Tag Archives: God’s gifts

Where’s The Beef?

The Shieling has hijacked the beef.

When Pops came home with the hijacked beef,  the scene became something out of an I Love Lucy episode.   Lucy was making a special dish and ordered a side of beef thinking  a small package was going to be delivered to her door.  She freaked when the side of beef was a mere more than a pound of hamburger.   She knew Ricky (is that is his name?) would have a fit so she stuffed it in the incinerator in the basement to hide the evidence for a while.  Hours later, they all wondered who was grilling out.   If I had had an incinerator, I may have resorted to the same thing.  There was SO much meat coming into our house, I wanted to stuff it in closets, under couches, in pillow cases.  Instead, I was on the phone with Lowes at 9:00pm ordering yet another freezer.  I  kept searching online for someone to tell me a whole cow could fit into 15 cubic ft. freezer.  As you know, if you search  hard enough,  you will find the answer you want to hear.   Bad answer.  We have an upright large freezer, and TWO chest freezers full of cow.   By the way, on the phone with Lowes at 9 pm, delivered to my barn by 9:00am the following morn.  I love my Lowes.   I love beef too.

We ordered our cow  not to be trimmed of the fat.  Oh my goodness, is it good.  Maybe that is why our freezers are busting.  Did you know beef fat is very good for you?  It’s not what we hear from all the people “in the know” but…….my sources say right farmer + raised with care  = good fat.   I am well into middle age, eat tons  of good fat, not overweight,  my cholesterol and triglycerides are better than better.  I’m going to believe my sources.  Weston Price Foundation.  Their word makes sense to me.  We keep blaming healthy food on our bad health.  Sugar?  Processed foods?  Fake food?  Over eating or drinking?  I can’t go there today.  It is a day of celebration.

We had them package the hamburger into 1 lb. packages.  We have 230 of them.  This is insane.  Do you know how big a cow liver is?

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But glory be, we have succeeded in something here.  It tastes as good as the best beef I have tasted.  We kept one whole cow at the insistence of my “shady”( but really.. sunny)  friend.  And we sold one cow to four friends.  It is wonderful (and a relief) to hear our good friend,  Dan, who is ALL about food, call every time he puts it to his lips, to express his love.  Come to think of it, he has been eatin’ some beef lately. We have been hearing from him quite often.  Oh well.  We love him.

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It still blows my mind that Pops and I have raised a cow.

We have had lots of goofs and blunders and what-have-yous since this glorious journey began.  But I can already look back upon the blood, sweat, tears, but mostly laughter,  at the going ons around here,  with so much fondness, love and gratefulness.

I am really good at run on sentences, aren’t I?   My English teachers would cringe if they knew I actually wrote something that others read.  I use commas like they are dust particles.  They must be free.

Come on down for some beef sometime.  We would love to have you join us around our table.  Bring a beef recipe when you come.  And if you can’t come, send us a recipe anyway,  please.  Have any favorites you would like to share?

God bless,

Karen

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What? Viva il Papa?

The Pope lives.  Ok.  The Pope lives.

What does that mean for us Catholics and really for the rest of the world.

Pops and I have talked a little bit, not too much,  about the  coming of the new pope.  We both were in agreement that it would be really great to see a pope from a different part of the world.  A part where  the passion for Catholicism might be greater?  A new perspective?  I have observed the Latin Americans and their devotion to their church and their Holy Mother, Jesus and the whole ball of wax.  I admit I have been envious at times of their sheer love and loyalty to the Holy Family.   I want to weezle my way in to the very core of it.   Eye to eye with our Holy Father.

So, we are grateful for their decision.  It brings hope in my heart that huge healing can take place not just among the Catholics who feel hurt and betrayal but also the  population of our world.  Any shift in the atmosphere can bring hope, cant it?  If we somehow can pry ourselves from the glue that keeps us stuck to the chair of negativity and cynicism?  From what I have heard in the short 24 hours since I have even heard of this man from Argentina, I am elated, and again, hopeful.   He appears to be a man of humility and a down to earth man who actually lives among the “little” people.  Took the bus to work everyday from his little apartment until just recently when he traveled to Italy to become the pope.  I think he was referred to something like the ” Cardinal on wheels” because people could always find him on the city bus where they could converse.   This morning he traveled to his hotel to pack his little bag by himself (well, as best  he can now) and paid his hotel bill himself with his own money.  This speaks to me.

BUT I couldn’t have been more pleased that he chose the name Francis for his title.  Let me see, do we like Francis of Assisi?

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I received this statue  from my aunt’s possessions who passed away this past year.

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We have a lovely St. Francis sculpture adorning our living space that brings me great pleasure.  Just a peaceful dude.

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St. Francis stands guard at our massive beech tree in the  woods.  In his life he had a huge sprawling beech tree where he frequently went for silent prayer.   And from what I hear that tree still stands in Italy.

IMG_0349 Our little Great Pyrenees that we got for Christmas to guard our goats was named Francis for the beloved saint.

IMG_3391 Our two-year old Great Pyr’s name is Clare for St. Clare of Assisi, who worked alongside St. Francis.

Pops and I have recited the St. Francis Prayer every night before closing our eyes for the last 6 or 7 years.  (see below)

Yeah.  We hold him in great esteem.  Why?

For us, he is a man of great love for the littleness of people and creatures of our world.   When I think of that man I see he is  the epitome of humility, gentleness and humanness.   I imagine he took great care that love was spread and felt by all.  Not just the haves.  But most importantly, the have nots.   I imagine he was much like Jesus in that way.  He took great care to love animals and I think he saw God in each and every creature.  We would like to be like him.   He’s a great role model.

Pope Francis, given his choice to live life in Argentina among the littlest of people, must hold some similar values in his pocket.   I rejoice in that.

If he can bring healing and love as the leader of the  Catholic church, then I believe  that can resonate through our world.  We are a hurting world,  both inside and outside the church.   All we want is love.  We want to feel  and be loved.

Now I must  run outside and tell my little Francis and Clare the good news.  They have a pope named after them.

ST. FRANCIS PRAYER

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Wehr there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,  grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.  It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen. 

God bless,

Karen

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Helloooo…

I went missing in action for a while.   I think I was overcome by smoke from the sugar shack.  Truly.   That whole thing was an experience that will probably be repeated (again and again).   It is just SO good.   Much like having a baby.  We forget the pain involved when it’s all over and we actually want to have another after the pain and agony of delivery.   It is very time-consuming and I’m not sure my physical health can withstand standing next to a wood fire for 10 hours at a time.  I have not felt great the last week and am quite positive the boiling had something to do with it.   The second day I had to resort to using a respirator.  We boiled for 7 days and got 30 or so bottles.

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We have some design issues  to contend with this year in planning for next year.   Note the canopy that is trashed on the side in photo.  I purchased the thing two weeks ago to save me and the fire from rain and two inches of snow destroyed it.   ugh.

Life can get a bit messy, cant it?

Which brings me to what is going on in my little pea brain.

We all have to make REALLY HARD decisions some times.  I have a friend who is in that process right now.   Sometimes our decisions make messes of our lives.  And other times, the decisions we make clean up those messes.  The rest of the decisions usually fall somewhere in the middle where we have to feel them and ride them and grow with and by them.

And as we stand by  others as they contemplate decisions,  we  want to  input and many times try to control their decision.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.   Please, help me accept other’s decisions.

How do we come to the decisions we make?  I’m not talking about what to have for dinner.  I’m talking about the biggies.  The ones that form us into who we are and who we have to live with.

Barnes and Noble is stocked full of books on how to’s and self-help.  I have spent years with my nose in books trying to get someONE or someTHING to give me a clue as to who I am supposed to be morally.

Do we know right from wrong innately?  Do we need to be taught right from wrong?

Who do we depend on to give us a moral guideline for right and wrong?  Our parents?  Our political officers?

Do we CARE what is right or wrong?  Do we make decisions in the wind and let them fly where they may?  Let someone else pick up the pieces?

Seriously, folks.  I am asking.  What are we doin’ here?

As I  navigate these questions that burn holes in my heart,  I am inclined to believe that …….do any of us know how to be right and wrong on our own?   Where can we go to check our moral decisions?  How can we be sure that what we are choosing to do, does not hurt ourselves and others?  Does it matter?

Somewhere,  there is a definitive guide to moral judgement.  Wisdom.  God, give. it. to. me. .

Prayer.  Grace.

Since I quit drinking, and began to really delve into these questions,  I have often said that Barnes and Noble can lay one book on the curb and shut their doors.  100 percent of the answers lie in one book.   The Bible.   The day that I decided that I cannot trust  the decisions that I make and I cannot trust the word of others and that the  moral compasses of all of us are spinning round and round wildly, was the day I decided that ANY decision that I make,  I will confer with my “self-help” Book first.   It is consistent, reliable, true and predictable.  I do not have to question the validity.  EVER.  And for that I am more grateful than I can tell you.

Very,  very sorry for my heavy today.  My heart is heavy.  Heavy.   If you are so inclined to pray, please pray for my friend today.

God bless,

Karen

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Off On Another We-Dont-Know-What-We-Are-Doing Adventure

But these little fellers are ready and waiting.  They don’t care, they just want to participate.  IMG_4385

I wish I was childlike enough to want to participate not having any idea what the event was.  I could learn a lesson or two from my animals who trust in me to guide them without question.  I want to  do that with God, but for some reason I think I should be in the driver’s seat with the control panels.  EVERY time  I get in the back seat with my animals and let go and let God,  life is better.   And fruitful.   Not always easy.  But it sure lightens my burden a ton.

But we are off to the sugar bush.  What did I just say?  Never used those words until now, but like I said, new adventure using words I’ve never used.  We are tapping some of our maples to make Shieling Maple Syrup.  Found in a grocery near you.  Well, maybe someday.  Not in this lifetime.   Last year we went out to pick our Maples and realized it was a little difficult to do in the winter since there are no leaves on the trees for identification.  This past summer, I actually had a moment of forethought and skidaddled out there to mark the trees.

We are on track for something.

Sugaring season is about a 4-6 week period beginning in mid to late February.  From what I read and hear, we tap the trees when the temperatures reach  40’s-50 during the day and sink below freezing at night.  This is the ideal environment for the sap to run up and down the tree  getting ready for who knows what.  I will let you know when I know.   Probably getting ready to fruit and leaf out and all that wonderful stuff trees do in the Spring.  Tapping the trees is the easy part.  It took me all of an hour to tap 10 trees.

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I then hung two gallon plastic bags on to the spouts.

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And then, we wait.   I tapped the trees two days ago.  Yesterday, each bag had about 1/2 cup of sap.  The temperatures were not high enough for much activity.  We are expecting some good solid 40’s in the coming days, so we should be in business.  But who knows.  I read that when temps reach high 40’s -50’s the sap can just pour.  That would be a sight.

The hard part is gathering the sap into 5 gallon buckets to place over a wood fire outside and watching it boil down into luscious syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. It takes A LONG time to get there.  Days, my friend.  Days.  Someone has to be on hand to feed the fire.  My goal is to get 2 gallons of syrup.  Is that a reasonable goal with 10 trees and the time we have to stand by the fire?  I have no idea.  We’ve never done this before.  But I can tell you that little Virginia and Samdog are goin’ to be lovin’ it.   That means major time with Mom and Dad in the coming days.

The highlight of our tree tapping day was the game that the dogs (and Farmer Bob) played with an opossum.  It was the first time I have ever seen an opossum play dead.  It was alive and well then just rolled over.  At first I thought, “oh not, that opossum is not right.  Something is terribly wrong”.  But then remembered that is what they do.  Oh yeah.  I forgot.

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I hope our efforts bear wonderful fruits.  How do you keep a fire burning for days on end and get anything else done?  hmm.

God bless,

Karen

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This Little Piggy Went To The Market.

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This Little Piggy Stayed Home

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef.

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef.

This Little Piggy Had None

This Little Piggy Had None

These Little Piggies Went Wee Wee All The Way Home

These Little Piggies Went Wee Wee Wee Wee All The Way Home

Here is another video (I promise, I will not make a habit of videoing. ).  I wanted to capture the day of the cattle reckoning.  One thing that I have learned in watching these videos, is that I have an extreme limited vocabulary.   And I am NOT a seasoned cattle rancher.  Enjoy.

God bless you today,

Karen

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Come Wade With Me

……through birdland.

Videographer, I am not.  Excuse my editing talents.  I made myself sick with all the “Hey, girls” in the video.  I could not subject you to all of them.

God bless,

Karen

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Here. This Moment.

We are a culture that is on the search always.  For happiness and joy.  We look forward to going. Going. Going.   Not so much now as in the past, I longed to go on vacation. Where can we go that is going to give us that ultimate rush? That ultimate breathtaking view that is going to send me swooning.  For some it is the beach.

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For some of us, it’s the mountains.

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For some of us, it is cruising on the Caribbean.  And for others, it is riding the roller coaster at Cedar Point.   Regardless of what trips our  trigger, we are in search of the next thing that is going to trigger the quintessential experience.

Some people have “bucket lists”.  The list of places and events that will make  our personal world all the better.

All of these things are wonderful things to experience.  But, if we can not find joy and happiness in the sullied days of our lives, then those beautiful sites will not doing anything for us either.

Temporal is not going to cut it for me.  It is short-lived and disappointing.  Been there.  The reality does not match up to the expectation.  Or returning to reality is a disappointment.  I want everlasting, ever-lovin’ joy.

I am learning that it is impossible to stay in the moment while I am looking forward.  One question I ask myself while I am highly anticipating that moment that  will take my breath away:  What is going to happen to me at that  moment that is not happening to me right now?  How is seeing or doing that “thing”  going to make me a happier person?  It might give me a thrill for a minute but I still  have to walk away with that same person that took me there.  ME.

Our daily life can be blessed with joy and happiness if we can just sit  in it and see the beauty around us.  The ordinary.

Our ordinary is such a miracle by itself that it DOES compare to the majestic beauty of a snow-capped mountain.

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Our animals take such pleasure in just living and taking in all that abounds.   Can I do that?  Can I see the beauty in washing the dishes?  Pops does it most of the time.  I SEE the beauty in that.   Cooking dinner?  Making beds?  I love what a room likes when the bed is made.  Sometimes I will make the bed to get in it.   Can these things compare to a Hawaiian beach?

When I choose to see God in the ordinary, (which is exactly where He is with us),  joy can be found.   Since the day that I decided to look for Him in my ordinary, I found Him, and joy was the gift that He gave me.   As long as I know where to find Him, I find I really don’t have to take a joy ride anywhere.   We have a wonderful friend who had a very spiritual heart who passed away several years ago.  Always, he would say, “I got all I need right here.”  He was magnificently content even through his terminal illness.   “I got all I need right here.”  He would pat his heart softly.   The man got it.

Author, Ann Voskamp writes, “The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now. ”

I say Amen to that.  That place is spectacular.

Happy travels.

God bless,

Karen

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A Lesson From Someone Who Has Been There

Take in this scenario and try to imagine your feet standing in these shoes:

You are born by two parents who have no qualms about telling you they don’t want you.  They neglect and take advantage of you by getting you drunk and high by the age of 7.  They are never there to tend to your needs at home.  They use you as a ticket to get in places they do not belong.  You develop drug and alcohol dependency by the age of 12 and enter into rehab twice by the time you are 14.

Enough?

This is the life of Drew Barrymore.  I saw an interview last night that I am still thinking about.   I have always known who she is but have not really given her a second thought.   What I know of her is that she might be a little flighty,   is nice enough and has had some hard knocks.   For those of you who do not know who she is, she became famous in the movie ET in the 80’s.

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Photo from interview

Photo from interview

Seems normal enough. huh?  Is going to court at the age of 15 to get “emancipated” from your parents normal?   The courts granted that freedom.  She no longer had to be the daughter of these people.  She always knew from day one that it was she that was going to have to care for herself.  That is tough business.

Whew.

What I am so bowled over by, is what she did with that history of abuse and neglect.   Most of us are not too different from she.  While I never was taken to Studio 54 at age 7 as a ticket to get my mom in, I was left at Glendale shopping center for 3 hours after my mom said she would pick my up.  I was 20 years old when that occurred.  She just forgot me.  Oh, and my Mom and Dad went to New York during my 10th Birthday.  Ugh.

But seriously, we  all have wounds. Wounds. Wounds.  Some of us are aware of them.  Some of us choose not to be.  But those wounds mold us if we allow them to.   It makes us who we are.   Or aren’t.

If  I allow myself to live with the wounds, then I become one, some or all of the following:  sad, lonely, self-loathing, cynical, brash, angry, fearful of many things, isolated, depressed,  self loathing,  cheated, slighted, etc.   It WILL take shape  because we have been hurt and we will protect ourselves at all costs.

If I choose to face my wounds, I can be free of all that.    How do I do that?  In most cases, mine included, it usually involves outside help.  An objective perspective.   It often takes the help of an outsider to help us even recognize the wounds.  They are sometimes so ingrained and part of our fiber that we think that it is normal.   Something is wrong if we are the things mentioned above on a regular basis.  Of course it takes heavy-duty strength to move our pride aside to admit that we are  any one  of those things.  Cynical. Who moi?  No way.  It is a process whereby we admit.  Then accept.  Then take action.

Drew Barrymore, I am sure, has had her share of outside help.  She chooses to not go that route of being emotionally tortured inside.   She chooses freedom.  YEAH.  I heartily applaud her.

She has admitted  the problem.  She accepted that problem.  Now she is  choosing not to spend her life blaming and finger-pointing and being angry.   She is taking action to choose a life rich and happy.  She just first had to come to grips and understand how she got to the place she is and then moves on to a road of freedom.

WE HAVE THE POWER.  To live life joyfully.  WE HAVE THE POWER.  To change ourselves.  NOBODY CAN MAKE US BE THE WAY WE ARE.   

We have the power.

You have the power.

Oh, and by the way, God plays a major part in healing.  Just ask Him.  In this case, He’ll say,”Yep, she’s right on this one.”

Sunny days ahead.

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God bless,

Karen

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Granola. Friend or Foe?

5 Degrees?  BRRRRRR.  Our little hens are cozy under their heat lamp.

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Precious they are.  Just love them.

Granola. is. awesome.  It is nearly impossible for me to keep my paw paws out of it.  And I think it can be very confusing because while it all looks the same, sadly, it is not.

The differences are in the type of fats used.  The quality of ingredients.  The amount and type of sweetener.   And whether the seeds and nuts are prepared properly for the best digestion.  It can be trash.

The following recipe  is wonderful.  I sprouted the seeds which will aid in digestion.  You don’t have to.   The original recipe called for 1/2 of Brown sugar and 3/4 cup of Pure Maple Syrup.  I used much less and it tastes great.

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KAREN’S GRANOLA

Ha.  A recipe named after moi?  I’m the boss, so yeah.  A recipe named after me.

Preheat oven 300 degrees

3 cups of Old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup sprouted sunflower seeds

1 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup coconut unsweetened

1 cup soaked and dried cashews

1/2 cup soaked and dried walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup  (Don’t know if I have to capitalize this but it deserves it.) Add more if you must but you really don’t need it.

1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt (or more)

You can add anything else you may like, but do me a favor, and make sure it is organic and unrefined.  Thant means NO SUGAR!

Mix all the ingredients.  Spread out on 2 cookie sheets with sides.  Cook for about 50 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.  There is  outstanding granola out  in that there world.  I figured it was high time I figured it out.

Stay warm.

God bless,

Karen

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Are We Feeding Our Chronic Ailment?

Just a  quick note on flu shots before I step into my post today.  What do you actually know about the flu shot?   I encourage you to learn what a flu shot is and does/doesn’t do  so  you can make an informed decision.   I have attached a short article about flu shots for you enjoyment.  At the very least just scan the 11 reasons.  In all matters concerning your health, be informed.

http://goodworkswellness.com/why-i-refuse-to-get-a-flu-shot/

Ok.. Hello.  About 7 years ago I realized that my chronic sinus headaches were a result of me eating wheat.  Who woulda thunk?  I think that we associate food sensitivities to gastric/digestion problems.

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Removing wheat from my diet made huge improvements in my overall well-being for a time.  The following year, I discovered that my respiratory infection symptoms were a direct result of ingesting dairy.

milk

 I LOVE milk and bread.

There lies the problem. 

Fast forward 7 years.  I have been sailing along pretty well and very healthy.   When I eat those two things, I am ok if I just dabble one time but if I dabble over and over in the course of  a couple of days,  the symptoms return.

This past year I have gotten on a nut butter kick.  Every morning I whip up nut butter in our coffee grinder.  I even upgraded our grinder to a sorta commercial model. I was ALL ABOUT THE NUT BUTTER.   I have been buying large quantities of raw organic nuts.  I soak them for 24 hours and then dry them in the oven for a few days.  Man, they taste 100 times better than what you get at the store.  By soaking them, you release enzyme inhibitors that otherwise would inhibit digestion and the flavor is greatly enhanced.

  I grind pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.  and spread it everyday on an apple.  DELICIOUS.  I cannot even tell you.  It made me jump out of bed in the morning.  Christmas morning, every morning.

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About 6 months ago I started having excruciating pain in my neck, lower back, hips and knees.  If I had been sitting for any length of time it was unbearable standing up.  It was hard to turn over in bed at night.  I am positive that 90 year olds were more mobile than me.    My body had seized up.

 I recently went to the doctor to find out  how I could go from absolutely normal to almost crippled in 6 months.  It felt as if a virus or a bacteria (are those one in the same?? I have no idea) had settled into my bones and joints.

We did some blood tests.  I left the doctor’s office and when I got in my car it occurred to me that maybe it was the nuts I was eating.  So I took time off from my Christmas mornings.  Guess what?  Within 3 days, I had no symptoms.  That was a month ago and I am completely normal for an aging old hag.

A couple of things……

I read that if we find we are sensitive to a food, it is common to become sensitive to more foods as time goes.  ugh.

I am learning  that we can avoid becoming sensitive to foods if we aren’t pounding them every chance we get.  Like I do.   I think the reason so many people become sensitive to wheat/gluten is that they are eating it at every meal.  You could probably say that about dairy too.

There is something to say about the old-time people who ate what was in season, and did not, when it was not, therefore,  they were never eating any one food more than a season in the course of a year.   Huh.  Suppose that makes sense?

If you are suffering from a chronic something or other, it is very possible it is food.  Each food that I have grown sensitive to has its own cute little symptom to go with it.  And all of the symptoms would appear to have nothing to do with food.

The key is to incorporate  a large variety  of food into our  diet.  If I enjoy nut butter, enjoy it once a week not everyday.   I read that it is best to not eat any one kind of food more often than every 3 or 4 days.   ok.  I think I got it.

Please, investigate this if you are experiencing chronic symptoms.  It could be a simple answer using no chemical medicines.

Have a good Thursday.

God bless,

Karen

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