Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Things Come...

...even to those who wait for years, apparently.

My long-time readers know I don't post about men I meet or date--that's not what this blog is about.  I've shared my passions with all of you--the farm, the horses, my mini-adventures, both good and bad.  However, for the first time I'm writing about a personal relationship, because for the first time I have found something that is true and real. 

I am so unbelievably happy.  I mean that literally.  I feel like I should pinch myself every day.  The realism is starting to sink in, though, that I've found my match and my match has found me.  Everyone, meet Clint.

I could start an entire new blog about all the wonderful attributes this man possesses, but let me simply state for now that he is without equal.  He is perfect for me and wonderful to me.  I love him with all my heart.  He's the one I've waited so long for.

In future posts you'll get to know a lot more about him as we move through life's little adventures together.  I am so happy to have shared the last few years with everyone, and I...we...are looking for to many, many more!

*doing the happy dance*

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Night Shift

It's really true: you can never judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes.  It's true about a lot of things, but it's especially true about night shifters.

No, you're thinking night crawlers.  They're worms.  They don't wear shoes.

I'm talking about people who work the graveyard shift, night after night, only seeing the light of day in the wee hours of the morning before most people even begin their day.  I've known people who worked nights and I tried to be empathetic to what, I thought, must feel like hours on end of lonely nights, crickets chirping, fighting the urge to sleep like a never-ending battle between immortal enemies.  

All those things are true, to a certain extent, but there's also an unexpected upside to having a schedule compatible with the workforce in Asia.  I present for your consideration the top seven advantages to working the night shift:

1.  You can have breakfast for supper every single day and no one will think anything odd about it at all.

2.  On the flip side of that, you can have a margarita for breakfast (on your nights off, of course) and no one will call you a drunk.

3.  When you go out on your nights off you're the last person to get tired.

4.  The bad news is you can't remember what day it is.  The good news is you don't care.

5.  Waking up in the middle of your sleep cycle doesn't seem quite as bad when it's daylight out.

6.  It's easier to fight the urge to play outside with the horses instead of doing housework on your nights off when it's dark outside.

7.  Bad hair "days" aren't quite as stressful when you know only two other people will see you.

Of course, even with all these advantages, I am still looking forward to the day school starts, when I can get back to the land of the living.  In the meantime this schedule has made me look at things in an entirely new light.  For example, what if you mix the mayonnaise in the can, WITH the tunafish?  Or...hold it!  Take LIVE tuna fish, and feed them mayonnaise!!  Oh this is great.  I should call Starkist! 

(Only a handful of you will get that reference, and that's ok.)

I'm an idea man, Chuck.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Independence Day!  It's such a fun day to spend with family, cooking out on the grill, enjoying the height of summer, all culminating with a fantastic fireworks display.  

While in the past I've mainly concentrated my 4th of July posts on the latter, this year I'd like to focus a little more about what this holiday is about--the declaration of American independence from England.

That long phrase basically comes down to one small idea--the birth of our country.  The United States would have never become the United States without the courage and fortitude of those who fought for our independence.  Recently, I've concentrated my genealogical research on this era of our nation's history, and I am proud to say I have been able to trace my heritage back to at least six Revolutionary War Patriots, each with his own unique story.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating is the story of Thomas Paisley (my Grandma McCandless's paternal grandmother's great-grandfather).  He entered the war when he was only seventeen.  Only a year into his service he was captured at the Siege of Charleston.

He became a prisoner of war and was shipped to the West Indies where he endured four years of hard labor in one of their prison camps before being returned home.   Over 45% of Revolutionary Prisoners of War died in captivity, so his mere survival speaks to Thomas's strength and courage.  Luckily he returned home, married, and had twelve children before passing at the age of 82.

Another one of my ancestors, James Cotton (my 3rd great-grandmother McCandless's grandfather) came to America from Belfast in 1769 and enlisted six years later, helping to bury the dead after the battle of Princeton.

More of my Revolutionary War ancestors can be seen here: 

It's truly amazing, once you start researching your heritage, all the ways that we would not be here had one of these individuals had chosen a different path in life, or had not survived.  I am thankful to all these brave men and their families, and so many others like them, for without them, today we would not be celebrating the birth of our country.

American by birth, Patriot by choice,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Favorite Recipes

I'm always trying to healthy.  With my hectic schedule, lack of a proper kitchen and my epic level of impatience when I get hungry, it can get rather difficult to find recipes that work for my situation.  However, I have found a few and to boot...they are delicious!  So, I thought I'd share the wealth.  You can try them first and then thank me later.  Click on the pictures or recipe name to reach the webpage with the recipe.

Salsa Verde Crockpot Tacos from The Novice Chef 

Photo from The Novice Chef

These tacos are AWESOME.  If you can't find the cotija cheese she suggests, any cheese, or even no cheese at all, works.  I also prefer bottled salsa verde over canned, but the canned isn't bad by any means.

Photo from The Pioneer Woman

I have a difficult time getting through two weeks without a strong craving for this amazing salad.  To say it has a lot of flavor is like saying Tom Selleck has a mustache.  Don't panic if you don't want to buy 20 kinds of veggies--just pick out a few favorites and go with it!  All the ingredients is great, but as they say, the secret's in the sauce!

Cilantro-lime Salsa (no link because this one is my gift to you, kids)
Not my photo, but it looks just like this.

I love this salsa on about anything--chips, baked potatoes, a sweet pepper frittata, mixed with ranch dressing for a wrap--you name it!  It's also easy to make--just be sure to eat it in two or three days because the cilantro starts to turn after that.  If it goes bad you can taste it, so don't worry.  Much like my overly acidic stomach, it will let you know when it's about to turn on you.

Cilantro (to taste--usually a big handful for me)
1 can rotel
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
1 jalapeno (remove the seeds if you can't take the heat.  You can stay in the kitchen, though)
Onion to taste
1 clove of garlic

I throw the jalapeno, garlic, and onion in a food processor and chop, then add the cilantro and lime juice and chop again.  Then I add the rotel.  You can add salt if you like as well.

Easy peasey!

I hope you enjoy these few recipes that I blatantly stole off the internet, then tested, time and time again, before feeling they were worthy of my awesome audience.  It was hard work, but then again, you're worth it--both of you.

Let there be an abundant farmhouse feast,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hay, Hay, Hay

It looks like we're in for another long, hot, dry summer.  Temperatures have hovered above 100 degrees for the past two weeks and there hasn't been a drop of rain for longer than that (except for last night--more on that later).  Last summer began like this and my hay seller only got one cutting of alfalfa in.  I was able to buy 20 bales and that didn't last long.  The rest of the summer I bought and fed bagged alfalfa, which, at $15 a piece, where a very expensive and inconvenient replacement.  My horses got fed, which is the most important thing, but they and I both would have preferred the real thing.

So, this year, I got a jump on things quite early.  Usually I'd be buying winter hay in August or September, but this year I got all the alfalfa I need for the next year in June.  As they say, the early bird gets the worm...or the bales.

I got the first 200 bales delivered this weekend, and it is absolutely gorgeous hay.

All three of my equine children "say" it tastes as good as it looks.

Thank goodness for that spring rain!!

Green, leafy, fine-stemmed.  I haven't seen alfalfa this nice for close to two years now.  I'm so glad I was able to get 400 bales of this beautiful hay.

The horses don't know how lucky they are. 

I don't think they realize how much we go through for them, either.  My hay guy got stuck in the sand taking back roads to my house, so after working all night I changed in a hurry, unhooked my truck from the trailer (which is up on a jack because of a tire issue--more on that later as well), went and pulled him out after unloading some hay onto my truck for weight, and then we got to my house and unloaded and stacked bales all morning.

Then I hit the hay.

Maybe I should rephrase that--I took a nice, long nap.  Then that evening I went and picked up more pallets, and the next morning I re-stacked hay.  Then I looked at my arms.

Then I wept like a small child.

Then I took a break.

Finally, yesterday morning, I got it all, or the first 200 bales, anyway, stacked.  The night before we got about an eighth of an inch of rain (although none was forecasted for the next ten days--it rained just enough to ruin good hay), so I had to put a tarp over the part where the roof isn't quite finished.  The roof should be finished in a few weeks, but again, more on that later....

For now I'm going to sit back, admire this small accomplishment, tend to my cross-hatched arms, and await the next load of 200 bales.  After that, I just need to stock up on about 12 or so grass roundbales for when the cold weather sets in (horses warm themselves by fermenting hay in their gut, so they need constant roughage--in addition to the calories that alfalfa provides--during the winter).  

Hay ho, Hay ho, (what did you just call me?!) it's off to work I go,