Thursday, May 31, 2012

Home Again

We had a wonderful time visiting family over the long weekend.  My nephew has grown into a very honorable young man.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house when his Mother pinned his late Father's Eagle Scout Pin on. 

His graduation was equally tearful.  His GPA was 4.0+!  Did I tell you he was smart?  How about dedicated?  He is all these things and more.  We are so proud to be his Aunt and Uncle and we are looking forward to see the direction his adult life takes. 

It's a good thing we had these other activities planned.  Our outdoor plans got relocated inside Friday and Saturday when the weather took a turn on us.

But as any resourceful traveler will do, we went to a fabulous coffee shop for breakfast.  The best part of this coffee shop?  I happen to know the owners very well (my sister and niece).  We were treated to wonderful coffee and a delicious breakfast and the service was superb! 

I hope your holiday weekend was filled with good company, good fun and good food.  As with any trip, it's always good to get back home and so we find ourselves back home again at Prairie Cairn Cottage.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Road Trip

Everybody in?  Seat belts secure?  Do we have the necessary snacks and beverages?  Any last minute potty breaks before we start the car? 

Tomorrow, we are off to visit my sister in the opposite corner of the state.  Almost 400 miles away.  My youngest nephew is not only graduating from high school but he is having a ceremony to commemorate his becoming an Eagle Scout.  He is becoming a fine upstanding young man and we are all very proud of him.

Little Black Brindle has never experienced a pleasure road trip before.  He did get carted by van from his puppy mill in Missouri all the way to his foster home in Minnesota but he was crated the whole way and I would imagine, very fearful.  His next big jaunt to his fur-ever home was by air.  This will be an experience for him as he has never had to be in the car longer than 2 hours with us.  But we've planned for several stops for leg lifting and general walk abouts and we will bring along his favorite snacks and toys.  I think he'll enjoy the visit. 

Enjoy your holiday and we'll see you next week back at Prairie Cairn Cottage!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day Off

I got to take the day off yesterday.  It was the first day that spoke of the summer to come.  The air was warm verging on hot.  The wind was mild.  I had so many things planned but the warmth and quiet beckoned me to come enjoy.  We could hear the soft lowing of the cows nearby.  The clouds were like ships sailing past us in the sky.  Antelope were in the field behind us and we were serenaded by a meadowlark on the roof. 

It was a perfect day off.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bread Making

I got this recipe from another blogger here.  This is seriously a yummy loaf of bread.  Everything you want in a bread, tall, good flavor and texture and it makes great sandwiches.  The best part?  It has got to be the easiest bread I've ever made (not that I've made that many loaves but you understand).  Her recipe tells you to mix the remaining flour by hand but I just keep adding it to my KitchenAid mixer.  It's a very moist batter and rather sticky when you put it in the loaf pan but it bakes up perfect.  I questioned whether I needed to let it rise again after putting it in the loaf pan but nope, you pop it in the oven as is.  It does the rest of the rising while it bakes. 

If you haven't made bread before or if it's been awhile, give this recipe a try.  I think you'll be as pleased as I am.  And thank you Alicia for sharing the recipe!

Ann's No-Knead Bread
Combine and set aside:
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. salt (I use Kosher salt)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 pkgs.) active dry yeast
Heat until warm:
1 c. water
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
Have on hand:
1 egg
2 to 2 1/2 c. flour
Mix egg with the liquids, then stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Blend at lowest speed on mixer, then blend on medium for 3 minutes. By hand stir in another 2 to 2 1/2 c. flour. Cover, let rise 50 minutes until light and doubled in size. Stir down. Spoon into greased  6" x 9" loaf pan. (If your pan has short sides you might want to split it up and put it in two smaller pans; it rises quite a bit. I think my pan is actually 5" x 8".) Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. Brush top with butter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I thought you might enjoy seeing who we share our small part of the prairie with.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Truths

How big is your god?  Mine is God Almighty himself.  The creator of the universe, the earth and all that is of the earth, including me.  The Bible shows us nature itself, testifies of this truth:
Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
I look at nature on a casual walk with Little Black Brindle and see God's perfect work.  How many varieties of grass are there out on this prairie?  How many types of trees are there just in my little section of the state?  How many birds singing their own unique tunes?  This cannot be random or the result of an explosion.  Look at the intricacies of the human eye or the mechanism that allow us to hear those bird calls.  Why our very skin can heal itself!  That can’t be just a coincidence.  No, I see God’s hands in all of this. 
If He can make all of this, what else is He capable of? big is your god?  I hope he is as big as mine

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fence Building

We spent the weekend putting up a 3 rail fence in the back yard of Prairie Cairn Cottage.  Trenching, digging holes, placing posts and rails.  My ever so handy husband did most of the heavy work but I did a fair share of lifting posts into position then fastening the rails.  We like to call this project the Cairn Containment System.  It will soon give little black brindle a safe place to spend sunbathing.  The pile of wood in the 2nd picture is another project.  A dear friend gave us his no longer wanted gazebo.  Check back for progress on that project.

I thought you might like some updates on previous posts.  I love the laundry soap I made.  It works great and I will definitely make some more when this batch runs out.

The chickens are loving their new home.  They were a bit cramped in the cardboard box they were brooded in.  They have a nice secure yard they can run around in and a cozy coop where they can dream chicken dreams.  Moths are adding entertainment to their days as well as being a tasty snack!  Little black brindle has taken it upon himself to check on them every chance he can.  He fancies himself quite the chicken wrangler.  
Another busy but satisfying weekend at Prairie Cairn Cottage.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moving Day

Remember those cute, fuzzy little balls of chicks? 

In just 7 short weeks, they have become juvenile chickens and want nothing more than to have plenty of food, plenty of clean water and fun regardless of the risks involved. 
Several times over the past few weeks, these dare devils would fly up and perch on the edge of the cardboard box they were housed in.  And several times over the same past few weeks, little brindle dog almost had a fresh chicken dinner!  One time his nose got in the way and he wound up pushing the chicken back in the box before his sharp ivory teeth could close in on all of those feathers.  Luckily, no bird or dog was harmed in the writing of this post!

Also during these same few weeks, my ever so handy husband and I have been diligently, moving, trenching and securing wire to the temporary coop, knowing it was time to evict these chicken squatters.  We got everything prepared and had planned on the move this past Monday.  Alas!  The weather laughed at our plans for we woke to this lovely scene
Tuesday was a clear day but cold and we thought we'd best not shock these little chicken systems.  But all good things must come to an end.  Little did these future biddies know, all house guests, no matter how big or small, furred or feathered, wears out his/her/their welcome and will be asked to leave.  Such was the case at Prairie Cairn Cottage today.  The girls were told that their new home was ready and would they please leave forthwith!  With much squawking of fear and disbelief, their once secure and familiar box was carted outside and put in the new temporary coop.  One by one they were scooped up, petted and reassured and placed down on the dirt next to their food and water.  After overcoming their shock at this rude treatment, they began to explore and then finally, they felt at ease and it was time to inspect their new abode.  
  I just hope we have done all we could to secure them from predators but I guess only time will tell us that.  Tonight will be their first night outdoors and I worry they will get too cold, but chickens are meant for outdoor living and so it is with the flock at Prairie Cairn Cottage. 

Check back often for updates on the girls.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The New Energy

 All this talk about wind energy being "the new energy" is rather a misconception.  Pioneers, homesteaders and ranchers have been using this type of energy for years, so how did it become new?  A few short drives from Prairie Cairn Cottage reveals this old, new energy.

Notice the outhouse in this last picture?  I love the half moon on the door.  All of these windmills are for watering the cattle in the many ranches that abound in this area.  They provide a non electric means to bring the water up from the aquifer below ground.  Our forefathers knew years ago that they could harness the wind to help with everyday activities.  The wind can be our friend, but over time it can also be a destructive force.
It is just a matter of time for this old barn to be flattened by the power we try to harness with those windmills.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Sad 6 Month Anniversary

I face this day with much sadness in my heart.  We lost my sweet boy six months ago to liver cancer.  As you can see from his puppy pictures we got him when he was only 7 weeks old.  He was the light of my life for 15 years, my constant companion, the friend who never told my secrets, next to my wonderful husband my other best friend. 

Before we got him I prayed for months that God would provide me with a special dog friend.  Someone who I could love and take care of, someone God made just for me.  Someone I could share my life with for a long, long time.  My boy was the answer to this prayer.  He was not perfect, he was willful and headstrong and we often had clashes of wills.  A typical terrier, he wanted his way but the obedience school we both attended taught me how to deal with his temper.  We even graduated "Most Improved".  A dubious honor I'm sure but one I bragged on repeatedly.

He loved both of us very much but truth be told he was my dog.  When my husband was away on business or hunting, my boy watched over me.  When I went out of town visiting family, he would come with me.  He was always happiest when both of his people where with him but it was his duty to be with me, protecting me, keeping me company, making me feel safe.  I was so much in love with this wee brave boy, that I never wanted another.  I wanted him to have all of my love, all of my attention.  He was worth it.  He satisfied his need for other canine companions during our daily walks, or with cousin dogs or with the strays we would bring home from our walks to find their owners.  He was always a generous pup and would show his guest where his food was, his water dish and then bring them out to the back yard and show them around.

We walked all over together and delighted in finding a new trail to share.  For about a year before his death I would sing him a special song which I repeated while I held him in my arms for the last time.  It is my tribute to this wonderful, brave and loving Cairn:.

If I survey all the good things that come to me from above
If I count all the blessings from the storehouse of love
I’d simply ask for the favor of him beyond mortal men
And I’m sure that he would grant it again
I want to stroll over Heaven with you some glad day
When all our troubles and heartaches are vanished away
Then we’ll enjoy the beauty where all things are new
I want to stroll over Heaven with you

So many places of beauty we long to see here below
But time and treasures have kept us from making plans as you know
But come the morning of the rapture together we’ll stand a new
While I stroll over Heaven with you
I want to stroll over Heaven with you some glad day
When all our troubles and heartaches are vanished away
Then we’ll enjoy the beauty where all things are new
I want to stroll over Heaven with you 

I believe that my darling boy is waiting in heaven for me.  Being the typical Cairn, he is enjoying himself with Jesus but he's waiting for the day his Mom comes to be with him again and we can live out the words of this old gospel hymn.

I thank God that He let me take care of this wee pup for the time that He did.  I praise Him for the work He did in my life through this dog and I know, that I know, that I know He is now taking care of my boy again and that I will see him in heaven.  I am sad that he is no longer a part of my life and I still cry over his passing but I rest in the knowledge of where he is and who he's with.

Someone sent me an email with a sentence I thought was so meaningful, I printed it out and have it hanging on my boys picture.

Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Quick Crafting

Take one recycled box in a pretty blue add some used, but no longer needed, colorful index dividers and a paper cutter.  With just some rough eyeballing cut the dividers to fit the box and then insert them in the box.  Voila!  Instant bill paying system.

Bills that are due the first week of the particular month will naturally be filed behind the 1, bills due the second week of that month go behind the 2 and so forth.  There's even a second set of the 1-5 dividers to take you into the following month. 

I told you this was quick crafting!