view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: June 2013

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chip's Fajita Marinade

Lean Beef Facts

(Based on a 3 oz. serving)
  • Nearly half of the daily value for protein
  • Less than 10 grams of fat
  • 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat
  • Less than 95 mg of cholesterol 
Besides just tasting great, the nutrients in lean beef, such as protein, iron and B-vitamins can help satisfy you and maintain a healthy weight, build muscles and fuel a healthy and active lifestyle. Research suggests that eating lean beef can also improve cholesterol levels.

Today's Meat Eater Monday Star is the Flank Steak.  One single serving of Flank Steak as a total of 6.3 grams of fat.  Not too bad!  

(Web Image)

The flank steak is a beef steak cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. A relatively long and flat cut, flank steak is used in a variety of dishes including London broil and as an alternative to the traditional skirt steak in fajitas. It can be grilled, pan-fried, broiled, or braised for increased tenderness.  Because it comes from a strong, well-exercised part of the cow, it is best sliced across the grain before serving, to maximize tenderness.

Today I am going to share with you Chip's Fajita Marinade.  It comes from my friend Amber, and is published in The Real Ranch Cookbook by the Elko County Cattle Women.  It is awesome!

Chip's Fajita Marinade
(Makes 1 cup or more)

Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Lemon
Handful of Cilantro, chopped up
Handful of Green Onions, chopped up
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Chili Flakes
1 tsp. Salt
Sprinkle of Pepper

Mix together equal amounts of olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Add rest of ingredients.  Put marinade and fajita meat in plastic ziploc bags and refridgerate for at least 2 hours.

For a meal, I make 2 batches of the marinade.  In one bag I put flank steak (or chicken, or pork, or any other type of meat), and in the other I put sliced onions, red, yellow, and green bell peppers, and I let marinade over night in the refridgerater.  When ready to cook, I use an aluminum foil pan on the grill, or cast iron skillet on my stove.  If using the cast iron, I use a little oil to keep the meat from sticking.  I cook the meat through, then add the veggies and cook until crisp tender.  Serve with tortillas, cheese, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.  Very easy, and pretty healthy, until you add the cheese, sour cream, and quacamole!


Have a great day, and enjoy a meal with beef!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Life Lessons

Pulling up to a rodeo or horse show, you are bound to see all kinds of different rigs.  There are the people like us with a Toyota Tundra pulling a little 2 horse goose neck.  Or maybe the guys borrowing the ranch flat bed that has never seen a car wash and the goose neck trailer that has obviously seen better days.  Then you have the people with a little money driving nicer pickups with matching trailers, or maybe even the mini semi pulling the 6 horse trailer with built in tack room and living quarters.  You will also see all kinds of different abilities, from the seasoned showman to the young guys just starting out.

TR and QT showed their horses "Cowboy" and "Cricket" today at the NENHA Show (you  can learn more about them here).  It is always so much fun to watch these little guys.  I think there were 7 of them all together, all under 6 years old.  The first class was the Stick Horse Showmanship.  Talk about controlled chaos!  They had a wonderful judge, and not that we have been to a lot of shows, but the best kids judge we have seen at a show.  She was so good with these wild kids!

As you can tell, they hardly stood still long enough for a non blurry picture!

Then we waited for what felt like forever for the Lead Line class.  In lead line, the little guys ride their real horses for a horsemanship class, just mom or dad has to be in the arena with them and their horse on a lead rope.  We just use under bridles and neck ropes since we never ride with a halter under our bridles.  I think we must have waited an hour, and it was too long for most of these little guys.  They are pretty easy on these 6 and under kids when they do the horsemanship.  All they had to do was walk in a big circle, then the judge came up and asked each kid if they could back their horse up. Cake really for our guys, as much riding as they do with us around the ranch.  The highlight of the show was after TR finished backing up his horse, the judge told him something like good job, nice horse.  TR piped up "But he isn't for sale!"  The judge replied "Good thing!  Don't let your dad trade him off either.  There's a big guy [meaning her husband] standing out there who would like to have him!"  We got a pretty good giggle out of that.

We are so proud of our boys for getting out there and showing their horses (neither the Cow Boss or I had the nerve or ambition to do it...maybe next show!).  Riding into an arena with a bunch of people you don't really know and being asked to perform can be kind of daunting for an adult, let alone 4 and 6 year old boys.  I'm also proud of the fact that they are not afraid to talk to other adults (I just wish they would avoid random strangers in WalMart, but that's a post for another day).  When they were all said and done, TR placed first and QT placed second.  Not too bad, if I do say so myself!

Here they are posing with their ribbons.

I know I've taken a bit to getting around to it, but I do have a lesson here I am getting to, honestly I didn't just pop on to brag on how wonderful I think my kids are!  =)  I know I am very (very!) biased when it comes to my little cowboys.

While we were waiting for their lead line class, we had to watch what felt like 100 English Equitation classes, which were really hard for us to get excited about.  In the final class before our boys showed, there were 3 young girls.  I believe it was a Hunter-Hack class?  I don't know, I really don't know my English Equitation at all.  The first girl made a flawless run (I assume anyway, she won the class).  Everything looked great, she did all the jumps, didn't knock anything down, the horse didn't balk at anything, and she had a smile plastered across her face from the moment she entered the arena till she left it.  She was in and out, and I thought great, this will go very fast.  

Then came the next girl.  She didn't look scared or frown or anything, but she just didn't have the same smile as the first girl.  The first and second jumps looked alright, then came the third.  She got right to it, all poised to leap over like the last 2 and her horse stopped, and refused to move ahead.  So she backed off, trotted a little circle and tried again.  Same thing.  She tried 3 times before the judge told her to just go on to the next one.  We went through this same little ritual for the next 2 jumps before she was able to find a jump her horse would go over.  She never got mad, she definitely didn't cry in the arena.  She was composed, and patient with her horse.  She could have gone to whipping and spurring and throwing a fit, but instead every time she just regrouped, patted him on the neck and tried again.  When she left the arena, she still had her little smile and gave the impression "We'll do better next time."  I was more impressed with her run than the first girl.

A little while later, I went up to her mom and told her how impressed the Cow Boss and I were with her daughter (we had discussed it over lunch), and that she did a good job in the Hunter-Hack class.  I explained how impressed I was with her for not getting frustrated or upset and that she just kept trying.  I also told her that I hope when my boys get bigger they ride horses like the one her daughter was riding, horses that will challenge them and make them better riders.  She thanked me and confided how much she appreciated it because someone else had kind of given her a hard time about putting her daughter in the class.

Too often we see kids "riding their parent's money."  Their parents are wealthy, and can afford the well trained horses that all the kid has to do is sit on the horse and the horse does everything.  Which is great.  I wish I had the money to do that for my boys some days.  Only some days.  I know it would be awesome to be guaranteed a win every time you entered the arena.  But wouldn't it feel better to take a horse you made yourself?  

Imagine this:  You have been working with a horse for a year or two.  It is a horse you raised from a leppy colt you bottle fed for 4 months.  You are the youngest kid in your age group and you are showing (or barrel racing, or roping, or whatever) against kids that are riding $15,000 horses that they bought, and you out ride them.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  I would rather have that experience for my boys instead of "Yeah, I won.  We bought this horse at such and such sale 2 months ago."

"Show Dad"

I've been thinking about this all afternoon, and just wanted to share with you.  I hope when my boys face the same situation some day (not that they will be riding Hunter-Hack or anything), but whether it is showing a horse, in the rodeo arena, or branding trap, that they show the same determination, calmness, and try that this girl had, and maybe a little bit of her grace as well.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meat Eater Monday....I've been slacking!

I honestly have no idea what happened to May, and just realized June is half over.  Time flies when you are having fun, right?  We spent last month finishing up school and getting everything branded.  Branding is my favorite time of the year!  I started using a new horse that I think I am going to love, and I got a few good pictures of our ranch brandings.  Now just to find some time to get them off my camera, onto my computer and edited.  Never enough hours in the day!

This is a recipe I found on the internet awhile back, but not sure where it came from, and I have tweaked it somewhat to my own taste.  It is pretty good though, and feeds a bunch, so give it a try!

Cowboy Dinner

Beef Mixture:
2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 large Onion, diced
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 1/2 c. Salsa
15 oz can of Black Beans
1 1/2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cornbread Topping:
1 1/2 c. Flour
2/3 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Corn Meal
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 c. Milk
2 Large Eggs, beaten
1/3 c. Vegetable Oil
3 Tbsp. Butter Melted

1.  Preheat Oven to 375*.  Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.
2.  In a large skillet, brown beef and onion.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining Beef Mixture (minus cheese) ingredients.  Pour into 9x13" pan.
3.  Combine Flour, Sugar, Corn Meal, Baking Powder, and Salt in a medium bowl.  Combine Milk, Eggs, Vegetable Oil, and Butter in a small bowl; mix well.  Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended.
4.  Sprinkle cheese over beef and pour cornbread over the cheese.  Spread to edges of the pan.
5.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and cornbread is cooked through.

Going Broke

The Cowboss and I have been wanting to get into the cow business for awhile now.  It's been really hard because we really have no equity.  Which apparently is very important if you want to get a loan. We finally got a loan with our Credit Union at 13% interest which is pretty high, but the best we could do, so 3 years ago we bought 10 cows through the sale ring.  Kind of a disaster, then we tried to run them with my in laws in Idaho.  While we appreciated the opportunity they gave us, we spent every spare minute running back and forth to help with the cows and we were tired.  We also didn't have many decisions on the business aspect such as when or where we sold them.  So we found some pasture to lease here at home, and moved them back here last fall.  This winter has been awesome watching our own cows calve, getting to select our own bulls, and even little things like deciding when we want to brand our calves.  It was is nice not to have to frantically reschedule classes or appointments when we would get a phone call saying we needed to be in Idaho in 2 days to work cattle.  I wasn't sure how we would make it work once TR was in school either.  You can't just yank your kid out of school for a week all willy nilly as the mood hits you! 

A couple of weeks ago and opportunity fell into our lap to buy some heifer calves, so I've spent the last few weeks on the phone with the banker, trying to get approved for a loan.  We were finally approved on Wednesday, and Thursday we went and gathered the heifers.  Friday we paid for them and Sunday we processed them.  Now they are out with a bull, hopefully making baby calves for us, and we are following the cattle market, hoping that bred heifers go high!  I was checking out Superior Livestock this morning, and I see that bred heifers went for anywhere from $1,550 to $1,925 each this past week.  The higher they go, the fewer we have to sell!

It is really nice owning cattle.  I think building up equity is important.  While we have no plans on leaving here any time soon, it will be nice to be able to use our cattle as equity on a loan down the line when we are ready for a place of our own!  It's just hard to deal with the anxiety of the dollar amount of the loan and how to make everything work!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.        20

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Things I've Learned

What I've learned:
1. Don't try to talk your kids into going back into bed at 6 a.m. when they want "hot pink chocolate milk stirred." Just make it for them, turn on cartoons, then go back to sleep.
2. Don't put your kids in the bathtub, then try to wash your hair in the sink. They will start to fight, and distracted you will whack your nose on the counter when you go to flip your hair into the sink.
3. Blood is hard to get out of cotton tank top. You are better off to just bleach it the first time and hope that the purple doesn't turn green.
4. Don't yell at screaming kids, threatening to beat them, then run outside to move your garden hoses to the next brown spot in the yard (that the automatic sprinklers miss) in said tank top, and bleeding nose. Someone will see you, and your neighbors will talk.
5. If the coffee is weak and you have no cake for breakfast, maybe you better send your kids to a sitter and start drinking, because it is all down hill from there!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I am seriously obsessed with this tree.  It is across the road from my house in the neighbor's horse pasture.  I take several pictures of it.  I'm thinking about making a book just about this tree.  The other night I was getting ready for bed and looked out my skylight and the light was awesome.  (I know I go to bed with the chickens, but my kids get up before daylight and by 8 at night I am done)!  I just had to run down the stairs in my pj bottoms and flip flops to take a picture.  As you can tell, it was partly cloudy, and the tree was illuminated in the setting sun light.  It looked so cool.

(Straight out of the Camera)

Of course I am never satisfied with sotc pictures, so I had to play on photoshop a little!  Here, I blurred out everything but the tree, and brightened the color.

I'm kind of digging the black and white these days, so after blurring and brightening the color, I made it all black and white, and added a vignette (the darker ring around the outside of the picture).  Now I just need to decide which I like the best!

Have you heard this song?  It is my absolute favorite song right now.  So I have it on repeat and am going to listen to it until I can't stand it anymore!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  I'm trying to get back into the blogging swing of things!