The New Star of the Farm is a “Cuddle Cow”.

Introducing Miss Brianna Butter Bruce-

She is the farm’s newest playmate. She is only 7 months old.

She comes from a farm down the road that raises two different heritage breeds from England. Low-Line-Aberdeen Angus and White Brit. They are know  for short stature, mild temperament and they are dual purpose.

Briana was born to an all black momma that was bred to a whitish daddy. Her coloring is like that of a Holstein, but she is definitely not one. She is stockier.

Well, you see for yourself.

Brianna

She can be bred next December 2019 to give us a calf to raise for the freezer. Can you say Grass Fed Beef? Then we will be able to milk her. Though they  are not known for lots of milk, we will have enough for us and to share.

Until then, she told me that she wants to grow up to become a “Cuddle Cow”.

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Tomatoes, Peppers and Tomatillos in the Desert

I do this every December.

I had saved seeds from the best of last years fruit. I sprouted them in damp paper towels. I planted the ones that sprouted in my bottom watering trays.

Out of 72 seeds that sprouted, I have 58 babies coming up. There may be more a coming. But certainly not 100% of them will make it.

I put the trays outside in the full sun on the concrete driveway and I bring them in the house at night.

When they out grow these trays, I will give them a good feeding and up pot them. That will hold them until it is time to plant in the garden. I like to plant them sometime in February. There is always something in the garden for us to eat, so I am not in a great big hurry.

 

 

 

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Organic, Heirloom and Landrace Varieties

When you are a year round vegetable gardener, every month of the year has its special things happening. Here in the desert, the orange trees are full of oranges that will be ripe before the end of the month.

The vegetable gardens are full of cruciferous vegetables, lettuces, kale, onions, garlic, radishes, peas, carrots and herbs of all kinds. These veggies can easily take temps of 20 degrees.

But what I am really excited about are what I am planting in the house right now. Tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos.

I originally chose a company that specializes in non gmo-organically produced seeds. I choose heirloom varieties. Heirloom meaning that these varieties have bred true for several generations. Then I save the seeds, and replant year after year creating my own “landrace” specimen of the variety.

A landrace specimen is one that has adapted to a specific environment.

You see, not all tomatoes love it here in the desert. Examples are San Marzanos that come from Italy, and Brandywines that are said not to do very well here. But many of my friends have been gifted those very varieties from my very  own vegetable garden in the Arizona desert.

How did I create my landrace specimens of these particular varieties? If I plant 20 seeds of a specific variety, and 5 tomato plants make it to the point of planting in the garden. I will take the best tomatoes (or peppers, or tomatillos) off of the best plant, and save seeds for next year. I keep great records and after about 3 generations of doing that, I can pretty much count on those seeds producing plants that will produce amazing tomatoes. The variety has not changed, only the ability to live in this soil, in this climate.

You will hear more about “landrace” here over time, because I am saving all kinds of seeds, and breeding chickens.

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Soups, Super Foods and Adaptogens

In October, I saw a lot of posts about soups. I wasn’t not quite there yet; because we in the Arizona desert where still experiencing temps in the high 90s.

Though whenever I culled an old layer, or harvested a young chicken, I still made bone broth; it went into the freezer. Now I look into my freezer(s), I see half gallon jars filled almost to the shoulders with delicious golden broth.

Shoulders? You ask. Many of my friends are surprised that I freeze in glass. “Glass expands” they say, “it will break” they say. Yes, I know, it  has happened to me too. But I have found that if you use a wide mouth canning jar, and fill it almost to the rounded edge near the top-it will give room for expansion without breaking.  Do not put the lid on tight, it will cause the glass to crack at the top.

Golden? You ask. Many of my friends make what they call “Bone soup”. They take the carcass from a chicken, or a turkey (that they bought at the store) and toss in some veggies. This is not golden- it is gray. The golden color comes from the beautiful yellow fat that only a grass fed animal can provide. Carrots and onion skins can add to this, but is not completely responsible for the rich color and taste.

Why half gallon? Well I do freeze in quarts too, because they fit nicely in the door. My shelves are spaced apart taller than a half gallon jar. It just makes since that the half gallon will hold twice as much, but still take up the footprint of a quart jar in the freezer.

Ok now, it is chilly outside. I do not turn on my heater though, until the end of December. I don’t have little ones to worry about, and I like to layer my clothes. I love big comforters on the bed. Time for soup!

My favorite soup recipes are for butternut squash, split pea, hamburger,  hot and sour, egg drop, and a new Greek one that I discovered in St Louis called Avgolemono. I use the thawed out broth in any soup recipe, chili or stew recipe that calls for water, or broth. I love the brothy ones for breakfast, and the heartier ones for lunch or dinner.

I love the feeling that I get when I am making, serving, and eating these nourishing soups. Knowing that the birds were humanely raised- running around chasing bugs, eating grass and having a happy life. Then in a clean, humane way; they ended up in my freezer waiting for the time for me to lovingly make a nourishing meal for my family. Nothing was wasted.

I believe that it is how it was meant to be, and it makes me very happy to take part in it.

We will talk about super foods and adaptogens in following posts. I need to go and thaw out some broth.

 

 

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Goodbye Mr Bubbles?

I recently took a vacation to St Louis. I took 4 days off for the trip, and then came home for five days to work at home before I had to return to work.

When I am on vacation, there is only so much driving, walking, shopping, and dining that you can do before you finally return to your hotel room. In the hotel room there is reading, napping and writing. I totally get why writers go on retreat to write. At home, there is so much that needs done to distract me. In a hotel; there is not much to do.

So after a damp cold day-I decided to take a hot bubble bath. I started thinking about all the things that I have learned about detoxing. In the last year, I have made it my business to get to know several naturopath doctors (and some naturopath students). I have picked brains, and I have researched on line. I am very careful what sources I use for my information. I am not that blogger who copies other bloggers. I dig just a little bit deeper, and I suggest that you do too.

I just might do a few blogs on detoxing. Even though we detox from the inside out, I am going from the outside in. Just because I can. This is my blog after all.

So lets start with the bathtub. We all know that the skin is the largest organ of the body. It is there to protect the body from the outside, and to help the body detox from the inside. Sweating is the most common way that we know about. But over the years, we sweat less, do less moving around, and we are exposed to more toxins. The air that we breathe, the food that we ea,t and that water that we drink contain more toxins than ever before.

All this talk of toxins is making me feel stressed out.

So what do I usually reach for? My candle, a good book and my bottle of bath bubbles. I am not a perfectionist in anything.  I have too many interests for that. I love bubbles, I loves suds, I really love me some hot wash rags. But I will be taking a lot less bubble baths, because I know that there is something better for me to put in the tub.

Prior to any detoxing event, we need to make sure that we are hydrated. Water with lemon, water with mint, Matcha tea. bring a cold glass in with you to your  bathtub. You will see why later.

While I am running the hottest bath that I can stand, I light an unscented candle (for ambiance). I choose my essential oils depending on what is going on in my body. The recommendation of essential oil is about 20 drops to a tub full. I use oils that combat inflammation, 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of bentonite clay and 1 cup of baking soda. Sometimes I put coconut oil in the water too.

I put on my favorite relaxing music. For me-that is Andre Buccelli (the voice of an angel). Arrange your fluffy towel, your bath pillow and put your hair up in a shower cap. Now slowly sink into that hot water.

It takes about 2o minutes for detoxing to occur. So when you get down into that hot water, stay there. If you  get too hot, sip your cold drink . Lean back and close your eyes.

If the music makes your eyes leak (like it does me) then let it happen. That is emotional detoxing, it will cleanse your eyeballs and help if you have dry eyes.

When your 2o minutes are over, step into the shower and use that cute little  scrubby thing that hangs in your bathroom, to scrub off all the weird stuff that came out of your pores. Sip some more of your all natural hydration drink, wrap yourself in a big fluffy towel and go take a little nap.

Detoxing in hard work after all.

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Up and to the Right

Gary and I individually are lovers of people, and without realizing it; we seem to work as a team.

We meet new people, ask questions, and they realize that we are genuinely interested in them. They come to understand that we are not just nosy people, but that we are just like a couple of puppies showing genuine affection for our fellow pack. Soon a party erupts.

The convenience store? Easy- a smile and an offer to split the lottery winnings will bring a smile in return as well as a sweet-short conversation.

Gary sees a young man wearing a military uniform-he slaps him on the back (a little too hard) and thanks them for their service. He sees a policeman, and shakes his hand and offers to pray for their safety. He sees a homeless man sitting on the steps of a church and circles the building to come back and give the person a 20. Sssh! Don’t tell him that I told you. He is very humble about that.

Me? I play with other people’s babes, and make friends in the bathroom. I offer other people bites of my food in a restaurant; as I moan about how delicious it is. Now tell me that doesn’t draw attention.

Together? We were standing in line for a trolley tour around the Grant’s Farm in Missouri last week. Gary started visiting with a couple in line from Minnesota. The wait was long, so by the time we loaded up, we were friends on Facebook with an invite to visit sometime.

We got on the trolley, and I introduced myself to the couple to my other side. They were from Denver, so we told them about our friend who pastor’s a large church there. They said that they had heard about it, and will make it a point to check it out.

We introduced them to Mr. and Mrs. Minnesota. Now there was a party of 6. The trolley ride was only 10 minutes. Imagine how big the party would have been if it were longer.

So what about the title of this post? Up and to the right.

In my Conversation on a Plane post, Mr. Window seat told me that life will take you up and down. But the downs don’t have to discourage you. Just like a business chart. As long as you are headed up and to the right- you are improving.

My life, as you know has had some major downs. But I keep getting back up to make the most of what I have. Thank you God.

So my vision is to head up and to the right,-and take as many as I can with me.

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Tagged By God

Yesterday I told you about a conversation that I had on a plane on the way over to St Louis. But now I want to tell you about someone that I met as soon as I stepped off the curb at the airport.

His name is Andrew. He was the shuttle bus driver for the car rental company that we chose. He is an energetic, vibrant young man with big beautiful smile. He helped us stow our bags and entertained us on the ride. He was working hard on stealing my heart, but to no avail; it is already taken. So he settled for asking if he could come and visit us in Arizona, so that he could meet my girlfriends.

He winked and said that he was an equal opportunity lover as long as she loved Jesus. I added him to my friends in Facebook. I told him that if he really did come to Arizona; I would invite my eligible Jesus lovin ladies to have a party for him.

As we were getting off the shuttle; he told me to hold out my hand. He stretched out a silicone band that said “Tagged by God” and said “Tag you are it, now go encourage someone else.” I said “Yes sir!” and gave him and hug. Then off we went to go and get a rental car.

So much fun everywhere we go!

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