Monthly Archives: September 2013

Wordless Wednesday: What Chico Looks Like From Our Ranch

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Giveaway: Lard Soap

The real deal, homemade lard soap.

The real deal, homemade lard soap. It’s named after my cat, Jack.

It’s my birthday week, and since I had such a fabulous birthday week, I want to give back in the form of soap! This is extra special soap. Not only did my Mom make it, the old fashioned way, with lye. I raised the pigs and rendered the lard it was made with (yes, this is really, truly, old-timey soap).

After we slaughtered them I saved almost everything I could from the hogs. It was a lot of work to raise them, I wanted to use everything I could.

My fat. I was strangely proud of this hog fat. It was glorious.

My fat. I was strangely proud of this hog fat. It was glorious.

It took me days to render all my lard. I seriously cannot imagine doing this before crock-pots, the work and labor that my few pounds required was not even funny. I have a huge respect for the generations of women that HAD to do this to survive, I am so lucky.

My house smelled like rendering bacon for weeks!!!! Next time I will do this part outside.

My house smelled like rendering bacon for weeks!!!! Next time I will do this part outside.

It did make for some pretty pictures though!

It did make for some pretty pictures though!

The giveaway is for one bar of this special soap. It is by far, one of the most unique soaps I have ever had the pleasure of using. I can’t wait to share! I will use random.org to select a winner next week, September 27, 2013.  Just leave a comment below. Good luck!

I love this soap!

I love this soap!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, arts & crafts, family, Giveaway, Know a California Farmer, photos, Pigs, Ranch life, Uncategorized

They Say It’s Your Birthday

It’s my birthday. But on the Ranch, birthdays are just another day. The cows don’t stop eating, the water doesn’t change itself and the bulls need to be turned out.

It’s ok, because the older I get, I find myself caring less and less about the dreaded annual event (except the cake part, I like that part).  Anyway, when my Dad asked if I could work cattle on my birthday, I was actually kind of excited about it. I figured, ‘hey, maybe I’ll get another promotion or something! It’s my birthday!’

The day started out early. I was supposed to spend the night on the summer ranch last night, but I managed to be so busy during that day, by the time I was done with all my chores it was going to be dark when I finally arrived in the mountains. And since I am the only child, my Parents tend to mitigate any extra risk they can, driving up the curvy, mountain highway in the dark is considered risky and frowned upon, hence I got to wake up in my own bed on my birthday!!!!

The cattle moved beautifully.

The cattle moved beautifully.

This ended up being a great thing because Daniel was able to come with me this morning. After I trotted over to the big house to wake my Mom and and get my cowdogs (I also got awesome presents! I love presents!!), Daniel brought me a Starbucks. All the way from town. It was glorious. I had Mom presents (plus my Mom is super crafty, so part of it was homemade with love and thought), and Starbucks, I cried. I swear, I cried tears of joy.

My birthday present to myself was this blue, under armour hoodie (I LOVE IT. IT IS THE BEST HOODIE EVER).

My birthday present to myself was this blue, under armour hoodie (I LOVE IT. IT IS THE BEST HOODIE EVER).

Daniel and I woke up before dawn (he had to wake up earlier to get coffee and drive out to the Ranch), drove a hour and half (with Starbucks!), and went to work. Did I mention it was freezing up there? It’s amazing how different the climate in California can be.

Early morning board meeting with my Dad. I just love our conference room.

Early morning board meeting with my Dad. I just love our conference room.

This was the first time poor Daniel had ever worked cattle with my Dad and I. I think it was the first time he ever worked cattle. Oh, did I mention he is a recent law school graduate? And just took the bar? I think this proves my theory that the stress of law school will prepare you for anything. He was a natural.

Even MY dog Hoot followed Daniel.

Even MY dog Hoot followed Daniel.

We have a  wonderful corral that Dr. Temple Grandin influenced heavily. It’s so much easier to work with the cattle now, and we need 3 people (sometimes 2!) instead of a big crew, thus lessening cattle stress even more. However, I made a mistake. Since the paradigm shifted and Daniel was now the one important not to get hurt (he is house counsel, can’t break him!), I got demoted from my normal job. Demoted on my birthday. Sigh.

I was the "pusher inner" today. The one that gets behind the calves to push them into the chute. These "babies" have me out-weighed by a hundred plus pounds. They handed my ass to my today.

I was the “pusher inner” today. The one that gets behind the calves to push them into the chute. These “babies” have me out-weighed by a hundred plus pounds. They handed my ass to me today. (This was my view today)

The job thief being thiefy.

The job thief being thiefy. (Also notice the skinny jeans? Wrangler will be releasing that line soon, I just know it).

We finished up with no cow, dog or person getting hurt.  Then in the best birthday move ever – my Parents gave me a couple cows to sell.

Yellow slips, we fill these out anytime an animal leaves the ranch. When a cow is sold, the person's name on the bottom right gets the check! My name went there today, yay!

Yellow slips, we fill these out anytime an animal leaves the ranch. When a cow is sold, the person’s name on the bottom right gets the check! My name went there today, yay! Happy birthday indeed! I’ll invest this back into the Ranch in the form of heritage piglets! Pork!

After working all day, and working hard! I would post pictures of my bruises, but trust me, you don’t wanna see that. We drove the hour and a half home to the Valley and Daniel took me to my favorite Mexican restaurant for a margarita and dinner. I got so much love on my social media.  It was a good day. Thanks friends (also I am exhausted and feel old, lol).

Food of the Gods.

Food of the Gods.

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Wordless Wednesday: Heifers

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Wordless Wednesday: Before Our Breakfast

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Wordless Wednesday: Our House Herd

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Salsa Verde

Tomatillos. For years I wondered what they were in my grocery store.

Tomatillos. For years I wondered what they were in my grocery store.

When I went to Mexico for the first time I was amazed at all the salsas and sauces they had at every table. I mean, I’m from California so I’ve been exposed to decent Mexican food for most of my life, but nothing compares with going to the food’s natural habitat to realize how much everything you’ve had before, sucks.

Once I learned what tomatillos were I grew to love them. Not scary at all!

Once I learned what tomatillos were I grew to love them. Not scary at all!

I became enamored with salsa verde (thats the green stuff). When I came home to California the salsa verde I found was lacking. It simply wasn’t flavorful like it was supposed to be, spicy is one thing, but flavor is a whole other.

I took a Mexican cooking class and pumped my Mexican friends for tips and recipes. After a few years, I managed to make a decent salsa verde. I’m pretty hardcore about it these days, I grow jalapenos, tomatillos, onions, and limes.  And know what? It’s worth it!

 Salsa Verde 

  • 6 cups husked and chopped tomatillos
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups jalapenos (I leave most of the seeds in because I like the hot)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (I’ll actually use half bottled lemon)
I like to use foil, it just helps with the cleanup.

I like to use foil, it just helps with the cleanup.

Place peppers and tomatillos on a cookie sheet with edges and broil until you have lovely char marks.

Burnt=yum

Burnt=yum

The basics.

The basics.

Then place the onion, cilantro, garlic and pepper/tomatillo mixture in your cuisinart and mix until smooth.

The cuisinart is one of my favoritist things ever.

The cuisinart is one of my favoritist things ever.

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

At this point you can place it in your refrigerator to enjoy on everything.

OR

Place in sterilized jars and process in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes.

This is so good and fairly easy. This winter when I am enjoying my summer tasting salsa verde, I'm going to pat myself on the back!

This is so good and fairly easy. This winter when I am enjoying my summer tasting salsa verde, I’m going to pat myself on the back!

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