Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life and Death

I knew that farm life was going to be filled with both.  I just didn't know it was going to happen so often.

On Friday, we were leaving to go to town for Peyton's Girl Scout cookie booth at Wal-mart.  We turned out of the driveway and started down the road.  Right away, I saw a something in the road, something little and orange.  I said, "Oh no, that's a cat."  I pulled over, got out, and walked over to it's lifeless body in the road.   I was hoping that it was a different orange cat and not our moma cat "Darlin".  My eyes immediately filled with tears when I realized that it was "Darlin".   I moved her still warm body out of the road and started back to the car wiping the tears from my eyes and trying to figure out how break this news to the kids.

My heart broke for them as I watched them trying to process this horrible news.   We turned around and went back to the house to get her babies.  I couldn't leave them all alone in our open, detached garage.  We went straight to the feed store for bottles and milk replacement powder.

Trying to feed them for the first time was much harder than I anticipated.  They were so tiny and hungry and confused.  They were all crying for their moma and had no idea what to do with a rubber bottle nipple.

With some trial and error, I've found that the best way to feed them is to wrap each one up in a wash cloth like a taco, kind of like swaddling a baby, so their little arms and legs aren't flailing all around.  Hold them tightly, sit them almost upright, and squeeze drops of milk slowly into their mouth.  It's going to be a long, hard road.  I know it will be worthwhile for all of us though.  Nurturing tiny helpless week old kittens will be something that we'll never forget.

I've even found a suitable "replacement moma" to clean them. 

Funny how things work themselves out sometimes.  Just another obstacle to teach us something about life.  That's what it's is all about really.  Looking at every situation, whether good or bad, and asking "what is it that I'm supposed to learn from this?"  I have a feeling that we are all going to learn a lot from this.

Even after tragedy,  the sun still rises the next day and it is just as beautiful as always.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This might take awhile...

I finally can breathe easy about my internet usage.  I was NOT paying .25 per MB or whatever crazy rate it is.  I am so thrilled that I can share photos again!

I've got lots to catch you up on, so I'll keep my words brief and commence with the pics!

Last weekend was our 4th annual Daddy/Daughter Dance.  Every year Peyton and Dad get all dressed up and go dancing while me and Reece get our own date night.  Peyton looks so forward to it, she talks about it all year.  I mean, what little girl doesn't like dressing up like a princess and dancing the night away with her daddy?

Here she is getting her hair done:

Here's the final product, sugar and spice (can you guess which is which?):

While she and daddy were dancing, Reece and I went to 1984, a 1980's style arcade.  It was fun, but 1980's video games are only fun for so long.  We also had a very nice dinner downtown.  I loved sitting across the table from him and talking to him, just him. 

Our weekend got even more exciting when we discovered this in our garage:


 Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen:

I was not a cat person before, but this just makes my heart go all fluttery.

Winter is on it's way out finally, hopefully.  Oh winter, you were fun at times, but I really will be glad to see you go.  A wise man once told me, "Winter is just something to get through."   Now I know what he meant.

Anyway, we've had a few days of sunshine lately.  It actually got warm enough for me to take my camera outside and stay for a while! 

 Hello, little guy.  Yes, I know I've been slacking in the suet department.  I'll try to do better, I promise.

Check out the belly on her.  This was obviously right before the birth of the aforementioned kittens.  I remember those last few days of pregnancy when you just feel like a watermelon about to explode. Darlin, I totally understand why you feel the need to lay down and take a nap in the middle of the sidewalk.

Anyway, back to my bird watching.  Everyone was thrilled that I finally filled up all the bird feeders.  I swear they eat more than the horses.


It was so nice outside, the kids had a fun little game of golf.  

Although, I don't think Babe was thrilled about the golf balls flying around.


In fact, I'm pretty sure they were totally freaked out by it.

They took off in a hurry.  Thank goodness they didn't step on a chicken.

Today, we took the dogs outside rabbit hunting.  It's Buddy's favorite activity, until it's all over and he has to have a bath.  He's too slow to catch anything, but he has a blast trying.

Look at those ears.  Otto must be able to hear every rabbit out there, but he is content to just chase buddy around.

Can you see the smile on his face?


Serious boy, listening for rabbits...

This is fun mom!

Sorry Mom, I didn't mean to get THIS dirty.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boys With New Toys

The boys got new axes for splitting wood the other day.  Unfortunately, FedEx dropped them off after dark.  However, that fact did not deter them from going out in the dark in 15 degree weather to try them out.  It may even have been lightly snowing.  No darkness or cold weather was going to stop these boys from trying out the new toys! 

I'm so glad that they think chopping wood is so much fun!  It must be a guy thing. I'm such a lucky girl to have 2 strong guys splitting wood for me!


For Valentine's Day, I made a special breakfast to show my appreciation for my big, strong guys. 

Oh and here's use #2 for my wheelbarrow:


KittyCat rides!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


What I miss most about Louisiana is the food.  I've had to learn how to make everything because most people up here have never even heard of gumbo or etouffee.  Even the "Cajun restaurants" have no idea!  They mess everything up. 

I've been promising a step by step Chicken and Sausage Gumbo post, so here it is:

1. Find the biggest soup pot you have.  Put a chicken, a few stalks of celery, and an onion cut in half in the pot and fill it up with water.  Put in on the stove to boil and forget about it for a few hours.  Well, check it a few times to add water if the water looks low!


2. In the meantime, enlist some help to chop stuff up.  You have a lot of chopping to do.

Chop 3-4 stalks of celery, 1 bell pepper, 1 large onion, and a bunch of green onions.  Then finely mince 6 large cloves of garlic.

3.  After the chicken has been boiling for at least 2 hours (sometimes I leave it for 3), find the most gigantic bowl that you have (or another very large pot).  Put it in the sink and put a strainer over it.  Dump the chicken and broth into the strainer.  


Toss the soggy veggies and put the chicken to the side to cool after you poke a couple of holes in it to help it cool. Dump the broth back into the pot and put it back on the stove on low to keep it warm.

4.  While the chicken is cooling, it's time to saute the veggies.  Put a whole stick of butter in a skillet on medium/high.  Yes, I said a WHOLE stick. 


When it's melted and sizzling, add the chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper.


Saute it until it looks and smells like this.  Well you can imagine how good it smells.

Now add the garlic and saute for about one more minute.

5. Now it's time to add the roux.  I could explain how to make homemade roux, but I've found that jarred roux tastes just as good, and it's just easier.  This is already taking long enough, right?  Amazingly enough, I can usually find jarred roux in the "Cajun" section of my grocery store.  This time I'm using some that a good friend of Chris' brought us from Louisiana.


I dumped half of the 32 oz jar into the veggies.  Yes, I know it says 1/2 cup or whatever, but I like thick, strong gumbo, not wimpy, watered down gumbo.  It's hard to get out of the jar.  You have to get a knife and pry it out.  It looks like hard chocolate.

Mix it up it bit and turn the skillet off.  Leave it alone for a while.

6. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, start picking it off the bones.  I do not like bones in my gumbo.  This is fun for kids since they love to get their hands dirty.

(To my Super Bowl party guests: I promise that her hands were clean!)

When the chicken is all shredded, add it to the chicken broth on the stove.


7.  By now, the skillet with veggies and roux should look like melted chocolate.

Dump it into the chicken broth and turn stove up to high so it will boil.

8.  I forgot to tell you that you should have 2 pounds of sausage chopped into bite-sized pieces.  

Put the chopped sausage pieces in the skillet that had the melted roux in it.  No don't wash it first.  Cook on medium until they are slightly browned and greasy.  Dump them into the soup pot.

9.  Add a couple Tbsp of Cajun seasoning.  I use this since it's the only thing they sell up here.

Add several liberal squirts of hot sauce of your choice.


9.  Turn stove to medium/low and simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.  Add some water if it looks low.

10.  30 minutes before you serve, add the chopped green onions and a bag of frozen cut okra.

11.  Serve over white rice with hot, buttered french bread on the side. Make sure you have gumbo file' and hot sauce available! 

Follow these directions and you will have very happy party people!