view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: October 2011

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Two Bits

We've spent a good part of this past week replacing fence.  We cut down rose bushes and willows, reset t posts, and tightened wires.  It is a never ending job, but I really enjoy it.  There is something rewarding in a job done, and done well.  Yes, we may get 10 feet of snow this winter and lay all the fence we've repaired and replaced this summer back down, but today after we the last clip was placed on a t post, the fence is perfect.

I don't live a few blocks from a day care, my mom doesn't live across the road from me, nor does my mother in law even live in the same state as us.  My kids do spend more time with a babysitter than I like to admit, but whenever possible, they come to work with us.  That is why we have the job we do.  We like to take our kids to work with us.  The Cowboss could be working at one of the mines, and I could be teaching full time, making significantly more money than we are now, but we wouldn't be able to take our kids to work, we wouldn't know our neighbors or our coworkers like we do either.

The Cowboss and I made the decision to work in production agriculture, not because that was all we are "qualified to do," but because we want to raise our kids the way we were raised.  We want TR and QT to know how to work and how to work hard.  We want them to know how to start a job and how to finish it, but more importantly, to do the job right the first time.  Both the Cowboss and I grew up working on ranches for our parents, then around 12-13 years old we began working for our neighbors too. What we learned from our parents, neighbors, extended families, and the animals we took care of taught us a lot about who we are, and who we want to be.  Now, the government wants to take that all away from us, and our kids.

There is a new bill proposal whose proposed regulations would make it illegal to allow a child under the age of 16 to do all of the following:
1.Herd animals on horseback;
2.Sort animals on horseback;
3.Operate any equipment;
4.Operate any vehicle, tractor, feed truck, ATV;
5.Operate any tool that is not powered by hand;
6. Or to even take care of sick animals:
7. And the list goes on.

What does our government have against teaching children the value of family, responsibility and a strong work ethic?  These new regulations do not just apply to “paid” children, but also makes it “illegal” for children under the age of 16 to do any of these activities if they are done as “work” without pay. 

Maybe we should quit our job cowboying, get town jobs, and buy our kids a Wii and let them start playing video games all day, because apparently our government thinks that is the best thing for them.  Let me ask you this though, when is the last time you heard of a ranch kid robbing a bank, being involved in a gang shooting, or committing some other heinous act?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Favorite Pictures From September

The Elko County Fair is my favorite time of year.  It's always been the last big hoorah before going back to school.  It also means that haying is done, and being a rancher, we have a little bit of down time before shipping calves and beginning our fall works.  Fair time is fun time, until it isn't fun anymore, and I think this little girl had her limit!

Here the Cowboss and his help our moving some heifers down the road.  Everyone is relaxed and going along.  you would never imagine just minutes before these same heifers had crashed a gate and mixed with some others!

I love how curious yearlings are.  We needed to weigh these girls, and I was kneeling just outside the corral, waiting for the cowboys to get everything through the gate.  I have the feeling that if I would have waited just a little bit longer before taking this picture, I could have got a nose on my camera lens.  TR thinks it is great fun to lay down in the pasture and wait until these heifers are right next to him trying to figure out what he is, then jump up!

Why  is she hiding behind the tire you ask?  Because that is where all good cow dogs wait while processing cattle through a chute, especially if that is where their masters sweatshirt happens to be laying!  GiGi is a "Border Rat," and while she may not know why she is chasing cows, she does chase cows, but more importantly she is loyal!

This is my favorite bit.  I love the Santa Barbara cheek pieces, and my horse likes the mouth piece.  It isnt' anything spectacular, but I like it!  These are the first pair of rawhide reins the Cowboss braided.  He thinks they are hideous, but they are mine and I will use them if I want to!

A group of my friends and I have a project we have been working on since May.  We call is P365, and our goal is to take 1 picture everyday of the year.  We have weekly assignments to keep us inspired and give each other lots of feed back on the pictures we are taking.  These are some of my favorites from September.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paula Dean

BBQ Shrimp
Creamed Potatoes
Steamed Veggies
French Bread

This is my dinner menu from Saturday night.  I recently purchased Paula Dean's Southern Cooking Bible at WalMart.  I hate WalMart, but that's a story for another day!

I really enjoyed reading the cookbook, she has a lot of great recipes, if you like cream and butter!  I don't think there are any recipes in the entire cookbook that don't include butter!  I thought I would share a couple of the recipes.

This is the BBQ Shrimp, right after I added more butter!

BBQ Shrimp Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter
2 tsp Creole seasoning
Pinch of Cayenne pepper (I left this out, TR doesn't eat anything spicy, so the cowboss and I doctored ours to our liking after cooking).
12 jumbo shrimp, with heads and tails  (I bought a bag of shrimp, frozen because I live in a land locked state with a lousy selection of fresh seafood, they were the larger side, 25/30 per pound I believe.  No heads, but they still had shells and tails).  Apparently they have a better flavor if cooked in the shell.
1/2 c. lager-style beer  (I'm not much of a lager drinker, so we used Mug Root Beer instead.  It was the closest thing I had)!
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme  (Next time I will leave the thyme out.  Not a big fan, I think it tastes like dirt.  If you like it use it)!
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

 1.  In a large skillet, melt 1/4 c. of butter over medium-high head.  Sprinkle Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper over the shrimp.  At the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 1 minute per side.
2.  Stir in the beer, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme.  Let the sauce bubble vigorously for 30 seconds.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1/2 c. of butter and garnish with parsley.  Serve bubbling hot!

Creamed Potatoes Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs medium creamer potatoes, unpeeled, halved (I have no idea what creamer potatoes are.  I looked in the produce section, but none were called creamer potatoes.  I used baby red potatoes because I like them the best)!
1 tbls. butter
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a sweet onion because that's what I like).
1 tbls. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbls. finely chopped fresh chives

1.  In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold salted water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 15-20 minutes; drain well.
2.  In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until almost soft, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the flour and stir for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the milk, salt, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with the chives to give it some pretty color.

My method:
First thing I did was get my shrimp out of the freezer and place in a bowl of cold water to defrost.  Shrimp are tricky little guys, and apparently the best way to defrost is in your fridge over night.  I never think to do things a head of time, probably because I didn't decide I was going to make the BBQ Shrimp until about an hour before dinner.  You don't want to defrost them in the microwave!!!  (Note the three exclamation points?  That means it is super important)!

Second thing I did was scrub and cut up my potatoes.  I just halved most of them, but quartered some of the bigger ones, then put them in a pot of salted water and started them cooking.  While they were cooking, I gathered everything I would need to prepare dinner.  I also kept checking on the potatoes, because I didn't want to over cook them, I just wanted them to start to tender.

When the potatoes were cooked enough, I drained and covered them with a lid.  Following the recipe, when I put the onions in the butter, I got out a skillet and melted the butter for the shrimp.  After I added the milk to the onion and flour, I added the shrimp to the butter in my skillet, then I just followed both recipes simultaneously. 

About 5 minutes before everything was done, I stuck the bag of frozen veggies (Have I mentioned our growing season here is about 2 weeks long?  Not a lot of fresh vegetables here!) in the microwave and cooked per bag instructions.  When everything was finished, I sliced the french bread and served!

These 2 recipes are kind of tricky to have done at the same time, and you don't want to cook one and then the other because the shrimp will be over cooked, or the potatoes will be gummy!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Really Good Cake Recipe!

(This isn't my cake.  I was too lazy to take a picture, but thanks to the joys of the internet, I was able to find one!)

I love to cook, I just hate to do the cleanup afterwards! Here is an awesome, easy, delicious cake that has little clean up! Plus, it is made from things that you probably have in your pantry.  I also love simple recipes that are easy to follow!  This recipe comes from the Jackson Mountain Homemaker's Partyline Cookbook.

Pineapple Cream Cake
2c. flour
2c. sugar
2 eggs
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 can crushed pineapple, juice and all

Mix all ingredients by had. Bake in a greased 9" by 13" pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool.

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2c. softened butter
1 1/3c. powder sugar
1tsp vanilla

Beat icing ingredients together until creamy and ice cake. Top with chopped walnuts if desired.

The gal who gave me the recipe has been proposed to over this cake several times....It's that good!