4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses

4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~Langston Hughes *pictured: '4Shoes Bookends'

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Harnessing my Inner Frugal Gourmet

In the interests of saving $$, because grocery store prices are going nowhere but up, & because we have a child whose ambition (it seems) is to be a professional student of higher education (this is year #5 @ university, but she is @ the top of her class!), I have lately been more actively pursuing self-sufficiency. While I have put the chicken plan on the back burner until next year while I get a little more professional counseling on managing my fear of The Borg Chicken Collective, I am going in a positive direction.
Wood rail-box supports 9 buckets perched atop a self-watering delivery system
Of necessity, I have a renewed interest in gardening; Mr. Shoes has built me a tower in which I've planted strawberries, radishes, mesclun & spinach. He has also built me a new raised garden bed & @ right you see my amateurish illustration of a bucket grow system which Mr. has now built into a reality. You may have already guessed that a lot of canning & home preserving is in my near future as well.
Meet Bacon & Sausage, the Berkshire brothers *not my barn*

Mr Shoes & Boot (our son) toiled all day Tuesday converting my round-pen into an escape-proof pigpen; I say goodbye to my pen not really needing it these days & knowing it will be in good service to the farm. Yes, the pigs could live inside the barn 24/7, but in my experience happy pigs make better eating, so these 2 guys need a comfortable outdoor space to call their own before they end up filling our freezer in the fall. Pigs are actually thought to be one of the most intelligent of animals, scoring considerably higher on the scale than do dogs. If you'd like to see proof of this claim, go here to view a group of smart little piggies who have been trained using a form of operant conditioning; the farmer in this video uses a snap of his fingers rather than a clicker or a whistle, but the training premise is exactly the same.

Back to the topic of the day: I have been baking & creating more of our meals from scratch than I have since the days when we were young parents; I don't think Mr Shoes has had to eat a store-bought cookie in close to a year now. Pardon me while I reach over & pat my own back just a little. Mr Shoes loves spicy food, & tacos are a frequent request, but those little packets of taco seasoning can range from a sale price of 89 cents up to a regular price of over $2. That is to season 1(!) lb of meat!!! Arrggghhh. I am happy to say that such highway robbery is no longer an option OR a choice I have to make as I recently found this recipe. In an effort of continued generosity & sharing, now here it is for you all. 
Click on image to visit recipe origin
  • 1 T chili powder
  •  1/4 t garlic powder
  •  1/4 t onion powder
  •  1/8 t cayenne pepper
  •  1/4 t dried oregano
  •  1/2 t paprika
  •  1 t ground cumin
  •  1 t sea salt
  •  1 t black pepper 
Mix all together until well blended & store in airtight container.
Brown 1lb your choice of ground meat, add 1/4 c water & 2-3 T spice mix.
Simmer until reduced.


  1. Excellent recipe--I will try it. I am just going to wait until my peppers start producing. I planted some mildly hot ones. I can't wait. Do you plan to grow any herbs? Oregano is a perennial, and it keeps spreading in my garden. I plant basil, too, dry them both and use them all year. I, too, look for ways to save money--it's in my nature. You can save so much by growing your own veggies and cooking from scratch. If my tomatoes do well this year, I will have enough to try tomato sauce...

    Yes, I have fallen in love with MerryLegs, and I know he is going to be perfect for us. He is so smart, sweet and just as beautiful as you claimed he was. I looked at the pictures you sent me this winter, and I am not sure they are of the same horse! He is settling in, starting to learn and I just can't wait to get him out on the trail!

  2. I bought sage & basil for the raised bed - I've read those kind of things discourage bunnies & the like, though the Saint is probably all the protection we (& the piggies!) will need.
    Not to upset tender-hearted readers, but I've seen the Saint run down &... well, you know, jackrabbits in all seasons of the year (multiple times). I bought 6 big hardy tomato plants! Sauce is definitely in my near future.
    The pics really are of Merry - I told you that any good photo I actually take is completely by accident! But you know what Judi?
    I will NEVER, EVER get tired of hearing how well MerryLegs is doing, how fast he learns, & how happy you are with him.
    Friends forever.

  3. Glad Merrylegs arrived safely. Sounds like you found her a great home. Ralgro is a hormone free growth implant that improves weight gain and feed efficiency.


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