March madness…North Dakota version

No, our March madness has nothing to do with basketball, and I’m talking brackets of a different kind…this March is madness with peewee wrestling and spring weather. And it added up to spending an afternoon digging out some water pipes.

Let’s start off with Saturday morning and early afternoon. Scooter participated in our local peewee wrestling tournament and managed to come home with a first-place medal.

The weather was so unseasonably warm, that I decided we should finish a project we had started earlier in the week. Our aging pipes had sprung a leak, which lead to a continually green patch of grass in our yard all winter. But as it was warming up, that green patch had turned to mush. We needed to work on a fix…and 70-80 degree temps in North Dakota in March is a great reason to spend some time outside, even if it is to dig a hole.

So, if we’re fixing a water pipe, one would think that you would call a local backhoe and have it done in a jiffy, right? That’s not the way we roll around here. Instead, Boss Man gave a few directions, gave us a rough outline of size, and away we went.

Me and my little sister, just digging a hole.

Yep, my little sister and I became excavators and dug out the hole that will be needed to fix our water leak. And I have to say, I’m happy with the work we did, and enjoyed spending the hour or so outside in the beautiful weather.

And today (Sunday), the weather has continued on its beautiful streak, cracking the 80 degree mark. Let’s just hope our temps stay above freezing, because all of those beautiful buds and new plants will be a hard loss to take.

Our rhubarb is up...and it's March.

By tomorrow evening, I'm guessing we'll have full-fledged leaves on our lilacs. These buds are busting at the seams!

The beauty of calving

This weekend was absolutely wonderful. The weather could not have been more perfect…well, maybe a little less windy yesterday, but it was still very nice. And with nice weather came a little boom in our calving.

When the weather is nice, though, it’s a little easier. The mud isn’t fun to mess with, but thanks to the wind, it’s been drying pretty nicely.

Here’s some of my shots from the weekend. And I’ll have more on Wednesday! Enjoy!

Hmmm...My calving instincts aren't always right on, but I'm thinking something here is telling me that she needs to head to the barn.

Just another beautiful bovine.

Our lilacs are trying to tell us that it's spring.

The cousins, in a race of epic proportions!

Mom, can't I just nap here?

A case for genetic markers

Not so long ago, I wrote a post about how George seems to enjoy coloring himself from head to toe in markers. And I don’t mean just a little bit.

For Halloween, we'll be going as Smurfs.

After turning bath water several different shades of blue, green, black and orange the last few weeks, I was beginning to think that he had some strange sort of addiction to coloring on himself. (You know, like on that show where people say they HAVE to drink nail polish, eat chalk, etc.)

Well, I may have stumbled upon the answer…it’s genetic.

It appears as though 30-some years ago, this little blonde-haired beauty decided that she rather enjoyed coloring herself as well. Although, I like to think that I pulled off the look a little better.

Yep, he came by the habit honestly. Who would have thought this scene would be replayed 30 years later? Well, and on a little grander scale.

But that’s how it works, isn’t it? The next generation tries to find a way to do it bigger and better?

The way to a boy’s heart…

Is apparently through his…feet?

Just a few minutes ago, the mailman brought a package to the door that wouldn’t fit in the mailbox. I had an idea about what it was, so I asked EJ if he wanted to open it…

and I have the happiest boy on this side of the county.

EJ opened new boots in today's mail! And they're "tractor boots." How cool is that?

 

Yes, I splurged a little, but not too much. They were on sale through Zulilly (I l-o-v-e that site, by the way) and they are John Deere boots. I knew he would love them, but I didn’t know that they come with a little surprise…

Box for boots, and a BARN!

 

The box that the boots come in turns into a barn! How cool is that! I had to fold some pieces together, but it’s all one piece, and I have one little boy in heaven.

Checking to make sure there's enough room for his tractors.

 

Now, normally I would buy his boots from a thrift store, or off Craigslist, or something like that. It’s not that we can’t afford to buy brand new boots, but really, let’s be sensible. If their main purpose is going to be walking through mud, riding in tractors and traipsing through a barn full of….manure…would it make sense to buy them new?

I’m pretty sure the cows don’t care. And Iknow that EJ doesn’t. But these were a special surprise, and worth every dime, just to hear the squeals of joy.

The box is even printed on the inside. "Just like ours, Mom!"

 

In a world where demands and “I deserve”s are heard more than thank-you’s, hearing my not-so-little boy exclaim with appreciation and tell me that he’s so thankful for his new boots…well, that’s worth it’s weight in cowboy boots.

And, no…they won’t be allowed in the barn yet, but I imagine they’ll make their way there soon. 😉

Dressed to the nines

It was a weekend to remember…and an amazing Saturday at that!

Boss Man and I went to the Inaugural Stockmen’s Foundation Ball, and even though the day started out rough, Saturday ended spectacularly!

But let me start with the pre-story story. I realized that Boss Man didn’t have the right “tools” in his closet for a formal event. Although I know that he could get by with the different shirts we had at home, I was out and about and thought I would get him one that…well, to be truthful, I thought I would get him one that fit. As in buttoned at the top.

I had never been to a Men’s Warehouse, so I decided to stop and see what they had. I had an “interesting” experience to say the least. I knew when I walked in that the gentleman helping me wasn’t going to see things my way. But I gave him a chance. He asked if he could help me, and I told him that I was looking for a shirt that would work well with a white and black dress for a formal event. He asked the size, and I gave him my best guesstimate. (Have you ever tried to get a man to leave the farm early enough to be “fitted” for a shirt? He keeps giving me the measurements from our wedding…and trust me, those don’t work so well any more.)

The man handed me a plain white packaged dress shirt, with off-white-ish buttons. I asked if he happened to have anything more “western.” He stared at me as if I had grown a second head. He asked what I meant, and I told him that my husband happened to prefer his dress shirts to snap up the front, instead of button. I must have made a major faux pas there, because he kind of sniffled, and proceeded to tell me that, “buttons are what makes a shirt formal. Not snaps.”

Hmmm…I don’t know if I agree with that. I mean, I’ve seen George Strait looking mighty fine at plenty of red carpet events. And I do believe that some of those shirts had snaps on them. Although, I must confess that I sometimes get distracted looking at George Strait and don’t always pay attention to his shirt closures. Same goes for Kenny Chesney, Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw…ummm…what was it I was talking about again? Sorry, got a bit distracted there.

Anyway, my point is that western wear can look just as formal and nice as a regular suit. So I put the gentleman’s suggested starched shirt back and headed to RCC, where I should have just started. I found a great western shirt that looked spectacular, including the pearl snaps on the front.

We went to our ball, we danced, we visited with friends (old and new) and we had an amazing time. And didn’t look too bad either.

Cleaned up and off the farm...hardly recognize us!

On a sad note: last week Monday I asked for prayers for my mom’s best friend, Darlene, who was in desperate need of a liver transplant. I ask that you now keep Darlene’s family in your prayers, as she passed on last evening. The heavens have indeed gained a beautiful angel…and one that my grandma certainly greeted with open arms!

Introducing cheese buttons – a German tradition

Connie – pay attention, this one’s for you. Got it?

Earlier this summer, I finally wrote down my grandmother’s recipe for German Dumplings. I entered the recipe into an Iron Chef Challenge sponsored by King Arthur’s Flour…and somehow pulled away with a win! (I’ll be posting a recipe tomorrow, in a battle of the iron chef all-stars kinda thing. Stay tuned.)

It was requested that I work on a recipe for Grandma’s cheese buttons, and here it is. Well, kind of. If you want to go through the work of making your own dough, go ahead and use my recipe on the dumplings post. But I’m all for ease, and speed, and still tasting authentic. And oddly enough, my “new” way of doing this works just fine. Even my dad didn’t notice the difference!

So here it is, German Cheese Buttons, updated for 2011:

Ingredients:

  • Wonton or egg roll wrappers (egg roll wrappers can be cut into 4, wonton wrappers are just the right size)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Meat of choice, I prefer fry sausage…but ham, pork or seasoned burger would work just fine…or go without

Place a kettle of water on the stove and heat it over medium to a boil. While water is heating, take your cottage cheese and place it in a bowl; season with salt and pepper to your liking. Take wonton wrapper and place a small spoonful in the middle of the wrapper. wet around the edges and fold the wonton in half, making a triangle with all the edges sealed. (It’s important that the edges seal, so that your cottage cheese doesn’t leak out.)

Yummy cottage cheese in middle, preparing to fold it in half! Notice the outside edges are wet...use water to seal!

Cheese button folded in half, press around edges to make sure it seals!

Make as many cheese buttons as you think you need…add 10 more. Trust me. They’re that good.

In a frying pan, melt half a stick of butter or medium heat. Place cheese buttons in the pot of boiling water, four or so at a time. Let them boil for 3-4 minutes. They should float when they’re done. Using a slotted spoon, take the cheese buttons out of the water, letting most of the water drain off. Place them directly into the frying pan. Continue until all cheese buttons are in the frying pan. Be sure to flip occasionally, to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Warning: some of the cheese buttons may rupture in the water, some may stick and rupture in the pan. It will not affect the tastiness of the dish, just might tarnish the presentation a bit. One taste and all thoughts of what the plate looks like will fly out the window. Again, trust me.

Water boiling, cheese buttons floating. They are ready!

Use a slotted spoon to drain off excess water...then...

Fry them in butter!

Once all cheese buttons are in the pan, add your sliced sausage, meat, etc. Serve when meat is heated through.

I try to find ways to incorporate as many food groups into one pan as possible. I make these meat chunks large, so that I can pick them out for George's diet.

One thing you may want to add in if you’re really wanting to be authentically German, is bread crumbs. Fry them up in the butter, along with the cheese buttons. You won’t be disappointed. But do me a favor, don’t tell your doctor I told you to do that, ‘k?

Things you need to know:

  1. German cooking is not low-fat, low-carb or anything else a health professional would claim as “good for you.”
  2. German cooking tastes wonderful. And my grandma was 89 when she passed away. I can live with that.
  3. You may need to add more butter as you’re cooking, to “keep it from sticking.” At least, that’s what I tell myself. I’m sure it’s true.
  4. Do NOT boil your cheese buttons for too long. They will rupture. And then the dough will get gooey. It still tastes fine, just not appealing to the eye. And the textures a little oozy. Consider yourself warned.

Good luck, have fun…and enjoy your meal. And stay tuned tomorrow. I get crazy with a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread.

I’m linking to the Gooseberry Patch Christmas Favorites Round Up today…this was truly one of my holiday favorites that Grandma would make!
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Trucker Tuesday

Cross one thing off my bucket list…I can drive a semi. OK, not only do I have the ABILITY to drive a semi, I actually did it. This morning. By myself. With a load of straw. And nothing fell off. Really.

What? It’s not your dream to drive a semi? Well, it wasn’t mine either. But when the boys got on the bus this morning, the house phone rang and Boss Man was in a bind. He needed to get the straw bales off the field before the cows came home…today. I know, I know, nothing like waiting for the last minute. But it encouraged me to bite the bullet and say, “Sure!”

This was the view through my windshield:

Big rig mama, that's right!

 

I will admit, all the buttons and switches and doodads kind of fascinated me. But I didn’t play and stuck to the guidelines given. And I would do it again, in a heartbeat!

Some days, when I’m all wrapped up in kids and house-stuff and dishes and laundry, I wish that I was more involved in the day-to-day activities on the farm. I know I’ll have my time (once some of the wee ones aren’t so wee), but I love being outdoors. And the thought of spending a day in the peace and quiet of a tractor is like balm to my soul.

But for now, I’ll enjoy each of these little snippets of farm life that I get to enjoy. Who knows when the next one will come!

Yes, those are black fuzzy slip-ons...I didn't say I was DRESSED to drive semi, just that I was able to! 🙂