Monday, January 2, 2012

Farm Life - Seeking the Flip Side

     There is no question about it.  Getting up and out early to be enveloped in the cold, darkness of  winter months can be downright discouraging.  However, the animals need care and the longer that they are inside the more work there will be.  But, it is dark.  It is cold.  The water frequently is frozen and metal locks are stinging cold to the touch on bare hands.  If water spills on clothing aside from the awful feeling it creates, there is an immediate freeze and dread. Wet, freezing clothes end the chores until after a trip inside to change.  Freezing temps mean that water has to be carried rather than using a hose.  Animals need to be released to the outside and they don't seem to care if it is cold.  Stalls need to be cleaned. Everybody is hungry.
     Is there any joy to all of this? Well, no, if one faces the mundane chores in a state of semiconsciousness.  But here is where the flip side comes in.   For every seemingly routine day is filled with wonder if you simply look for the flip side; just be aware of your surroundings  .
     The flip of the dark early morning hours is the singing of birds that are silenced by the sunrise. The moon is still floating in the sky and even the dark cold can't diminish the awe of an orb that circles the earth.  

     A cloudy, dark sky can't stop the sun from carving out its
arc on the treeline revealing that the sun is on the way. Once the sun is up, the magic is gone as all the trees have sunlight on them.

     And of course, at the sound of the gates, the animals respond with their own sounds.  Not to be missed is the unmistakable screechlike crowing sound from the smallest, but loudest of all the animals - the bantam rooster that lives with the turkeys.

     Even cleaning stalls which is not exactly fun, except for young girls who are known to do anything just to be near a horse, has a flip side. Aside from the exercise and a sense of job accomplishment, the reward is that nothing hinders a mind from planning the rest of the day, dreaming of ideas, or enjoying the peaceful silence and swish of a pitchfork. The flip side is the escape, the understanding, the introspective thoughts that help make it easier to accept what is and facing whatever comes our way.

Recipe to enjoy - Ham Casserole - easy comfort food.
                        Wild Rice and Ham Casserole
 1 pkg. (6 1/4 oz) quick-cooking long grain and wild rice mix ( does not
              need to be quick cooking)
 1 pkg (10 oz. frozen cut broccoli thawed and drained ( used fresh broccoli
             partially cooked in microwave)
  2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  1 can (10 3/4 oz. ) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  1 cup mayonnaise
  2 tsp prepared mustard
  1 cup( 4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese (used more)
1. oven 350
2. Prepare the rice according to package directions.  Spoon into an
ungreased 2 1/2 qu. baking dish.  Top with broccoli and ham.  Combine soup,
mayonnaise and mustard.  Spread over rice mixture and mix gently.  Cover and
bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand 5
minutes before serving.

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