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.