Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

To all of you going out and partying tonight, be safe!

To all of you staying in and partying tonight, have fun!

And to all of you going to bed early and saying "to hell with it" tonight, don't worry. We'll make sure the year gets here and is waiting for you in the morning!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Late Christmas Gift

Some of you may remember this post in which I shared a discount offered by the company and dreamed about a pair for myself, in a wistful sort of way.

Well, today I got a call from the Post Office... it being a small town there was much excitement about my receiving a package with, as I discovered when I stopped by to pick up the package, foreign language labeling. Chinese is a beautiful language, written or spoken, but I admit that I was fairly stumped.

When I opened the package, I saw this:

Pretty packaging, and I'll be keeping the box.

Once opened, it showed me these:

I adore them!

I'll let the kind and observant soul who sent me these remain anonymous, since they tried so hard to keep themselves that way. But for all you folks who want to anonymously surprise someone with a gift here's a protip: Make sure your phone number isn't on the shipping label. (I found it later going back over the label, trying to figure out a way to discover who I needed to thank.)

Regardless, I adore them and plan to wear them as much as possible! Comfy and toasty warm.

*Whooga boots did provide, months ago, an offer for a discount to my readers. I am unaware whether this discount was used by the person who sent these to me, or even if it is still in effect, however, Whooga boots did not directly provide me with any inducement, monetary or otherwise, to make this post or endorse said boots. So if the FCC is snooping they can go spit into the wind.

Musings Upon Politicians

In re-reading a bit of one of my favorites, I stumbled across a passage that I believe is all too apt today:

"I don't mean that a business politician won't steal; stealing is his business. But all politicians are nonproductive. The only commodity any politician has to offer is jawbone. His personal integrity - meaning, if he gives his word, can you rely on it? A successful business politician knows this and guards his reputation for sticking by his commitments - because he wants to stay in business - go on stealing, that is - not only this week but next year and years after that. So if he's smart enough to be successful at this very exacting trade, he can have the morals of a snapping turtle, but he performs in such a way as not to jeopardize the only thing he has to sell, his reputation for keeping promises.
But a reform politician has no such lodestone. His devotion is to the welfare of all the people-an abstraction of very high order and therefore capable of endless definitions. If indeed it can be defined in meaningful terms. In consequence your utterly sincere and incorruptible reform politician is capable of breaking his word three times before breakfast- not from personal dishonesty, as he sincerely regrets the necessity and will tell you so-but from unswerving devotion to his ideal.
All it takes to get him to break his word is for someone to get his ear and convince him that it is necessary for the greater good of all the peepul. He'll geek."
-- Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love by Robert A. Heinlein

The application of these descriptions to today's situation is left as an exercise for the reader.... but it's something to think upon, no?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Calves (And A Primer on Black Angus Beef)

Momma cows are fat, their udders are huge poor girls, and the calves they are a-droppin.

These will be our first calves out of the new bull, so we're excited to see what we're getting.

So far, we're pleased. Small calves means easy calving and less worry. Knowing the mommas and looking at the bull, I don't think rate-of-gain is going to be an issue.

Also, black calves are good! We've been getting good prices at the sale anyway, but in general, black cattle sell better right now. So far we're getting about 80% black with the other 20% being an acceptable solid red.

Why do black cattle sell better you ask? Well these days there's a big hooplah about "Black Angus" steaks. Frankly I think it's a bunch of hooey except for one thing: the steaks marketed as "Black Angus" are selected for quality and tenderness. I won't say flavor because if you've never had home grown beef then you have no idea that beef actually has a flavor.

Chances are that your Black Angus steak has in it's ancestry some mutt of a cow, much like ours. By the whims of fate the steer that wound up in your steak turned out black and looking vaguely like that breed of cattle that is called "Angus." Except for registered "purebred" Angus cattle, delivered as directly as possible from the breeder to your plate, you're highly unlikely to be getting "real" Angus beef as most people think of it.

Even amongst the oh-so-pure herds of registered breeding stock, you can breed a Black Angus bull to a Black Angus cow and get a Red Angus calf.

Because the difference between those two is nothing but the color gene, which is as slippery and contrary as any high strung cow in the working alley.

Even leaving aside the vagaries of your steak's genetic ancestry, the assertion that Black Angus beef is somehow inherently more tender or juicy or what have you than other kinds of beef is frankly hooey.

There are some breeds that have the characteristics that tend more towards tender meat, yes. Those characteristics include good muscle mass, a relatively easy going temperament, and a general leaning towards the big and square look.

But these characteristics are found in plenty of breeds, and mixed breeds, and do not guarantee good meat as the inevitable outcome of the process that starts with a bull and a cow and ends on your plate.

Tender meat has something to do with the animal that you start with, yes. But you want to select for those characteristics that I outlined above, to give yourself a good start. After that, the end result of tender meat depends upon how you feed and handle the animal.

Yes, you can get tender, delicious meat out of any breed of cattle, so long as you do things the right way. Longhorns and the lean breeds will tend more towards the flavorful but a little tough end of the spectrum in general, and the bulkier breeds will tend more towards the fork-tender side. But a steer, fed on mother's milk and grass (and ignored other than routine vaccinations and of course castration at as young an age as is practical to accomplish the task) for the first two years of it's life, then transferred into a pen with a hay bale and daily grain for two weeks before making the final trip to the processor, will, inevitably, turn out a better steak than anything you will find on the supermarket shelves. I'll take home-grown beef over that silly Kobe stuff any day.

It's my belief (with no real research to back it up, bear in mind) that while meat labeled "Black Angus" in the store really did come from a black bovine of some variety whether it be real Angus or some muttly mix, if for no other reason than to head off at the pass any false advertising claims, the superior quality of the meat is less due to the color of the cattle and more due to adapting, as much as possible in a mass market situation, the same technique that we use for the steers that we intend to eat.

Because lets face it folks, by the time it hits your plate you have no idea what color that steak was when it was up and walking around. I can tell you what colors the last two steers we butchered were, but not which steak came from which steer.

It seems that anyone who has tasted our beef has raved about it, which gives me no little amount of pride. But between you, me, and the wall, no one who has eaten our beef has had a single bite of what, when walking around, could have been classified in the loose methods used by the cattle industry for the most part a "Black Angus" steer.

In a couple of years, yes, we'll be eating beef that was once black, perhaps. But then, when a coat color can get you another three to five cents a pound at the sale.... why not?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Here's wishing everyone the happiest of holidays, the most lovely of gifts (given and received) and the biggest smiles all year.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Attention Shoppers

Important announcement for Christmas/Holiday shoppers everywhere:

Quit. Being. A Douche.

'Tis the season of peace on earth, good will towards man, family friends and love and.... theft from someone else's cart?

Come on people.

If you failed to get your butt out of bed in time to hit the store before all of that item was gone, then too bad.

This is especially despicable, in my mind, when it's kids' toys. I mean really, what exactly gives you the right to steal from one child to give to another?

Nothing, that's what, so stop doing it.

If that one thing happened to be the one thing that little Jimmy asked for this year (fairly unlikely, considering) then if you see someone who has that item in their cart, talk to them.

I know if I were purchasing something that I thought one of my nephews would like, that wasn't a special thing for them, and someone came to me saying that their child/grandchild/whatever had asked for that specific item and it was very important to the child, I would let them have it.

And how will the parent or grandparent feel if that thing was the one thing that Billy really, really wanted, and they scrimped and saved and worked overtime to be able to afford it and the other things they wanted to give to the child they love, and had it in their cart but when they got to the checkout, it was gone.

Stop being selfish little dillholes and think about what the season is supposed to be about for a minute. And while you're at it, why don't you pick up an extra toy or two and drop in the toy drive box, for the kids that aren't as lucky as the ones that you're buying for.

Generosity of spirit is a good thing people. Give a little if you're lucky enough to have a little extra, because some people don't have anything, and a ten dollar toy can bring a smile to a child that will warm the hearts of everyone around them.

Wouldn't you like to be able to say that you brought happiness to that many people this season, not because you bought them the most expensive gifts, and not because you braved four hour lines to get the hot toy this year, but just because you stopped thinking about yourself and liked the thought of bringing joy to a child's Christmas, without him or her ever knowing who you are.

That is the true spirit of the season.

So stop being a douche and go do something to make someone smile just because you can.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Scrappy Nibbles aka Rocky Mountain Oysters

At Blogorado I played a practical joke on the attendees. I made some Rocky Mountain Oysters and wouldn't tell folks what they were till they had tried them. The results were quite funny.

Some of the folks there knew exactly what they were eating but others had no clue. Some had a bit of a problem after they found out what they were but admitted that they were tasty. The recipe has been asked for so here ya go everyone. And for those that really had a hard time with the practical joke I apologize. But not very hard.

First things first. Round up a bunch of cattle, sort off the young bulls and cut their nuts off.

If you don't have access to cattle then your local grocery store will be able to get bull fries for you.

If the nuts aren't cleaned make a slice lengthways and peel off the tough outer layer. Then slice the nuts about 1/4 inch thick.

Crush saltine crackers very fine. ( a Magic Bullet or blender works well for this) Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and a bit of Cumin to the crackers. If you want spicy nuts just add more cayenne.

Coat the nuts in the cracker mixture and deep fry to a deep golden brown. If fried too long they tend to get tough.

A good spicy mustard sauce or Ranch dressing make good dips.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Deer Hunters

I've heard a couple of stories lately of stray shots from deer hunters.

Whether they actually damaged anything is fairly irrelevant, as it falls under the whole "Know your target and what's behind it" bit.

Or as I like to call it, "pay attention!"

Since the Farm Fam has actually had a horse shot for being mistaken for a deer (not kidding) I thought I'd take this chance to remind everyone.

Please, be sure what you're shooting at is your intended target, that there isn't something behind your deer in line-of-sight that you might not want to put a hole in if you happen to miss, and that you remember ALL of the gun safety rules while you're hunting.

That being said, happy hunting and here's rooting for everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009


It's snowing here, and it's truly that time of year when I become as much of a hermit as possible, and spend my time daydreaming of warmer climes.

During the winter I tend to ask myself when I'm thinking of doing something "Will this make me go outside? If so, is it worth it?"

Sometimes it is. Sometimes I get that weird mid-blizzard craving for ice cream, and just have to go find some, in spite of the fact that everyone else in the world is smarter than me and all tucked up in their nice warm houses with blankets and hot drinks.

Most of the time, it's not. Generally in this kind of weather the only thing that gets me out of the house is the need to break ice on stock tanks or otherwise do something that just can't wait for a warmer day.

And I don't want to hear anything about a white Christmas. When I'm rich and famous I'm dragging the Fam to Hawaii or Australia or somewhere else that has nice toasty Holidays.

Since I heard Lady Antebellum's cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside" it's been running through my head. Now all I need is some handsome young man to hum it while he's fixing me a hot Toddy and wrapping me up in a warm fuzzy blanket before rubbing my feet and doing my laundry.

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

People's Press Collective

Last night at the book signing I met three of the guys from The People's Press Collective... since they gave me a button, I decided to pimp their site.

Actually, if you're in the Denver area and interested in Second Amendment Activism and generally just getting around the bias of the main stream media, it's a good site to check out.

They're far more motivated than I am.

Eldest Nephew

Since Bro and Sis In Law okayed it, the Farmparents decided to get Eldest nephew a very special Christmas present this year which he is going to love.

This year, Eldest Nephew gets his first rifle, a Savage .22 youth model. We picked it up yesterday on the way to the book signing, from the place where Salamander works. It was an excellent excuse to visit with him again and meet the Newt who is just cute as a button.

Eldest Nephew will probably ask to go shooting as soon as he opens his present, as he loves shooting with his dad but having to have help to support the big people .22's has been beginning to disappoint him. Now he'll be able to start learning marksmanship for himself.

I predict a happy munchkin come Christmastime.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Larry Correia

Absolutely rocks.

Came for a book signing expecting to get my books signed, say hi, visit a bit and be on my merry way, found myself invited to dinner and discussing... well... everything.

Lots of neat people who's links I don't have (if you met me please comment and I'll get you on my "bloggers I've met" list... ) and some I do which I'll add later when my brain comes back from it's little "holy crap" vacation, good food, and great conversation.

I swear, I've met more interesting people thanks to the internet....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chapter 7

Is now available.

I told you it'd be ready this week.

Same old song and dance, donate a dollar, get the chapter. If you need previous chapters let me know in a note on your donation or in an email when you make your donation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are You Watching This?

The big brains over at the University of California San Diego are currently slicing the brain of quite possibly the most famous amnesiac ever.

There are lots more links but I'll let you find the rest of em on your own.

What's fascinating to me about this is that they're streaming the slicing process live.

That's right, you can watch them slice pieces seventy microns thick off of a whole human brain that's been encased in a gelatin block.

And you can watch it here.

Fabulous. Of course, it would be better if they'd let us watch them mount the slices on the slides, I think, but really, considering that I'm seeing the inside of a man's brain, I think I can be content.

And more importantly, thankful to Mr. Henry Gustav Molaison for the most important contribution to this journey of discovery.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Getting There!

I'm having some issues with Chapter Eight, but Chapter Seven is nearly ready to go and will be available this week, I promise. One more read-through and minor tweaks.

Then I'll get my butt back on Chapter Eight. I've had to do the old hack and chop on it three times because I'd write something, and then realize that it was completely irrelevant crap.

So really, you should be grateful that I'm not trying to sell you irrelevant crap.

Ok I know, I'm working on it, I swear!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sic 'Em

Edit: Larry has contacted the smarmy little... er... the owner of the company and has apparently worked out something he considers equitable. I still think the dude should die the death of a thousand papercuts but it's not my place to say.

Turns out that we dedicated fans aren't the only ones who think that Larry Correia had a great idea when he wrote Monster Hunter International.

I know most of you are fans of the book and eagerly awaiting the sequel, which Larry reports has been purchased and is on the way. Those who don't know the book ought to be equally offended by what I'm about to report.

Seems that some dim bulb over at Two Hour Wargames (his name happens to be Ed Teixeira and I'll give the rest of Jane free to the first person who digs up his personal email address for me kthx) had the exact same idea as Larry. This year. With a few ever-so-minor changes of course.

File off the serial numbers and make it your own, apparently.

For the record, if you're not intrinsically offended by the fact that some dipwad took a published, bestselling idea that the author put his blood sweat and tears (figurative or literal, writing can be a tough game) into, worked his butt off to get published, and is still working his butt off to promote and continue, and tried to sell it as his own for a profit without permission or even consultation, you can get the hell off my blog.

Shit like this is illegal, immoral, and just plain-ass lazy. So go my minions (Yes I'm talking to you JimJim) and write nasty emails, blogs, throw eggs, dig up dirt, make em look like crap. Because that's what they are.

Larry's post on it is here

The company's website is here and no I haven't really taken the time to dig through it yet, but I will. Oh believe me I will.

Larry links to the yahoo discussion group so I'll let ya'll read his post to pick that one up.

Shall we show them what a bunch of pissed off, highly literate and highly loyal people can do when they get riled?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks

Dear friends, today is a day for family, food, and thanks.

I can't possibly enumerate everything that I'm thankful for. There is entirely too much, great and small, so I'll just hit the high points.

I am thankful for my health, and for the health of those I care about, two and four-legged. Farmmom "graduated" physical therapy yesterday, which puts an end to twice weekly trips to the Big Town.

I am thankful for new friends, both here and elsewhere. This year I had the amazing opportunity to meet folks from all over the country, and I adored it!

I am thankful for old friends. The people who stick by you no matter what and always bring a smile to your face when you see them coming are beyond price in this life. If you have them, don't let them go, and let them know today that you are glad they're around.

I'm thankful for family, who can make life grand. Good family makes life easier, better, happier. I think I have the best, and I'm not afraid to say so.

I'm thankful to live where I get to see awe-inspiring sights such as eagles soaring, deer and antelope bounding across the plains, fiery sunsets and golden dawns. I'm thankful that I got the opportunity to be reminded to enjoy these things earlier this month by seeing their like through fresh eyes.

And, dear readers, I'm thankful for each and every one of you. It's been two years since I started this blog, and although I've lost the time to reply to each and every comment left here, I guarantee you that I still read all of them. When I started this, I thought I might get a few occasional readers, and I was content with that. To see over a hundred hits every day is far beyond my wildest expectations, and yet, here we are.

So I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the people who never fail to read, I'm thankful for the compliments that I get on my writing, and most of all I'm thankful for the ability to bring a little entertainment and information into the lives of others, and the small bit of talent that makes it possible.

Enjoy your day today, folks, and be safe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Job Unfinished

I need to send two horses off to new homes. I know I do. I've known it for a while.

But- I'm not finished with them yet. Excuses abound but the plain fact is I've not worked with them as much as I have the others, for various reasons.

Legs, while not an affectionate horse, is a fine mare, and would be a good horse for an early intermediate rider, if they exercised her regularly. She's a big old woman but generally listens to what she's told and aside from her flat-out refusal to back out of a trailer, has good ground manners for as little as I've worked with her on it.

But she's not the horse she could be, with a little more work.

Red... oh good lord Red. I cringe at the thought of selling him. I'm going to take a loss on him, I know (on the price I bought him at, not counting my work or the dedicated, determined, and somehow ever-patient work of Sparky) but that's not really why I cringe. I cringe because he's such a little peckerwood. Someone is going to associate my name with that horse when I really had nothing to do with turning him into a cranky little bastard.

Maybe I should just run him through the ring and beg them not to mention my name.

I'm still hoping to find Legs a home without going through the sale barn. Both for pricing, and because she deserves a good home.

It's not her fault that our personalities just don't mesh.

Regardless, I need to find some decent weather (this week is supposed to be nice but I'm not sure what "free" time I'll have) and ride them both. Regularly. And until they sell. One way or another.

I need the money, and in Legs' case she deserves a home that will give her the attention and affection that is proper. I'm sure she's quite happy with the pasture-lazy life she's had with us, but I feel like I'm leaving a job unfinished, still.

Red, well, he's another job unfinished, but I'm not sure I have the patience, time, or skill to finish that job myself. He was pretty messed up when I bought him, and although Sparky did a fantastic job with him, he's still a little pain in the ass.

Time to stop looking at the temperature and whimpering about it being cold, and I don't really need to ride today, do I? Time to man up, bundle up, and get my skinny butt out there wearing out some saddle leather.

Oh god, this is gonna suck if Red manages to land me on my keister... frozen ground hurts!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Farmmom's Chicken Fried Steak

This recipe is one of my Mom's. Back in the 70's she went to work in a local cafe just to steal the recipe for this.

First start out with a good Cube steak.

In a flat bowl mix up some flour, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, and cayenne pepper. You will have to play with the spicing on your flour mixture to get the spices the way you want. This is the same flour mixture I use for Spicy Fried Chicken.

In another flat bowl mix a couple eggs and a little milk.

Next crunch up a bunch of saltine crackers. You will want a mixture of chunks of cracker and fine crushed stuff. I use a ziplock bag and a rolling pin. Pour the crackers in a pan ( a cakepan works well ) to help keep the mess down.

Now just make an assembly line of your flour, egg mixture and crackers.

Coat the Cube Steak in the flour mixture.

Then Dredge it in the egg mixture.

Then place that in the crackers. Cover the steak in the crackers and press hard till the steak is completely coated in the crackers.

If you're wondering what to do with your leftover egg mixture once you've got your steaks ready to fry, I suggest showing your pets some love. They'll thank you for it.

Place the steak in a skillet with vegetable oil over medium high heat and cook till golden brown on one side. Flip steak and repeat on the other side.

Serve with Pan Gravy and mashed potatoes. Or Fried potatoes and green beans with bacon and onions, as shown here:

Photographer/taste tester's note: You can save your leftover flour and crackers. Put them in airtight containers and they'll be ready for the next time you want some of Farmmom's Chicken Fried Steak.

Chapter Six

Is now available. A couple of notes:

To assist me in getting you what you want, if you need chapters 1-5 please note that on the form with Paypal. Or, alternately, send me an email.

Chapter Six will not include all the previous chapters. I gave the chapters previous to Five as a courtesy, as they were already on the blog. If I give away all of the chapters for a dollar, it's not fair to the people who paid for the previous chapters. So, for Chapter Six, one dollar. For chapters 1-5, one dollar. For Chapter Seven, one dollar.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their donations and support. Ya'll just rock.

Also, not to sound like a money grubber, even though it does, if you like Jane, then tell your friends. More because I love the idea that my story is making people happy than anything.

No really. I enjoyed putting it on the blog, and I'll be putting up a sidebar... somewhere... with the chapters available on the blog for people to preview, if they like, before they buy. But this little drive has demonstrated that people like Jane more than even putting her story here. So thank you all, for thinking that my scribblings are worth it, for the compliment of being willing to pay for them, and for the generosity.

You all rock my socks and I'm reminded every time I see that email telling me someone else donated that there are still fantastic, sweet, caring people in the world. Thank you for that, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fair Warning

Today is the last day to get Chapters 1-5 of Jane for minimal hassle.

Tomorrow Chapter 6 goes up and you'll have to put a note on your donation or email me to get the previous chapters.

Just a reminder.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dear AT&T

My blog is not a forum for you to whore your services. If you were to approach me about putting an ad on my blog, I would consider it politely- for about five seconds, as your coverage in my area sucks, and I don't use your service.

So do me a big favor, and keep your sock puppets off my blog mmkay? Another comment and I'll be contacting... whoever I can find to contact, and pitching a fit until I'm shipped up the line to someone who can tell me exactly how much my split is for being forced to pimp your services.

To recap: All comments advertising a product or service will be deleted as soon as I see them. More than one from the same company, and I'll start dedicating some of my precious time to making someone with that company's life miserable.

(Regular readers, commenters, or if you're a real person who just popped in and you have a question, recommendation, or something to actually say about a product, and your comment is valid, you won't be deleted. Blatant whoring will not be tolerated. Sharing information and asking questions is just fine.)

Because, friends, this is my forum of expression. I decide who gets to say what on my blog, and I'll be damned if I'm going to allow some two-bit flunky getting paid by the hit to pimp a service that I won't use.

That is all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures, hopefully ya'll forgive me.

For me one of the highlights of the weekend were sights like this:

Being in the company of shooters who even attempt a five hundred yard shot with a revolver, let alone get hits called (and yes, I do believe they hit the target, even if they didn't punch holes in it... it's metal, it's a long-ass shot, and they were shooting with pistols, fer gawd's sake) is enough to humble just about everybody. Except them, of course.

I think this may have been mom's favorite view of the weekend:

Folks enjoying her food always makes her happy. I also had to include it because, well, everyone has been picking on AD and this is one of the nicer photos. He's such a good sport about photos, and frankly manages to make so many hilarious photo ops, that he makes it pretty easy to pick on him. But we love you, AD. Really we do.

Farmdad got some shooting done with guns as well as the camera, which is good, because otherwise he'd whine.

I got some shooty action too:

Love. That. Rifle. Seriously, I want to ask NFO if I can be in his will just for that rifle. Sooo sweet.

Speaking of shooty goodness, this guy has always been one of my favorite people:

Not only is he a great person, and an absolute sweetheart, but he ain't skeerd of nothin, and definitely lives life to the fullest. I wasn't a bit surprised at his ringing the gong offhand with this rifle, although he impressed several of our visitors.

It was a fantastic weekend and we're definitely looking forward to next year!

Biscuits, Biscuits, Biscuits!

Last night some of you were asking for the biscuit recipe. Well here ya go folks! Since I can't make and edible biscuit (they turn out like hockey pucks, Farmgirl used to play fetch with the dogs with my attempts. ) there will be no photos this time.

Biscuit Mix

9 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups shortening ( not oil! )
Stir dry ingredients and sift 3 times
Work shortening in until mix is the consistency of corn meal
Store in a closed container at room temperature.

To make a batch of biscuits

3 cups of mix
2/3 cup of milk
add milk to mixture and stir about 25 strokes
Turn out on floured board and kneed about 15 strokes
Roll out to 1 1/2 inches thick
smear half of dough with butter and fold over other half.
Cut biscuits and place on a greased cookie sheet
turn biscuits over on greased cookie sheet
Bake at 450 degrees till golden brown

Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

General Update

Well, Farmmom's recipes seem to be a hit! The poll is hopping, and so far, Chicken Fried Steak is in the lead.

Donations for Jane are going well, thank you guys so much. Chapter six is nearly ready to go and will be available in a week. Thank you cards for last week's donations will go out today, rather than yesterday like I had said, because I didn't get home in time to get them sent off yesterday. Sorry!

The hunt for a pickup has begun, and will continue. My favorite used car guy is looking for me, and I'll know what he was able to find probably Friday, after his trip to Denver.

A pickup is a nice chunk of change (for a new-ish used pickup with the things I need to make it a viable work truck such as four wheel drive and a tow package, I'm looking at a range of ten to fifteen grand,) and I'll be batting my eyelashes and looking cute at loan officers around the start of next week.

That's probably around the same time frame that I'll be making a come-back in the waitress arena. There is a construction project going here right now that would pay better, but there are two problems with that plan:

First, it's not the company that I spent my entire road work "career" with, so I'd be low man on the totem pole again, which means stuck on an end in freezing cold weather with bad knees... worse than waiting tables, at least then I'm moving around. And inside. Brr.

Second, I refuse to work for idiots on the road, and from what I've seen, the supervisor on this job is just a short step up from a fencepost in IQ.

I've always said that any honest job is a good job, and I'll do anything up to and including digging ditches if that's what it takes. Which doesn't mean digging ditches or standing on the side of the road when it's freezing out is my first choice.

Things will work out, I'll get my pickup, and all will be well. I'm sure of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open Carry

During the blog gathering there were a lot of things that folks enjoyed, as you can read on their blogs.

I think one of the things that had the biggest impact, however, was Open Carry.

Here we had a bunch of people, almost all from out of state, in a tiny town, openly carrying their firearms. A couple didn't have much choice, their states' concealed carry permits not being honored by Colorado, but for the most part, it was a choice to carry openly. And for a few, a treat.

None of them had any nefarious plans, nor acted like it, and no fuss was raised.

Because, guess what? Around here, we don't care. Well, for the most part. There was a bit of grumbling to the owner of the restaurant where we met for breakfast every morning, mostly from the little blue haired ladies. Such grumblings were met with the assurance that what those people were doing was completely legal, they were here yesterday morning too, and they're really nice folks. Now, did you want toast with that or a biscuit?

The ability to walk down the street with a gun on your hip and garner strange glances not at the piece in your holster but rather at the Texan guy in a skirt is something that I tend to take for granted. Seeing how much it was enjoyed by everyone attending was a nice reminder of what Small Town USA is like to those who don't get to live there.

Open carry versus concealed carry is not so much an argument here as a fashion choice. Do I wear a cover garment or is it too darn hot?

So the next time you're arguing the topic of "open carry" remember this: In a small Colorado town, where you turn your clock back fifty years when you cross the city limits, it's not a big deal. Our sleepy little non-metropolis takes a gun on your hip with the same even stride as a horse being ridden down Main Street, or an electricity-generating windmill going up on the outskirts of town.

And maybe, just maybe, all those argumentative folks making such a big fuss (on both sides of the issue) could learn a little something from that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pan Gravy Ala FarmMom

Ok Phlegmmy, here ya go Lady.

For good pan gravy the very first thing you MUST do is fry up some good dead critter be it beef, chicken or whatever suits your fancy.

Then decide how much gravy you want to make. For Farmdad and I, I leave about 1/4 cup of the grease that I fried my meat in in the bottom of the pan. Make sure your grease is hot but not smokin hot.

Take a few tablespoons of flour and stir it into the grease. It needs to be just enough that it doesn't leave extra grease on top of your mess in the skillet. It should look somewhat like a thin paste:

Now the real secret to pan gravy is to let the flour cook into your grease. Do not under cook the pasty substance or you will be left with a very starchy tasting gravy. Actually most people think they are going to burn the gravy if they leave it too long and in a way that is exactly what you are doing but not enough to blacken it just get it to a nice golden brown. This usually takes 2-3 minutes.

Now the next step is the hardest. You really can't leave your gravy at this point. Take your jug of Whole milk,( whole milk makes a richer gravy) and start pouring it into the pan stirring constantly. ( Love my coated whisks for this. ) Put plenty milk in to start with or you will end up with a sticky glop. You must keep stirring the gravy and adding milk slowly as it thickens to get the right consistency. It will start out very runny but will thicken pretty fast. Add a little milk and let it thicken then add some more and so on. Keep adding milk and stirring till the gravy is bubbly and the consistency that suits you. If you happen to get it a little thinner than you want just let it bubble for a minute or two and it will thicken some more:

Stir, Stir, Stir! Too little stirring will leave you with lumpy gravy.

At the end, your gravy should cling to the spoon. It's going to be slightly more runny than you think it should be, but don't worry! It will thicken as it cools down:

Now you're ready for a delicious meal!

Once you get the hang of it good pan gravy is easy to make and will impress your friends to no end. (obviously LOL ) The best advice I can give is just practice till you get it the way you want it. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't work the first time. I had many failures before I got my first GOOD batch of gravy.

*post written by Farmmom, photos, editing, and compilation by Farmgirl.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I've already gotten more response than I expected from the serialization of Jane.

I have the very best readers, obviously. Ya'll are great.

I'll leave Chapter Five (with which you get everything posted on the blog with a bonus of the prologue) available for another week or so, if I can get Chapter Six polished to satisfaction in that time.

Once Chapter Six is announced, if you need Chapter Five and previous, you'll have to note that on the paypal page when you make your donation.

I'll do my best to get chapters out in a timely fashion, from here on out.

Thank you guys, really. You all Rawk!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Over to the right there's a poll. If you want to weigh in on which recipe(s) Farmmom posts on here, speak your mind there.

I'm so helpful, I can't hardly stand myself.
Just because Phlemmy made my head swell I will put up a couple of recipes here on FarmGirl's blog.

I will leave it up to you folks on what you want me to post. I will post with photos (if Farmdad and Farmgirl will help with that) because some of the directions will be "when it looks like this". I warn you now that most of my recipes are a splash of this or dash of that or what have you. So spicing is gonna be to taste. If you like it spicier add more! Take the recipes and make them your own.

The biggest majority of my recipes came from my mom and grandmother, various aunts and not least my mother-in- law and the best cook in the entire world, Farmdad's Grandmother. Grandma Sugar was bar none the best cook I have ever met in my life and I learned more from that woman than anyone else in this whole big world. She was an incredible woman and would be proud of her recipes being passed on. So tell me what Country Cooking recipes you want and I will try to pass them along.

And yes Phlemmy the Pan Gravy will be the first!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Well. You all know about my car troubles and the fact that I'm gonna be working to get a new truck in the immediate future.

I'm going to be picking up a second job and selling some critters to help raise the cash for it. It's still a daunting prospect at this point, however, because what I need for my day to day life is rather expensive. But as it stands I was driving other family members' pickups more than I was driving my car even before it blew up, just because I needed the space/towing ability/four wheel drive or what have you to accomplish what I needed to accomplish.

Someone commented that I should put up a tip jar. And shortly, that I should point it out, since they just realized that I did have one over there on the right.

Now, I haven't pointed it out and I haven't been asking folks to tip, because frankly, I consider a tip jar just that... a tip for liking what I post. If folks want to tip, great. If not, well, times are hard all around and I'm not going to bleg.

So please remember, this isn't a bleg.

This is an offer. One that I wouldn't make if I weren't hurting for cash. Not that I don't love all ya'll enough to offer this it's just....

I'm going to quit while I'm ahead, and tell you the offer.

I think most of ya'll are familiar with Jane, and she and her friends have gotten some really good feedback. I've been asked elsewhere when the next chapter will be available, and I've been answering "when it's published."

Well, here's your opportunity folks. Over on the right is a donate button. Everyone who donates a dollar gets all of Jane through Chapter Five in their email inbox.

Everyone who donates more than a dollar will also receive a thank-you note via snail mail, provided they give a mailing address.

Availability of Chapter Six will be announced, as will availability of the rest of the chapters as they're finished. I figure it's not fair to start something like this and then not finish it.

Also, what's currently up of Jane on the blog will be ALL of Jane that's available on the blog. It's not fair to the people who are kind enough to help me out and pay money to see my scribblings if I just throw them out there for everyone afterwords.

I want to take this opportunity to thank ALL of my readers for just reading. I enjoy my little corner of the blogosphere, and it's such a compliment when someone takes the time to comment or email me saying they like what I write.

You folks are the ones who keep me writing, whether it be a blog post or sitting down of an evening and banging out a little more of Jane. So thank you for taking the time to come and see me here, it means a lot to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Weekend to Remember

Just to start things off, I don't have the gift of words that all of our guests this weekend do.
I really just wanted to take an opportunity to thank all of the wonderful folks that took time out of their daily lives to show up in our little town and grace us with their personalities and humor.

To start the weekend off NFO and AEPilot Jim showed up Thursday and worked their coondog butts off helping finish things up before everyone else got there. They pitched right in cleaning brisket and pork shoulder with a little bit of munching thrown in ( which is a prerequisite for cleaning BBQ). Then on Friday they helped FarmDad set the range up. And such a range they put together! The weekend would not have turned out near as well as it did without their help. Thank you so much guys!

Thursday night Christina LMT, Gay Cynic, Labrat and Stingray, Breda and Alan from Snarkybites and Snarky got in.

Christina... Such a warm giving woman! Lady you are magic with your hands. My Physical Therapist says that you have taken probably 4 weeks off of my recovery time! You are a very special individual and let no one ever tell you different.

Gay Cynic... You have a heart of gold and a sense of humor that makes me spit liquid all over my keyboard. ( I'm not telling how many times this weekend I spewed drinks through my nose because of you)

Labrat and Stingray.... You are just adopted! You are now my children and you are stuck with me! I am expecting monthly visits to your poor decrepit nother mother.

Breda.... What a wonderful woman. Such a go to attitude! I loved seeing you on the range. There is nothing you won't try. I admire you immensely!

Alan.... We really didn't get to visit much but I did enjoy what little time we did!

Snarky... I have to admire the way you stepped right up to the plate to try new things.

Saturday brought Ambulance Driver and Miss Katy Beth, and Lawdog and Phlemmy.

Ambulance Driver.... Wow just what can I say. I am sooooo sorry that I missed the Lapdance! I am so sorry about the deer incident but you have to admit that it did make a whiz bang ending to the weekend! Come back soon!

Miss Katy Beth... Such a darling child. Cute as a bugs ear and just as well behaved as anyone could ask for. Her parents should be proud as punch! Especially knowing who her Daddy is!

Lawdog.... He stole my heart right after he showed up. The man gives amazing hugs!

Phlemmy.... A woman with a heart the size of Texas who oozes class from each and every pore! It was such a joy to have you!

Sunday brought in MattG and JPG.

MattG...... such a gentle giant! It has been a long time since I have seen such a gentleman. It was our pleasure to have you in our home!

JPG... It is a little hard to say what I want to say about you since it is on such a personal level but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the gift you gave me this weekend. Know that you will always be welcome in my home. God Bless you!

I thank each and every one of you for coming. There is so much more that I want to say to each of you but I just can't find the words. I am already looking forward to next year! I have not had this much fun in years!


Well my car is toast. I did get the satisfaction of seeing the startlement on the faces of my old stand-by used car dealer/salvage yard owner and his mechanic as they realized that I was still driving the last car that I'd bought off their lot.

(I believe I purchased the car in '02. It's a '98, and it just died now. Not bad.)

Unfortunately, according to Alan, it's not worth dropping an engine in the car. He says it would cost about $1200 to put an engine in and I'd only get $1500 out of the car in trade, maximum.

For three hundred dollars, when I don't actually have the $1200 to lay out right now anyway? Not worth it.

And, I can get that three hundred or so out of it in salvage as it sits. So why bother?

Meanwhile I'm going to have to take a second job to bring my income up to something steady enough that I can get a small loan. Alan will be in Denver himself looking at some pickups next week and he's promised to peruse them with an eye towards what I want, since the one sitting on his lot that met some of my requirements on first glance garnered a stern look and a "You don't want that."

It'll all get worked out. Bro has offered me the use of his little Pontiac until I can get all my ducks in a row on the purchase of the pickup I really needed two years ago, so I'm not on foot.

But still, if I hadn't nearly concussed myself getting in the back seat of the pickup at six this morning, I'd feel like beating my head against the wall. The headache is fairly fierce and it's only compounding my crankiness at various snarky individuals suggesting that I should have checked the oil once in a while.

If only I could win the lottery, I could buy the truck I really want, pay off all of my bills, finish my house, and finance next year's Blogorado all in one fell swoop.

*counting money in pocket*

Then again, I'd have to buy a ticket...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things I'll Always Remember

About this weekend.

First, the meet-in-the-back grin that ChristinaLMT wore every time a gun was put into her hands. I had a blast watching her be instructed by, well, everyone even remotely qualified to instruct that was present on the range. I also giggled my head off at her bouncing around and trying to write down every gun she shot for her later breakdown of events.

Plus, the ass-grabbery. I mean really. My butt got more attention this weekend than it did in my last relationship. Even GayCynic got in on the butt-grab action, although Alan started it. More shocking, however, was goodbyes yesterday at breakfast.

Labrat and Stingray were saying farewell to myself, as I was heading out for an airport run. I got a hug from Mrs. Get Off My Lawn herself, at which point she looked at her stoic spouse. I smarted off that I wasn't going to hug him, because he might shiv me. The next thing I know I'm being wrapped in a bear hug, lifted off my feet, and shook around, and then, just before he set me on my feet, he reached down and patted my ass. "Just because I don't want to be left out."

Another thing I will never forget is the look on Stingray's face as he came thundering up to the gate whilst riding Rebel. LabRat was on Joan, who had finally given up the stubborn bit, and she was loping along behind him, but what captured my attention as I looked up at the sound of thundering hooves (my first thought being "well shit what spooked the horse and can the person riding stay on until he feels like he's far enough away from said scary object?) was the huge grin plastered across Stingray's face as he galloped along. Then the touch of surprise and worry as Rebel continued to thunder along. I hadn't really expected anyone to kick him up that fast or I'd have made sure to mention that Rebel is extremely seat-cue oriented, so if you're going fast and leaning forward... he's gonna keep going, no matter how hard you pull on his mouth. It's a remnant of his rodeo training, because in steer wrestling it's hard to avoid pulling on the horse's mouth as you go off every time.

They got stopped, and Stingray didn't get launched over the gate and the crowd gathered there, so kudos for him for staying in the saddle. Rebel did make the gate ring a bit with his face, but he's fine, horses have hard heads.

Another horse tale: Breda's grin and giggle when Joan decided to come back to the gate at a lope without Breda's encouragement. She did get to go faster than a trot, and she did very well riding it out without much instruction. The horse was rather proud of herself as well, although we'll be having a couple of discussions about how we're supposed to behave when I've been talking up how sweet and kind we are.

There are so many more moments, but those are some of my favorites. Everyone had a blast (FarmFam included) and that was the goal, so I'd say the weekend was a huge success.

Blogorado (ok, yes, I've given up on that one. AEPilotjim has threatened to trademark the thing in my name, I figure once that happens I have to give up on it) will remain an invitation-only event, if only because our little town can't handle a truly large influx of people, but it looks like we're doing it again next year.

Probably a little earlier in the year, though. We lucked out this year on the weather for the weekend, but if we move it up to the late August/early September range we can pretty well count on it being Hot and Dry.

The FarmFam will start discussing actual plans once we recover from the awesome.

Monday, November 9, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Sometimes you just have to grab the tequila and improvise a Sunrise.

Tooling along today on the way home from taking Snarky to the airport, I was feeling kind of groggy, because frankly, it's been a HUGE weekend, and all the excitement has me plumb wore out. So, being the self sufficient type I am, I cranked up the tunes and cardanced until I felt a little more pumped up.

Left the tunes cranked because I was enjoying them, until suddenly, whilst going up a hill, I realized that I was actually slowing down with the cruise control set.

Uh oh.

Turned off the cruise first, and then the radio, to hear the dreaded indistinct knocking sound coming from the general direction of the engine.


I limped it into the next town because, let's face it, while I'm perfectly capable of walking ten miles, that doesn't mean it's particularly pleasant or that there will be any place open by the time I get there to get any oil or other miracle "hmm try this" bits suggested by folks who are just trying to be helpful.

It's not their fault I'm an hour from home with guests still at the house and dinner gonna be a-waitin. One shouldn't growl at those who are trying to be helpful, no matter how dim-witted the suggestions, nor how dim-witted they insinuate I am. (Yes, I did check the oil when I stopped. No, I don't carry a case of oil in my trunk "just in case." Why? Because that space is taken up with emergency power steering fluid because the hose clamp going from my power steering pump has been known to sink into deep depression and commit suicide at odd moments, leaving me on the side of the road in a situation where a skinny girl, a spare hose clamp, and some power steering fluid will save the day. But I digress.)

Got into the next town, shut her down, popped the hood, and checked the oil.



Ran across the street to the obligatory small-town stock feed/vet meds/tire repair/bbq shack and grabbed three quarts of the cheapest oil they had (having the lump sum of twelve dollars in my pocket at the time) and poured em in. Started the car back up in the hopes that nothing had been severely damaged and a little oil would let me gently limp it on home rather than leaving the car parked an hour away and having to get the car trailer up there.

No dice.


Called mom back, since I'd called her when the problem became so obvious that even I couldn't ignore it with the message "You may have to come get me."

Knowing me and my luck, she had already started my way and my wait time was shortened thereby. Thank you, Farmmom, for being well aware of your daughter's ability to screw up mechanical objects.

Right now status is: car isn't driving anywhere but onto the trailer until a real mechanic looks at it, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna tell me the engine is toast, or repairs would be expensive enough that it might as well be toast.

Tomorrow, once we get MattG and JPG on the road home, and AD up and rolling from his close encounter of the deer kind, after having finally located a radiator for his truck, I'll start looking for a cheap engine to drop in the car just in case.

If you're wondering what the Sunrise part of this story is, it's this: I finally have an excuse too good to ignore to go find myself a truck. Just as soon as I sell a couple of horses. And maybe trade Farmmom the progeny of my cows for the next few years for cash.

Possibly after I stand myself on a corner in clinging jeans with a sign saying "Butt Grabs: $10"

After the attention my ass got at the blogmeet, I figure that there ought to raise enough to get myself a nice new-ish Dodge Ram 3500.

And if AEPilot Jim starts selling copies of the pictures of my butt, he'd better remember I get 75% of the profits and the other 25% go to Farmmom for giving me the genes (and oftentimes, the jeans) that went into making the butt.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Well, yesterday we had a fantastic day, riding horses and enjoying the countryside.

Breda did GREAT in spite of being thrown the horse that decided to be stubborn... as a reward tomorrow she gets to ride Rebel who will give her a much more enjoyable ride.

Christina and GayCynic enjoyed themselves thoroughly, if they're to be believed (and I do believe them)

LabRat and Stingray got in on the horseback action as well, with Stingray demonstrating what I'm told his is favorite part of being on anything.... the go-fast.

Even if he didn't quite have the brakes all figured out yet.

Today we shot all afternoon (ok, I shot my camera and watched munchkins, but I was still grinning ear to ear) and tonight: Chicken Fried Steaks. Om Nom.

Also, Christina will be giving Farmmom her massage, and then myself. Because she rocks like that.

AEPilotJim is getting plenty of pictures of peoples butts, and will undoubtedly post them as he has time. He'd have posted some from the range I'm sure but early on in the play he discovered that his iPhone had no service....

The wail could apparently be heard for miles.

All for now, must go help with dinner and then get some of that dinner in me.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Well, last night went well, as people rolled into town. First was AEPilotjim and OldNFO (and I'll come back and add links later when I have more leisure time, I swear guys) who were drafted into service but were paid well for their work carving up the BBQ by snitching some. Then it was myself, returning from the big city with Snarky in tow. We didn't get drafted but we did get food.

After that, Alan, Breda, and The Nerds showed up in all their splendor. Of course the arrival of The Nerds occasioned the unloading of a lot of beer into the garage... some of it may even be left tonight when we get back from the day's activities.

Then Christina and her guest showed up (I'm not sure if Sooper Secret Guest is still supposed to be a secret or not, so I won't let the cat out of the bag.)

Breda got her swag bag from Jim, everyone had a bit of nosh and beer, and there was much to do about iPhone. And a lot of laughter.

I'm about to go start loading gear for the day's activities, so that all will be ready before folks start showing up. Then it's off to be embarrassed as Breda peruses our pitiful excuse for a library. More later!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


As some of you may have noticed on some prominent blogs there's something a-brewin in the wilds of Colorado.

Most, if not all, of the attendees are calling it Blogorado, a name not officially endorsed by myself or any of the Farm Fam. (Hush, all of you, I told you we're not endorsing it! Who's captaining this ship anyway??*)

Anyway, I've mentioned it in passing over the last little bit but now that it's actually happening I guess I feel more comfortable in coming right out and saying it: my little town will be overrun by bloggers, gunnies, gunbloggers, and, quite likely, large amounts of alcohol.

With a remote pasture and the instruction to bring whatever they would like to shoot, shoot at, or otherwise destroy, along with a few riding lessons and enough snark to drown an elephant, I'm sure we'll find some way to pass the weekend.

Plus, the attendees, who were carefully chosen, screened, and vetted by yours truly (not really) will be getting a singular treat in Farmmom's cooking. My beloved mother has busted her butt to provide a veritable feast for every night we'll have visitors, with peripheral help from myself, Farmdad, and Mamaw.**

I'm sure folks will be dropping notes whilst they're here, and I'll try to get up a few posts of my own, but frankly I'm so excited about seeing folks I've met before and meeting new folks that I don't know how often I'll be able to actually sit down at the computer. Besides, I'll have to keep up the charade that I'm actually a hostess capable of pulling something like this off. Which I never would be able to do without the full cooperation and assistance of my loving family.

Who are doing this all for me, and not at all because they're serious fans of some of the lovely folks that will be attending. At least that's what they tell me. Even when I accuse them otherwise.

I expect I'll spend the first night re-assuring people that we do indeed have such a thing as internet here, even if the county has barely heard of a wi-fi hotspot. And I'll spend Saturday laughing at certain bloggers as they go into iPhone withdrawals. I don't care what network you're on, where we'll be shooting, connectivity is nil.

Not to mention the shooting and tasting home-brewed beers and the story telling and discussions and and and.... Oh crap I still have to do laundry!

*Farmmom is, of course, captaining this ship. Who did you think I meant?

**Mamaw has actually helped more than either Farmdad or I so far, although Farmdad is, as usual, in charge of the industrial smoker for Friday night's bbq. Still, I think at least half of the folks coming are only after Farmmom's chicken fried steaks.

Pioneer Woman

Last night after a five hour drive (with a break in the middle to see my sister from another mother R so she could trim my hair before everyone descends upon us next weekend) and a two hour wait, I had the honor of meeting Mrs. Ree Drummond, aka, Pioneer Woman. For those of you who have somehow missed the boat on this one, she's an excellent writer and a cook to die for. Which is great since I paid thirty bucks for a copy of her cookbook for Farmmom.

Ree didn't even blink at being asked to sign a book to "Farmmom"... probably not the weirdest thing she's seen lately.

Anyway, I arrived at the Tattered Cover on Colfax in Denver about four thirty or five... the exact time was driven out of my head by the fact that there were already people waiting!

I immediately ditched the original plan to get the cookbook, get myself a book, go read and come back about thirty minutes early. Found a convenient piece of wall and stuck around. As a result I was somewhere around fifth in line.

Of course, being me I was dressed in western casual, blue plaid shirt over blue tank top over blue jeans and boots, topped off with my good straw hat. (If you were there and you saw me, you now know you saw me. I was the only one there in a cowboy hat, so I got a lot of attention. And a lot of pictures taken. Eep.)

I was quite out of place at the book signing, although Ree did compliment my hat. I'll be getting a picture in email of myself and Ree from the very nice lady from Kearny Nebraska that was the very first one there! (She was proud of herself so I thought I'd throw that one in.)

A few of us traded blog addresses (ok I gave mine to them. I didn't come prepared, I admit it. I had nothing to write with and nothing but my books to write on. Don't hate me, ladies! Just email me yours and then I'll have them, see? Email, as usual, is in the profile section.) and will probably stay somewhat in touch. They were very sweet ladies and some adorable munchkins who were remarkably patient with the whole process of waiting around for the book signing.

Anyway, Farmmom got her Christmas wish, and I'm contemplating hiding it from her until Christmas actually arrives... but then, she's my mother and she knows very well exactly how much and what kind of torture it would take to make me give up the location of the book, so I'll probably go ahead and give it to her.

Now I just gotta figure out how to justify another trip up that way on December 5th for Larry Correia's book signing.....

Edit: It appears that it was an even bigger deal than I had thought last night from my admittedly foreshortened view of things. Tattered cover ran out of cookbooks, for one, so yay for Ree's royalty check, and apparently there was a lot of line-jumping going on.

I've even found reports of a "Stair People Revolution" which I think is a fantastic concept.

So congratulations to Ree on a hugely popular (if slightly disorganized through no fault of her own) book signing. And, no offense to those who arrived "on time" and had to wait forever, but congratulations me for my neurotic need to get anywhere in the city early just in case. To those people who were on the stairs and waited forever, I love you. You are all wonderful people for being polite and doing things in a mannerly fashion. Viva la Stair People Revolution!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

There's just something about cap guns that brings out the kid in me. Instant childhood.

As soon as I opened the box I got this strange urge to run around the house firing them off. But since my buddy and I have a gunfight planned for the Halloween party at the bar tonight, I need to conserve ammunition.

But gee whiz it puts a smile on my face to pop off a few. So if you're feeling old or down or just want a little bit of that youthful joy back, go get yourself a cap pistol and some caps, and go nuts!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Well, with the usual perfect timing we seem to have come down with a case of the flu. I say "we" but I really mean Farmmom, Farmdad, and Mamaw.

So far, I think my fall allergy sinus congestion has been protecting me from the bugs. If I can't breathe in the germs can't get in.

Farmmom's been down the longest but she seems to be improving. Farmdad caught it from her, and Mamaw came down with it after he did.

I'm just hoping that it clears up in time for me to sanitize the house, because we've got a lot of company coming in about ten days.

So cross your fingers and send healthy thoughts, guys. Otherwise, with my luck, I'll be miserable for the big weekend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Really Gone

It's that time of year again when I start to realize that yes, summer is really gone. For one thing my allergies go nuts as every plant in the northern hemisphere starts throwing off whatever it is that they throw off as they die or go dormant for the winter.

Whatever it is, my sinuses hate it.

For another, the grass goes brown and dry, starting to sound more papery underfoot than lush and swishy. The sunshine and air take on a different quality, too. I don't ever feel like I'm really warm all through from the first frost until the clover starts to sprout, even when I'm working up a sweat. Fall and winter have their charms, but it's just not the same as baking in the summer sun.

I'll readily admit that I'm a summertime girl. In the summer the days are long and there are more hours to hang out with my large four legged children, of whom I suddenly realize I don't have nearly enough pictures.

I've been talking quite a bit lately about the three pasture ornaments, thanks to the nice folks who were running through our fence, necessitating me leading them back in, so I found some pictures of them, and summertime, because dagummit I miss the sun!

Here you can clearly see how wild they are. On the right is Muffin, my beautiful, built-like-a-brick-shithouse girl. Looking at this picture, most horse people would be thinking "Why is she not broke to ride?!?" Well folks the answer to that is: When Muffin was just a bitty foal, she ran through a barb wire fence, and cut up her right fore. She healed up and did great in pasture, but when we tried to have her saddle broke we discovered that the damage had made her lame with the added weight of a rider. I'm going to get her bred, though, because I want her baby! In the middle is Roanie, who you can't see very well, but who has lived a very long, contented life, throwing a few colts and generally bossing everyone else around. On the left is Dusty, my beautiful blue eyed boy. Like so many blue-eyed animals, he's developed cataracts and doesn't see very well anymore, but in his pasture, with the girls to help him, he gets around just fine.

Well enough to find my car and see if the paint job is tasty, anyway.

I know I've mentioned that Muffin is shy. She's just not a pet me kind of horse, but we've come to a working understanding. As you can see in the first picture, I pour the grain on the ground and don't hover over her head, and she comes close enough for me to look into those beautiful brown eyes. We're still working on the touching part, mostly because every time I'm out there with them my fingers itch to stroke that velvet coat.

But really, who wouldn't want to spend a couple of hours out in the pasture with this? Whether they let me love on them or not, they always come to say hi and see if I have a treat for them. Roanie accepts her wither and neck scratches regally, or stands blissfully under the curry comb in the spring when I help her shed out of that sweaty winter coat. Dusty sniffs at my fingers and my pant legs, or just stands hipshot near by with those lovely eyes half lidded in the sun, soaking up its warmth. And Muffin? Well she gets in on the action too, occasionally sneaking up behind me to see if I've stuck some extra special treats in my back pockets or down the waistband of my pants.

To me, that's summer. A couple of hours in a pasture, getting grass stains on my knees and horse slobber on my shirt, all for the sake of the briefest of moments, that brush of contact from a whiskery muzzle on my skin.

The contact may last an instant, but the contentment and joy that I feel thanks to these wonderful creatures that have no reason to love me, beyond that I am kind to them and respect them in turn. They're not trained, they don't work. They've never developed that age-old partnership between man and horse. But every time I step out of the pickup, they come running, without fail happy to see me.

And that thought, friends, warms my heart as sure as the summer sun that I won't see again for months warms my skin.

Hooray For The First Amendment!

It seems that President Obama's people (of not the big O himself) attempted to bar Fox News from an interview with the Pay Czar, Mr. Feinberg, while allowing the rest of the White House Press Pool.

This attempt backfired when the Main Stream Media system finally woke up to the fact that hey, they're trying to mess with freedom of the press!

All of the networks that were "invited" so to speak, refused to conduct an interview if Fox wasn't allowed the same chance.

So, although I never expected to say this, I'll give kudos to the MSM for seeing the right thing and doing it.

Article here and here.

(HT to Breda for the second link)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The House

Well, we've continued to work on my house, although at times it seemed we were moving backwards rather than forwards.

Progress is being made, however. There is just a bit of crawling around in the attic left to do for the wiring, as we only have two more lines to run to the breaker box, and the drops to make in the office/tack room/laundry room.

First I have to finish tearing out the plaster and lath in the office/tack room/laundry room, so that we can get the boxes for the plug-ins and light switches put in, and the wire drops from the attic made. Then it's just actually installing switches and plug-ins, and tying everything together at the junction boxes, which I can now do. Once all of that is done, it's time to call in someone with a little more skill and confidence than we have to actually install the breaker box, and get everything up and running.

Once the electrical drops are made and all of the attic crawling is finished, I'll be going to the other extreme and making my way underneath the house to do the plumbing, water and gas. Yes, we have to re-run the gas lines as well.

Meanwhile once the pipes are run as far as the wall between the kitchen and office/tack/laundry room, and all the electrical drops are made and the exterior plugs put in, it'll be time to throw up the insulation on the outside walls and transfer a large amount of my crap into that room, so that it will be out of the way.

Because once the plumbing and electric are working in the bathroom and bedroom, I'm going up with the remainder of the insulation (the bedroom is mostly insulated and drywalled, but not completely) and drywall, then texture and paint, and flooring.

Followed by the installation of the necessities of life: the tub, toilet, and sink, as well as the water heater. And the most important bit: my bed.

As soon as I have a functioning bathroom and a finished bedroom, I'm moving in. I can always borrow a kitchen, and I love Farmmom's cooking anyway.

But, it's finally beginning to feel like things are getting accomplished, which means I'll find something in the office/tack/laundry room that requires being completely rebuilt, because that's the way it goes. On the other hand, it is the only room that we have to pull the ceiling down in, so perhaps that's enough for Mr. Murphy.

I'm not counting on it, though.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I've been working on Jane, I swear. I've pretty much decided to choose a cadre of beta readers, some of whom have already been chosen and received what I had to date, and save the rest of the book for publication instead of posting it here. Sorry guys, but when it comes right down to it, the more new stuff is in the paper version, the more likely it will be that you fine people will buy it and stuff my pockets with lots of lovely royalty checks.

What? A girl can dream, can't she?

The latest scene still needs work, of course. For one, I have to remember that my character has knives in both hands before I have her picking something else up to run away. Especially something live.

I'm setting myself a goal, at least four pages a day of new writing, and at least three edited to what I consider suitable for others' eyes. It's a minimal goal, but more is always acceptable, and it ensures that I make some progress every day.

And the more progress I make the sooner I'll be collecting those lovely royalty checks, right? Right.

Some People Have All The Luck

Recently, one of our county commissioners who has an addiction to scratch-off lottery tickets finally hit the big time.

He bought a twenty dollar ticket, and won $250,000. Yes, that's two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Went to Pueblo to cash in the ticket, bought a new truck on the way home, and stopped in at one of the c-stores when he got back to town to show it off, buying some more scratch tickets. Won another $100.

A few days later, at the other c-store, he bought another twenty dollar ticket, and won another $253,000.

After taxes he got about $160,000 on the first one. I don't know what he got out of the second one, I stopped listening.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Lottery will be funding a new park, and I believe they'll be naming it after the man who won all that money, because everyone in the county has been going crazy buying scratch tickets thanks to him....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where's The Beef?

At the Old Homestead, of course!

Two weeks ago we dropped off two steers at Duncan Meat Locker. (If you're within hauling distance and have animals that need processing, give them some consideration, the place is well-established, right in down town Lakin KS, very clean, extremely courteous, and they do both beef and pork. They'll even process your deer, all at very reasonable prices for excellent work.*)

Today we picked them up in boxes. Over a thousand pounds of beef, now spread over four households. And for a damn sight cheaper than that much meat would cost in the grocery store, even accounting for the cost to raise the cattle.

Oh, there will be steaks tomorrow night, my friends, there will be steaks.

* I did not receive any compensation from Duncan Meat Locker in cash or other valuable considerations for talking them up on this blog. I simply admire work done well and cheerfully, for a reasonable price.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Get Porked!

Bacon and sausage patties. Potatoes onions and bell peppers cooked in the grease from the pork, with crumbled sausage mixed in, eggs fried in butter over medium.

Because sometimes, a girl just needs to get porked.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time To Celebrate!

Peter is doing well, and back online!

I must admit I leaked a bit reading his post about the whole incident. And then giggled, because I can just see him arguing with the nurses about cutting his pants off.

Welcome Back, Peter. You had us worried there for a bit!

Somebody's About To Go Behind The Woodshed...

And get a whuppin'.

Twice in a week someone has run through our gate, and the second time they made a loop back to run through another section of fence.

Cows out, horses out, and me out there in the dark, the cold, and the wet mist fixing the gate.

It's enough to make me contemplate the best tool for beating some sense and courtesy into their thick skulls, if I could just find 'em.

This last time, the cattle had been out, but we got the call about the horses. The three horses that aren't halter broke, are fairly distrustful of strangers who aren't with their people, and hate pickup trucks trying to herd them.

By the time I knew anything about it and got out there, I could see that the cattle had been out, and I assumed that the neighbor had eased them back home. They know where they're supposed to be.

It was also getting dark and the cattle were eyeballing the hole where the gate used to be like they might just wander back out, and I couldn't spot the horses in the dim light. So I fixed the gate by the headlights of mom's truck, hoped that the mares would have enough sense to keep the half-blind stud horse away from the roads, and went back in the morning.

Found 'em across the road and behind our pasture on one of the neighbor's farm fields, luckily fallow for the winter.

I took the grain bucket and talked sweet to the ponies while Farmmom went to open the gate and fix things right, since I'd had to make do the night before. A little sweet talk and rattling of the bucket and they came right along, and we hiked our way around the fence and back to where they were supposed to be.

I could have saved myself about a hundred yards on the walk by leaving them in the pasture across the road, as that gate was closer, but with Dusty as blind as he is, I prefer to keep them on the territory they're intimately familiar with. He's good about sticking with the girls and he's more likely to spook towards one of them if something startles him, but I'd rather he know where the gullies and drops are himself.

It was surprising to me yesterday that my buckskin mare was the first to come a-runnin when she figured out I had grain. Usually she sticks with the others, keeping one of them between people and her at all times. She's so shy, I've only touched her once or twice.

She's taking over the lead position from the older mare, though. Poor Roanie is getting so old that she's just breaking down. I'm not sure she'll make the winter, but she's still got a spring in her step and she'll kick up her heels yet. I don't want to put her down while she's still enjoying life, just because she's not holding weight like I'd like. If I ever find her down and unable to get up, then that's it, but she's still loving life right now.

Especially since the weather started to turn cold and we started bringing her and the other two a measure of grain every time we're out there.

She is letting the buckskin mare make more of the decisions, though. Yesterday morning Muffin came loping up to a beautiful stop about ten feet from where I was kneeling down on the ground waiting for the other two. She stuck out her neck and sniffed towards the bucket and then stood there shifting her weight back and forth. She knows if she comes up to me and follows me, she gets grain. She's seen Roanie walk right up to me and get a bite from my hand before we started walking, so she knows that could happen, but she's so shy of people she can't bring herself to eat from my hand.

Maybe taking over the lead mare position will make her more bold. Roanie always treated the attention and scratches like they were her due as head honcho, so perhaps Muffin will let us get a pet in now and then. I'm not going to push her on it, but if she asks, I'm not going to disappoint.