Friday, August 30, 2013

Ooglit! (aka Sparkly Slime)

Back in the middle of July, Tink and I were trying to find some time to finish up her scrapbook project for 4-H, and Little Bear needed something to occupy her time.  Ooglit was/is the answer to my prayers!

Not sure where the name came from, except for its origin comes from the girls school, but this stuff is fun and versatile!  We used it to make a river in Bear's Dinosaur Diorama at the end of school.

Here is the basic recipe thanks to Chemistry:

1.  Mix 1 teaspoon of Borax in 1 cup of water.  Stir until the Borax is dissolved in the water.
2.  In a separate container (We use quart zip-lock baggies) mix 1/2 cup glue* with 1/2 cup water.

*We have used white glue and clear glue then added food coloring and glitter, and this time we used new Elmer's new Glitter Glue in pink and blue.  There are other colors!

3.  Now we squeeze instead of mix in Step #2.  Pour the Borax water into the glue baggie, get most of the air out, and then seal it, and start squeezing. It should start "gooing" up rather quickly.

This, at least for us, is NOT an exact science, probably because I don't like pouring glue in my measuring cups, but it does work.  You will have some excess water to pour out of the bag, but soon you will have Ooglit!

We made it a bit more watery to use as a lake for the this dino-diarama school project.  The specks are green glitter that we thought might look like weeds of some sort.

Yeah, I guess I need to start checking Bear's bag more carefully because she packed it when we went to Hilton Head.  Little Stinker!

This stuff does hold form and can work a lot like Play-doh.  We like making a rose out of it!

Ours hardens up after a while, but it is still pliable, just not as slimy as Slime.  That's ok with me though.  I'm not too fond of gooey "stuff" in my carpet.  I know, I need to lighten up!  I've been trying to destroy this carpet ever since I moved in 12 years ago.  It does keep its pliancy if you store it in the fridge, and that makes it a great ...uhm....thingy/wrap to put on ouchies and sunburns.  Who knew?

Have fun, and Mr. Elmer's Glue peeps, if you see this and want to send me a variety pack of fun glue I would not be opposed!  We could make a lot of this Ooglit in my house if I turned the girls loose with your glue!  Just sayin'..........:-)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sigh.....And This Is One of the Big Reasons Why We Have Pets....

On the farm, our critters are pretty special.  Cattle produce food, dogs protect, and cats get rid of varmints. Any other critter that wanders on to the place is a varmint.  (I don't think I ever realized there was a "mint" in varmint????)

Right now, we have about 100 cattle, 1 dog, 1 inside cat, and about 16 cats in various sizes, ages, and genders.

Well today one of the cute little fluffs of fur did not get out from under a truck in time..... We were not at home, but we heard about it, and it always seems to fall on me to break such news to the girls.

Why is that?

Our Supreme Mother of All Cats went missing last week, and I presume she is now with God because she would never leave her kittens, and this little fluff, who Bear and Tink named Samantha, was one of hers.


So off I go to pick them up from school.  Yes, I spoiled them today because it's 2000 degrees on the bus, and after their hour ride, they are limp noodles by the time they come off said bus.  Dr. Phil says the car/van is the best place to have important talks, so I went with that and told them about Samantha about halfway home.  Bear took it the worse, and Tink was upset too.....There were tears, hearts broke, and Momma said a lot of "I'm sorry," and "I love you."  Still tears...  so I said, "Samantha is up with God and her momma, Lovey, is probably happy to see her."

Quiet in the back seat.......

"LOVEY IS DEAD???????"

More tears


Dear Lord, I could just not catch a break on this one.  I'm not sure where they thought she went, but I'm pretty sure she is not coming back.

I know some of you are still stuck on the SIXTEEN CATS ( and that's not counting the semi-wild ones in the barns).  I also grew up with Bob Barker and his "spay and neuter animals" sign off.  Sadie and Pumpkin are fixed, but out here in the country we usually do not spend a great deal on our outside cats.  The life expectancy of a cat living out in the country is probably at 2-3 years.  It's just the way it is between coyotes, raccoons, hawks, and vehicles, so we don't put a lot of money into them.  We do love them and try to keep them as healthy as possible, but their numbers just naturally fluctuate.

Having cats on the farm, or any animal for that matter, teaches our children about life and death.  Any pet does.  Out here on the farm, we get to see more of the beginning and middle of the life process, but the last part is all about the same.  Pets prepare us for what life will bring.  Birth, joy, and an ending of life.  It breaks this momma's heart when we lose cute little fluffs or valued momma cats.  I will be a total mess when Pumpkin and Sadie go, but it's a time to talk about life and its cycle and an opportunity to carry this on to the special people in our lives.

So God Bless Samantha and her momma, Lovey, for all the joy and happiness they brought to my girls and this family.  They will truly be missed.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

There's A Patron Saint for Cows? Well, Dear St. Brigid......

Boy girl do I need your help!

We had "issues" with a few of our 4-H steers and heifers, and I would love any guidance, knowledge, or saintly tail twisting you can send my way for next year's batch of cows when they come to the farm!  Here are just a few stories......

This darling heifer/cow is going to be a mommy in December, and she showed all the hormonal traits of a pregnant momma.

She used to be such a good follower, and our Bear loved her dearly; HOWEVER, she faked me out of my drawers TWICE, and I either need to go to a basketball camp to work on my defense or get Temple Grandin out here ASAP!

The first time this happened, there were no witnesses, but I will confess that I brought her home, led her off the trailer, had a few unruly moments until I told her I was leading this parade, then walked her in to the pasture, showed her where the waterer was, and then gently slipped off the halter so I could leave her to get reacquainted with her old/new home.  The little dickens turned right on a dime and beat me back to the gate!  I thought she was headed out across the road to open fields, but St. Brigid, you must have taken pity on me because Lady Bug turned around the truck and headed in to her old pen.  I quickly shut the gate, brought her a bucket of sparkling new, cool water and was ready to call it good until Tall Guy came home, but......She started being nice, and I thought I could get the halter back on her and walk her back out to the pasture so she could also have some grass to eat.  Yeah, uhm, the halter went on backwards, but it was on, and that was good enough for me to get her moving back to the pasture.  She wasn't liking any of this, and I had visions of me skating through the barn lot desperately clinging to the halter, when again St. Brigid, you sent Grandpa to me.  He pulled into the barn lot, tried his best not to laugh, and helped me lead her AND secure her in the pasture.  I think that might have been the happiest I have ever been to see my father-in-law!

Cut to a couple of days later, and Tall Guy asked me to go out and keep LadyBug at bay while he drove through her neighborhood to dump a batch of feed.  I didn't say, "No Problem" because I started to learn that this version of LadyBug had a few attitudes in need of retraining.  Out I went, though, a bit leery and much more on alert this time.  I backed her up all the way into the pasture so I had only a narrow gateway to block.  You should have seen that cow.  Swear to heavens she has some Michael Jordan in her!  Her head kept bobbing back and forth trying to find an opening, and I was out there in my best defensive stance trying to match her zig for zag.  After about four minutes of this, she stood very still....So I thought I would take this moment to go up and scratch her jowls and neck like she liked.  She enjoyed that for about a minute, then BAMM!  She faked me right out of my socks and blew through my area headed straight to the back lot.


I had the lovely pleasure of turning around and seeing Tall Guy about ready to fall off his perch on the top of a fence because he was laughing so hard at me.  He said he wished he had a video camera.  I gave him a very "wifely" wave, may not have used all of my fingers!  We, LadyBug and I , had a polite stand-off until TG could finish his job and help me get her back where she was supposed to be.  Little bitt  momma just followed him right back up to her pasture while he drove the tractor, and I think she actually flirted with him right in front of me!!!!!

Cut to a few days later, and the black crossbreeds were up to shenanigans.  We are waiting for the bus, and Tall Guy yells, "Cows out!"  The bus is like 3 minutes from arriving at our house, and both girls go racing out the door!.. I will give them credit for trying to stop and change foot gear, but TG said, "NOW!" so they went on, and I prayed while I dashed upstairs, because I was inappropriately dressed to chase cows, especially with that wind blowing like it was.  The steer, Aladin, somehow managed to jump over his fence, and Dear St. Brigid, the heifer was somehow securely in the pen next door with the dairy calves....... Know anything about that one?  It's a mystery to us how she got in with them.  Tall Guy fixed the fence while I shooed the girls off to the bus, and tried to keep the little fur ball kittens from getting under BIG hooves. They may have been tiny, but they had no fear!

Can you handle one more?  TG left early one morning to haul beans to a town south of here.  I decided to enjoy a little sit-in-bed-and-read time with The CBS Morning Show going on when he called me and says,

 "I'm 99% sure I twisted the wire on the calves' gate, but you might want to check it."

Ok, whatever.  He ALWAYS secured our trusty baling wire tie to the gate to keep the cows in, so I go back to reading.  Next thing I know a truck pulls in the drive... DANG!  Now I have to put on appropriate undergarments and go outside.  I went with flip-flops to see what the truck wanted and on my way did a quick check on the calves....ONLY ONE COW IN THE PEN, gate open, other black calf no where in sight!  CRAP!  I go over to the guys in the truck, ask if they have seen a cow wandering, and they, who are there to pick up a few bales of straw, say,

"Yeah, It's over there."
Hmmmm... I say, "Uhm, Could you keep an eye on her while I go back and put on my boots?"
 "Sure." They stayed in their truck!  Seriously!

I flew back into the garage, plopped my feet in one of the girls' boots, then... well never mind, but I found mine next and went zipping out to get the cow!  The guys have their window rolled down and say,

"It's still over there." Still.In.The.Truck!  Seriously?????

So off I gingerly went to try and stop the heifer from running across the road and into an open bean field, again assuming any serious defensive b-ball plays I'd ever seen, and finally got her headed back to the tool shed.  Almost too late I realized BOTH the south and east doors were open as I came around.  The guys were now, miraculously out of the truck but standing right by it watching the whole scene unfold.  I mustered up my nastiest teacher face and kind of ordered them to at least go close the east doors! Sheesh! All by myself I got her back in the pen, just as I heard the rumbling of my knight in shining armor pull back into the lane because the more he thought about it, the more sure he was that the gate was open.

So St. Brigid, I am on bended knee asking for your help, guidance, and any gifts of cow whispering you wish to bestow on me or any of my family so that the next group of  cows might become more obedient and trustworthy.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Restart Time and Retro Apple Cake

Ok, as I just read another blogger post, it's time to give my blog a "kick in the pants!"  It has been crazy busy here the last FIVE weeks, and just when I thought I could catch my breath, the excavator pulled in to start off the new addition project!  OY!

It's all good, and will be even better when it's done, but in the mean time I will try to catch you up on all our summer adventures and experiences as soon as possible.

For now, I'm re-posting a recipe that I just made yesterday afternoon.  There is only one piece left, so that's a good sign that this one is a keeper!

So....from back to just about where it all started, here is my Walk Back to the Apple Tree post from September 19, 2010!

Here is the recipe so you could copy and paste it to a Word file.  That's what I have been doing to all the yummy recipes I find as I read your blogs.  My word file is getting about as fat as I would be if I went to the kitchen and baked it all at one time!  Great ideas that I cannot wait to create!

2 C.    chopped apples                                           1/2 C.  raisins
1 C.    sugar                                                           1/2 C.  brown sugar
1         egg, beaten                                                  2 T.      flour
1 C.    flour                                                            1/2 C.  sugar
1 1/2 t.  cinnamon                                                   1 C.    water
1/2 t.   baking soda                                                 1/4 C. butter, can use 1/2 cup if desired!
1/2 t.   salt                                                              1 T.     vanilla
1/2 C.  pecans

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

Here are my apples!  They might not be the prettiest ones on the tree (actually these are the ones that fell to the ground!), but they are very good once you cut out the bad spots!

 A little game I like to play with myself and whoever else might be helping me peel apples is to see who can peel the whole apple without breaking the peel.


 Dicing!  Ready to be sugared!

 Sugaring and waiting the 3-4 minutes Mom says to wait!



 Measuring (note I used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 regular flour) Shhhhh....DON'T tell Tall Guy!  He doesn't like it when I mess with a recipe!  Silly Man!

 Adding the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt

 Then dropping in the raisins and pecans

Stirring again!  This stuff will be very thick!

 See?  I told you it would be thick!  That spoon is NOT moving!  By the way, I used my 
Pampered Chef 9 x 9 pan.  LOVE IT!  The bowl is PC and so is the spoon!

 Now while the cake is baking in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, let's get the sauce made.  This is a little secret I learned from my mom:  When possible fill the cup inside the brown sugar bag AND pack it down before you take it out!
It's less mess!

Add this to a pot with the water and sugar and flour and cook until the liquid is clear...Yep that's what Mom's recipe said, but I will tell you two secrets: 
1.)  I added some of that yummy rum I used with the rum cake to the pot!
2.)  I don't think the liquid would ever have become clear with the BROWN sugar in it???
(The little white specks are the flour glops that resulted because I forgot to mix the flour in with the water first!  They all dissolved after some vigorous stirring.  DANG!)

Shhhhh... don't tell Mom!

 DING!!!!  Cake is done!  (That's my PC round stone in the back ground.  You can tell I use it a lot too!)

 Time to make the cake drunk moist!  Pour the sugar mix all over the cake!
Hey!  Do I hear a Def Leppard song? hee hee!

Yep..... the whole pan of sugary sweet goo!

 SSSLLLLUUURRRPPPP! (hiccup!)  There it's all ready to cool and enjoy!

Back to August 19, 2014....Well DANG!  I forgot to add the rum yesterday! Guess that just means I will have to make another one and do it right this time!  

Have a great one!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Popcorn Memories: Indiana State Fair

Popcorn has been a huge part of my life for just about as long as my mom and dad would let me have some! Actually, it might have been my Grandpa Lyons who first let me appreciate the versatility of the little kernels! Yep, I was about two and a half here eating a popcorn ball with Grandpa and my brother.

This big DUDE is one of the stars of this year's Indiana State Fair as it celebrates the Year of Popcorn! (Guess what!?!?!  One of my kids, Miss Stephanie DeCamp had a hand in make this! ) I also want to give a nod to all the hard-working people at Indiana's Family of Farmers who also made this big guy possible.

There is still time to go out to the Indiana State Fair this week and enjoy all the wonderful accomplishments of our 4-H members and those livestock shows plus open shows that showcase all the creativity and vitality of our great state!

We just received a cool new popcorn, and since all braces are off for the moment, it is a very popular treat to have of an evening around here.  I remember, "back in the day..."  that EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT Mom would fix popcorn and apples so we could snack through the Wonderful World of Disney show.  We rarely missed that show or the snack that went with it.  It was a tradition that even had its one bowl.... I think my brother has it now.

Popcorn has changed over the years.  We had a solid metal pan, plopped the oil and popcorn kernels in it, added the lid, and Dad would usually shake it like a crazy man until it was finished popping.  Then came this wonderful way to make popcorn.  I had to borrow this picture from the internet because it always 1.) cracks me up and 2.) draws a line in the sand for the generation gap.

Good ol' Jiffy Pop!  Now that was some fun cooking right there!  This poster really makes me grin!

So does this one, especially when we have our hot Indiana summers

But in all seriousness, popcorn is one of Indiana's leading crops.  It's healthy for you if you use butter and salt in moderation, it's great to eat, and it's a must have for movie nights or walking around a county or even Indiana State fair.  Our last movie we watched as a family was Temple Grandin's movie, and boy did Miss Bear eat that movie and her poporn up!

There is still plenty of time left to see our great Indiana State Fair.  I suggest you visit the new Glass Barn.  I will talk about that soon, but it is awesome some of my very dear friends have been working their hind parts off to make this newest exhibit a great success.

We have a lot of catching up to do, and I plan on doing that starting Wednesday when the big yellow bus stops to take the girls to school!  Woo!  Stay tuned for more updates and fun!