Tuesday, November 30, 2010

chewy granola bars

Decent snacks are hard to find here.  Either they are really bad for you or really expensive.  When I tried this recipe out I couldn’t believe how easy and good these things are.  Definitely better then Quaker chewy granola bars and way cheaper.

Quick-cook oatmeal

1 small can sweetened condensed milk (the sweeter and thicker the better- it varies by brand)

grated dried coconut (if the flakes are large, run them through a food processor)
chocolate chips
margarine or butter

Stir together the oatmeal, condensed milk and dried coconut. I find about 3 cups of oatmeal fits well in a 9X13 pan.  Use enough of the condensed milk to moisten all the oatmeal. You probably will not need the whole can.  Add coconut to taste- I use about a cup.  I find it absorbs moisture and helps bind the oatmeal and keep the bars soft.  Let sit for about 10 minutes for the oatmeal and coconut to soften.  Add as much chocolate chips as you want.  Spread in a pan, and bake for about 30 minutes (watch closely the first time- I’ve found different brands of condensed milk require different cook times.  You want the edges to brown but not burn).

That’s it!  These keep for about a week, maybe a bit longer if refrigerated.  If they turn out too crispy, just cover with some aluminum foil and let sit a while, and they will soften nicely.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

living with goats, part 214.....

This is Homer, our billy goat. Homer has recently discovered goat paradise, aka the hood of our tractor. Since it has been so rainy, Daniel put a bag of corn on top of the tractor and covered it with a saddle blanket to keep it dry. Homer now jumps up on the hood of the tractor, nibbles a bit of corn through the hole he chewed in the bag, and then settles down for a cozy night, warm and dry on the tractor hood.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, tropics style

That, my friends, is a sweet potato.
And if you think that’s big, you should see the turkey.

Just kidding about the turkey. But the sweet potato is real. Grown right here on the farm by our worker Marcus (the same farm hand who was drafted to decorate for my sister-in-law’s wedding. Gardening= much more his forte). It is currently taking up a significant portion of my kitchen table as I try to decide what the heck to do with it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

baby goats

A little goat cuteness for Monday.  These little ones still don't have names- any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

evening light

I like this picture because it captures the golden glow of our fields right before sunset.  Everything seems to have a halo surrounding it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Or at least as autumn-like as it will ever get here in the tropics.  This is my favorite time of year, with temperature's in the 80's during the day, and dropping down to the 50's at night.  The early evenings feel like the first perfect days of fall.  Of course, houses here are very open and have no insulation, so about 3 am it gets a bit cold and we have to layer on the blankets.  Ironic, since I always hated camping because of that early-morning chilliness.  And now it feels like I am camping out in my bedroom. 
Anyways, I thought this picture looked a bit like autumn.  This is Blaze, and he is a gentle but nosy one-year-old, one of our small herd of horses.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I will call this photo series: fat cat. in a bowl.

This post is dedicated to my mom, raiser of fat cats.  Apparently the ability is genetic.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

new baby goats

One of our dairy goats had twins last friday, and they are quite adorable.  Two little girls, purebred dairy goats which makes me happy.  They are identical, except one has straight hair and one has curly hair.  We've never seen a curly haired goat before... no one we've talked to has either.  So we don't know quite what happened there...
Anyways, some pictures-- here they are less then 24 hours old.

Baby goats are really, really hard to photograph.  As evidence,  here are a set of photos shot using my camera's action mode, which takes shot after shot with no time in between:

Curly haired baby seems to spend most of her time with all 4 feet off the ground.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

book review: Mountains Beyond Mountains

I read this book twice. In one week.  As soon as I finished it, I started over again so I could absorb it a bit more.  And I am going to buy a copy when I go home for Christmas so I can reread it on a regular basis.

So how is that for a positive book review?

This book tells the story of Dr Paul Farmer, a man currently devoting his life to making sure people the world over get health care.  And not just the basic first aid level of care many poor patients, but the same level of care that is provided for the best insured patient  in the best hospitals in the US. To quote Dr Farmer,“…the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.”  Just because you are poor does not mean your life matters less. Having worked in health care both in poor areas in the states and in a third world country, I can tell you that this goal is considered radical, unachievable, and potentially harmful by many funding organizations and health care workers themselves. And yet Dr Farmer is acheiving this goal, small step by small step.

Though Dr Farmer's work is amazing (I had read a few of his own books on the subject before and also recommend them), what really inspired me in this book was Dr Farmer himself.  This man lives and works in the most desperate of poor nations, Haiti, and faces the  frustrations of convoluted, inefficient bureaucracy and lack of supplies and money that one sees in third world countries.  Yet he doesn't allow himself to become discouraged, or settle for less because the fight is too hard.  He treats each and every one of his patients as if they were the only, most important patient.  He treats his patients (and everyone else he interacts with) as human beings.  And the best part is he keeps his sense of humor while doing so.

Here is another quote from Dr Farmer that I think encapsulates him:
“When I was sick, when I was in prison, when I needed clothes, you gave me, et cetera. We got those covered. One thing that comes back to me, with all this cost-efficacy crap, if I saved one patient my whole life, that wouldn’t be too bad.  What did you do with your life? I saved [a baby], got a guy out of jail.  So I’m lucky. To have a chance to save a zillion of them, I dig that.” 

Read this book.  It will inspire you to be a better person.
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