Wordless Wednesday: Sunset in the Valley

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Garden Hot Sauce

It was a good garden year for me. I managed to build a fence that kept the rats with horns deer out of my yarden, so I was able to grow all kinds of fun things. This year I inadvertently planted several different pepper plants. I have big peppers, little peppers, purple peppers, sweet peppers, well…..you get the idea.

This was exciting to me because for the past couple years, I’ve wanted to make my own hot sauce. I come from an area and culture (cough…hipsters….cough) that highly prize hot sauce. Sriracha and/or Tapatio are generally used with every meal, on everything. I’ve always heard how basic and easy hot sauce was to make, so I figured the time was now.

I got into fermenting kinda hardcore this summer.

I got into fermenting kinda hardcore this summer.

I selected a very basic and old recipe for my hot sauce – salt water brine.  Other than the time it takes to ferment, this recipe is super quick and easy! The downside is it does take at least a month to bubble and ferment before you can blend and eat it.

 Fermented Hot Sauce

  • 5% Brine (that is 3 TBSP of salt per 1 quart of water)
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard seed per pound of peppers
  • 1 small head of garlic per pound of peppers
  • 1 pound assorted peppers
  • Sliced onion
  • Grape leaves
See how the brine is cloudy and the peppers have lost their volume? That means it's working!

See how the brine is cloudy and the peppers have lost their volume? That means it’s working!


Place your mustard seed and peeled garlic on the bottom of your jar. Place your rough chopped peppers on top. I like to leave the crowns of the pepper on because I think it adds to the flavor. Layer a few slices of onion on top and then your grape leaf. Cover completely with your brine. You may need add a weight to keep your peppers or onion from sticking up through the water.

Cover your jar with either with a lid and ring or with a wire-bale jar.

I used wild grape leaves on top of a slice on onion to keep everything submerged in the brine.

I used wild grape leaves on top of a slice on onion to keep everything submerged in the brine.

Let your jar ferment for 4 to 5 weeks. Once your peppers are no longer crunchy and the bubbling has stopped, remove the grape leaf and drain your peppers, garlic, onion and mustard away from the brine.

The left is the leftover brine, the right is "the sauce".

The left is the leftover brine, the right is “the sauce”.

Blend your peppers in your food processor, adding the brine to reach your desired consistency. I add a whisper of vinegar and sugar to enhance the flavor. Different vinegars can add an unique finish!

I'm not going to lie - this particular sauce was too hot for me! I gave it to my friends!

I’m not going to lie – this particular sauce was too hot for me! I gave it to my friends!

That’s it! Stick it back in a jar or bottle and keep it in your fridge!

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Wordless Wednesday: Fletcher and Sam Jr.

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Wordless Wednesday: First Mandarin of the Year

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Wordless Wednesday: Table vs Oil Olive

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No More Poachers

Hunting season, especially dear season is an event for my family. It’s such a big deal, my Dad changed our calving season around to accommodate it better. Most cattle ranchers don’t take vacations – they go hunting.

My Uncle and cousin - family.

My Uncle and cousin. This was a cold, rainy, good time!

Since I have a fall birthday, I cannot tell you how many “birthday parties” have been opening day hunting trips on the ranch. And, honestly I like it. I love to see how excited my Dad and Uncle become – they are like little boys on Christmas morning. Getting to share that excitement with their daughters is one of those experiences that makes life worth living for them and me.

My Dad, my Dog and a memory that will last me a lifetime. Plus dinner for a few weeks.

My Dad, my Dog and a memory that will last me a lifetime. Plus dinner for a few weeks.

One of the huge benefits of owning land is having a private place to hunt. The best places to hunt on the ranches have been passed down through generations, like a deathbed secret. We cherish this knowledge and the fact we are custodians of our land and wildlife. Cattle People love to be self-sufficient and hunting is another skill that let’s us feel that way. Seriously though, if zombie apocalypse happens, you want me on your side!

This is why we get so very upset when our little fairytale of family bonding and environmental stewardship is thwarted. Who, you ask, would do such a thing?

Poachers.

Today's first hunters. They were "neighbors" that got confused where the fence line was. I guess I was born yesterday.

Today’s first hunters. They were “neighbors” that got confused where the fence line was. I may be a simple, ranch girl but I sure as hell know where the property lines are.

The past couple years, poachers have been a major problem on the ranch I live on. I’ve been harassed, threatened, and shot over. Our deer population has plummeted. Our friends and neighbors that earn the right to hunt here, by donating their labor to us, no longer get to hunt here. We simply don’t want to stress the habitat anymore than it already is. I didn’t even hunt this year.

My second set of hunters. They couldn't read their map, so they were let off with a stern warning. That won't happen next time.

My second set of hunters. They couldn’t read their map, so they were let off with a stern warning. That won’t happen next time.

This ends now. The past two weeks have been the worst I’ve ever seen. This morning we caught two different pairs hunting on this ranch. I was ripped out of a rare, sleep-in morning to deal them. I was not pleased. I’m tired of excuses like ‘we don’t know how to read our map’ or my favorite – ‘we have permission’ (from a family member that died 30 years ago). Either know the rules and boundaries or don’t hunt – it’s that simple and your responsibility as a hunter.

From now on, I will be taking pictures  and names to publish on my social media (public shaming is one of my favorite things), calling the California Department of Fish and Game (I have a private cell phone number now!), and the sheriff. Charges will be pressed. In short I am going to be a screaming mimi, pain-in-the-ass, something I excel at.

The heads of past poachers will grace certain fence posts as a warning, lol.

The heads of past poachers will grace certain fence posts as a warning, lol.

Here is your notice poachers of D3. I’m waiting for you.

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Wordless* Wednesday: A Little Help From Your Friends

 

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*This calf was born with front legs that were weak and bent inward. Our neighbors made casts for it and stimulated it and helped it nurse until he was healthy, happy and able to go live out in a field like an average calf. These are stories our industry needs to share more of because they are normal and they do happen everyday.

 

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