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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

postheadericon Memorial Day Weekend 2017 Events

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 is upon us. If you don’t have plans already, it is not too late. There are many events taking place all over the country to commemorate the day and honor those brave men and women who died in service to America.

It is a good time to take the opportunity to teach your family and loved ones why America celebrates Memorial Day.

memorial day weekend 2017 Red Barn Blue Skies

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

The US Department of Veterans Affairs in collaboration with the National Cemetery Administration are hosting events at VA national cemeteries throughout the country. Local communities will put their own special touches on the events and honor local heroes. You can find the VA sponsored event closest to you by checking their website.

Sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee, the National Memorial Day Parade will take place in Washington, D.C. It begins at 2pm at the intersection of Constitution and NW 7th and ends up at 17th Street after parading down Constitution Avenue and the White House. It will be televised and streamed live online. More events in the D.C. area can be found here.

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 parade Red Barn Blue Skies

Be sure to check for events in your local area. Your American Legion post can usually advise you of celebrations near you.

Please have a safe weekend and don’t forget to honor our heroes and those brave people who died for our country, our flag, and your freedom.

postheadericon Change, Gratitude and Joy – Sunday Selections

The message of today’s quote embraces change, gratitude, and joy as I bring back one of my favorite features – Sunday Selections. I enjoy the hunt for quotes, poems, and passages that ignite a spark in me or touch a chord.

Changes

There are many transitions occurring in our personal and professional lives at the moment. We have several different paths ahead of us and important decisions to make.

I found this quote from author William Arthur Ward to be a perfect fit as we explore the opportunities that are presenting themselves to us. Enjoy.

 

Change, Gratitude and Joy at Red Barn Blue Skies

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings,

turn routine jobs into joy,

and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

~ William Arthur Ward

postheadericon Greta Does Goat Parkour Like a Jedi

It is never a good sign when you find one of your animals in an unexpected or unwanted place. It is even worse when you can’t figure out how they’ve done it.

 

Goat parkour with Greta at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Two days ago I finally learned just how Greta the (baby) goat was getting out – she is a master of goat parkour at only 5 weeks old! Or she’s a Jedi – I can’t decide exactly how she rolls, jumps or flies. Whichever way it is, the Force is obviously strong in this little one. Fortunately, just like her mama Nibbles, Greta can be bribed with goat treats and head scratches.

 

Goat Parkour with Greta at redbarnblueskies.com

 

You met Greta and the rest of the goats a few weeks ago. Well, despite everything we “thought” we could do to keep them contained, we failed. We knew we’d have to eventually relocate the bantam chicken coops to the other side of the runs/pens, but Greta forced us to do it a little sooner than planned.

 

Greta started bouncing off one of the chicken wire covered panels with all four feet when she was about two weeks old. We didn’t think anything of it except that it was cute and very acrobatic. That is until she figured out how to use the rebound from the panel to throw herself against the side of the coop and right up on top of it! She obviously saw someone doing the sport of parkour in another life and decided to turn it into to her own brand of goat parkour.

 

Greta the Goat demonstrates goat parkour at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

What Is It?

(People) parkour has its roots in military training exercises. The aim of parkour is to get from one point to another in the quickest and most efficient manner using only your body and elements in the environment such as walls, rocks, rails, etc.  Jumping, rolling, crawling, bouncing, swinging or just about any other movement that can propel you is used in parkour. It is most often seen in more urban settings, but parkour can be practiced anywhere.

 

Goat Parkour

Greta’s goat parkour is definitely not being performed in an urban environment and hopefully isn’t militant in nature. When not being performed with the intent of escape, I think it may be more reminiscent of Stuart from MADtv when he exclaims “Look what I can do!” right before doing something goofy.

 

Goat Parkour post with Stuart from MadTV

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Greta practices her moves daily in our temporary goat pen using the fence, the coops, her mother, and anything she can bounce a hoof off of. She tries to coerce her twin brother, Groot into joining her, but he’s much more mellow than she is. (It may have to do a bit with a small procedure he underwent recently. More on that later.)

 

Once we determined exactly how she put her moves to use to get OUT of the pen, we decided to do some redecorating. The photos below show Greta and Groot supervising the hubby as he removes the two bantam chicken coops from the area. Hopefully, having one less level to rebound off of and on to will keep Greta’s four little feet mostly on the ground.

 

Groot and Greta Goat supervising coop removal at Red Barn Blue Skies for goat parkour

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that they can’t crawl into the coop and do chicken impressions.

 

Goat parkour in the Chicken Coop with Groot and Greta at Red Barn Blue Skies

“Bawk, Bawk”

 

postheadericon Pretty Pomegranate Jelly Recipe

Even though both of my grandmothers were expert jam and jelly makers, I didn’t learn the craft from them. I picked it up later in life and never looked back. Today I’m sharing one that my entire family (on all sides) has enjoyed for years. Along with being tart and sweet, it is one of the prettiest jellies we make. Enjoy our Pretty Pomegranate Jelly Recipe and make it a favorite in your household too.

Pomegranate Jelly Recipe at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Pretty Pomegranate Jelly Recipe

Ingredients

5 Cups Pomegranate Juice

1/4 cup lemon juice or juice from 1 large lemon

1 tsp Butter

1 box Powdered Fruit Pectin (1.75 oz)

6 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

Instructions

Prepare your sterilized canning jars , lids and rings before starting.

Bring the water in your water-bath canner to a boil with rack installed.

Combine pomegranate juice, lemon juice and powdered fruit pectin in a large stainless steel pot .

Add butter (to reduce mixture foaming) and bring to a rolling boil, stirring continuously.

Add sugar and bring back to a heavy boil. Boil for exactly one minute, still stirring.

Remove from heat.

Skim off any foam that has developed.

Carefully ladle jelly into prepared jars, leaving about 1/4" headspace.

Wipe rims clean of any spilled jelly before placing lids on jars.

Attach rings to finger-tight snugness.

Place in water bath and boil for 5 minutes.

Once processed, remove from water and place on towel on counter to cool.

Check to see if jars are sealed by pressing finger in middle of lid. If lid springs back, the jar isn't sealed and will need refrigeration.

Notes

This recipe from Red Barns Blue Skies is easily customized by using other juices or mixing various liquids. Cranberry and grape are two popular choices to make tasty jellies.

This jelly is fantastic with fresh baked bread. We really enjoy all of the different flavors when we pair it with our Basil Beer Bread. YUM!

Pretty Pomegranate Jelly Recipe and Fresh Bread at Red Barn Blue Skies

postheadericon The Goats Have Landed – Our Lives Will Never Be Boring Again

For many years the hubby told me that he didn’t care what type of animals we had, as long as there weren’t any goats. He had apparently been traumatized in the past by a little pygmy billy goat that had it in for him.

 

The hubby claims that the guilty-until-proven-innocent little goat ate parts of his Jeep. He supposedly broke the windshield on his other car by using it as a goat parkour springboard. I advised him that if there aren’t photos or a chewed up Jeep as proof, it didn’t happen.

 

Goat with tilted head at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So I went along with this edict without complaining, much. After all, we have horses, cattle, turkeys, chickens, dogs and cats. HE even had a Red-tailed Boa Constrictor as a pet snake for a while. It’s not like we are missing out on too many things.

 

But, anyone who is online these days knows the internet is overflowing with videos of baby goats. These kids are shown bouncing around and bringing joy to the lives of those who own them. You know I wanted to be one of those happy people. When hubby told me NO for the 500th time, I sounded just like my nephew at age 3. We had to tell him the pink Hello Kitty purse was his sister’s and not for him, “But I neeeeeeeeeeed it!”

 

(And before anyone protests that he should have been able to have a pink Hello Kitty purse if he wanted one, his sister was wanting to use her purse at that particular moment. We offered to get him his own, but he was immediately off and running to his next interest and adventure.)

 

Lawn mowing at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I used the fact that our spring has been one of the wettest in decades. We are overrun with tall grass and lots of weeds. My husband didn’t fall for my logic that if we had goats, he wouldn’t have to mow every few days. He couldn’t be swayed by the cute and bouncy videos I kept sending to his phone.

 

I reminded him that I would have access to fresh goat milk instead of canned for making cheese and soaps, he still said no.

 

 

 

Goat in Tree at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I know these things are true, but….. Then one magical day, he just gave up. My persistence/pestering/pleading paid off. A good friend of ours needed to sell her two pet does. She had to find someone she trusted to care for them like she would. The hubby graciously caved and told me I could get the two girls. I made the deal.

 

Of course, I sorta forgot to mention that one of them was pregnant, very very pregnant, but he’s a good sport. “In for a penny, in for a pound” or in this case, “What’s one more little goat?” OK, so I may have also forgotten to let him know that she had twin bucklings her first time…

 

Goats Cookie and Nibbles at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So without further ado and fanfare, meet The Goats aka The Goots.

 

The Goats

Cookie is a Toggenburg doe who is just over a year old.

redbarnblueskies.com Cookie the Toggenburg Goat

 

Nibbles is a LaMancha doe around two years old.

redbarnblueskies.com NIbbles the LaMancha Goat

 

And then, we have the kids: Groot (mostly black) and Greta (mostly white) are the bouncing baby goats (called kids) born to Nibbles on March 27th. Their father is a wandering Kinder buck so they are half Kinder/half LaMancha. They obviously didn’t inherit the itty-bitty ears of their mama.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Groot and Greta goats

 

The hubby won’t admit it, but he is smitten by all of our newest additions. The very first night they were here he ended up sitting in the pen with them until after dark. He has also admitted to looking forward to some of my goat milk cheese with herbs in the near future..

 

I am so blessed to have married a man who is just as big of an animal lover as I am – even when he pretends otherwise. Our life is full of love.

 

Please join us again soon as we continue to share the adventures of Groot and Greta along with the rest of our menagerie.

 

By the way, have you ever seen those darling little miniature donkeys?