Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

April 30, 2011

Williams Sonoma Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

This Week's 'Best of the Web' I found on my new favorite site, Williams Sonoma.  How perfect would these pancakes with fresh blueberry sauce be for Sunday breakfast?!

Mouth watering.


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April 29, 2011

Remember Barina the Dairy Calf?

You first met Barina at 10 days old when we brought her on her very first outing to Marin County Farm Day, in March.  Now the little dairy calf is about a month and a half old so Paige and I thought we should give Barina her first halter training lesson.
















I'm planning on taking Barina to a couple of upcoming outings, mainly so kids that don't have access to farm animals can come and see a dairy calf up close. Halter training her will benefit both of us.....Barina will feel safe and secure when on a lead rope and I'll {hopefully} have full control of her.
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April 28, 2011

Abbotts Lagoon~Pt. Reyes National Seashore

With Bryce being on spring break this week, and some nice spring weather here, I thought it would be fun to take the kids on an impromptu beach adventure.   We ate lunch and left for Pt. Reyes National Seashore, which is about 25 minutes from home.

Our favorite beach was waiting for us, or so we thought.  Heart's Desire Beach is in Tomales Bay State Park, but it was CLOSED!  Must be due to California budget cuts or just happens to be closed on Tuesdays.

We continued on through the park to see what other adventure we could find.  There are SO many beaches that we haven't explored out in the park, we were bound to find something.

And we did......Abbotts Lagoon. 

Now, I'm a total Gilligan's Island fan, so when I read 'lagoon' I was in.














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April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Break

It's spring break for one of my kids.....the preschooler is on a different school schedule but only has a three day school week.  So for a Wordless Wednesday photo, guess what we did? 












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April 26, 2011

Thoughtless Tuesday~Out the Office Window

What a difference a week or two makes.  A week and a half ago, as I was sitting in the office, I glanced out the window to find a humming bird perched on the maple tree gazing in. 


Then he saw that I had spotted him and took off.  To the feeders no doubt. 
Now, 10 or so days later, the tree has filled out.  Spring is here.  I have yet to see my little friend come back for a rest in the fully bloomed Japanese Maple.

Sometimes it's the small things in life that make my day :)
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you! Just click on the “Post a Comment” link below {if you view through a ‘reader’ only}. Have a peaceful day.

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April 25, 2011

The Columbia Gold Rush Experience

During our overnight, camping field trip to Columbia State Park, CA with Bryce's one room school, we experienced what life might have been like in the gold rush days back in 1848.

Where else can a kid carry a shotgun through town and look normal?

The town of Columbia was only one of hundreds of settlements that popped up during the exciting years when Gold brought optimists from all over the world to seek their fortunes in California.

Columbia is located in the heart of the Mother Lode, a mile wide network of gold bearing quartz that extends 120 miles along the western edge of the Sierra Nevada, from Mariposa northward to Georgetown, Columbia yielded $87 million in gold at 1860's prices.

Columbia has never been a 'ghost town', it has never been deserted.  Through State Legislature in 1945, Columbia State Historic Park was created to forever preserve it's history.

On Saturday's post, I shared with you, many of the tours we went on at Columbia.













One of the scheduled tours, I found most interesting was, of course, the one room school house.
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April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!



Easter isn’t at all about Easter bunnies and Easter eggs as such, though these things are nice to have at Easter time. I’ve heard it said that the Easter egg represents 'new life' – as a chicken hatches from an egg. It is okay to enjoy chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs at Easter time, but let us not forget the real meaning of Easter.

© By M.S.Lowndes

 
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter Sunday
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April 23, 2011

A Taste of Columbia Gold Rush

Bryce and I survived our overnight, tent camping, Columbia Gold Rush experience.  It was SO much fun.  Here's just a taste of what we experienced in Columbia, with a full re-cap to come the beginning of next week.

After our 3+ hour trek to the Columbia foothills, we arrived a bit late.  We made no stops, not even Starbucks, found the camp ground without a problem, but with no signs of our group, from Bryce's one room school in sight......at all. 
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April 22, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cake


















I have been scanning the websites online to try out some yummy Easter dessert recipes.  I'm drawn to the desserts for some reason.  Here is one I found on the Williams Sonoma website that is super simple and made with ingredients that most of have on hand in our pantry already.  It's always great when you don't have to run to the grocery store for that one ingredient that you don't have on hand!  It's like a big chocolate chip cookie cake, how can this be wrong?!
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April 21, 2011

Easter Egg Nest Cupcakes

I found this recipe on the William's Sonoma website as I was scanning recipes online for Easter.  Don't they look good?  I am a coconut lover, so this really caught my eye and is especially cute with the egg candy nestled in the center.

















Toasting the coconut that forms the nest adds a natural straw color as well as a pleasant crunch and nutty flavor to these whimsical cupcakes. Easter egg candies come in many different sizes; use as many as will comfortably fit in each nest.
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April 20, 2011

How To Boil Eggs The Easy Way

Easter's right around the corner and it's time to boil those eggs!  I don't know about you, but when I used to boil eggs, they would crack and the inside would have that ugly greenish rim around it. And I never knew exactly how long to cook them. 

After a little research on the matter at hand, last Easter, I found a sure-fire way to hard boil, actually, hard cook eggs.  They turn out perfect every time.

And, if you're like me, you've had questions regarding the safety of eating dyed, hard cooked Easter eggs...do you eat them, do you toss them?  I found some answers.




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April 19, 2011

Excitement on a Foggy Day

One of the climate issues we encounter when living near the coast is FOG.  Some people call it our 'natural airconditioning' because it visits us all summer long, actually all year long.  During the summer months, it really keeps things pretty cool on the days it visits us. 

I don't like it.

But our cows do.  They don't like the hot weather, so in the area of northern California where we live, the cows really like the climate.  It's not too hot except maybe a few days in summer and it's not too cold.

I took a stroll outside with the macro lens today to see what exciting photos I could capture..... in the fog, then I came in to see what I could do with the dreary things on picnik.com. 

Much more exciting when the editing is complete.














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April 18, 2011

The Easter Bunny

So much fun when the Easter Bunny shows up early for a special egg hunt party.  Yesterday, the rain held off for the outdoor Easter egg hunt party we attended....thankfully!  Otherwise, poor Helen's house would have been a disaster by the time 30 plus kids hunted their eggs. {Helen is a blogger also}

















There is almost nothing better than attending a party, any 'kid' party, when
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April 17, 2011

The Close of a Chapter

At one time in my life, before becoming a mother, before becoming a 'wife of a dairyman', I was a Harley chick.  The long rides out to the coast on a hot summer day will forever be remembered.

When riding a Harley, even when riding with friends, you're alone with your thoughts.....only because there is really no other choice.  If you're a Harley owner yourself, you then know the first thing you do after purchasing a Harley is change out the factory exhaust system to very loud porker pipes.

Chatting is not an option.  I really enjoyed riding, it was almost therapeutic for me......not to say I was in need of therapy or anything........you know what I mean, right?














Ever since becoming a mom, I have really had no time to ride.  Yes, I could have gotten a babysitter and taken a ride...but is that something I would want to do on a regular basis?  No. 

I would rather take any scheduled babysitting time and spend it on a date with my husband, or with my girlfriends to catch up on the things that have been going on in their lives........not sitting on a Harley.  It began to seem such a waste of time, riding a motorcycle......as I'm sure many moms can relate, I could be doing SO many other things instead, with that time.













So rather than letting the motorcycle just sit in my parent's barn and deteriorate,
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April 16, 2011

35 Minutes to the Heart of San Francisco

On evenings such as this one, I love the fact our farm is only a 35 minute drive to the heart of San Francisco.  I LOVE living and raising our kids on a dairy farm, where it's peaceful, we're surrounded by green grass, soon to turn golden, wildlife and animals all around.

But on this particular night, I took the 35 minute drive, crossing the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge into the heart of San Francisco to meet a friend for a little shopping, drinks and dinner.

















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April 15, 2011

Calves and Ranch Life

Just yesterday, Dominic tells me part of a Bay tree had fallen in the calf pasture on the ranch property behind Stafford Lake and it needed to be cleared away. 

After picking up some hay for Joey from town, Paige and I drove out to meet Dominic.

One would think after eight years of living on this ranch, I would know my way around the place.  But the bridge that I normally drive over to get across the creek, was washed out....gone.

"Mommy are you lost?"















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April 14, 2011

Picnic at the Cheese Factory

It's finally beginning to warm up around here, which means more outdoor activities for us.  The Cheese Factory is just a few miles down the road from the ranch, so the other day, when my North Dakotan friend, Katie was visiting, we stopped at the cheese factory.

The grounds are beautiful.  You may remember from a previous post, we try to visit the Cheese Factory often when the weather is nice. The store has all your picnic needs; crackers, pasta salads, wine and of course cheese that you can watch being wrapped right there through the viewing window if so inclined.















Katie, who was thousands of miles from where she lives, hears "Katie, Katie..."

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April 13, 2011

Chicken Marabella for my blogging friend, Katie

Last night, my blogging friend Katie, from North Dakota came out for a visit.  She's actually here, in California on a business trip and was able to squeeze in some time for a visit to the ranch.  We were so excited to have her over! 


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April 12, 2011

Ladybugs from Charlotte

Last week we met Bryce's little friend, Charlotte, for a play date and she came bearing gifts.  Bryce's face lit UP when he realized the container she handed him was filled with ladybugs......his own pet ladybugs!














They're pre-fed and can stay in the container for a while, but after dropping the container one too many times, I told Bryce it was time to let them out.....outside on our plants, not inside, in his room.













The best time for the release is in the morning, foggy preferably or in the evening time.  When it's cooler out, the ladybugs are not as active and are more apt to remain in your surrounding area.













Our garden isn't planted yet, so we decided the jasmine bush was the perfect new home for the ladybugs.













The next morning I went out to check on our new 'pets' and they had the jasmine bush covered.



My suggestion, especially if you have kids, is to go to your local gardening store and buy a container of ladybugs.  Wouldn't it be a fun surprise for someone to include it in their Easter basket?! You and your kids will receive hours upon hours of entertainment.


I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. You can click on the “Post a Comment” link below to do so. Have a peaceful day.

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April 11, 2011

Beefers

It's that time of year again....time to move our natural beef cows to the 800 acres up the hill, behind Stafford Lake, where they will graze until September.  They've been down on the flat pasture land since September, which  is where they calve and now that all of the mamas have calved, they're moved to lush green grass that has been untouched {except by maybe some deer} and growing for them all winter long and part of spring. 

The walk takes all of about 10 minutes. 


















They know right where to go with just a little coaxing.













Here they have reached the base of the hill......happy eating!

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. You can click on the “Post a Comment” link below to do so. Have a peaceful day.

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April 10, 2011

Dairy Princess Ball Recap















Last night we attended the 54th annual District 3 Dairy Princess Ball.  Our good friend and cousin, Rich Silacci made the trek up from Cal Poly where he manages the dairy there, to be the Master of Ceremonies for the event.

My front row posse, Logan, Carson, Derrick, Bryce, Cameron, Paige and Leila saved me a seat with the best angle so I could get some good pics.........


















The responsibility of the District No. 3 Dairy Princess and the first alternate, will be to act as a goodwill ambassador for the dairy industry.  They will speak at schools, fairs and many other community events, about the importance of  dairy products.

This year there were four contestants vying for the crown. And here they are:

Carly Miller.  An active member in FFA and has also worked at 4H camp for six years as a staff member.  She has also been involved with raising jersey bulls as part of a veterinary science class in high school.  Carly says, "I believe in the importance of agriculture education and know the value of it to all ages."













Amanda Moretti.  Daughter of dairy farmers and will be studying animal science at Cornell in the fall.  Amanda is an active member of FFA, 4H and the CA Junior Holstein Association and has served as an officer for her 4H club, Tomales FFA, Sonoma Section FFA, North Coast Region FFA, Redwood Empire Junior Holstein Association and CA Junior Association.

Amanda says, "If selected as District 3 Dairy Princess, my main goal will be to bridge the gap between producers and consumers.  I hope to dispel any misconceptions individuals have about the dairy industry and encourage not only the youth, but adults as well, to learn more about the industry and its importance in our everyday lives."


Maria Camozzi.  Grew up on a family dairy run by her parents.  After high school graduation, Maria will study agriculture business at Cal Poly.  Maria has served as president of Petaluma FFA and is a member of Redwood Empire Holstein Association. 

Maria says, "I hope to educate the public about the important role that the dairy industry plays in our community, state and nation."














Samantha Spaletta.  Daughter of a fourth generation dairy farmer, she works on the family farm and has her own 75 head herd of cows.  Samantha has been a member of her local 4H club for 10 years and served on its board, she is also a member of Petaluma FFA and serves on the board.

Samantha says, "I want to share my knowledge of dairy products and the industry in California.  I want the consumer to understand that dairymen treat their animals humanely and the California farmers are hard working people.  My hopes are that the small family farms will be around for a long time."


While the judges were making the final decision, the introduction of the Milk Advisory Board Representative; Dominic Carinalli, North Bay Dairy Women current president; Audrey Wheeler and Contest Chairperson; Judy Buttke were introduced to the crowd.













And retiring dairy princess, Emilie Strand says a few words and

 presents her retiring court, Regina Camozzi and Stephanie Rowley, gifts of appreciation. 













Over the past year, I saw Emilie in action holding her title as Dairy Princess at numerous community events. She did a phenomenal job connecting with the public, teaching kids about dairy products, making herself available when called upon by the community and always with a smile on  her face.  Nothing ever seemed to frazzle Emilie. She is a fantastic role model for all kids out there, and especially for our young girls.
The evening moved on and the contestants then came out in their white gowns for the conclusion of the ceremony.

Carly......

Amanda.....



















Maria.........
















Samantha........

The 'Miss Vitality' award was given to Maria.....


















The judges, James Garner, Dr. Marit Arana, Ph.D. and Kevin Blount had made their decision.











Anticipation.................

















First Alternate was awarded to Samantha Spaletta!


















The newly appointed District 3 Dairy Princess title goes to Amanda Moretti!















Amanda gives her acception speech to the crowd of over 700.


Next on the agenda was a delicious dinner and of course some dancing.

I'm sure that at one point there were more little kids on the dance floor than big kids and adults.  Definitely a family friendly event.  Bryce loves his cousins:)


Paige and her cousin, Leila, followed the Dairy Princesses around, I think all night!


My nephew, Cameron, showing off his dance moves.......


Lots of Daddy-daughter dance time too...........



It was midnight before we arrived home.....my kids don't even go to bed this late on New Year's Eve!













The quotes above, by the contestants, were taken from the Petaluma Argus Courier.

Here is last year's contest, where Emilie Strand was crowned Dairy Princess.


I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. You can click on the “Post a Comment” link below to do so. Have a peaceful day.

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