Today I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our family–Zoey. After our Belgian Malinois passed over the rainbow bridge over a year ago, we decided that we were fine with just one dog, our rescue Aussie, Kimmy. Life was simpler with one dog, right? It was, until last summer when my husband said, out of the blue, “I think it’s time to look for a puppy.” I did not disagree. 🙂 Enter Zoey. She’s really kept us on our toes for the last four months and it’s been a joy watching her grow from lively puppy into a young lady dog. I hope you enjoy the photos.
Do you have a pet? If so, I’d love to hear about him or her.
I love the winter when the cows and horses are on pasture and daily feeding isn’t a thing, unless the snow gets too deep. We’ve had very little snow this year, although February may have something up its sleeve–it did the last time we had a snowless January. But despite being snowless, it’s been cold at night–this is what a stock waterer looks like when it breaks and no one notices until it’s too late.
Anyway, today we moved the cattle off the big winter pasture onto the smaller pasture. It started off cold, 2 degrees F, so I dressed appropriately. Without the mask, the cheeks burn. When its really cold we wear snowmobile goggles, too.
Of course the cattle were scattered over a large area on the far side of the acreage. Really scattered. So instead of taking the side by side and attempting to herd them, we decided to try the old Pied Piper routine. We loaded a bale of hay in the bucket of the tractor and headed off across the field to see if we could lure them in. My stepfather has no luck doing this, but we decided to give it a go, even though it meant crossing a big field at approximately 5 miles per hour. The tractor has a heater and the side by side does not.
The cows recalled that the tractor means food, and came to see what was on the menu. It was grass hay, not their preferred rich alfalfa, but they decided it was worth trying to get a bite. We let them have one little taste, then headed for home. Thankfully, they followed.
This is 5X, our lead cow. Where she goes, so goes the herd, and thankfully, she wanted the hay–even if it was substandard. She walked beside my window the entire way back to the ranch.
After we got the animals in, we had to give shots to the heifers, then turn everyone out onto the new pasture.
And here are my parents, taking their daily walk across the field with the horses, now the lone occupants of 160 acres, drifting behind them.
I don’t know about you, but when I have a houseful of guests, I love to cook, but three meals a day gets a tad overwhelming. That’s why I love this recipe. It’s quick and easy, and I get rave reviews, even from people who don’t think of themselves as Tex Mex folk.
Here we go:
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream (I cheat and use half and half)
1 cup of grated cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 4 oz. can mild diced chilies
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or butter a shallow baking pan. I often use a 9×9 brownie pan. In this case I used my fancy pan.
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in cream, salt and pepper.
Add chilies to egg mixture.
Spread the cheese in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour egg mixture over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until eggs are set. (Living at altitude, it always takes longer where I live–usually between 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it.)
Broil the top if you want more browning.
I’ve doubled the recipe and cooked it in a larger pan quite successfully, because funny thing–in our house, this only serves 4. Hmmm…
We always top the eggs with hot sauce or salsa and serve with bacon or ham.
The Pilgrims are credited for starting the tradition of Thanksgiving in 1621, but how did it become a national holiday?
What follows is a quick timeline of the evolution of Thanksgiving from a tradition to being an official holiday celebrated on a specific date.
*November 23, 1775 – The Revolutionary War was seven months old, and patriots in Boston called for a “Day of Public Thanksgiving to be held in the colony of Massachusetts to celebrate their “Rights and Privileges” despite the attempts of their “barbarous Enemies” to deprive them of such.” It was a very anti-British celebration.
*December 18, 1777 – The war was still going strong, but to celebrate the victory of American Continental forces in the Battle of Saratoga, General George Washington called for Thursday, December 18 to be a day in which to engage in “Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise.” For the first time, all thirteen colonies participated.
*In 1879, President Washington called for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Congress agreed, but did not declare an official holiday.
Thomas Jefferson, our third president, believed that a Thanksgiving holiday was a violation of the separation of church and state, so there was no official day of thanksgiving between 1815 and 1863.
*In 1846 Sarah Josephina Hale, the editor of Gody’s Lady’s Book, began a 17-year letter writing campaign in support of an official national Thanksgiving holiday. In September of 1863, she wrote to Abraham Lincoln, imploring him to set an official day for thanksgiving.
*October 3, 1863 – President Lincoln, in a bid to heal a the nation during the Civil War, announced: ”I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…to set apart and observe he last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Lincoln proclaimed that the official Thanksgiving day would be the last Thursday in November. Sarah Josephina Hale was 74 years old, but lived to see the official holiday she’d fought so hard for.
*In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt, by executive order, moved the holiday to the third Thursday in November, in order to allow more shopping days until Christmas. (Thanksgiving fell on November 30 that year.) The new holiday was called Franksgiving by those who were opposed. There was such an outcry that Congress officially moved Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains today.
Please everyone, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
I’m excited to announce that I have a new sweet holiday release.
A Home for the Holidays is the story of a world-traveling engineer who has never had a place to call home, except for during the four years he spent in Holly, Idaho, living with his aunt while attending high school. Jason Regan has no time to celebrate holidays, and no reason to settle down…until a Holly, Idaho judge sentences him to 100 hours of community service at the local animal shelter for a decade-old unpaid parking ticket. Jason is, in effect, sentenced to Christmas.
Tess Evans is a recovering lawyer who now runs Forever Home animal shelter. She is thrilled to have a new volunteer, even after discovering that it’s the guy she’d crushed on in high school; a guy who had no clue that she was alive until a blabby friend told the world. But Tess will do her best to put her embarrassment behind her to join forces with Jason to empty the shelter by Christmas.
This series introduces my new small town series Holly, Idaho, so I’m giving away a Holly Jolly Christmas mug to one lucky commentor.
Here’s an excerpt from my story:
“Hold on!” Tess Evans hung up the phone as her dad attempted to open the door to Forever Home while balancing two cinnamon lattes and carrying his toolbox. Pete Evans had a proclivity for doing things on his own, be it raising three motherless daughters or opening a door with his hands full. He was usually successful, but in this case, he was about to lose a latte.
“Really, Dad?” Tess said as she rescued the top cup of steaming coffee just before it toppled.
“I almost made it.”
Tess took the other cup from him and set it on her desk. Pete set down the other, then jerked his head toward the door leading to the dog kennel area. “Will Lisa be done feeding before her coffee gets cold?”
“Judging from the decibel level, I think she’s almost done.” Morning feeding was always a loud and happy time as the food trolley rolled along the concrete aisle between rows of kennels. But once the dogs had their meals, barking stopped as eating commenced, and the sound level dropped accordingly.
“Why the big smile?” Pete asked as he set down his toolbox.
“I don’t need you today.” Tess was still feeling slightly dazed from the phone call she’d just received from justice court.
“You don’t need me?” Her dad sounded shocked, but Tess read the relief in his gaze. Despite having a very tight schedule on his latest project, he stopped by the shelter every Tuesday morning to spend an hour nailing things back together. The problem with retrofitting an old garage into a new animal shelter was that there were a lot of hidden issues that poked their heads up at the most inopportune times. She and Lisa had painted the place cheerful colors—yellow and aqua—and kept it sparkling clean, but they didn’t have the time or the skillset to deal with loose concrete bolts and flapping siding—the latest ills.
“I have a new warm body.” Which was nothing short of a miracle this time of year when everyone was so busy. There was just one teensy part of that good news that kept Tess from doing a full-on happy dance.
“Cat? Dog? Iguana? No, wait. You said warm body, not cold. Scratch the iguana.”
Tess smiled. “No, Dad. A human. One with building skills. Judge Nelson sentenced a guy to community service and decided that I needed the most help right now. I get him for one hundred hours.”
“One hundred hours?” Pete tipped his chin toward the ceiling as he did a quick mental calculation. “Twelve days? That seems like a healthy sentence.” His eyes narrowed. “What, exactly, did this guy do to earn that much community service?”
“Parking ticket. And it’s twelve and a half days.” Judge Nelson’s assistant had emphasized that the entire sentence was to be served, down to the last hour. No early outs due to holiday bon homie.
Her dad’s eyebrows lifted. “Did he park in the mayor’s reserved space?”
“The ticket is years old. I think Judge Nelson gave him ten hours for each year it wasn’t paid.”
Pete gave a short laugh. “That sounds like something the judge would do. Who is it?”
“Jason Regan.” The instant the name left her mouth, Tess felt her cheeks go warm, and gave herself a mental kick.
You are not the same geeky girl who crushed on the man long ago.
Law school had changed her, given her confidence, leadership abilities…migraines. But if she hadn’t gone, hadn’t buried herself in research and paperwork for eighty hours a week, she wouldn’t have known how happy she was not doing that, or that her true calling was managing the animal shelter her late grandmother had started five years ago to take the pressure off the regional shelter that Holly shared with the nearby town of Everly.
Her dad’s forehead creased. “Must be an out-of-towner.”
“No,” she said in a casual voice. Too casual? “He was a senior during my sophomore year. He left right after high school. Mae Regan is his aunt.” It seemed best to leave out the part about him being her unrequited crush and utterly oblivious to her existence, except for one small incident in the school cafeteria. Oblivious, that is, until gossipy Melissa Braddock had read the signs, guessed the truth, and ratted Tess out to the general school population.
“Just doing you a favor,” Melissa had said when Tess had confronted her in horror after word had gotten back to her. “How else will you get his attention?” The amazing thing was that Melissa really believed she had done Tess a favor.
But Tess would give Jason this—he never treated her differently. Meaning, of course, that he hadn’t given her so much as a side-eye. Her hope was that the news had never reached him, or if it had, he’d brushed it off as so much gossip.
“Jason Regan…” Her dad’s eyebrows drew together. “Oh, yeah. He was the kid with the mean three-pointer.”
“That’s the one.” Tess shooed away her embarrassed teenage self as she confronted her new reality. “He’s mine for one hundred hours, and I intend to get every bit of work out of him that I possibly can.”
Mr. Regan was going to be a terribly busy man, and she was close to betting money that he wasn’t as amazing as she remembered him. Backyards got smaller and all that stuff. She’d probably take one look at him and wonder what the big deal had been.
To enter to win the holiday mug, tell me the place where you most enjoy spending the holidays. Please note that I’ll be on the road tomorrow, but will answer comments when I get back home. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 30.
Our winter wood arrived late last spring. We get it every three years. The wood comes in on a logging truck, and generally consists of wood that is harvested as a sort of tidying up of the forests
to decrease the amount of tinder during fire season–deadfalls or smaller trees growing too closely together.
The wood is offloaded into a pile which delights the cats, because now they have an excellent hideaway. This year it also delighted a (photo shy) cottontail bunny who has taken up residence. He and the cats get along.
After the wood is unloaded, it has to be cut and split, then stacked. My husband used to use a chainsaw to make his living, so he’s pretty good at cutting the logs into rounds. The amount of work is measured by the number of times the chainsaw gas tank is filled. He’s taking it easy after back surgery, so he usually buzzes one or two tanks then stops. On a big wood cutting day, he’ll do up to six.
My job is to chuck the wood–toss it out of the way, thus giving room to roll another log off the pile and start cutting.
After the cutting we split, which is my favorite part now that we have a wood splitter. then stack. When we have enough wood for winter, we stop and the log pile remains a playhouse for the cats and a home for the bunny.
We are fortunate to have the technology–insulated walls, an airtight stove–that allow us to heat efficiently with wood. This was not always the case and American houses in the 1800s were cold, drafty places before the adoption of the enclosed stove, which I will talk about in my October blog.
I do love the log pile and miss it when it’s gone.
Thank you for your patience, dear friends. I am happy to announce two winners of $10 Amazon gift certificates for the Thankful Blog. I really enjoyed reading all the comments, which made me feel even more grateful for our many blessings.
The winners, chosen by a random number generator, are: