Tuesday, February 28


That's me.
...According to Dr. Keirsey.


56% Introverted....duh.
12% Intuitive...shocker.
38% Thinking...I'll leave that alone.
78% Judging...what? Don't give me that look...do you even know my dad?

We did the personality test at our management meeting, and received the results yesterday.
Beenie got hers too and let's just say where my personality was said to be "dominant" hers was "steady"....
...as in people like her more.
...as in she is pleasant to be around.
...as in she isn't scary like some people...

Then we ate lasagna because I made it and brought it...and evidently my personality profile plainly states that I like to be in control.
So they ate what I told them to.
Take that.

Just kidding, but I really did bring lasagna and Beenie brought cookies.

Aren't personality tests neat-o?
Well, in that IDidn'tReallyWantToKnow kind of way...

Or in my case, I didn't necessarily need for it to be spelled out in front of the firing squad.

Throughout this Management Academy I have learned quite a bit about my own management style and how it is perceived.
I also learned that if you don't want to be labeled a "chicken lady" then bring lasagna.
Oh, and that I should feel sorry for Chuck.
Life lessons people.

After the meeting I came back to work and got aggressive and yelled at Teddie!
Not really, but that's what my profile said.
The best I could conjure up was a growl...but I had intense eyes.

After work I was feeling froggy and thought it would be the perfect day to attack the stairs for the first time this year!
I think sometimes "froggy" gets confused with "crazy".

AtAnyRate...Behold The Stairs...

 You can only see half of them, because they are that steep.
There's somewhere in the neighborhood of 128-136 steps.
I can't for the life of me count as I run.

The stairs are located behind the hospital here in Blount county, and are typically used as a place for hospital employees to sit and smoke...
Whaat?  It's true...you know it is...

I have seen others using them as for exercise and one of my friends runs them often as well.

Seriously intense.

Normally my routine is to run up them 10x and do 10 push-ups each time I come down.
Great workout.

Yesterday I ran up 10x...but only got 50 push-ups in.
Imma tellin' ya...I was spent.

I could run 5 miles, 3 times a week and it wouldn't touch how demanding these stairs are.
I usually have more gas left in the tank after I am finished, but yesterday all I had were fumes.
I now have a goal, something to clear work and wedding stuff out of my head.

It might take a couple of weeks but I'll get it back.
According to Dr. Keirsey I am "result-oriented" and "self-confident" so I got this.

...Then again Dr. Keirsey also says I  have the same personality profile as Hillary Clinton and Hannibal Lecter.



Sunday, February 26


What is it?

How do you define "grace"?

BossMan always used to call us "miss grace" when we would trip, or goof up when we were small.
But I don't think that's it.

I took ballet for 8 years, yet I don't think it required the same type of grace...
...which was good, because I struggled with that kind of grace anyway....

I think in this past year I have felt grace, and seen it with my own eyes.
That's not so say it wasn't there before, however it seems like until you are ready you will miss it.

Early morning is when I feel grace deep down inside my heart.
It's dark out, the stars blanket the sky and all I can hear are my own footsteps and the noises the cows make.

The air is cold, but more of a crisp-cold, and refreshing.
It's not manufactured or temperature-controlled, it's real and feels so good on my face.

I am overwhelmed with my to-do list.
My work goals, wedding preparation, looking for a home for the 3 of us.
Then I look through the window and the sky is beginning to lighten, outlining the mountains.

I read Facebook updates from friends ad acquaintances.
The first hundred are selfish, then there's that one from someone whose days are numbered.

Work is so overwhelming.
It seems like I can never get ahead in this business.
There's no room for error, each mistake has a consequence and tomorrow in unknown.
But then you remember how you got there and you trust.

Big eyes, and big dreams.


Have a blessed day!


Saturday, February 25

This, That and The Other

Did you have a good week?
It is the weekend, for some people, so I thought I should ask.

I can't even remember my week, to be perfectly honest.
The only word I can use to describe it would be 'full'.
...wait maybe 'busy'...
...or perhaps 'stressful'....that comes to mind as well.

Lots of things took place and since they all don't garner one post to themselves, I thought I would just list them.
That way you and I can keep them straight.
Because you and I care that much...


1.  Caden and Gayle(Chuck's mom) scared the crackers out of me.

2.  I made 24 chocolate, peanut butter buttercream-filled, cupcakes.

3.  I sent our realtor 64 emails...
...and 2 text messages...
..and left a voicemail...
..and left a message with her receptionist...

4. I came up with a list of reasons why no one wants to be my realtor...stay tuned!

5.  Chuck left town for his bachelor party..and left me flowers.

6.  I made possibly the BEST apple-glazed pork chops, of my life.

7.  I became scary-good at active ignorance towards WhateverINeedToDo pertaining to the wedding.

8.  I ran 5 miles in the 70 degree weather on Thursday!
..and got soaked to the bone feeding yesterday morning.
..and froze my butt off this morning.

9.  I lost 2,000 lbs of milk in 4 days..and have only recovered 900 lbs so far...

10.  I picked up my wedding dress:).
..and promptly left it at The Heats, so I wouldn't be tempted to fry bacon while wearing it..
..or eat popcorn.

What do you think?
I LOVE it!
It's all hand stitched, including the veil.

Colleen Moore at White Orchid Bridal had a beautiful vision:).

Now that that's out of the way, please excuse me while I search the depths of the world wide web for a home.
..Until the sun comes up, then it's game-on!


P.s. It's OK if Chuck sees that picture of the dress, he has seen it before:).
P.p.s It will look different on me.
P.p.p.s ...right?

Thursday, February 23


This is one of the more difficult posts for me to write because feelings are hard to describe.

My older sister, Malinda, is so much a part of me that without her I would be lost.

She is so many things, and today I would like to share just a few of them with you:).

Malinda is my best friend and always will be.
Being just 2 years apart and growing up on a farm, we were pretty much it for each other.

I called her "sister" until she made me stop in the first grade, because when she would walk me to class it embarrassed her.

She always walked me to class because I was scared.
She could walk into a new place and not care a thing about who was looking at her, or what was going on...she had that confidence about her.

Our rooms were next to each other, and I spent many a night sleeping in her bed.
I was a bit of a scaredy cat, and she was my safe place.
We would lie in bed and play the alphabet game or I would annoy her until she would stop reading and talk to me.

Malinda was/is/always will be quicker on the draw.
I always/was the little "thick" sister who got stuck at the barn in the dark, because she 'called' everything first.

I used to bite her on the arm when she would make me mad....

She had me convinced she had magical powers, but would actually cheat at hide and seek.
...I pulled the ribbon out of her cassette tapes for that.

She looovvveeeed Jospeh from the New Kids On The Block, and I was enamored with Jordan.

We rode together to high school, and she would make me stop singing in the car.
I like to think it was because my voice was so angelic, it brought her to tears.
She thought it was because I couldn't carry a tune if it was surgically attached.
Sisters are honest like that.

Malinda is always the last one to tell you about her accomplishments.

There are many that I am sure I don't even know.
She is the most selfless person I know.

When she was in labor with Jackson, I realized how deeply we were bonded.
The whole time all I could think about was her, and what she was going through.
I was worried, yes, but it was more a feeling of heartache.

She is the driving force behind me being convinced that I can be a great mother.
She IS the most fantastic mother I have ever known.

She makes everything look so doable.
Juggling being on-call, residency, flying home, being a wonderful wife, and taking time for herself...all the while raising a baby boy is more than most could handle.
She makes it look easy.

Malinda is my rock.
My constant in a world full of variables.
She was my first best friend and will be my last.
Sisters like her are gifts from God.

Happy Birthday Malinda!

Tuesday, February 21

It Can Get Hairy

  Early yesterday morning this happened.


 Which is pretty awesome, I mean how perfectly do they go together?!

I spotted and big dot, and and little smudgeOfADot, when the sun came up and knew I had an early calving.

So I, being an intuitive cow person, ventured to the farthest reaches of my far-off lot to check on momma and baby girl.
Because it's my job.

All I wanted to do was check on them to make sure they were OK, then I would come back later and bring them in.
No biggie.

They were fine, so I returned to the barn to put out a number of other fires.

After lunch I bedded the pen that I would put the new pair in, and decided to just drive the loader out, pick up the baby and maybe momma would follow us back to the barn.

U-sually, if a cow is a good mother and has bonded with the baby, she will follow that baby to the ends of the earth and kill whatever is in her path.

So, I pulled up to the baby, jumped off the loader at which point the baby sprung into action and ran through the neighbors fence, all the while making the "MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" sound.

Now, if a cow is a good mother, she does not EVER want to hear this sound.

I quickly grabbed a back leg, and reeled the baby back under the fence.
I then picked her up, slid her into the loader bucket, and jumped into the drivers' seat before momma could catch me...haha!!!

This particular mother wasn't after me, she was just wanting to make the INFERNAL RACKET STOP!
I don't blame her.

With the baby in the bucket, I started easing through the field toward the barn.
At first momma had zero clue where her calf had gone.
She was getting frantic, and since baby decided to take THAT moment to remain silent, I belted out a "MAAAAAAAAAA!".
Don't act like you wouldn't do the same.

Mommas' ears perked, and here she came...head in bucket of loader smelling her baby.


They don't teach you these things in text books people.

I continued backing through the field, and momma decided to run alongside me...


Once she got behind me and firmly stopped, causing me to stop, I realized she was throwing herself across the railroad tracks in hopes of making this ride stop.
So I went around her.

I'm not sure exactly when the brilliant idea hit me, but it was fiercely genius....
I thought, hey! Why open several gates, go through two fields, and finally wade through mud in order to get to the calving barn, when I could just open the big gate and lead her up the drive this way?!
I'm telling you, NOT in text books.

I mean, what could go wrong?!
I'll just take her OUT of the security of a fenced area and roll the dice on whether or not I am chasing her into another zip code!

Then I opened the gate...

I drove the loader through the gate, and momma walked followed, smelled her baby then proceeded to tear through my parents yard like a wild buffalo.

I'm not sure how long I sat there, or when I started saying "MAAAAAA!  MAAAAA!", but it felt like forever.

Since my brilliance throughout the years has given me plenty of cow-chasing practice, I closedMyEverLovinMouth, and took the calf to the barn.


I left baby, who was ZERO help by the way, in the entrance of the barn and left the gate open.
By "zero help" I am excluding the moment when she sprung out of the loader bucket, only to leave her back legs inside, creating the 'wheelbarrow race' illusion.
Thanks for that.

After chasing momma, through The Heat's flower beds yard ,through around BossMan's garden(if you tell I'll deny it), and in-between the rows of hutches...she found her baby.

And they lived happily ever after.

And I ate an entire roll of cookie dough, to offset the calorie deficit.


Sunday, February 19

No Comments Section

 5866 is a pretty cow, isn't she?

Do you shop online?
Personally, I prefer to shop online....for a number of reasons.
-I can do it anytime of the day.
-I can find pretty much anything...I'm a Google-freak.
-It doesn't matter how I smell, or what I look like.
-I practice zero-tolerance for people.

So, if you get a gift from me, rest assured it will probably be bought online.
Some people think that it doesn't mean as much, and that would make them just plain wrong.
Yep.  That's what I think.

It actually means more...it means that I have scoured the internets at blazing near dial-up speeds, read countless product reviews and finally gone back and forth 34 times picked the perfect gift.

I love you that much.

Product reviews are so helpful, aren't they?
I mean, hello!  You can read all about the pros and cons before even buying the product!
Genius I tell you!

Occasionally, if you're lucky, you will run across a review or comment that makes you wonder how that person remembers to breathe each day, like:
 I was so disappointed.  There was no place to even put the kernels of corn.  I thought that it being a 'corn popper' meant that my son could actually pop corn while he played....

That was an actual review of the Playschool 'corn popper' toy that I got for my nephew..who is one...
Yeah.  Let that sink in.
That poor child.

Most of the time the reviews are just reinforcement for me to buy what I was after.
Sometimes they change my mind...this makes me feel like a savvy shopper...

I had a thought this morning on the way to work...and please don't freak out on me.
Obituaries are kind of like "people reviews"....

Only, you can't meet that person anymore.
..and the whole simile is kind of scary.
...plus I don't read them, because I don't read the paper...ohhh likeyoudidn'tknow.

What if someone were to write a review on your life?  Or, perhaps the choices you make?
Would you want to know you?

This whole thing got me thinking about the choices I make every day.  Although I use past experiences to guide me, ultimately they are my choices.  
I don't get to read reviews before I make them.
Shoot, I have already put that sucker in the cart and clicked "pay now".

Like my Ag. Engineering teacher Dr. Hart always said, "you can pay me now, or you can pay me later"...
He also said, "there's the right tool for every job", which I spout out to Tim just to make him mad..heh.

But Dr. Hart was right, the choices we make now either lift us up, or cause us to pay later.

...and I don't know about you, but that's not the kind of bill I want to run up;).

Matthew 7:13-14 

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."


Saturday, February 18

Keys to Working on a Farm: Choose Your Battles

Yes, there are approximately 37 holes in my five thousand foot hose.
And yes, I did go to the co-op last week and purchase an industrial hose for the parlor, while verymuch NOT buying one to replace this one.
Hose:1 Me:0.

So maybe that's not a great example, but it's battle for another day.
Maybe one of those days when you feel like nothing is going right, and your team just needs a "win".
Shoot, replace the hose and your everyone's hero.  Boooyah!

You have to remember that working on a farm is a battle in itself, and if you're like me you don't wanna lose.
So if at all possible, choose wisely.

I mean, you're going to have those three-calves-trying-to-be-born-AtTheSameTime kind of days, and in that case by golly give it your all.
On those days if your didn't get a lot of new things accomplished, at least you got that one and no one will blame you.

In some cases though the day might be kind of "slow", not a lot of disaster going on.
Never fear!  There's always something to tackle.

The Hondurans out of dish soap in the parlor?  Take them some!  You may get lucky and bring them the "right" kind, in which case they will get your attention by getting scaryclose and pointing at the container while saying, "Gracias, muy bueno", like you have just saved their child from the Amazon and they are dedicating their life to you..
That's right Bon Jovi, you're a rock star for the day.

Is there a calf in the beef field that needs some attention, however has a Crazy momma?  No problem!  Load up your fiance', dog and Tim in the feed truck and head out!
Sure the ride may be silent, as the 4 of you contemplate what is fixin' to take place, and whether or not you told anyone where you were going...which you didn't..but hey!  You're doing a good thing.

Did Teddie pull the plug out of the wet brewers pit again, causing the water from the grain to leak out and make a mess?  Even after you told them not to 352 times??
Listen closely, this is where the battle hits a new level...
Because they did this to spite you, you must not only win the battle...but make a point.
For example, maybe you notice the plug is missing, at which point you might fill the hole full of wet lime before you feed that night, after which the loader could almost be out of fuel, but you possibly didn't notice, and since Teddie will be using it the next day you park it don't worry about it.
All of which I did yesterday.
The plug will stay for a while.

But remember!!!  A battle with BossMan is never a good idea.
You might as well go and try to explain something to the Hondurans.

It's like keepin' cats out of the milk replacer.  Not gonna happen.


Wednesday, February 15


Doesn't seem that old.

This morning when I was finished feeding calves, I looked up at the moon and stars and actually felt a year older.
I think.

With each passing year we all evolve in some way or another.
Maybe we become parents?
We may become single?  Or married?
Our habits change, our routines differ in some way.

Every day that we are able to wake up is a gift.
It's a chance to be better than the day before.

The road to 29 has had its highs and lows.
Personally the lows seem to outnumber the highs, but the highs are sure catching up;).

I can honestly say that I feel like I have learned so much this first 29, that I have a significant advantage on the next 29.

Maybe this is a turning point of sorts?
The Good Lord has blessed me with countless reasons to live, other than for myself, and I feel like I can start enjoying it more.

The past 3 years have shown me who I am and who I want to be, and each day I come closer to my goal.
I'm not perfect, but I'm not supposed to be.
No one wants you to be perfect either.

I sit here at a table, that is covered with stains, paper, pens, medicine and an inch of dust...and I put myself out there.
I do it because it helps me be me.
 ...It helps me be more like Him.

I love this blog and anyone who takes a minute to read it.
When you read a blog, it's almost as if you step into someones life and see things from their perspective.

It's true, I don't necessarily like meeting new people in person, it.is.scary.
There's always that do they like me?  thing going on.
So much expectation.

However, I do like reading what people think, and how they deal with their own situations.
I think that each of you could deal with a cow in a hay ring, a heifer with her head stuck in a barrel, or one that is lounging in a feed trough.
You're welcome.

Actually, what I'm trying to fumble around here and say is...thank you.

Thank you for reading me.
Thank you for ignoring bad grammar, misspellings, and occasionally TMI.
Thank you for comments, I don't feel like I'm alone.
Thank you for laughing, sometimes farming can be fun;).

Most of all, thank you for being you and being patient while I evolve into me.

God is always good.


Tuesday, February 14

My Valentine

This is Paul, he isn't my Valentine.
But he's cute.
I just thought I would share.

Ah, here he is!  My Valentine!

A year ago today he asked me to marry him....
ACTually, I opened the box and he didn't say anything for 6 lifetimes minutes.

So I borrowed a cliche' line and said, "..is this what I think it is?".
I am floored by the words that come out of my mouth.

He said it was and I might have yelped...it's hard to say.

At any rate this picture is of him after the engagement.
Do you think he is thinking:
A.)  What's the quickest way out of here?
B.) So...this is where I will be hunting...
C.) I think I'm gonna be sick
D.) That was easy

Then we have this picture of the newly engaged couple..

My Valentine and I.

Go ahead, say it...he looks scared.
Like he has been holding his breath for 8 minutes.

It's a "happy-ish" kinda thing he has going on there.

It's OK, I ontheotherhand, have glowing hair.
It's all good.

But wait! We weren't alone!

Edna was there.  She is always there.

We caught her on a good day.

A year ago today, my Valentine asked me to be his forever Valentine...kinda, and I said "yes".
There are a number of things I would love to tell you about my Valentine, but there's simply not enough time.

The things that I love the most about him are simple.  Because I don't think loving someone should be hard.
It should be work, but a labor of love.

Dear Valentine,

Though we have only been together for a short time, I know in my heart you are the only one for me.  Your unwavering commitment to your family is what I first fell in love with.  You drive me nuts, but also keep me on my toes.  I doubt my abilities constantly, but you are the first one to tell me I can do anything.  You believe in me and I'm better because of it.  Each day we learn something about each other, and each day our love grows stronger.  I only want to spend forever with you and raise a family, because I think it will be a beautiful adventure. 
Thank you for being the best man I have ever known, and thank God for bringing us together.

Always yours,

Sunday, February 12

Do YOU Milk the Cows?

Well...do you?

You call yourself a "herdsman" which means you must milk the cows..right?

OK...so of alll of the questions I get asked once someone learns that I dairy farm, this is ALWAYS the first.

"Do you milk the cows?"

To which I respond with a number of things:
-Why would we milk them?
-Like...by hand?
-ALL of them?
But the most popular is...No, I don't.

And it's true. I don't.
I have 3 people who do milk them, but me?  I just sit in my Italian leather, hand sewn seat in the temperature controlled office and watch them milk my cows via the cameras.
...And if you believe that, I don't know if our friendship can continue.

The funny thing is that when people ask me that question, all they give me time to say in response is "no, I ha-", before they lose interest.

This happens ALL the time.

It's like they think that if I am not the one milking the cows, then I am not actually a dairy farmer.

If I milked the cows then I probably wouldn't have this blog.
Why?  I would have nothing to write about.

You need a certain level of pent-up aggression/frustration in order to have something to write about...inmyopinion.

If I just had to come to work and milk 200 cows...nothing else..then my life would be pretty darn peachy.

No breeding, no treating, no pulling calves, no keeping up with cow records, no stressing over the ration they are eating, no watching heats, no feeding calves, no love/hate relationship with truck drivers, and no fear of being electrocuted by my flush pump.

See?!  Peachy.

That being said, if my workers walked out on me today, I would verymuch be milking the cows..and you would never hear from me again.
Happiness would go to the grocery store to get boxes and rent a U-Haul.

Now, if I needed to relief-milk, I would!
No problem.  I did in college. 
Not to mention I milk my "sick" herd every morning.

But milking twice a day every day, would give me very little time to do anythingelse.

While we are talking about milking, I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a tour of my parlor.... "Where the action happens".

It's nice.  There are some parlors that aren't, and I take pride in mine.

Okie-dokie, here we go...

Welcome to my parlor!

I snuck down there between groups, so it is currently in use.

Here we(meaning NOT me, obviously) can milk 24 cows at a time, 12 on each side.
Yes, there are much bigger parlors, some that even rotate on a carousel that milk 72 cows at once...wow!

However, mine is sufficient for my herd.
It is also very clean.

The cows are milked parallel to each other, meaning you hang the milker between their back legs, not to the side....that may be too technical.

Here's one miking unit.

The "claw" is on the left.
It has no nails, totally safe.

The claw is hung on the teats, the milk then flows through the line, through the 'black thing with the round object', then through the 'blue and white thing', where it is weighed...


That's the control board.

There is one for each unit.
The "25" is the milking code, as opposed to the wash cycle code"
The "7.7" is how long the claw hung on the cow, or how long it took her to milk.
The "58.8" is how much milk, in pounds, she gave.

The whole set up is automated.
All the milker has to do is push the silver button on the bottom right, and that starts the vacuum flow through the claw.
They then attach the claw to the udder, and the milk starts flowing.
Once the pressure sensors in the claw recognize reduced milk flow, the vacuum shuts off, and the claw detaches by itself.

From the unit, the milk flows into the receiver jar..

There are two, one for each side.

The milk flows into the 'big silver canister', then is forced through the 'tall silver skinny thing'.
The 'tall skinny thing' has a VERY fine filter in it, which the milk is pushed through before going into the tank.
This catches anything, other than milk, that might have gotten into the claw.

The tank.

This mamma-jamma holds intheneighborhoodof 25,000 pounds.
It's a big dude.

We have 2(because we used to milk 500), but are currently only using one.

This tank, stirs the milk at regular intervals, and keeps it at 38 degrees.

I am currently shipping just under 23,000 pounds every other day.
23,000 alludes me.

This bad boy is my report card.
He makes or breaks me every.other.day.

So...do I milk the cows?
No, I don't.

I just make sure there are still cows to be milked:).

Thanks for taking the tour!

God Bless.

Saturday, February 11

What I Want

With Birthentines fast approaching, I have been asked by a few what I "want".

To which I always respond, "Oh...I don't know. I haven't really thought of anything".
..That's the helper in me coming out.

But it's true
Sitting here, right now, I don't want anything but a nap.

Sure, there's all kinds of things that I need, or could use for work.
There are loads of things that I would like to have to bake or cook with.
But what I want?  That's a different story.

-Let's start out with something easy...I want more hours in the day.
  After work yesterday, I only had time to go to the store, make sugar cookie dough, make peanut butter protein balls, eat dinner...and make 2 tissue paper flowers before I passed out.
Friday nights are thrilling for me.

I had a very full day at work, but still could have done more.

I'm not talking a bunch of hours...more like 2, or 3...that's all.

-Another big want on my list...I want to not be so tired at church.
  It's embarrassing. 
It totally makes me look like the person who is bored.
I'm not!!
There's just something about sitting still for more than fifteen minutes that causes my body to go into a coma.

Maybe I should stand...

-I want to make cookies and a cake and cupcakes for Valentines day...
  It's a disease.  A baking disease.

-I want peace of mind that the wedding will be wonderful.
  Everyone will have a great time.
My dress will be lovely.
The food won't break the bank.
The flowers won't catch fire.
Chuck will show up.
It will be warm, and not raining.

- I want to be known as a great herdsman.
  For real.  Life goal.
Aaaannnnndddd...make BossMan proud.  True.Story.

-I want to be better at checking up on people.
  You know, the 'how was the appointment/birthday/trip/etc ?' kind of thing.
I'm terrible at that.

-I kinda want to send Raj a 'thank you' note.
  But that's weird.

-I want to remember to be more outgoing...and nice.
  This may come as a shocker to you...but some people think I don't like them.
Let it sink in....

I don't generally yell at people in public, or ignore them purposefully.
I'm rather quiet, and NOT a phone-talker.

I wish I had a sign that read, "I'm not stuck-up, just quiet" for all of the amazing people that matter.
...All the other people will get the flip side that would read, "I'm glad you can't read my thoughts". 

-I want more opportunities to enlighten people on the dairy industry.
  Sometimes it gets a bad wrap, as far as animal rights organizations go.
I want people to know it's not like that.

-I want more pictures like this:)

Maybe I'll just ask for a new cookie scoop.
It seems easier.


Thursday, February 9

Betty the Biscuit Maker

If there is one thing I would like to be remembered for, it is my cooking.
Namely my southern comfort food cooking, because the majority of it requires no recipe.
I like to try new things and then read through recipes, eventually taking ideas from here and there until I have something of my own.

Don't get me wrong, there have been many failed attempts and I am no stranger to starting over.
I am pretty determined though, and typically will try and try until I succeed or Chuck gets sick.

One food item that I have just mastered are my biscuits.
Sure, I know you're thinking biscuits?
Yes, biscuits.

No respectable southern home is complete without fluffy, white biscuits.
I couldn't imagine putting gravy on sandwich bread!
That would be tragic.
We would send you to Idaho.

Anyway, I'm talking made-from-scratch, flaky, buttery biscuits.
NOT from a can.

Imma bit of a 'homemade' food brat.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with pre-packaged food!
Except that I don't like it.

I mean hey, I might use a box of brownie mix in a pinch...but I would rather not.
It's a mix, I don't know what they put in the mix!

Did you ever hear about that guy who opened his can of beanie-weenies and there was a persons thumb in it?

How could that happen?
It is for that reason that I hold my breath when I open a can of beans.
Thank you, beanie-weenie man.

So the ONE southern food staple that has alluded me until now?
It's the biscuits, man.

I have cornbread doooowwwwn.
Biscuits are a science, and I'm not talking 'drop' biscuits.
We are elbow deep in some AP flour and patting these bad boys out.

Simple ingredients; 3 C AP flour, 1 tblsp. sugar,1 tblsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp cream of tartar.....
THEN you do what took me years to catch on to.
You take a cheese grater and grate 3/4 c of butter into the flour mixture.

DON'T you dare say it!
I can't believe you have been doing it this way forever and haven't told me!

The cheese grater method would have saved my past dinner guests a few teeth from misery.
Enter: hockey-puck biscuits.

Once you grate the butter in, you use your fingers to evenly distribute it into "pea-size" pieces.
Then, you quickly add 1 1/4 cups buttermilk until just combined.

Flour your work surface(go ahead and put a cup out there..you won't use it all but it keeps the dough from sticking to Edna), I use a big cookie sheet with a lip, welcome to apartment life.

Pour your dough out, DON'T roll it, just knead it a few times until it's not sticky..incorporating the flour a little at a time.
You want flaky, not hockey, so don't knead for more than a minute

Then, using your hands, shape it into a square, about 1/2 inch thick and cut your biscuits out.

After your biscuits are cut, REFRIGERATE!
You must wait.
You must refrigerate.

Put those warm, bad boys in the cool for about 30 minutes before you bake them.
They deserve the chill time!
Don't rob them of this.
Trust me.

450 degrees for 12-14 minutes and you can butter your biscuit and answer to Betty!

How do you make your biscuits?


Wednesday, February 8

My New Best Friend

Yesterday I had to come to work earlier than usual in order to help my milk tester.
See, my milk tester...we will call him Sal, because it sounds very movie-like.
Anyway, my milk tester-Sal, doesn't get around real well, so I come in and help him.
Imma real jewel like that.

Sal is a talker, but I'll be honest here and tell you that I only actually hear 35% of what Sal says.
Not because I'm not listening, but because his voice doesn't carry....and it's 4 am.

Sal was talkin' up a storm yesterday, and by the time we were finished with the first group of cows(112 of the ladies) it was time for me to take the cotton out of my ears and go feed calves.

So I did.

Anyway, when I got back up to the dairy barn to help Sal with the second group, I noticed him sitting at my desk(I use th term "desk" very loosely), staring at my computer.

Me: "Uhhh...hey, whatcha doin'?"
Sal:  "Well, I was putting numbers in the computer and the darn thing just froze up on me!  So...I shut 'er down, and started it back up!"

-Now, I don't know how you feel about other people using your computer and "shutting her down", but IFreakedOutInside.

Shut 'er down?  Like pushed the button?  But WHY? "She" never freezes up on me in my dairy program! What.Have.You. DONE?!

(When the milk tester comes he has to enter the cows milk weights into the computer program called PCDART...just FYI.)

Maybe I was physically shaking, or maybe Sal could sense the volcanic activity inside me and decided to make a run for it before she blew!  Whatever the reason, he got up and stepped aside and let me have the controls.

I opened up PCDART and nothing.
No cow numbers.
No information.

That's YEARS of information on over 200 cows.


I (calmly) looked at Sal and opened my mouth so that Minnie Mouse could say; "Why don't you go start the second group while I fix what you broke deal with this?"

Mmmmmk? Mmmmmmk.

When I started breathing again I called Raleigh, NC for some PCDART tech support.

Now, I am NOT racist, prejudiced, or ambidextrous...but the guy who answered had to have been Indian.

They open for business at 7 am, I called at 7 and he won the lottery.

I couldn't understand him at first, so I didn't know if I was calling the right place.
Instead of, oh I don't know..asking?  I let Minnie speak again...

Minnie:  "Hey, uh..ummmm, I'm having trouble with my PCDART this morning."
Guy who sounds like Raj from "Big Bang Theory": "O, and what trouble do you seem to be having?"

So I told Raj what Sal did, in a way as to convey the fact that I didn't think Sal and Bill Gates ever shared the same office.

Raj: "O.K., what kind of operating seestem do you have? Microsoft, WindowsXP...?"
Me:  "A.C.T.ually, it's windowsvista....."

Raj:  "..........................................and who am I speaking with?"
Me:  "Rachael the last Windows Vista owner on earth."

Raj:  "siiiiiiigggghhhhh...............O, Rashal,Rashal,Rashal."
I felt bad for waking up that morning.

Raj:  "Rashal, you koll me at seven in da morning, before my koffee, and you bling me weendows veesta junK."

Me:  "I'm sorry."
Yes, I apologized to the tech support guy.
He made me feel like I totally did something I shouldn't have done.

Raj: "Raaaaaashallllll, veesta is not a good seestem.  I should not have come to work today.  But I will see if I can feex it."

So, I downloaded a program that made him able to be on my computer while I watched and got a little seasick from watching the mouse move around.

Then, I left and helped Sal, who did not say one.word.

I felt like a mom.

When I returned to the office, I looked at my computer and my PCDART was up and running!

I won't lie, I danced.
You've never seen moves like mine, trust me.

In the middle of my moves, Raj called me back.

Me: "YOU are my new best friend!"
Raj:  "Rashal, we kant be freends.  You bling me weendows veesta."

I feel positive that I can win him over though.


Monday, February 6

36 Days

...Until the wedding!

Have you made the 75 tissue-paper flowers that I asked you to make?
What?  Yes, yes I did.
Of course I didn't forget! 
I specifically asked you to make tissue paper flowers after you finish hand-stitching my veil.
Now, chopchop!


Let's be honest here for a second...I have ZERO motivation to make tissue paper flowers.
Having said that be prepared for The Heat to freeeeaaaakkkkk ooooouuuuuttttt....

It's OK mom, I'll do it.

Other than that I kindasortaalmost think things are together-ish.
It's that kind of confidence that keeps me going...

I have been mentally occupied this week with work and haven't really had time to do much else, including talk to you fine people...I apologize.

My favoritedogherdingcousinAmy came to town and I got to eat de-licious sushi with her!

Do you like sushi?
I do, it's like edible art.
...and you can eat it too.

Chuck farmed three times in the past week, and even brought Caden out yesterday!

I had Caden feed my newest addition, the little black-baldy who 'appeared' in my calving barn under the heat lamp one morning.
...things like that happen.

The little guy didn't like me at first...the calf not Caden.
Then I made him love me by showing him that I am his only source of food...the calf not Caden.
Then I accidentally kicked him in the head with my poopy boot...Caden not the calf.
...It's a long story, but there were no tears.

I also have been baking/cooking up a storm lately.
Brisket, cheesy grits, cakes and cookies oh my!

The brisket changed my life.
It will change yours too...no lie.

I am in the process of getting my pictures uploaded then I will share with you the ways of the beef.
The cakes and cookies are courtesy of a couple of blogs I have been reading: Sweetapolita and David Lebovitz.

Davids' Chocolate Chocolate-Chip cookies are to die for!  So easy too...they have that perfect crisp/shiny top and gooey center...so good.

Little Man J had a great first birthday and loved his 'corn popper' that hisFAVORITEauntRachael got him!
Play your cards right and there might be a 'corn popper' in your future:).

ANYway, I think those are my updates as of now...

Beenie and I have another meeting in Athens today, and cannot wait to see what kind of chicken they will have for our lunch;).

Pins and needles I tell ya.


Saturday, February 4

The Future Farmer

This post goes out to the future farmer out there.

The sippy-cup toting, da-da-da-da saying, little one.

The little fella, just learning to walk who, if you cock your head to the side and squint a little, you can imagine him on a horse out checking the cattle.
..With his heeler "Blue".
..And his chinks and spurs on.

The toddler just learning to get around on his own who can hold his own bottle, or maybe that's a calf bottle he's holding for a really hungry little Jersey baby?
...Smiling, always smiling.

The one who might one day show his own calf in Little Britches, all by himself.

He might not be a farmer, he might be a Dentist or perhaps Minister?
He might tell his mom he is going to be a "racecar driver" when he grows up.

No matter what, he will change the world...you hide and watch.

But for now he will just turn one.

Happy First Birthday Jackson!


Wednesday, February 1

Farming: Better Than Couples' Therapy

Hey! It's February!

I know I am supposed to announce the EOM right now, but that will have to wait.
Because I can do that.
Because it's my blog.

Anyway, so it's February!
Which means it's a short month, meaning we are thatmuch closer to.....
A.  March
B.  A weddin'
C.  Me turning 29
D.  All of the above.

If you didn't pick "D" then you need more sleep.

The countdown to the BeachWeddingExtravaganza2012 is in the 40's now folks.

February is also my favorite month because it's Birthentines month.
That's right...Birthentines.

The day of my birth happens to be the day following myfavoritedayeva...Valentines Day!
Thus Chuck...poor Chuck..has dubbed it "Birthentines".
He gets a double-whammy.  Feel bad for him.

Speaking of Officer Cutie, did you know that he joined me on the farm the past two days?
Chyeah he did.  T-W-O days.
He survived.  I survived.  I call that success.

Chuck "farmed" from 1-3 on Monday, and 1-4 yesterday.
He is easing his way into it...like freezing water I reckon.

I am at work very early in the mornings, so I get most of my "inside the barn" work done before lunch.
In the afternoons I am typically out starting the pump, bringing in cows, moving dry cows, pulling calves, cleaning hutches, etc.
Whatever needs to be done outside, I am doing it.

This is the perfect time for Chuck to come, because he would rather be outside.

Monday was not a terribly busy day.

He showed up and ended up volunteering to carry a calf into the barn for me I made him do it!

He only got a little bit muddy, as you can see in the picture, so no harm done.

Kirra, my trusty farm hand, was with us most of the time and she and Chuck got along great.

My low group of cows was outside so we went to bring them in, and Chuck worked with Kirra and her herding while I rounded up the rest of the group.

We moved a dry cow up and sat and watched a cow calving, while enjoying the sunshine.

Yesterday was a different story.

My honey came to help and I told him we needed to bring a cow in who looked like she was having a calving issue.

We found out the calf had his hooves curled up, which was causing him to get hung up on his way out.
I showed Chuck how to use the calf-jack and we quickly cranked that long-legged bull out into the world.

Momma didn't appreciate the photo op.
We then moved a few calves into hutches and got ready to feed.

While we fed calves my blood sugar hit a record LOW, and I considered killing the next thing to cross my path.
...I was hoping it would be a Keebler Elf.

After feeding the 37 calves and 45 cats, I noticed not one but TWO more heifers trying to calve.
Find the happy place.

The Jersey had been trying a bit longer and needed some help, so into the barn she went!

Chuck helped me pull the calf and then we made sure the newborn could breathe, by causing the baby to "sneeze" and blow the mucus out of his airway.

We left the mommas with their babies, and I briefly considered crying when gave me the "are we going to pull the other one?" look.

Sure, after I eat 7 Twinkies.

Because I love Chuck, and because I want Chuck to continue to love me, I ordered Eddie to keep an eye on the one in the field so that I could get some sugar into my system.

One thing is for certain, Chuck is a quick learner.
I would say he could pull a calf if need be, and could very well do all of the things that I do.
...Except breed cows.  We ALL know he wouldn't do that.

I never assumed that he would actually want to help on the farm, and I wasn't going to expect him to either.

The fact that he does lets me know tha the supports me and what I do.
That maybe one day he will do even more...maybe it will even become second nature.
Who knows?

I mean, my crime-fighting instincts weren't fully realized until I met him.
Now I'm his partner, out keeping peace on the mean streets.

I do know one thing, the more time we spend together the deeper or roots grow.
One day, not even the hardest wind will make us bend.