Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Buying Hay

All those hay bales we had from last summer went pretty fast once the cold weather set in. Once the temperatures drop, the grass stops growing and it only takes a few weeks for the cows to eat everything available. We started giving them hay at the beginning of December. The cows have been eating 4-5 bales a week, so what we had lasted about 6 weeks.

We needed to buy more hay, but it became clear that it was an issue for other people because we had some difficulty getting someone to deliver bales for us. We eventually got a friend of a friend to deliver 17 bales (@$25/bale) which we had hoped would last until warm weather. But the cows have eaten almost all of that, too.

While we wait for more bales to be delivered, Neighbor has kindly sold us a few of his bales to help us out.

Monday, February 26, 2018


Lately Guv'nor has been exercising his right to NOT wear seat belts. I think living in Texas has gone to his head, thinking he's at liberty to do almost anything.

He says he's done the research, and feels like you are safer without a seatbelt, providing your vehicle has working airbags. Apparently seat belts cause a certain amount of damage. And he says they wrinkle his shirt and are uncomfortable to wear. So I guess that's enough reasons. (By the way, I still wear my seatbelt.)

Unfortunately, his theory was put to the test the other day on the way to work.

A road construction crew in a truck pulling a trailer with a sign pulled right out in front of him. The morning sun had blinded the other driver and he could not see Guv'nor coming from the east. Guv'nor thought the other driver had seen him because he slowed down and hesitated like he would stop. But he didn't.

Swerving to miss the bulk of the truck, Guv'nor instead hit the middle of the trailer. ALL of the car's airbags were deployed, blanketing Guv'nor in cushions of protection. He had to sit awhile and wait for someone else to open the doors.

Thankfully neither of the vehicles were traveling very fast. And no one was seriously hurt. The other driver admitted fault at the scene.

Guv'nor was shaken up a little and gave me a call to come pick him up. His car was not drivable. And later was written off as a total loss. His only injury was a bad bruise to his left calf where the airbag under the steering wheel had hit him like a bullet.

This hasn't deterred him, rather has proved his point.

Friday, February 23, 2018


We burned one of the five year old burn piles from when we cleared trees for the fences. It's always a little tricky because we have to wait until any county burn ban has been lifted, but also when it hasn't been too wet. We also like the time to coincide with when the family is all home to enjoy it. This time was right after Christmas (I know, I'm way behind in my posts) when we added a couple of Christmas trees to the pile.

This pile was out in a open field, some distance away from any trees, so we weren't too worried about starting a brush fire. But it was very windy that evening, and the embers were blowing a long way. Thankfully there was a slight drizzle that night so the ground was damp.

Our previous bonfires are here:
April 2014
January 2015
March 2015
April 2016

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tiny Sweet Potatoes

I completely failed at growing sweet potatoes this year. I didn't get them planted early enough so they didn't have enough time to get big before the first freeze. There was only one big enough to eat. The rest went on the compost pile. I'll have to try again this summer and plant earlier.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Muffins in Jars

After making the brownie mixes last year for Christmas presents, I thought I'd try making a muffin mix this year. I have used the same recipe for over 30 years and it has become a family favorite. So I thought I would try modifying the recipe a little and layering all the dry ingredients in a quart jar. 

From the bottom up, the layers were:

1 cup crushed bran flakes
3/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
12 muffin paper liners
I also included 1/4 cup of three different add-ins: raisins, pecans, chocolate chips. I wrapped these in plastic wrap and put them inside the muffin liners.

I cut circles from old Christmas cards to decorate the tops of the jars. And included a slip of paper with the instructions:

1 cup water
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
Mix well.
Bake for 20 min @400ยบ
Makes 12 muffins
The jars were well received and I had some positive feedback. I was disappointed that the buttermilk powder got very hard and lumpy and was difficult to mix. If I do this again, I will leave out the buttermilk powder and just suggest to use real buttermilk. 

Like the brownie jars, the muffin jars were very inexpensive as presents. The quart jars were the most expensive element, costing about $1/jar. The dry ingredients cost about $35. It took me about 4 hours to make all 24 jars, about 10 minutes per jar. So if you do the math, each jar cost about $2.50 to make.

Four boxes of cereal = $6

Six pounds of sugar = $3

Three pounds of brown sugar = $3

Ten pounds of flour = $10

Two cans of buttermilk powder = $10

Baking soda = $1

Salt from my pantry

24 quart jars = $24

Muffin liners from my pantry

Raisins = $2

Chocolate chips = $3

Friday, February 16, 2018

Mobile Clinic

It hadn't occurred to me when we gave a home to all those cats recently, that they could potentially turn into a large cat colony that would overtake the workshop and cost us a small fortune in cat food.  I was surprised when I realized that siblings would mate with each other. 

After consulting with our vet, I also realized it was going to cost us a small fortune to have them spayed and neutered. They suggested I look for a mobile clinic that toured around the area, so I started watching for details. I eventually phoned and booked appointments for all six cats on the next date they were going to be in our area.

After rounding up the cats and putting them in carriers, I took them one morning to a parking lot of our local farm store. The mobile clinic parks there for the day and performs all the necessary procedures from a trailer. I picked them up a few hours later.

We weren't sure what some of the kitten genders were. We knew Honey was a female, and we knew we had a least one mother to the litter of kittens. But we couldn't get the four kittens to stay still long enough to check. Turns out we had three females and three males. 

The final bill for all six cats was about the price of one vet visit.