Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spicy Sausage and Rice

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I think this was the easiest dinner I have made in ages. Seriously. It really doesn’t get any easier than this. And, to top it all off, it was really good! Farmer Doc even wanted leftovers the next day! (He was too late, I ate it all. Smile)

spicy sausage and rice

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby Bump 27 weeks

Oh my. Time is flying, and I can’t catch it!

Baby Doc is growing just as well as all the weeds in my garden. At our ultrasound last week, he weighed in at approximately 2 pounds, 12 ounces. Average for this age is closer to 2 pounds, so he’s in the 81st percentile. Still plenty big!

27 weeks baby bump

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Garden is Taking Off

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Yes, it’s safe to say that this year’s produce haul is already a lot better than last year’s. (It would be tough not to beat, since everything died in the drought!)

The summer squash are doing very well. They started a little later than the zucchini, but they are starting to catch up!

summer squash

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One-Dish Speedy Couscous

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I have got another Gooseberry Patch cookbook to share with you, and boy am I excited! I’m cooking from “101 Stovetop Suppers”. So far, this book has been great for quick and easy meals for those busy summer nights. Here’s the first recipe I tried… Be sure to stay tuned for a few more recipes from this cookbook, and a giveaway coming up in a few short weeks!

one dish speedy couscous

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden Pasta Salad

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My friend Rebecca makes an amazing cucumber pasta salad every summer. I can’t get enough! This year I asked for her recipe, and decided I would tweak it – just a little bit. Here’s the result of the tweaking, and I’m pretty excited about it!

garden pasta salad

Friday, July 19, 2013

Because it’s Friday

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And I have nothing specific to write about.
  1. It’s hot. Really hot. This is how we keep Sadie the husky cool – with ice water and a cattle-sized fan.
    Sadie and her fan

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Homemade Cantaloupe Ice Cream

This recipe was most definitely inspired by one of my wonderful readers, Karen, who left a comment on a previous post that cantaloupe ice cream was her favorite. It just so happened that I had some cantaloupe stashed in the freezer, so I had to give it a try!

Oh. My. Yum. Definitely a new summer favorite!

homemade cantaloupe ice cream

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finally a garden!

Every year, Farmer Doc gets a little excited about our garden. It is always huge, and it always gets overrun by weeds. Last year, with the drought, the garden was a total loss. He spent a lot of time this spring getting the ground ready, tilling in more cattle manure (good thing we have plenty of that!), working the ground, and getting everything ready to plant. As always, we got a late start.

So, while I’m jealous that everyone has lots of garden-fresh produce right now and we don’t… everyone will be jealous of me in late September when we still have fresh off-the-vine tomatoes and no one else does!

Here’s our late garden… believe it or not, it is a lot smaller than it has been in the past!

garden 2013
We’re trying something new this year to deal with the weeds. The great thing about cattle manure is that is makes amazing fertilizer. The terrible thing about cattle manure is that is also grows weeds like it’s going out of style. We have a giant weed battle every year, and most years the weeds win. This year, we put cardboard down around most of the single plants, and we spread a thick layer of straw around the rest of the garden. So far, this is helping a ton!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tagg Pet Tracker

I had the opportunity to test-drive the Tagg Pet Tracker from Verizon Wireless for two months for our dog Sadie. This handy little device attaches to your dog’s collar, and keeps track of where your dog is, and how active she is.

Here’s the tracker clipped on Sadie’s collar. It’s nice and small, and she never bothered it once. (Don’t mind her fur. It’s summer, she’s a Husky cross, and she just started shedding… she won’t be pretty for another 3 weeks…)

shedding Sadie with TAGG pet tracker
Here she is again, looking slightly more respectable. Slightly.

Sadie on the porch with TAGG pet tracker
The main goal of the Tagg Pet Tracker is so you know when your dog leaves your property, where she goes when she leaves, and how to find her once she is gone. The Tagg will send you an email and a text message when the dog is outside the Home Tagg Zone (that you set).

Sadie doesn’t actually leave very often, and when she does she just goes to the bottom of the driveway (which I set outside our Home Tagg Zone). So to really see how the tracker works, I took it off her collar and went for a drive.

outside the home tagg zone
You can use your computer or the free Tagg app on your mobile device to locate your dog’s current location on a map, or to track your dog’s progress. With the track feature, you will get email and/or text notices (depending on your settings) every 3 minutes with updated location information.

Here’s another location, a few minutes later. The email and text messages will give you an address close to her location.

still outside the home tagg zone
And a map is included in the email. The blue box is where Sadie (or at least, her tracker) was.

still outside the home tagg zone map
(Love, Sadie. Because she didn’t really mean to run away, and she’ll be so happy to see you again when you find her!)

From the website, you can see the map with Sadie’s location (the orange paw print).

Sadie out of area map
And you can see the trail she took to get to her current location. The orange dots are sort of “check in points” – I got an email to correspond to each of these locations.

Sadies trail
Then, when she comes home on her own, or you find her (or bring the tracker back home), you’ll get another email/text saying “I’m back!” Phew! No more worrying!

near the home docking station
One other feature I was really excited about was the activity tracking. Sadie’s an old, arthritic Husky cross farm dog. As she gets older, she spends a lot more time sleeping on our porches, so I really didn’t expect that she was getting all that much activity. Boy, was I wrong!

Here is one of her more active days… She racked up 239 Tagg Points (compared to a monthly average of 169).

activity snapshot July 5
I love the timeline feature. Who know that between 1:00-3:00am every day Sadie gets up and takes a tour of the farm? I wonder why? (But not enough to get up and spy on her.)

activity timeline July 5
And her total time active really surprised me! This was a busy day for her, clocking in over 3 hours of activity. Most days she gets more like 1.5-2 hours of activity. As the weather has gotten hotter, she has been less active (and who could blame her?). But still, for an old arthritic farm dog, that’s pretty good!

time active July 5
Veterinarians recommend at least 30-60 minutes of activity for dogs daily. This is a great way to see if you dog is hitting that goal! You can also set Tagg Point goals to hit each day. These point totals are easy to see on the Tagg mobile app, so it’s easy to keep track of how your dog (and you!) are doing during the day.

Here’s Sadie’s last 30 days of activity…

30 day activity timeline
And a snapshot of the two months that we had the tracker. Some of the dips are from when the battery needed to be charged and was on the docking station instead of her collar, and some of the dips are on the hotter days when she just hung out in the shade. But, overall, a pretty good activity level for our old girl!

90 day activity timeline
I used this on our dog, but it could also be used for any other animal. This would be a great tool for cattle. They tend to stay in herds, so not every cow would need a tracker, but a tracker or two on the troublemaker cows would alert you if they broke through a fence and were off wandering around. The Tagg Pet Tracker would also be great for a sick animal – we could monitor the activity levels of animals we were worried about to be sure they were moving around to get food, water, and a little exercise even if they aren’t feeling great.

What systems do you have in place to find your dog if she goes missing? Collars, tags, and microchips are very important, but none of those can tell you where your runaway pet is right now!

{Thanks to Verizon Wireless for letting me use the Tagg Pet Tracker for two months. All thoughts, opinions, and photographs are my own.}

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We Don’t Have Fluffy Cows

I know I’m late to the #FluffyCow party. What can I say… things move a little slower here in southwestern Indiana. Winking smile

Actually, I’ve been wanting to write about these fluffy cows since they first took over Twitter. But this is the first time I’ve had the chance. So, here goes.

This is part of our herd of registered Angus. Most of these girls are cows – meaning they are females that have had at least one baby in the past. There are 4 heifers in the group (females that have not had a baby yet, they are less than 2 years old). There’s a few calves (in fact, one for each cow). Right now we are also leasing a bull to finish breeding the girls so they have calves again next year. (Not everyone is in this photo.) These girls are not fluffy. See how the sun shines off their coats?

shiny cows

Monday, July 8, 2013

Peppermint Snow Ball Cookies

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I picked these cookies out of Gooseberry Patch’s “Garfield… Recipes with Cattitude!” cookbook because they remind me a lot of the butterball cookies that my mom always made at Christmas. (I’m not really sure why we decided those are Christmas cookies. These are more Christmas-y with the peppermint addition. But I guess it means there’s not always powdered sugar- and butter-filled cookies sitting around the house. Which is good. Most of the time.)

peppermint snow ball cookies

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Martin the Wonder Cat

Or should I say Martin the high-maintenance cat? Or maybe Martin the time-consuming cat?

Martin has had a very rough last two months. His ordeal started on May 5, and hasn’t ended yet. But, hopefully he is through the worst of the craziness.

Martin in the window

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Best Boy and Co Sauces

This was my first introduction to the Best Boy & Co line of sauces. I was not disappointed, and I am definitely a new and loyal customer!

I started off with their Adobo BBQ Sauce. I am not a fan of super-spicy, so I am always a little cautious when trying new BBQ sauces, especially ones that have a photo of a pepper right on the label! But I was brave, and gave it a try on a batch of oven-roasted pork ribs.

Best Boy and Co Adobo BBQ sauce
This sauce was perfect. A wonderful smoky BBQ flavor, and just a subtle hint of spice, almost as an afterthought. Seriously – how good do these ribs look? And that sauce… it’s a gorgeous color and just the perfect thickness. I had to smack the bottle ketchup-style to get it to come out, but it stayed right where I put it – the perfect topping for the ribs without ending up all over the pan and plate instead.

pork ribs with Best Boy and Co Adobo BBQ sauce

Monday, July 1, 2013

Baby Bump 23 weeks

I made it to that 6-month mark. (Today is 24 weeks. These photos are from last week.) I’m still feeling good, and haven’t hit the freak out stage yet. (Well, unless you count the day I found out I was pregnant. There was a little bit of freaking out then!)

I have graduated out of regular clothes and into maternity clothes. There’s no going back now!

23 weeks baby bump
We had another ultrasound this month to check on a few anatomy measurements that they couldn’t see well the last time. He wasn’t tremendously cooperative this time, but they did get to see what they needed.

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