Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just One More

We are suffering a little lull in the calving business right now. Haven't had a calf since Sunday. The weather has turned cooler and damp.

Hopefully, the cows will hold off calving until the weather turns nice again. The Bag Lady needs to run errands today.

In the meantime, here is the latest calf to acquire a name. (so now all the existing calves have names - the rest of you will have to wait for more to be born!)

Introducing JOCELYN, named for the Bag Lady's cousin, Leah, who writes the entertaining and informative blog, The Goat's Lunchpail

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Morning on the Ranch

This is the sunrise yesterday morning when the Bag Lady was out checking cows. The geese took off and flew right in front of her, but, naturally, she didn't have her camera ready. By the time she got it powered up, this was the best she could do.

Betcha thought you weren't going to see any calves today, didn't you? Well, we didn't have any new births yesterday, but the Bag Lady simply had to share this little gem with you.

In honour of the Cowboy's cousin (who suggested naming the calves after bloggers), the Bag Lady presents:

LEWIS! (starring in his own little video)

And here we have CRABBY:
(so named not because the calf is all that crabby, but his mother certainly was!)

This is FRED, named after Javachick's cat:
(and because the Bag Lady has a sneaking suspicion that it might be Javachick's birthday today, but then again, maybe not...)

The Bag Lady will share more of the calves who have been named after bloggers with you in upcoming posts!

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Calf Pictures

So, are you tired of calf pictures and videos yet? That's the very newest calf in the picture above.

It was a fairly busy weekend around here. We had 3 calves in under 24 hours, so calving season is finally underway. None of the heifers had any trouble, fortunately. The weather has been co-operative; nice and warm.

This video is of the two newest calves - the one tearing around is a day old, the other is about 6 hours old. The poor mothers tend to be a little frantic at this stage! The Bag Lady loves watching the calves learn what they can do! She was going to tell you that she won't post any more pictures of calves, but that would be a lie. She won't be able to help herself...

It was suggested to the Bag Lady that she should name her calves after some of her blog-buddies. How do you feel about that? The Bag Lady doesn't want to offend anyone by naming a calf after them, but if you would like a calf named after you, let her know in the comments section!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Busy Weekend

This is the sight that greeted the Bag Lady when she went out to check cows this morning!

And here is another video clip of yesterday's calf - she was about 2 hours old when this was taken.

There was yet another calf born today (about an hour ago) but his mother is a little cranky, so the Bag Lady doesn't have a picture of him yet.

Hope you are enjoying calving season!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Report

Here's what happened on the ranch today!

First, this is what you want to see when a cow is starting to calve - the feet are pointing in the right direction (down), which means the calf is being born properly. The front feet come first, then you can sometimes see the tongue, then the nose, then everything else follows. (click on photo to enlarge)

This was the first calf for this cow, so I didn't want to bother her too much. I did manage to get a rather hard-to-see video of the calf right after it was born:

There ends the lesson in calving cows for today!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tribute to Thor

Once upon a time, the Bag Lady went to the dog pound and was chosen by a puppy.

Once upon a time, the Bag Lady went to the dog pound and was chosen by a puppy. It's been three years today since he left her, and she still misses him.

Friday Round-up

The Bag Lady has been a little busy this week, what with the snow and the stumbling start to calving season, and hasn't been able to devote as much time as she would like to the important things in life, like blogging! She could whine to you about the injury she suffered this week, but who wants to listen to whining? Suffice it to say that she is still recovering, and won't be doing that again anytime soon...

She and the Cowboy have been enjoying a program on the History Channel entitled "Working Over Time" (at least, she thinks that's what it's called! short attention span!) It's a 4-part series chronicling the different jobs of the people who settled Canada. The final episode should be airing tonight. It has been informative, entertaining and amusing, and she hopes it will be shown again, as they didn't realize it was on, so missed the beginning of the first program, and part of the second.

The weather is supposed to improve over the weekend, and the Bag Lady hopes the forecast is correct, because she is ready for some warmth. If the forecast is correct, the snow should all melt quite rapidly, and things should start growing. She is really anxious for some green scenery, and wants to be able to go outside without a heavy coat, snowboots and gloves!

She realizes this is a pretty lame round-up this week, and hopes for something a little more exciting for next week! In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Importance of Being

Is it just the Bag Lady, or is anyone else sick of being constantly bombarded by advertisements for things that are supposed to make our lives complete?

"A 60 inch big screen TV will improve your marriage"

If you have a bigger television, or a better car, or bake yourself in a tanning salon, your life will be perfect.

The Bag Lady may just have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, but she found the advertisements on the radio extremely irritating this morning.

All of these products that are designed to make things perfect are just one more example of the commercialism that pervades our lives. We are urged to buy, buy, buy. We are constantly exposed to images of beauty beyond attainability, and held up to some impossibly high societal standard. If you expect happiness in your life, you must remain young and beautiful and possess every gadget and accoutrement known to man.

Whatever happened to simply being? Every person is unique, and beautiful in their own way (gosh, that reminds me of a song....) And does a big-screen television really make men happy? What about love, good health, family and laughter? The ability to feed oneself, have a belly laugh, take a stroll in the evening, listen to a bird singing... none of these are good enough?

What was life like 100 or more years ago? Oh sure, there was advertising, but not every second of the day, filling the airwaves and pounding subliminal messages into our brains (You must read the Bag Lady every day in order to survive. You must read the Bag Lady every day.....) There were newspapers with advertisements like "Seven Sutherland Sisters HAIR GROWER AND SCALP CLEANER" or "All over the civilized world, the IMPROVED BOSTON GARTER IS KNOWN AND WORN" But it wasn't a constant bombardment like it seems to be now. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, the sides of planes, trains and automobiles!! You can't even check your email without being exhorted to use the services of a dating website, or the latest credit card offered.

And listening to the news doesn't help, either. War, famine, strife, murder, robbery, mayhem. Oil prices and grain prices are sky-rocketing, people are starving. Greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, holes in the ozone, the ice is melting at both poles....aaaarrrgghh. Believe it or not, it reminds the Bag Lady of a joke (that only Canadians will appreciate, probably): Man holding a sign that says, The World will end tonight at 9 o'clock -- 9:30 in Newfoundland!

Okay, the Bag Lady is feeling a little better now. Sometimes, all it takes is a little joke to put things into perspective. She doesn't need to have a big screen TV; she's not a beautiful young thing anymore (hehehe, almost snuck that one right by you!), but she can still go for a stroll in the evening, enjoy a bird's song, or a good meal, and have a belly laugh, and none of these things cost her a cent. So her advice today? Turn off the radio, or that big screen TV, go outside, take a stroll and listen to a bird. (Make sure it's before 9 pm - 9:30 in NFLD!)

Sometimes, you just need to BE.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still Talking About Snow.

There is something to be said for being snow-bound. The Bag Lady just isn't sure what that something is! She is tired of the snow. She is tired of looking at it, she is tired of talking about it, she is really tired of trying to walk through it.

She wishes there was something else going on around here to tell you about, but there's not. There's just snow. She was sitting in the living room, watching TV with the Cowboy, her back to the window. The sun was shining behind her. The Cowboy got up, looked out the window and said "It's snowing." Even when the sun is shining, it has been snowing! Sheesh.

She went out to check cows not long after that, and the sun was shining. It was still trying to snow, but not as hard as it had been. And it doesn't really show up well in this photo, but it looks kinda pretty anyway. (Somewhere under that snow is the Bag Lady's garden...) If you click on the photo to enlarge it, all the little sparkly bits are the last few snowflakes. And the Bag Lady is really, really hoping they will be the last few snowflakes of this season!!

It has warmed up a little, so the snow is packing down a bit, and is getting slippery. Oh joy, oh bliss. The corral is a lovely, muddy mess. Ah, the country life.

The days are getting longer. The Bag Lady took this picture at almost 9 pm last night. It doesn't get dark here now until 9:30 or later. In a month or so, it won't get dark until almost 11 pm.

You can see that the snow has melted and packed down a little from the other day. With any luck, it will warm up enough today to melt most of this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Earth Day

It's been another busy morning around the ranch. The Bag Lady had to go out and do some chores, so didn't have time earlier to write her post for today.

She has been listening to the radio off and on this morning, and was reminded that today is Earth Day. She has been trying, in her own small way, to do her part by not using as many plastic bags.

She designed and created her CartSmart Bags in order to replace plastic bags in her house. The CartSmart Bag also helps to protect your hands from germs found on shopping cart handles. They hook over the cart handles, which frees up room in the cart. She carries her cloth shopping bags inside her CartSmart Bag so they are available when she gets to the check-out.

Here are a few of the different colours she has available right now.

She hopes all of you are doing something today to help the Earth! (Goodness, does it sound like she wears sandals and hippie dresses...?)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Busy Day on the Ranch

It has been a busy morning around the ranch! We have been under a heavy snowfall warning, and, as you can see, they weren't kidding!

We had to do a little repair work on our calf shed - one of the cows managed to get herself hung up on the board across the front that is supposed to keep the cows out! She jumped over it with her front feet, then couldn't get her back legs over. Sigh. Ended up breaking the board when we tried to take it off. So we had to put up a new board. Then we put some bedding in the shed for the calves and spread some in front of it for the cows.

We also had to put another cow in the barn. She is very close to calving, and the weather is still quite cold. The calf that was born in the barn yesterday is finally sucking. He had a little trouble learning how, but has the hang of it now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Springtime in Alberta...

As you can see, our weather hasn't improved yet...

But that hasn't stopped the calf production!

Lucky for this little guy, we managed to coax his/her mother into the barn before she/he was born. The Bag Lady hasn't gone into the stall yet to determine what sex this little one is. It was only about an hour old when she went out to check on things this morning. Wasn't even dry yet!

And the weather is supposed to stay nasty for the next few days. Sigh.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Report

Here's what greeted the Bag Lady this morning when she went out to check cows (click on any of the pictures to enlarge them):

And with the windchill factored in, it was -21C. Which is only something like -6F, but still felt damned cold!
Here is the newest addition to the ranch, Sneaky:

And here is Milkshake, all snuggled into the hay:

The Bag Lady was pleased that there were no calves born overnight, because weather like this doesn't give them the best start in life! Hopefully, this will be winters' last kick at the can!

How are things in your neck of the woods today?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Round-up

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Ranch Round-up! (Doesn't that sound official?)

The Bag Lady has much to share today. First, she has a little question for you....she wants to know if she is the only one who sees the potential in this item, sort of a "Do you see what I see?" question. Perhaps the Bag Lady is a "Lady of Vision" (no, not visions, those only come after too much wine!)


She has been working on it, but has not completed it yet.

And here is a photo of some of her tomato seedlings:

(Aren't they cute?)

Next, we suffered a very strong windstorm yesterday, and the Bag Lady thought we were going to make it through unscathed. But, as you can see from the following photos, we did suffer a casualty.

Before (this was taken last autumn):

After: (this was taken yesterday - can you see what's missing? No, silly, not the dog...)

The last of the big old sentry poplar trees toppled today. There were two of them when the Bag Lady moved here 14 years ago. The first one was situated approximately where the old plow sits now, and it fell, across the driveway, one day when the Bag Lady was away. She came home and couldn't get up the driveway.
The one that fell yesterday had been the home of many a bird over the years, and will be missed. Well, the birds will miss it.
And the windstorm blew in a snowstorm this morning. It is a little chilly with a skiff of snow out there. Sigh. Hopefully this will be the last snow of the season.

**Update - did the Bag Lady say "a little chilly"? It's freakin' Damned Cold! The wind feels like it's coming straight off the polar ice caps. The Bag Lady had to put her hood up to walk to the far end of the pasture and back. The wind was so cold, her eyes were watering. Sheesh. A little chilly...sheesh.**

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fare thee Well, and Be Back Soon

The Bag Lady is off to see the specialist this morning for her back. Full report later.

**Update** Nothing much to report. He wants me to try more painkillers, and is sending me for physiotherapy.

Carry on with your days...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baby, Baby (Special Second Post of the Day!)

The Bag Lady went out this morning, as she does every morning, to check her cows to see if any of them had a calf. Again, as she does every morning, she counted her cows. And came up one short. They were standing in a clump of willow trees, so it was easy to miss one, so she counted them again. And again came up one short. (The Bag Lady does have a little trouble counting, especially when she's wearing rubber boots, which renders her toes unavailable...)
She finally decided that, indeed, there was one cow missing, so off she went on a cattle hunt. She searched the entire ranch, and finally, at the far end of the place, tucked away in the bush on the edge of the swamp, she came upon this:
So this is the first of our young heifers to calve. And she did it all alone, with no human interference or assistance. Fortunately.

Oh, and for those of you who have been following the Bag Lady for awhile, Spooky still has not had her calf!!

Tagged Again!

Wow, the Bag Lady's been tagged again! Twice in one week...

This one seemed simpler, on the face of it, but is turning out to be much more difficult than anticipated.

Geosomin, the Bag Lady's neighbour in Saskatchewan, has tagged her to describe her life with 6 words, or a photo or cartoon, then tag 6 other people. This has proven to be challenging, because the Bag Lady's life has so many facets, it's hard to pick just one. Perhaps "load of crap, you liar, you!"

The Bag Lady has finally settled on

Changing, evolving; every day's an adventure!

Now, as far as tagging 6 other people, the Bag Lady is going to cop out a little and leave it open to anyone who wants to play.

And she's going to share a photo with you that she took the other morning when she was out checking the cows.

This is the dugout where the cows drink, at the far west end of the pasture. The Bag Lady could hear the geese honking, so walked over to investigate. The Princess was very well-behaved and didn't try to disturb the geese. Perhaps because she knew how cold the water would be...

Still have not seen a robin, so spring hasn't sprung yet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name...

The Bag Lady is a wee bit cranky today. In fact, if she's not careful, this could turn into a rant. Oh, what the hell....

What is it nowadays with everything having to be NEW AND IMPROVED? What was wrong with old and just-fine-thank-you-very-much ? The Bag Lady did laundry yesterday and opened her new bottle of fabric softener. It didn't say anything on the bottle about being NEW AND IMPROVED, but it smells different. It's much stronger, for one thing, and more perfumed. She liked it just the way it was - it had been that way for as long as she can remember, and there was nothing wrong with it. Now the Cowboy is going around smelling like some kinda flower, and he isn't liking it much!

The other thing that has annoyed the Bag Lady recently is that she can't find her usual cleaner anymore. It was NEW AND IMPROVED a few years ago, and she liked the smell of it, so she bought it. It was one of several different varieties put out by the same company, and was the best-smelling of the bunch, as far as the Bag Lady was concerned. Now she can find the other varieties, but the one she liked has been changed. It is now MULTI-PURPOSE, still labeled Spring Garden, but the bottle is a different colour, and smells more like apples. Not that the Bag Lady has anything against apples, mind you, but she likes to think that a spring garden smells more like flowers than apples.

And while she's on the topic of scents, she might as well express her dislike of vanilla scented everything. She loves real vanilla flavour, but the scented candles and everything else they try to pass off as vanilla make her gag. Vanilla perfume is the worst! Smells like sugar. Okay, they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but do women really want to smell like something he wants to eat ....oh wait,...this is not that kind of blog!!

What really upsets the Bag Lady is that they changed the fabric softener and didn't put anything on the label. There's no warning. And she bought an enormous, super-sized bottle. The kind that takes 3 arms to lift. By the time she works her way through that bottle, she'll either be so accustomed to the scent that she won't notice it anymore, or so old that she'll be grateful she can still smell anything at all!

So now with all these NEW AND IMPROVED products in her house, her Cowboy smells like a flower and her house smells like an orchard. Could be worse...the house could smell like the pasture and the Cowboy could smell like vanilla.... oh, never mind.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tag Sale

The Bag Lady has been 'tagged'! Amy, who writes the hilarious blog, Mind Over Mullis, (which the Bag Lady highly recommends, but be sure to empty both your coffee cup and, for older types, your bladder, before you sit down!) has tagged the Bag.

Apparently, the Bag Lady also has to tag 5 of her fellow bloggers in the process. She has to state the rules, which are as follows: tell seven random and/or interesting facts about yourself, then get 5 friends to play along, and put links to each other's blogs. Well, all of that sounds simple enough, even for the Bag Lady!

The Bag Lady will tag her cousin, Leah, who writes the interesting and informative blog The Goat's Lunch Pail , as well as her sister, Reb, who is starting to post some great photos with her new camera over at Sibu Pegasus Power. Now comes the hard part, because the Bag Lady can dodge the bullets from her family, but she doesn't want to spoil any blog friendships if she can help it! So she's hoping she can entice Hilary, who posts terrific photos on The Smitten Image to play along, and Javachick, who blogs about exercise, life and her fabulous felines over at Javachick's Blog, and last, but certainly not least, she's hoping Dawn, the world-famous Kiwi author who blogs at the Flightless Writer will play, too! (Whew, the Bag Lady hopes she hasn't spoiled any friendships....) It was exceptionally difficult not to tag all her blog-buddies, so she is inviting everyone who would like to to play along!

Now, onto the seven random (because the Bag Lady doesn't have any interesting things to tell) facts about the Bag Lady:

1) When she was in grade two, the whole class would line up to take their turn at sharpening their pencils (goodness, she is dating herself, isn't she? Do they still even use pencils that need to be sharpened in school nowadays?) She had taken her turn, and was making her way back to her desk, pencil (with it's perfectly sharp point) held proudly aloft, when one of the boys in the line-up deliberately tripped her, causing her to fall, driving her perfectly sharpened pencil deep into her forehead! Forty-plus years later, it's still there; a little purple dot at her hairline! (wonder if that's what's wrong with her - lead poisoning?)

2) When she was in kindergarten and grade one, her father was going to the University of Alberta and they lived in the married-students' residence. She had to walk a mile to school, and took a fried egg sandwich almost every single day. (She warned you this would be boring!) Kids nowadays don't walk to school even if they live a block away. Did the Bag Lady mention what a skinny little kid she was? Or that she started kindergarten when she was 4 years old? Would parents nowadays allow a 4-year old to walk that far? No matter how cold, wet, hot, dry, or windy it was?

3) From the age of 12 until she was an adult, she was involved in an organization for girls called Job's Daughters. In order to belong, you had to be related to a Master Mason in good standing. The Bag Lady is a Past Honoured Queen. (Some famous Job's Daughters: Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds and Kim Cattrall - the Bag Lady is in pretty good company!)

4) She's left-handed. And has green eyes. A couple of centuries ago, she would have been branded a witch for either of those things and burned at the stake....

5) She had a crush on David Cassidy when she was a teenager. Is there another soul out there who even knows who that is would admit to that?

6) She took ballet, modern jazz and highland dancing when she was young. When she was doing theatre, the only dancing required was tap dancing, which she didn't know how to do, but learned. She can still "shuffle off to Buffalo" if the need ever arises.

7) She used to play the piano (badly) and the guitar (worse), but never played an instrument in the orchestra or band (except for a quickly aborted attempt to play the tuba). For the same theatre production where she had to learn to tap dance, she also had to learn to play the baritone saxophone. The musical director taught her to "play by numbers". She strolled on stage, wearing a red feather boa as part of her costume, sang the intro (in her soprano vocal range), then played "On the Good Ship Lollipop" in the low range of the baritone sax! Brought the house down every time! Especially opening night when she had her nerve-dampened fingers on the wrong keys and the sax emitted a horrible, loud, deep bass HHHOOOONNNKKK!! Seasoned performer that she was (haha), she just shrugged, moved her fingers to the right keys, nodded to the accompanying pianist, and carried on.

Got a standing ovation. Thanks mom!

TA DA! (There, Amy, it's done!)

For those of you who are still awake, thanks for making it this far!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The Bag Lady went out to check on her cows this morning and spotted this on top of the granary:

He stayed perfectly still until the Bag Lady took his picture, then started chattering and ran in the little hole he has chewed through the wall so he can get at the oats inside.

One of his favourite games is called "Drive the Princess Crazy". He chatters at her until he gets her attention, then runs away and hides. The Princess responds by running around the granary, barking. Of course, by the time the Princess gets around to where she thought the squirrel went, he is hiding inside, laughing his little butt off.

Poor Princess.

Poor squirrel if she ever catches him...

Friday, April 11, 2008

More Recipes from the Bag Lady's Test Kitchen

The Bag Lady has been experimenting in the kitchen again. She wanted to make something a little different for an appetizer, so came up with two ways to do chicken wings.

The Bag Lady is all about easy (for Pete's sake, not that kind of easy!), so she covers her cookie sheets with tin foil before cooking her chicken wings... clean up is a breeze.

Salt and Pepper Wings

2 lbs chicken wings, cut up, tips discarded (about 16 pieces)

1/2 Cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp Grated Parmesan (the stuff in the container that keeps in the fridge forever!)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp freshly ground sea salt

Mix all dry ingredients. Rinse chicken wings, roll in flour mixture, place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for approx. 1 hour, or until crispy. Add freshly ground salt and pepper if desired.

These measurements are approximate, because the Bag Lady just throws things together until it looks good. One of these days, perhaps she'll measure as she goes along, instead of having to guess afterwards...

Sticky Chicky

2 lbs chicken wings, cut up, tips discarded (about 16 pieces)

1/4 Cup soy sauce

1 Cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp dry mustard

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

Mix brown sugar with mustard and spices. Rinse chicken wings, pat dry. Dip chicken wings in soy sauce, roll in sugar mixture, place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for approx 1 hour.

(It's a really good idea to use the tin foil trick on the cookie sheet with this recipe....)

The Bag Lady hopes you enjoy her new recipes. She knows it's not salsa, but it's not fresh tomato season here yet.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Animal Kingdom

Who says dogs and cats can't get along?

(No animals were injured in the making of this video. In fact, the Bag Lady's sister-in-law assures her that these two do this all the time!)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Post About Nothing

The Bag Lady is pleased to report that her tomato seeds have started to sprout! As have the herbs that she planted (did she mention that she planted herbs?) She would post a picture, but they are still pretty tiny and she's not sure how well they would show up, so she'll wait a few days.

In the meantime, she has absolutely nothing to say so much going on in her life, she can't even begin to tell you everything that's happening! She and the Cowboy hauled their calves to market yesterday. The Cowboy went to the sale, but he refuses to take the Bag Lady with him after the "unfortunate incident" involving the rather stern Hutterite man. (It wasn't the Bag Lady's fault, really! She can't help it if she's a little soft headed hearted! And if that man hadn't turned around when he did, he never would have noticed the tears...of course, it was probably the audible sobbing that attracted his attention in the first place!)

(Bye-bye, Babies)

So the Cowboy went to watch the sale and the Bag Lady stayed home and puttered around in the yard. She and the Princess walked out to the pasture and checked on the cows, picking up the infernal and inevitable baler twine that decorates the pasture when the snow melts. Then the Princess napped on the driveway while the Bag Lady went around the lawn with a shovel and picked up the infernal and inevitable stuff that the Princess leaves behind... oops, was that too much information?

The Bag Lady also pulled a few weeds out of her flower bed. She really hates using chemicals of any kind around her yard, so is in a constant battle with weeds. Unfortunately, the weeds always seem to be winning. They cheat, though, because they grow even when it's nasty weather, or the Bag Lady has other things to do and can't get out there to do battle. She may have to resort to some sort of chemical assistance this year because the quack grass has really taken over one of her flower beds. She was shocked at the sight of it when the snow melted off. She knows that somewhere in that mess are a couple of perennial flowers, but she's not sure she can save them.

It was a typical early spring day here. The sun was shining for most of the day, but there were lots of clouds scudding along. The temperature was mild enough to allow the Bag Lady to take off her jacket. It is supposed to stay about the same for most of the week, and warm up nicely by the weekend. At this rate, it will be dry enough to actually do some real yard work soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Recipe Day

Here is a special post for Sagan, who has a terrific blog over at Living Healthy in the Real World.

Sagan wanted recipes for home-made ice cream. The Bag Lady has lots of recipes for home-made ice cream, but for most of them you need an ice cream maker. Here is one that is designed to be made in the freezer. (The Bag Lady also reminds Sagan that she warned her that the recipe may not be considered exactly's a chance to do some tweaking!)

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Blend in saucepan:

1/2 Cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 Cup milk

3 egg yolks, beaten

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to boil. Cool. Then add:

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp lemon flavoring

Pour into tray. Freeze until mixture is mushy and partly frozen (1/2 - 1 hour) Whip until stiff:

1 Cup whipping cream

Empty partially frozen mixture into chilled bowl, beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into two refrigerator trays and freeze until firm, stirring frequently and thoroughly during first hour of freezing. Freezing time will be 3 to 4 hours.

Good luck with your ice cream endeavours, Sagan!

And, while she's at it, the Bag Lady presents a cake to serve it with:

Honey Cake

3 1/2 Cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1 Cup Oil

1 Cup Honey

1 1/2 Cups sugar

3 eggs

3/4 Cup orange juice

Mix dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly (batter is thin). Pour into greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 55 - 65 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan, turn onto wire rack. Cool completely.

The Bag Lady reminds all of her faithful readers that hers is not a health and fitness blog a blog about many things!

The Bag Lady has a dilemma. One of her new commenters (and the Bag Lady hopes she will return and become a regular visitor!) has asked for the Bag Lady's much sought-after, famous, and until now, very secret salsa recipe. What do you think, folks? Should the Bag Lady publish her recipe? Should she share it's fabulousness with the whole wide world?

Monday, April 7, 2008

You Say Tomahto...

The Bag Lady started some bedding plants for her garden last week. She planted eight different varieties of tomatoes. Does that sound excessive? She really likes growing tomatoes. The varieties she started are: Bush Beefsteak, Subarctic, Siberia, Early Cascade, Manitoba, Pink Ponderosa, Roman Candle (yellow) and Yellow Pear-shaped. She also planted some slicing cucumbers.

She used those little compressed peat pellets that expand when you add warm water. She loves those things! It's so cool to watch them grow. (small things amuse small minds...)

She hopes that this year will not be a repeat of last year. Last year, she started her tomato seeds as usual, and they did very well. She had them in trays on top of her fridge, and once they had grown to about an inch high, she decided to move them to the top of her upright deep freeze in another room. Where she promptly and completely forgot all about them. Imagine her chagrin when she went to get something out of the freezer a couple days later and there were all her little tomato plants, dead. Geez, she had never done anything like that before!

The Cowboy told one of his friends about it, laughing at the Bag Lady's forgetfulness. His friend has a greenhouse, and one day, to the Bag Lady's surprise, he showed up at her house with an entire flat of tomato plants that he had started! Sixty-four plants, to be exact. And all of them were cherry tomatoes.

One of the Bag Lady's cousins had come to visit her, and also brought her a couple of tomato plants that she had started (and remembered to water...), so the Bag Lady did have lots of tomatoes, in spite of the disastrous seed-starting fiasco.

She is looking forward to comparing the different varieties that she planted. She thinks that some of them will look really pretty in salads together - imagine a salad with red, pink and yellow tomatoes! She has learned, over the years, what works and what doesn't, as far as making salsa and canning tomatoes. Yellow tomatoes do NOT make attractive salsa. At least, not when you make huge batches for canning. The Bag Lady's salsa recipe calls for tomato paste, and when you combine the yellow tomatoes with red tomato paste (because she has never seen tomato paste made from yellow tomatoes), the resulting salsa turns an unappetizing brown. It still tastes good, just doesn't have the eye appeal. So she will use the yellow tomatoes for salads or fresh salsa, and keep the red ones for the salsa that she cans.

She will go to a greenhouse sometime in May and buy some pepper plants to grow in pots on her deck. She may have to buy tomato plants then too, if she's as forgetful as last year.... But she won't be, because all of you will remind her to water, won't you?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday Craft Class

It snowed here overnight on Friday night and the Bag Lady woke up to a winter wonderland. It was warm enough that the snow melted during the day. When the Bag Lady looked out in the early afternoon, the trees still had some snow on them, and there was steam rising from the driveway. She hurried to take a picture, but the steam dissipated too rapidly. She thinks the trees look kinda pretty, though.

The Bag Lady spent part of yesterday cleaning out a couple of her cupboards. She finally got annoyed enough with the barbeque tools that were rattling around in one of the cupboards that she decided to do something about it.

She found an old pair of blue jeans and thought she could perhaps turn them into something useful. (She's all about the recycling!)

So she turned this:

Into this:
Now her barbeque tools are no longer aggravating her when she tries to get something else out of the cupboard and when the season starts again, she can hang them all together on the side of the barbeque.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Say, What?

The Bag Lady mentioned in a previous post that she and the Cowboy spent Sunday putting a grass-seeder together. It took them most of the day, partly because the instructions were written by someone for whom English was a second (or possibly third...) language.

For example:

" When assembly, please have the hopper side lay, the hopper panel with label should be put in downwards."

or how about this one:

"Let the Gear Box hole and Axle Shaft Hole in the same level, then insert the Safety Pin. (This pin could be took off when it not work so that could lessen the abrasion)

And it gets better as the assembly gets more complicated:

" Inserting the Adjustable Handle into the slot according to the indication in the pic. then put on the bolts, nuts and washers, tighten them to fix the handle and couldn't be moved."

Now the Bag Lady may not be the sharpest bit in the drill, but she likes to think she can read and follow simple directions. If she hadn't burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter every time she turned to a new page, things may have gone together a little more quickly!

She thinks it looks pretty good, but who knows? It may all fall apart when it comes to this:

"Moving the handle and the three holes will affect the stuff volume at the bottom"

The Cowboy won't know for sure if it was put together properly until he tries to use it, but in the meantime, it is a pretty colour!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bouncing Baby....Bovine?

Here's something to ponder.
This calf is a day old....


The Cowboy and the Bag Lady went for their customary stroll in the pasture yesterday. It is dry, for the most part, with only a few patches of leftover icy snow.

There are also a few muddy spots, as you might be able to tell from this photo:

Or this one:

(By the way, this is what a cranky bull looks like when he wants to fight, so if you ever see one with his head down, looking at you sideways, be prepared to run! In this instance, the Cowboy was NOT the target - our second bull was standing just out of camera range, and the two of them had been going at it earlier!)

The Bag Lady wanted to take a nice close-up shot of this little heifer, but the heifer was more interested in the Bag Lady's hand than in posing for her portrait!

Everybody needs a good scratch once in awhile:

And, last, but by no means least, there's always a "black sheep" in the family!!

Hope you enjoyed our little "tour" of the pasture!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Don't Blink

The Bag Lady is a country music fan. (Gasp!) Who'd'a'thunk? She likes all kinds of music, but prefers to listen to country music. The direction that "popular" music has taken in recent years does not interest her. She isn't crazy about the atonal droning of some of it, nor does she care for screeching guitars, or thumpa-thumpa bass. She finds most rap music confusing at best, irritating at it's worst. She must be getting old, because even some of the country music nowadays is annoying. (ohmigosh, did the Bag Lady's mother sneak in here to write that?)

Whoops, got a little distracted there. What the Bag Lady started to talk about was a recent Kenny Chesney song she has heard on the radio several times called "Don't Blink". For those of you who don't listen to country music and don't know who Kenny Chesney is, what the hell is wrong with you? you really should give that song a listen. It's about life going by so fast, you don't want to blink or you'll miss it. It got the Bag Lady thinking a lot about how true it is - time goes by faster and faster, the older you get.

Without even realizing it, you can spend years of your life thinking you will always be able to do the things you do now. Right up until the moment your body betrays you! We take so much for granted, like being able to bounce out of bed in the morning and go about our daily routine. The Bag Lady was always in fairly good shape, albeit slightly overweight most of her adult life (she likes to think she was compensating for those years as a child that she was underweight...but somehow has gone far beyond that and is now perhaps over-compensating just a little!) Until the day she couldn't. Bounce out of bed, that is.

It started innocently enough. She worked as a clerk in a little country store, so was on her feet quite a bit. Her right foot started hurting, but she ignored it, thinking it would go away as it always had in the past. Before too long, it was hurting all the time. It started feeling like she was walking on a golf ball.

She started limping, trying to relieve the pain. Then her left foot started hurting. By the time she finally sought medical treatment, she had heel spurs in both feet that eventually required 3 years of orthotics, physical therapy and finally, shock wave treatments.

Of course, she had to keep working through all of this. In constant pain in spite of the orthotics, she suffered through her days and nights. There were times the pain actually made her cry. She changed jobs - in fact, took on a second job, which also required her to be on her feet constantly. She quickly found she couldn't manage both jobs, but the second job paid more, so she quit the first.

Her physical fitness deteriorated. She continued to do her chores around the ranch, and worked hard at her job, but she could no longer bounce out of bed. In fact, she had to take her time getting up, stretching her feet before she stepped on them so she wouldn't make them worse.

Her feet gradually started to feel better.

Then her hip started hurting. Back to the doctor she went. Deteriorating disk disease (in her back, causing the pain to radiate to her hips and down her legs.)

Don't blink. And don't take your good health for granted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The "Reveal"!!

Here's something exciting for you to ponder. The Bag Lady has been hesitant to share some things with you, like her true identity, but has decided today to allow you a glimpse of what she looks like. (She is pretty sure you are all on the edges of your Obus Forms in anticipation!)

She has shown you the back of her head, and there was a glimpse of her in the picture with the calf in the house. She has also shown you pictures of her when she was a young child, but the Bag Lady is quite shy, and not at all confident in her appearance, so thought it best if she allowed you to use your imaginations (and she hopes that in your imaginations she is tall, slender and gorgeous!)

So today is the day. Yup, she's going to post a picture of herself, and spoil your illusions show you her true self. Okay, here goes:

Wait for it......

(Gee, don't know if I can do this...)

Without further ado:

(What did you expect? It IS April Fool's Day, after all!!)