More Farm Kitties

I can’t get enough of these mice eaters.

So when someone found a weaned fall kitten in a neighboring farm – detailing kitty’s sad and certain fate if left there – and looked to us, we took the meowing newbie home.

farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty

Isn’t he the sweetest? I think we’ll keep him.

On a new topic, anyone put their tree up yet? We’ve had ours up for a while now. I think I am making up for not putting one up last year.

 

Other featured farm cats:

Gray Kitty
Black Kitty

Or, click the animal tag. Sure to see a lot there.

About these ads

Pepper of the Earth

I’m a Midwestern gal. Have been since the morning I squeezed red-faced through my momma & into this world.

We’re often referred to as the “salt of the earth” people, give ya a firm handshake, never in too much of a hurry to pass up a weather status exchange.

Trustful, reliable, hard-working.

South Dakota gal's husband

And, we are, for the most part. We really are.

South Dakota dog

But sometimes, I also know that’s not the whole story. It’s not the entire experience. I need the truth.

The truth is, while salty people can be found next door, there is also lies the pepper of depression. Just look and you’ll see it.

There is also liberalism (gasp!). Just go east of this conservative state and you’ll find it. Or the west. Or the middle.

The truth is, the nonreligious speckle the plains and are growing, finding their footing in a world that tells them they don’t belong.

We’re a people of the cold winters and hot summers, of corn stalks and half-decent coffee. 

We’re a people who don’t buy the school-taught Thanksgiving story because we see the pilgrimage aftermath with our own eyes.

We’re slow to change, maybe slow to accept, but quick to welcome neighbors into our homes.

Yes, we’re a mostly salty bunch… but if you look hard, you’ll see pepper scattered about, too. And that makes it worth sticking around.

Happy Halloweenie!

Happy Halloween! I’m early, oh well. What are you planning for this ghoulish November’s eve?

Last year we drove to Deadweird, an event full of creative costumes and detailed artwork. After being there, I don’t know what’s scarier… the costumes, or how well people get into their character.

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle…

Due to combining, we have to skip this year’s weirdo night and instead I will be hanging out with my pups. If we’re lucky, we’ll get one trick-or-treating family, but that’s about it. Just me and the animals and a bag of Snickers.

Batwoman and Dog

Also, Country Man’s birthday was yesterday. I mentioned a while back I am working at a coffee shop part-time, and that also includes lots of baking. So with the help of a cake decorating pro, I made him a cake. I am such a Crocker. Is that how you say it?

Happy Birthday, My Love

See? It’s a picture of Old Dog carrying an antler.

So… what are your plans? Talk to me.

Lonely farmer’s wife, over and out.

well hello

Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon
No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,
Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.
– Ancient Roman Epitaph

It would be nice if I could filter death, compartmentalize the reminder of mortality and pain and move on. Instead, it seems to stay with me, whispering the images in my mind, creating a mental scene that I hope is worse than the truth.

So when the cattle died out west, and I drove past them on the interstate, their bodies lying against the fence, one with her head against the wood post leading her nose to the sky, I couldn’t stop, I just had to drive.

I thought of their fear and confusion as they traveled with the wind, and wished more than anything for a Superman to come down and put Mother Nature in her place.

That is why I haven’t blogged about it. I am eternally unforgiving of random senselessness.

~~~

You know what else has been going on in this girl’s world? Combining.

South Dakota combining

Lots and lots of combining.

Also, gardening.

Lots and lots of gardening.

I dug up a row of sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and carrots this weekend. So much dirt goodness.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Halloween. I am loving the nostalgia it brings. Talk to you soon.

We Made National News

“We” as in South Dakota. That doesn’t happen often, so you know it’s serious.

We’ve had some crazy wild weather these past few days, west river receiving a mixture of heavy rain turned snow combined with powerful winds that the unwinterized trees couldn’t support, causing many to break and fall over. My Mom said 80% of her trees are down.

I will be going out there next week with my camera to document the damage, so I will update with pictures then. I don’t want to see it, really, because those trees are as much part of my childhood as the three girls who lived down the trail from us.

Until then, let me tell you about apple butter.

apples

Apple butter is deliciously simple to create. We hand-picked tart apples from our tree, the one Country Man’s grandparents planted some 30 years ago.

apples

The Quick How-To
Wash and slice them, and then mix the apples and spices in the slow cooker.

apples

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, less if you use smaller apples like ours. Once the apples are softened, you can easily mash them with a fork.

apples

You can refrigerate the entire batch for up to three weeks, or do what I did and hot water bathe them. I placed them into pint jars, twisted the lids on, and gently plopped the butter in a pot of boiling water on the stove top for 40 minutes. Take out and let cool. You should hear the *pop* of the lids as they seal.

apple butter

Apple butter on the right

Full Recipe {found here}:

12 medium Granny Smith or other cooking apples, peeled and cut into fourths
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Enjoy!

Buffalo calf won’t you come out today, come out today…

We have a new addition on the farm, and he goes by the name Dexter.

My father-in-law bought him, most likely with my niece and nephew in mind in order to share a world with them they don’t see much of in Idaho.

Dexter is a connector, and he’s completely unaware of that fact that his photo is texted and posted and admired.

He and the steer calf are roommates, and while the fat steer runs to me in search of a handout, the buffalo calf sits back observing, shy and watchful of the creatures on the other side of the fence.

buffalo-dexter-shy

The buffalo has a skeptical nature, perhaps due to an ancestry filled with being speared down and chased off cliffs, to be used as food and clothing and supplies.

The steer calf seems naively unaware of such a life as he chases me around the fence and bites my shoes.

Dexter reminds me of the movie Radio Flyer, a childhood favorite of my sister’s and mine. There is a scene when a large buffalo appears to a young Elijah Wood and speaks to him, giving him direction in his challenging life.

Are all buffalo so wise? And can they secretly talk? Hmm…

Anyway, I will keep you updated on his life as he grows. The photos will become more distant, most likely, but we’ll see.

Happy Sunday from the farm!

Those Colorado Mountains

It’s Sunday morning, and Country Man is still sleeping off his recent trip to Colorado where the guys scoured the mountains for elk only to be deterred by the stubborn rain.

But with a view like this, was it really all loss?

His going away makes me think back on the first year, months, we were married, and how his upcoming week-long hunting trip made me sad to think about, wondering how I could survive six WHOLE days and nights without him next to me?

He would go over how to use a gun, remind me to lock the doors, and in the morning be gone before I had time to splash some cold water on my face. I remember that being a long week.

Now, six years later, there remains a quiet anxiety with knowing he’ll be leaving, mostly fear for his safety and wondering if he’ll be taken care of properly. However, those worries lay aside as my hopes for an experience only attained by time away in the mountains with no electronics or shower surface to the top.

I quickly find my own rhythm and create my own schedule, keeping busy like the independent mind that I am and thinking this isn’t so bad, I could do this forever maybe.

A week goes by and he tells me he will be in town at the newly opened coffee shop where I started working part-time, and I am so busy I forget.

It isn’t until I am wiping the counters up of espresso and spinach leaves after a hectic noon lunch that I see a tall man in a dark olive green shirt rush in, my heart recognizing him before my eyes and there was nothing stopping the grin and squeal spilling from my usually controlled expressions.

I think those Colorado Mountains brought him home more handsome than he left me…

and reminded me that while love changes with the years, it has a surprising strength and way of reminding you of what it’s all about in the end.

Fall is near

There is something slightly magical about the coming of fall that stirs even the summer lover up.

Autumn brings the deer to the open, scavenging quietly through cornfields and hidden water wells as buck’s horns near full maturation, to the delight of the men behind binoculars.

This is their time, when harvest is still in waiting and apples fall freely from trees.

And as the deer gladly fatten themselves for the winter, the leaves turn in submission to it’s callings as well, all of nature stirring in unison while a soft drumming echos it’s theme anthem.

Yes, fall whispers to all us creatures, great and small.

Makin’ Salsa on the Farm

This holiday couldn’t be anymore beautiful if it tried. Who are you people living in the land of constant 70 degree temps and sweet breezes? Do you exist? Does the land?

This is our fair-weathered day today, the Monday following the South Dakota State Fair where Country Man and I experienced The Venture for a first time since it was papered, where we sat in sweltering heat drinking 64’s only to freeze our buns off at 3 in the morning because SOME body forgot blankets. She will not be named, she with no excuse.

While Country Man celebrates the holiday working, I decided to be on top of the tomatoes this year. I am not sure how long I will keep up, but dang it if I don’t try. So far I have frozen 12 pounds for sauces, and today canned salsa using 6 pounds of tomatoes.

My first year of preserving tomatoes was a daunting task, since I had no idea what I was doing. It seemed like an endless chore and each step irritated me more and more (what, I have to peel the skin?!). Now, I look forward to this process, to the ritual of boiling tomatoes, then shifting the hot fruit over to ice water, peeling, chopping… following the peaceful system I’ve created over the years until the final product sits pretty, waiting to be picked from the shelf.

It’s garden therapy.

Well, this mostly-work-from-home woman and her hard-working man lift their Mason jars to you, fellow worker bees, and wish you a happy happy Labor Day!

{Take note from Old Farm Dog, and enjoy this beautiful day}

~~~

The White Days

With nearly record-breaking heat this week and the AC working overtime for it, I decided to take a few hours to run to the river and swim.

Tobi and Erika Marks’s The Mermaid Collector accompanied me, and it turned out to be a better-than-expected few hours (meaning no sunburn).

I love when that happens.

As I was reading my book I came upon a phrase called “white days”, as told by the main character Tess when describing her mother’s sadness:

That was what she used to call them. They weren’t blue days, she’d say, because she never thought of blue as sad; blue was the color of water, and the water made her happy. But white was the absence of everything – the saddest, loneliest color she could imagine.

I don’t know about you, but I know just what she is talking about.

It’s hard to have a white day at the river though, with an excited pup rolling around in the sand and rocks while collecting burrs that will need to be cut out later.

When it’s just her and I and it’s like we own the Missouri River for ourselves, walking along the beach and occasionally throwing a stick out to water for her to retrieve.

She loves fetching her sticks, and grunts like a pig swimming back to shore.

I love that shadow dog.

A perfect, blueish day at the river.

Good tan,

loyal companion,

and a book that pairs well with the beach.

This book is soul food. Thank you, Erika Marks, for writing it!

What’s on your reading list now?