Veterans and dreams

So often if the media pays attention to our military it’s in a negative way. America has a long history of those who stood up for what they believed in. It’s built on those who had hopes, dreams, a quest to leave something better and make changes to benefit their descendants. Memorial day was set aside to honor those lives lost and those changed forever from that decision. It is not just for a sale or grilling – it’s the freedom to have those and to have choices.

Thank a soldier and never take it for granted.

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Abuse on Farms

I became aware last night of a video shot by an animal rights group at a farm in Ohio. It has taken this long to simmer to stringing words together that made some type of sense rather than venting alone but may still appear as both.

The idea that it’s standard practice to abuse animals in agriculture is wrong. Does it happen? Sure it does. There are bad actors in any industry and ag is no exception. There are many who for a moment reprimand an animal harsher than intended or who in standard acceptable practice goes wrong and if captured on video perhaps could look much different. But sticking cattle with pitchforks in the milking parlor, hitting, slapping and throwing calves, beating cows with crowbars is absolutely unacceptable. Dairy cattle will not produce in an environment there is fear and cattle subjected to such practices will be fearful.

The mention on the video of a mastitis cow – perhaps a surge in them – can be an indication that should have been picked up by the owner. Slapping a cow to encourage to get up in some situations is needed – tieing her up and hitting her in the head with a crowbar is NOT.

The farming and dairy industry has condemned these actions easily found online. This is not a video that is easy to watch. I was livid at the images on the screen. But this wasn’t even at a full boil until I found out the “undercover” person continued filming and letting it go on for WEEKS – nearly a month! – so that they could put a ‘go vegan’ on the end and benefit HSUS in Ohio call for more regulation. The cameraman should also face charges and if involved so should the organizations funding it…standing by and letting such abuse continue in order to paint all dairy farmers as cruel shows these groups DO NOT care for animal welfare. If they did the video would not have been held onto for nearly a month.

Most people farm and have animals for the love of animals. Even animals raised for food. There is no excuse for the kind of behavior demonstrated in this situation. Presenting that as happening on farms everywhere is slanderous – it does NOT.

The people involved need to be punished. Whether directly or indirectly involved there is no excuse for letting it continue.

Monday Mix Timesavers

Make Your Own Italian Seasoning

1/3 c. dried, crushed oregano
1/3 c. dried, crushed basil
2 T. rosemary
1/4 c. thyme
1/4 c. sage
1/4 c. marjoram

Mix everything together. Store in tightly capped jar. Makes a little under 1 1/2 cups

Brownie Mix

5 c. sugar
3 c. flour
2 c. cocoa
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
3 1/2 c. shortening (must not require any refrigeration)

To Make Brownies:
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. Homemade Brownie Mix
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate
chips (optional)
1/2 c. butterscotch pieces

Directions for Mix: Stir dry ingredients together; lightly cut in shortening until it resembles evenly distributed coarse crumbs. Do not overblend! Keeps for 6 weeks at room temperature.

To make brownies: Beat eggs and vanilla; add Homemade Brownie Mix. Stir until smooth. Add optional ingredients if desired. Spread in a greased 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool before cutting.
To double recipe: Use a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sauce Mix forĀ  Cream Soup Substitute

Many recipes call for cream of chicken or other soup. This is a substitute if you don’t have storebought.

2 cups non-fat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken or beef bouillon
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Store in airtight container. To prepare as substitute for one can of condensed cream soup in recipes, stir together 1/3 cup mix and 1 1/4 cups water in a saucepan or bowl. Cook and stir until thickened. This mix has about one-third the calories of canned condensed soup.
You can add canned or fresh mushrooms, mixed or other vegetables to this.


Finding Your Rural Home

While many people think of country living as moving out of town on acreage and raising animals for food, a big garden and idyllic days “doing nothing” the reality is different. There’s fences to fix, barns to clean and many things people don’t think of. There is a great deal of responsibility also.

Many seniors find they don’t want 5 acres to care for with the mowing and other chores. For these people country might be a small town in a rural area, with room for a garden, ,a few chickens and rabbits and a yard for entertaining family.

Others seek the challenge of an income from pasture raising livestock and anything less than 50 acres is a hobby to them. They don’t have a bird feeder in the back yard and aren’t concerned with heirloom tomatoes or how things were done 40 years ago.

Consider all aspects before your move to the country. Do you have the ability to plow driveways clogged with snow? Are there health issues that require a particular environment? Looking at all factors can save you much unhappiness and expense.

Some reading to generate ideas:

The Have More Plan -Good overview book to generate ideas. Shows how 4 well run acres can provide a great deal of food. Prices are dated but the information is worth the time! It not only touches on the common – gardens, cows, pigs – but the less common today – squab, geese, ducks and more. It is an overview – this isn’t detailed information and doesn’t include hunting or foraging as ways to cut costs but worth the time.

Buy The Horse Property You Need – some considerations for small properties (not just horses!

Country Home Living. Never too much information if it helps!

If a home in a rural town is country to you by all means run with it! If more land is needed to make you happy enter it with an understanding of all good and bad – from the beautiful sunsets to the neighbor’s cows getting loose and walking through your yard!

Country neighbors welcome!

Make Mixes for Time, Money savings

People in the country don’t always have more time, but are often more flexible in the use of it. Gift mixes, whether for giving away or using, are a great way to save money and often you can use ingredients from the garden! Here are some starters:

MEXICAN SEASONING MIX

1/4 dried onion flakes
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro leaves

1. Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 3/4 cup.

DIRECTIONS FOR GIFT RECIPE CARD:
To make beef taco filling, brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet over
medium heat, stirring to crumble; drain well. Stir in 1 cup water and 2
tablespoons Mexican Season Mix; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Serve in taco shells with
desired additions.

Two in One BBQ Sauce

16 C pureed seeded peeled plum tomatoes
2 C pureed onions
2 1/4 C pureed seeded green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp mustard seeds, crushed
1 Tbsp celery seeds
2 dried chili peppers, seeded and crushed

Stampede Style Sauce

3/4 C mild flavored or fancy molasses
3/4 C malt vinegar
1/3 C Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground black pepper

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 Tbsp finely chopped gingerroot
3/4 C liquid honey
3/4 C cider vinegar
2 C canned crushed pineapple, with juice

To a large stainless steel saucepan, add half the tomato puree. Over
high heat, stirring frequently, bring to a full rolling boil. While
maintaining the boil, gradually add remaining puree. Cook over high
heat, stirring frequently until reduced by half, about 1 hour. Add
pureed green peppers and onions, garlic, mustard seeds, celery
seeds and chili peppers. Return to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat
to medium and boil gently, stirring frequently, until peppers and
onions are tender, about 10 minutes.

Divide mixture equally between two stainless steel saucepans. Add
ingredients for Stampede Style Sauce to one pan: ingredients for
Sweet and Sour Sauce to the other. Bring both mixtures to a boil over
high heat, stirring frequently, until mixtures are thickened to a
consistency of a thin commercial BBQ sauce, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids. Ladle hot sauces into hot
jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust
headspace, if necessary by adding more hot sauce. Wipe rim. Center
the lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase
to fingertip tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.
Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Remove canner from heat.
Wait 5 minutes, then carefully remove jars, cool and store.

Makes: about 6 pint jars


Recipe – creamy chicken & rice

Creamy Chicken and Rice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 pepper, deveined & diced
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
1/2 cup water
cooked white rice

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, sage and thyme. Dip
your moistened chicken breasts into the flour mixture to lightly
coat them, set aside. In a large skillet on medium-high heat,
melt the butter. Place breasts in the melted butter and cook for
12-14 minutes or until browned on both sides and no longer pink.
Remove from skillet and place on a plate. Add cream of chicken
soup and water to skillet. Reduce heat and add the chicken pieces
back to the skillet. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Serve
chicken over cooked rice or pasta.