Tag Archives: gift

Birthday Baby Calf

The shit my Dad has been giving me lately, about not having kids, is reaching rather remarkable proportions. Why, you ask. Because our new neighbors have one of the cutest little boys, ever. Wyatt is 3, soon to be 4. His Parents, Megan and Jared, moved next door to our summer ranch in the mountains and I just got to meet them this spring.
I was already a fan of these neighbors before I even met them because they wanted pigs. They had some of my heritage pork last summer and knew they need to raise their own. This just tickled me because, as you all know, promoting heritage pork is one of my pet projects. The first time I met them in real life was when I delivered 5 pigs to their house. Since then our pig plans have grown, but that’s for another post.

Wyatt and his pigs.

Wyatt and his pigs.

They’ve been a huge help around the ranch, we tend to get really excited about that. My Dad and I both have really enjoyed getting to know them, and hanging out with Wyatt, which has lead to my Dad’s grandpa fever. I’ll even admit, Wyatt is starting to even make me think about dating again (DO NOT TELL MY DAD I SAID THAT!).
As I mentioned before, Wyatt has a birthday coming up, so it was decided that he needed something special. Something that he could grow with, teach him stuff and maybe eventually make some money from (you know, for school). Obviously, the answer was a little heifer bottle calf.

Yes, I know I put the ear tag in backwards. But since Wyatt doesn't have a brand yet, this will help in case she gets lost.

Yes, I know I put the ear tag in backwards. But since Wyatt doesn’t have a brand yet, this will help in case she gets lost.

We always end up with a few bottle babies every year, some we sell to neighbors that need to graft a calf and sometimes I keep them to sell as a beef. We started looking for just the right calf for Wyatt, one that would make a good cow in a few years. She also needed to have a nice attitude. We had a poor old cow die during birth, it does happen once in a while. The little heifer that was born, that now had no mama, was sweet and calm, perfect for the birthday boy. Wyatt named his calf, Sally.

I'm going to warn you all: do not let me around your kids. I am a horrible influence. By the time I'm done there will be pigs and calves everywhere and college will be paid for.

I’m going to warn you all: do not let me around your kids. I am a horrible influence. By the time I’m done there will be pigs and calves everywhere and college will be paid for.

It’s important to my family that we expose kids to production agriculture. We know we live a unique existence and we want to share that with people that have an interest in what we do. We’re also being terribly selfish because in just a few short years, Wyatt is going to be amazing help on the ranch!

Wyatt getting  a little help from his Mom the first time he fed Sally. It almost made me cry, it was so cute.

Wyatt getting a little help from his Mom the first time he fed Sally. It almost made me cry, it was so cute.

Wyatt is going to feed this baby all summer. When we move down to the valley she is going to come down with the rest of the cows and enjoy a mild winter with lots of grass. Next year when it’s time for Sally to have a bullfriend, we’ll make sure that happens so Wyatt can expand his herd.

Look at this little cowboy! As soon as he learns to read, I've going to give him some Dr. Grandin books and this kid will be unstoppable.

Look at this little cowboy! As soon as he learns to read, I’ve going to give him some Dr. Grandin books and this kid will be unstoppable.

We’re excited to watch Wyatt and Sally grow up together. We can already see it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship and hopefully a long line of black angus cows and delicious meat!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, Know a California Farmer, photos, Pigs, Ranch life, Uncategorized

Outside “College” Bench

Like most of us, one of my guilty pleasures is reading the BuzzFeed lists. Of course, my favorites are the ones on food and gardening, like this one.  One item in that post really got my attention:

Photo from http://lenasekine.blogspot.com/2013/08/diy-outdoor-seating.html

Photo from http://lenasekine.blogspot.com/2013/08/diy-outdoor-seating.html

 

This “couch” was perfect for my yarden, and perhaps as a Mother’s or Father’s Day gift? Plus it reminded me of college.

I spend a great amount of time outside in my yarden, and it’s hard to find durable, affordable patio furniture. And since my yarden is a constantly evolving project, I need to be able to move my furniture around, again, this was perfect!

I used the tutorial from The Basement, and it worked great!

 

If you are really nice to the Home Depot workers they will load all this stuff on your cart and in your truck!

If you are really nice to the Home Depot workers they will load all this stuff on your cart and in your truck!

I went down to my local Home Depot and gathered all my materials. You will need:

  • 12 – 8″x8″x16″ cinder blocks
  • 4 – 4x4x10 pieces of lumber
  • Cushions
  • Paint

The lumber and blocks cost $67, the paint was free (I “borrowed” it from my Mom), and the cushions were $30 and it took me mere minutes to set up. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The hardest part was packing all this stuff into my yarden from the truck.

The hardest part was packing all this stuff into my yarden from the truck.

Make sure your ground is level, or this will not work well at all. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

I assembled it in a jiff!

I assembled it in a jiff!

I’m going to stain this wood, just so it lasts longer.

Add some paint and a wine bottle,  mosquito oil, lamp and you are ready to relax!

Add some paint and a wine bottle, mosquito oil lamp and you are ready to relax!

In the other tutorials they used adhesive to glue the blocks together. I did not do that. I felt like it was sturdy enough, and I plan on moving it around. All in all – I spent about $100 and an hour painting and putting it all together. I felt like it was worth the time and money. In fact I might cut the lumber in half and make “love seat” sizes next!

 

 

 

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Filed under Ag, animals, arts & crafts, Humor, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Ag, agriculture, arts & crafts, food, photos, Ranch life, Recipe, Uncategorized

Drunken Planters

I had such a cliche Monday. I woke up late, I couldn’t find anything to wear, my coffee wasn’t made and when I went outside in the morning, the first thing I saw was my car with a flat tire. Boooooooo.

A car with a flat tire in the country usually isn’t a big deal. We have air compressors, and tire changing tools if it comes to that. But this morning, for some reason, nothing worked. The compressor wouldn’t start, and I didn’t have enough time to change it (plus I really suck at tire changing and would rather pay more insurance to have someone do it for me).

Since I still live on the compound (the Ranch), help is mere yards away in the form of my Mother. I woke her up, bright and early, to frantic, late for work, Meg. She gave me her car and I promised to get off from work early so I could take my car in to be fixed.

Before I knew it my car was in my parking lot, with two new, paid for tires. To top that all off, my Mom told me that she was making me dinner! What a wonderful day!

As a token of my appreciation I wanted to do something nice for her. So I made her these planters.

YOU WILL NEED:

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Various plants – flowers, vegetables, herbs, succulents

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Rebar – I like the 4 footers, but any size will do

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Potting soil – use the good stuff, it matters!!!

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A hammer and gloves

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Moss

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Clay pots – various sizes or not

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Start by hammering the rebar into the ground. Make sure you get it deep enough to support the amount of clay pots you are using.

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Thread the bottom of the pot through the rebar at an angle. I like to use a big pot on the the bottom and work my way up.

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Continue threading the pots through the rebar at alternating angles.

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Keep going…..

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Just a couple more….

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Stop when the rebar is covered by the last pot.

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Helper dog – Jinx!

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Start filling the bottom pot with soil.

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Then start planting your flowers.

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I like to use odd numbers of plants and find a “filler, spiller and a thriller” as my floral design teacher would say. For example one plant that grows up-right, one that stays round and has awesome color, and one that will trail out of the pot.

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Continue planting until you fill the last pot.

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Go back and cover the soil with moss.

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The moss really “finishes” it, don’t you think?

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Taaa daaaa!!!!

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I went ahead and did a baby one for her too. I need to do one more because odd numbers look best.

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I did matching succulent planters on the beginning of my walk-way. I’m hoping to do some vegetable themed planters next spring, hopefully they will be close enough to the house to be protected from the damn thieving deer.

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Filed under Ag, arts & crafts, photos

Ribbon Wreath

I’m a dork, and you already know this if you’ve been reading my blog. However I am crafty dork, well, crafty enough to steal other ideas and put them on my blog! Ha ha, j/k (sorta). This is a super easy and cathartic wreath to make. I tend to like things where I can sit and do the same thing over and over, so I can wipe the drool off my chin and not think about life for a while. The hours it will take you to cut all the ribbon and place all the ribbon loops will appease this need. So get your PJ’s on, put a chick flick on TV, get a snack and get comfortable.

First off get some ribbon. Different colors, textures and sizes will look super cool in this wreath, so knock yourself out. You are then going to cut your ribbon into 4 ½ inch sections, you’ll need about 360 pieces (give or take depending on your ribbon width and whatnot).

You will also need a foam wreath form (available at most craft or floral stores, I think mine is 12 inches), and floral pins.

Then fold the ribbon into a loop and pin it into the wreath form.

(Picture to come)

Keep doing that, placing the ribbon loops randomly around the form, facing different directions. Keep doing this until your wreath appears full and you can’t see any of the foam form.

That is pretty much it. It should look like this when you are done.

I gave the purple one to my Mom and the Christmas one to my Grandma and was, briefly, the favorite grandchild, for about a minute.

You can get fancy and add bows or other embellishments, but I’m lazy and didn’t.

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