Saturday, September 29, 2012

Let Her Sleep

You think the mother sneaking around in the dark with a giant flash might have something to do with this one's lack of sleep? Who is the mother of this kid, anyway?

Can you count the soothers?  I'll give you the prize of a full night's sleep, if you can guess the actual amount of soothers in this crib. Little Baloo has been known to peek over her nest in the morning with a soother or two, tucked into the top of her gro-bag like an office man with pens in his suit pocket.

Let's have a public opinion poll. Is this overkill?



As I sit with golden light streaming through the glass, fueling the home with energy, I pen my psalms. I know today I will be silly, I will be chatty, I will laugh and embrace my ordinary.

I will play with my babies, they will call me momma, and one teeny tiny foot will learn to place itself in front of another.

My feet, that have known many more miles, will continue to pad across creaky floors, stepping through shadows and back into light as the sun moves throughout the day.

Intentionally I will be grateful. Long baby lashes drip with bath water, big girl whispers to friends of the mind and blue eyes carrying my world on his shoulders.

When the time of day arrives and I can see the moon in the sky, the same time the sun still has not gone to sleep, I will be grateful.

I will be grateful.

The moon doesn't leave, but I can see some sun.

In my world where children know they go back to school because it's harvest and a unique bitter sweet envelopes for my living here- I will be grateful.

Our minds can't grasp eternity and all we know is the here. We know the crisp golden leaves, we know the harvest moon and squeals of babies. We need a Kingdom glimpse, but can't grasp what it would mean.

We are grateful.

I am grateful.

Grateful for experience. Grateful for the past tangled up with the present, and the hope for a future.

When sun does finally set, let no mistake be made, I will have been silly, chatty, and embraced the ordinary. I will have known what I am made of.

I have a deep rooted faith.

I know all we can take with us are relationships.

I love my family fiercely.

The rest will be scattered like the dust of the gravel road I grew up on.

Now, let's walk this path together, shall we? Community matters. Let's grasp arms tight, in our hushed hallelujahs and slow our moments down.

It is what will get us through the dark, make the light blinding, and make our lives full.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Corn-palooza-Corn for a Crowd

You're a little nervous that I'm writing about corn again, aren't you? Truth be told, I'm feeling a bit like the kid with no deodorant on the first day of grade seven, a ball of nervous and embarrassed all rolled into one.

I'm starting to think of changing this blog to Lotsa' Corn on the Prairie or possibly The Corn Chronicles. It's unfortunate that I could probably have a whole label on the side of my blog dedicated to corn.

There is no where better on the face of the earth to eat than at my Aunt's house. Corn and all.

Girls, bear with me. I'll leave y'all one more little tip on corn and then I promise to shut my yapper on the whole subject; for as long as it takes me to pick some out of my teeth anyway.

If you have a crowd to feed corn to, take your cooler and carefully scrub the beast out. At our last family event, my cousin was quick to point out how they don't scrub their cooler first. So bush league, I tell you.

Now shuck that corn, remove all those lil' silky bits and praise the Lord that you aren't preparing to freeze the stuff. Give that corn a wash and dump as many cobs as you like/can fit into the cooler. Pour boiling water over the whole bit and allow to sit in this boilin water at least thirty minutes before you plan on serving it. Shut that lid on tight, but rest assured you can leave it in there for up to two and half hours and the stuff is still absolutely juicy, sweet corn goodness. If you have a large family gathering coming up-this is the easiest and cleanest way to serve corn.

If you think I really have lost it, never fear. Rest assured I'm about to go put on my big girl britches and make small talk with some folks at a wedding supper. I am making myself a small cheat list on things I probably should talk about and things I shouldn't.

Top three not to talk about:
1. Corn.
2. How smooth harvest is going, who doesn't have their husband there.
3. Who has the fluffiest hair in the building.

Top three things I know will be talked about:

1.Who has the fluffiest hair in the building.
2. How smooth harvest is going, who doesn't have their husband there.
3. Well, corn of course.

Now, before this road leads me to the hall, let me announce with the happiest heart that chucked out number three to me for the winner of the Muck Boot give away. Steph at The Life of a Farmer's Wife. Lady, I expect photos of you in those boots! Thank you to The Original Muck Boot Company for providing the sweetest of sweet prizes.

I shall now rastle the troops. I know full well that I can dress 'em up, I can take 'em out; mercy, you can bet on your momma's coffee cake, that it will be a spectacle.

There is so much to live for. 
Jenn, this photo is for you-a pic of the sign on barn board and two of the cutest lil' boys around.  This photo was ripped directly off of someone else's instagram account for your viewing pleasure. It's my blog, I can insert random photos to show far away friends things, right?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Barkman Recipe-Freezing Corn

While the hot water poured into the pail, I realized that the big girl was mildly distressed with some of the talk of fall cleaning going on. It was the day to wash some of the grime off the walls and somehow those big green eyes were full of worry. 

"Mama, how are you going to get the walls down to wash them? Are you taking them down now? Who is comin' over Mama? Why you cleanin' the walls? Are you takin' all the walls down?"

It seems to me that someone is lacking in their duties around here to teach a little girl about keeping house. 

Fall cleaning has been increasingly put on the back burner, because it seems that all  my grand ideas to freeze or can things, seem to take days on end. 

Take my big ol' batch of corn for instance. I think it turned into a ninety five day project somehow. I soon had visions of just taking a drive to town in the middle of the night and dropping corn off on random people's doorsteps. I thought zucchini was a problem in these parts, corn seems worse. My Aunt and I actually had an argument that went something like this,

"No, we don't need corn, don't bring any here! I was going to send some home with you!"

"Well, I'm bringing some to send home with the cousins!"

"No, they are staying at MY HOUSE, I'M sending some home with the cousins! I'm the one who needs to get rid of vegetables!"

Anyone need corn up in these parts?

While my friend Lenore, whose family recipe I use for corn, said, "Oh, just take it easy! You do a batch at a time and relax in between." I don't really know who she is kidding, with her four daughters, maybe she now has minions to help her out, but a batch at a time and relax in between? I had my little girl picking raw corn off the floor and shoving it in her mouth. Time between batches, meant there was just barely enough time to wipe the counter and keep my mind from going a little crazier. 

I think frozen corn is the handiest, dandiest thing you can come by in your freezer. It is the perfect quick addition to any winter meal and when hauling some slop to your neighbour's after a new baby arrives (sounds appealing, doesn't it?) a bag of corn makes your measly casserole look like it has a little more to it. 

If you have never frozen corn before, let me tell you, it's super simple and you shouldn't have fear. Just give it a go! If you're in Alberta, go buy your best Taber corn or pick some up from the nearest colony. If you have a beautiful crop in your garden-even better! If you live in a Mennonite community like moi, be sure that corn will be the talk during fall weather. The men like to even put their two bits in there and let you know that this batch, this year, from this place, that this family hauled up from Taber, is the best, the  sweetest corn around! Corn, corn,'s on everyone's minds.

Husk your corn and peel off all the lil' silky bits. Give it a thorough scrub-a-dub and pose it up on a plate for a photo. Alas, maybe this is why it took me so dang long, because of the picture taking that became involved this year. 

Take a serrated knife (electric if you have the luck) and carefully hack away at that cob, peeling off all the raw corn. Sixteen cups to be exact to make one batch up.

Toss your corn into a big pot. Dump in four cups of water, four teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 a cup of sugar. If your corn isn't sweet enough, add more sugar. If your crop is super sweet, go ahead and cut back. You want to have the appropriate amount of sugar so you can join in the coffee talk corn gossip. 

Simmer this all up for ten minutes and let the monster pot cool. If you leave it on the counter, you will be sixty six odd days until the thing is cool enough to bag. Pop the pot in the sink with cold water around it and it'll be ready to bag after nap time. 

Now, go ahead and bag the juicy yellow kernels! Try and get a bit of the water in each bag, to help it freeze nicely. I like to freeze one and half cups per bag and level them a bit flat so they lay nicely in the freezer.

Voila! You have completed the fall task of freezing corn. Go ahead, it's post worthy. What? You don't have slim pickin's on ideas to choose from on what to blog about? Corn is not a high priority?  

Does it mean I'm losing my mind that I can hear folks answering these questions? 

Is the corn getting to me? 

For a printable version of this, too bad so sad. I don't know how to do that!

16 cups of raw corn
4 cups of water
4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

Simmer for ten minutes. Cool and bag. 

Linking up here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Muck Boot Give Away!

A post written in the spring, a few years ago, generated a bit of interest on my blog. It wasn't a mouth watering recipe, some crafty photos, or yapping about everyday life. It was a post about Muck boots.  Yes, the warm, dry feet kind of boots. A thing worthy of a post in itself, let's take a gander at that ol' post, shall we? This time we are throwing a give away in at the bottom, read on, dear ladies. 

Ladies, let's talk boots.

I bet you're enthused, sitting there with your cup of coffee, thinking I'm going to chat fashion with you. You're thinking about those Frye boots or a nice pair of Lucheese that you've been wanting.

I'm here to tell you about a whole new realm in fashion.
Hollywood here thinks she would like to chat about boots. Do you see the reflection of white in her sun goggles? The fact that the goggles were busted out is proof that that white won't last too much longer.
Kids from the prairies are part mud.  You probably didn't grow up here if you haven't had your gum boot fall off , trudging through that ooze, and  kept on going in your sock feet because your feet  were so cold in springtime weather.

We still have feet of snow on the ground, but it won't be long 'till we are swimming in sludge. A big ol' nasty, mire of nothing but pure dirty, that makes a grown man grin as he digs trenches in the lane. That huge ball of fire in the sky is packing heat on, some of these afternoons, and my little girl has discovered the joy of puddles. Trucks are filthy, the farmers in the coffee shop are grinning, and gophers are running around on top of the snow. We are busting out the Muck boots.

I mentioned Muck boots in a previous post and I received an email from a lady thinking it was funny that us Albertan's call our gum boots Muck boots. Girls, we don't just call em Muck boots-they are an actual brand of insulated rubber boots here that are meant to keep your feet warm and dry all year long. They are a thing of beauty.  Pair them with a dirty ol' Carhartt coat and you're Redneck stylin'. I love these bad boys so much that I'm writing a whole post on these blessed chore boots.

Back in the day there weren't such luxuries as these treasures. Ranchers would wade out in the sludge to check calves and come in with stained socks much to their wive's dismay. I'm sure no one really minded that much; you're just thrilled Spring arrived here.

One of my favorite famed 'muddy' stories in the family took place right where my folks live now. It was my Great Grandpa's place many moons ago, the legendary hero we all called Pappa. Years ago, when Charolais bulls were relatively new to Canada, these big beasts got out and were heading to get in with the heifers. My dad was out with Pappa in the barnyard soup when Pappa started hollering to beat the band at my Uncle, at the top of the pasture, to cut the bulls off. With all the bellowing Pappa's teeth flew out of his mouth and landed right in the slop and manure. Losing his teeth paused the hollering, but Pappa just gave those teeth a quick wipe, popped them back in his mouth and commenced whooping. Only in Alberta- we don't let the mud and manure get in the way!


Now, lucky for you goof troops, this post will lead to one of my readers, in the USA or Canada,  receiving a pair of Muck chore boots, delivered to your door, to fit your feet. I was so pumped about this give away. There may or may not be a neighbour lady who has shown up at my door step with a pair of rubber boots, that were both of the right foot, one being size seven and one being size nine. I'm secretly pulling for her, because who could use a pair of chore boots more than this lady. 

This is where it seems some of  you seem to get a little muddled. Somehow in the part where you read the words, and then in your panic on trying to figure out how to enter the fool contest, I lose y'all.  If you have trouble, please e-mail me at, and I will only laugh at you a little. No, I'm just kidding, I won't laugh, but I will drag your sorry self through the process step by step and show you how to make yourself eligible. 

There is only ONE MANDATORY way to enter yourself, visit the Muck boot website, peruse around, come back here, leave a comment and tell me where these boots would get worn. 

For THREE ADDITIONAL entries (this being four separate entries in total) please leave an ADDITIONAL COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY. (I don't make blog contest rules, I just follow them.)

-"like" Muck boots on FB-tell them Cheyenne with Little Prairie Baby sent you leave a separate comment letting me know.
-Pin this to win this! Slap a photo on Pinterest and leave a separate comment to tell me.
-Blog, tweet, or FB about this contest--and guess what? Tell me about it, in a separate comment!

Good luck! Contest closes Friday, September 21 at 9:00AM, bloggy time. (Thanks Linda, for reminding me what month it is!)

Best of luck, Auntie Sue!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thanks for the Meal-Thank a Farmer

Farmer's Song

Dusty old farmer out working your fields
Hanging down over your tractor wheels
The sun beatin' down turns the red paint to orange
And rusty old patches of steel
There's no farmer songs on that car radio
Just cowboys, truck drivers and pain
Well this is my way to say thanks for the meal
And I hope there's no shortage of rain

Straw hats and old dirty hankies
Moppin' a face like a shoe
Thanks for the meal here's a song that is real
From a kid from the city to you

The combines gang up, take most of the bread
Things just ain't like they used to be
Though your kids are out after the American dream
And they're workin in big factories
Now If I come on by, when you're out in the sun
Can I wave at you just like a friend
These days when everyone's taking so much
There's somebody giving back in

Straw hats and old dirty hankies
Moppin' a face like a shoe
Thanks for the meal here's a song that is real
From a kid from the city to you

 -Murray Mclauchlan-Canadian singer, songwriter

On the Canadian prairies, the typical acre of wheat can produce enough every season to slap down 1650 loaves of bread on your kitchen table.  While that figure is startling, you can imagine how many children will enjoy their PB & J because of the neighbour boys.   

While you are leisurely eating your toast in the morning, remember those light's from the combine that you saw late last night. With 75 000 farmers in western Canada producing cereal crops, a lot of bellies are being filled.

This harvest is your meal.

Repost this song and thank a farmer for the tireless hours, science, and commitment to excellence that are being put forth in their practice. 

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