Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter Storms and Lambing Time

Ginger with her lambs, safe and sound
Why is it that lambing season always seems to coincide with the worst winter weather? It's January in North Carolina and yesterday we were hit with the strongest winds of the season and torrential freezing rains, therefore, Ginger goes immediately into labor and has twins, a ewe and a ram lamb, during the worst of it.

Does she do it in the warmth and comfort of the sheltered barn? No, of course she doesn't. Ginger decides that there is no better place to give birth than out in the pasture, in the open, in the freezing rains and the very strong winds, right by the electric fence. Welcome to the world little lambs!

So, what does any good shepherdess do? Why I don my trench coat, my wide brim hat and pull on my barn boots and hoof it out to the pasture to round up the crazy ewe and her little lambs and lead them to safety.

At least that was the plan anyways.  Ginger, it seems, was perfectly comfortable out in the storm and wanted nothing to do with my proffered gift of grain. Her little lambs, however, were soaked through and freezing and way too close to the electric fence, so I tried pushing Ginger towards the shelter of the barn as the rains came down sideways, as hard and cold as I've ever felt it, all to no avail. Ginger wasn't budging.


Well, by then I was soaked through, the rain was running off the brim of my hat down my back and my boots were filling with water...stupid waterproof boots. I now have a 5 gallon bucket filled with rain and some grain , a momma sheep who happens to be more stubborn than she is smart, and two freezing newborn lambs. I'm not known to be especially patient with stupid animals and decided to end this impasse, scooping up the nearest lamb in one hand, I held out the bucket in the other and waved it at Ginger until the bleating of her baby stirred her into movement. Slowly but surely, I guided her along watching to be sure her other lamb followed, all whilst keeping her from bolting back out into the pasture.  Finally, I was able to lure her into her lambing stall and rewarded her efforts with some grain and hay, thus ending the fiasco.


Little ram lamb nursing. He's so cute all white with dark spots around his eyes and one ear tipped with brown.
We have named him Spot.

Ginger seemed nonplussed after shaking the water out of her thick winter wool (all over me I might add) and her babies, although just born, seemed very grateful to have a warm dry spot to nurse and sleep.  I was cold and soaking wet, covered in hay and mud, but I was happy to have my sheep warm and safe.


Sweet baby ewe lamb, sleeping off the storm. The girls have named her Ramona.

All's well that ends well I suppose.

Blessings,
Michelle

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Batter Fried Bacon. Yes, Please!

Batter Fried Bacon? Yes, Please!
Batter fried bacon, or as some in Texas call it, chicken fried bacon. I certainly won't win any health awards for this recipe but sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and live it up. I mean, who hasn't dreamt of taking grease, I mean bacon, double coating it in fat, frying it in grease and serving it with a side of grease? Sounds great, right? Well let me tell you, it is.

Truly, this batter fried bacon recipe wasn't exactly high on my list of things I just had to make but my dear husband wanted some and pestered me everyday for a week before I finally caved, and I must admit, I'm really glad I did.

Bacon is good. Really, really good and in fact it has become somewhat of an iconic food. People eat bacon with almost everything these days, not to mention bacon flavored everything from gum to coffee. Heck, they even have bacon scented deodorant and no, I have not tried it.

Now, I certainly can't say I am a true bacon aficionado and I wouldn't recommend that you add this to your normal breakfast routine, but you really should try it for yourself at least once.

You will need:


FRIED BACON

1 pound of thick sliced bacon, cut in half (I only used half a pound for my family of 5)
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk (or if you're really a risk taker, half and half or cream)
1/2 cup of flour
spices (optional) like salt and pepper, garlic, or whatever floats your boat
oil (for frying)

CREAM GRAVY

3 TBSP drippings or butter
3 TBSP flour
2 cups of milk
2 TBSP heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper, heavy on the pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan on medium high heat. *HINT: If you use stainless steel (which I recommend) you should heat the pan before you add the oil, this way it becomes nonstick.

TIP OF THE DAY: A nonstick pan shouldn't be used over too high a heat because it ruins the nonstick coating, as does spraying it with PAM, use olive oil instead and "stick" to medium or lower heat settings.

2. Whisk the egg and milk together in a bowl. Really beat that egg...have any stress you need to release? Now's the time! :)

3. Place four in another bowl - season if you'd like (salt and pepper, garlic, paprika, cajun, etc.).



Dredge bacon in egg then flour. Repeat.
4. Double dip the bacon - first in the egg mixture and then in the flour mixture. Repeat.

Bacon can be beautiful!
5. Fry in the oil, turning when the bacon is a nice golden brown color.


6. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Easy peasie.

7. Serve the bacon with cream gravy. Directions below. Also goes well with ice cream... :)

TO MAKE GRAVY

Put drippings or butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour until well blended. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from heat and gradually add in milk, whisking constantly. Return to heat and whisk until the gravy thickens. Whisk in the cream (I actually used half and half), salt and pepper. Serve & Enjoy!

I served my Batter Fried Bacon with pancakes and strawberries, eggs and a warm cuppa joe. Delish!

Blessings,
Michelle

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oh My Great Dane!

Welcome to the family Diesel!
Look at that sweet face!

I've been told that I sometimes tend to try to start new things "too big" and I often find myself overwhelmed with the work after I've started, hence my propensity to start many projects and not always finish them.  Well, in keeping with tradition I decided I wanted/needed a new puppy and what better puppy to bring into our home than a Great Dane puppy!  Meet our "cute little puppy", Diesel. He's 4 1/2 months old and he is such a sweetheart!

Perfect picture of a Mantle Great Dane
Just look at those feet! He's confiscated the cat's toy,
 of all his "chewies" that stupid cat toy is his favorite. Go figure.
There was an error in this gadget