Thursday, January 22


Have you ever noticed how people come together and work together when there is a life on the line? It never ceases to amaze me how compassionate people can be when times get tough. Take today for an example, we have a small school farm and have a first calf heifer that became a cow today. This is her story.... at 8:30 am- no sign of going into labor, really and truthfully there wasn't much sign of her milking even coming in. 11:15 am- spotted by a construction worker who noticed that she was in labor and was having difficulties who called the office. The secretary (love to Rebecca here) told Chopper who happened to be in the office who RAN the mile or so (okay, maybe not quite that far, but it seems like it!) from the office to my room where my 3rd period class had just walked in the door. All 28 of us went to the farm where we found Annabelle in the lower pasture, where we found Annabelle with a dead calf that was "stuck" for lack of a better turn and couldn't come out. After getting everyone to work together (and finding a cow halter) we were able to get her up to our new squeeze chute (Thank you VIC committee!) where we were able to try to pull the calf. One of my students tried first (he has cows at home and is cow smart) but he couldn't quite get to where he needed to to make it work, I then tried and realized fairly quickly that I lacked the strength to do it. God bless two of our area producers who sent supplies for us to borrow and one was able to come out and pull the calf keeping the cow safe. I have to not only praise these producers, but brag on these students as well. Today is the 2nd day of this semester, and although these are 2nd level students- this is the first time they had witnessed something like this (it's hard to catch an animal giving birth on campus). These students stayed calmed, did whatever we asked of them and were truly helpful. Several even went the extra mile of helping to pull the calf- I can honestly say that this is a day I will never forget in the classroom. I am proud of my students and proud to say I am a member of the community. The producer who was able to help us explained to them what he was feeling and what he was doing so the kids really got a great lesson. What had happened is that when the calf started to present itself, his left leg got twisted underneath his body so that we he "presented" it was only partially correct, because of his shoulder being in the way, she couldn't pass him naturally. Although it would of been nice to have a healthy bull calf born today, and I can honestly say I wish this post was celebrating his birth, I want to emphasize the sense of community and compassion that I witnessed today and say that I am proud to be around and have the opportunity to teach such wonderful students who are going to go far in life. I am so thankful to live and work in a community where being a neighbor means not only being there when times are good- but helping in times of an emergency. These two cattlemen are true examples of those everyday heroes that go unsung, and I feel as though that was brought to light today. Back to the beast (Annabelle), who is unbelievably gentle- we were able to foster a calf of the producer who was able to pull her calf so that her milk doesn't go to waste and that she doesn't (hopefully) get sick. We are fostering this calf until she is weaned, at which time we will return her to the producer. Isn't an amazing thing that even in tragedy, there is good to be celebrated?

Tuesday, January 13

Exam Week...

D0 you remember when you were in high school or in college and how horrible you thought exam week was.... cramming for those test, the stress about doing well (or at least passing in some cases).... worrying if you were going to finish the test in time? I can honestly say :-p that's nothing compared to the boredom of sitting there, WATCHING a room full of students take a test and making sure they don't cheat. You can't talk, you just sit there (or walk around the room) and make sure that they are staying focused... it is really a mindless task and will about drive you to being put into a room with rubber walls. Yes, for all of you non-teachers out there- it is exam week for my students. I feel like I am the one who is being graded based on their performance (which of course you have those who excel and those who don't care and those who care but don't preform well on a written test)- then you have to face your principal (think along the lines of the ULTIMATE FATHER/MOTHER FIGURE of your school) and share your results- its worse than bringing home a report card! This father/mother figure is usually someone you admire and they are your BOSS meaning they SIGN YOUR PAY CHECK. So the next time you hear a kid complain about a test... just think about the poor suffering teacher who has to administer it, grade it, post it and tell their boss how well his/her class performed on it.... I salute all of my fellow educators and wish you a happy and successful testing season!

Wednesday, January 7

More than you ever wanted to know!

Here's the rule: Bold the things you've done & post on your blog!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band- As long as Recorder's in 5th Grade Counts!
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower-- On top of a mtn, near the New River during a cookout
6. Given more than you can afford to charity-
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain-- I worked one summer on trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway- fun stuff!
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo- So low that nobody heard me! ;)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris- Our school's dog? Does that count ;)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch- I've done several pieces of Chicken Scratch, no puns intended!
15. Adopted a child- Does my students count? I'm around some of them so much it feels like it!
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb- Even better- used to raise them... better yet... out of that business!
26. Gone skinny dipping- Does the bathtub count?
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse- I remember watching one from on top of the mtn several yrs ago!
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset- Although my husband likes to pick on me about being a whimp, I have even seen this site from a tree-stand!
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors- Daddy was born in the house next door to where we grew up!
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied- As long as there's enough to pay the bills!
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt- This was our honeymoon trip- breath taking!
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight- With my sissy- one of my favorite memories from college!
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted- A friend of mine that thought we were dating... I thought we were pen pals, had one created of the two of us- which I forgot about until my fiance found it in my closet at the house in the mtns when were cleaning out the house! Try to explain that one!
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain- And danced in it too... on a dirt road... very romantic memory!
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie- The great P___ Family Christmas Movie from 1988!
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - I learned a valuable lesson about being a state employee in January!
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy- I still have my teddy bear- it survived college and is one of my most prized possessions! (LONG story)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car- I love the Pass-it! ;)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper - Gotta love the A______ News!
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating- Thanks Carm!
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous- Once, a long, long time ago- I was a g/f of a member of a band and would go behind stage and got to meet a lot of pretty well known bluegrass stars!
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Been swept off your feet

Monday, January 5

Holiday Fixings....

I hope that each of you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years! It's hard to believe that 2009 is already here! May the new year be full of Blessings and love- remember that through God all things are possible!

This past holiday season definitely was a time of celebrating together- and for Brian and me a time of celebrating what's important in life, our Faith (as we celebrated the true meaning of the season)- our family (it was wonderful to get to see them) and our friends (how blessed we are to have such amazing people in our lives!). The season was filled with new memories as we picked out our tree in the snow (since a few flakes did fall on us as we were attempting to pick out the perfect tree!), decorating the tree with my tin snowflakes.. and since we got to celebrate in our home with family and friends throughout the season... including hosting several holiday parties!

We hosted my Daddy's family here right before Christmas- and I learned an awesome secret to making a tender, juicy and succulent turkey.... Cook the thing UPSIDE DOWN! It makes since when you think about it, but I want to know who first thought of cooking the bird upside down, or did someone just stick it in the oven without paying attention as they wiped the sleep from their eyes trying to get the bird done in time for a holiday lunch? This is a question I will probably never know the answer to, but I did want to share this little tip (and recipe) with any of you who feel the need to try your hand at cooking a 19 lb bird (that can be used as a weapon if someone is mugging you at the grocery store when your loading your car when you buy one!)

Upside Down Turkey

  • Butter

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Fresh "Poultry Seasoning Packet" or Bay Leaves, Rosemary & Thyme

  • Onion (quartered), Celery (split) and garlic

  • Aluminum foil

Thaw turkey according to package directions, remove "innards" and clean with cold water. Pat down with paper towels. Take a stick of butter and either a melt it and baste your bird or use a stick of cold real unsalted butter and rub all over bird (inside and out). Next season with salt and pepper to taste. Put onions, celery and garlic inside cavity and "cap" with an aluminum foil ball. Next, put bird breast side down in your roaster and sprinkle your poultry seasoning packet around the bird. Next bake according to package directions- turning bird over the last 45 mins to 1 hr of cooking to brown the breast. Baste your bird when you do this! I had a hard time flipping the bird (okay, no pun intended) and you may need either another set of hands or one of those fancy smancy bird lifters and a spare plate to transfer the bird to and from the pan! I promise this is well worth the work and effort, the juices baste the breast as you cook since they will flow down, preventing this meat from drying out (praise the Lord- dry turkey isn't very pleasant for the masses!)

Since we traveled over Christmas, and didn't get to share a special meal together, Brian and I celebrated the New Year with a wonderful home cooked meal full of the foods a mountain gal's been taught to eat to bring luck and prosperity for the New Year! For those of you unfamiliar with this tradition, here is what to eat on New Year's day: Ham/Pork Products= Health, Collard Greens= Prosperity (money), Black-Eyed Peas= good luck and cornbread= for family. We did lots of ham products (ham biscuits by Brian that morning) and ham steaks for lunch (super good grilled, and there is enough in a pack for 4 ppl easy!) I made a black-eye pea salad (after trying one at a bistro that was delicious) but mine was a disaster! It ended up, uneaten, in the woods behind our house- if anyone reading this has a good, tried and true, recipe for this dish, please pass it on- purtty please with sugar on top! Thank goodness that I made the world's best collard greens that took the nasty taste of the failed black-eye pea salad from our mouth (see recipe below). I highly recommend this (it is a modified Paula Deen recipe, now that is a gal that knows how to fix a meal!) and my husband went all ga-ga over it! We both usually "season" our collards/greens with vinegar (me) and mustard (him) after they come out of the pot, but we didn't touch these they were so good! I promise you need to try these... even if you don't eat greens, they are THAT GOOD! Finally, a Jiffy cornbread muffin mix to make the corn muffins (oh so good!) to top off the meal (which all that ended up on our plates was the ham, collards (large portion) and the muffins (warm, with cholesterol free butter to offset all of the other cholesterol in this meal ;)) YUMMY! This will definitely be our New Year's Day Staples for years to come (and several days throughout the year just because it really is that good... I wonder if we can celebrate the first day of the season... or month... or week... without getting tired of the collards????)

The Greatest Collard Greens I have Ever Eaten...

God Bless Paula Deen!


  • 1/2 pound smoked ham hocks, rinse really well to remove excess salt!

  • 1 tablespoon House seasoning, recipe follows

  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt

  • 1/2 sweet onion (cut into 6 wedges)

  • 1 large bunch collard greens

  • 1 tablespoon butter

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add smoked meat, house seasoning, seasoned salt and onion wedges. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour. Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices. Place greens in pot with meat and add butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When done taste and adjust seasoning.

Paula Deen's House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Note- this is really good on any meat- we use this alot on different things- Boston butts, chicken, steak, venison, asparagus, baked potatoes... yummy!

Okay- so I think I've probably bored any of you who have made it this far... but I did want to put these on here so that I could find them when I want to make them again! I promise that my next post a- will not be so long and b- will be sooner than 4 weeks from now!

Sunday, January 4


I promise that I will have a couple of really great recipes up soon- including some that I want to remember for next Christmas! Hope that your 2009 if full of peace, happieness, love and excitement!