Wednesday, December 9, 2015

4 legged friends

As I speak my SO is probably on his way back from Coos Bay with an extra hound in tow.
Trooper is his name, and he is a 3 year old finished Walker.
We will have him for a 2 week trial period and see if he is getting along with the other boys and if he hold up to his claims we'll keep him.

So the roster for The Spotted Dog Farm now sits at 8.
Benelli - Our house dog, a half chocolate lab and GSP. He will be 4 in less than two months and is the only one allowed in the house. 

Jake Spoon - A walker hound and THE first hound we brought home. We found him at the pound and just knew he was meant for us. He had some hunting experience, but is maybe only 2 or 3 years old, so he is still a young pup with much to learn. Jake has definitely proven to us that he is here to stay, and we've definitely gotten attached.

Shorty - A bluetick hound and our old man. He turned 9 this year, and has the st experience.  We trust his decisions about what to run and of its a legit trail or just a trash animal such as a skunk.  He and Jake our the leaders of our team and we are so proud of what they've done in the short time we've had them.

Blizzard - A bluetick hound and our least liked dog sadly. We spent a good chunk of money on her and she just isn't holding up her end of the bargain. She nips at the other dogs, is lazy at the tree and lately has been an unreliable nose. Her days here are numbered and she's going to N.C.

Holly - A walker hound, and another pound pup. We estimate that she is about 4 or 5 years old. She has little training but seems to have potential,  so we haven't given up on her yet. Hopefully she shows some progress this winter because we aren't in the business of having a million house dogs, ya know? 

And last but not least, the puppies
Maggie and Suzie - a walker and a bluetick.  The girls are about 7 months old now and we are just starting to get them out on the scents and into the woods. We are looking forward to seeing how the girls react to a cat in a tree and hopefully they get as excited as the boys.

We knew it would take a few years to get a highly functioning team, and I can't wait till we get there.
I love that we have these beautiful creatures in our lives and that our children get to grow up with animals and responsibilities for them.  Ryleigh helps feed the dogs every night, and loves when we take them out and she gets to go.

Rainy night blues


Seems like I've been alone alot lately.
Not intentionally,  and not for reasons you'd suspect with a start such as this.

Normal work.
Side work.
Hobby work.

These are the things that have caused such aloneness lately.
Not on purpose but by circumstance.

I catch myself swirling around these type of feelings this time of year, and it's getting hard to pull myself horizontal and swim out of the quick sand.

I know I am loved.
I know I am blessed to have the things we have.
I know I have an amazing husband and support system.

I know this.

But I also know that I don't always let those people know that these feeling are resurfacing. 

It starts slowly at first, you're listening to a song on the radio that has a somber tone, and suddenly you have tears streaming down your face.
From there, it can whip out of control, like it has in the past or you can slow the progression and try to swing back to the surface.

In the past I haven't been as successful in stifling these feelings.
I've had moments of self harm and long bouts of depression, feeling as if the sun would never be back.

But lately I've noticed the feelings creeping up when I'm alone.

Granted I'm never technically alone anymore.
One of the kids is always with me, and their smiles and laughter helps, but they are kids.  Kids that don't understand how to help me get out of the funk I've slipped into.

From working a 9-5 and then having side work on the weekend for the past 3 months straight to a 2 week elk hunt.

I just feel alone.
And sad.
And tired.
And on the verge of tears.

I just need a detox from the loneliness.
A weekend of time with my lover, my children and no distractions.
No cell phones, except for pictures, no Internet, no outside forces.

That's what I need.

The next week needs to hurry.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dinner obsession

Meat + brown rice + black bean bowls

Enough said.

Lately I've been obsessed with these things. 
I may have eaten leftovers of such a dinner before a 9 am play date.
Don't judge me.

For the longest time I would always make these with chicken thighs.
1. Because chicken thighs are wayyyy better than breasts
2. It's what we always have in the freezer.

But tonight I was craving this dinner but we were out of chicken and I HATE going to our local grocer for meat, so I pulled out some elk.
We eat a lot of wild game.
No seriously, we eat elk or venison more than we eat another meat. 

And boy am I glad I tried the elk! 
It was to die for! 

Ok, so to the food/cooking part of this blog post.

I cut the meat up into little tidbits, so it would cook fast and it would be easy for our two year old to eat. I seasoned it up with some garlic, salt, carne asada seasoning, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Let it sit for a few hours.

Cook until all the liquid the meat released is gone, 10 min max.

I also warmed up a jar of black beans that had been canned with some garlic. I added some cumin, garlic and salt and let it simmer till I was ready.

We are big brown rice fans in this house, we rarely eat white rice. I think the only time we eat it is if we go to sushi or we go to Silver Dragon.
I like to cook it in the oven, 350 for 60 min, covered in foil, no it's perfect!

Combine in a bowl and top with some cheese, sour cream and a little cholula, and dinner is served.

This has become one of our daughters favorite meals, not her most favorite, which is probably salmon and rice. That girl can put back the salmon, more than I can some times. It's rather amazing actually. 


Play dough!

I have been waiting patiently for Ryleigh to be old enough to play with play dough.

I have such vivid memories from my childhood about the stuff.
The smell.
The feeling when you squish it.
The taste.

Come on, all kids try it. 

But today was the day! 
I decided that she was old enough to not try to eat it, and I was right.

We played for 3 hours.
3 hours of her sitting in the same spot, it was like a Christmas miracle!!

Anyways, since I have become that mom that uses essential oils for everything, I figured, why not add them into play time as well?

I chose 4 oils that I love and that Ryleigh would be able to recognize.

The recipe is as follows:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid cooking oil
Food coloring and essential oils.

Add first 3 ingredients to a saucepan, and stir to combine.
Add the next three, and mix until smooth.
Turn to medium low heat and stir constantly until it becomes a ball of play dough consistency.
Remove from the heat, and let sit for 3-4 min to cool slightly.
I split it into quarters, and then added the essential oils and food coloring and kneaded it in to distribute.

Now let the little people in your lives go crazy


The Applesauce Project

If you have ever spent much time with children, you will soon find that almost all have a deep love with applesauce.

No matter what flavor, or apple variety, they love the stuff.
So of course being the person I am, I try to make some homemade every year for the toddler and soon to be solid eating baby in my life. 

Ryleigh and J are almost 20 pints last year. Granted, she went through a faze where she said she wanted it, but then wasted it, so it's not solid number.

Last year we had the option to pick from a friends orchard for free ( I never turn down free!) and J picked a beautiful assortment of golden delicious, gala, and granny's.   It wa great applesauce. 
This year, the same friend had some pest issues no we got some apples from him but they were so wormy and mealy I just couldn't even tackle them.  Off to Dr Porkchop they went. ( that is Ryleigh's pigs name FYI)

That was a month ago.

Last week I started panicking because I had yet to make my sauce for either kid.  
So off to the Saturday growers market, and low and behold, I may have found my new favorite apple.
An American heritage variety from New York.
And they are delicious. 

40lbs later, and it was sauce making time!

(Notice the snack slices for the mini in the box)

For the longest time I would peel, core, and slice all the apples by hand with a paring knife. 
Not this year!
My MIL gave us a nifty tool to do all that for us! 
( probably not new for most people, but new for us!)

Ry was such a helper! She peeled the first half of every apple. Once she made it half way through it was conveiniently said it was my turn.

After we got all the apples peeled, cored and sliced, it was time to cook!

(We had about two of these large stock pots full)

It doesn't take the apples very long to cook down into the right consistency. 
5-10 min max.
Then we drain them and purée!

I like to use my immersion stick blender, it's way easier than using a food processor or a blender. Plus there is less dishes this way!

Since Luke is getting some too, I scooped some out before we added the spices to it. I puréed his up extra smooth and put it into ice cube trays to freeze for some baby food.

We added some cinnamon to taste and no sugar.
The apples are sweet enough that we didn't need any, and I really didn't want to add any either.
Kids don't need all that extra processed white sugar anyways.

I don't think she likes it..... Just kidding, that bowl was full.
My official taster. She decided how much cinnamon we added to the sauce. 

We like to can our applesauce in pint jars, because who can really eat a quart of applesauce at a time?

My pressure canner can hold 9 pints at a time, and since I had about 9 narrow mouth pints left from this summers canning adventures,  we used those first. 

Once alł the jars are full, you have to come back with a clean, wet rag and wipe all the rims clean.
If you don't, and there is still sauce or sugar on the rim,mother lids won't seal and you will end up being angry. 

Jars breaking and jars not sealing are my nemesis.
They seriously make my blood boil, but that's for another post.

Once the jars are clean, place a warm lid and screw a band on.

Place all the jars into the canner that has been warming up, and close her up!

Once up to pressure, close the valve and bring up to 15lbs and then remove from the heat.

Wait till the pressure has dropped completely and you can open it up and remove your delicious creation!!

Now let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours. 
Remove rings, and wash to remove any excess stickiness.
Store in your pantry.

Now you can have yummy applesauce whenever you want!

So many people think pressure canning is so scary because they have heard horror stories of them exploding.  
I literally have been around a pressure canner my ENTIRE life, and we have never had a problem.
No exploding.
No botulism.
Nothing bad.

Just delicious food that we grew,  prepared and canned ourselves.

Happy canning!!


Monday, November 2, 2015


Your chest rises and falls as you slowly drift off to sleep.  I still can't believe that you're mine. Sweet little moon baby, you have made our already perfect family complete.  Sitting here in the middle of the night, when the world is sleeping, I feel like we connect the most.  
It's you and me.
Quietly rocking in the dim light of your nightlight.
Some days this is the only time you seem to nurse without distractions.

Everyday you get more and more distracted by that whirlwind of a sister.  You want to get up and play with her so badly that sometimes I think you're just going to get up and run.

Having the connection of being able to nourish you from my body when you are on the outside is more than I ever imagined. Seeing the small smiles you give me mid way through a nursing session make all the sleep deprivation worth it.  It's as if you are telling me thank you. And when you smile so big that you can't contain the milk and it streams down your cheek. I know you love me as much as your little body can. 

Baby boy, are you real? You are my favorite part of midnight💫

Night time muses

Some times I wonder what I did to become so lucky?

I am 27.
A 27 year old with an amazing husband of 4 years.
A 27 year old with our own home.
A 27 year old with 2 beautiful children.
A 27 year old with all of these things and the ability to stay home with her kids.

This is more than the average 27 year old. I am aware that we have been very lucky in the things that we have aquired and received.  Sometimes I don't think it's real.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Canning woes

It started out as a rather productive day.
Laundry washing.
Baby bouncing.
Toddler happily eating 'oadameal'.

Lots on the list of to-dos, such as cleaning the house, and peeling/coring and cutting up about 5 boxes of apples for sauce.

So I start getting the kitchen cleaned and picked up so I can start on the applesauce, and realize I NEED to wash some dishes. So about half way through I went to wash one of my FAVORITE jars, a smoothie jar as I call it. A pint and a half mason jar. I proceed to push the sponge into the jar and the bottom explodes out and I was already in mid swirl and I sliced the top of 4 fingers.


Ryleigh gets me a towel and I realize this is more than the Doc Mcstuffins bandaids can handle. It took 20 min to get the bleeding under control. Yuck.

Thankfully my mom, who is AMAZING,  was able to rush over and help me load everyone up in the car. I am pretty sure if I would have tried to put Luke in his carseat, CPS would have thought he was a crime scene.

3 stitches, some lidocaine, and a few steristrips later, we got home.

9 days without getting it wet.

How is that going to work? 
Good luck! Haha!

Just call me Leonardo. 😉

Blog revival!

I have been wanting to come back to blogging for quite some time.

I still have a handful of blogs I check regularly and each and every time it makes me wish I would restart mine. 

Life has changed quite a bit since I started and stopped.
Two babies,  one husband,  7 dogs and a home of our own.

So this time around, this little portal into my life will be filled with gardening, canning/cooking, our many working dogs, and of course, lots of late night rambling from a mother of two and the things that follow.

Stay tuned for recipes, pictures and lots of laughs!