Till the Cows Come Home to Double Dan Ranch

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*Confession*
Referring to my husband as a “farmer” is incredibly awkward to me. He raises livestock, not crops, so in my mind and probably most everyone’s west of the Mississippi he qualifies as a rancher.

On the other hand, my husband finds it incredibly awkward when I refer to him  and his parents as ranchers and their land as a ranch because, “we don’t have those around here.”

Whatevs.

The struggle of east vs. west lingo in our house is real.

But you know what, since this is my blog, I’ll say ranch or rancher if I want to. Take that Kentucky. *Flips Hair*

I’ve hinted at it quite a bit, but have yet to make the official announcement. We are officially the extremely happy — signed, sealed and delivered — owners of 40 years of debt!!
Oh, and 64 acres and a single-wide trailer. ;)IMG_6704

Buying land is one thing. Buying a home is another. Buying both and trying to get them where they need to be quickly in order to get your ‘ranch’ (heehee) dreams set in forward motion is a whole other ballgame. <= All this added in with a new marriage.

Yeah, we are crazy.

While our sanity could be judged, the events of the last couple of months have provided intense lessons to be learned in life skills and marital skills. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions. We’ve tested each others normally easy-going temperaments, tears have been shed and we have just been straight-up exhausted.

During our beginning ‘ranch’ (heehee) journey, My Someone discovered it is never a good idea to buy two groups calves and *forget* to tell your wife, only for her to find out when she receives the phone call to pay for them, BUT if you’re going to *forget* such a minor detail, make sure you’re in DC with you’re phone on silent… tumblrlgld0bvc3w1qce7cdAnd then on the opposite side of the spectrum we’ve laughed until we’ve almost cried, some nights danced in the kitchen to red dirt on our iPods more than we’ve worked and giggled over showing up at a restaurant looking like paint-covered bums just because we were too tired to cook.

Even though it’s been a lot to handle, having something that is ours, something we are proud of… Holy cow, that is a good feeling.

The second day of living in our new place, trying to  be good hosts for my family. At this point we didn't even have an oven... Have I mentioned we're crazy?

The second day of living in our new place, trying to be good hosts for my family. At this point we didn’t even have an oven… Have I mentioned we’re crazy?

There have been moments where we have both questioned if we were actually making progress, or just making a bigger mess, but the last month and a half it’s finally starting to look less like a mess and more like a plan. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen that as well. IMG_6758

While the house remodel still has a relatively long to-do list, (Ay-yi-yi so much painting still left to do). This week a lot of our (mainly My Someone’s) hard work paid off. This week marked the true beginning of everything we are striving for.

This week our cows came home.IMG_6998

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Welcome home, ladies.IMG_7007IMG_7013IMG_7012

 

Second load, your turn…IMG_7019

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IMG_7034Be still my bovine-loving heart.IMG_7041IMG_7046He’s playing Clash of the Clans and watching his cows… Fairly certain that might be his idea of a perfect day.

Cows unloaded, fed, and fence checked. Our cattle spent the rest of the evening checking out their new digs, as we watched them from our front porch — goofy, happy grins plastered across our faces.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy cows… and that’s pretty much the same thing. (Totally saw that on Pinterest).

I agree, random Pinterest poster, I agree.IMG_5473

 

Now back to painting…

 

Strawberry Fields Forever: 101 in 1001 Update

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A few months ago I created a 101 in 1001 list of all the things I would like to try/learn/accomplish in the next two and 3/4 years.

One item on that list — Learn how to can

Shortly after publishing said list, I text my mother-in-law (who will henceforth be known on HH&SS as ‘Mama Joan’) to ask if this summer she would teach me to can. My in-laws grow a large garden and when you walk into their basement it’s like walking down the canned good aisle of Kroger’s, but 20 times prettier and more eclectic with the variety of Mason Jars lining the shelves, their internal contents on display forever preserving their once garden-fresh state. So needless to say, I knew if anyone could teach me their canning-pro ways, it would be her.

Months went on, the beginnings of summer started to creep in, and My Someone left town for a couple of weeks for a trip through the Denver/Chicago/DC areas, I was beyond excited for this opportunity for him, but as the still-adjusting-to-Kentucky-Okie who works from home, I. was. lonely.

Oh, so lonely.

So when Mama Joan asked me if I wanted to make strawberry jam with her, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

And make strawberry jam, we did…

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I am beyond convinced there is not a prettier color than strawberries in season.

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‘Capping,’ slicing and mashing is how this process begins. Slightly labor intensive if you’re a newbie attempting this journey solo, but for Mama Joan and I, who had plenty to chat about, the prep work sailed by quickly.

HHSS5

After the strawberries were smooshed and ready to go, we did things and stuff, and stuff and things, and made the jam. I’d give instructions, but we used those that are included in the SureJell box, so if you are reading this, then I’m pretty confident you can ace those inclusive directions.

HHSS3I wish you could smell photos, because lemme tell ya, it was heavenly.

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If you don’t know my MIL personally, I’ll let you in on a little secret, she is, in fact, the queen on multi-tasking. Case in point: In this photo she was business handling, cell phone conversing and canning instructing all at the same time.HHSS6

It is important to note while jam is in it’s final stages of canning, this is the point where spoons are passed out and anything left in the pot that made the strawberry greatness is scraped out and consumed. You have to do it, Mama Joan said so. It’s like invisibly written in between the lines of the instructions.

You. Do. Not. Waste. Deliciousness. Y’all.
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My breakfast toast is going to be happy for months!
HHSS2We were even left with some whole strawberries leftover. Which means I foresee strawberry shortcake in my near future…

Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet in this canning business, I’m looking forward to learning more, especially when my in-law’s garden matures and canning things like salsa and pickles become a possiblility.

Do you can, or have someone in your family that does? What was your first thing to try, or maybe your favorite to make?

County Fair Blog Party — National Beef Month

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country fair blog party buttonDid you know May is National Beef Month? Have you been doing your part to consume some oh-so-delicious burgers, or grill out steaks on a nice evening? If you haven’t, that’s okay, there is still one day left of this month to celebrate. In honor of the closing of Beef Month, the blog party council has decided to fork over extra ‘points’ for all beef and cow posts submitted! As usual, all posts are welcome, and encouraged, just know there is a little something extra special in store for bovine-related articles.

In case you haven’t heard, the winners of last week are:

 FOOD: JAY TRIED and TRUE
Shrimp Dip
county fair ribbon

 

AGRICULTURE: ROBSON’S FARM
Beneficial Bugs and Lettuce

county fair ribbon

DIY:  CHORES and CHANDELIERS
New Patio Table on Old Base

county fair ribbon

 

(Champions grab the ribbon URL and add it to your championship post!)

Time to join next week! Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL, not just the blog address.

Add your email address. (No spam, promise!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

Just now joining the party?? Check out previous weeks here. And make sure you are following the other hosts, Nicole of Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, Taysha Reitzel of Dirt Road Charm on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, Laurie Link of Country LINKed:FacebookPinterest and Krista of The Farmer’s Wifee on FacebookTwitter.

I Went to Lexington and Returned With a Sombrero

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably understand the radio-blogging-silence on my end has a whole lot to do with my husband and I’s current housing situation. One which I plan on throughly blogging about, just as soon as I’m finished painting. And in case you didn’t already know, repainting an entire home is in fact, first world torture.

But anyway, somewhere in the midst of “do I want Grassy Meadows or Pine Forrest canvased on our guest room walls,” I was invited to attend the 2014 Alltech Symposium in Lexington.photo 1 copy

Yeah, yeah, you cover events for sponsoring companies for a living, what’s the big deal? 

Is what you’re currently thinking. You were?! I knew it! I really should play the lottery. Yes, you are correct, outside of my personal blogging I am a professional writer, reporter, photographer, editor — jack of all trades, master of none — BUT, this time was different. THIS time I was invited as a blogger, representing myself.photo 3

I know, I know, I’m still as stunned as you are. Apparently laying it all out there and displaying my quirky personality and sarcastic sense of humor for the world actually accomplishes things. So somewhat last minute I was invited to join a group of agriculture bloggers to cover the event in live tweeting, note taking, blog writing and all-around fun having.

And I had fun. Boy, oh boy, did I have fun.

First off, this is what Alltech does as wrote by them, “At Alltech, our mission is to improve the health and performance of people, animals and plants through natural nutrition and scientific innovation. Alltech improves health and performance by adding nutritional value to food and feed through its innovative use of yeast fermentation, enzyme technology, algae and nutrigenomics. The company’s pursuit of this mission is guided by its founding ACE principle, our promise that in doing business we have a positive impact on the Animal, the Consumer, and the Environment.” 

Basically, they dabble in everything… Internationally. Citizens from over 60 different countries were in attendance. I was culturally fascinated. However, somewhere in the week there were a couple of mixups of my cultural background. Assuming everything about me screamed, “Merica!” I was caught off guard while playing on my phone during an elevator ride with two people from France, two from China and two from the UK, I hear someone say something, a pause, and then “I don’t think she speaks English,” only to look up and see the two gentlemen from the UK looking at me… Really?! Out of EVERYONE of this elevator, I’M the one you’re wondering about being English speaking?

It gets better.

During Alltech night at the horse park, many countries sported similar apparel. The Chinese were dressed straight out of a John Wayne western, the Brazilians wore bright yellow, the Mexicans wore gigantic sombreros, the Chileans donned small white cowboy hats with red, white and blue emblems and the Moroccans were in some kind of white with red embroidery get-up. Somewhere towards the end of the evening — after witnessing crowd surfing South Americans and realizing those from the continent of Asia really have a love for Michael Jackson’s music — I ended up with a sombrero on my head. To which I have Taysha of Dirt Road Charm to thank for scoring for me.

The table setup in the arena during Alltech night.

The table setup in the arena during Alltech night.

As you can probably imagine, I rocked that sombrero.

Totally.

This photo is full of very well-known, very important ag bloggers ...and then there is me, the one at the bottom extremely giddy to be sporting an authentic sombrero.

This photo is full of very well-known, very important ag bloggers …and then there is me, the one at the bottom, neither of the adjectives aforementioned, but extremely giddy to be sporting an authentic sombrero.

That Sombrero and I became our own personality.photo 1

It. Was. Epic. photo

But then it happened…

Right before loading the bus, a gentleman stopped me and excitedly rattled off a whole lot of spanish, very quickly. I looked at him, adjusted my authentic sombrero, smiled and straighten my name tag to make sure Danielle Hayden, USA was displayed. He smiled back and rattled off a few more sentences of very fast spanish.

The only other language I have a small understanding of is Cherokee… Spanish and I are only acquainted enough to order cheese dip from a Tex-Mex restaurant.

“Ummm… I’m so sorry sir, I don’t speak spanish.”

Confusion filled his face

Everyone in my group died laughing.

I awkwardly boarded the bus waving goodbye and apologizing, hoping that was enough to fix the situation.

Despite the cultural confusion, I decided (mainly due to a huge case of sombrero hair) to continue galavanting my headpiece for the rest of the evening, including while ag gawking at Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Norman Borlaug. If you don’t know who that is, educate yourself. He was the agriculture shiznit.

ANNNNNNDDDDD…. Cue blog post conclusion!

If you want to check out more about Alltech or read some of the less random, more educational blog posts from the symposium, you can check them out here. Be looking for my posts there within the next couple of weeks.

Just don’t be expecting coverage from me on how ADHD symptoms can be lessened with certain nutrition tweaks. I really, really, oh-so-very badly wanted to cover that session, I was really looking forward to it, but they talked about bees right before it and I became fixated on researching the types of wildflowers to purchase in order to save the bees and then the emcee used the word “security” three times and I ended up on Google, searching for the best Bon Qui Qui GIF I could attach with it.

Next thing I know, everyone is clapping and Nicole from Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom is nudging me to see my notes from the ADHD talk, I had just completely missed.tumblr_m6efk3knS71qzqdem

*sigh*

Welcome to the insides of my mind, and why I needed the natural cure to ADHD to begin with.

tumblr_mdnnw2OJJ01qzqdemUntil next time, y’all!IMG_5390

 

County Fair Blog Party #11

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It’s time again, for another round of County Fair Blog Party. It seems like something extra is brought to the table each week. This time we have uber cute buttons for all those who link up for County Fair. Kelly, of Old Blue Silo did an outstanding job and putting these together for us. Go ahead, past and present participants, grab this button and add it to the sidebar of your own blogs.

Country Fair Blog Party
<div align="center"><a href="http://talesofakansasfarmmom.blogspot.com/" title="Country Fair Blog Party"><img src="http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac168/coppertop1985/countryfair_button_zps7427c677.png" alt="Country Fair Blog Party" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

AND we officially have a prize for winners in each division. Kelly also designed a purple ribbon button, past winners make sure you grab it to add and future winners… well, you know where to find it. Be sure and ‘like’ Old Blue Silo on Facebook.

Country Fair Blog Part
<div align="center"><a href="http://talesofakansasfarmmom.blogspot.com/" title="Country Fair Blog Part"><img src="http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac168/coppertop1985/countyfair_ribbon_zpsd1937d63.png" alt="Country Fair Blog Part" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Now, back to what y’all came for, here are the Champions from last week:

(Click on the photo to visit the link.)  

FOOD
A Little of This and a Little of That

AGRICULTURE
Farmland: Meet America’s Next Generation of Farmersfarmland-poster

DIY
DIY Container for Deck Gardening Part Imethod9

 

Time to join week #12.  Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL, not just the blog address.

Add your email address. (No spam, promise!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

Just now joining the party?? Check out previous weeks here. And make sure you are following the other hosts, Nicole of Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, Taysha Reitzel of Dirt Road Charm on Facebook, TwitterPinterest and Laurie Link of Country LINKed:FacebookPinterest.

County Fair Blog Party #9

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Oh hey, remember me? Isn’t March supposed to be the month that “comes in like a lion?” Well, apparently, April decided it was going to be THAT guy, the one with the lion nature.

For the first time since I started blogging, I have gone days on end without even logging onto WordPress, let alone even sitting down at my computer. It’s weird, real weird. I have so many post ideas rolling around in my head that I hope to share soon, but first back to County Fair Blog Parties. While I was on my two-week hiatus. County LINKed joined our power group of hosts. Do you read Laurie’s blog? If not, you should. Go check it out… Well, I mean, after you are done here that is.

Here are the Champions from last week:

(Click on the photo to visit the link. I know, linked pictures… Mommy, wow! I’m a big kid now! If you were alive and thrived in the ’90s, you now have that commercial stuck in your head. You’re welcome.)  

FOOD

Agriculture

DIY

 Now, time to join week #9.  Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL, not just our blog address.

Add your email address. (No worries!  No spam!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

Just now joining the party?? Check out previous weeks here. And make sure you are following the other hosts, Nicole of Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, Taysha Reitzel of Dirt Road Charm on Facebook, TwitterPinterest and Laurie Link of Country LINKed: FacebookPinterest. 

Happiest of Fridays, y’all!

County Fair Blog Party #6 + Spring Giveaway

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Let’s start this week’s County Fair Blog Party off with a bang, of the giveaway sort. This week we are offering the opportunity to win a 8×10 copy of the poem below, from our friend, Sierra Blachford, who writes over at www.sierrashea.com. Details on how to enter you will find at the bottom of this post.SierraPoemFLATweb11_400w

If you don’t win, or you are looking for the perfect gift for the Farmer/Rancher’s Wife in your family, you can purchase the print on her blog for $10.

Now to party.

B-B-B–Blog Parrrrtttaaayyyy.

Okay, I’ll quit being a nerd now.

 

Maybe.

This past week’s County Fair Blog Champions are:

Agriculture
Every Day Is Ag Day from Kim’s County LineEvery Day Is Ag DayFood

Sweetheart Pudding from H&K FarmsDSC_0536

DIY
May Day Cookie Flowers from A Gentle
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We didn’t have any DIY entires this past week, so we are recognizing second place in the food category, since it is a form if DIY. This also mean DIY bloggers of the world — Jump. On. It.

What in the Dickens am I talking about with all this?? Check out previous weeks here. And make sure you are following the other hosts, Nicole of Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram and Taysha Reitzel of Dirt Road Charm on Facebook, TwitterPinterest.

Now, it’s your turn. Click the link below for several very easy ways to enter the Spring giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And click this cute little link below to enter posts and read this week’s County Fair Blog Party.

 

Mine still doesn’t look like Nicole’s and Taysha’s, but it’s at least getting a little cuter. That’s progress folks.

Until next time!

 

County Fair Blog Party #5

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We’re starting to become a well-oiled machine at this blog party business, and by well oiled machine, I mean, I’m actually getting this week’s post before ‘this week’ actually begins. We also took out the whole voting aspect of previous weeks. It was messy, it only worked for some and for others it was a master disaster that left one person beating her head on her desk while trying to vote. (Raises hand.) So now winners will be chosen by most views. That being said, if you find a post you really like, you might revisit it a couple of times…

New to this? Wondering what in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks I’m talking about? Well check it out here: County Fair Blog Party.

And there is also this:IMAG3622 (800x479)Here are the Grand Champions from County Fair Blog Party #4:

AGRICULTURE
Hauling Hayhauling-hay

FOOD
Field Mealsfield-meals-collage

DIY
Frame and Barbed Wire Inspiration Station

inspiration stationSo now it’s your turn again, link up 3 of your own or someone else’s posts, here’s how:CFBP How to 2And while you’re at it, make sure and follow the other hosts of the County Fair Blog Party on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

Nicole of Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

Taysha of Dirt Road Charm on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

I have issues getting my Link Up to look like the others, but I promise it works just fine. Just click the red link and go from there to read and enter posts for this week.

http://goo.gl/Ukw66R

Until next time!!

County Fair Blog Party #4

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The title may say, “#4,” but this is only my second week co-hosting. If you want to know what this is all about, please check out last Friday’s post.

I did a terrible, no-good, very bad job of promoting last week’s County Fair Blog Party, but none-the-less several of my fellow bloggers on my end, entered. One even won! Hip-hip-hooray for Team Dani! Not that this is a competition, at least I don’t think it’s a competition.  But in my head I like to think of this kind of like a County Fair Version of The Voice.

Any who, last week’s Grand Champions are:

Agriculture
How Women Should Be Perceivedwomen

DIY
Recycling Momentos From the Pastdiy

Food
She Works with Willing Handsfood

 Be sure and link up your own posts to be entered in next week’s County Fair Blog Party. Don’t blog? No worries!! Click on the link below to view this week’s entries and to vote for your favorite. Voting begins Wednesday.

An InLinkz Link-up 

Happy reading!!

County Fair Blog Party

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If you’ve been snooping around my blog for anytime at all, you know I’m head over heels in love for a good county fair. I know, I know, it’s March. Totally not county fair season, but why should a good time be limited to just one time of year. Think of what I’m about to tell you like Christmas in July.

Recently, Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom, contacted me about co-hosting a blogging county fair, along with Taysha, of Dirt Road Charm. “County fair?!?!” I said through the phone. “Count me in.” Somewhere in my excitement, I didn’t pick up on the fact, my co-hosting duties were starting TODAY.

An email, and a couple of Twitter notifications later, I had an ‘Oh crap! They already posted theirs,’ moment. I sprang out of bed, bound for my computer… Then turned around and made a beeline towards the kitchen. Nothing good ever comes from me before I’ve had one to two cup of coffee.

Metaphorically, think of this like an FFA judging trip. Nicole and Taysha have had breakfast, arrived 10 minutes early, their official dress has all been pressed and they’re waiting patiently in the ag truck. Then there’s me, I arrive 10 minutes late, my shoes aren’t on as I sprint across the parking lot towards the truck. I have an unheated Pop Tart in one hand, and I’ve probably used a hair straightener to iron just the collar of my white button-up. (If you knew me in High School, you’d know how real that scenario is.)

Anyway, back on topic, here’s the details — written by Nicole:

Welcome to our weekly addition of the Country Fair Blog Party! It’s a place for bloggers to share their finest each week whether they live in the city, country, or somewhere in between. It’s a place to brag a little about what you have been doing in the kitchen, the farm, or craft room.

(What she’s saying is you can walk through the county fair without messing up your pre-swimsuit season diet and without getting manure on the bottom of your shoes.) 

Just like a local county fair we name Grand Champions each week in three divisions: Food, DIY Projects and Agriculture.

The posts with the most clicks each week are featured the following week as our Grand Champions! Here are the Grand Champions from Country Fair Blog Party #2.

Agriculture

Food

DIY

 Established Antique Window Sign

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Feel free to join in the fun and link up with up to 3 posts! Click through the links, find some new friends and leave us a comment to tell us what your favorite post is. This step is important, since this is how we get entries AND decide the winners.

While you’re at it be sure and follow your hosts for this party:

Nicole of Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

Taysha of Dirt Road Charm on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

Danielle of High Heels and Shotgun Shells on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

 Posts in consideration for next week’s County Fair Blog Party so far are:

To add your post to this list, or a post you feel should be recognized, click the link below:

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/luAddLink.php?id=382573&cookie=53230177aeac0&ref=http%3A%2F%2Ftalesofakansasfarmmom.blogspot.com%2F

If you have any issues linking a post, simply comment below and I will get the post entered for you.

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