"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Saturday, July 30, 2011

On My Mind

Winter~

We must always look ahead and prepare for what is coming. The seasons come and go and while it is warm and delightful we must plan for the cold and chilly days ahead. Sometimes I am surprised at how some people are shocked when winter arrives.

I suppose that is how life is. An awareness hits us all at some point or another that life is a gift and we all are on a time clock. None of us are on the same time, so in essence we do not have the seasons over and again to remind us. Instead we have another powerful reminder of what is ahead, and what we can do to prepare.

We all will die. Some of us may die in sickly, old frail bodies gasping our final breaths, while others will die in a brand new edition of the human body, shiny, fresh and young. It is a reality that all of us face. No matter the condition of our body the surety of the season of death awaits us all.

So how can we prepare? What can we do? How can we be ready for our final destination because body condition is clearly not a requirement. So what is the requirement?

Belonging to a church?
Being good?
Paying tithing?
Not swearing?


NOPE...

The requirement is Jesus Christ. Through Him one can have eternal life. Have you ever seen the poster at a sporting event-John 3:16?

Well John 3:16 is in the New Testament and the verse says~ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

As I reflect upon the upcoming winter I have you, the reader of this blog on my mind. If we prepare so efficiently for one season, why should we not prepare for something far longer than a season?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the Table


I decided today was my take it easy day and so I worked on some projects around the house. This braided rug I am working on is from some polyester fabric that I bought from a thrift store a few months ago. I bought around 40 yards of the fabric for~~drumroll please~~ 80 cents!! The fabric was neat and clean and most likely bought by someone with grand visions of polyester pantsuits and the likes!

For me, I saw potential seasonal curtains as these were large enough to be added to cotton to make sun blocks for summer over the standard curtains. I have the heavy or dual lined curtains over my cute curtains so the farm family can enjoy living in the desert by reducing the amount of heat that is allowed inside!

I have decided that my career until I die will be one of an innovator. I have realized that I have made it my personal challenge to take something and either change it into something different~or tweak it to make it better or more efficient for me. Why not?

Farm Life

New project on the farm...
We are building a coop inside one of the sheep pens. It will have the nesting boxes and a feeder that is under the house that the sheep will not get to.

We had to clear some mesquite~kind of wish pennies would drop from the sky every time we have to clear mesquite!

Love the farm wagon! It is a wonderful tool to help haul materials to project sites, as well as hauling away mesquite.
Here is Fourth pounding away on the new coop. Samson is in from of her and Delilah is on the right.


The materials for this coop are repurposed from other projects or salvaging that we have done on the farm.
Fourth is a very hard worker and a great asset to the farm.

When I watered the garden I noticed a scallop squash twin!! So cute!


And to continue with my previous post on recipes for Yellow Squash-
Squash Soup

Begin with 2 yellow squash
1 zucchini all washed and cut up
some frozen peas
frozen carrots
shredded chicken
some onion
a few cloves of garlic minced
a few stalks of celery washed and cut up
a bay leaf
one can of tomato sauce
Cook on stovetop on medium high for 20 or so minutes. Serve and enjoy. This recipe is a winner even in the summer. The soup is so tasty and everyone always has seconds.

The challenge will continue on~ so stay tuned(or run away!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Squish Squash

My garden has been slow to produce and to be honest not the usual farm garden. I suppose this year has weighed heavier on me than I wish to admit. For some reason my yellow squash has been producing like crazy although we have never had such incredible yields in all the years we have lived in New Mexico.

So the question then becomes~what do we do with so much squash?

Can it- check.
Dry it-check.

Experiment with recipes-check, with some of the recent recipes below! We have a clear winner in taste but I will share all and be ever so thankful that we have an abundance of food to place on the table.

Recipe 1: Baked Yellow Squash


I used the necks of the yellow squash and reserved the full body for another recipe.
3 crushed beef bouillon cubes
3Tbsp minced onions
1/2 stick of butter(minus mint jelly on one edge and toast crumbs)

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
No after photo...I guess I did not snap the photo. Here yellow squash with minced onions...


Thoughts-not the favorite of the family. Will I make it again? No


Recipe 2: Fried Yellow Squash

I used the large part of the yellow squash reserved from the first recipe.
Flour- a few cups
2 Tbsp New Mexico Chili Powder
Black Pepper
Salt
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 cup of crushed bread crumbs
3 cloves of garlic minced

1 egg and 1 or so cups milk mixed to soak the squash before putting in the flour batter.

Some of the fried squash. I fried them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil~ for those dieting I suppose this is a plus?! For me I wanted the flavor of the Olive Oil.


Thoughts- well fried food is pretty hard to mess up! Truth be told this was a huge hit! I had a hard time not eating all of the fried squash while cooking them. We will make this one again!

Recipe 3 Boiled Squash

This recipe was the easiest to make and its simplicity did not minimize its taste. Wash and cut the squash up put in sauce pan with water and boil for 15 or so minutes. Drain water.

Thoughts- delicious and definitely make again!

Recipe 4: Squash Casserole

3 yellow squash
1/2 onion diced
butter
milk
flour
salt
pepper
paprika
bread crumbs

I made this like scallop style potatoes, layering the squash and onions and butter. I then added hot water to a few tablespoons of flour and added 1/4 cup of milk. I added the spices and poured the liquid over the squash and baked it in the oven at 350 F for about 40 minutes. I sprinkled the bread crumbs on the top then baked it another 5 minutes with the broiler on.

Thoughts-this was another incredible dish! We will make this one again also as it was so tasty.

The boiled squash is in the bowl and the casserole is in the front dish!

In the Kitchen

Something old

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Treats:updated

Summer cooking on the farm is a simple effort at not increasing the temperature in the house while making a meal. I have my dream stove that we found on Craigs*list for free for the pickup...kind of like this one here(but maybe a bit newer-`1960's**). With this stove I only heat up the small oven on the left side. So little heat yet so effective in easy snacks and meals.


These are called Greek Spinach Melts. I apologize for not remembering who made them, so I could credit them*. They are so easy and so delicious.
I used mini French bread loaf sliced into small thin pieces
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp dill weed
crumbled bacon
1 cup fresh spinach washed and cut up in small pieces

Mix all the ingredients spread on the roll slices and bake at 400 F for ten or so minutes then serve!

salt to taste


My very own cheese pizza...(love that line in Home Alone)
Lazy I know-but here goes
1 can of self rising biscuits from refrigerator section of store
sauce-I made my own with 1 can tomato sauce-minced garlic and onions Italian seasoning salt and pepper.
Shredded cheese
onions
I flattened all the biscuits and then docked them with a fork, spread the sauce, added the onions then the cheese. So easy so simple.

Oh bake at 400F
Enjoy!


** I think I will take a photo of my fancy smancy Craigs*list stove. I really like it and cannot believe I own such an eclectic functional item!!

Update: Here is the link where I found this recipe. I altered her recipe a bit to make it more tasty for my family and suggest that for every recipe we should do so.

Our World

We live in a fallen world and there is evidence all around us that this is true. The atrocities in Norway are vile and of course bring out the worst in the rest of us. Is the shooter a Muslim? No, he is a Fundamental Christian!!

Here is the truth~he is evil.

I am certain we will hear of his mental health problems, and blah blah blah...but the truth is we live in times where the evil seems to be on the forefront. Around the world many people died today. They died of cancer, of old age, in car accidents, in childbirth, in despair and because. Tomorrow about the same amount of living breathing fellow humans will die.

And some day you and I will also. It may be today. It may be tomorrow or many years in the future, but we all will die.

The pain that Norway feels is the pain our nation felt on 9-11. The pain the parents of the murdered is the pain that Leiby Kletzky's parents feel.

What can we do?
Do we continue to live and be good for goodness sake? Or is there something else out there?

Well being good for goodness sake does not work. You know why? Because my goodness meter is far different than the man that murdered Leiby, as well as Adolph Hitler's as well as even a reader of the blog. We cannot be good without having a measure to compare our behavior to.

We cannot live in an evil world without hope or we ourselves fall into despair. Hope exists. Hope is real. Hope is the knowledge and plan that we have a Savior and He established why we should be "good." He also told us that we, as man, will never be good enough, which is why a beautiful toddler will gobble a cookie down then lie and say that he didn't eat it. We are born with sin and only through the covering of Jesus Christ do we then have Hope of eternal peace and freedom from tears, from pain and the suffering of the world.

Are you looking for peace? Are you looking for Hope in evil times? Well call out to Him. Ask Jesus Christ to guide the way. Do you need someone to talk to? Feel free to contact us at Mcbenningministries(at)yahoo(dot) com.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This and That

I spent a good deal of time in a car these past several months and thought I would share a few more photos of the drive. I had a lot of time to reflect about everything and anything.

For example: I love seeing Texas Longhorns. I have seen some in New Mexico and to be politically correct I always refer to them as New Mexican-Texas Longhorns.

The St. Louis Arch is every bit impressive while driving as it is when you stop. I am reminded of a slinky in motion whenever I drive by and wonder if anyone else does?


There are quite a few large crosses alongside the highways. This one is in Oklahoma. Some people are offended by the cross.


Here is another cross alongside the highway. It seems like Christianity is slowly being chipped away from American view. So I imagine the crosses I have seen alongside the highways will eventually be removed so we do not offend others.


~But~
I am an optimist. I love life and the beauty that surrounds me. I do not need to miss the cross to miss the Cross. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phil. 4:13) With that I confess I smile because those that desire to remove Him from the public eye~may have bit off more than they can chew.



The way I see things...is that the Cross lines our nations highways, byways, streets and roads. His work that was completed on the Cross shall not be forgot and those that desire to think on Him while driving have a visual aid the entire drive.

Amazing isn't it? I couldn't stop smiling when I realized this!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Farm Life

More photos of life on the farm. I am having 'sickandtireditis' of the news of the world and have been avoiding writing about anything, so photos are all I have!

Here is a pile of mesquite roots that we had to dig up to put up this part of the fence line. We also have the pallets as they are good to use for many projects.

Dinner time!

This photo kind of reminds me of autumn in Ohio, but I took it three days ago on the northeast edge of the farm. That is Delilah the Great Pyrenees pup.


Poor rooster trying to decide how to cross the vast puddle!


This is the morning after photo of the last photo in the previous post. We have had a few rain showers and it has been so beautiful and I wanted to capture the same view at differing times.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ram Sandwich

A few photos to close out the day~
I think I am a sunset junkie. This is tonight's sunset with the storm closing in.


New ram to the farm...he is not so young but not so old. And~Let's say he is solid enough to have made the cut for us to consider cross breeding him with one of our Navajo Churro's.


Here is the view as I walk to the front gate to open it so I can drive off the property. Yes that gravel lane is a real county road. Maintained? Not really, unless you count the time we clipped some Mesquite so it would not scratch the truck as we pulled out!

I hope you enjoyed the ram sandwich!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Stovetop

Five pints of canned carrots just taken out of the pressure canner.

Kicken' Ade

We have a homemade drink that the kids call Kickin' Ade. It was a recipe to use the volume of mint I had growing and it has become a favorite.

I use 2/3 cup of lemon juice-it is ok if not fresh squeezed
1 cup of sugar
10-15 mint leaves washed
2 qts water
ice

mix together and enjoy your Kickin'Ade!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Farm Life: From the Coop to the Freezer

Raising and butchering organic turkey~
Raise outdoors with a simple coop. Provide a perch for night to sleep. Feed non growth modified grains fresh slops from the kitchen and allow for free ranging. All types of bugs should be available as well as ample ground to scratch...provide a dusting bath.

When the turkey reaches a simple weight to ensure delicious taste meet up with the farmer under the clothesline. Bring a large metal bowl from the kitchen. Gather a young turkey and bring it to farmer. In a moment the head and feet are off our little organic turkey and soon a second one is also ready for farmer's wife to take over.

Carry the bowl inside and peel the feathers and skin off. Cut the bird up and store for easy meal preparation. Save the parts farmer and wife will not eat for the dogs. Dispose of feathers and entrails at base of mountain as not to draw coyotes to farm.

And that is how an organic turkey is raised and butchered.

Below are photos of little turkeys without their heads. It is graphic in today's world as we are conditioned to purchase food and are disconnected with its origin or life.

Farm life~simple truths about where the food comes from.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

About Vinegar

I use white vinegar for my laundry~1 cup vinegar for a large load. I pour the vinegar in the place on the washer that is for bleach and I add it when I fill the washer with water. If my son is extra aromatic after work I may add 1.5- 2 cups vinegar.

There are so many uses to vinegar and often we overlook the simple for something expensive or name brand.

Vinegar does take the static out. We heat exclusively with the woodstove and this causes for some dry static-even though I have a pot of water on the stove all the time. Once I began to full-time use vinegar the static in the clothing was removed.

We do have issues with the dust here and the winds so sometimes I will have to rewash a load if a dust devil comes through. To be honest, this year has been the year of the dust devil- I have never seen so many, nor so many so big in all my years of living in the west. So I understand if someone has issues with using a clothesline with weather the way it has been. An alternative is to hang the clothes in the house if you have a drying rack or something similar.

Using the solar dryer makes my life work because it does not heat up the inside of the home like a dryer does. We live in a single level home so running a dryer heats the home~and we are frugal so not using the dryer keeps money for other projects.

When I began this journey I had no idea how much I would learn and how much I would have to unlearn to be a farmer's wife. I bet I never bought more than a small jar of vinegar my entire life until we moved to the farm. I now use about a gallon a month as I use vinegar in cleaning, cooking and laundry. I also save the vinegar gallon bottles to fill with emergency water. After last years snowstorm we had, I am glad that I continue to add to my storage with water.

Living a life of simplicity has been a learning curve and I am so grateful that I am learning how to do more with less!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Utilizing the Solar Dryer

Solar dryers used to be very common in the United States. I remember visiting my grandparents and not only did they have a solar dryer, but they also had a two hole outhouse. For the record this was not in the hills of a southern state but just south of Toledo, Ohio. Their farm house was built by my grandmother's father around the 1880's. Mamaw used her clothesline all of her life.

A solar dryer(clothesline) is one of the first things I had set up once we moved to the farm. After putting up a clothesline your expenses to run it are almost nothing. After three and a half years of living on the farm I had to make a new clothespin bag and it cost me nothing but a few minutes of construction as I had all the materials on hand.

Using a clothesline is very easy. Wash the clothing in your standard washing machine or hand wash. I like to sort like minded items to make hanging go faster. I use the pins with the metal hinge piece and they cost about $3 for 100. They snap back together very quickly if they come apart.


I overlay my clothes to use less clothespins. This is possible for me in the desert southwest because of the climate. In some regions, one may need to space the clothing and use 2 pins per item and not double up the clothing to allow for the clothing to dry completely. In New Mexico, I can start hanging clothing and by the time I am finished I can take down the cotton items as they have dried in minutes. Denim takes about 30 minutes to dry.

I hang dress shirts upside down and pants/jeans right side up. This allows for the shirt not to have clothespin pinches on the top of a shirt. For the pants the waist is an easy place to hang the pants up and once again you will not have wrinkles or bends where you pinned the item. I use 1 cup of white vinegar in my laundry to reduce wrinkles and add softness. The vinegar smell does not remain on the clothing. Even if you use your indoor dryer, you should add vinegar to the laundry as it is a less expensive fabric softener and the vinegar is a natural odor remover.


Every clothesline needs a place to set the laundry basket while hanging the clothes. I had the boys bring me a stump down one year when we cut wood because I wanted the stump to be my outdoor laundry table. When I take the clothes down I fold them and place them back into the basket to carry inside. It is so nice to fold the clothes as they come down.

This is my new clothespin bag. My daughter outgrew her denim jacket so I cut off the sleeves as well as cutting a hole in the back. Simple trim around the hole(which I made from the sleeves which were red) and here is the new front to the former back of the jacket.

Here is the back side of the jacket. I did not sew the front aside from the bottom and where the sleeves were. I used a metal clothes hanger and bent the top so it will rest on the rope and slide as I hang the clothes. I bring the clothespin bag in when I am done and the bag awaits its next load of laundry hanging on the wall in the laundry room.

Living a simple life affords a housewife an opportunity to get natural vitamin D while completing a task for the home. As a frugal person I love being able to do more than one thing at a time. Isn't it amazing that something so inexpensive as a clothesline not only saves energy, but provides for the general health of a person?


Have a lovely weekend!
Jennifer

Friday, July 8, 2011

Simple Life

In my life before the farm I would have passed by this eclectic sculpture, in fact, I may not have even noticed it. As the days have turned from months to years since we have moved onto the farm, I am seeing the world in a way I never did before. And in this life the art work of a humble man that runs a junkyard is as noteworthy as anything that calls the Louvre home.


Life has been very busy for the Double Nickel Farm for the past few weeks! It is a bit more here and there activity than I have gotten used to, but it was a nice to be busy so I can appreciate my simple life once again.

Bits of our life...

The handsome soldier came home from Fort Drum for a few weeks and we filled the days with more than I thought we could.Here is the walk to the gate for First to head back to NY. I love seeing moments where Bill and the kids are like this. A father is such a blessing, and I am so glad that my children have Bill as their father.

The last week in June kids went to Six Flags in San Antonio to celebrate the final graduation of our homeschool~I am so proud of the students that attended and the future awaits the dreams they hold.

Three birthdays have come and gone. Seems like 23 years ago I was 21. How time flies!

We went to an incredible Celebration for our Nation and of course in the west a certain kind of attire is required...

The garden, although not as grand as gardens in the past, is lovely and filled with a green that is rarely seen in the desert. It has added to the view and I rush out each morning to see what goodies I can bring in for dinner.

As we enjoy farm life...we appreciate the past that afforded the present the life that exists. My father-in-law with Bill and First this morning at the El Paso airport.

Critter news~Farm chicks are growing fast, as well as the new turkeys. We are going to relocate the ducklings we have...to a buyer north of us!

The pups are 4 months and continue to grow. I imagine we will be surprised one day when they stop growing-probably in 2020!

In times like these~All of my children are employed~ hard work and appreciating the value of work is a lesson we have tried to instill and it is clear that the kids have picked up on it.

Bill's dad came for a few days and has been helping us plot and plan gardens, animal pens and just taking in the hard work of watching the sunset!
We went to dinner last night...I love this group of people more than I ever believed possible!


I am so happy that we have slowed down and taken the road less traveled. It has made all the difference.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day~Part 1

Our community had its Independence Day celebration last night. I wrote an essay and won VIP seats to the New Mexico Space Museum, which was incredible because we were front row to the fireworks as we overlooked the city. VIP parking afforded us two parking spots and a tailgate party with a band and fun!




Looking to the southeast, the stairs go to the IMAX parking lot.


Sunset

IMAX parking lot and tailgate party.


IMAX parking and looking to the student apartments NMSU-A. Last year we sat way down there south of the apartments.



The band setting up.


The Space Museum.


IMAX


Space Museum with band in front.

Our tailgate and crew...




Happy Independence Day from my family to yours.