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

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December 31, 2010

As 2010 Comes to a Close

As 2010 comes to an end, so does the approach of the one year anniversary of The Wife of a Dairyman.  I truly appreciate and thank you for following along with me on this journey.  I've learned a lot in 2010.  I've met so many wonderful, inspirational people that I now call friends and reconnected with old ones through blogging and I feel blessed by that. I look forward to experiencing another year in this journey to who knows where.  I hope you will come along as well.

For fun, {and because, isn't this what one is supposed to do at year's end?} I chose some of the posts that I've enjoyed and made me laugh the most from 2010.....

                                       The Bull                       Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

                                                        Where the green grass grows

                             Learning to drive                  Meeting new friends in person in SLO

                        Magnets can save a cow's life                  Farmers on vacation

Cousin Vic

In January I introduced you to our Hoof Trimmer, Joe and shared when the Buck Stopped Here on the dairy.

In February I demonstrated one reason that Bulls Terrify Me and that sometimes you may find Cows on the Loose at a dairy.

March was a month of the Big Moove for our beef.  I learned what in the world a Killdeer was on my very own egg hunt and I also jotted down some Dairy Myths vs. Dairy Facts.

April was a thrilling month, mainly because I was able to have lunch with and meet Temple Grandin in person, thanks to our friends, the Taylors.  Dominic demonstrated just how he shoots a magnet into a cow's tummy and learned How a Magnet can Save a Cow's Life. and that green grass doesn't only grow from the ground.

In May, I brought the kids to their first Portuguese Festa to learn a little about what I experienced growing up, being raised as a 1st generation Portuguese American within my family.  Another demonstration by Dominic showed us how a cow can become pregnant by A.I.

In June I found out just how much trust Dominic has in my tractor driving abilities......and how brave he is!
Paige also discovered just how a good hand sucking feels, dairy style.  And I can't forget about the baby barn owls in the calf barn in the woods....definitely a highlight!

July was a month of friends, food and discovering farmers can only relax when on vacation away from the ranch....even if they do wear boots to the beach.

In August I learned all about the sea of jellyfish we discovered at a favorite beach spot.  And with my cousin's visit, just what goes into Bolashas De Espece.  I also talked about  how we test our milk and why.

September was a month of discovering what Farmers, Facebook, Twitter and Blogging have in common with my trip to Chicago. And also sharing a link on how to know where your milk is from.

October I faced a fear I've had for a lifetime....public speaking at the Cal Poly Dairy Symposium and then relaxing at the SLO bar scene afterwords....Phew!

In November, I was properly taught how to drive a tractor by a very patient Dominic.  I also got to experience my first Foodbuzz Festival in San, eat, eat!

And here we are in December.  A month of parties, such as the Dairy Women's Christmas Luncheon.
And how I caught Santa for the very first time!

Oh and I can't finish without including one of the most viewed recipes {and one of my favorites} from 2010... Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  And the post that generated the most comments, Organic vs. Conventional Dairy Farms.

What is one of your most memorable occasions of 2010??  Any big plans for 2011??
I wish you and your family a very healthy and happy 2011.  Cheers!

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December 30, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The New. the Dairy Farm

After our doggie hike yesterday, we drove onto the ranch to find a load of rice hulls had been delivered!

Try and contain your excitement now, I know it's difficult.

Rice hulls.

Kids love um.

Cows love um

It's not food for the dairy cows, but bedding for some of them in one of the barns.  Out with the old, in with the new.  The old stuff is recycled by being spread onto the pastures to fertilize.  This happens about every four weeks or so and everyone is excited when it's here.

I have to admit, it is fun to let the rice hulls run through your fingers, almost like sand.  I can see why you'd want to just jump right in....cows and kids {and maybe me too, at times}.

I'm not sure what the kids love more, help driving the tractor, or playing in the rice hulls?

What is it with kids and them not feeling the cold?  It looks sunny and warm here but in actuality, it's sunny and 50 degrees.  I'll never understand the aversion kids have to jackets.

Bryce knows just what to do with the bucket controls.  I'm sure he's giving Paige a play by play with every maneuver, he's good like that..........

My father-in-law, George, drives the other tractor.....

It doesn't take very long to spread the rice hulls in the barn and the cows dig it!  They come right over and begin to dig and darn cute.

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December 29, 2010

Know Your Camera? Flash or No Flash? Manual or Auto?

It's a stormy day, kids still on Christmas break, Legos, play ponies, swimming Barbies scattered all throughout the house.  I could clean and organize.....nah, I'll practice some photography skills instead.  Much more fun.

In the past six months, I've learned that it's best to take photos, most all photos, without flash.  Especially when your subject is food.  The flash just washes the food out and makes things look harsh and ugly.  So, I wanted to get to know my Rebel digital camera a little better and yesterday was the day.

This first photo was taken in my kitchen with a flash and a bright window behind the subject.  A little washed out.

I normally take all my photos on the manual setting of "P" - no flash but with the bright window behind and on a stormy, dark day, the subject also came out very dark.  Normally I would have a "daylight" fluorescent light bulb pointed at the subject for more lighting, but I wanted to show the true lighting of the room in these photos.....

Still on manual, but this time on the "Tv" setting, I set my shutter speed to 15" and adjusted my "white balance" to "daylight"  and my camera is on a tripod.  Much better.

Here's another example without the bright window behind.  With flash......

On manual "P" setting, no flash.............

On manual "Tv" setting, no flash, with shutter speed at 6", on a tripod,  much better.......

Here's one that's a little over exposed on the "Tv" setting with shutter speed of 10" on a tripod ........

When all else fails, I have my camera on the manual "P" setting so I don't have to think about exposure. And I'll do anything to get away from using a flash.

I'm just beginning to really learn how to use my camera properly, it only took me 4 years, there's a lot to learn! 

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December 28, 2010

Roast Turkey-Boob Side Down

With the plethora of sugary treats I've ingested in the past two weeks, my body is seriously craving some protein. All I want for food is meat and brussels sprouts....weird, huh?

I had bought a turkey after Thanksgiving and stuck it in the freezer with the thought of practicing my turkey roasting skills sometime in the near future.  I have a confession.....

I'm not the best turkey roaster. 

I'm intimidated by the turkey. 

I have turkey issues.

But I do love to eat turkey. 

Freezer space is limited in our house and considering we just picked up our natural beef that was recently harvested, I had to make room for the beef in the freezer so out came the turkey.  

I've only roasted a few turkeys in my life and have had issues with retaining as much juice {or any juice} when roasting a bird, especially the breast area.  I scanned online for some tips on roasting turkey and came across a method of roasting the bird, boob-side down.   Hey, it's worth a shot, right?

I didn't have much time to prepare this 13 pound bird, I had been for a visit at my parent's house and arrived home at around 2:30.  I quickly washed the turkey, inside and out, olive oiled it, salted inside and out and peppered the outside as well.  I also stuffed the cavity with onion and quartered lemon.  Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn down the temp to 350 for the remainder of the time. 

I didn't tie the legs together, which probably helped it cook faster.....I'm not sure.  This bird roasted for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.  I let it rest, covered with foil for another 20 - 30 minutes.

As you can see, roasting boob side down leaves the breasts lighter in color.  If you're worried about achieving that toasted brown color on the breasts, you can flip the bird over for the last 5 minutes and broil for color.

Everything was completely cooked and remained juicy.  I was extremely happy with the results and will definitely use this method again.  Yay!

Have you ever tried this method?  What's your favorite method of preparing a turkey?  Deep fried, roasted, smoked?

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December 27, 2010

Did You Miss the Lunar Eclipse?

If you're like me, you were in bed, asleep during the lunar eclipse that took place the other night.  If you follow astronomy, you then know, the last time the winter solstice coincided with a total lunar eclipse on the same calendar day may have happened once in the last 2,000 years.  And I slept through it.  Too bad, because it would have been a perfect night to photograph this epic event....the sky was clear of fog, no rain, no street lights near the dairy, perfect conditions. 

Luckily, an acquaintance, Ron Forslind of Forslind Photography was up with his camera and took these fabulous shots! {Thank you Ron!} These photos are so beautiful, I asked Ron if I could share them with all of you......

Since we, most likely, won't be around for the next Solstice Lunar Eclipse, here's a neat YouTube video of this's only a minute and a half long.....

Were you awake or asleep, like me, for the lunar eclipse?

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December 26, 2010

My Over Indulgence at Christmas and A Green & Black's Chocolate Winner=The Wife!

A lot has happened this busy weekend so I'll share some of the highlights with you.  The weekend began with Christmas Eve dinner, here on the ranch at my in-law's home.  Fifteen of us in all.  First came the food.

Then came presents.

Some drinks in between it all.

And finally, dessert.

Everyone was tuckered out, including new little puppy, Sheba........

Only to begin all over again on Christmas day.  We spent the majority of our day, relaxing at home, playing with new toys. Dominic was in and out of the house, as he went out to feed the dairy cows on a stormy day.

By 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the kids and I headed to my sister and brother-in-law's house for Christmas dinner.  Dominic drove up a little later after he finished working at the ranch and made it just in time for dinner.

Another party dress for Paige to wear, Bryce with his red Christmas shirt on, once again, excitement was high.

The food was amazing.  I could NOT stop eating.  My favorite....these marinated, bacon wrapped, jumbo prawns straight from Bodega Bay, that my brother-in-law, Herman BBQ'd.

They also served ham and tri-tip and fresh cracked crab!  So much to choose from!  Enough food for 40 people, although there were only 15 of us.....leftovers are the best, aren't they?!

I had already eaten three of the jumbo prawns before dinner, but decided I wanted more for my dinner.  I made up a seafood platter for myself.  Crab salad, prawns, delicious honey/pecan carrots, asparagus and a pepper/kidney bean salad.  I was stuffed.  I'm still stuffed.

 Bryce was certainly happy eating the tri-tip....the little carnivore that he his.

Cheers to you, Herman.

I did, however, save a little room for dessert.  These are mini cheesecake cupcakes, made by the Cheesecake Factory.  I only had one, but could have easily eaten two or three.
I think it's time for a sugar detox. 

Did you over do it during your holiday celebrations? What was your favorite Christmas indulgence?

The Winner of the Green and Blacks Chocolate giveaway is :

"The Wife" said...

Oh decisions, decisions. Of course I LOVE milk chocolate. I have come to appreciate dark though. Trying to be all healthy and stuff.
Merry Christmas to you and your fam! May 2011 bring you happiness, health and good fortune!!
December 24, 2010 2:23 PM

Congratulations! Now I just need to know your preference on the apron or the shopping bag to go along with your chocolate!
Email me your mailing address and preference: TheWifeOfADairyman {at} gmail {dot} com

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