Coyote Soup

Bringing life back to the family ranch with three young free range braves and lots of organic elbow grease.

8 Already? November 2, 2012

Filed under: kids,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 10:46 pm
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Today my middle child turned 8 and it’s all I can do not to grab him from his slumber and swaddle him in a baby blanket and rock him and sing him off-key lullabies until I go to sleep because honestly, I can hardly stand that he is another year older.

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This kid never ceases to amaze me.

He practically came out of the womb speaking full, grammatically correct sentences in a strong, husky voice.

A voice that came in handy when he called out the quarterback commands during football season.
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This football season, his first ever, he made 30 touchdowns.
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I didn’t keep count of the tackles.
winter 2011-spring 2012 270

But as natural as he seems to be at football, baseball is his first love.

He is an avid outdoorsman.
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A dedicated fisherman.
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An adrenaline junkie.
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And knitter.

In fact, on his birthday wish list, among the bass pro shop gift card, the guns, the fishing poles and the cowboy gear, he also requested knitting needles and yarn… any color, he said, except pink.

Pink might ruin his manly reputation.

I suppose swaddling might do the same.

 

Halloween 2012 November 1, 2012

Filed under: Country Life,kids,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 9:22 am
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Yesterday Drover was out late working up ground at our farmland just south of the Kansas border, leaving me to corral the kids for a night of trick-or-treating in our small town.
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My youngest was a ninja.
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My middle child was a ninja.
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And my oldest, who’d outgrown his ninja costume, was a storm trooper.
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My boys have been ninjas for 3 years now and they still haven’t tired of the costumes.

Neither have I.

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It was our first year trick-or-treating in this small town and I must say, it far exceeded my expectations. The town was booming! There was a dunk tank along with a few Halloween themed carnival games and a car that seems to be haunted in this picture. Where’s the driver?

Kids were piled on trailers, in the back of trucks and even huddled in the back of SUV’s with the hatch wide open driving through town.

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Cars, trucks and SUVs were lined up along main street, decorated in various themes for an entertaining trunk or treat.

At the end of the line of trunks, we happened upon a walk-through spook house, a first for my young braves. I couldn’t have asked for a better set-up to introduce my kids to spook houses. It was situated in one of the old downtown buildings, ushered by an old, long-haired woman.

The first room we came to was a vintage dimly lit dining room, the table draped with an antique linen tablecloth and set with a formal arrangement of elaborate utensils and layered plates, filled with gummy eyeballs and finger bread sticks. In the center was a creepy looking human head topped with spaghetti, situated on a silver platter.

It’s the scariest place my boys have ever been.

Unless you count the time I let my youngest drive my car.

Then it might be the second scariest place my boys have ever been.

After my little boys had taken in the eery dining room setting and just before we were about to move on, the head on the table let out a little “boo!” …enough to startle the boys and generate a few nervous laughs, but not so much that they would be scarred for the rest of their lives.

It was a fun spook house.

But what my boys enjoyed most were the houses that were decorated with inflatables, graveyards, spiders, and spooky Halloween lights. I’d like to think that if I ever had a house in town, my house would look something like these…

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This house was their favorite.

Here, they each got a bag of candy, tattoos, glow-in-the-dark stickers, light sticks, silly string, juice packs, fun pads and small toys.

I’m pretty sure it will be the first house on the route next year.
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This house had some really fun inflatables.

The picture doesn’t do it justice.
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And this was the house that we had been watching in the days leading up to Halloween as spooky scenes were added daily.
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When we got home, the boys sorted their candy based on size, variety, color, flavor, texture, sugar content, packaging, expiration date and edibility.

Then they carefully tallied their piles. Accounting for each and every piece of candy in their possession.
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Making it next to impossible for a Mom to sneak candy after bedtime.

 

A Bed of Pansies October 31, 2012

Filed under: kitties,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 11:46 am
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Yesterday I picked up some deeply discounted pansies to dress up my front porch.

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I’m sure Junior will lie on them.

Junior is a completely useless cat.
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He has few wants.

Few needs.
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And contributes little more than carbon dioxide to the good of the world.

But we love him nonetheless.
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This bed of pansies I’m sure will be too much for him to resist. Hopefully his carbon dioxide contribution will be enough to compensate for the pansies’ inability to respire when he lies atop them.

There’s always hope.
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Hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

 

A Belated Monday List October 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 10:33 am
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1. When one gets a dog, one should always take into consideration all possible indirect expenses of caring for them.
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e.g. computer cords.

I was all set to jot down my Monday list yesterday when I noticed my computer cord had been chewed almost entirely in half.

I thought I could pick up a new cord for around $20. Turns out cords are more approximately $75.

Needless to say, this was a depressing realization for me.

2. So I made butterscotch pie.
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And the world was a happier place.

3. Then my grandmother called to tell me my brother had left some knives at her house for my boys.
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Because my brother lives so far from me, we often exchange items at her house because her house is the half-way house.

Not to be confused with the halfway house.

“Your brother left some knives here for the boys,” she informed me.

“Knives?” I asked.

“Yeah. He said he told the boys that if they made straight A’s on their report cards, he’d buy them knives. And they’re really big ones too,” she said.

Big?

“Like how big? Like machete big? Or Samurai big?” I inquired.

“I dunno, but I do know they’re bigger than a switch blade knife,” she said, “and they’ve got a lifetime warranty.”

Great.

That’s all my kids need. Weapons that will last them a lifetime.

“Ok, I’ll be by later to pick them up,” I replied.

4. Speaking of knives, we finally carved our Halloween jack-o-lanterns over the weekend.

We, meaning me.

My children were not allowed to operate the carving knife.

5. However, I did allow my 5-year-old to operate my car.
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6. My boys started wrestling yesterday.

Being a wrestler requires special shoes, and because my boys waited until the last-minute to inform me of the need for the shoes until the day of practice, I was forced to buy them while they were at school.

Which means they wouldn’t be able to try them on.

Fortunately, my 9-year-old and I wear the same size shoe.

So there I was in the store with my purse slung across my shoulder, trying on wrestling shoes .

Apparently, this is typical because none of the salesmen said a word.

7. Getting to the bus stop early to pick up your kids can make for a boring wait.
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Unless your brother happens to get your young children dangerously large big game hunting knives in which case your time can be well spent splicing computer cords that have been chewed by dogs.

8. Last night, the sunset was amazing.
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9. Utterly amazing.

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10. Not to be confused with udderly amazing.

 

Best Buttermilk Biscuits October 26, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Piper Long @ 8:16 am
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I know. There are a gazillion biscuit recipes out there. But in my book, this recipe is a keeper for the following reasons:

1. They’re delicious.
2. They’re EASY!
3. The recipe is so simple, you can memorize it.

Which is great for those early mornings when you emerge from your bedroom like a blinking mole at first light and your family is sitting at the table banging their knives and forks against the table chanting, “WE WANT FOOD! WE WANT FOOD!”

You’re family doesn’t do that?

Oh.

Well, as a side note, these biscuits are also great for dinner alongside fried chicken, baked chicken, roasted chicken, soupy chicken and just about anything that tastes like chicken. I know because I served these biscuits to my family alongside fried chicken just the other night.

“Momma?” My oldest boy asked, eyeing the steamy biscuit I had just pulled out of the hot pan.

“Hmm?” I replied, admiring the beautiful rise in the pillowy biscuits.

“I don’t like biscuits with sideburns,” he said. “Can I have one out of the middle?”

“Sideburns?” I asked, inspecting my biscuits, visualizing hair growing down the sides of the biscuit like a Chia Pet.

“Ya. The burns on the sides of the biscuits…” he explained. “I like the ones without the sideburns.”

“Oh!” (giggles) “You mean the edge of the biscuit where it was resting against the side of the pan…” (more smiles and giggles… followed by full on belly laughs.)

Here’s how you make ’em:
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Start with 2 cups SELF RISING flour. I LOVE self rising flour. It’s basically a mix of all-purpose flour, salt and leavening. You can mix up your own or buy it at the store.

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Next, add a stick of cold butter.

Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or two knives…
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…until the butter is cut up enough (maybe pea size) to mix well with the flour.
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Add 1 cup buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can sour 1 cup of whole milk with 1 Tbl. white vinegar or lemon juice to substitute for the buttermilk.
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Stir to combine. Your dough will be sticky.
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Turn out onto floured surface.
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Knead by folding the dough.
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And flattening.
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And folding…
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And flattening.

Knead the dough a couple more times, or until you just work the stickiness out.
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Flatten the dough with your hands to about a half-inch in thickness.
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Cut the dough into rounds with your biscuit cutter.
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Arrange the biscuits in an ungreased baking pan, with the sides touching.
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Bake at 450 until golden brown, but not so brown that the biscuits develop side burns, about 12 minutes.

Serve warm with a sliver of butter and a spoonful of homemade peach jam. Or honey. Or plum jelly. Or any kind of jelly, jam or preserves.

Apple butter would be divine.

Here’s the short version:
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Best Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits

2 Cups Self Rising Flour
1 Stick Cold Butter
1 Cup Buttermilk

1. Cut cold butter into flour.
2. Stir in buttermilk.
3. Turn onto floured surface and knead until no longer sticky.
4. Bake at 450 for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

The Cake Truck October 25, 2012

Filed under: ranching — Piper Long @ 6:31 am
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Cattle guards are a wonderful invention.

They are typically used in place of gates where the fence meets the roadway to keep cattle from wandering over into the wrong pasture. They save hurried ranch wives oodles of time that would otherwise be spent parking the car, getting out of the car, opening the gate, getting back in the car, driving through the open gate, parking the car, getting out of the car and closing the gate.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Up until recently our cattle guards have done an outstanding job guarding the gate area.

But recently, the cattle have been jumping the cattle guards.

Some are even tippy-toeing across and gathering at a green patch of grass near the house.

“Why do they keep jumping the cattle guard?” Drover asked, looking out the kitchen window. “The gate was open when I came in and the cows were nowhere in sight. It’s not like they don’t have plenty of food in their pasture.”

“You wanna know why?” I asked, drying my hands on the kitchen towel. “It’s because you drive all over this ranch, handin out that cake grain from your truck. Sure they’ve got food lyin around, but you’ve got cake. You’re like the ice cream truck, only with cake. Heifers will do anything for cake.”

Drover looked at me and I could see the corners of his mouth turn up ever so slightly. And with that he headed out the door to resume his cake truck route.

As soon as the cows heard the sounds of the cake truck in the distance, their ears perked up.
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And they began to follow.
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Until they noticed the fresh, healthy greens on the opposite side of the road.

Oh the dilemmas of life.

Healthy greens… or cake?
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Cake!

Definitely cake!

 

A New Address October 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 11:01 pm
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I have a new address!

https://coyotesoup.wordpress.com

It’s sort of a play on the hodgepodge of things on this site, most of which have to do with country life, food and humor.

Plus it reminds me of when my boys were younger, picking at their food and in an effort to perk their interest in the meal I would tell them it was Bobcat Spaghetti or Coon Chops, just to man up the meal. Then they’d chow down and grow sideburns, muscles and chest hair like their Daddy.

And if you think about it, the name really is quite fitting.

Especially if your up real late at night texting with your Mom and the other suggestions amongst Emoji giggles are things like:

Cooking Armadillo with Piper

and

Life with Piper a Native American Warrior and Mom

and

Herding Armadillos…

I take back every bad thing I have ever said about the name my Mother bestowed upon me.

I now realize it could have been much worse.

As could have been the address change itself.

Turns out, changing a virtual address isn’t quite as difficult as I thought it’d be….no need to trash old address labels. No need to construct a new rural mailbox. No labor intensive hole to dig for the mailbox post. No fences to construct.

No telephone calls to utility companies and Christmas Card Relatives.

Just a few clicks on a keypad and voilĂ !

If only all issues in life could be fixed so simply….

Need to drive a herd of cattle?
cattle drive
click!

Need to build a new horse pen?
Hungry Horse
click!

Need rain to fill your ponds?
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click! click!

Need your babies to stay cute and cuddly foreverandalways?

click! click! click!

I’m so glad I stopped short of serving Coyote Soup, otherwise they might have grown beards and ear hair.

I’m just not ready for things like that.

 

 
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