Monthly Archives: November 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Range



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Wordless Wednesday: Whole Food’s Beef


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Buddha Hand Citron Infused Vodka

I’ve waited a year to do this post. This topic spawned my new obsession with dwarf citrus trees (I have 13 and counting). What do I have my panties in a bunch over, you ask?


Buddha Hand Citron. Cthulhu fruit.  I finally got my hands on one. I planted the tree in my yarden, but it’s going to be at least another year until it produces. Plus it might get a whisper too hot up here for it to produce. But I can hope.

What is it? Well, it’s a member of the citrus family.  It’s a citron. Citron are known for their aroma. The Buddha hand is yellow when ripe and has numerous “fingers”.

It smells amazing. In China and Japan it is used as an air freshener. My house smells so good, I totally see why. My hands still smell like it hours after cutting it up, it’s just glorious.


The Buddha hand is one of the oldest members of the citrus family. As you will see in the pictures below, the fruit contains no pulp, juice or seeds. It’s just skin and pith. The pith isn’t bitter like that of a lemon or orange. The pith tasteless really, not bad, but not something I would take a great deal of joy in eating. However, the zest is out of this world. It’s like a lemon, but not sour, and flower-ey? Does that make sense? Any way you can use the zest for a variety of things; you can candy it, make salad dressing and flavorings, and my personal favorite, infuse BOOZE!!!!!!


You will need:


Buddha Hand Citrons

A sharp knife



Wash your citron really well. Slice  in half and slowly start removing the skin. I generally use a vegetable peeler to zest citrus but I couldn’t find mine! So I used a knife. It took forever. But it smelled glorious so it was totally worth it.


Look it’s giving me the finger! Sorry, I had to.


Slice the zest into thin strips.


Place in your bottle.


This is the pith from ONE citron. One.


Zest in bottles.


Take the little cap thing off the big bottle O’vodka, it makes things a lot easier.


Cover the zest with the vodka, tighten your lids and store in a cool dark place for at least 30 days, making sure to shake it daily. Strain through cheesecloth and make yourself a martini, girl!


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Brown Ranch: Pasture to Plate

I noticed in all my research on the Internets there is no comprehensive pasture to plate photo essay for consumers to see. paints a very pretty picture but it definitely has some holes in the process. I give you Brown Ranch – Pasture to Plate:


Birth – Usually in June/July.


They hang out with Mama and the herd until they are processed.


Calves are processed at around 1 and a half months of age.


They come home to the winter Ranch around 5 months old.


They graze all winter and are weaned in the spring at about 10 months old.


At about twenty two months old, the cattle we kept back from the commercial herd get custom exempt slaughtered here on the Ranch. The commercial cattle are sold when they  are around a year old and weigh 900 pounds. The commercial cattle will become the meat that consumers can buy from Whole Foods, Costco, Raley’s – for example. Those cattle will be processed in a facility very much like Cargill’s.


Mr. Dewey is amazing to watch.


A hot carcass.


It will be taken to his meat locker where it will dry age for 18-21 days.


After it’s aged the meat cutters will break it down into the cuts most consumers are familiar with.


This is an art, as far as I’m concerned.


Steaks, glorious steaks.


The equipment used to cut and package the meat is amazing.


Jerky in the dehydrator.


This is the cow my Parents gave me for my 30th birthday. I made it into jerky and ground beef (and a couple of special Megan steaks).


It says my name!


BBQ is my favorite steak cooking method.


Brown Ranch grass finished beef.


Filed under Ag, food, photos

The Chico State Collection

I promise this is the last post for a couple of days. I’m really excited to uncover my past and social media makes it so easy to share my excitement with the rest of you. Of course learning about my family probably isn’t as exciting to you as it is to me, so I’ll cap my enthusiasm for a few days before I post again. My research has led me to the Meriam Library at Chico State. Turns out, they have quite a collection of Lucas family photos. I knew at one point Jack Lucas started Chico Meat Company, I knew it was located downtown, but I really wanted to see and know more. Thanks to the the Special Collections Dept. at Chico State I was able to find this picture and an address of the former meat shop. Guess what I’m going to look for on my lunch break today?

From John Nopel

I called the Special Collections Department and I’m going to take some of my old photos to share with them. I’ve always been interested in my family’s past, but never really started exploring it seriously until now. It’s just so amazing and interesting.

From Frank Farmer

I know Jack Lucas started two meat shops – Lucas & Morrison Meat Market at 229 Orient Street Chico, California and Chico Meat Market at 302 Broadway, at southwest corner of Third Street and Broadway. I love that I work downtown, and walk by these buildings every day. It’s a wonderful thing, to be connected to your community.


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Remember When?

Remember the post I did about Fall Shipping? The local paper from where we summer our cattle the Indian Valley Record printed the below article in their paper this week. How awesome is it that we still do the same things my Great Grandfather did? Learning more about the history of my family is bringing me a whole new sense of appreciation for what we do.

Remember When for the week of 11/16/2011

Keri Taborski

Feather Publishing Historian

75 YEARS AGO……….1936

Move them out! S.F. Brown of Crescent Mills in Indian Valley started out for his winter range near Chico with 650 head of cattle. There were seven riders with the herd accompanied by a truck carrying provisions and bedrolls for the week on the trail.


Filed under Ag, History

The Lucas Family – Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

"Aunt Alice" was the last Lucas to live in the cabin in Butte Meadows, she was my Great Grand Aunt

I recently received an e-mail from a Chico State student, she is researching my family, the Lucas side. She found me through this blog, The Beef Jar. This has renewed my passion for learning about my family. Growing up I heard many rumors, story fragments and folklore about my Dad’s side of the family, but before I could talk to my Great Aunts and Grandfather about these stories, as a cognitive adult, they died. It wasn’t until I got an account and started poking around that I was finally able to understand how we got here and started ranching. Since then I’ve been able to find books, articles and pictures of the Lucas side. Turns out, they were very interesting and vital to the beginning of my hometown, Chico.

My second Great Grandfather and Grandmother, "Jack" and Helen Lucas

It’s my dream in life to buy the Lucas cabin back. It would be amazing to connect to my Family’s history like that. I could move there and work on the book that I simply must write someday. I’d also like to meet some more of my Family. I know there has to be some great, great cousins out there, that I need to meet.

My Great Grandmother Hazel and Great Aunt Ella Byrd

Tonight, in my Nyquil stupor, I started playing on Google.  I’m re-posting the coolest thing ever. I found it here, but I’m going to cut and paste it below. How have I lived in Chico my whole stinking life and never known about this?

Hazel Lucas' Calling Card

History of BCCER

Recent History of BCCER

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) is owned by the University Research Foundation and managed by the Institute for Sustainable Development of the California State University, Chico. The BCCER was acquired in two land purchases in 1999 and 2001. The University Research Foundation purchased 3,950 acres of land with grant money from the Wildlife Conservation Board, the Packard Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the River Network and Jack Henning. Part of the purchase agreement included a conservation easement held by the Wildlife Conservation Board and a Memorandum of Understanding with the CA Department of Fish and Game. A Technical Advisory Committee met monthly for two years creating a Master Management Plan for the reserve. Through adaptive management further details have been added to create supplemental Vegetation Management and Fire Management Plans. Executing these plans on such a large and varied piece of property is challenging, but we set priorities and do what we can as resources become available.

Historic Use of BCCER

By 1850 persons of European ancestry began to settle the area. They cut timber for their own use and for sale to the developing community of Chico and turned loose cattle, pigs, and sheep to graze. Native wildlife was hunted and trapped for food or sale and to prevent predation on livestock. As more people homesteaded the area, fences were built to separate herds. In the later part of the 18th century, timber in the upper watershed of Big Chico Creek began to be extensively exploited. In 1874 a flume was completed from near Chico Creek headwaters to the town of Chico, passing through the area of the BCCER. This flume included “flumetender’s cabins and a telegraph line. The flume operated until about 1910. Vast changes in the ecosystem followed the homesteaders and their livestock. Much of the timberland was replaced by brush and the perennial native grasses were replaced by exotic annual grasses and weeds. Gradually the early homestead families sold out to owners of large cattle ranches and left the area. Cattle were generally driven to high country in summer and back to the home ranch in fall. As pastures deteriorated the ranches were no longer profitable and speculators began to buy up the land for potential development. One reason for setting up the BCCER was to preserve habitat from development.

The Lucas Family

The Lucas family were the first Europeans to homestead within the area that eventually became the Big Chico Ecological Reserve. Paul Lucas, born in Darmstat, Germany on Christmas Day, 1829, immigrated to the U.S. with his parents and settled in Missouri. Driving an ox team from St. Louis, the young Lucas crossed the plains during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Frustrated with the return on his mining endeavors in Butte County, Lucas reassessed the sources of potential wealth. Like many of the more successful pioneers, Lucas discovered that the majority of California’s opportunity derived more from its golden magnetism on men than on the gold itself and entered the cattle industry. Lucas drove his oxen 14 miles east of Chico to unmarked land where he found good grazing and a sufficient water supply in the Big Chico Creek Canyon. With his cattle brand of 24, good character, good cattle, and good work generated Lucas a respected reputation as he supplied Chico with quality beef. By 1850 he was operating a secure ranching operation.

The future Lucas matriarch, Ellen O’Callahan, immigrated to America with her father after her mother died in Ireland . Forsaking their agrarian past, they settled in the tenements of New York City . Ellen eventually left and managed passage across the Panama Isthmus risking malaria and yellow fever and arrived in San Francisco as a mail-order bride in 1865. On June 13, Paul and Ellen wed and together developed one of Butte County ’s more successful ranching operations, governing over 1000 acres.

The Humboldt Road
Under the direction of the politically influential John Bidwell, the Chico and Humboldt Wagon Road Company constructed a road linking the silver mines of the northeast to the Sacramento River . The company developed houses, stables, and watering sites along the roads for pack trains and eventually sold the interest to these sites to others. Paul Lucas’ ranch adjacent to the Humboldt Road and his operations boomed as his business began to supply Susanville and the miners in the Nevada and Idaho territories. Shortly after his sudden death on April 12, 18 79 , Paul Lucas’ family acquired the 14 Mile House, one of ten boarding way stations spaced a day’s travel along the Humboldt Road .

Young John “Jack” Lucas, the eldest son of six children, assumed the business of ranching and slaughtering activities. Ellen Lucas and John expanded the operations of the 14 Mile House with her excellent cooking and fresh produce from her orchards and gardens. The success of the 14 Mile House and the ranching operations enriched the family and the Lucases expanded their ranching operations into Little Chico Creek Canyon and Butte Meadows, adding over 2500 acres.

The Lucas family enhanced the social scene in Chico and the Humboldt Ridge areas. In 1907, John Lucas established the prosperous Chico Meat Company on Second Street between Broadway and Main . He became a civic leader in Chico , serving as a trustee for the Chico Canyon School District and four years as the city trustee.

The Railroad
Although the Lucas family contributed to the early pioneering of Butte County, their regional improvements lacked legal standing. In the 1850’s much of Butte County was uncharted and many pioneers did not bother to obtain legal title through the General Land Office.

On November 12, 18 64 Congress ordered a survey of the region intending to grant land and resources to the Central Pacific Railroad so that it could establish a line eastward through the Sierra. On July 25, 18 66 , Congress granted the CPRR vast tracts, including all of the Lucas improvements, transforming the Lucases into squatters. Fortunately, Ellen was able to purchase the title to her and Paul’s improvements from the CPRR after her husband’s death. Today the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve maintains their memory and history.

Pre-Historic Use of BCCER

For at least 500 years Native Americans occupied the area now known as BCCER. They utilized a wide variety of naturally occurring resources. While they did not farm in the traditional sense, they were land stewards, enhancing production of resources by selectively burning and carefully cultivating natural stands of plants while gathering them for food and fiber. However, by 1800 or before, native American populations were decimated by diseases of European origin, communities disappeared, and traditional land stewardship could no longer be maintained.


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Wordless Wednesday: Nap Time


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Giveaway: Brown Ranch Beef


You’ve been reading about it. You’ve been listening to me go on and on and on about it. Now here is your chance to try it. This giveaway is for a package of my jerky. The jerky only contains salt, pepper and garlic powder. The beef contains no added hormones, or antibiotics, was bred, born and grass fed and finished on our Ranch. This is my special private reserve jerky, so if you win, you’ll be among the very special few who gets to try it. Again I will pick a winner next Wednesday, November 16, 2011, using Good luck!!!



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Wordless Wednesday: We’ve Always Liked to Educate

Sam Brown Jr. Giving A Calf Processing Demo to A Local 4-H Group

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