Tag Archives: Christmas

Favorite Things 2017 – A Gift Guide

Oh, yes, friends. It is that time of the year again! Time for a list of stuff I love, aka The Aghag’s gift guide for The Holiday’s. Now I have this set up where all you have to do is click on the link (the underlined words) and it should take you to the corresponding shop. These are all products I use and love and I am not being paid to say that.

  1. Everyone in my life is getting the 2018 FarmHer Calendar because I am in it. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Aunts, Uncles…..all of them. Silly pig and I are December. But honestly, a good old fashioned calendar is a functional gift everyone can use.
I am in this!

I am in this!

2. My Mom started using these twists and told me for the longest time how awesome they are. She finally bought me a pack of them, and I started using them too. Now I am a raving fan. These would be a great stocking stuffer!

These work in my think, long hair!

These work in my think, long hair!

3. From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty. I read her first book and it made 2015’s list. This book is as interesting, if not more. I finished it in about two days and now I tell everyone to read it. I now want to start a funeral pyre business out on one of our ranches.

I loved this book because it make me uncomfortable.

I loved this book because it make me uncomfortable.

4. When I went to Europe I experienced bidet use for the first time. I now understand why they think we are dirty Americans. Once you go bidet you can’t go back. It attaches right onto your toilet and is amazing. I installed it myself in about 10 minutes and never looked back. This product makes my list every year because it is life changing. Wiping your own butt is so 2015.

Don't question me. Just buy it.

Don’t question me. Just buy it.

5. I stumbled on this wonderful etsy store because she is local to the valley where I live in the summer. Meagan’s jewelry is custom, unique and totally fits in with Western styles. And it’s handmade! Need a gift for that person that has everything? They don’t have Renegades Bead Work, yet.

It's so pretty!!!!!

It’s so pretty!!!!!

6. I am a foodie. I take my food very, very, seriously. I am always learning and expanding my food knowledge. This year I got a sous vide and my steak making abilities rival the best steak house in town. I am not even joking. I can now enjoy steak house style steaks at home, in my undies. This is a game changer. Buy this for the foodie in your life and enjoy the amazing food that will come your way! Here is a link to get a free smart cooker if you live in California. But if you don’t live in California take 20% off on Nomiku.com using the code “NOFOMO.

Trust me. It's a game changer.

Trust me. It’s a game changer.

7. Alamendra wine. This is a local winery, I’ve known the owners since I was a child. They started this winery and distillery in the little town of Durham and I feel like it breathed some life back into the community. I’ve been to several events there and always enjoyed myself and the booze! When the fire happened my Friend gifted me a bottle of the Luna (because Luna saved her pigs, get it?!)

After your ranch burns up a nice bottle of wine helps you feel better about the situation.

After your ranch burns up a nice bottle of wine helps you feel better about the situation.

8. I love it when women in agriculture do cool things. My friend Jennifer Campbell over at Farm Wife Feeds did just that! She wrote a book, Meet Pete! This book is a favorite of mine to give out at baby showers and kid’s birthdays. I quest to corrupt children and bring them into the dark side, you know, agriculture!

Great kid's book!

Great kid’s book!

9. As you may or may not know, the ranch burned up. It was traumatic to say the least. I told myself that if I was strong and did not completely fall a part I could buy myself something shiny. I follow and lurk a lot of stores that sell shiny things but only trust a few. I almost don’t want to share this with you because I still plan on buying myself a squash blossom from them at some point and I don’t want the competition. So just know, if you buy my squash blossom out from under me, I’m gonna be super mad (kidding, kinda). The shiny thing I bought myself was delivered super fast and in perfect condition. I love it. Like I said, I plan to spend a lot more money at Turquoise Creek Jewelry.  A side note if you feel like getting me a gift, anything from here would be super!

I love this and have worn it out exclusively since I got it.

I love this and have worn it out exclusively since I got it.

 

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Jalapeño Jam

If you know me if real life, you know that I have disappeared. Between working on the Ranch and my new obsession  hobby, canning, I now have no time for things like friends, a social life, bathing. However I do have a fabulous pantry full of delicious pickles, luscious jams and delightful jellies that will last  me through the next year AND all my Christmas shopping is done (everyone likes pickles, right?!?!?!?!).

I made jalapeno jelly because one of my favorite mexican restaurants serves it with their flautas and it is the best thing ever. Since we don’t have this mexican restaurant around where I live, I’ve had to improvise and teach myself how to replicate the dish, but that is for another blog post. In addition to being amazing on fried mexican food this jelly is arguably better dumped on a brick of cream cheese and eaten with wheat-thins alone where no one can see you eat a whole brick of cream cheese and jar of jelly.

This is adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Canning (or, as I call it, my bible right now).

Jalapeno Jelly

3/4 lb jalapeno pepper (about 13 big ones)
2 cups cider vinegar, divided
6 cups sugar
2 (3 ounce) envelopes liquid pectin
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Fresh jalapenos

Fresh jalapenos

Go out in your garden and pick about 13 big peppers, or about 3/4 of a pound. Wash them well.

Don't be a hero. Use gloves. I thought I was a badass and didn't need gloves. I cried. I CRIED.

Don’t be a hero. Use gloves. I thought I was a badass and didn’t need gloves. I cried. I CRIED.

De-stem and remove most of the seeds. I left about 1/4 of the seeds because I like THE HEAT and I think it looks pretty.

I love my food processor. How did people function without them?

I love my food processor. How did people function without them?

Add the peppers and one cup of the vinegar, and puree.

Don't position yourself directly over this pot, the smell will singe your nose hairs.

Don’t position yourself directly over this pot, the smell will singe your nose hairs.

Combine the sugar, vinegar, puree and red pepper flakes.

Your house is going to smell like this.

Your house is going to smell like this.

Bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, stirring the whole time.

Silly the pig got tired of stirring constantly and decided to take a nap until it was over.

Silly the pig got tired of stirring constantly and decided to take a nap until it was over.

Liquid pectin is fun.

Liquid pectin is fun.

Remove from heat, stir in the pectin, and return to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim and foam.

I love this part, ladling.

I love this part, ladling. Also don’t look at the mess, jelly is messy and I couldn’t clean up before the picture.

Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and adjust a two-piece cap. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Merry Christmas friends!

Merry Christmas friends!

Jalapeno jelly is easy and wonderful to eat. This is pretty much what all my friends and family are getting for Christmas. It feels good to be done with my shopping in July!

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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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Filed under Ag, agriculture, History, photos, Ranch life, Scholarship, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Ag, agriculture, Guest Post, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

Shamrock Farms

As you all know by now this is a commercial cattle ranch. Our Ranch is mainly range ground where cattle roam in large fields. We are in an area of California that has a lot of different types of agriculture: almonds, rice, hay, walnuts, plums, nursery products, etc. This means we have a lot bees and when those bees aren’t working in those crops, they need a place to live. Enter, us! During the off-season the bees come live out here on the Ranch. We have a lovely crop of star-thistles, various grasses, and sometimes, clover. The bees love it out here and we love having them (except when I get stung in the throat and almost DIE, but that is for another post).
Since I’m crafty and I like to make stuff, occasionally I need beeswax. This was the case when I was making those body bars a while back. I called Kevin O’Laughin, from Shamrock Farms (our bee guy), to get some wax and ask him some questions about the honey industry. We played phone tag for a couple of weeks, but never connected. I ended up walking down the street at work, and buying some wax at the “organic” store. I made my body bars and forgot about the whole thing. Apparently Kevin did not. And he and his family did the nicest thing for me.

20111221-210358.jpg

I’m so lucky to live in an ag community where people are so nice. This was such a thoughtful gesture and I’m totally stoked! I love Big Dipper Wax Works! I have one of their candles that I’ve been refusing to burn because it smells so good! You notice that jar in the right corner? Honey butter. Homemade honey butter from a beekeeper. Yeah, it’s breathtaking. And I just ran out of my Savannah Bee Jelly at work! This couldn’t be more perfect! If you see honey from Shamrock Farms buy it!!!! It’s really good and depending on the kind you could be getting honey from our Ranch! They don’t have a website but his phone number is (530) 342-3000. Hit him up if you are looking for some quality honey.

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