Friday, June 29, 2018

Quick Low Country Boil

I wanted to re-share this (probably for the second time!) because I love it so much and have been craving it. And because it's so quick and simple. Enjoy!

Quick Low Country Boil
Missy Tippens

I love a good low country boil. And today while looking at shrimp at the grocery, I decided to make it! Of course since I didn't get home until 6 pm, I had to make a quick version.

I started with a basic recipe and altered it to fit my schedule.

1 lb. shrimp, I bought peeled and deveined
potatoes, washed and quartered (or cut smaller)
4 ears fresh corn (or buy the small frozen ears)
Andouille sausage (I used two links)
Crab boil seasoning

Heat a large soup pot of water. I used my steamer basket so I could drain the food to serve. Pour in about 1 TBS of crab boil seasoning and taste to see if you're happy with the flavor and strength. I thought it was really spicy so didn't need more.

While water comes to a boil, cut potatoes. I cut the red potatoes in about 6-8 pieces each so they'd cook quickly.

Then I cut up the sausage.

Once the water boils, toss in the potatoes and sausage. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

While that cooked, I pre-cooked the corn for so we wouldn't have to wait so long. You can see the microwave cooking method in a previous post. But it only needs to cook for 4 minutes. (Click here and then come back.)

You can see this is a great way to make it so you don't have to spend time shucking it. And when you squeeze the corn out of the husks after cooking, most of the silks go with the husks.

Since the corn was basically ready to eat, I didn't need to cook it for long in the pot. I broke each ear into 3 pieces, then added them to the pot. Then I tossed in the shelled, cleaned shrimp. I boiled for 3 more minutes.

Then dinner was ready!

Either drain (using the steamer insert) or else scoop out the food. I've been to parties where they dump the food out onto newspapers and everyone helps themselves.

It's not traditional looking. But it sure tasted good. And was ready in about 30 minutes.

I added a kale salad from the deli (raw kale with orange dressing, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, and carrots.)

Have you ever had a low country boil before?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Baby Mums Have Begun to Arrive on the Farm!

My life as we know it is now officially over.

Not in a classic "death" sense. More like in the teenage overly-dramatic sense that's way more fun, right?

Last year we experimented by adding chrysanthemums to our farm venue. I ordered 800. 755 got planted. We sold every single one within three weeks...

So a smart woman would say "Wow. That worked. Let's do it again, just the same."

But then the smart woman thought "Wow. We missed five weeks of the selling season, so why not try some LATER MUMS because we don't already have enough work to do!!! BRILLIANT!"

So this year, God willing, we'll be raising about 1600 mums and 400 or so asters... The first 663 mums came last week:

 This is assembly line planting. First we lay black landscape fabric out and pin it to the ground. We did this last week.... Then we get out the hundreds of pots, the potting medium (soil), the hose hook up and folding tables to make production go quicker...

This is Logan, he was busily filling pots 3/4 full of planting medium!

 Assembly line planting! Brooke, Casey, Elijah and Dianna....

This is Elijah and Casey getting the pots situated on tables and marking with cute individual tags so we'll know what each flower is!

This is Brooke and Dianna... I kind of railroaded them into working because they had no school, they were here, and I bribed them with cold hard cash at the end of the day... The flower pots are set up so that I can hand-water them... (no fancy system here, just me.... but I'll pretend I'm fancy!) And so that when they are mature, there is space between them. They don't like to be squished.

When we were done, 663 happy little mums were safely in their pots... and they've survived several waterings and feedings. Today, 255 more will join them... they were a particular color that we loved called Jacqueline Peach Fusion, and they're just a total crowd pleaser! (I had to come in and change the number because I was wrong on the first one!)

Aren't they gorgeous? They sold like hotcakes last summer, so even with a one week delay, we're happy to be having this beauty rejoin us for a new fall season.

And then MacKenzie, Morgan and I made sorbet... now I'm an ice cream fan but Kenzie isn't and we thought we'd try something more to her liking....

and it was so easy and delicious! I realized that I needed more corn syrup (or more condensed evaporated milk) than I used because it was a little bit tart... but wonderful!


1 pkg. 16 oz. frozen raspberries
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed milk

Add raspberries to food processor with chopping blade. Chop until fine... then add milk.

Continue to process until smooth, about two minutes....

Serve or freeze!

That's it. But I went to the cupboard and there was no Sweetened Condensed milk so I substituted 1/3 cup corn syrup and 1/3 cup heavy cream.... we blended those together, added to the raspberries and voila!

Amazingly delicious sorbet/sherbet!

And this was KITTY RESCUE MISSION when naughty Honey Bunny White Socks got herself onto the roof... and yowled in my window to get in around 2:00 AM... And then couldn't get down because we moved the ladder...

I had little sympathy, but the girls tried coaxing her into their "SAFETY NET"....

She was not to be coaxed, but a friend took pity on her and climbed up to get her....

But it did teach her a lesson so far, to leave my roof alone! :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Week in Review

by Mindy Obenhaus

This was one of those fun and crazy weeks here at the ranch. You know, the kind that's out of the norm and things get flipped upside down. 

A week ago, my guys headed down to the coast for a twelve-hour fishing trip out in the Gulf of Mexico. That meant I had a quiet day to myself and we now have some really nice red snapper fillets in the freezer.
Unfortunately for them, though, there was a tropical wave brewing in the Gulf, so there was a good bit of sea sickness going on. Made Mama glad she stayed home.

On the flip side of that coin, the same tropical wave brought us a few days of some much-needed rain. You know, sprinklers are one thing, but it always amazes me how fast things green-up after a good rain. 
Oh, and guess who came to see Grammy?
 I don't think I'll ever tire of that smile.
Or those big eyes.
And it's always a precious site when I see one of my boys holding her.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, my 6'5", 15 yo grandson also came to visit. Grammy hasn't been stealthy enough to catch any pictures of him yet. Big Daddy's been keeping him busy working the fence lines. 

Then there were the grandpups (the brown one and the small blonde). Together with our two dogs, it makes getting ready for the day a little more challenging. Crowded, for sure.
Oh, and I spotted (no pun intended) these two little ones the other day.
They're SO cute!

Of course, I did lots of cooking while everyone was here. Did I get any pictures, though? No. Sorry about that. But I can tell you that no one has gone hungry and the food was really, really good.

Maybe I'll do better for next week, because they'll be back again this weekend. Guess I'd better work on getting that menu planned.

Now it's your turn. What's going on in your corner of the world? Are you busy, busy, busy (that would be a YES from Ruthy) or enjoying some lazy summer days? 

Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus, lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children, two dogs and countless cattle. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining and sometimes adventurous manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at

Monday, June 25, 2018

Touring the Black Hills: An Other-Worldly Experience!

Jan here, with another look at this beautiful world we live in!

A couple weeks ago, we wanted to explore an area my husband had heard about. It's called Toadstool Geologic Park, and is just about an hour south of us in northwestern Nebraska.

When we looked it up on the map, I realized that this area is the setting of a book in an upcoming western series I'm planning!

Can you say, "research trip?!?"

So we packed our picnic (with plenty of water in the cooler!) and headed out.

We took the wrong road, which allowed us to see some gorgeous buttes we would have missed, but we finally found our turn...and started our 15 mile journey on the dirt/gravel/mud road. We have rarely been more thankful for our four-wheel-drive on the truck!

When we finally got to our destination, the park didn't disappoint us. It was fascinating! This area is an extension of the South Dakota Badlands, but with unique geologic formations.

Do you see why it's called Toadstool Park?

The top layer of these formations is made of sandstone, while the lower layers are made of clay-stone. Clay-stone is not as hard as sandstone, and erodes faster. So the sandstone is left standing on top of a clay-stone pillar. Pretty cool, isn't it?

We followed the self-guided walking tour and every turn held new sights.

There are no guardrails - you need to be careful! If you look
carefully, you can see the poles marking the trail in the
Another point of interest was the reproduction of the sod house.

That roof is going to be beautiful when those cactus bloom!
This reproduction was built in 1984 on the site of the original sod house built in 1930. The reproduction has lasted for thirty-four years!

Outside of the park, ranching still flourishes.

We're at the edge of the Oglala National Grasslands, and I wish you could hear the silence. It's broken only by bird song, but what could be better than that?

To find out more about Toadstool Geologic Park, and perhaps plan your own visit, follow this link.

I hope you enjoyed today's tour! Have you ever been to a place like this park?

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan

Friday, June 22, 2018

Flower Power

Missy Tippens

I've really enjoyed the flowers this spring and summer. I've been on a quest (like in previous years) to get just the perfect magnolia photo to use on my blog or elsewhere. The problem is that it's difficult to find a perfect bloom at the perfect time at a height I can reach!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites I've captured so far as well as a few other photos of gardenias, roses and hydrangeas.

Some of the earliest blooms we had were the knockout roses. The bushes were packed with blooms this year.

Below is one in my yard that I thought was beautiful. I'm not even sure what it is! It's different from the one I shared with y'all before.

Here is one of my favorites, wisteria--so very southern. This particular plant was growing outside the entrance of a store at an outdoor shopping center. It was so pretty!

Here's another mystery to me (below). Does anyone know what it is?

Here's one of our gardenia bushes. It was packed with buds and blooms this year! (You can see the multiple buds below.)

And here's one of my favorite photos from the many I took of the gardenia blooms. I wish y'all could have smelled the fragrance each time I left my house! This bush is right beside the front porch.

And now the ones I've worked so hard to capture. My neighbors probably think I'm crazy for all the days I've been out in the yard photographing this tree. :) Plus, I've photographed the magnolia trees at our church, too! For weeks, after the worship service, I've walked around one particular (huge) tree, trying to find new blossoms that are close enough to the ground to reach with the camera (my phone). There's nothing more creamy beautiful than a magnolia bloom.

I hope y'all enjoyed a walk through my yard this spring and summer! We've had a beautiful season. Now it's time to replant the pots on my front porch. The pansies can't take the hot sum at this point. I'll share photos of the new flowers later!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Saving Little Birds, Take Two!

Well, the grackles are at it again... remember how we saved two grackles that tried to nest in the unusued old brick chimney in spring? They managed to get through the chimney baffle in the basement and we opened windows and let them fly free...

So then they nested in a hollow spot on a big, old silver maple outside the kitchen. Of course the maple tree is in the middle of the dog run area... but also on the perimeter of the invisible fencing, so you'd think all right... this could be okay.

Well we are accustomed to rescuing silly babies from picking REALLY BAD areas to hang out and chirp for Mama. It's like saying "Come get me, I'm silly and can't fly well yet" to the farm cats. And farm cats have excellent hearing!  So when we heard the "Peep! Peep! Peep!" of a fresh-from-the-nest fledgling, we paid attention... There were two! Here is one, huddled in the doorway of the family room:

Oh, silly baby!!!! The dogs would have a field day with this, right?

So we kept the dogs in and shooed babies back toward Mama, who was nervously grackling in the tree...

A few hours later, this is on the other side of the house...

Oh, poor misguided little bird!!! :)

Kitties live here!!!!

Me and bird. Or... bird and me? Either way.

Hunters in training, the last two kittens have gone to homes and there are no reportable kitten events on the farm right now! 

Chrysanthemums come today, ready to be planted in happy pots so by the time this post goes live, there will be 550 baby mums set out on black landscape fabric behind the house... and this means daily watering and guarding from critters.... And irises are just finishing here, a long cold spring delayed them... Isn't this gorgeous and delicate looking?

And this is a family favorite because it matches the farmhouse:

And a cherry pie last weekend, RECIPE HERE.... and we've been making multiple batches of jam to sell at the roadside and people are so happy to find it again.

And we love making people happy!

And in the wee small hours of the night, a writer sneaks down the stairs, finds a quiet corner and writes books... sweet, inspirational books to make readers smile and sigh.... before the crazy of the farm day begins again!

And just re-released for Kindle or paperback, Ruthy's beautiful full-length stories at great prices:

Link to Amazon! 


 So that's what's happening in my neck of the woods... how about yours?

Multi-published inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country, writing sweet books, laughing with friends, dogs, some cats, donkeys, frogs, toads, coffee and chocolate. She writes in the middle of the night when the house is quiet and lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York with her husband, in and out kids and grandkids and some great fur babies! Visit her online at or friend her on facebook where she loves to chat with readers and writers!