Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recipe Day

Awhile back, Bunnygirl posted about making home-made crackers. The Bag Lady filed that idea away for later. Then yesterday, Sagan, over at "Living Healthy in the Real World", posted her recipe for home-made crackers. The Bag Lady decided it was definitely time to jump on the bandwagon!

She used the same basic recipe that Bunnygirl had posted, but tweaked it a little in order to use what she had available.
Here is the recipe for the crackers she made:

1 C Nutri-blend flour
1/4 C rye flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix flour, sea salt, pepper and basil together well in food processor (reserve a little flour for dusting). Add oil, mix well. Add enough water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until dough holds together in a compact ball.
Dust parchment paper and rolling pin with reserved flour. Roll dough into rectangle the approximate size of cookie sheet. Transfer paper and dough to cookie sheet. Lightly score dough in squares. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt, if desired.
Bake 10 - 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Cool, break along score lines into squares.



Here is a photo of the Bag Lady's crackers:


The Bag Lady is quite pleased with the results, and is planning on doing more experimenting. She has a large quantity of dill in her garden, just begging to be used in something like this! There are all sorts of variations one could use to change the basic recipe to suit your own personal tastes.
(She tried hers with a little of The Laughing Cow Cheese, and it was delightful!)










Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tutorial

The Rancher has been working long and hard, and the Bag Lady presents the evidence:



video

(she apologizes for the quality of the video....as always!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beautiful Bounty

Betcha can't guess what the Bag Lady is making for supper!!!



This is all out of her garden: peas, spinach, purple bunching onions, garlic, red potatoes and rutabagas. Along with a nice home-grown beef roast.....

Doesn't that sound good?


Update:

Doesn't it look good, too? (even though it's a little blurry...sigh)

Sizzlin'

The Bag Lady has a few photos of her pepper plants to share with you today. Although these are a little difficult to see (try clicking on the photo to enlarge it), these super-chili plants are loaded with peppers:
Here is a close-up of some cayenne peppers:


And the banana peppers are doing really well:


The Bag Lady is really looking forward to making some salsa or chili. Soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday, Monday.....

The Bag Lady regrets that she is taking a brief HiAYtus (get it?) from blogging today. She's been really busy this weekend with haying and visiting and real life stuff that she didn't have time to prepare an actual post for today. She promises that she'll be back soon. Honest. As soon as they finish getting the last bit of hay put up.

Here's a little something to tide you over 'til then.

Ummm......

Did she show you this already?......

She totally stole this idea from the Cowman's cousin....

And next year she's going to put even more flowers on that old ladder!!

Have a good day!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Special Friday "Review" Round-up

REDNECK PRODUCT REVIEW

The Bag Lady reads a lot of health and fitness blogs (she's not sure why, because she got rid of her health a long time ago!) and thoroughly enjoys the product reviews that several bloggers have been doing lately. The Bag Lady thought that perhaps it was time to do a few comparisons for you.

REDNECK STEP AEROBICS

The Bag Lady uses her front-end loader or her tractor for her step aerobics work-outs. She gets in and out several times every morning when feeding her cows in the winter. In the summer, she is up and down the steps into her house what feels like a million times a day!

REDNECK TREADMILL

The Bag Lady has read a lot of comparisons about different treadmills, and has determined that hers is the best. She actually goes somewhere when she works out on her treadmill! The only downside is having to sidestep the occasional cow pie, but that becomes easier with practice.


REDNECK WEIGHT LIFTING

There has been some discussion on several of the fitness blogs about whether working out with weights should be done every day, and whether it will cause women to develop huge muscles. The Bag Lady is here to tell you that lifting weights on a regular basis will not cause women to develop "manly" muscles. She lifts heavy things all the time and still looks like a bleeping marshmallow! (this photo shows the metal roller that the Bag Lady has been talking about.)


REDNECK BOSU BALL

The bosu ball is gaining in popularity, and the Bag Lady can think of nothing better than exercising while trying to maintain your balance. She combines balancing with lifting weights. She manages this when helping to install rollers in the baler, which entails standing on the bouncy rubber baler belts while lifting a 5-foot long, 50-lb metal roller over her head into a space where it doesn't want to go! An additional incentive to keeping your balance are the sharp metal prongs that protrude between each belt upon which you could impale yourself quite easily if you fell!


REDNECK YOGA

The Bag Lady practices redneck yoga in her garden on a daily basis. She generally only practices the "downward dog" pose, but feels the stretching is good for the back of her legs, and she certainly manages to get rid of lots of weeds at the same time!



REDNECK KETTLEBELL

The newest craze that seems to be rippling through the fitness community is the kettlebell. The Bag Lady doesn't have a kettlebell, but she does have a big ol' cast iron dutch oven that gives you much the same kind of a workout when you use it to cook over an open fire. Sling this puppy around to make all your meals, and you'll have terrifically toned arms in no time. There's also the added benefit of the heat from the fire, if slinging the dutch oven doesn't make you sweat! If done properly, you will also tone your abs and the muscles in your legs. Unfortunately, it only comes in two colours - black or rusty black.


REDNECK ROOT PICKING

She does have several other exercises that don't have an equivalent in the gym, unless perhaps you compare picking roots and rocks to doing squats and lunges. There is also grain-shoveling, manure shoveling, carrying pails of oats to feed to cows, and wrangling calves when it comes time to do any of the essentials like ear-tagging them. Of course, compared to previous generations, the Bag Lady has it pretty soft. She has only stacked square bales once in her life, which was terrifying because she's afraid of heights. She has never had to pitch bundles or stook bales or do any of the really hard physical labour that used to be done. Yup, she might have to start going to the gym in order to get a real work-out!


The Bag Lady hopes you have enjoyed her redneck product review, and encourages you to try some of these products at home.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whiny Thursday

Whew, it's been pretty hectic here on the ol' stump ranch these last few days. We are full swing into haying season, which could also be called "constantly broke-down and repairing haybine and baler" season, or "pouring money into ancient equipment" season, or "run to town for parts every time you turn around" season, or "never get anything done because you're constantly on the run for something else" season, or "God-damn it, it's raining and gonna ruin our cut hay" season, or "bring some beer to the tractor 'cause the air-conditioning is broken and it's really freakin' hot in here" season.........all of which are much too long, so we just call it haying season.

At the rate we are replacing parts and pieces of the baler, we'll have a brand-new one by the end of the season! Kinda like that Johnny Cash song "One Piece at a Time" except it cost us far more than a dime!

The weather has been good, which is a blessing. It's supposed to stay hot for the next couple of days, too. So hopefully we'll get most of the hay put up in good shape. Not sure what kind of shape the Bag Lady and the Cowman will be in by the time it's all done, though! The Bag Lady almost couldn't get out of bed this morning because everything was hurting her. Climbing in and out of the baler and trying to move those heavy rollers into place is certainly good exercise. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? But sheesh, the Bag Lady is playin' out....

Enough complaining. Here's some prettiness to brighten the day!
The Bag Lady's hollyhocks are blooming:

Here's a close-up of a couple hollyhock blossoms:

Some different types of lilies:




No idea what this one is called - the Bag Lady calls it Tom Dooley because it hangs it's head
(and now she has that song stuck in her own head!!)


Another variety of lily:

And a slightly blurry close-up of one of her flower pots:


That's all she has for you. Have a good day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Playing Favourites

The Bag Lady's favourite time of day is early morning. She loves to sit on her deck and sip a cup of coffee, listening to the birds sing.

She has always been an early riser. One of her most vivid memories from early childhood is of waking up with the sun and sneaking out of the house to sit on the doorstep and watch the light crawl across the lawn, shadows creeping to meet it's relentless advance.

Here is a photo of her surroundings when she has her coffee:


Truth be told, she also loves watching sunsets. She has many fond memories of sitting on the front step with her parents and siblings, watching the changing colours of yet another glorious sunset.

The sunsets around here are spectacular and seem to last forever. The long twilight gradually dims and the last streaks of colour finally fade away.

Here is a photo of a sunset from last autumn. Pretty, isn't it?


What's your favourite time of day?

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Sun is Shining, so...

...the Cowman and the Bag Lady are making hay!

This is alfalfa in bloom.



They spent the weekend trying to put up some hay. The baler was a little balky, though, and they spent almost as much time repairing it as they did baling hay.

This particular baler consists of a series of belts that roll the hay up into big round bales. The belts go around a series of rollers, and the rollers run on bearings. When a bearing seizes up, the belts keep the roller spinning. This creates friction with the seized-up bearing, and the roller starts to heat up. Many a baler has caught on fire this way (yes, the Bag Lady knows this from experience - fortunately, it wasn't the Bag Lady running the equipment at the time!)

Saturday night, one of the bearings seized up.
This is the offending bearing.This is one end of the roller (where the sprocket is that the chain goes around). The offending bearing was on the other end of the roller. This is not an easy roller to get at - it's quite high, and the rollers are heavy. The Bag Lady doesn't have a lot of photos of the procedure because she and the Cowman were anxious to get the work done and get the baler back in the field.



Sunday morning, the Cowman and the Bag Lady set to work replacing it. They had to take a good portion of the baler apart to get at the bearing, so it took them the better part of the morning. They finally finished around noon, and the Cowman headed out to the hay field. The Bag Lady barely had time to finish doing the dishes when he pulled back into the yard. Another bearing had seized up. So they went back to work in the shop. When they finished, the Cowman went back to the hayfield.

He managed to get quite a few bales made, and when he pulled back into the yard at around 9:30, the Bag Lady was hoping he would tell her he had baled up all the hay that he had cut. Her hopes were dashed, though. This time, it wasn't a seized up bearing, but a broken roller. So now they have to find a new roller. A new, expensive (and probably has to be ordered from halfway around the world) roller. Sigh.

This is the inside of the baler. The roller that broke in half is under the belts on the bottom of the baler.

Here is a little video demonstration of making a hay bale.


video

Just another day on the ranch....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cuteness

Here's some cuteness to brighten your day:




The Bag Lady and the Cow Whisperer had a visit with some friends the other day, and these are their (rapidly growing!) children.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Troubled Friday, Again

Well, crap, it's Friday again!(and there was a problem yet again with this post...hope it's working now....sigh)

The Bag Lady keeps hitting the wrong keys with her damaged pinky; the end of which is alternating between being numb and tingling with that pins and needles sensation that means there must be a little nerve damage. She has resorted to keeping it wrapped with a bandaid because the fingernail feels loose on one side. She's afraid she'll catch it on something and rip it off, which, in her mind, would be far, far worse than the pain she felt when she whacked it with the hammer! Gives her the heebie-jeebies - far worse than physical pain anyday.

She decided this week that she was going to do some serious house-cleaning. She woke up on Wednesday morning with the best of intentions; then got distracted by a couple of phone calls and a visitor and before she knew it, half the day was gone. But she dragged out her cleaning supplies and tackled one of her storage areas. She was doing okay for a few minutes, until her OCD kicked in when she opened a box of 500 plastic forks to discover it was in disarray! There were some missing and the ones that were left were all in a jumble, so she started to tidy them up and before she knew it, she had dumped the entire box out and was freakin' counting them as she put them back! (For the rest of you Obsessive/Compulsive types out there, there were 100 forks in a layer, and there were 371 forks left in the box.) It's no wonder she never gets anything done!


Thursday was a little better. She managed to get her entire house vacuumed. She hates her vacuum cleaner. It's an upright, and it's bagless. She will never buy an upright again. Oh, there are probably some folks who swear by them, but sheesh, they're like pushing a car around the living room! And the myth about bags being a pain in the ass? Pshaw. Where is the benefit in vacuuming all the dirt up, then having it fly all over the house again when you empty the damned vacuum cleaner into the garbage? The Bag Lady finally got smart enough to take it to the garbage can outside, but that's a pain in the ass, too, when it's freezing cold outside and you're fishing around, trying to get at the cat and dog hair that's clogged the damned thing so it won't empty! Consequently, she doesn't vacuum as often as she used to. (oh, don't get your knickers knotted - she uses a Swiffer and/or a broom in between!). This time around she vacuumed up enough cat and dog hair to build another mid-sized critter. What would it be called? A cog or a dat, or perhaps a cogdat.....

She also reduced the mountain of laundry to a molehill, changed the bedding, and tidied up a bunch of paperwork. She is feeling a little more in control now, so probably won't have to count any plastic cutlery for awhile.

Here are a few more photos from this week. This double rainbow was visible yesterday morning at 6 am when the Bag Lady stumbled outside:


This young blue jay has recently left the nest. He hasn't finished growing the crest on the back of his head yet, so looks a little strange:


These are the flowers on her honeysuckle clematis that have gone to seed. Don't they look like a girl-group from the 1970's? Can't you just hear Ed Sullivan, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a reeelly big shoooeew tonight;.....preeeezzzenting......... the Clematis Sisters!"

And finally (I know, I'm relieved, too), here are some cayenne peppers:


Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday Things

The Bag Lady doesn't have much for you today. She took a couple of photos last night, though, and thought she'd share them with you.

First, there was this cloud. It looked like an anvil, and if it had been spinning, would have been really scary. But it wasn't. Spinning, that is. So it wasn't. Scary, that is.

The Bag Lady's area was under a tornado watch for part of the day yesterday, but she didn't know about it. Guess she should turn the radio on once in awhile. Apparently, an F1 tornado touched down on a farm in central Alberta and did some damage. Very unsettled weather lately. It's rather.....unsettling.

When she looked out a few minutes later in the other direction, there was this. It looked almost close enough to touch...but it doesn't really look that way in the picture. So it obviously wasn't. Close enough, that is. To touch, that is.


By 11 pm it looked like this:


So what's happening in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Name That Tune?

The Bag Lady is going to share a few more flower photos today.

Here is a volunteer sunflower. The Bag Lady feeds the birds in the winter, and some of them are really messy eaters. The Downy Woodpeckers are terrible for flinging seeds all over the place! There are sunflowers growing in all sorts of strange places. This one is in the flowerbed, so the Bag Lady left it.

The lilies are in full bloom. And the mallows are vying for attention, too.

Here's a close-up of a lily after a rain-shower.

Here are the pink delphiniums. Things in the flowerbed have shifted around a little over the years - the purple ones growing in front of the pink ones used to be beside them. Hmmm... gives flower power a whole new meaning!

And lastly, raindrops on roses...

...and whiskers on kittens...


Have a good day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Project...

The Bag Lady's home is in a constant state of chaos and upheaval improvement, and last summer she started another of her "projects". She has a deck across the front of her house, but she wasn't happy with the stairs leading to the ground at one end of the deck. The ground slopes away there in a rather uneven manner, so she decided to build a step/deck to replace the original stairs.


Here are some photos of the building of the step/deck.

Laying the groundwork:


Some of the lumber waiting to be put into place:
SupervisorCat:By the end of the summer, the Bag Lady had finished most of the building of the deck. There are still a few finishing touches that she would like to put on the deck - a handrail for the stairs might be ....handy.



She still wasn't particularly happy with the transition from step to ground, so this summer, she decided to work on that a little. The stairs end right in the middle of a slope, and felt a little dangerous to her (when you're as clumsy as the Bag Lady, almost everything feels a little dangerous...)

She also wanted to take advantage of the southern exposure at this end of the deck - she decided another flower bed would be a good idea because her perennials are in dire need of thinning. She added some lattice under the deck, and built a flowerbed:

And she built up the ground in front of the stairs to make it more level.


She isn't quite finished - her little injury interrupted the construction phase, and then the weather decided to be unco-operative (which gave her the perfect excuse to let her finger heal up a little more).
Those green boards that are holding the dirt in place? She was pounding a nail into them when she whacked her pinky. She knows better than to do the crossed hands nail pounding, but somedays she gets a little absent-minded. Then she pays for it. Sigh.


And yes, she did almost all the construction herself - the Cowman loaned a hand one day to help her hang the outside ledger board.

Monday, July 14, 2008

If I Had a Hammer.....

...I'd try never to do this again!


Had trouble taking a clear photo:


See - it's healing fast!



Actually, the bruising is spreading down the finger, but the nail is no longer black, so will probably not fall off.

It doesn't look anywhere near as bad as the Bag Lady made it sound, does it? (she's such a wimp...)