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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Backhoes & Bottles with a side of Fancy

I never thought I would appreciate waking up in my own house on a Saturday as much as I do these days.  Life is busy this time of year and really every time of year.

But I cherish Saturdays at home more and more.  Sometimes so much that I get yelled at by my farmer husband.  

"Have you gone outside today?"
"No," I reply.
"Well maybe you should go blow the stink off of you."

Eh....not in this weather!  

The farmer was gone all last week, and I was so excited to have him home.  
However, he's a farmer and like many farmers he can't sit still and was outside most of the day.

Plus, he had to clear the driveway since it has piled up this week.  Don't worry, this country girl maneuvered her way up and down it all week with no troubles!  I'm just grateful we have equipment on the farm to get it done efficiently!

After catching up on some chores at the farm and a trip to town, he came home to make a warm bottle for a calf that has had trouble nursing from it's momma.  He also brought his cow-manure-smelling boots home that can't go outside because it's to cold.  My kitchen stinks like a barnyard!

But before he could leave the house with that warm bottle, I needed coffee.
In this fancy in the country house, we use a french press for our coffee. 

Saturdays at home include laundry, catching up on emails and volunteer work and a great dinner.
So I didn't get the stink off of me but I did make one of our favorite salads!

I replicated this recipe from a restaurant in Indianapolis.  My recipe isn't as fancy as theirs and doesn't have ingredients that I can't spell in it.

I call it the Potato, Apple & Celery Dish.

Ingredients include:
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
3 purple potatoes
3 celery ribs, diced
2 green apples, diced
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Walnuts, to your liking
Goat Cheese, to your liking
Apple Cider Vinaigrette, to your liking

Slice and quarter the potatoes and roast them in the oven or saute them in a pan with olive oil and a pinch of salt (I prefer this method so I can monitor).  When they are done and firm, don't let them get mushy, then let them sit for a bit to cool.

Slice the celery and apples.  When the potatoes have cooled, add the celery and apple pieces, a bit of pepper, the handful of walnuts (or whatever you like) and the dressing to your liking.  We don't like too much.  Then top with chunks of goat cheese! 

If you are like me, make extra because it's a great leftover cold dish.  

I made triple the amount this time for the farmer because I didn't blow the stink off of me that day.  
He appreciates it but still shakes his head at me.  
He got over it and we enjoyed a second french press and prepped the next bottle for the calf.  

The country chores in this fancy life include everything from a backhoe to a bottle, and I wouldn't have it any other way...stink and all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Unspoken Lesson from the Farmer: Contemplate & Be Grateful

"Contemplate the good things in your life and be grateful for them." 
~Rebecca Pidgeon

I saw those words recently and it reminded me to slow down a bit.
Somehow, even in the winter time when it's too cold to be out a lot, I still need to be reminded.

Just like I need to remember to "be still" at times too.

I have been home, on my family farm, for the past few days and
 have sat still some and contemplated a little, but probably not enough.

Yesterday, at the farm office, I saw this drawing of my great-grandfather, Pap.

He was a teacher, a godly man, someone who enjoyed writing poetry and loved his family.
Above all, I remember him as a man that sat still and contemplated about the good in his life.

The crazy thing about this drawing from Pap's former student is that 
it resembles my dad too.

Dad sat and contemplated things too, but didn't really over think things.  
That's what he told me I did, "Katie, you think too much."  

He just lived his life, contemplated every so often about the good and the blessings 
in his life and then was grateful.  

Here he is with his good friend Kim, another farmer who likes to be still and contemplate too.

So here is another reminder, and unspoken lesson from the farmer:
Contemplate and be grateful.  

This week, and hopefully every week in the future, I plan to do just that--be still, 
don't think to much, contemplate and be grateful.

I hope you are blessed enough to do the same. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Candy from the Hunt

I have been searching for quail recipes and dreaming of another bird hunt lately.  

So I decided to share some more photos about our hunt a couple of weeks ago as I try wind down from a busy week.
If  you ever come across an interesting recipe for these quail, let me know!

These birds are from our first day of hunting in Arkansas.

Memories were made, for sure.

Here we are after our second hunt that weekend.
We were a little more successful on day two......

So after you hunt and kill the birds, you have to clean them.  

I'm not quite there yet.  And we had Gerald.  
He had a wonderful, dry sense of humor and instinct for hunting the quail.
By the end of the weekend, he had learned how to push my buttons.

Here he is cleaning the birds--removing the feathers and saving as much meat as he could.  
Then he would put them into the water to soak before freezing it.

Gerald says quail are "the candy of all the birds".

I asked him why, and he replied, "that's just what they say.  They just are."

"I believe you, Gerald."

And he went about his ways, ignoring me and cleaning the birds.
Doesn't this just look like a chicken breast?

While Gerald went on with his work, I got distracted and looked around the shed.
I stumbled across this old bag of corn.

It always seems to come comes back to corn and soybeans for me, no matter where I am.

Always a farm girl.  

Always fancy and country.

And classic me, I took 5 magazines I needed to catch-up on.  As Gerald finished cleaning the birds and I enjoyed the quiet of the country, I opened one of my favorite magazines Garden & Gun.

And lucky me, I found this fried quail recipe in the magazine which I was really excited about because we now had 20 quail, or pieces of candy, to eat.  

On Super Bowl Sunday instead of buffalo chicken wings, we had fried quail with homemade hot sauce and homemade ranch dressing.  Big step for me to fry and make homemade dressings.  

Next step, clean the birds like Gerald and continue to enjoy the candy from the hunt 
and the memories made along the way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Love for the Land

This article of mine was first featured in the Farm Indiana publication printed in our local newspaper.  
Enjoy and make sure you appreciate and love something or someone all  year long, not just on the one day this weekend set aside for "love".


Love for the Land

Some of us were born with dirt in our blood.  It runs thick through our veins as we live and work on the land that we are so in love with.  It’s hard to explain to people that the smell of dirt and the view of the wide open spaces of farm fields is so beautiful and perfect.  

Farmers have a love affair with their land.  And as we celebrate this month and its made-up holiday, let’s discuss the everyday love affair the farmer has with his land. 

When I was younger I used to just watch my dad as he would drive us from our home on the farm to town.  Even though I trusted him, I always thought we would wreck someday because all he would do was look at his fields.  He was checking the land where he worked alongside his brothers, planted his crops, fixed his tractors, made a living for his family and even lost his wedding ring.  One of the loves of his life, the land, was just as important as going to my basketball games and showing up to see me off to prom.  And as a farm girl, I understood that his love for the land came with making sacrifices and that was okay.  I understand that now as a farmer’s wife too because it’s part of the dedication that comes with this farm life.

My dad, sister and I used to love watching old westerns and the gun fights.  But when it came time for the funerals, dad would turn to us and say, “when it’s my time, don’t use the precious land to bury my body.  Cremate me and give me back to the land.”  And we did just that. 

He loved us so much that he had the forethought to tell us and teach us that land is precious.  He used to say, “You can’t make more land.  What’s there and available is all there is so we have to take care of it.”

I think most of us forget about the blood, sweat and tears that go into one’s love for land.  Think about the many wars, family feuds, and lives lost searching for that small piece of land of their own.  And we cannot forget about the farmers that came before us and the ones today that work hard and care for the land to pass along to the next generation. I am hoping there are many generations to come with dirt in their blood that will continue to cherish and work the land. 

As Scarlett’s father in Gone with the Wind once said, “Why, land is the only thing worth workin', worth fighting' for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts."  And he was right, it is the only thing that really lasts and is always beneath our feet.

As you celebrate this month of love, remember that for farmers it’s not all about love for their significant others or families.  This month and every month is about the love for their land. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Beauty of the Hunt

The farmer and I took a mini "Glick Trip" this past weekend to Arkansas.  

I have never been to Arkansas, but I now have an itch to go back.  
One for the hunting, two for the new friends and three for the best pork steak we devoured at Strawberry's in Holcomb, AR.

We rolled in to Rector, Arkansas after 11:00 p.m. on Thursday and met our new friend and hunting guide Stephen who owns and runs Liberty Hills Outfitters.  Rector is home to not quite 2,000 people and most recently the boys basketball champs of the homecoming game Saturday night.  On top of that, Stephen's kids were crowned King & Queen during homecoming.  Small town America, it's wonderful.  

Stephen complimented my gravel road truck driving, showed us around the cabin and told us to make ourselves at home.  It was good to crash in this private, friendly cabin and hideaway at the end of the gravel road.

The next morning, we were up and out the door for the first day of quail hunting on the land.

 I got the first bird of the day!

Then the boys stuffed it into the back of my vest.  
I think Brett purposely bought the vest for me so I could carry all the birds.  
He has no pockets in his vest......

Don't worry, one of them was still alive and was fluttering around back there for awhile.  Yep....

Lady (foreground) and George were our dogs for the weekend.  
Watching the dogs hunt is quite the experience and part of the beauty of the hunt.

Stephen loves to take photos, like myself.  He captured some great moments including this one with the yellow shell falling to the ground after I pumped my gun to take another shot at the bird.  

Stephen actually took all the photos on this blog today.  Many thanks to him for capturing the beauty of the outdoors and our upland bird hunting experience.

What I really love about upland bird hunting is that we get to enjoy the sport together.  
And stand next to each other while we each take our shot at the bird.

George obviously had confidence we would get this one because he was already headed to retrieve the quail.

And if you were wondering what a quail looks like, here you go.  They are tricky to find at times.

Now while Stephen was busy taking pictures most of the time, Gerald was guiding us and ducking every other time.  Both of them would say they have had a lot of practice hittin' the ground and takin' cover.  

Joking aside, we always use safety precautions when hunting, 
review rules before hunting and watch each others' backs.

The dogs also watch each others' backs and back each other on their points (when they find the bird).  
What's fascinating about the dogs is that they compete with each other and keep each other in line.
Even if you don't like to hunt, you could attend a hunt to watch the dogs and be thoroughly entertained.

Another bird that Brett will stuff in my vest.....
This one was dead though, all good!

Pretty sure Stephen was on the ground when he took this one but am so glad he caught these images.

And one of the quail landed in the tree, so I found him and then he fell out of the tree.....
Best part about this photo, the smoke coming from my gun.

I'll show you more photos of the birds, the peaceful cabin and a new quail recipe soon.  

But for now, we are thankful for our new friends and a mini trip away before our busy travel season and then planting season on the farm.  

I would say the beauty of it is the fact we found an outdoor hobby we both enjoy.
Brett would say the beauty of it is the fact I actually want a dog now.  

Either way, the beauty of hunting is the freedom we enjoy to hunt outdoors and enjoy our time together.