Friday, April 27, 2012

The Good Life

I's luff my's job as head uf securty fo da compny my's Dad works at.

I's dudn't know nuffin 'bout no shreddy paper!  Yous jus lucky tis remote thingy wasn't shreddyd!

Da Cairns gofta do what da Cairns gofta do, an den he sleeps.

At Prairie Cairn Cottage life is good for a rescued Cairn!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

I had a birthday this weekend.  I am a lucky girl in that my ever so handy husband made me a homemade spaghetti dinner just like he did the first birthday I had when we were dating.  Just like then, this was delicious! 

To go with my homemade spaghetti, I decided to make my own birthday cake.  My favorite cake is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  This was the result, not very pretty, but oh so tasty!

I got to do whatever I wanted the whole weekend.  So we played in the garden both days.  This is my ever so handy husband digging me a trench for more asparagus.  He tried digging one by hand but with our hard prairie soil he soon abandoned that trench when he thought of an easier way to dig!  
Even the chicks got to go outside and enjoy the warmth this weekend.  This is their first time in their outdoor pen.  At first frightened, they soon got the hang of it and had a good time investigating and scratching in the dirt.

All in all, a wonderful birthday! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Night Views on the Prairie

Some people, when they come out to Prairie Cairn Cottage, ask why "would anyone want to live out in the middle of nowhere"?  I'd say these are three examples of how I would answer that question.  I guess not everyone appreciates space.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beans and Corn Bread

Yum!  I've been craving Pinto Beans lately.  My Momma was a southern Texas gal and this was one of her specialties.  She cooked hers in a pressure cooker and they were always tender and delicious.  You can make them lots of different ways.  This time, I sauteed some onions and garlic added that to 2 cups of dried Pinto Beans in my crock pot, added a large pork hock and a smidgeon of salt and loads of pepper, covered it all in plenty of water and cooked it around 30 hours.  Yes, that does sound like a long time!  They were still pretty tough when dinner time rolled around so I let them cook the rest of the night.  The next morning they were done but would take too long to cool down before I went to work so I left them on.  I don't think you can over cook beans, these were delicious!
And you absolutely must have Corn Bread with your Pinto Beans!  With loads of real butter.  Momma use to cook hers in a square cast iron skillet but my cast irons were not handy so I just used one of my Magnalite skillets I inherited from my Mother In Law.  Not quite the way Momma would have made, but I was pleased with the results.

We had plenty of leftovers so I'll be reheating these for dinner tonight.  What are some of your dinners that remind you of loved ones?  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden Time

The horseradish that friends gave us last year (mistakenly thinking they were rhubarb) are doing quite well it looks like.  I kept thinking last year that this plant was a funny looking rhubarb and I had a sneaking suspicion that it might be horseradish instead.  When it poked it's head up this spring I took some pictures and asked my farmgirl friends here what they thought the mystery plant might be.  Yup!  Horseradish.  A funny but very tasty mistake!
Hopefully, we'll have yummy strawberries in the not too distant future!  There are also raspberries, asparagus, sage, lavender and oregano all coming back from last years plants.  I also have a thyme that I'm not sure survived. 

The new raised beds my every so handy husband made for me this spring.  Our soil is not the best so we put lots of composted manure and some peat moss in these beds and then tilled them all together with the existing soil.  I was able to plant some romaine lettuce, crisp head lettuce, spinach, bush peas and some green onions seeds this past weekend.  Sometime this week I'll be putting in some potatoes, more strawberries, more asparagus and a real rhubarb.

This is one of my favorite times of year.  I love going around and seeing which old friends are coming back in the garden.  I hope you'll be one of those friends that keep coming back to visit Prairie Cairn Cottage. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Laundry Soap

I broke down and made my own laundry soap today.  I got the recipe from a blogger many of you already know, here.  I even used the same way to grate the soap that Mary Jane used! 
I had tried it previously but grated the bars of soap by hand and was never very happy with the finished product.  It never seemed to dissolve in the wash, I think the bar soap was too chunky.  Using my Kitchen Aid attachment not only sped the process up but made the grated soap much finer.  As you can see in the picture I used Kirk's Castile soap.  I found a 3 pack of them at the local big box retailer.  I like the soap Mary Jane uses as it adds color to the finished product so maybe next time I'll try a different type of bar soap.  I do like the fragrance of the Kirk's so I didn't add any essential oils for fragrance.  The other ingredients in the recipe are:

I had to measure out the 4 pounds of Baking Soda since this was a bigger bag than needed but the other ingredients just got their whole box dumped into the mix.  So that's it, super fast to make!  Since there are no fillers in this you only use 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mix for a wash load.  I washed my first load this morning before going to work so I'll have to report back how I liked it.

Do you make your own soap?  If not give this a try and let me know how you like it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some Dreams Do Come True

One of my fondest childhood memories was visiting my Gammer and Pop on their ranch and being able to go out into the barn and gather fresh eggs from underneath big fat chickens.  I have been pining for a flock of my own ever since.  The chicken craze that has swept the nation the last couple of years has not gone unnoticed by me.  Unfortunately, up until we moved into Prairie Cairn Cottage, we were suburbanites and in locales that prohibited backyard poultry.  That all changed the moment we signed the closing papers last year.  Alas, my ever so handy husband was too busy last year to build me a coop so no chickens.  That is, until this Spring!  I am happy to introduce to you the beginnings of Prairie Cairn Cottage's laying flock.

This picture was taken 3 weeks ago.  If you are wondering about the red tint to the picture, chicks require quite a bit of warmth so they are underneath a heat lamp.  As these are my first chicks I am marveling how quickly they are growing.

Today, my sweet girls looked like this!  They are already getting their feathers.  The two yellow ones are Buff Orpingtons and the darker ones are Light Brahmas.  The Orpingtons will retain their yellow feathers but the Brahmas will eventually be mostly white. 

My ever so handy husband still has not been able to build me a coop so these girls are currently in the powder room of Prairie Cairn Cottage.  In a few short weeks, when the weather warms they will be moved outside to temporary quarters.

We put the coop in the dog run that no self respecting dog at Prairie Cairn Cottage will use.  We will bury hardware cloth all around the perimeter of the run as well as line the bottom part of the sides with the same hardware cloth in order to keep predators out.  The top of the run will either have hardware cloth and/or we will purchase the shade cloth that is available for these dog runs.

Check back this fall for news of the first eggs these chicks will provide for us!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Yes, this is our little cottage.  As you can see it's on the prairie.  God blessed us mightily with this home.  We bought it last a government auction...for a fabulous price.  But it was only the house and the 40 acres that surrounds it.  No outbuildings, no garage, no fencing, and only a primitive road leading to it.  It does have electricity, water and now propane, but no phone which limits our Internet and TV service.  We get great cell coverage so that takes care of the phone.  There's not much on TV as far as we're concerned so our over-the-air antenna takes care of what TV viewing we do.  Internet?  Well, let's just say we are working on that.

When we bought it, our Cairn was this little guy.   Sadly, we had to say goodbye to him last November.  I'm still weepy eyed over his loss.  I cherish his memory and think of him daily.  He was my constant companion.  Only a few days of his life did he not live it with me.  He was my walking buddy and we enjoyed our time together very much.

Now we share our cottage with this guy.  He is helping me over my grief and is a lovely little Cairn.  He is a puppy mill rescue and as such, he has no manners.  Despite all of that he is a good little doggy and a pleasure to get to know.  If you love Cairns and would like to help a Cairn in need of a home check out

Although brief, I hope you enjoyed your stay at Prairie Cairn Cottage.  We should be bringing you updates on the improvements to the cottage and the Cairn.