Monday, July 16, 2012

Cantaloupe Ice Cream

Well sorry for the MIA status.  I have been enjoying my summer a little too much,  I haven't been in my garden, or blogged in about 3 WEEKS!!

Anyway during that three week hiatus I have done some really fun things!

The 83rd Annual Rocksprings Rodeo started the fun.  My parents, Toppie, Jon, Brenda and Abby all came and stayed the weekend. We had a large time!

Then we had a great group spend some time on the Frio River during the 4th.

Like my week hadn't been crazy enough my friend Katy and I decided to set up a road side stand selling cantaloupe and watermelon.  We loaded up a large flat bed goose neck with about 2500 pounds of cantaloupe and about the same in seedless watermelon. We got all this wonderful goodness in  Coyanosa in between Ft Stockton and Pecos at Mandujano Brothers Produce.  Here is the funny version of that story Nice Melons

Then I took 4 girls to the State FFA Convention in Corpus. 

So maybe when I said I have been enjoying my summer a little too much I really meant I haven't slowed down much. 

Anyway this week I am glad to be home all week! Friday is Sam's birthday and our Tillman Family Reunion is this weekend at Rough Canyon.  YEAH!!!

For those of you that don't know, Amistad is one my favorite places! Remember the Devils River I drooled about well that river along with the Rio Grande and the Pecos all flow into this beautiful reservoir to make for what I like to call "Heaven on Earth"

Anyway back to the ICE CREAM!!

Since Katy and I did our 2nd Annual Melon Run we thought what better way to eat cantaloupe than in ice cream. During out 1st Annual last summer a gentleman told us about Blue Bell Ice Cream making a seasonal Pecos Cantaloupe Ice Cream.  So yesterday I decided I had better get to churning before all my cantaloupe rotted. 

The recipe is pretty easy or at least I made it easy.  I know cooking eggs and cream and sugar makes the most delightful custard and if you want to do all that be my guest, but I think it tastes pretty dang good this way. 


1 large cantaloupe deseeded, peeled and cubed
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups half & half or milk
1 cup sugar
2 t vanilla


I used an emulsion blender to puree the cantaloupe into a smooth consistency.  If you wanted chunks of cantaloupe in the ice cream you need to wait until the ice cream has set up and then add the chunks. 

Mix cream, half & half, sugar and vanilla until sugar has dissolved.  Add cantaloupe puree.  Pour into ice cream freezer and churn.

We had this creamy goodness at a 1year olds birthday party last night. Happy 1st year of life Miss Piers!

Just love special occasions and any reason to make ice cream is glorious!


Monday, June 25, 2012


Had another great last minute weekend at the Devils River with the Kerbow's and my madre.  Love that place!!

Then I came home to my wonderful hubby filling up the pool! Love being able to come home and jump in, since that's exactly what I did today, it was HOT!

This afternoon Katy and I made our version of fig newtons.

My Aunt Lida's fig tree is bearing lots of ripe fruit so what better thing to do with figs, right.

So we made two variations, one was the original whole grain and the other was gluten free and sugar free.  I think I like the gluten free version better.

We had plenty of fruit filling left over so we canned it for a quick Fig Jelly.  2 jars being sweetened with sugar and 3 jars are honey sweetened.

Katy is a much better pastry chef than I am.  Her bars pictured above turned out much prettier than mine, Saige probably could have done better than me :)

They are all tasty and all our hard work was topped off with a evening dip in the pool.  Ahh summertime!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lemon Cucumbers!

I am so excited I picked my first two lemon cucumbers this morning.  I can't wait to eat one for lunch. 

My cousin Jennifer introduced me to these beauties and I have been patiently waiting for one to be big enough to pick. 

I will let you know how yummy they are!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fresh Herb Crusted Salmon

I was watching Barefoot Contessa on Saturday morning and Ina did this awesome salmon recipe.  I had just bought two fresh filets of salmon the day before so I was chomping at the bit to try this. All these herbs are growing in my yard/garden so it was really easy.


1 salmon filet
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup mined chives
1/2 cup minced dill
1/2 cup minced parsley


I used the grill but you could use the oven set at 425 degrees.  Season salmon with salt and pepper liberally. Combine olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle over salmon.  Let it set at room temperature for a least 15 minutes.  Combine fresh herbs and scatter over the salmon.  I let this set in covered in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.  I think it really marinated the salmon and removed  that fishy flavor it can sometimes have.

Cook salmon for 10 to 15 minutes until firm.

This dish was husband approved and pretty delish if you ask me. Hope you enjoy!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Goat's Milk Yogurt

So my friend over at Life on the Funny Farm gave me a gallon zip lock bag full of fresh goat's milk this week.

Since I have been making yogurt why not make goat's milk yogurt right?

So same low tech apparatus, heating pad, cake plate dome, and pie plate.

I bought my yogurt start at Central Market in San Antonio and I threw the little tub away before I could get a picture but it was just plain goat's milk yogurt.

This time I will be saving 1/4 of this batch to use for future batches.

I added a cup of fresh blueberries and a good tablespoon of honey and a splash of vanilla.

I had it for supper last night and breakfast this morning it is so smooth and creamy and not goaty at all.


1 Quart Milk (any kind)
1/4 cup plain yogurt


If you don't have a yogurt maker like me use a heating pad or a crock pot.  You want the milk and yogurt to be mixed well and then it needs to stay around 110 degrees for 24 hours.  My heating pad has an auto off so it only stays on for three hours and so every time I think about it I turn it back on.  If you have something that would stay at that constant 110 then it shouldn't take 24 hours.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheesy Bread Puffs (Gluten Free)

These sinful puffs are heavenly.  I made them for lunch today and I think I ate 12, oops. 

If you have ever eaten at Fogo de Chao or any Brazilian steakhouse you have probably indulged in these bites of goodness. 

This is a copy cat recipe but I have tweaked it a little.  The original recipe calls for two different kinds of tapioca flour and I can never find them both so I just use the one that I can find.     


1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups tapioca flour/starch

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 12- or 24-cup mini-muffin pan. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well until batter is smooth. Fill each muffin cup three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Breads should be crisp on the outside and hollow on the inside, like a popover.

Serve warm and enjoy!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Best Salad Ever

I was recently introduced to this recipe and I can't get enough of it. I am sure you could substitute the sugar in the dressing with honey if you are doing the "no sugar" thing.

The cinnamon on the pecans gives this salad a great unexpected spice. YUM


1 bag 50/50 mix (baby spinach & greens)
1 bag baby spinach
1 bunch green onion or 1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped & rolled in 1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup dried strawberries (or fresh strawberries)
1 large avocado, sliced


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Mix together well until sugar is dissolved.

11/2 tsp salt
11/2 tsp dry mustard
11/2 tsp poppy seeds
Very, very slowly add while stirring constantly, 1cup oil
Mix salad ingredients and dress with this poppy seed vinaigrette and enjoy!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Learning from a Legend

For the past 39 years the same passionate and caring man has been the face of Sweetwater FFA.  Kenneth Dudensing has impacted a countless number of Sweetwater Independent School District students starting in the 8th  grade and continuing with them all the way through the  12th grade.  He has finally decided to hang up his welding helmet, frock and clippers after almost four decades with SISD Kenneth will be retiring. 

For those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to know this great Agriculture Science teacher let me give you a glimpse of what he has provided Sweetwater students within his tenure. 

Former Sweetwater Ag teacher Eddie Puckett hired Kenneth in 1973 straight out of Texas Tech University and they worked side by side for over thirty years. 

To teach that long in the same school district with the same person speaks volumes about Kenneth’s abilities, both as a teacher and as a person.  These two men were very hard working and equally dedicated to helping students.  When Puckett retired Kenneth kept that fire burning and continued sharing his passion to teach students with five more teaching partners. 

I can personally say that the three years I was able to teach along side Kenneth were the most memorable and rewarding years of my teaching career.  He will always be my mentor and guiding light when I question something.  It was an honor and pleasure to work with him and even more importantly to learn from him. 

Kenneth’s career has had him moving at a fast pace for the past 39 years, there are very seldom times of the year that are slow for an Ag Teacher.

There are three area’s in which Kenneth has excelled. The first being the classroom, the second being extracurricular FFA contests and the third livestock shows. 

He has taught everything from welding in shop class to hunter safety in wildlife management class to animal protein requirements in advanced animal science class.  He has even been a math tutor for students that have struggled with their math TAKS tests.  His desire to help students learn is one that is unprecedented.   Mr. Puckett’s summation says it best, “Kenneth is by far one of the best classroom teachers I have ever seen.”

Classroom activities are only one component of Kenneth’s dynamic career. The second of the three components are LDE (Leadership Development Events) and CDE (Career Development Events) better known as judging contests. 

He coaches teams that compete in all different areas from parliamentary procedure to speaking contests to judging everything from cotton to meat, and his teams wins repeatedly, going to state every year in multiple events. 

In 2012 he took teams to state in cotton, home-site evaluation, poultry, and meat judging.  His cotton judging teams have won state four times in the last seven years, winning the State Championship three years straight (2011, 2010, 2009).

In 1989 his land judging team won the national contest in Oklahoma City, while his poultry judging team was runner-up at the national convention that same year. 

There is a great rich history of competition in Mr. Dudensing’s classroom and he has created quite a legacy over the past nearly four decades.  His classroom walls are lined with photo after photo of teams that have placed in the top ten of their respective contest.  It is something to see, along with the many banners, plaques and trophies that are also displayed. 

One of the most arduous, yet sometimes rewarding responsibilities of an Ag teacher is to take students to stock shows.  Livestock shows are the third component to Mr. Dudensing’s career.  Kenneth usually attends at least seven shows each spring:  Odessa, Nolan County, Fort Worth, San Antonio, San Angelo, Houston, and Austin.  It is a physically exhausting task to assist students as they prepare their animals for the shows; however; by his own admission it is on of the most rewarding.  Especially when he sees his students hard work pay off when their animal project places high enough to sell in the premium sales.

Dudensing’s seven-day-a week, year round commitment to all three of these compenets for 39 years has not gone unnoticed. In 2004 the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association chose Kenneth Dudensing as the outstanding Ag Science teacher of the year, and in 2005 the Nolan County Livestock Show dedicated the entire show to him.

Kenneth Dudensing has been an institution for Sweetwater ISD, Sweetwater FFA, the Lone Wolf District, Area II, Texas FFA and the VATAT, for which countless students, former students, parents and community members are appreciative. 

Thank you Kenneth for your many years of service, hard work and dedication to give Sweetwater something to be proud of, you will be greatly missed and your shoes will be hard to keep up with. 

Happy retirement!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lessons Learned

Well "Every Day in May" turned out to be about 5 posts short.  The lesson I learned was burn out!! Writing about different topics has been fun this month but it has also been very challenging.

School let out last thursday and I have tried to unwind since then and enjoy my life and unfortunately that was away from the computer, but I am back.

While I was away one of my hens that I thought ran away turned up with 8 of the cutest black and yellow chicks I have ever seen.  Since I already have 16 chicks I am gladly giving these to my friend Katy as soon as her husband finishes her chicken coop. Hurry up Asa!!

June has lots of exciting things in store for Sam and myself and I can't wait to see what all my garden is producing.  There will for sure be lots of pool/tank time, plenty of sunshine, a wedding, my birthday and the 83rd Annual Rocksprings Rodeo.

So I'll see you in June.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


So I asked Sam what his fondest memory is and here is his reply, "Being married to you" I said aww but that's not a memory because we are still married.

He then followed up with winning Houston.

For those of you that don't know my husband, show lambs are his favorite past time.  Everything from hunting down the great ones, to feeding and exercising them just right and of course stockshows.  He loves it!

The 2002 Houston Livestock Show is also the very first memory I have of Sam.  We met in passing in the horse barn where all the market animal auctions take place.   It was brief and as far as 17 and 18 year olds go it was by no means a formal introduction.  Sam of course doesn't remember this but you know us women folk we remember EVERYTHING.

Funny how ten years later we are married and Sam is chomping at the bit to have a 9 year old so he can continue his passion for showing lambs.  I keep telling him "What if our kids don't want to show" he always says they will, "it will be bred into them"

So here is to hoping for Sam's sake that someday he will eventually have a 9 year old child of his own to teach all the things his dad taught him about the sheep barn.

I showed steers and hogs and thought the sheep people smelled funny, but after being around Sam and seeing his passion and dedication to the lamb industry I have learned to love it.  Even if it does smell funny, I guess it isn't as bad as pig crap.

Happy Memories!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


So I have been anxiously awating this topic!

I got 20 chicks the first weekend of May and they are the most fun and full of life little creatures ever!!

Unfortunately Dot and Gertie have done a little flock management and I am down to 16 chicks but I have made sure to dog proof their cage now!

It will take several months for these girls to grow up and mature in laying hens.

As for my current ten laying hens, I get about 8 eggs a day so I have lots of fresh eggs around!

Henny Penny has been laying on these eggs for about 3 days and she is not going to budge so I guess I will have a few more chicks in about 18 days.

I just love my chickens!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Runoff is a strange topic for me today.  My run mode has been off since I was a freshman in high school. I'm not the exercising type, I'd much rather eat and enjoy my food.

However I have lost about 30 pounds by just making some simple changes in my diet.

Ok I know the runoff this is speaking of has to do with water and I could talk about minimizing runoff in my garden by using drip irrigation but that is boring.

I guess weight runoff is boring too but it seems like everyone always wants to be a little thinner.

You all know we as American's are an obese country and what can we do about it or shall I say what are we going to do about it.

My diet changes started by simply reading ingredient labels.  If there is a word I can't read or a man made ingredient then I don't eat it.

Now I will tell you I was very strict on this way of life for about 6 months and that is when the weight loss happened but I don't feel like its a "diet".

It truly is a way of thinking and changing out American minds to remove the processed junk from our diets.

If it is individually wrapped in plastic and boxed DON'T EAT IT!

There are so many great foods that come straight from God's green earth that we live on that will allow us to be very healthy sustainable people, we just have to fight our urge to eat CRAP and go for the more rewarding piece of healthy pie :)

OK enough about weight runoff I am sure many of you get your run-on.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Algerita Greenery & Bugs

Here are a few pictures of my Saturday night activities.  Margaret and I stained her concrete patio and then headed out to the ranch to help in the algerita jelly making process. It is quite a process!  It is by no means a one or two man job, you need to throw a algerita jelly party and invite everyone you know.  

Beating the bushes with a sorting stick into an umbrella is one of the easiest parts.  The most difficult and time consuming part of the process is picking out the leaves, stems and trash so that you only have ripe red berries.  

Luckily I was with a family that has been doing this for the past 35 years.  It has been a Jameson tradition that was passed down from Margaret's great grandmother, pretty awesome if you ask me!! 

We even got Jessie Ann in on sorting berries!

The fruits of our labor, ready to be boiled and juiced. 

Mark and Tooter got the juice extracting job and after three recipes they are pros!

Somehow this is all of Cecil I got, he is Tooter's brother that is making sure this tradition lives on.  

The reason this post is a combination of greenery and bugs is because that is what you get when you decide to make algerita jelly.

We all got poked and stuck by all the holly looking leaves and even some stray tasajillo that got beaten into the umbrella.  The bushes are covered in bugs that are feasting on these red ripe berries so we had several join us for our jelly making party.

The two lighter jars at the bottom of the end results are two experimental jars that I made with no sugar or pectin, I used unsweetened apple sauce, lemon juice and algerita juice to make those two jars.  I haven't opened one up yet to taste if the experiment was a success or not but I know for sure the real full recipe jars are full of sweet algerita flavor.

Tis the season of jelly making!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Recipe Exchange

Ok so let's see how many recipes can be posted today for a fun recipe exchange! I will start us off.

I had a great weekend in Sterling City with the Foley's and Jameson's. We stained Margaret's concrete patio and then went to her parents and made Algerita Jelly. The recipe doesn't do the time consuming process justice but after a good twelve hours the end results were 36 jars of sweet dark red Algerita Jelly!!

I will post more details and tell all the funny stories tomorrow.

As for today let's share some great recipes.


I made a batch of lavender soap this week.

This picture doesn't do it justice.

The bars are a nice purple pink with a swirl of dark purple.

I even chopped up some fresh lavender from my flower bed and put into this relaxing soap.

I used my same Castile soap recipe and just added lavender essential oil and fresh lavender.

Lavender is one of my favorite plants, mine are blooming!!

Love the smell too!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012


Red, white, sparkling, sweet or dry. 

There are so many choices when it comes to wine. 

On occasion I would drink a sweet red or some llano blush but never that red dry stuff.

Then something like an out of body experience happened this past Christmas. I took a drink of McPherson Cellars Tre Colores and I loved it!  How could this be, it was so far from sweet but man it actually tasted good. 

Since I did grown up in the panhandle I have kept Lubbock wine near and dear to my heart.  Llano Estacado Winery was my first love but now McPherson Cellars has become my main squeeze. 

My love for Llano blush began in college and then I was introduced to the Moscato and isn't it just sweet perfection.  That beautiful blue bottle makes you want to be on a beach somewhere!

During Easter Sam and I visited my parents and we all had errands to run in Lubbock so we made a day of it and went out for supper. We ate at Ronnie's Restaurant (YUMMY) and of course went next door to Woody's for our wine purchase.  There happened to be a young man inside that worked for Llano Estacado Wineries doing wine tastings.  He had the new Riesling in that same blue bottle the Moscato comes in. What do you know it tasted just as sweet and refreshing as the Moscato and was two dollars cheaper so that's what mom and I had with out wonderful dinner. 

Now as far as McPherson Cellars goes I fell in love with them at my favorite place in Lubbock, La Diosa!  It's this great tapas wine bar that serves the most delicious little plates of goodness as well as great wine.  The owner is Sylvia McPherson, the daughter in law of the founding father of the Texas Wine Industry, Dr. Clinton McPherson.  Her husband Kim McPherson is her wine consultant and just happens to be the owner and winemaker at McPherson Cellars. 

A few years ago several ladies from here went to the Frederickburg Food and Wine Festival and they found the McPherson Tre Colore!  At that time I was still against red wine but then my friend Katy happened to buy a case of it at World Market and so began my love for red wine this Christmas.

In 2008 McPherson Cellars opened their own venue in the depot district not too far from La Diosa and it looks absolutely beautiful.  I will get to see all of its beauty this summer at a wedding reception and I can't wait!

In Vino Veritas!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Outdoor Bench

For those of you that don't know Tuesday's are dump day here is the big city and the people here throw away the most awesome things.

Here is a nice headboard & footboard I found a few weeks ago.  I simply cut the footboard in half and added a box for a seat, then a fresh coat of paint and voila you have a great outdoor bench.

Fun easy project, an old door would look cute too!

Re-purposing your junk can be so fun!!

This is for Irene, it is not quite done yet still have to distress it.  It is going to look so good in her new party barn!!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I have a slight obsession with cookbooks.  I have actually had to get rid of several because our house is too small for my collection. 

Of course I have lots of favorite cookbooks, but there are some real stand outs and this happens to be one of them.

Diamonds in the Desert is a staple in all West Texas kitchens, and maybe even the whole state of Texas.
The Ozona Women's league compiled this jewel back in the 80s and it is chalked full of great recipes, and even meal plans for every occasion. 

There is a very special recipe in this cookbook that my grandmother used to make and my mom and I still continue to make.  It is a perfect summertime recipe for all that squash in the garden. 

 Neta Tillman's Squash Casserole


8 to 10 medium squash
1 medium onion diced
2 to 3 T brown sugar
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t garlic salt
1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies, drained
1 pound of American or Velveeta cheese, grated
1 sleeve soda crackers, crushed


Slice squash, add onions. Cover with water and cook until tender.  Drain and add other ingredients. Mix well and taste for salt tolerance. Bake in buttered 13x9 casserole dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

I hope you have lots of favorite cookbooks and please share and enjoy this recipe!!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tomato Bruschetta

Well this is a great topic because I love tomatoes.  

However I have not always loved tomatoes as a matter of fact it was just a few years ago that I even started eating them.  

My dear friend Rana used to live in the Hill Country mecca of Fredericksburg,  she showed me what good tomatoes were supposed to taste like.  She would slice them up and just add a little salt and pepper YUM!

After that my appetite for tomatoes has been game on, but not just any tomato, only home grown vine ripe tomatoes.  There is nothing that tastes as good as a fresh garden tomato.  

I have around 25 different tomato plants this year.  I know that's a little over kill but I like I said I love tomatoes and I only eat them in the summertime. 

Here are a couple of my plants this year.  

My friend Georgia made the best bruschetta the other day and I just have to share it!


6 vine ripe tomatoes
8 fresh basil leaves
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T lemon juice
Salt to taste

Dice tomatoes (remember to never put tomatoes in the refrigerator), chop basil and add EVOO, lemon juice and salt.  Leave sitting out at room temperature and allow flavors to meld.  

Serve with toasted baguette or any crusty bread you choose.  You will be in love with this refreshing burst of goodness! 

Tomato on!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

It is a great day to celebrate Mother's.

Mine is one special lady!! For those of you who haven't had the privilege to meet her she is the most amazing Christian woman I know, her faith astounds me on a daily basis.  She definitely knows no stranger, and brings joy and a smile everywhere she goes.  I can only hope to someday be the mother that she has been to me.

I am often told that I "look just like your mother" and I always smile and say thank you.  There is no greater compliment on earth!!

In honor of my mother I made her favorite side dish for supper tonight, garden fresh green beans! I picked a good mess this afternoon and even snapped the ends (something she does not do).

I owe all of my love and passion for cooking to her, she inspires me to make great food even if I sometimes have to tweak her Paula Deen habits and make my recipes "Not my Mommas Meal."
I still love butter though :)

Even though I didn't get to see her today she knows I love her dearly!!

I even baked Sam some cookies in my ode to Annie :)

Much Love


Saturday, May 12, 2012


BEAUTIFUL day of sunshine and almost summertime!!

I picked my first garden veggie today.  One nice zucchini and three lovely tomatoes from my raised beds.  The biggest one is a Juilet grape, the pretty one is a super sweet and the one on top is a black cherry tomato.

Now if we can just get the pool cleaned out and filled up I will be ready for all the sunshine in the world!

Yeah for a relaxing weekend at home!!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Local Food

Well tonight we had the Top of the World Festival here in the Rock.  It was a great event that would not have been possible without tons of people's help.

There were several local vendors at the event that were serving their own homemade treats.

Gorditas, Hamburgers, Brisket Tacos, and yummy homemade desserts.  The most fun dining experience of the evening was the Pitchfork Steak Fondue Dinner.  It was a great fundraiser for our HATS Society!!

Even though the ingredients may not have been local the delicious food, small town festival atmosphere and the live music made for a great night!

It really was "How the West was Fun."


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rainwater Harvesting (Conservation)

Dang it! I should've had my rainwater harvest system in place, we have gotten over five inches of rain in the past three days. It has been glorious!

I hope my friends in the panhandle are getting some of this rain, they need it badly to make a crop this year!

Rainwater harvesting...sounds like something only tree hugging hippies would talk about but let me tell you there is some pretty amazing things that can be done to conserve our precious aquifer water. 

Sam being in the extension service allows him to meet interesting people and learn about tons of new ideas.  Three years ago Sam started talking to me about a man in Menard, named Billy Kniffen, now a retired Texas Agri Life Extension specialist.

Sam was so amazed that this gentleman and his wife live solely off of rainwater, they do not have a water well or any source of municipal water.

So how can you do it???

First off you have to have a a gutter system installed either to your house or barn.  Then you have to connect pipes and filters to complete the system.

The Kniffens house and barn total about 5,900 square feet of rainwater catchment and can capture roughly 2,900 gallons of water per inch of rain! That is amazing!!

This is the Kniffens home in Menard.

This is their barn.  You could also bury the tanks if you didn't want to see them however here in the hill country the amount of rock you would have to dig out might not be worth the cost.

This is the most amazing part. The Kniffens overall average water consumption was 35 gallons per person per day in 2004. This amounts to 70 gallons a day, 2,100 gallons a month and 25,550 gallons a year.  

The average consumption in the US is usually around 84 gallons a day per person.  

In an area that gets about 22 inches of rainfall a year, the roof of the barn and house are capable of catching over 63,000 gallons a year.  Given the Kniffens sparing light use of water, they will typically have a 7 month supply at any given time.  

They only need 8.81 inches of rain a year to meet their water needs.  

Now how awesome would it be to use the rest of that water to feed your family.  I think watering your garden and livestock with harvested water is the epitome of conservation.  

Here is another idea for all of you farmers and ranchers. 

This is a great recycled use for all the chemical shuttles around.  There is a company out of Brady called Ag Crete Enterprises that is rigging these tanks up with a roof and gutter system and trough to water livestock/wildlife.  Pretty conservative!  

Well I know I have missed the opportunity to catch many gallons of rainwater this week but hopefully we will have some kind of system working by the end of this summer!

Happy Rainwater Harvesting!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grinning and Laughing

Couldn't be a better day for the topic Grinning and Laughing.

If you haven't seen the show on A&E called Duck Dynasty you are definitely missing out on a lot of grinning and laughing.


These Louisiana redneck millionaires have made their money making duck calls.

Now I know Reality TV is usually scripted but I don't think there is a screen writer on earth that could come up with the stuff these guys say and do.

Phil is the dad and duck call inventor
Willy (son) is the CEO
Jase (son) is the duck call maker
Si is Phil's brother
Kay is Phil's wife that loves to cook
Willy and Jase's wives and kids are on the show also.

There is all kinds of advice on this show.  

Phil tells his grandson this about dating "You can make it easy on her.  On the first date ask her how she likes crawfish. If she says eww, just go ahead and dump her.

All I can say is better get your tivo ready!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Creamed Spinach (Onions)

IT"S RAINING!!! LOTS OF RAIN! We have had over 2 inches today and it is still coming!!

So to celebrate the rain I made a pretty delicious supper!

Sauteed onions and garlic creamed spinach with garden fresh potatoes and steak.

Tonight is the first time I have ever made creamed spinach.  Thanks to my cousin Jennifer I have a fabulous cookbook with tons (742 pages) of vegetable recipes "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison.   It's awesome!!

Anyway here is the recipe

1/2 cup cream
1 garlic clove
1 large bunch of spinach stems removed
2 t butter
salt and fresh milled pepper
grated nutmeg


Heat the cream with the garlic until fine bubbles form on the surface, then turn off the heat and set aside.  Cook the spinach over med high heat for about 5 minutes.  The rinse and squeeze out the excess water and finely chop.  Melt the butter in a skillet, add the spinach, and cook until the pan is dry.  Pour the cream over the spinach and simmer until it thickens slightly.  Taste for salt and season with pepper and nutmeg.

I love cheese so I added some grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the cream before I poured it over the spinach.  I also added chopped pieces of cooked bacon to the spinach.  I figure both those things make everything delicious!



Monday, May 7, 2012


Shift work, hard work

A very respectable gentleman once told me "It's nice to see you aren't scared of that four letter word, work."  His kind words proved to me that the work ethics my parents instilled in me are a glorious and respectable thing!

A little elbow grease and sweat will accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

Now there are jobs that everyone does in life that are work but it's the things that we love doing that don't seem like work that make us happy.

My garden, chickens and potted plants are all things that I enjoy, so the work associated with all of them seems to be a little sweeter.

If only these things paid the bills,  I can always hope!

Last summer in the terrible drought I had watered and watered my garden and potted plants.

I went to my parents one weekend and Sam called me one morning to let me know the deer had demolished my plants.

I cried!!

All that hard work I had poured into those plants had flown out the window.  I was devastated.

No one ever wants their hard work to go to waste especially not deer waste.  Luckily most of the plants came back and by the end of August they were back to normal.

We have had a little moisture this spring so the deer have stayed out of town but if we don't continue to PRAY for rain I am very afraid we will be right back where we were last year.

So here's to the working men and women!