So it’s your turn to host the clan for the Thanksgiving extravaganza and you’re trying to decide if there is a way to get the house in presentable “haven’t seen these people in a year” shape without tearing the whole place down and starting over. The key to your success is in the details. When you clean your house remove all of the current accent pieces, the ones you have had out since you moved into the house, and start fresh. Clear the pillows from the petrified sofa and the colorless vase from the mantle and begin your adventure into tasteful, always inviting, cowgirl chic. A pillow with leather fringe and a pounded metal, bling ridden receptacle for your mums will bring new life to the old walls, without the hours of work that you should spend making your pies. Dress your house for the holiday in a way that will have them stopping and smiling and thinking how truly clever you are. Pine Country Feed will set you up in a quick morning’s stop, and send you on your way with a treasure trove of wow!
Hollywood loves horses, in every form. They love the horse that can win a race, or the horse that stands by his man until the last shot is fired. They have given us talking horses, horses that fly, singing and dancing horses, carousel horses and horses that have broken our hearts. They are the favorite means of transportation in an entire genre of movies, and most of the favorite film stars of the forties, fifties and sixties ended up on a horse at one time or another. Horses are back in style on the silver screen with westerns making a come-back over the last fifteen years. Today’s westerns are more violent and the main characters never bathe, but one thing is consistent with the early western. The best friend of the cowboy, rancher, farmer, or settler is still the horse. The west simply wouldn’t have been settled without them. The four legged beasts are beautiful, noble, intelligent, usually gentle pictures of the soul of an era that was misbehaved, poorly planned and truly brutal. When everyone else was spitting, drinking too much, gun fighting in the streets, the horse brought a grace and sureness to America’s wild picture of the west that makes us love them. They are the spirit of what we wish we could be; strong, sleek, peaceful. And they do talk by the way – you just have to listen really carefully.
Take a guy who had an odd way of talking and an even odder way of walking, who couldn’t finish college because a body surfing injury made him lose his athletic scholarship, whose application to the Naval Academy was rejected, whose first real job paid him $105 per week, and whose given name at birth was Marion, and what do you get? You get one of the top three most popular film stars of all time, and the only one to make the list every year since the poll started. John Wayne, who was too tall and broad to really fit into the Hollywood scene, but ended up with lead roles in 142 films, and is now thought of as a legend for his work on the screen, didn’t start out with aspirations of stardom. The celebrity came to him after nine years of bit parts, one in which he played a corpse, and hours mentoring with stunt men about riding horses and straddling fences and taking a fall in a gunfight, and his “don’t mess with me” attitude when he refused to work with a major film maker because he didn’t like the way “the guy had treated him when he was nobody”. His stardom came from the way he owned the screen, the fact that he looked like he was born on a horse, the distinctive intonation in his voice that he didn’t even try to change, and the fact that in all but one of his roles he played a rough talking, heavy drinking, fight at the drop of a hat, good guy. He brought us bigger than life characters and better than life stories and he did it without being “discovered”. He just stayed with it until the screen was ready for John Wayne, and that took a few years.
Nothing says fall like a pot of soup on the stove, and soup made with the best of autumn’s ingredients says it even louder. This recipe puts it all together with ease and a dash of pizzazz.
Place 2 butternut squash (about 4 pounds), halved and seeded, in a 425˚ oven. Sprinkle with 8-10 chopped sage leaves and salt and pepper, dot with 2 tablespoons butter and roast for 1 hour. After cooling the squash scrape out the flesh and set aside.
In a large sauce pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté one small chopped onion until tender. Add squash, 4 cups chicken stock, 1 cup apple cider, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce, pinch nutmeg and ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree cooked mixture in the pot with an immersion blender, or if you don’t have one, use a regular blender then return to the pot. Reheat the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste, then just before serving stir in ½ cup heavy cream. Top individual servings with peeled, diced apple, or a dollop of sour cream.
This recipe serves 8 as a side dish with grilled German sausage over sautéed green cabbage and sliced red peppers. Delicious comfort!
When Anna Sewell wrote her novel, Black Beauty, it was an immediate hit, selling 50 million copies, making it one of the best-selling novels of all time. It is the story of a horse, told by a horse and it threads a heartwarming and adventuresome tale of life in 1877 England from the viewpoint of the four legged laborers that kept civilization moving in those days. The book, besides being an intriguing read, addresses the humane, or inhumane as it were, treatment of animals, and specifically horses in that time. Horses were for work and the heroin of the story, Black Beauty, struggles through many different owners and works more than her share until one day she lands in the hands and heart of someone who truly loves her for the remarkable creature she is. Sewell’s story, though a fiction, stirred a new commitment to the proper treatment of animals and put horses in a place of dignity that many had not recognized before. By giving Beauty human qualities and a relatable, tender personality Sewell succeeded in carving out a place in our lives for these noble, intelligent beings that pays them the homage they deserve. It is notable that Anna Sewell wrote this book as she was dying, and just five months after its publication she passed, making Black Beauty her first and last novel and her legacy.
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen – cooking, eating, doing dishes, drinking coffee, eating again – and it needs to be a place we feel called to, a room that tells us we are home. Sometimes we get so busy thinking of the kitchen as a “utility” room that we forget to make it work aesthetically. On the flip side, a kitchen that suffers from décor overload can make us feel disorganized and stressed. The kitchen does have to support the work that goes on there, but it should also be pleasing to the eye. Martha Stewart who simply refuses to work in a kitchen that is anything less than beautiful , suggests an investment in small appliances, bake ware and utensils that are not only functional, but that are pleasing to the eye. A mixer can beat the egg whites into a meringue just as well when it is lime green as opposed to something the color of Cream of Wheat. Have some fun, add some color, or go the other way and take every drop of color out. A totally white, or a silver and black palette can be stunning. Your kitchen works hard and it is screaming for drama, something that says to the world, “the food cooked in this room may change your life”. Make your kitchen a place you want to be after dinner is done and the dishwasher is running. And while you’re there, put your feet up. You work hard too.
What is it about us that makes us love a cowboy? Maybe it’s because we think the truth is important, and pretention a waste of energy. There is something right about the man who gets up in the morning knowing that his day will be full and his exhaustion at the end of it complete, that the people he cares about are counting on him to work the land and move the cattle despite the elements. We like that he doesn’t try to impress us with his money or his education, because our opinion doesn’t really matter to him. His goal is to look himself in the mirror every evening and know that he left everything he had on the range, and tomorrow he will get up and do it again, because it is just what he does. Not to impress anyone, but because he wants to do it. He cares about the land and the livestock and treating both of them with respect. And when the sky grows dark and the ranch rests quietly he’ll sleep in his bed, knowing he did it right for another day, and every callous was worth it.
Someone very wise once said that the surest way to succeed was to watch where the crowd is going and go the other way. We all sing the praises of being who we are, regardless of what anybody thinks, but to watch the herd marching in one direction and deliberately turn 180 degrees in the other is a risk that many of us are unwilling to take. Needing to “fit in” is an innate characteristic of the average human, and that is really the point. If average is what we want, we probably already have it. It is the person who wants to go beyond average, above common, around predictable who will boldly, even audaciously sidestep the long walk to the mediocre norm and dare to approach the plane of possibility, the realm of “what if”. Pine Country Feed believes in the human spirit that makes heroes of everyday souls and brilliance of day to day life. We salute rare genius, applaud extravagant dreaming, and tip our hats to the cream that rises to the top.
Realize that you are smarter than you think, braver than you realize and full of the wisdom of a hundred years. You will do great things because the greatness the world is looking for resides in you, and when the day comes that your remarkable nature is required to deliver, you will shine brighter than the star you wished on last night. Cowgirls are made of a combination of adorable and brilliant, making you an unstoppable force.
It’s time the make getting dressed in the morning one of the best parts of your day. The moment has come when throwing your closet doors open should be done with anticipation, with a pounding heart, knowing that what you wear today will make everything go a bit smoother and you will walk into each demanding situation with that, “I know I look good” edge. Pine Country Feed has filled its more than inviting upstairs with clothes that will make you not “that woman who always looks nice”, but rather “that woman who looks so fabulous in everything she wears”. Get your cowgirl style on with boots and belts, skirts and shirts, jackets, vests, and of course that staple of every real wardrobe – jeans. Long on style and blessed with creative genius, the Pine Country closet is brimming with just what you need to go from getting through it to totally owning the day!
And each night I’d spent prayin’ that God would make her mine…
…And as she walked away I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord for the gifts in my life.
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Just remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs’
Just because he don’t answer don’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
There is purpose in the journey our lives take, the ups and downs, even the things that we think of as “bad” can often lead us to the place we are actually meant to be. Be careful of shunning the turn your walk has taken, remembering that on a single day we are not able to see the broad picture, the road yet to come. If we let the difficulties stop us in our tracks we will miss the prize that is waiting around that next bend, that was waiting all along, that we never would have found if we had pursued the thing we were sure we wanted in the first place.
When we were little girls one of our favorite things was playing dress up, which generally entailed a way too big cast off of mom’s former wardrobe, shoes that threatened to twist an ankle and of course string upon string of beads and pendants weighting our neck to the point of immobility. We were very devoted to the layered effect. Interestingly enough that layered look in jewelry is not so far off. There is a wonderful trend in accessorizing that leans toward cowboy motif using pounded metals and larger semi-precious stones, true works of art that would have once been considered solely a representation of the region west of the Mississippi, are now showing up on the necks of coastline divas, and the more the merrier seems to be the popular philosophy. A silver cross necklace with coral inlay might easily be paired with a chunky eighteen inch chain sporting pounded silver disks. Turquoise has become a standard in bracelets, pendants and earrings and it shows up in forms that are both of a Native American bent, as well as a taste of the bohemian. Your jewelry should be your signature, your manifestation of your own style, so wear it big or small in layers or one at a time, but definitely wear it. Anymore, you’re almost naked without it.
If you are looking for a way to reach a peaceful place in your day, you need look no further than your dust cloth and bookshelves, your cluttered countertop and your hurricane stricken desk. There is true serenity in order, in clean lines and clutter stored away, and it is worth the investment of your time and energy today to have what you will need tomorrow. Stacks of papers are equal to anxiety, like trying to watch a movie through a rainstorm. A certain amount of lived in ambiance is welcoming, even cozy, but shoes that can’t find their way to a closet and phone books that need to be stashed on a pantry shelf are space taking annoyances. You’d be shocked to know what a simple straightening of your silverware drawer will do for your sense of calm. Dusted books that have been edited down to only the best loved volumes, interspersed with prized trinkets and small framed family photos are as soothing as a hot bath. So roll up your sleeves and take one of these rainy afternoons to put your surroundings in order, and just watch – your mind will follow.
So you’ve got the cowgirl thing going on and you want to turn it up a notch for an evening wedding or night out to dinner. Sometimes it takes a little more than just polishing your boots. Try a tiered skirt, black maybe with a white blouse that has a string of ruffles down the front. Don’t tuck the blouse in and wear a sparkly camisole underneath then tie the whole thing up with a blingy belt. Add some jewelry and put your hair up and you’re dressed for the best. You can go with a shorter skirt, just above the knee or a long silhouette of black denim. The main thing is to be careful about looking like you tried too hard. We have all seen those women who are so bangled and belted they set off an alarm when they move. A variation on this theme is to tuck the blouse into the skirt, lose the undershirt, then pull on a jacket, something fitted and sleek, and of course denim. Cowgirl chic comes in lots of forms. Don’t be afraid to start a new trend.
When you’re having guests into your home for dinner, your primary goal should be to make them feel at home, which means making them feel they are guests in a place where they are totally comfortable. Your table setting can do a lot to tell your guests that you are excited they are there, that you went to extra trouble, but that they are there to sit back and relax – no stuffiness allowed. A “western” table setting can be anything from fun to formal, and hopefully a little bit of both. Top a regular white dinner plate with a smaller plate of blue spatter wear, which you can get at Pine Country Feed, then pull a bandana through a napkin ring, also at Pine Country Feed, and set it atop the two. At the top right corner of the setting place a goblet for wine or water, and get something with a little kick in it, like Pine Country Feed’s ranch stem wear. You can cover your table with a red and white checked linens, or if you want to dress it up a bit place two leather runners, from Pine Country Feed, crosswise letting them serve at placemats. Set the center of your table with flowers in a galvanized tin bucket, blinged out with rhinestones that you can find (say it with me) at Pine Country Feed. There is a trend here. If you haven’t been in, it’s time to shop at Pine Country Feed, where we help you bring the ranch home!
Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern Stars …”
Rascal Flats captures the truth in their song, “Bless the Broken Road”, defining what so often leads us down the path our life is meant to travel. The hurdles that seem to rise up out of nowhere, some of them seemingly beyond our ability to overcome, are not without benefit, if we can only look past the hurdle and on to the finish line we hope to cross. The detours we take in life due to circumstances we think of as “bad” may be the only thing able to get us headed in the right direction, and away from an impending disaster. Like the man who misses the bus and arrives late to work, to find that there has been a break in at work that would have put him soundly in harm’s way, there is reward in looking beyond the difficult circumstance to the gift waiting on the other side.
“God blessed the broken road … that led me straight to you.”
Seriously, is there ever an inappropriate occasion to wear a jean jacket? Slip it on with a pair of sleek wool trousers, a silk blouse and some slick boots and you’re ready for business. Pull it on with your scruffiest jeans and a tank top and you’ll own the ranch. Wear it over a strapless black gown, hair up, dangly earrings and a few bangle bracelets, then pop the collar and you’re set for the red carpet. Wear it over your jamas and you have a hip throw on robe for the run to the grocery store for milk. The only place you might not wear a jean jacket is when you go to bed, unless you’re sleeping under the stars, then you’ll definitely want the denim coat, and possibly a club to fend off wildlife. The right jean jacket sets you apart from all of the hoodie clad, sportswear laden public who wear a jacket simply to keep out the wind, while you’re starting a fashion revolution. Get the jacket, get two, and go for a stroll along the boardwalk. Just see if you don’t feel like the diva you are.
So the time for flag waving and fireworks is here, and not a minute too soon. Just when you were tired of hearing all that’s wrong with this country, we’re about to get a weekend full of the American spirit in full regalia. This is more than a time for grilling out and sharing a few beers. This is the time of year when all of us, regardless of political leaning, need to rally, to throw our hats in the air, to say we’re Americans and we’re proud of it. Because for everything we want to see change in this country we are proud of and grateful to the people who died and sacrificed to see that we can live with the freedoms we treasure. We’re taking the next week to remember why we are blessed to live here, why being an American is something to shout about, and why all of us together in this big mixed up country, somehow always find a way to help the oppressed, lend a hand to our neighbors in need, and stand for the principles that the Continental Congress deemed worthy of a fight. We are imperfect, energetic, hot-tempered, vocal, bring it on, Americans and this is our time to celebrate.
Is your identity getting lost in a sea of peach colored tank tops and coffee colored linen pants? Take heart, your inner cowgirl is waiting to be discovered at Pine Country Feed, where the flirty skirts and designer bags will turn your head clear around and back again. There is style around every corner in the Pine Country Upper Room where the boots are crafted of butter soft leather, and there are hats with enough sass to keep Tombstone on its toes. You’re tired of looking like all those women who aren’t sure which blazer to pair with their skinny jeans, and it’s time you did something about it. So get out to Pine Country, the hottest little mountain store, where all of your cowgirl dreams will come true, and lasso yourself some fashion – cowgirl style. The Wild West is as wild as ever, and it’s your turn to ride the range!
Audie Murphy, a boy from a poor family, who quit school in the fifth grade, attempted to join the marines and the navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor but was underage and too small. In 1942 his sister “modified” his birth record so that he could enlist and the army took him, which resulted in his becoming the most decorated American in World War II. Known for his baby face and his “light up the world” smile Murphy fought like a warrior in the European Theatre and was awarded every American service medal available at the time, including three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Legion of Merit plus five medals from France and one from Belgium. After the war, his fame sent him to Hollywood where he made a movie that was adapted from his autobiography, To Hell and Back that was the largest grossing film in Hollywood history until 1975 when Steven Spielberg’s Jaws came out. He was largely thought of as a cowboy actor, for his 33 westerns, where the clean faced Murphy won the west with his grin more that his guns. Above all else, Audie Murphy was an against all odds hero, whose bravery overrode his size, his youth, and his lack of education. After a battle where he singlehandedly took out a German platoon, saving the lives of the nineteen men under his command he was asked what made him risk it all and fight until he was wounded beyond mobility. His answer – “they were shooting at my friends”.