my hands and arms didn't hurt too bad, it was my back that was killing me.  On the second day, I was pretty much on my own!!  Nothing like being thrown into the fire!  So far I've gotten to milk for 4 days.  I am noticing that the milking is inflaming my old back/shoulder/arm injury, but this is good to know.  Should probably go to the doctor about that soon, instead of just bucking up.


I'm busy!


I'm not sure how long I'll have a chance to keep milking her, but every minute counts!  This is the best experience ever.  It's like having livestock on a trial basis before you have to commit to it!  And I'll tell you what, I like it.  Livestock is always a huge commitment, and the larger the animal, the larger the commitment.  But once we have the infrastructure, I am sure that a little milk cow will be a great addition to the farm... click here for a couple extra thoughts!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

43 days...no end in sight...







We have been "snowed out" for 43 days.  In truth, the snow isn't as bad as it was, but the roads are still bad enough that we can't take our trucks on the road to get the work done that we need to get done!


Woody took the quad up the other day...




It doesn't look too bad at first.





Then it gets a bit worse...





And a bit worse...





Oh, that looks really icky...





And then it just gets bad.


So... short story long, we are still not able to get our chores done so we can move back in.  But we can start on some of them!  Since he can get the quad in, he can do some of the lightweight chores done.  Once the truck can get up there, we can get some the heavy chores done, then we'll be able to go home!  Baby steps!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cat on a bird!

Originally I was thinking this was a cat on a hot tin roof.  But it's about 30 degrees out, and technically the cat isn't even on the metal portion of the roof.  

But interestingly enough, this is the Bluebird Inn tavern (here in bustling downtown Bickleton).  So therefore, we have a cat on a bird!  (Kitty model = Skittles)


Monday, January 25, 2016

Motivational Monday (MM)

Ya know, sometimes you just need a little push, just a little something...  It's been a bit (okay, a lottle) depressing not being at The Broken Badger.  So we need a little bit of motivation to keep our spirits up.  I'm going to run a Monday Motivation post either until we don't need it anymore or until I'm just so full of it I want to hurl!  Feel free to share your motivational moments with me as well!  It all helps!


The Latest

Woody and the Jeep folk made it up to the cabin yesterday!!!  It wasn't too hard for the jeeps, but Woody doesn't think we'll be able to get our heavy rigs up there any time soon...  Here is the latest and greatest pic!!  There is still quite a bit of snow, even though the jeeps are sitting on top.  There's about 18 inches or so!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Riducu-cheese Baked Penne

Hi, my name is Shae and my current drug of choice is cheese.  Beautiful, glorious cheese. Cheese, cheese, cheese.  Cheese.  Now that it's out there, I have nothing to hide.  I used 5 different cheeses in this recipe.  It originally called for provolone & mozzarella, but all I had on hand was cheddars.  "Cheese, it's all good."  That should be the new cheese motto.  Here is how we roll in The Broken Badger household:


Riducu-cheese Baked Penne

1 lb. penne
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
1 C sour cream
1 C cottage cheese
1/2 C parmesan cheese
1 Tbs dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
~2 C shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar, mild cheddar & medium white cheddar)
~1/4 C parmesan cheese
(1) 26 oz spaghetti sauce

1)  Preheat oven to 370 degrees
2)  Cook pasta to a very al dente stage, set aside.
3)  Saute onion & garlic, cool.
4)  Mix onion, garlic, egg, sour cream, cottage cheese, 1/4 C parmesan, basil, oregano, parsley, salt & pepper in bowl.
5)  In a oiled 9x9 dish, LAYER: pasta sauce, pasta, cottage cheese mix, shredded cheese - then start over. Continue layering until ingredients gone (3 layers in my case.)  Top with last of parmesan cheese.
6) Bake covered with foil 45 minutes or until hot throughout.


This is one of those super convenient recipes that can take a lot of tweaking.  You can add a pound of meat, you can use various sauces, use whatever cheese you have on hand, use any kind of pasta, and add various vegetables.  Personalize it to whatever works for you!

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Original Tiny Home?

I always think of words that end in ~ette~ as being diminutive:

Kitchenette
Vignette
Cobette (little mini corn cobs from KFC, lol)

In truth, the suffix ~ette~ means:
1.  small.
2.  female.
3.  imitation.

In sticking with the diminutive theme, how about a "Homette"?



Yes, the original tiny home!!!  Before there were Tumbleweeds, before there was Tiny House Nation, or tiny this & that; there was the Homette.  This is where we are living temporarily while we wait for snow to melt and things to dry out.  The supreme irony of it is that our temporary tiny home is about three times the size of The Broken Badger!  


As usual, we are super thankful for having the chance to stay here.  It's pretty cool actually, given the age of this little single wide... some previous owners did some remodeling - vinyl windows, drywall, french doors, a mud room & a deck...makes it exceptionally livable!  I was quite pleasantly surprised!  


It's just a little reminder that you can rework old things to make them usable, instead of throwing them away.  Reduce, recycle, REUSE!  (You know, as an aside... I never thought I would be the kind of person that used that phrase, LOL!)