Monthly Archives: February 2015

Recipe: Meyer Vanilla Lemonade

One of the many benefits of living in California is the citrus!!!! Because of this I have a collections of dwarf citrus trees in my front yard. I have several Meyer lemon trees because they are my favorite. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and mandarin or orange. They are sweeter than your average lemon and have a thinner skin. One of my favorite things to do with these lemons is make lemonade.

Lemonade in my AgHag chalice.

Lemonade in my AgHag chalice.

Meyer-Vanilla Lemonade

6 to 7 Meyer lemons (about one cup of juice, although I prefer one cup running over)
3/4 cup vanilla sugar*
5 cups water, divided
Ice

This smells like sunshine.

This smells like sunshine.

Bring one cup of water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat and cool. Squeeze lemons, making sure to remove the seeds.
Add cooled simple syrup, lemon juice, and water into a pitcher and mix well. Serve over ice and with a lemon slice.

*Vanilla sugar is just sugar that I keep in a jar with a few gutted vanilla beans. It’s lovely for pastries, drinks and baked goods. It has a slight vanilla flavor that really compliments most things. You could add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the lemonade if you are using plain sugar. But I highly recommend getting a jar of vanilla sugar going for your pantry.

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Throwback Thursday: Little Brown’s

I thought this would be an appropriate time to post a picture of some my Dad’s family. This is a rare picture that has lots of information on the back. The top says “Little Brown’s Dec. 1956” then a list of names and birth dates. I know by the background is was taken in the Family house on Stampfli Lane. 

December 1956

Little Brown’s

From left to right:

Sandra D.
Carl E.
James E. (Jim)
Gary L.
Linda I.
Fletcher L. (Larry)

It’s also noted on the picture that “ALL have BLUE eyes”. It’s funny because the Brown family blue eyes are totally a thing. I have them, my Dad obviously has them, my Grandfather had them as well, but past that point I don’t know. All the pictures past my Grandfather are in black and white.
I think it is worth noting my Dad is the last surviving Brown brother.

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Wordless Wednesday: I Got the Fence Fixin’ Blues

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I’m Your Huckleberry: My Adventures with Social Media and my Congressman

‘You gotta quit this sh*t Megan, it’s getting ridiculous’ – (my Dad)

To be fair I think Dad was referring to the fact that I have had two different forms of news out to The Ranch in less than two weeks. The first was The Sac Bee, and the second was my local news station, KHSL-TV.

Screen shot from the story! Go here to check it out http://www.actionnewsnow.com/news/oroville-cattle-rancher-uses-twitter-to-make-political-voice-heard/

Screen shot from the story! Go here to check it out.

But it’s not quite that simple. Over the past few years I’ve been using social media for more than cows, plows and sows. I’ve used it to engage my local politicians, namely my Congressman, Doug LaMalfa. This all culminated with our President’s State of the Union Address last January.

You see, I was “live tweeting” it on twitter. If you are not familiar with twitter or live tweeting, that means I was, at 140 characters or less, giving my thoughts and opinions on the President’s speech. Congressman LaMalfa was doing the same thing. It happened to catch the eye of Brian Johnson, which led to an interview out here on the Ranch.

One of my favorite topics to ask my Congressman about is climate change. Even if you don't believe it is happening, I think as an elected official, farmer and Dad, he should at least humor those of us that are concerned about it.

One of my favorite topics to ask my Congressman about is climate change. Even if you don’t believe it is happening, I think as an elected official, farmer and Dad, he should at least humor those of us that are concerned about it.

Now, the Congressman and I have been tweeting at each other for a few years now. Ok, to be fair, I have done MOST of the tweeting. I firmly believe that our elected officials should interact with their constituency. I do understand how busy our elected official must be, especially our Congress, but that is the beauty of social media – you can address those issues for many people rather quickly. It does make me sad that my Congressman does not really take advantage of that opportunity.

Congressman LaMalfa's email blasts always encourage us to engage him. However, as I have found out and you can see for yourself on his pages, he doesn't engage.

Congressman LaMalfa’s email blasts always encourage us to engage him. However, as I have found out and you can see for yourself on his pages, he doesn’t engage.

Brian Johnson came out the morning after SOTU for the interview. We had a great visit, and it was fun to have him out to the Ranch. He filed a wonderful report! The feedback I got on my social media feeds was all super positive. It was a wonderful experience for me!

Brian got to meet Silly pig. As you can see, Silly really like him.

Brian got to meet Silly pig. As you can see, Silly really like him.

 However, I’m not sure how my Congressman felt about it. I have a feeling I might have upset him when I mentioned that sometimes he responded to my tweets and it is getting harder to ignore me. Since the interview he hasn’t tweeted or facebooked me back at all, despite multiple attempts.

He invites the President to his 'house', I invite my Congressman to mine.

He invites the President to his ‘house’, I invite my Congressman to mine.

 I have to admit I do find it disheartening. I think when the next generation of ag leaders are actively seeking to engage with current leaders, only good things can come of those interactions. It hurts to approach my elected official in a positive and polite manner only to be rebuffed, again and again. I know we might not have the same political beliefs but having open and respectful dialogue would help foster understanding on both sides and be an excellent example for many.

It puzzled me when the Congressman made the comment about name calling. That is not my style at all.

It puzzled me when the Congressman made the comment about name calling. That is not my style at all.

Stay tuned! I have no intention of giving up my quest to communicate with my Congressman. I believe that our Government is for the People, by the People, and it is our responsibility to maintain that. Many of us have slipped into complacency and general sense of disconnect and we no longer engage in our political system. It’s time to change that and if I can inspire just a handful of people to do that, then my job is done. #aghagforcongress

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Wordless Wednesday: February 10, 2015

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Wordless Wednesday: January 29, 2015

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Throwback Thursday: March 5, 1953

The Brown side of the family has always been just a touch horse crazy. In the old box of family photos I inherited, I’d say about 75% are horse photos. Photos of horses out in fields, photos of foals, photos of mares. It drives me crazy because often the names and dates are written on the back of the horse photos but not on the photos of people!

This week’s Throwback Thursday photo does have names on the back, and not just the horses’. I found it in an album labeled ‘Sammie’s friends‘.  The woman “at halter” is Bess. Look at her hair and outfit, pretty glamorous for horse holding! This was March 5, 1953, in a little over a year, Sammie Jr would be dead from polio, and my Dad would be born.

Bess is holding ‘Crescent’ and ‘Vicki’, age one day, is the the foal. They are in the front field of the Table Mountain Ranch. I think I’ve seen Bess in some other photos, I might even be able to find her last name if I keep looking. In the meantime, if you recognize her, please leave a comment below?

Bess at Halter

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