Monthly Archives: December 2012

Giveaway: Guess How Much!!!

I’ve been trying to “weigh” our pigs weekly, with a weight tape. The weight tape is awesome for lazy kids like myself that don’t want to walk our pigs out to the scales, or for people that don’t own a scale. It’s not 100% accurate like a scale, but it gets pretty close. Since I’m not making a business out of these pigs, I’m not that concerned with with being perfect. This pig project is purely for fun, education and good food, for me.

This is a weight tape. They have them for cattle and stuff too.

This is a weight tape. They have them for cattle and stuff too.

That brings us to the point of this post! Giveaway time!!!! As you may or may not know, my Mom makes soap. The old timey, lye based, goats milk, soap. In her kitchen, using recipes she has honed over the past 15 years. It is the most amazing soap ever (I’m not just saying that because I am her kid, they really are amazing soaps). My Mom offered an 3 pack of her soap to the person that can guess the average weight of the piggies!

Mom's homemade goat's milk soap.The prize! And what a wonderful prize it is!

Mom’s homemade goat’s milk soap.The prize! And what a wonderful prize it is!

This is the deal – my Dad and I are going to go weigh the four red wattle/tamworth pigs and average the weight. If you want to win the soap all you have to do is leave a comment with how much you think the average weight will be, pretty easy!

Here are pictures from this morning to help:

Pig picture 1

Pig picture 1

Pig picture 2

Pig picture 2

Pig picture 3

Pig picture 3

Pig picture 4

Pig picture 4

Good luck!!! I will be announcing the winner tomorrow! And sending them the soap on Wednesday the 2nd!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, arts & crafts, Giveaway, photos, Pigs, Ranch life, Uncategorized

Update: Piggies

I’ve realized it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a pig update. I’m sorry!!!! Let me fill you in.
We are still having problems with Harry Houdini pig, oops, I mean Char. When Char was a wee piglet he taught himself to escape the pig pen. He’d go hang out with my Dad and get treats. It was funny and cute to me for a long time until I started tripping in his holes. And then Dad started tripping in his holes. Now we are trying to fix this problem.

Char has been escaping his pen daily. I thought it was funny until I was taking a plate of prime rib home and tripped in one of his rooting holes. The prime rib was ok, but the au jus was a goner.

This is what Char escaping his pen looks like. I thought it was funny until I was taking a plate of prime rib home at night and tripped in one of his rooting holes. The prime rib was ok, but the au jus was a goner. If you know me, you know how serious I am about my au jus.

Dad got into his pole collection for us....

Dad got into his pole collection for us….

And added those pole around the bottom of the pen so Char couldn't slip under the fence.

And added those poles around the bottom of the pen so Char couldn’t slip under the fence.

This is what a sad pig looks like when he figures out he can't escape!

This is what a sad pig looks like when he figures out he can’t escape!

We have cotinued cooking slop for the pigs, I'm really getting it down!

We have continued cooking slop for the pigs, I’m really getting it down!

Sam from the Cardinal Rules blog had the brilliant idea of putting a lid on the slop as it cooks, therefore cutting my cooking time!

Sam from the Cardinal Rules blog had the brilliant idea of putting a lid on the slop as it cooks, therefore cutting my cooking time!

I'm saving seeds from the pumpkins and plan on planting them every where on both ranches! (Don't tell my Dad I plan on planting them on the edges of his hay fields!)

I’m saving seeds from the pumpkins and plan on planting them everywhere on both ranches, for next year’s pigs! (Don’t tell my Dad I plan on planting them on the edges of his hay fields!)

I had one of my twitter friends tell me about a study they did where they gave pigs beer to see if it would lower their stress levels. Pigs like beer!

I had one of my twitter friends tell me about a study they did where they gave pigs beer to see if it would lower their stress levels. Pigs like beer!

Like I mentioned before, I was able to get these pigs by promising that I would pay for and take care of everything and my parents would get a freezer full of pork out of the deal. Well, it hasn’t really worked out like that. It’s now adult 4-H/Parent’s having fun. They drove to Orland to buy us cheaper/better slop cooking materials. So nice of them!

Like I mentioned before, I was able to get these pigs by promising that I would pay for and take care of everything and my parents would get a freezer full of pork out of the deal. Well, it hasn’t really worked out like that. It’s now adult 4-H/Parent’s having fun. They drove to Orland to buy us cheaper/better slop cooking materials. So nice of them!

And the last pig pen improvement is a concrete feeding station!!!  My parents surprised me when I got home from work - isn't it awesome!?

And the last pig pen improvement is a concrete feeding station!!! My parents surprised me when I got home from work – isn’t it awesome!?

Happy pigs!

Happy pigs!

And there you have our latest pig update. They are fat and happy, and getting more so everyday!

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Wordless Wednesday : Up!

20121226-115249.jpg

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Cardinal Rules

Growing up on a ranch there are cardinal rules you learn never to break. I think most ranch kids learn these rules through osmosis in the womb, they are that important. On our Ranch the big three are:

1) Always close the gate behind you.
2) Never leave string or wire where the animals can get into it.
3) Don’t wear your cowpoo covered work boots into Mom’s house (EVAR).

Obviously we have these rules for a reason. If you leave a gate open you run the risk of letting cattle out, or getting them mixed up, or if a storm or gust of wind comes up, your gate can be blown right off its hinges. Better to close the gate than create a lot of extra work for yourself.

String and wire is a broad category – basically this means clean up after yourself, no duh, right? Well you would be surprised-

This past fall we had a several intense winter storms hit us rather dramatically. Ranches flooded, cattlepeople were scrambling to move to the valley away from the snow in the mountains. A desperate fellow Butte County Cattlemen, moved some of his cattle into one of our “holding pastures”. This pasture is small, with no solid source of water so it’s a holding pen, for when we ship out, or get ready to “work” the cattle. It’s not meant to winter cattle, or even have cattle in it for more than a few days. But desperate times.

This cattlemen (out of respect of my industry, I won’t name names, unless this happens again) figured out there was not enough food for his cattle in our holding pen. You see, his cattle kept breaking out of the pen, looking for an extra mouthful of grass. Every evening when I would get home from work his cattle were out in our driveway (Disclaimer: I was less than pleased seeing this everyday, it sucked! But I digress…)

This is what string buried in moldy, wet, leftover corn  bales look like.

This is what string buried in moldy, wet, leftover corn bales look like.

Anyway he finally started bringing supplemental feed, big round bales of cut corn stalks. His cattle were a lot happier, but he broke the cardinal rule – pick up your strings. I spent two of my precious days off picking up strings and I am not happy about it. However I am getting a blog about out of it, so there is the silver lining.

Mahina brought friends out to see the pigs. We ended up putting them to work pulling strings. They were awesome help!!!

Mahina brought friends out to see the pigs. We ended up putting these city kids to work pulling strings. They were awesome help!!! Thanks for saving our cattle’s lives! Please come back!

Why is it bad to leave strings and wire where your cattle or animals can eat it, you ask? Great question! Let’s say you have a happy little cow eating grass this spring, she doesn’t realize she ate some of that string, pretty soon, she starts looking bad, losing weight, then she DIES! Cows can’t digest plastic or metal. At least with metal pieces you can put a magnet down the cow’s throat and sometimes save them (I’ll blog about that if we ever have to do it again).

Sam was very fashionable , look at those shoes and socks! I was impressed.

Sam was very fashionable , look at those shoes and socks! I was impressed.

It was a huge disappointment picking up string. The cattlemen who had their cattle here should know better and leaving trash on someone elses ranch is incredibly bad form, especially when they are doing you a major favor.

Day one of string pulling.....

Day one of string pulling. I was tempted to save it and wrap it around their truck next time I see them. But I didn’t. …..

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Merry Christmas Dad

It’s no secret that over that past couple of years, my Dad and I have had our differences. But this summer, we put our differences aside and since then we have communicated better than we have our entires lives. In fact I’ve been enjoying my Dad’s company more than ever before, we’ve even taken ourselves to brunch and bookstore perusing, something that we’ve never done before that point. I’ve been the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
My therapist urged me to really listen to my Parents, without judgement, just curiosity. And since I’ve been practicing this, I’ve learned a lot about my Mom and Dad. I’m really grateful for that. When my Dad and I went to brunch, he mentioned some old rifles several times. I was only able to catch pieces of the stories he was telling me because I was trying not to be too obvious, but I could tell these were things that he cared very deeply about.
My Dad inherited two special rifle from two different family members, his Grandfather, and his Uncle. They each have really amazing, unique stories that I will blog about, in time. My Dad took these guns to his Mom’s, when we briefly lived inside the Chico City limits. My Parents were afraid of getting robbed, so my Dad took his guns and put them under his Mother’s bed for safe keeping until we got a gun safe. When my Grandma died, my Aunt ended up caring for these guns for my Dad. Once I figure this out, I wrote my Aunt a letter explaining how much these guns meant to my Dad, and how much work I’ve been doing researching our families’ history, the scholarship, and how I was planning a special Christmas surprise for my Dad – to get his guns back into his care.

In the truck of my car, right before I started crying from excitement.

In the truck of my car, right before I started crying from excitement.


My Aunt graciously agreed that my Dad did need his guns back. I was able to pick them up on my lunch break, have them cleaned and wrapped before it was time to go home! I’m not sure if my Aunt realized what a gift she gave me (when my stoic, cowboy of a Dad opened his gift, he hugged me. The last time that happened was in May of 2004, when I graduated college). This side of the family has been, well, rather tumultuous, so this was a wonderful peace token and Christmas surprise.
I really planned on waiting until Christmas to give this gift to my Dad, but I was too excited! I spent the day crying off and on in my office because I was so touched that my Dad was going to have an meaningful surprise. We had our office Christmas party the same day, but I was so excited I couldn’t enjoy it! I was too focused on going home to surprise my Dad!
I wrapped it pretty - they didn't look like rifles.

I wrapped it pretty – they didn’t look like rifles.


It was worth it. He had no idea what was going on. I’m pretty sure I had upset him earlier in the day because I called him after I picked his rifles up, I was so excited for him I was sobbing (remember I cry when I am really excited, happy, mad, sad, etc). After I dialed the phone, I could not think of a good reason to call him except I was excited (but I couldn’t tell HIM that), so I told him I loved him and thanked him for being my Daddy, needless to say, that is just slightly out of character for me, so I think I made him a whisper nervous.
The look on his face as he opened his gift was priceless to me. He immediately launched into stories about each rifle. One he restored himself in high school shop class (could you imagine trying to do that today!?!?), the other was manufactured on his birthday (about 60 year’s before his birth, hence the reason he was given that particular rifle). He was just thrilled. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him so touched.
Right after he opened them. He was so surprised, he just kept picking them up and putting them back down again. Shocked, is the word I am looking for.

Right after he opened them. He was so surprised it took a few minutes for it to sink in.


I asked him if we could sit down over the next few days and really talk about these rifles, as I want to write his stories down for this blog. Both of these rifles have stories that I think need to be shared and I think you guys would enjoy, I know I have been.
Dad's birthday rifle.

Dad’s birthday rifle.


Merry Christmas Beef Jar Readers! Go spend some time with your Parents and learn something about them!!

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Wordless Wednesday: I Went; I Saw; I Took the Required Hipster Photo Booth Picture

renegade

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Filed under arts & crafts, Field Trip, Humor, Media, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized, Wordless Wednesday

Field Trip: Renegade Craft Fair

It was a big weekend for me. After years and years of talking about it, I finally went to the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. The level of excitement I feel when I go to the City must be what people who are interested in farming feel like when they get to go to a farm or ranch. It’s a big deal. The night before I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited! I had already lurked at the booths I wanted to buy things from, planned my route down there, had toll fair already in my car and arranged for the other member of Adult 4-H to feed the pigs that evening for me!
I usually can make it to San Francisco, play for the day and come home in one day. It’s a lot of driving but it is definitely do-able. We left the Ranch bright and early, therefore missing almost all traffic, we made excellent time, despite a coffee, breakfast burrito and poop stop (the essentials).

There it is....... I made it!

There it is……. I made it!


The Craft Fair was held at the Concourse Exhibition Center, which is right off the freeway, so I didn’t have to do too much city driving. Driving on anything with more than 3 lanes, is kinda scary for me, we simply do not have that where I am from.
Despite my best efforts I was simply not prepared for the craftness Mecca that is Renegade. Imagine pinterest and esty had a very large, hipstery, love child. That is Renegade.

SO.MUCH.COOL.STUFF

SO.MUCH.COOL.STUFF

Here is the thing. I did some Christmas shopping while I was down there (I can only make my family and friends homemade stuff for so long before they get sick of it), so I can’t show you my favorite things until after Christmas. However I did get to see Drywell’s booth, which was super awesome, she is one of my favorites.

The one (maybe more) thing I bought for myself is this:

New necklace for me!

New necklace for me!


This is made out of spent bullets casings, that were melted down! My Grandpa left me a pistol when he died, it’s amongst my most treasured possessions and this reminds me of it. Some of my favorite Ranch memories are of shooting and hunting. My Dad taught me this skill fairly early in life, so oddly enough, this is something very meaningful to me.
Renegade was incredible, I’m so glad I went! Fair warning though, if you don’t like crowds, don’t go. This is a very popular event and several times during the day I felt like a cow caught in the middle of the herd, all I could do was just go with the flow.
Good times!

Good times!

I went over the Gold Gate, it was rainy and kinda scary, but I wanted a picture for this blog!

I went over the Golden Gate, it was rainy and kinda scary, but I wanted a picture for this blog!


Since I was in San Francisco I had another mission. Crab. Dungeness crab. Being cattle ranchers, fresh seafood is a delicacy to us, especially to my Dad. Crab is my Dad’s favorite, I think it means a great deal to him when he gets it. I used my social media network to find the freshest, best crab possible. I wanted to find crab that was alive until I picked it up. Enter Western Boat and Tackle – I called them while we were still in San Francisco and by the time I made it to their shop they had my perfect crab all ready for me!
Crab!!! Alive and kicking!

Crab!!! Alive and kicking!


My day trip to San Francisco was awesome. I got most of my Christmas shopping done, I had a fun adventure and I got to bring neat things to eat home, a complete win in my book!

Happy Dad.

Happy Dad.

Both my cat (Jack) and my Parents cat (Ozzy) have a passion for crab. They were pretty happy with me.

Both my cat (Jack) and my Parents cat (Ozzy) have a passion for crab. They were pretty happy with me.

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Merry Christmas From Bella Rosa!

Have I mentioned that a lot of my family is involved with agriculture? Not just cows, plows and sows, like me, but specialty agriculture like roses and flowers. I got to work for my cousin Michelle at her nursery when I was in college. It was great because I earned my floral design certificate while at Butte College, so learning how to grow roses gave me more background knowledge in the rose industry.

Michelle is offering followers of The Beef Jar and locals a great gift idea for the holidays. Roses! Three different kinds! The roses are dormant right now, so shipping is possible. She will deliver locally for free, but shipping rates will apply to plants that are mailed.

She is offering:

(1) The weeping tree roses available in white, hot pink, and light pink on sale right now for $39.95. These are extremely hard to find these days. (If you want to buy me a Christmas gift, I would like two hot pink ones, thanks!)
HotPinkWeepingTreeRose

And

(2) The 36″ Standard Tree Roses which are on sale for $25.99

36" Standard Tree

36″ Standard Tree

AND

(3) The 24″ Patio Tree Roses are on sale for $15.99.

24" Patio Tree Roses

24″ Patio Tree Roses

Unfortunately since it is so close to Christmas, she can’t guarantee US mail delivery in time for Christmas, but she will try!

Feel free to check out Bella Rosa’s webpage at www.bellarosacompany.com. However if you want these special prices and FREE local delivery please contact Michelle  at bellarosacompany@yahoo.com

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Guest Post! Adventures Outside!

My friend Jenny came out to the Ranch last weekend. Despite a dog bite and an attempted de-worming of her children, she still wants to come back! You simply must read this blog, it is funny and oh so awesome!

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Sloppin’ The Hogs

I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I tell you, we love our piggies! It’s been a kick in the pants having pigs again. They are fun to watch, they are fun to interact with and they are going to be incredible to eat.

The one downside to having heritage pigs is they take longer to feed and finish compared to commercial pigs. This means that our feed costs are becoming rather significant. We did plan for this and we knew to expect it so it’s not a shock to us.

However, since my Dad has a lot of experience with raising pigs, he suggested to us that we make our own pig food. Since these pigs are for our own consumption, and will be custom exempt slaughtered, we can make our own pig food!

This weekend we had an adult 4-H meeting where we made hog food and de-wormed our pigs.

Rene was kind enough to give us her pumpkins she grew! Thanks Rene!

Rene was kind enough to give us her pumpkins she grew! Thanks Rene!

We used rolled barely, milk, water, pumpkins and leftover vegetable waste from our kitchens to make the food. Next time we want to incorporate some rolled corn too.

Crystalyx containers are pretty much the best thing ever. I use them for everything. In this case a cooking container!

Crystalyx containers are pretty much the best thing ever. I use them for everything. In this case a cooking container! (These are what our cattle’s supplements come in).

I come from a long line of pyromaniacs, pretty much any excuse we get to play with fire, we take it. What can I say, I love to make s’mores!

Mahina and the Intern got a nice hot fire going and added water to boil.

Mahina and the Intern got a nice hot fire going and added water to boil.

I have a great fire ring in my front yard that we were able to set the tub on in order to cook our food.

I might have had too much fun doing this. Maybe.

I might have had too much fun doing this. Maybe.

While the food was cooking, we de-wormed the pigs. We used an oral paste that we tricked the pigs into eating by placing the paste in oreos. PThe pigs had no idea!

While the food was cooking, we de-wormed the pigs. We used an oral paste that we tricked the pigs into eating by placing the paste in oreos. The pigs had no idea!

After a couple of hours the barley expanded and smelled wonderful! The whole Ranch smelled like cooking pumpkin oatmeal and campfire, it was dreamy.

Mmmm, mmmm good. Homemade pig food!

Mmmm, mmmm good. Homemade pig food!

How did it turn out? Awesome. It was cheaper than the pig food we’ve been buying at the store, we are able to use food that would normally be wasted, and it was a lot of fun.

Best of all? The pigs LOVE it! They ate their normal amount and screamed at the fence until I gave them more (yes, the pigs are spoiled).

Best of all? The pigs LOVE it! They ate their normal amount and screamed at the fence until I gave them more (yes, the pigs are spoiled).

We’ve decided that we will now do a bi-weekly campfire cookout for the pigs. Like I mentioned above, we are going to try different recipes and see what the pigs do best on, and take it from there. Stay tuned!

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