- Wear comfortable and supportive underwear and socks. There is nothing worse than getting an epic wedgie while running up and down a catwalk of a chute.
- Well…as long as we are on the subject…..Invest in a really good sports bra. The rocks + ATV’s = giving yourself a black eye.
- Bring an extra jacket because it’s always colder than you think, especially on an ATV. A beautiful, balmy morning can quickly turn into hypothermia and snotcicles.
- Wear short sleeves underneath because it gets hotter than you planned and boob sweat in your fancy sports bra is not your friend.
- Try and get as far away from the boss as you can, this lessens the likelihood you’ll get yelled at.
- Bring Chapstick, it’s wonderful for many uses. You never know when you’ll need to lube up a gate that is stuck or when your lips need moisturizing.
- Wind burn is as bad as sunburn. Wear lots of sunscreen and a big hat, you’ll thank me when you’re my age and you still get carded.
- Check all gates for hornet’s nests first! Those suckers hold a grudge and will get you at all costs. It’s like getting punched, it’ll ruin your day.
- Bring toilet paper. It’s a long way back to the house, there is no shame peeing in a stock trailer. Dripping dry is not time efficient.
- Keep your mouth shut as much as possible. I swear the cows get great joy flicking poo at and on you. Cow poo doesn’t taste good.
- Shut and lock and double check that you locked every gate you pass through. You do not want to be the one responsible for accidentally letting the cows out.
- Wear boots that are comfortable. There is nothing worse than breaking in a new pair of boots during a work day. You’ll be so busy, you won’t notice your blisters until they bleed.
- Bring your sense of humor. Sometimes things will go wrong, people will get snapped at, and you will get poo in your mouth – it’s life, you just have to spit it out and keep moving forward.
As you know, we have fig trees. However picking those figs is a whole other story. Between the deer, birds, my pig, and our neighbor Pete, it’s tough to get a good crop. However this year I persevered and picked enough to make jam. But not any jam, this jam is pure Table Mountain Ranch. It uses both ranch fruit and ranch honey, a marriage made in heaven!
Honey Fig Jam
- 4 cups roughly chopped fresh figs
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 package pectin
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 Tablespoons honey
Wash and de-stem your figs. Chop finely. Add the figs, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Add pectin and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often.
When the mixture has reached a full roiling boil, add the sugar and honey.
Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam, and ladle into processed jars leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process for in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
Fun ag fact of the day: Peanuts are grown in 15 states, with 55 percent being produced in the Southeastern states. The United States produced 6.7 billion pounds of peanuts in 2012 and ranks third in the world for peanut production behind China and India.
Fun ag fact of the day: The average American will consume more than six pounds of peanut products per year in the form of peanut butter, candy, roasted, salted, boiled and more. Despite not technically qualifying as a nut, peanuts are the most popular snack nut in the U.S., accounting for 67 percent of “nut” consumption.
Fun ag fact of the day: With edible kernels encased in a shell, the peanut is classified as a legume, along with beans and peas.
Fun ag fact of the day: Pumpkins are a source of potassium and vitamin A.
Fun ag fact of the day: Pumpkins are 90 percent water and part of the Cucurbitaceae family. They are related to squash and gourds.
Fun ag fact of the day:The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed over 350 pounds. This record breaking pastry required 80 pounds of pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and baked for six hours.
Fun ag fact of the day: most pumpkins are grown to be processed, while a small percentage are grown for decoration and sold at you-pick farms or farmer’s markets.
Fun ag fact of the day: Mint is shallow-rooted and requires loose-textured soils for good root penetration and growth. It requires 60 inches of rainfall for optimum growth and fertility.
Fun ag fact of the day: In 2010, the U.S. harvested 71,300 acres of peppermint.
Fun ag fact of the day: Native spearmint is used to flavor toothpaste and dental hygiene products, whereas Scotch spearmint has a milder, more pleasant taste and is used in chewing gum and candies.
Fun ag fact of the day: In 2010, the U.S. harvested 18,600 acres of spearmint.
Fun ag fact of the day: The Romans believed eating mint would increase intelligence. The scent of mint was also thought to stop a person from losing his or her temper, and royal ambassadors carried mint sprigs in their pockets.
Fun ag fact of the day: Pecans contain more than 19 various vitamins and minerals.
Fun ag fact of the day: According to the USDA Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, pecans contain the most antioxidant capacity of any other nut.
Fun ag fact of the day: Pecans are naturally sodium free and a healthy snack alternative to chips.
Fun ag fact of the day: Pecans are grown on trees and often harvested by machine.
Fun ag fact of the day: The United States produces 80 percent of the world’s pecans.
Fun ag fact of the day: Georgia, the leading pecan-producing state since the 1800s, produced 100 million pounds in 2012.
Fun ag fact of the day: Peaches are grown commercially in 28 states. The top four peach-producing states are California, South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey. California produces both fresh and processed peaches, whereas South Carolina and Georgia produce mainly fresh peaches.
Fun ag fact of the day: The two basic types of peaches are clingstone and freestone. In clingstone peaches, the flesh “clings” to the “stone” of the peach, making it difficult to separate. This type is more suitable for processing. The pit of freestone peaches “freely” separates from the flesh, making it ideal for fresh consumption.
Fun ag fact of the day: According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2010, roughly 80 percent of processed peaches were canned and 16 percent were frozen.
Fun ag fact of the day: The peach is a member of the rose family, and there are over 700 varieties of the fruit.
fun ag fact of the day: originally found in India, Asia and Africa, basil was introduced to Europe through international trade.
fun ag fact of the day: Basil is a warm weather annual that requires six to eight hours of sun.
fun ag fact of the day: Harvest frequently by pinching leaves from the stems to encourage continued growth.
fun ag fact of the day: As the weather warms, basil will bloom, causing the plant to stop growing. To prevent this, pinch off bloom stems.
fun ag fact of the day: Basil is best added to dishes within the last five to ten minutes of cooking.
fun ag fact of the day: Basil can be used dried or fresh in a variety of soups, salads, sauces and dishes.
In honor of “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” night, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my latest new favorite thing: zucchini pickles. I know, I know, at this point in the summer you are tired of squash. I was too, until I tried these!
Neighbor Pete told me his Mom used to make pickles out of zucchini and they were delicious. I was hesitant to say the least. But since he gave me several pounds of zucchini and a couple of onions from his garden, I decided to at least try!
Guess what? They were amazing. I couldn’t even tell they were zucchini pickles, they tasted and had the texture of normal cucumber pickles! If you have a bunch of extra zucchini (who doesn’t, amirite?) I highly recommend you give these a go!
- 1 gallon sliced zucchini
- 2 big onions, sliced
- 1/3 cup pickling salt
- 1 quart vinegar
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Soak the zucchini, onions, and salt in an ice water bath for two and half hours. Rinse in cold water.
Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil. I let it boil about 5 minutes. Put about half of the rinsed zucchini and onions in the pickling mixture to scald. Then place in sterilized, hot jars. Do the same with the rest of the zucchini and onions, making sure to pack them tightly and to remove air bubbles.
Adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Let them “pickle” for about two weeks to really get the full effect. Also if you are a fan of spice, add some peppers in there! I’ve been adding jalapenos into some jars and it makes the pickles even better!