Thursday, December 27, 2012

This and That: One More Post Before the End of the Year.

I'm nineteen weeks along now--just about halfway!  I've started to feel our little one move, which makes it seem a little more real.  I'll have to post a picture one of these days, since I'm starting to show.

We have enjoyed time with all the family, including out-of-town siblings, over the course of the holidays in November and December.  Our families on both sides are expanding noticeably, with marriage and babies.  It's a very exciting season, even if busy and a time of figuring out how to flex with it all (I have a feeling that's always part of life though... :-)  We even managed to pull off whole-family photos!

We had a chance to go shooting together, for the first time!

I tried making homemade sauerkraut.  It turned out well!  Here it is fermenting on the counter, next to my sourdough starter.  I'm not sure exactly how I ended up with things growing (on purpose!) in the kitchen...

Our wedding orchids are blooming again--all three plants!

Crandon has had some chances to fly his RC plane, a fun activity, especially with other RC enthusiasts!

We celebrated Mom's birthday with yummy food.

And today I got our first diapers in the mail!  I'm looking forward to using cloth, with all the modern fabrics.  I'm also hoping to make a few to add to my stash before our baby arrives.  I'm trying for gender-nuetral colors and patterns.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's been a while.

The past month has been good, but about all I've managed is keeping things going here and sleeping!  I'm past week 11 of pregnancy, so I'm hopeful that the tiredness will soon give way to some second trimester energy!

Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks.
I just picked all this from our garden this morning!

We have Morning Glories all over our backyard.

This is Crandon's new tractor at the Harvest Fair ;-)

I entered a table setting, 'Farm Fresh Brunch'

We took Lucas and Naomi to the Fair too.

One busy little member of the extended family--very excited about a toy with wheels!

And the newest little family member.

At the beginning of the month Naomi and I made cheese, Queso Blanco.

Naomi working on the cheese.

We have enjoyed many yummy fresh items this season, some from our garden and many from others'.  This was a tasty fresh mix of micro-greens from a friend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Week

The past few days have been 'cow-focused'!

We have been very thankful for our stanchion that Crandon built.

Our first shot at milking went surprisingly well, considering AnneBelle, Crandon, and my lack of experience in this department!  We got a good quart that first try.

The next time around was a bit (a lot) more challenging!  We had an unhappy cow who was moving around, swinging her tail and upsetting her feed pan.  That morning we got well over a half gallon, but her foot ended up in the bucket so it went to the chickens.  The chickens weren't too sure about this liquid white stuff at first, but they finished it up eventually!

The next few times have gone progressively better, which is a good thing because I'm on my own tonight!  We aren't getting a whole lot of milk, only about a quart each time, but it's still adding up in our fridge!  The cream is delicious in my morning coffee, but neither of us have ever been big milk drinkers so I made some chocolate syrup last night to flavor some of it for straight drinking.  Yum!  I think I'm going to make yogurt next.

Crandon also finished up a beautiful olive wood cutting board!  It's pieced from wood that he cut down, dried, planed, and cut into planks.  It is so silky smooth it seems a shame to actually use it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

AnnaBelle Arrived!

Look at that cute face!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our Week

I took a picture of our cut up veggies and melon because the colors are so pretty.  I've been trying to keep fruit and veggies cut up and ready to eat, in the fridge.  It really helps me to grab a healthier snack if the produce is as readily accessible as the bread and cookies. ;-)  It's also really helpful for putting together work week lunches if most of the prep work is already done.

We are still enjoying our weekly waltz class, and have just started learning a little rumba too.  This week we went early to have some time to stroll through the old neighborhoods in downtown Sebastopol.  The pictures are in the car before dance.

Crandon doing a welding project...
 ...a stanchion, to be exact... hold our cow.  Yes, we are getting a dairy cow.  We'll be picking her up in about two weeks!
We've been doing a lot of reading on the topic of cattle.  Soon we'll find out how much we don't know! :-D

And this is our lawn:
 Which used to look like this:
Hasn't Crandon done a great job?

Creative and Simple

I'm basking in the glow of my sister's creative brilliance:

This is home-made diaper rash powder.  Pretty cool, huh?  But the really neat part is the shaker "lid"--a square of power-net rubber-banded over a small repurposed spice jar!  Wow.  And she had aqua green power-net!  I could do this, but mine would look like I cut a chunk out of my swimsuit lining and stretched it over...

Friday, August 31, 2012


Today I organized and took inventory of our two freezers.  Neither one is very big, but I've been busy stuffing things in, and then I forget about them and things get rummaged through, and soon it's all a mess!

I was lamenting this problem recently and my mom, who is very organized, suggested a dry-erase list of everything in the freezer.  I pick up two little boards at Wal-mart for $1. each and got busy sorting all the packages into logical spots in the drawer freezer in the house and the little up-right in the garage.  After making my lists I feel like I just went grocery shopping without spending any money!  The trick will be to maintain the lists as we use items or buy more...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pinterest as a Snapshot of Today's Pop Culture

Take a quick browse around Pinterest, on any particular category, and you can instantly see what the current trends are.  And see exactly what is going to look dated in a few years (months?)!

Now, I really do like my Pinterest for collecting ideas and inspiration all in one place and all visually, rather than lists of favorites or bookmarks to try and sort through and remember exactly what you were trying to save...

The other day I did a search on "mantel ideas" and was amused to see that nearly every picture included a large initial/monogram, layered picture frames (filled or empty), varied heights of candles, assorted stylized flora and fauna, and chalkboards(!).  Not that I'm poking fun at these ideas--I have a large "K", candles, pictures, chalkboards, and birds all on my mantel or in the same room!  I just felt like I got a glimpse of what we'll be looking back at in a few years, saying, "remember when _____ was so popular?"

I really don't think there's anything wrong with being influences by others' ideas and creativity.  I do think a lot of time can be wasted, and discontentment cultivated, while "getting inspired" online, and then feeling a constant need to change, redo, and "improve" on what you already have and had been enjoying!  I might've been guilty of this a couple of times....or so.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


We are considering getting a cow.  (One of our moms think we might be slightly crazy [we might be], the other thinks we should at least get a cute one...)    :-)

We've looked at these Dexters, from a herd nearby, a couple of times now.  The Dexter cattle attract us because it is a smaller statured, dual-purpose breed.  We would start with a young, bred, milk cow and consider raising the calf for beef.

I go back and forth between excited-let's-do-it-can't-wait, and what-are-we-thinking-of???  Crandon reminds me that this is a season-by-season commitment.  If milking gets overwhelming we can sell the cow, or keep it and use it to raise beef calves.

I do get excited about having fresh milk and making our own butter, yogurt and soft cheeses!

Anyone else have milking experience, or DIY cheese and dairy product experience?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Day at the Ranch

Last week, Crandon and I rode the motorcycle over to the foothills East of Sacramento, to visit family on their cattle ranch.

During the day we fed cattle, rode the hay trailer, rode a cow(!), milked a cow, spent the hottest part of the day inside visiting, and enjoyed a nice pizza dinner on the patio before heading home.

That one on the right is the cow we're going to milk.  She's a black angus and her calf is a cross with a dairy breed.  The calf is being raised to be a family milk cow.
Doesn't he just look the part?  He goes effortlessly from work to cowboy to pilot to weekend gardener, mechanic, and handyman.  Oh, and he's pretty amazing in the 'husband' hat, too!
In the "squeeze"--she's not really used to being milked so the idea was to prevent any excitement from a sudden kick!  Her calf is standing by, probably wondering what we're doing???
Some one said to get a picture of me milking a cow--here it is.  It was a little tricky but I'm sure I could get the hang of it pretty quick.
Part of the ranch.
Yes, I'm riding a cow.  Annie, to be specific!
Their barn is being repaired and restored.  The guys threw a couple bales of hay in the trailer behind the tractor and we rode over the hill to feed the cattle on the back of the property.
Tosha looking in the barn door.
Sunset over the hills in late summer.  This is the kind of moment that makes me think about heaven.
This is an interesting angle--we were up on a hill looking down over the barnyard and some pastures.
It was a really nice day, even though it was in the high nineties for a big part of the day.  In the morning the temperature climbed from the low sixties in Sonoma County to the low eighties in about 15 minutes, as we crossed into the Vacaville area!

I spent a total of more than six hours riding on the back of the bike, with my arms around my husband, so I had lots of time for thinking - time to compose thank you notes, work on this blog entry, weigh the pros and cons of getting a dairy cow, as well as abundant opportunity to enjoy the scenery, and smell all the late-summer smells.

Friday, August 3, 2012


This morning I kissed my husband goodbye and turned to go in the house and saw our CSA box had arrived!  I signed up to try out a service offering organic produce delivered right to your door.  I've considered this in the past but the commitment seemed overwhelming and the cost a bit high.  This farm offers some very customized options--delivery every one, two, three, or four weeks, and you can mark your account with types of produce that you would rather not receive.

I chose the small box, recommended for 1+ people, because we do have some garden produce here, and we are enjoying some fruit from my in-laws' trees.  Everything looks tasty and fresh and I'm going to plan our menu around these items for the week.

If any of you in Sonoma County are interested, let me know and I can give you a coupon code to try out for a discount.