Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicks, bees, baby goats and Pascha

It's amazing.

You look at things you take for granted and you don't notice them until you start farming.

Like "kicking the bucket" we realized where that got the name REAL QUICK! When that goat (or cow) kicks over that bucket of milk you worked so hard to get, you want to slit it's throat and stick it in the freezer.

This article was not what I expected when I typed "Easter Lamb" into google. But this man is Greek Orthodox and describes how his Paschal Lamb is so much a part of him. Lambs (and goats) are born in the spring and at one year old they are at their biggest that you want to let them get before they begin to get tough. Thus giving us the Easter Lamb or an Easter Kid.

The hatching eggs went into the incubator last night. There are 45 total the children are excited as is my husband (me too I suppose). I am looking forward to having some special Black Copper Maran chicks as my own in 20 days from now. It seems the perfect thing to do during Lent, hatch out chicks for the spring.

My husband ordered his bees last week. They will be here in April and we will set up our first hive. Just one this year. My husband will be in an apprenticeship with a friend and he's letting us borrow the hive for the first year to see how we like it.

Our larger Nubian goat is due on April 15th. The girls go into heat in the fall and then you can try to time them to kid when it's best for you. They have to be dried up 2 months before kidding, so Lent seemed a good time to have little to no milk. I think we'll dry up the other one too since she will kid in June but I really wanted my daughter to have a good period of time off so that she would not have to milk 2x per day. I'd like her to be antsy to start when one of them kids and that should happen with a good break. We have thought about raising a male kid up for next year's Pascha feast. We shall see.

It's amazing how our food cycle actually used to revolve around what food was being produced at that time of year. I've already seen that with the garden but it's so much more apparent when you add animals to the mix. It's sad more people don't get to experience that. I'm glad our family is just beginning to learn it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Anna! Get a grip!

(Yes, Hannah, I got that from you...)

I have absolutely no time to post this, but I'll just say a quick THANKS to Granny Miller who I'm trying not to idolize but it's kinda difficult. She's amazing, just amazing. She's done the things I want to do and what's more is she takes the time to teach silly people like me how to do them. I have poured over her site in the last 2 or 3 weeks and I still have a ton to read. I like her just as much (or more) than Backwoods Home, which is also really awesome.

If you follow the link you'll see she listed me on her "Stylish Blogger Award" list today for no apparent reason. I'm flattered to say the least. I don't have time to play the game and give my awards today, since my sis and bro-in-law are over for the last day of MEAT before Lent begins. Yes, we're having a meat fest and my sister will be canning her beans (for use during Lent) while she's here.

I'll have to do my list tomorrow, but I have a whopping 13 followers, so I'm not too concerned about getting it done ASAP.

Have a great Sunday all, we're all snug in here with the good things in life: our wood fire, coffee, beer, meat and good company.





Saturday, February 26, 2011

Papa's night

Just a quick note of thanks to my husband who watched the little girls yesterday most of the day while we went to archery and then shotgun club. Then again today all of them when I had a meeting for the Sunday/Friday school program we have for the kids at church and then again off to a shotgun club parent meeting. I was gone 'till 9:30pm. This mentally takes a lot out of him as he's stated before, "I'm not a woman, I'm not meant to be a mother." Needless to say he's awesome for staying with them and I really appreciate it.

my favorite husband

Friday, February 25, 2011

Indian Dal

Argh, foiled by dinner again.

I don't know why, but when it hits me that I still have to think of dinner, it's like a brand new revelation EVERY DAY! Crazy...I'm just a bit crazy.

Today's another vegan day and I think I'll make rice and dal (lentils). My kids love the dal and it's pretty easy to make. I NEVER knew lentils could taste this good! I got the recipe from vegweb.com which is a great resource for vegan food recipes.


Indian Dal

I usually double or triple this recipe for our family and to have some leftovers which are good. If we're having company I may make 2 pots, one regular (spicy) and a large pot mild for the kids.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small hot pepper, minced (I usually don’t unless I make a non-spicy pan for the kids too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I love coconut oil for this)
1 cup small red lentils (I have 25lbs of green and I like them fine)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (not me)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
I also add chopped spinach, beet greens, kale, or grated zucchini ½ way through.

Directions:

1. Place onion, garlic, and hot pepper in a pot, cover with oil (be generous with the oil, they should swim in it). Let all of it simmer, about 5 minutes.

2. Rinse lentils, add to pot, stir, then add spices, stir, add water to cover lentils. Cook at medium to medium high. Leave uncovered, don't walk away for too long.

3. You will have to keep checking because the water cooks down and you will have to add more to make the dal the consistency you like. Stir often because it helps the lentils cook down well.

4. After 30 minutes or so of cooking you can add fresh or frozen greens. This is not a must but it's a great way (for me) to get those frozen greens into our diet. You don't really taste them.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Be aware that you don't want too much cardamom and ginger, they take control of flavors, cumin and coriander are more mild.

Serve with spinach, naan, and rice.

Serves: 3-4 maybe, Preparation time: 1 hour tops

Tips: For our family of 9 I always double this recipe. I also pre-make snack bags full of the spices that I need so I can dump them in and not measure out each time. If I'm making a pot and I'm out of spices, I'll make the dinner and the packets at the same time... This way I know that this frugal recipe is half way made for me and it will be even faster for dinner.

Rice is cooking, I'll post on family's favorite rice another day. Now off to chop onions and make a meal.


dal is not photogenic...it looks like mush but your taste buds will want to marry it

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Easy vegan night

As Orthodox, Wednesday and Friday are usually our "Vegan" nights.

They are typically the days where I freak out at the last minute because I didn't do any thought prep. This is why, when I do cook, I make extra and stick food in the freezer. I had some re-fried beans in the freezer and also some Brazilian black beans that we like, I got those out and put on some rice to cook. I took a call from a customer and burned the rice (as per normal). I think my kids don't know how to eat rice with out bewaring of the dangers on the bottom of the pan...skim the rice off the top only.

As we were almost out of flour tortillas I got our corn tortillas earlier out of the freezer and they were in a sorry state of breakage.

 So I decided to make chips with them instead.
 Why oh why have I not done this for so long?! They are so good!
 Our dinner. We really needed a salad, but we aren't "good" vegans, my kids are not fans and I'm lazy and don't push it and I'd also have to get more greens at the store and then not eat them. I could have gotten out the carrots at least. Oh well.
 Here are two of the kids plates. The one with the burrito said, "what a great way to fast, this is great!" that's a good sign.
 My dinner, I had seconds.

mama making dinner is boring

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2 things

First: I love when I tell my kids that they could/should/will do something that I know they don't know how to do. And they say, "but Mama, I don't know how.....but you can TEACH me!" that makes me so happy, kids love learning. I love teaching them.

Second: I had two friends (one conservative and one liberal) post blog articles tonight and I got to "evil George Bush" in one of them and closed it. In the other one I got to "evil liberals" and closed that one too.  It's masking the real issues in regards to what is really wrong with our country...overspending, too much government control (on both sides) etc. I'm done with it.

child learning to eat cake and not fall asleep from the sugar crash, I had to teach this, my life is rough

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dun dun dun....dumplings.

Lets just say YUM! and... I'm FULL! Ok, I'll start at the beginning.

Wanton Wrappers:
2 c flour
1/2 tsp mixed into
1 egg
~1/3 c water
Mix (with chopsticks), knead and let sit for 30-60 minutes.

Then roll out thin, cut into circles. Then roll again thinner. Use FLOUR between the circles (unlike me).



Dumpling Filling (what I had in the fridge):
celery (wish I'd had cabbage or Chinese cabbage)
carrots
green onion (the growth from my impressive growing white onion)
diced game bird meat (can use ground pork, beef, shrimp, etc)

Chop ingredients finely (finer than mine)

Seasoning
pour over your veggie and meat mix:
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 TBS sesame oil


filling, not fine enough but it worked

Then take each circle, put about 1/2-1 TBS of filling into each. Use water to dampen the edge of half of your circle and close to make your dumpling.

You can then pan fry (I used lard) or boil for about 3-5 minutes. My family liked both, I liked the fried best but others liked boiled the best.

Note: if your wrapper is ripped the filling won't escape in the oil like it will in the water.

For our side dish I took all the left over rice from our game bird bake and turned it into fried rice, which is basically where you heat up your rice with any extra veggies you want in there:

rice with veggies heating

Then when warm added 4 eggs in a hole in the rice and fried them, then mixed them in and then added some spinach (or lettuce). I based this off of my mother-in-law's chicken fried rice recipe, we love it.

picture of our dinner, really good
Very enjoyable meal. I can always tell my husband likes it when he has seconds then thirds.

I wish the dumplings aren't so time consuming, but they are fun to make. My 5 and 7 year old ended up making the bulk of them and I decided to give them artistic leeway so they could wrap them the easiest way for them.

Baking Game Birds

I wanted to do a quick post on what I made Thursday night's dinner: game birds. 

When my husband got our four wheeler it opened up a whole new world to him in regard to hunting birds. Before that he'd take small trips to find flocks of ptarmigan to shoot but there are spruce hen and ducks all around us out here.
Some of the guys on a local hunting excursion. I believe these are Grouse but I really don't remember.

In my daughter's shot gun club (Grouse Ridge Rangers) they sometimes have sponsored shoots out at the Falcon Ridge located out Point MacKenzie Rd. He sells chukars (chukar partridge) and pheasants for them to shoot and she brought home 2 of each last year.

My husband had asked if he was wasting his time since he's the only one who had cooked any of the meat so far (ptarmigan nuggets, YUM!) and so I told him to give me some recipes so I'd have an idea. My sister makes these for her family all the time, but I have ventured into this. He printed out 9 pages of recipes.

On Thursday I took about half of our game birds out of the freezer to cook so that we could try them all with the same cooking method and see what we like best. I made a duck, two pheasants, two chukars, and 3 spruce hen. I put rice on the bottom of the 9x13 pans and put a nice Chinese bbq sauce over them, added water to the rice and baked them at 350 for about 2 hours. The recipes I was looking at for game birds varied all over the place from cooking for 20 minutes to 4 hours, so I tried somewhere in between. I put them into the oven and left for 2 hours. When I came home they were cooked, a bit dry (should have added more water and covered tighter) and gobbled them up with the fam. Since there were so many my husband picked the meat off and I cooked the carcases overnight and made a broth (no fat!) and used the extra meat for fried rice and dumplings.

Baked Barbecued Game Birds:

(feeds ~4 people)
1 1/2 c. rice
2-3 birds whole, thawed

Marinade
1/4 c soy sauce
2 garlic cloves-minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp Five Spice powder (if you double the recipe, don't add quite as much spice)
2 TBS oil

Wash and dry birds. Mix marinade, rub birds inside and out, let stand for an hour (I didn't have time for this, still good).
Grease 9x13 casserole dish or a dutch oven, pour in rice. Add 3 cups of water, or a bit more if using foil or a loose lid to cover. Arrange birds on top, add more marinade to birds. Cover tightly.
Bake at 350 for ~2 hours. Add more marinade during the cooking if you have more. Check your rice and add water if needed.

Here's a link to my basic Roasted Chicken recipe. I use it for roosters, hens, meat chickens and game birds too. I almost like it better because the 5spice powder is so distinct, you have to be choosy on what recipes to use with the leftovers.

Enjoy.
pheasant pair, light meat, tastes like chicken, medium size closer to small chicken


chukar partradge, light meat, tastes like chicken, small in size


spruce hen (or grouse, not sure of difference) dark meat, tastes like chicken, small in size


Dumplings for dinner?

You all may think I'm a know-it-all when it comes to what to make for dinner, but I'm so NOT!

I actually had planed to put my leftover game bird meat from Thursday's dinner into a Mexican casserole, but I like this idea instead. I'd already seasoned my birds with Chinese 5 spice powder and soy sauce, and still have lots of rice left over. So I'll see if I can get some kiddos to help whip up some dumplings.

My friend, Ser made pierogis the other day and they looked so good! Something about bread wrapped around diced pieces of everything good inside can just be so extremely wonderful.

Thanks for the inspiration, guys. I'm off to make dinner.

this is the site I'll use to help me out, I'll keep you posted

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Silly Fran

Five years ago today (early in the morning) I had another girl. 3 girls and 2 boys. We were happy to have her, this would give Em a playmate and we gave the girls the larger bedroom. She was sort of Native Alaskan looking, I had people ask me if my husband was Japanese. Nope, just a white baby with slanty eyes. Much different than my first with HUGE eyes, they are still huge, when I have to look in her eye I'm impressed by the enormity of her eyeballs. My mom told me that people thought I was a native baby too, so I guess she gets that from me. Being super chubby didn't help either, but I don't know how to have skinny babies as they have all been in the 8-10 pound range, the girls all 9 and up.


She is funny: When she was two and we had a single older guy over sitting at the table, and she farted while in the kitchen near me. Very audible. She says, "Mama!" That's only the tip of the iceberg. Her humor is dry and so funny it's hard to explain. She jokes when you don't expect it and she knows she's joking. One day in town I missed yet another turn and I said to myself, "where's my brain?!" What does she say but, "I have it mama." I about drove off the road laughing. It's so hard to explain her tone, but she said it seriously enough with that small smirk.

She is repentant: I have taken to just sending her to her room when she cries and doesn't like what I told her to do. She obeys and walks down the stairs crying/screaming. With some of the kids their attitudes have to be dealt with differently, but she's usually genuinely distraught. I say, "come back when you can play nicely" and about 5 minutes later I have a little girl beside me saying, "I'm sorry mama! I'm sorry that I cried at you." And all is good. Today I said something about learning not to change our minds so much when we grow up, and being her birthday she said later, "Mama, I'm not going to change my mind so much anymore."

She is sweet: When she goes to bed she has a required kissing method. I don't know how long it's been this way but a couple of years I think. She has to kiss us on both cheeks and then we have to kiss her on both of hers, then she goes to bed.

Her favorite food is (and I quote) "one: lasagna, two: spaghetti, three: mac & cheese". But I know for certain that bagels and cream cheese are also very high on her list as is mayonnaise and sour cream. She just likes white creamy dips. I bribed her to eat hard boiled eggs with a spoon of mayo, it works.

She is kind: She's unfortunately picked on by some of the older kids sometimes, or rather her kindness is taken advantage of. I don't like to see that, but I don't want to teach her to fight back either. Just to ask nicely and try that. I have had another very meek child (a son) and at one point I had to teach him to punch back because he had to stop crying to me when he got punched, but with her I'm not eager to do that and she's not a boy. Even her little sister picks on her sometimes. She's learned if she screams loud enough that we come to investigate and usually can sort things out.

Because of her kindness she's the kind of child that you love to please. She gets excited over the littlest cutest things. I'm so happy for her to have such simple happiness.

She is smart: She forces us to help her with math (first grade Saxon), and by forces she asks nicely over and over and over and over...she can't read quite yet (working on that) so one of us has to read the instructions to her. She's also started picking at the piano and she's playing some songs by ear and also making up her own melodies that are quite lovely. Half the time I have to look to see who's playing because I keep thinking it's her big brother who does the same thing.

She inspired this name for my blog, she named her dog (stuffed) Silly and her other dog Silly Junior.

I'm so happy to have this girl in my life. It would not be the same with out her.

 

dancing the day away on Pascha

seriously hilarious

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On politics.

I'm not a conservative.
I do not think liberals are crazy.
I am not a "Tea Partier".
I am not a member of the GOP.
I'm not a Democrat.
I'm not a Libertarian.

I am a person who does not watch television and therefore can come to my own conclusions on things with out the TV telling me how to think. I have opinions on many issues and none on some. I don't want to be any American's enemy because we might differ on an issue. We are Americans, we should be allowed to differ and not be afraid that the other one thinks we hate them because we think differently.

I should be able to rant and rave about my opinions and my friends can either agree or roll their eyes or argue with me and explain why they are correct and I'm not.

I think the media (both the "conservative" and "liberal") are owned by the same group of people who want Americans to hate one another and they are creating fear and putting that into us like a farmer injects his sheep with a drug.

Take out the syringe, unplug your mind, and wake up.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

I'm not a huge fan of Hallmark holidays and this is certainly one of them. However, that's not to say I don't want stuff on these days and a little attention. (Mothers day is the real kicker.)

My husband also thinks they are silly, so one year I told him not to get me anything that I didn't need anything and that I would be fine. Well 3/4 of the way through the day I lost it...the woman in me reared her ugly head and acted like a brat. My poor husband went out to the store and saved the day by buying some chocolate and flowers. I hate it when I do that, sometimes I feel that I have absolutely no control over my emotions and it's so frustrating.

Today is a bit different. He informed me last night (a day ahead, very smart) that he had arranged a sitter so that we could actually go on a date tonight. I was so excited. I even said, "Look, I'm beaming!" I decided not to nag the kids about chores and school today, and instead set them a time they had to finish everything to get extra candy rewards by...I'll let you know how that goes, because right now all they are doing is making a multitude of Valentines day cards for one another and us.

So far I have one from my 4-yr-old, very cute with her name written and a heart cut out of the center.

I have one from my oldest that says:
Now I know this may seem silly,
And I know I'm not you,
But what you do with a forty pound snake that says:
(drawn: a snake in cursive that says)
I love you

I have one from our 9-yr-old that says:
I love you like God loves His creations...
Happy Valentines Day

I'm a happy mama today. Happy Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On brainwashing...

I recently posted something about guns where I said, "after you drag out that fear that you have been brainwashed with since a little child, you realize that guns are simply tools."

I am too harsh with my words generally speaking. This was too harsh. It especially took my parents aback when they read it and I'm sorry. The word brainwashed is used by me to describe propaganda or innuendos or subliminal messaging in movies, media and schools. It's not the true meaning of the word, and I have mis-used it. I see it plain as day everywhere now, but as a kid it just slowly sunk in.

They did not brainwash me. They raised me in a very wonderful place full of much love and sense of community. We were not afraid of buglers or bears or strangers because we were surrounded by people we knew. The news was on sometimes and I heard it. The newspaper was sitting out and I read it. Whether I paid attention or not, it was going into my head. They were not political people, we didn't have in-depth discussions about things of that nature. I went to private school until 6th grade and then went to public school because our church school didn't go past 6th. The schools feel that it's their duty to educate the children on things such as sex, guns, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, HIV, and these days they have added global warming, recycling, blind acceptance of homosexuality and probably other things of which I'm not aware.

I have even been known to joke and say that, "If anyone will brainwash my children it will be me and they will have clean brains." But again, after reading the definition today and trying to educate myself before sticking my foot in my mouth yet again, I realize this is just part of education. The schools teach what they want children to learn and homeschooling parents do the same. I strongly believe that in addition to religion, math, English and science they also need to learn gardening, farming, and hunting as part of their education.

My dad is not a hunter; both he and my mom grew up on farms and raised their own beef, chickens, etc. If they were good farmers they had a .22 or larger to protect their livestock from predators since caged chickens and other small animals tend to attract that sort. My dad had a gun but never used it, so I never saw it. It's not a bad thing; just something he didn't think was important to teach. I'm not upset about that nor do I hold it against him.

He gave me the gift if life, a warm beautiful home, stability and most of all he led our family to Orthodoxy and that is the most important thing my parents could have taught me. They, with others in their community searched for the true faith, they left their family's faiths and found it for themselves. They looked for the one thing needful and found it. I'm ever grateful for the things they gave and taught me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When you give a girl a camera...


here is Em...

Here's what Em does when alone with the camera... 
































the end