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.

Jurahee

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memory

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!

Jurahee

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chickens

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!

Jurahee

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Runoff

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.

Jurahee

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!

Jurahee



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.

Lavender

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!!

Jurahee

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vino

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!

Jurahee

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!!

Jurahee

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cookbooks

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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!!

Jurahee







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!

Ingredients: 

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

Directions:
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!

Jurahee




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

Jurahee


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sunshine

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!!

Jurahee

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."

Jurahee


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!

Jurahee

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.



IT'S HILARIOUS!!


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!

Jurahee

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

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

Directions:

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.

ADDED:
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!

Enjoy

Jurahee

Monday, May 7, 2012

Working

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!

Jurahee






Sunday, May 6, 2012

Praying

EAT, PRAY, LOVE is one of my favorite sayings.  I of course love to eat but more importantly I love to pray and I LOVE God.  So I feel like eat, pray, love really is my saying.

There is always something to pray about, it may be yourself, your family, close friends, your community or even our country but it never fails that saying a little pray makes all the difference in your attitude and outlook on the day.  The humbling effect of prayer is amazing.  

I am a big Charles Swindoll fan and I am certain that we choose our attitude for each day.  For me a simple prayer reminds me of how thankful I need to be for all the blessing God has given me and my family.  Some may not have seemed like blessings at the time but God has the ultimate plan and I have to remind myself he is in control.  

So I hope you have a great week of EAT, PRAY, LOVE! 

Jurahee




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Potatoes

Steak and potatoes with roasted garlic, can't think of a better meal. 


Sam made me a yummy dinner tonight! Pit grilled steaks, roasted potatoes and a salad, you just can't beat outdoor grilling!  Yeah for warm weather and being outside for supper!

Those purple potatoes are delicious, I like the fingerlings a lot too.

You say potato I say potat-o :)

Jurahee

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thyme




My first ripe tomato!!! Man was it delicious, I have several more turning, so excited about fresh tomatoes.  

Oven dried tomatoes! YUMMY but what does that have to do with thyme?

If you take a big can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, deseed them and lay them flat of a cookie sheet then sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, and chopped garlic and then drizzle with a little EVOO, roast on low (200 degrees) for about an hour you will be thinking THYME!

Jurahee

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Succulents

I LOVE SUCCULENTS! 

Everyone should love succulents. 

They are so low maintenance and so cool to look at.  




This is our patio table that succulents have taken over. 


These beauties came from my Aunt Sadie last March.  The cactus in the log is a little hard to see but it just finished blooming.  



These are all the babies that my mature succulents have produced.  I hope they will grow grow grow so I can take them to the Festival of Flowers plant exchange in San Antonio May 26th.  

If you think you have a black thumb you should definitely get a succulent or two and prove yourself wrong!!

Succulents ROCK!

Jurahee

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Up-cycled Home Decor


For those of you that have never been to my house let me paint you a mental picture of what you would see.  

Lots of family-downs similar to hand-me-downs but from family. I like to call it shabby chic but if a real interior decorator came into my little house they would probably want to light a match, and call it all JUNK.  

Everything or most every piece in my house has a story.  I have collected items from grandparents, aunts, uncles and my parents.  Sam calls it hoarding but long before I graduated from high school I have collected and picked through lots of old farm houses and anywhere that looked like I could find some cool stuff.  


This cabinet I have in our spare bedroom is by far one of my favorite up-cycled pieces.  This was a kitchen cabinet out of the "white house" on my family's farm.  The white house was far from the likes of The White House but non the less this old farm house had tons of character and great rustic pieces of family history.  

There were numerous Haunted Houses that took place at the white house, man were they ever scary. Even if I was just a little kid I haven't seen anything that could come close to the bloody murder screaming that took place out at the good ol' white house. 

It was also a storage unit for my mother.  She would dry gourds in the front bedroom and then sell them in our front yard at "Jones Pumpkins." Lots of memories from the good old days of raising pumpkins.  

Anyway even if your style is much more refined I hope that you have pieces of family heritage to pass along to your future generations.  

Clean the dust off and put a fresh coat of paint on it you never know what kind of treasure you will create.

Happy Up-Cycling!

 Jurahee


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Flowers

 There are lots of pretty flowers blooming around Casa de Silvers.  We had a nice rain last night so all the blooms soaked up the sun today.























My salvia red on the left and pink in the talavera pot are both doing really good and that mexican heather is thriving also.





















This bulbine I got at the Rocksprings Women's Club plant sale is one of my favorites.  My hibiscus are loving the weather.  This is the third pretty bloom on this lovely.






 Last but not least my four favorites: my down under pot with a cherry tomato plant, the purple bloom is from my green beans in the garden, the tin planter is full of yummy herbs : Rosemary, lemon thyme, and tarragon (yellow flower) and the last one is my awesome juliet grape tomato plant loaded with all those beautiful green tomatoes!




Happy May Flowers!!!

Jurahee