Monthly Archives: December 2012

Good Bye 2012!

The year 2012 was so fantastic, 2013 is going to have a tough act to follow.

With inspiration from our new friend Linda Edgecombe, we successfully planned and executed our first annual women’s conference in February. We pushed our limits, got out of our comfort zones and created a new story for ourselves.

Spring brought the usual business on the farm of seeding, calving, lambing, and new this year – bees!  Once again, pushing away fears and uncertainties to learn something that is fascinating and very rewarding.

A little worker bee. She does everything, and that's how we know she's female.

A little worker bee. She does everything, and that’s how we know she’s female.

Kelly and I both had children graduate from grade 12 in June 2012. From this perspective, graduation looks so much more like a beginning than an ending. They are moving into a new phase. One with more responsibility and, just like their older siblings, they are meeting these new challenges with enthusiasm and success.

In early fall, before harvest was in full swing, we hosted our second annual Cowgirl Yoga Retreat. Once again, this was a wonderful time highlighted by new and old friendships, hours of horseback riding on beautiful trails, body soothing yoga, and breathless red-faced belly laughs.
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In October we volunteered at the Lloydminster Exhibition Association to present the third annual Harvest Feastival. Feastival has been so well received that we have moved it into a larger venue. This year there were over 400 people who braved an early winter storm to come and enjoy the food that is grown right around Lloydminster. Once again the Exhibition chef Rob and his staff created wonderful dishes that received fantastic reviews.

Getting the phyllo pastry ready.

Getting the phyllo pastry ready.

Our house got a little busier in November with the birth of a new litter of German shepherd puppies. We wanted to create one perfect puppy for ourselves, and the result was 7 beautiful healthy pups who keep us all busy with their cute antics and daily growth as they develop into the smartest dogs in the world.

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Winter came early to this area, bringing with it snow days in October, bad roads and an early end to our grazing days due to deep snow covering the stockpiled grass.  Stockpiled grass is still a great thing though, and now we are looking forward to being able to start grazing a little earlier than usual when the snow starts to melt in the spring.

What's with the snow in October?

What’s with the snow in October?

These highlights, combined with others like helping to teach grade one and two children about where their food comes from at Ag Ed Day, working with a committee whose objective is to create an area at our Exhibition’s fair that is dedicated to involving young kids in Agricultural activities, running with our youngest kids to school and sports activities, and working with our families on our farms has made 2012 a very exciting and rewarding year.

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2013 will hold more of the same. We are in the final stages of planning our second women’s conference. The bees appear to be wintering well and there are a few people who want to join us in this adventure, starting hives of their own. The Cowgirl Yogis will ride again in 2013, and we are exploring the possibilities of creating a ‘not cowgirl yoga’ event for our friends who want to join us on a retreat that wouldn’t involve horses. Feastival is a huge hit, and we already have some menu items lined up for October 2013.   Our families remain well-connected and we will continue to support and encourage our children to push their own limits as they grow and find their own passion.

At the risk of sounding like one of those ‘we are so perfect’ Christmas letters, I should mention that 2012 has also had it’s less than perfect moments.  Of course, there have been moments of frustration and concern as we work with our husbands to raise fine young people who get good grades, (mostly) and who stay out of trouble, (a lot of the time). 

We have had our not so brave moments, like when our new bees had to be introduced into their hive and I nearly ran screaming into the bush out of fear.

Of course, there was that time that Kelly ran over her camera.  That one ended well though, when she finally allowed Mike to look at it 3 months later, only to find that it wasn’t really broken.  A lens from another camera made it good as new!

Let’s not even discuss how perfectly organized and clean our houses are…..

And so it is with our usual scattered focus and multiple interests that we will continue to push our limits in 2013. With each new experience, success and challenge we learn more about ourselves and we look forward to sharing all of it with you! 

Thanks for reading along and encouraging us.

” You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”. – Mae West
<Terra>

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Deer Jerky

imageAny who follow this blog know hunting is a big deal for the boys, and some of the girls, in our houses. And you have seen our sausage making antics. Well, we tried a new recipe at our house, deer jerky. I came across a couple of recipes on the internet and more or less combined them. It is really quite simple and turned out not bad for the first time.

Deer Jerky

Trim all the sinew, fat and silver tissue off the meat. Slice the meat thinly, about 1/4 of an inch thick. It will slice better if partially frozen. Ours was pretty much thawed so some of the pieces were probably too thick. If you want chewier jerky you slice with the grain, if you want more tender , slice across the grain. Marinade in below mixture overnight to 24 hours.

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For 4 lbs meat use 1 c Worshestershire sauce , 1 c light soya sauce, 1/2 tsp liquid smoke,  1/4 c ketchup (optional),  4 Tbsp onion powder, 1 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper,  1 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt.

Lay on a rack on a cookie sheet so heat can circulate. Turn half way through. Cook for a minimum of 4 hours at 150 degrees. The gas oven dried out the meat faster than the electric. It took closer to 6 hours for the jerky to feel dry. image -Kelly

Last minute Christmas baking

Here it is, the day before Christmas eve….Christmas eve eve as our daughter calls it.

If you are looking for a cool last minute thing that you can bring to a Christmas meal, here it is.

I don’t know what it’s called…..

Got it from my favorite chef of all time – Jamie Oliver, and I’m certain that he has a name for it. For now lets call it fancy chocolate.

Take a bowl of demerara sugar, and stir in a few drops of your favorite flavoring extract. So far our favorite is coconut extract for this recipe. I think orange would be very good also.

Demerara sugar and extracts for flavoring.  Use only one extract per batch.

Demerara sugar and extracts for flavoring. Use only one extract per batch.

Spread this out thinly into a line on waxed paper.

Melt chocolate wafers in the microwave. If you have no chocolate melting wafers, and you don’t feel like braving the chaos that would be a grocery store on Christmas eve day, use chocolate chips.

Melting chocolate wafers

Melting chocolate wafers

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the demerara sugar. Keep drizzling until it is fairly well covered, but still looks drizzly.

Drizzle the chocolate over the demerara sugar.  Try not to blob it as much as I did.

Drizzle the chocolate over the demerara sugar. Try not to blob it as much as I did.


Let this sit until it hardens up. At room temp this would take a few hours. If you want to hurry up the process, move your waxed paper outside for a few minutes and it will be ready to break into pieces. Don’t try this outside thing if you have a dog.

One very sad day last week, I had set 10 beautifully decorated and wrapped chocolate cupcakes on our deck to cool. They were for our daughter’s teacher. I was convinced that the dogs wouldn’t sniff them out because they were wrapped in Christmas paper….because I’m sure dogs can’t smell through that…

If that was true, the drug dealers would have no problem getting their goods past border patrols with just a little festive wrapping and some ribbon.

This didn’t fool ‘Buck’ the German Shepherd with the bionic nose. When I went to get the cupcakes to send to school, there he was, looking up at me with love in his eyes and 10 cupcakes in his belly. Asking if there were any more. So glad he enjoyed them.

The moral of that story is only cool your chocolate outside if there are no pets around. By the way chocolate is very bad for dogs. Apparently Buck didn’t know that and he sailed through with no ill effects. I’m pretty sure he jeans are a little tighter now though, and he’ll probably break out in zits by Christmas morning.

Back to your Christmas chocolate –
When it has hardened, break it into fun chunky pieces and eat it as is, or pop it into a blob of icecream or pudding to fancy it up a bit.

Pretty.  Can be eaten as is or put into a dessert as decoration.

Pretty. Can be eaten as is or put into a dessert as decoration.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have the opportunity to share some laughs and good times with your friends and family. Relax, try not to achieve perfection. It just makes everyone else feel nervous and uncomfortable. Have some fun and make some memories!

Two Years Old

IMG_1488I cannot believe it but cowtrailsandponytales is two years old. I guess that means we are truly bloggers. Or toddler bloggers anyway. I was going to repost our first blog, but when I went and checked it out it was only one line so didn’t see the need. When we started this, Terra and I never knew where it was going to go. But as we had been talking about how cool it would be, and our kids were getting sick of hearing that, we decided to take the plunge. In that two years we have done 195 posts. Hard to believe. Some days they are easy and some days not. Thus the irregularity in posting. In addition, both of us have been doing some other writing, and getting published. It was not a big step, but it was a step that has definitely spurred us on to new things. (No pun intended for our spur wearing Cowgirl Yoga friends). Really great things that have given us an opportunity to learn, stretch, challenge, accomplish and most importantly connect with some truly fantastic people. We can’t wait for our 2nd Annual Inspiring Women Conference in February and all the rest of what 2013 may bring. We hope it is fulfilling for all of you.
– Kelly

Albert Einstein
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Homemade Sausage for Santa

IMG_1543Sausage making happens a couple of times of year at our house. One time is after the hunt is over and another is at Christmas. The Christmas sausage is a beef stick or salami made from our own home raised lean ground beef.
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We mix together
5 tsp. Morton Quick Salt
2 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
This is added to 5 pounds ground beef and mixed well. Then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Then mix again and refrigerate again for 24 hours. Form into rolls and bake at 150 degrees for 8 hours.
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If I say so myself, it is really good. I am pretty sure Santa agrees.
-Kelly

Families

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Well, it is official, according to the 1 billion users on Facebook anyway. The most popular tv show of 2012 is Duck Dynasty. Of course, the boys at our house already knew this. Even though one of them is most definitely not on Facebook. Everywhere you turn these days, there is another reality show on t.v. The more unusual your vocation or lifestyle, the better your chances of having a show. Most of them are ridiculous. But the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame have risen above the rest. They are a hugely successful family that made their money making duck calls. The patriarch, Phil, is actually a former football player (apparently with Terry Bradshaw) and has a masters in education. Son Willie is the CEO of the business, where his brothers, uncle and few others work. Or don’t work, depending on the day. The men always wear camo and have not shaven or had a hair cut in years. I can’t help but think if the same practice was adopted at our house there are two that would fit right in. By contrast the women are always well dressed and groomed. The show is amusing and I have heard a few comments that it is one of the shows that a family can watch together. And if there are any red neck tendencies, you are sure to enjoy.
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But my personal favorite family show on t.v. is Modern Family. Hands down. It is hilarious, guaranteed to have you laughing out loud. The cast is quirky but there is often something happening that we can all relate to. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a writer on that show.

-Kelly

Phil Dunfee: That’s the funny thing about marriage, you fall in love with this extraordinary person and over time they begin to seem ordinary. I think it’s all the nagging.

Willie Robertson: A camouflaged limo is like a bug light for rednecks.

Grandma did not get ran over by a reindeer. . .

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But she did get a new pony for Christmas.
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The quest to replace one of the team of Fjord/Quarter Horse crosses led to a trip across Saskatchewan. Then another one to pick them up. Notice it is them. One became three, as a pair of Fresians were added. Then four with Grandma’s pony.
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They are all destined to be driving horses but there was some talk that riding would also be a good idea. Grandpa definitely has some projects lined up to keep him busy. And there is certainly no shortage of snow to do some sleighing.
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-Kelly

“Horses make a landscape beautiful,” Alice Walker.

Water for Elephants

water-for-elephants-soundtrack-coverI truly enjoyed the book, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. So often, when this is the case, the movies don’t quite measure up. Add to that the fact that I am not a big Robert Pattinson fan, sorry all you Twilight fans, and I did not know what to expect of the movie. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie stays true to the book, and has some great cinematography. The scene of the circus coming to life was well done. So were the animal parts, particularly those of the horses and elephants. It is a romantic tale of life under the big top during the depression with an eclectic group of circus people facing a number of different challenges. The story is told as memories of Jacob Jankowski, played by Pattinson. It is worth putting on your to see list for the upcoming holiday season.

-Kelly

“Life is the most spectacular show on earth ♥”
Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

Journey

journeySome 30 years later, seeing a band live, is an amazing experience. It is truly impossible to not get caught up in the energy and excitement of the performance. It certainly helps to be three rows back. Yes, three. I didn’t even need my distance glasses. Some may think this is a tad close for concert goers of our age. In fact we did have a search through the truck for some ear plugs. Unsuccessful. But they were not necessary. The three bands, Knight Ranger, Loverboy and Journey played a ton of great songs. It is hard to imagine that most of the guys have been doing this, at that energy level, for over 30 years. Okay, well maybe not at quite the same energy level. I must admit prior to the concert I would have been hard pressed to name songs from these groups. But upon hearing them, it all comes back. You can’t help but sing along. Some even dancing. The whole vibe was one of fun and good times. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Including us. It was great.

“One good thing about music is, when it hits you, you feel no pain,” Bob Marley

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-Kelly