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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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May 31, 2011

Progressive Dairyman's Ice Cream Flavor Face Off ~ Please vote for Rocky Road!

With June being Dairy month, Progressive Dairyman launched their 2nd Ice Cream Flavor Face Off competition.  What a way to celebrate dairy and most especially ice cream!

Progressive Dairyman asked a few dairy producer bloggers from across the nation along with some of the P.D. staff members to participate in this fun challenge.  I'm honored!  Even though I'm not a very competitive person, but when it comes to something I firmly believe in, such as Sunnyside Farms Rocky Road ice cream, I'll gladly go to bat for it, of course!

Sunnyside Farms Rocky Road ice cream is a favorite in our family for a few reasons; 1) our dairy cows help produce the milk that goes into making it  2) the rich and creamy chocolate with the crunch of almonds and the softness and sweetness of marshmallows all combined in one package, is a winner with our family, every time and I hope it is with yours as well.

Please go to the Progressive Dairyman Face Off Challenge to vote {for Rocky Road} and each time you vote, your name can be entered to win $100 in free ice cream!!

The winner will be announced in Ice Cream Month, July.

Please view the fun road to Rocky Road....hope you enjoy!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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May 30, 2011

A Portuguese kind of weekend

During holiday weekends, travel is not big on our list.  This Memorial weekend, we had one day of rain, a BBQ to go to tomorrow and two of the days, we were fully enthrawled in feeling the Portuguese tradition.

Paige will be walking as 'Little Queen' in the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society parade next month so we had a few tasks on our 'to do' list to get ready for that event. 

The tasks included sewing and repairing a few things and creating a banner for the parade.  A perfect opportunity to invite my parents to come down and spend the day with us.  My Mom taught me to sew when I was 6 years old....Barbie clothes and blankets were 'my thing' back in the day.

My Dad needed to take his car in at 11 a.m. to be repaired on Saturday morning but he was more than happy to make the 30 minute drive down to drop my Mom off to spend the day {Mom doesn't drive}. 

Sooo, 8 a.m. my parents arrive.

We really had a great time chatting about old times and long time friends.  Before it began to rain, Bryce and Paige took Grandma outside to show her the roses, the container garden and how good they had become at riding their bikes.

For lunch, I thought it would be fun to make the day authentically Portuguese by serving the linguica and Portuguese cheese I bought at the Novato Holy Ghost auction a few weeks ago.  My Mom showed up with a bag full of Fava Beans, a perfect addition to the menu.
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May 29, 2011

Looming Clouds Over The Dairy

With Memorial Day weekend here, one's thoughts might lead to back yard barbeque's, gathering of friends and just spending time outside in general.  Well, this is exactly the way my thoughts were headed until late in the morning when it actually started raining.

Luckily, my plans for the day, on Saturday only included indoor activities, so the rain didn't bother me much.  But come had better have disappeared.

Has it been rainy or sunny for your Memorial weekend??

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic dayJ

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May 28, 2011

Best of the Web: Star Spangled Custard Tart

Celebrate Memorial Day with this Star Spangled custard tart from Bon Appetit.  Fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries top this white balsamic custard tart.  It's sure to be a hit at every summer BBQ.

White Balsamic Custard Tart with Fresh Berry Topping
via Bon Appetit 

Makes 8 servings



1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon whipping cream


1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


2 large strawberries, hulled, sliced
2 1/2-pint containers blueberries
1 1/2-pint container raspberries


for crust:

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolk and cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Pierce dough all over with fork. Chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 22 minutes. Cool.

for filling:

Stir cream and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla; whisk to blend.

Boil vinegar in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water, sugar, and butter. Stir until butter melts; return to boil. Gradually whisk vinegar mixture into egg mixture; return to pan. Whisk until custard thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Strain into bowl; cool. Spread custard in prepared crust. Cover and chill tart at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

for topping:

Arrange strawberry slices in star pattern in center of tart. Arrange raspberries in star pattern. Surround with blueberries. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve. DO AHEAD Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.

What are your plans for this Memorial Day Weekend??

Photograph by Mark Thomas via Bon Appetit

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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May 27, 2011

Cruisin' the Beef

Now that Paige doesn't have soccer on Thurday mornings, we have some free time.  Dominic was heading over to check on the progress at the 'Hidden Pond' so we went along for the drive. 

Along the way we came across a few of the beef cows; the two bulls and a couple of older mamas that don't make the trek up to the top of the hill {that you can see in the background} for the summer.
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May 26, 2011

Farm Photo Friday ~ From High in the Sky

Have you ever wondered what your house, ranch, farm or homestead looks like from above?  Well, many years ago a pilot took an aerial shot of our ranch and the photo is framed and hangs on our wall.

A  few new barns and a new house later, we now have an updated areal shot of the ranch...this time our house is in it.
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May 25, 2011

Pink Firetrucks

As I was headed into Starbuck's to get in one of my '3-A-Day' dairy servings, I had to do a double take.....these couldn't possibly be PINK firetrucks, could they?!

I thought it would be best if I went in and bought my non-fat milk, decaf Misto first, before coming back out to see if what I was viewing was for real or some sort of mirage.
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Wordless Wednesday: Play Date

Just the other day, after Paige's gymnastics class, we headed over to a friend's house so the girls could get together for a play date.  So glad I had my camera with me because I found some beautiful flowers in their backyard to photograph.

For Wordless Wednesday, here's one.....

Wordless Wednesday link up:
Pinke Post
Project Alicia
Dagmar's Momsense
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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May 24, 2011

Hot Rod Car Show

One of the things I really like about the 4-H program is the opportunity for the members to work as a team for community service or to work a fundraiser for the's not all about owning animals, there's so much more to it.   This past Saturday the kids in our 4-H club had the opportunity to sell popcorn as a fundraiser for our club during the American Graffiti Car Show held in Petaluma.

Our shift was from 2-4 p.m. and it was a busy one.  Bryce and another 4-H member took turns holding the sign out in front of the booth and collecting money and making change on the sales.

But before our shift at the popcorn booth, Bryce and I had a chance to walk around and check out some of the 450 cars that were entered.

Bryce wanted to take a pic in front of this lavender car for his sister, Paige.

The bonus of working the last shift of the day was we had a prime viewing spot from our booth as all the cars began to cruise the boulevard.  Fun times at the car show. 

What did you do this past weekend??

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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May 23, 2011

Pound Cake for 4-H Fair Entry Ideas

Sunday we geared up for our last 4-H cooking meeting of the 4-H year.  Fair season is just around the corner and my cooking co-leader and I thought it would be fun to give the kids some recipe ideas they could possibly enter in the county fair.

I adore my subscription to the Food Network magazine and really utilize and modify many of the recipes I find in it.  The May issue is where we found the Quick Bread {or pound cake} recipe we used yesterday.

We had a group of 10 kids {11 counting Paige} show up for the meeting with mixing bowl in hand.  This particular recipe allowed you to choose the 'mix-in' ingredients of your own choosing....the choices I had out for the kids to choose from were, dried cranberries, raisins, shredded coconut and chocolate chips.

We split the kids into four groups to work together and decide amongst their group members as to what mix-ins they would choose for their pound cake mini loaves.

While the pound cakes were cooling, the kids made a glaze to drizzle on top, if they wished.

 Baking in the kitchen sure leaves the house smelling SO good.  I was hungry and could hardly wait to try Bryce's or Paige's cake.

But someone was more impatient than.  As I peeked around the corner, I found Paige digging into her own mini loaf....doggie style.

Mix and Match Quick Bread by Food Network:

Create your perfect loaf of quick bread: This customizable recipe leads to thousands of possibilities!
1. Choose a Flavor
Prepare 1 cup fruit or vegetables (one kind).

*Pear, shredded and squeezed dry
*Apple, shredded and squeezed dry
*Banana, mashed
*Carrot, shredded
*Zucchini, shredded and squeezed dry

2. Pick Your Mix-Ins
Choose up to 1 3/4 cups total of the following ingredients (use no more than 3/4 cup nuts). Toast and chop any nuts; chop any large dried fruit.

*Dried cherries
*Dried cranberries
*Dried currants
*Dried figs
*Dried apricots
*Pitted dried dates
*Rolled oats
*Chocolate chips
*Sweetened shredded coconut

3. Prepare the Pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or three 6-by-3-inch mini pans.

4. Make the Batter
Mix 1 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon each baking powder and salt, and 1/2 teaspoon each baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl; add your dry mix-ins (from step 2). In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 1/2 cup cooled melted butter or vegetable oil, 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon citrus zest (optional). Stir your fruit or vegetables (from step 1) into the egg mixture, then fold into the dry mixture until just combined.

5. Bake the Loaf
Spread the batter in the prepared pan(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes for a standard loaf, 35 to 40 minutes for mini loaves. Cool 30 minutes in the pan(s) on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

6. Make a Glaze
Prepare a glaze, pour on the cooled bread and let set, 15 to 20 minutes.

Whisk 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Vanilla Bean
Whisk 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and the seeds from 1 vanilla bean.

Brown Butter
Brown 3 tablespoons butter over low heat; cool slightly. Whisk with 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. Use immediately.

Whisk 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon each milk and citrus juice, and 1 teaspoon citrus zest.

Cream Cheese
Whisk 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons milk and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Make these in advance: You can store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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May 22, 2011

WW: Battle Lost...

Things are beginning to dry out here on the farm.  Which means the grass is drying out and the foxtails are relentless! 

I'm sad to inform, Chloe lost her battle with the foxtails this summer.

Here's what she looks like, normally......

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May 21, 2011

Best of the Web: Blood Orange Mojito

Because I just arrived home from a very full day of T-Ball, a 4-H obligation at a car show and because it's Saturday night........I want one of these......served in a fish bowl.
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May 20, 2011

How to Toast Coconut and Why

Healthy Cooking Group meeting has once again come around.  I was excited to actually be able to make this meeting, considering I've missed the past couple of months.  The theme or inspiration for our recipes during this month's meeting would be favorite.

I signed up to bring dessert.  But on the day of the meeting, time got away from me and I had to come up with something quick and easy.

Can't go wrong with ice cream, right?!  It comes in 1/3 fat, 1/2 fat, low fat....plenty of options for a healthy cooking meeting.

I didn't just want to bring a carton of ice cream, so I decided to toast the sweetened coconut I had stock-piled in my pantry.  So easy to do too.  Just place on a baking sheet.

Bake in pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 7 minutes.  Let cool and you end up with coconut crunchy sweetness. 

I store mine in a canning jar to keep fresh.

My other inspiration for toasting coconut was this Coconut Pineapple ice cream I found on a trip to Target.  If you adore coconut like I do, don't walk, RUN to the store and pick up a carton.  This Dreyer's brand is a Limited Edition......I'm guessing through the summer months only.

Well, the Healthy Cooking Group meeting was canceled last minute, but I decided to go according to my plan and have a bowl of the coconut pineapple ice cream myself.

And I'm SO glad I did!  I loved how the crunchy sweetness of the toasted coconut blended with the creaminess of the ice cream.  I do believe I've found my new favorite summer time dessert.

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?  I have a few:)

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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Farm Photo Friday

I just love it when I'm going through my camera's memory card and find some photos that I had forgotten I had taken.

A week ago, on Friday, we were invited down the hill to Nonny and Papa's house for dinner.  An impromptu get together at my in-law's house.  The kids were excited.  They asked Daddy to load their bicycles in the back of the truck with them for the ride down the hill......they're not allowed to ride down the hill, it's pretty steep.  Nonny and Papa's house is down near the milk barn, on flat ground so there's much more room to ride around.

And they did, until they were called in for dinner.

It's Friday!  What are your plans for the weekend?

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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May 19, 2011

The Rumbling of Spring

I was awakened to the sound of a rumbling the other morning, that to me signifies spring is most definitely here.  Rumbling that is only heard on a dairy farm, as far as I know. 
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May 18, 2011

A Homeschool Lesson about Starving Children and Panera Cares

It's another rainy day here in northern California, so the slow cooker came out this morning.  Roast, potatoes and carrots are on the menu for dinner.  But when my six year old found out what we were having, he complained, horribly.  I was so disappointed with his complaining about the plate full of food that was in front of him,{yes, I do realize he's only six} that I preceded to tell him there are millions of children in the world that are starving and have never seen food like this.....that they may have to eat bugs or whatever they find just to survive. {you may think my comment is harsh, but when you have a child that complains about 70% of the dinners he's given, it takes a toll}
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May 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: How Does My Succulent Grow?

With our home on the farm being situated atop a hill and 20 miles from the coast, it can get quite windy.  As a matter of fact, in the photos below, you can see our American flag flying high in the background. So when I am at the gardening store choosing plants, I need to keep this fact in mind and opt for something on the hearty side. 

When my cousin was up visiting from southern California, he raved about the succulents he was growing in his containers back home.  They only need a good watering once a month and they're very low maintenance.  That's all I needed to hear before going out and buying a few myself.

My cousin was right, they are easy and I do love looking at them.  They sit on my front porch, atop a wine barrel, in the windiest area of our yard. 

I have no idea what the name of this succulent is, but it is so pretty with it's golden blooms.  I can't recommend succulents enough.

What's your favorite container plant?
Linking to The Little Round Table for This Week in my Garden

Wordless Wednesday Link Up with:
Project Alicia:
The Pinke Post:
Dagmar's Momsense:
Better in Bulk

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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May 16, 2011

The Circle of Life on a Farm

This isn't one of my favorite sites I get to experience on a daily basis on the dairy farm, but they live here, they eat here, they play their part in life and they're part of country living for sure.

It's not often, that I can snap a photo of them all lined up on fence posts either.  As I was driving out the other day, I spied this line up of Turkey Buzzards on the fence line.  I was hoping the baby Killdeer who would be just in front of them under the tree, who could have just hatched, wasn't what the buzzards had as an itty bitty snack.
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May 15, 2011

Carrying on the Portuguese Family Tradition

The Portuguese tradition of going to 'festas' and walking in Portuguese parades is one I grew up with.  My entire childhood and into my teen years, was spent attending the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society events all summer long. 

Traditional Portuguese food, dancing, parades, auctions and church ceremonies are deeply embedded in my memory.  At the time, I didn't give them a second thought,
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May 14, 2011

Best of the Web: Raspberry Champagne Cocktail

In this week's "Best of the Web" I am featuring this refreshing raspberry champagne cocktail from Williams Sonoma.  Wouldn't this be perfect for a Sunday brunch or even a  bridal shower?!  This recipe looked so refreshing on their website, I just had to share:)

Fresh raspberries macerated in crème de cassis and then bathed in chilled Champagne, with just a hint of grenadine for extra flavor, make this a sumptuous and eye-catching aperitif for a special meal.
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May 13, 2011

What Blogger down time told me about myself

Yesterday, at around noon as I was creating a few blog posts, my server, Blogger went down.  No warning, it just stopped.  I thought to myself, I'm glad I just put together the next couple of days worth of posts because there's no telling when Blogger would be back up again.

Well, fast forward, 24 hours later to today.  Finally at around 11 a.m., it came back up.

Within the 24 hour period of down time, I could not view my account or read and comment on any of the other Blogger blogs I frequent.

What this told me about myself is that I am most definitely obsessed with blogging.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself......but then I remembered......Twitter........pathetic isn't it?!

With all this free time I had this morning, I drove with Dominic to the Hidden Pond to see the progress on the work being done there.  Many truck loads full of clean dirt is being brought in to form a nice, level pad adjacent to the pond. 
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May 11, 2011

Stopped In My Tracks

The recent weather we experienced last week has somehow disappeared!  It's windy, cold and rain is scheduled to come in again this weekend.

This weather leaves me with the feeling of winter again......which is not all bad because this is one of the thoughts I had.........

On our get away to Lake Tahoe this past winter, as I was walking along a pathway, all alone....sometimes just a quick and quiet five minute walk alone is just what I crave, to maybe, get the chance to notice things such as this...

A small, recently fallen pinecone laid in a pillow of freshly fallen snow.  Untouched by human hands.  It literally stopped me in my tracks.  At that moment, as I stood there, marveling at its beauty surrounded by the pure white snow, a feeling of gratefulness came over me.

Grateful for nature's beauty.

Grateful for being able to take a snow trip, with my family.

Grateful for the experiences we are able to give our two children.

Grateful for the good friends we have.

Grateful for the inspiration found in such things as this powerful, little pinecone.

Okay, okay, kind of corny I know.....


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Wordless Wednesday: No need for words

There is nothing I enjoy more than a beautiful sunset when it falls over the dairy farm.

Link up for Sunday Best at A Rural Journal:
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May 10, 2011

The Hidden Pond

As a mom, I love spending time with my kids together and one on one.  But there's something extra special about one on one time.....maybe it's the fact that there is no competition for 'talk' time between the two kids with one on one time that I love so much? 

We love exploring.  Paige, my youngest, will begin Kindergarten in the fall and I've been feeling more and more melancholy about my baby's new chapter she's about to begin in her life.  So I've been cherishing our one on one time more than usual lately.

On this particular day, when Dominic was clearing some brush from ranch property behind Stafford Lake, you may remember Paige and I tagged along.  

We drove over in the truck to watch and explore.   

Just to the left and up a hill from where Dominic was clearing brush, sits our dam.  You would never know it's there by just driving's sort of hidden.  A hidden pond makes for some good exploring.

This pond provides water to the dairy calves that live over on this part of the ranch.  The water is filtered to a water trough just to the right and down the hill in the photo above.
Paige had a ball leading Chloe around to see what they could find.

And wild flowers are always high on the satisfaction list.

We'll plan many more trips over in the summer time.  We have some big plans for this pond!  The wild flowers will be gone but will bring a picnic lunch, some fishing poles and Bryce will be able to join us.

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 {this only works if viewing through a reader}.
Have a peaceful day.

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May 9, 2011

Spotty Spot Spot

Yep, that's what she wanted to name her.......the two day old dairy calf.  What can I say, but that's the first thing that popped into my four year old's head when she spotted this calf.......see the spot?
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May 8, 2011

Hanging Out In San Luis Obispo

Every year for the past eight years, we've spent the first weekend in May in San Luis Obispo.  Dominic coaches the Petaluma FFA dairy judging team and this is the weekend of the state finals held at Cal Poly.

We motor homed it down and parked at our cousin's and good friend's house, the Silaccis.  Rich manages the dairy at Cal Poly and both he and Dominic are Cal Poly alumni, so our trips down to San Luis Obispo always come with good memories re-lived for them. 

On day one, we borrowed our friend's truck and drove down town to walk a bit and have some lunch.  We headed over to the San Luis Obispo Mission.  This is where my in-laws were married so it was fun to tell the kids this fact while we were exploring it.
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May 7, 2011

All I want for Mother's Day is......

....this Brown Sugar & Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze.

I think I have a problem.

And it involves butter, chocolate and sugar.

If we weren't in San Luis Obispo right now, camping out at in our friend's driveway in a motorhome, I'd bake this Bon Appetit recipe for myself for Mother's Day......yes I would.
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May 6, 2011

Mustard Sightings~Friday Farm Shot

On the road to Penngrove yesterday morning on my drive to drop Chloe off at my parent's house for the weekend, I noticed Mustard is in FULL bloom along the way. 

Okay, so this isn't the best photo, but it was taken from my car on a busy highway in between drive by traffic.  I just couldn't help myself, I had to take a few shots.
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May 5, 2011

Arrribe! Mexican Recipes

Happy Cinco De Mayo!  I LOVE Mexican food and I love me a good margarita!  I was in Target the other day and on my list, was frozen fruit.....for smoothies.  I found a blend that I hadn't seen before....Berry Mango Fruit Mix.

At the time, I didn't have margaritas on my mind, but two days later, hey Cinco De Mayo.....margarita required.

Have you ever made a margarita with sparkling limeade? 
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Mint Julep for the Kentucky Derby

Have you tried a Mint Julep?  I have, once.  I'm not much of a bourbon drinker but when I was at a Kentucky Derby party many years ago, the host offered up Mint Juleps as the party cocktail of choice to go along with the two minute horse race we were about to watch. 

I liked them.  Must be the combination of mint, sugar and water that take the bite out of the bourbon for me.

If you're having a Kentucky Derby party, or even if you're not, a Mint Julep is worth a try.

The mint julep has been promoted by Churchill Downs in association with the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Each year almost 120,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

Here is Food Network's version for you........

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May 4, 2011

Invasion of the Dry Cows

If you've been following along with my horse, Joey's story, you then know he tends to founder when his pasture has grown rich, green grass and that he's in 'lock down' right now.

Joey's pasture is huge.  There's a ton of green grass that he looks longingly upon from the confines of his barn and small paddock.

This green grass must be eaten before Joey's let back out......enter, Dry Cows.  Dominic let a group of dry cows into the pasture to eat down some of the green grass has no adverse affects on a bovine.....they have four stomachs after all and can handle it.

Well on day two, the dry cows must have felt a bit of sympathy for poor ole Joey because they trompled down that hot wire fencing and busted him out of his confines.....oh yes they did! 
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May 3, 2011

Sweetheart the Dairy Calf

If Paige has any say in the matter, we'll have all of the calves at the calf barn named to her liking in no time.  All of them DO have names but Dominic is the one who normally names them for their paper work........although, I don't think he comes up with names such as 'Sweetheart'.

It wasn't long before we had Sweetheart out of her pen to play with.
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May 2, 2011

Snowball Tree in California

About as close to snowballs we get here in northern California is the Snowball Tree.  We have one on the ranch and it belongs to my mother and father-in-law.  While much of the Midwest is getting some spring snow storms, we are fortunate enough to be enjoying spring weather in the high 70's....finally. 

The Snowball Tree sits in the ground in my in-law's yard along the fence line that I drive by numerous times every day.  It blooms in the spring and this year, late spring rains haven't washed the snowballs from the tree as has happened in previous years.

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May 1, 2011

Return of the Killdeer

A year ago, when I was first introduced to our resident Killdeer pair, I became enamored by them.  The pair of them found their way to our front yard to make their nest and lay their eggs.  I watched them everyday. 

This spring, once again I've come across a Killdeer pair.  Not in our front yard, but down on the ranch near the milking parlor, amongst the walnut orchard.

They lay their eggs in a nest they've built on the ground, usually in a gravel area.  The amazing thing about this species is when they see a 'predator' coming in their direction, like me, the male or female, whom ever happens to be watching over the nest at the time,  immediately run from the nest and fake a broken wing in hopes to draw the predator towards them and then fly away when he gets closer. 

My first attempt in trying to find the nest of eggs was unsuccessful, but I knew I was close.  Whomever was watching over the nest, mama or daddy, spotted me before I spotted her and ran in the opposite direction, and played the broken wing maneuver he had mastered.
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