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     Spring is officially here. At least, that’s what the calendar says. Yesterday, you could feel it – the sun actually shone in the sky, and the temperature reached 83 here on the farm. But according to the weather man, we’re in for more rain, and at least 4 inches is predicted over the rest of the week. Even at 4:30 this morning, I could see that the sky was heavy with dark clouds. And wouldn’t you know it – I had to work in Shreveport yesterday, then headed home to spend a couple of hours at the Village, and only got to enjoy it for about half an hour.

In that brief time, I was able to enjoy the sites around me. Our apricot tree is in full bloom, the pink blossoms looking like a hoop skirt turned upside down. The lacy flowers of the peach trees are just now starting to open, and the crabapple tree that never produces fruit, at least offers a snowy showing of white flowers. Looking at the pastures I noticed that there is a lot of green shoots popping up, and it won’t be long before we can take putting out hay off our list of chores. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold.

We still have to get through all the rainy weather, which means that we will be spending a lot of time inside. But it is also telling me that it won’t be long before most of our time will be outside working in the garden, mowing the grass and cutting hay. Because of that, I’m thinking I want to get caught up inside, doing things that will help us save time cooking and cleaning. Over this next week, I want to get some things made up and put in jars to help us do some quick Country Boy fast food for those days that we come in late.

There are a lot of ‘fast food’ items that I already keep on hand – each year we put up vegetable beef stew, pork in a jar (to make a wonderful pork over rice), spaghetti sauce and other things. Another thing I like to do is put up spice mixes to make things go quicker. I have a taco seasoning mix that makes preparing a taco salad quick and easy. I keep a biscuit mix (similar to Bisquick) in a jar in the fridge to whip up some pancakes, and a French onion soup mix to add to meatloaf, when the ones in the freezer have long been used.

Are you looking for ways to save you time this summer? Try making some of your own mixes, and keep quick and easy recipes close at hand. To get you started, I’ve posted my Taco Seasoning mix over in the Kitchen, along with a recipe for Taco Salad. It just doesn’t get any easier than this!