Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Consumer Relations Team at Organic Valley

I often right about the Organic Valley and Organic Prairie products not because I work at CROPP Cooperative, but because I do believe they are a quality product and by using these products myself and my family are healthier.  Above is a picture of the Consumer Relations team at Organic Valley.  This year the Cooperative celebrates their 25th anniversary.  Congratulations to CROPP Cooperative in everything they have accomplished.

So back to why I believe in Organic Valley & Organic Prairie products.  (This is the shortened version) You see, my daughter was born with a very rare chromosomal disease (11P- Chromosomal) and Aniridia (no Iris in the eye).  We were told she would have a 75% chance of being anywhere from normal to severely retarded, she would have a 75% chance of developing cancer of the kidney before she was six and so on. 

She had her left kidney removed a month before she turned two.  At the age of 13 we were told she would be lucky to be around in a year as the results of the right kidney biopsy indicated the kidney disease was ramping up.  She is on a very restricted diet; low or no protein, no potassium, etc.  Well combine those two - protein and potassium - and it doesn't leave a lot left on the menu to eat. 

One thing we could do though is remove the chemicals and extra additives/ingredients that are added to foods, from her diet.  This year, my daughter will turn 32 years old.   This is why I believe in Organic Valley and Organic Prairie!  This has been the major change in our lives from conventional eating to organic eating.  Yes, we still do eat some conventional, but at home 75% of our food is from our own garden or organic.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ottervale General Store - A charming little find!

The Ottervale General Store, a darling restored 1890s mercantile near La Farge, Wis., is tucked a half mile off the main road and nestled in a forest.

Run by Kickapoo Valley Heritage Art & Tours, it’s dedicated to educating “about the Amish, round barns and history of the beautiful Kickapoo Valley and Ocooch Mountains.” Despite emphasizing all that is low-tech, they have a nice little Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/ottervalegeneralstore where you can see pictures of the outside and inside.

This little shop is filled with locally handcrafted goods including foods, jewelry and a rack of beautiful Amish rugs that will draw you in immediately and the prices aren't half bad either. 

Despite the remote location of the Ottervale General Store, it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area.

If you really want to enjoy Wisconsin, get out and shop your small, local farmers and artisan shops.  Not only will you enjoy the experience, but I guarantee you will take away memories and learn something along the way. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Table cover or rug?

Not quite sure what this is going to be yet.  I painted it a few years ago, guess it is time to finish it up.  I had also painted a memory box and that sold right away - I haven't put this up for sale yet, but I think I am going to finish it off and list it on ebay and etsy this weekend.  I have to clean stuff out and this is one of my most favorite paintings. 

I love the off white roses and pine cones on the brown/burgundy with gold overglaze background.   The pattern was from one of my painting magazines several years ago and for the life of me, I can't remember if it was a Sandy McTier or Angela Anderson design.  Maybe I am way off base and it was someone else, but none-the-less, it is one of my favorites.

Thinking of putting some gold trim around the edges and will see where we go from there.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Rescue Horses

The picture above is of Bubba B-Randy on day one January 28, 2013.  There is another post on him further down in my blog.  When he came to our place he had been trucked just 8 miles and he could barely walk.  His hind legs crossed over each other, he wobbled and he was emaciated.  Even my husband was touched by this Standardbred horse.  Not even six years old, he looked like he was 20 and we didn't even know if he would make the walk into the barn without falling down.
He made it and the process of rehab began.  We were just "fostering" Randy (that was what his Amish owner called him) but it has become an expensive foster.  After two weeks in he just wasn't getting better even though he had put some weight on and I called the vet in and asked that his blood be tested.  Right from the beginning the vet had an idea what the problem might be and indeed two weeks later we got the results.  He had Anaplasmosys - a tick borne illness and in our area there seemed to be an outbreak of this disease.  Due to the hot summer we had a second bloom of ticks last year in late September and many horses were harboring the illness to the point they just couldn't anymore as this disease attacked their red blood cells.
We new it could take one to three rounds of treatment, but there was something about this horse that I just could not see to have him put down.  Five days of IV treatment with the vet coming out every day to administer and he started showing signs of improvement.  I had had him on Kelp since I brought him in and I do believe that helped some as well.  Finally had his shoes pulled and learned some even more gruesome news.  The Amish man had cut his heels at such an angle that he was actually standing on the frog of his foot - all just to get 1 MPH faster as he was pulling the buggy down the road.  Aaargh!  On top of that one foot was trimmed way past the line where it should have been so that needs to grow at as well.  Bubba B is very smart.  I don't have to put a lead on him to bring him from the pasture into the stall he just heads down the aisle of the barn pushes his gate open to his stall and sometimes even closes it behind him and then stands there and waits for me to come feed him and lock him in. 
Here is a picture of him not quite 3 months in taken a week ago standing with my daughter who is blind.  She even had him taking treats out of her hand - something he would not do, let alone even look at you two months ago. 
He still has a ways to go.  He has some fluid it feels like on his Sacroiliac joint (hip area) and very sensitive to pressure on the left side of his back.  We will do some message treatments and get him on some glucosamine to see if that will help over the next couple of months.  I am sure this may be due to him being used hard pulling a buggy/cart then being put into a stall to stand on cement until the next days work. 
Then there is Abby Girl.  My very first rescue.   She was just 11 months old last Fathers Day when I came across her.  There was something about those eyes I just couldn't get over.  I couldn't touch her on that day, but she was very curious.  Her people called her "Curious George" as she was into everything.  They wanted $250 for her but I got this skinny little critter for $75 knowing I could get her in no shape.  Mind you I hadn't had a horse in the last 30 years until just 6 months prior when I got my Rocky Mtn Mare.  Abby's feet needed trimmed badly and the next day they were done.  Over time I learned why they called this girl Curious George - if there was trouble to be found, she could find it.  She has to "help" you with everything you are doing.  Very much a pocket pony and in need of continued work on her ground manners. 
By mid-August at just 13 months I had a saddle on her - she never even flinched.  She has turned out to be a very well defined muscled quarter horse who I think is going to have a lot of potential.  Absolutely love this girl.  As you can see in this picture here, she has to be in the mix of things.  Doesn't matter if you have a hammer in your hand or a pitch fork, she wants to be there where the action is.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Homemade Pizza made with Organic Valley Cheeses and Organic Prairie Pepperoni & Hamburger

Pizza - it's what was for supper tonight!

Made with Organic Valley Cheeses and Organic Prairie Uncured Pepperoni and Organic Prairie Hamburger

Pizza Dough Ingredients

3½ to 4cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (Chef's Note: Using bread flour will give you a much crisper crust. If you can't find bread flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour which will give you a chewier crust.)
1teaspoon sugar
1envelope instant dry yeast
2teaspoons kosher salt
cups water, 110 degrees F
2tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons


Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes. 

I froze one piece of the dough for later use - freezes and keeps well.

 For the pizza itself, I started with a pizza sauce - some may prefer to use tomato sauce and season with pizza seasonings, or use a homemade sauce or if convenience is the key you can always buy a pizza sauce - this in my opinion is really personal preference. 

The next layer was Organic Prairie Pepperoni - if you haven't tried them, you  must!  Delish!  On top of that layer was a 1 pound layer of Organic Prairie hamburger (already cooked - do not put raw meat on pizza.) 

Then comes the cheese - Organic Valley cheese that is.  Now it is time to get out the cheese grater!

One cup of Provolone, One cup of Colby Cheese and one cup of  Mozzarella Cheese.  Just can't beat the flavor of these three cheeses on top of a pizza. 

Pop it into the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes and wait!  Yum!


Let it Snow Shovel and Potted Snowman

Winter is still making an appearance here in Wisconsin, so what should be more fitting than a potted snowman.  Snowman is mounted on a cut tree branch and 'potted' in a painted pail with plaster of paris to hold it in place. 

The matching shovel is decorated with a pine swag and couple of wood snowman cut outs.  Be sure to sand the shovel well if it has rust on it and then use a Rustoleum paint to basecoat before painting your design.

The Rocking Cow - Childs Handmade Wood Holstein Rocker

Our latest completed project is this fantastic handcrafted Rocking Cow.  What child wouldn't love this one? $245.00 plus shipping or can pick up.
 Cow is made of several layers of wood all sanded and contoured for smooth rounded edges.  Several coats of paint finish off the design.  Not recommended for outdoors.