Italian Sausage Pasta

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This is another easy, hearty delicious meal.

This is a dish I created a while back trying to come up with a different use for Italian Sausage instead of the usual meals.

4 Italian Sausage Links
16 oz box of pasta (I use large shells) cooked
1/2 onion
1/4 slice of pepper (2 colors or 1/2 of one color)
1 medium clove of garlic
3 TBSP butter
4 TBSP olive oil
2 cups beef bouillon with 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch stirred in until dissolved
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Par-boil the sausage for 25 minutes and then finish cooking in micro (about 3 minutes) or pan fry until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit to slice

Dice the onion and peppers (I like to use 2 colors to keep it colorful)

Mince the garlic clove or dice very small

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions and peppers. Cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add the oil and garlic and stir gently heating it on medium heat for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up and pour in the bouillon and cornstarch mixture stirring frequently until starting to thicken and turn down heat.

Add in the sliced Italian Sausage and heat it through.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese!

Farm Happenings

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Blue and Oreo finally enjoying a sunny day

Spring on the farm is one of the busiest seasons.  It is the time for cleaning up the winter mess, prepping the gardens for planting, fixing up all of the animal pastures/enclosures that have weathered the winter snow and ice, starting all the seedlings in the greenhouse, spring hockey, jv soccer, varsity softball, work, meals, and trying to have a bit of fun inbetween.

Here are some of the things we have managed over the last week (not including meals which will come in a later post:-) :

If you have followed along with my Facebook Page…Chasenchanceranch, Disco foundered in January and has had a rough road over the last 2 months.  With aggressive treatments he is on the mend thankfully and even had his mane trimmed as he always has for riding and showing.  Even if he never makes it on the trails again, we are beyond grateful to have him comfortable and not in pain.

The baby chickens coop has been completely netted over the fencing and roof so there is never another hawk issue and they can be free and go in and out of their coop at will.  We have owned this property in my family since 1972 and have never had an animal lost to a hawk until this year.  It was a very hard life lesson for the kids to handle, but we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of all the animals!

The bunnies have a new run attached to their house so they can get some exercise and play during the day.  Meanwhile the “Chicken Brigade” travels the yard making sure to keep the bugs to a minimum!

Pops of color from the spring perennials are starting to liven up the grounds while some plantings are thriving in the portable greenhouse.  If you do not have primrose in your garden, I suggest you invest in some.  They are a very hardy spring plant and have beautiful green leaves during the summer when not in bloom.  They bloom in early fall as well and add great color.

Spring sports are underway.  The boy (in red) at his first jv soccer practice, the Teen Queen practicing catching and throwing for Varsity softball, and the boy playing in a jv hockey game.  Our nights are busy after work for sure!

The cabin is being set up for the summer to live in, the awning is up on the house for some outdoor dinners, morning coffee when not sleeping in the cabin, and rainy days when we play board games under it.

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This robins nest is in the eave of the cabin.  We have to leave it as it contains these cute little eggs and a hopeful robin mommy!

And with the nicer weather comes our weekend bonfires to end the nights.  This was the “big one” as we burned up all the branches from around the yard and a few pallets.

And that’s part of the week in review!  Tonight is the first Varsity softball game…Go Lady Eagles!!!

 

Life Lessons on a farm…

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Living on a farm offers so many benefits. But for every benefit there is always a hardship.

Farming teaches your children responsibility with helping them learn how to plant, hunt, cook, and can their own food.  They learn many tricks of the trade for getting the right vegetables to grow along with making a little money selling those things at a roadside stand.

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The Boy and his friend after a hockey game playing with the chicks

Caring for animals is a huge responsibility.  It teaches compassion, love, nurturing, along with the commitment to the well being of the animal and loss.  There are sacrifices to be made such as leaving a birthday party early to get home to feed the animals.  Many other times you race home because the weather has changed and those animals need to be brought in.

This weekend was a very hard lesson at our farm and that was learning to understand that no matter how responsible you are, things still happen that are hard to accept.

We purchased 6 baby chickens about 7 weeks ago to compensate for 4 of our older girls who will soon stop laying eggs and live out their golden years with us.  The kids hand selected each baby.  We have had them living in a huge bin in our basement until old enough to go outside.  Over the past 7 weeks they have held them, cleaned them, taken care of them and loved them.

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Putting the babies from their travel bin into the outside house for the day

Yesterday was the day we decided they had outgrown their bin and were ready to move into the “baby” chicken coop and pasture.  This is a special area for the babies to grow into a full size chicken.  There is fencing that is 6 feet high on one side and 4 feet on the other.  There is also a baby gate before the 4 foot fencing.  Long story short, 2 of the babies are gone.  After being out there for 2 hours we went in for 20 minutes and came back out to find one of the babies outside of the fencing dead and one is missing.  The other 4 are ok.  The kids are devastated!

We have come up with 1000 theories on what happened but may never fully know.    UGH….so hard to accept!

As much as I want to grieve, I have to be strong for the kids who were still having tears slide down their cheeks getting ready for school today.  Sometimes the farm life is harder than you imagine!

The Story of the Woodpecker and Finch

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I know, I know…yes another bird picture from me.  I can’t help myself!

I was going to take a picture of the colorful woodpecker eating at the feeder and that’s where the story begins…….

The hungry woodpecker was happily enjoying his breakfast.  He didn’t have a care in the world even when he noticed me with a camera watching him in the window.   He was a relaxed woodpecker enjoying life on a cold snowy morning.

Along came the golden yellow, beautiful, small finch.  He eyed up the feeder and saw it held many treats for a hungry bird.  He did a fly by once and then again. Out of nowhere he appeared with wings spread and an angry look on his face.  He zeroed right in on the happy woodpecker and chased him away!

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And he ate and ate until his heart was content

The End!!  For today that is…..

Barbecue Ribs

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Working as a waitress had it’s perks. Besides meeting the man of the house when I was a part time waitress, I was able to watch many different chefs cook and I learned a lot.

If you want the most tender, delicious pork ribs, you have to steam cook them in a bit of water with 2 TBSP of white vinegar. The meat will fall off the bone after you grill them!

Place the ribs on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Fill the bottom of the pan (not touching the meat) with water and 2 TBSP white vinegar.  Place the cover on.

Cook at 250 for an hour and reduce heat to 200 for another hour.

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If grilling right away, slather them in your favorite BBQ sauce (or make your own!!) and grill them until heated through basting more sauce on.

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If you are cooking them later, let them cool and either place in fridge for a day or two until you are grilling or freeze them (thaw before grilling).

I steamed these yesterday and we had them for dinner tonight. You can see how tender they are!

Snow

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Sissy stuck her head out and went right back into the coop after we had snow last night.

All winter we begged for snow!  My kids love snow, we are outdoor people regardless of the snow.  But we only had a few lucky days of it compared to last year when we were buried most of the winter (this was the last week of March 2015)

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Now we have switched to “spring” mode and sure enough here comes the snow!!

I actually planted bulbs yesterday from our hyacinth plants and the primrose are in full bloom as seen in the pictures below:

And this is the little garden today after a bit of the warm sun melting the snow.

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Tonight we are getting another 5-8 inches so somehow, someway…we need to switch our minds back into winter mode for a few days.

Easier said than done!!

Hyacinth Oil

Hyacinths are a special Easter flower and smell very similar to a lilac. They also are grown from a bulb which can be replanted in your garden as a perennial.

Our local grocery store had them on clearance after Easter for $1.00 so of course I bought 10. The bulbs were planted today and now I am making some hyacinth oil to use in our homemade body scrubs (which I will use mainly for my hands and feet).

Place the cut flowers into a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1/8 cup of sunflower oil (or you can use olive oil) and let soak for a day or two.

Store the oil in a jar and use it to scent your body scrub!!

**Body Scrubs can be made many ways.  I will use this with organic cane sugar and a touch of glycerin**