Tag Archives: rain

Wordless Wednesday: The Storm

1 Comment

Filed under Ag, agriculture, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Cows in the Mist

20140813-210425-75865900.jpg

Leave a Comment

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

Wordless Wednesday: Almonds

20140304-174047.jpg

20140304-174255.jpg

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ag, agriculture, Field Trip, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized, Wordless Wednesday

Giveaway: Beef and Chop’n’Stir

As most of you know, the West is in the middle of a major drought. Until recently there was no rain. The grass was dead, the ranch was brown and withered.
Thankfully, it rained. It rained enough to get the creeks flowing and the green grass growing. In fact, it’s getting ready to rain right now!

The giveaway items! Brown Ranch hamburger and a chop and stir thing.

The giveaway items! Brown Ranch hamburger and a chop and stir thing.

We were so thrilled with the rain and the green grass, my Mom wanted to put some good karma out there and do a giveaway! We recently discovered this wonderful tool, called the chop and stir. It makes hamburger into nice, little, even crumbles. I love my hamburger like that, especially in tacos.

A pound of burger is quickly chopped into little, even crumbles. Yum.

A pound of burger is quickly chopped into little, even crumbles. Yum.

I feel like the meat cooks faster too.

I feel like the meat cooks faster too.

Unfortunately, I can only give the meat to a local person, because I am too afraid to ship. But if you aren’t local, you still get the chop and stir. All you have to do is leave me a comment below and I will use random.org to select a winner next Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Good luck!

16 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, Beef, food, Giveaway, meat, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

Zuppa Toscana Style Soup

It is finally raining in Northern California. I can literally hear the ground expanding and growing. It’s freaking glorious.

I spent almost all day outside in the rain. I cooked slop for the hogs, I fed my steers, I frolicked with Silly pig, it was such a nice change from the dry, warm weather we’ve been having. Until. Until I realized I was freezing and wet. And hangry. Really hangry.

My kale. It's good.

My kale. It’s good.

I  decided since it was finally raining enough to be noticeable it was time for winter food, soup! I love soup. Mainly because I’m lazy and you don’t have to chew soup. And it goes well with bread and cheese, my favorite food groups.

I decided to make this soup because it’s one of my favorites. Plus, I was able to use a lot of ingredients from my own ranch. I love that.

You will need....

You will need….

This soup reminds me of college so much! We were poor so we’d hit the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks (at our local casual dinning restaurant, Olive Garden) like no one’s business for lunch (as a special treat). Eating this soup still reminds me of being a hot mess 21 year old. Good times.

 Zuppa Toscana

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 gloves garlic crushed
  • 3 cups kale, in pieces
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 10 cups Chicken broth or enough to cover your vegetables
  • 1 cup cream
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage, remove from pan and add onion, cook onion until translucent.

Brown ranch heritage browned sausage, onions and garlic.

Brown ranch heritage browned sausage, onions and garlic.

Add garlic for about 30 seconds. Place sausage back in the pot with onions and garlic. Mix in red pepper flakes. Add chicken broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Add kale, salt and pepper, simmer for 5 minutes.

Pre-kale and cream.

Pre-kale and cream.

Add cream. Stir well. Serve with a dusting of parmesan cheese and a breadstick.

Soup! And it has kale, so it is "healthy" lol.

Soup! And it has kale, so it is “healthy” lol.

1 Comment

Filed under Ag, agriculture, food, Know a California Farmer, meat, photos, Ranch life, Recipe, Uncategorized

Wordless Wednesday: Waiting on the Rain

20140204-130300.jpg

2 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, family, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized, Wordless Wednesday

The Great Drought of 2013

EDIT: January 15, 2014

We’ve had no rain since my original post. We are basically out of hay and grass. We’ve purchased more supplement’s. Today was the first day my Dad mentioned selling some cattle. I want to cry. California Cattlepeople need help. Hay is sky high, if you can find it, the grass is gone and the weather forecast is not good. This is really scary and sad. 

 

2013 was a rough year for many cattlepeople, and we here the Brown Ranch are no different. While our ranch did not have it as bad as the ranchers in South Dakota, we struggled with a pasteurella outbreak in the spring, pink eye over the summer and finally our year is ending with extreme drought, which means, no grass to feed our cattle.

In my lifetime on this ranch, I have never seen it this dry. I have never seen the lack of feed. My Dad says the same. This year will be a make or break year for many cattlepeople, it is incredibly distressing.

In my lifetime on this ranch, I have never seen it this dry. I have never seen the lack of feed. My Dad says the same. This year will be a make or break year for many cattlepeople, it is incredibly distressing.

My family has taught me that in order to be good at what what we do, we need to have a contingency plan for everything that could go wrong. Life in agriculture is never boring, it’s never easy and Lord knows, it is anything but simple. Since my family has had generations and generations to learn this lesson, our ranch will survive.

My Dad, loading the truck. Since we left most of our crop of hay on the Mound Ranch,  we must drive two hours with this truck and trailer, load hay, drive home again, and load that hay into the truck to feed to cattle. Driving to The Mound Ranch is done about every four to five days and feeding the cattle is done every other day, sometimes everyday.

My Dad, loading the truck. Since we left most of our crop of hay on the Mound Ranch, we must drive two hours with this truck and trailer, load hay, drive home again, and load that hay into the truck to fed to the cattle. Driving to The Mound Ranch is done about every four to five days and feeding the cattle is done every other day, sometimes everyday.

Even though we had no idea that this year would be so severe in terms of rain and feed, we planned for it, because we  must. As I explained before, our cattle spend half the year on Table Mountain Ranch and the other half on The Mound Ranch. If you want to know more details about why we do that please read this. When we shipped our cattle to The Mound Ranch this past spring, we made sure to leave lots of grass or “feed” for the cattle to come back to. Again, this “feed” is not guaranteed to even be here when we ship our cattle back in the fall because often, we have fires here in the summer.

The view of our hay field.

The view of our hay field on The Mound Ranch.

In addition to leaving feed on the winter ranch to come back to, another thing we do, as a contingency (what if we have a fire??), is make hay. In a good feed year, we can sell any extra hay for income. In a bad feed year, like this year, we use the hay to supplement our cattle. Since the grass has not grown, our girls must eat the dry grass from last year. But that dry grass can only last so long, and it doesn’t have the same nutrients as fresh, green grass.

The girls know the feed truck and will race us to the feed area. Stampede!

The girls know the feed truck and will race us to the feed area. Stampede!

When we feed someone has to stand in the back of the moving truck, while using a knife to cut twine, and throw flakes off, all while collecting that twine, not falling off and getting licked by cows. It's not easy, and often scary.

When we feed, someone has to stand in the back of the moving truck, on bales of hay, while using a knife to cut twine, and throw flakes off, all while collecting that twine, not falling off and getting licked by cows. It’s not easy, and often scary.

Dad and his cattle. He can tell you about every single cow and calf here, who their Mom is, how he feels about them, their temperament, anything - it's neat.

Dad and his cattle. He can tell you about every single cow and calf here, who their Mom is, how he feels about them, their temperament, anything – it’s neat.

Feeding is truly a family affair. Mom drove so I could take pictures with my new Christmas camera.

Feeding is truly a family affair. Mom drove so I could take pictures with my new Christmas camera.

By supplementing our cattle’s diet with hay, they will continue to be happy and healthy. Our number one goal on this ranch is the health and comfort of our animals. We do not want them to feel any type of stress, by making sure they don’t realize we are having a poor feed year, we prevent a whole list of health problems; from aborted calves to illnesses and death.

Supplements.

Supplements (also look how sad the grass is, kinda makes a girl wanna cry).

Yet another tool we use to ensure the health and happiness of our cattle are supplements. Our cattle always have access to mineral salt, it is necessary for their survival. However, during lean years when there is not new grass growth, they also get a protein supplement. When cattle eat dried out grass, with no new green grass, they must have a protein supplement to maintain their health (in our opinion). I know this is a horrible thing for me to admit to, but, I love these supplements because I up-cycle the blue tubs, they are the perfect size to plant dwarf trees in!!!

Happy, hay-fed, supplement given, grass left for, Brown Ranch cows.

Happy, hay-fed, supplement given, grass left for, Brown Ranch cows.

There are many, many, many, different supplements on the market for cattle. In the past we’ve used Crystalyx, and other local companies. Right now we are using a generic 24% protein supplement, since we are feeding hay as well.

We are really in some serious trouble.

We are really in some serious trouble.

I know those of us in agriculture are famous for never being happy with the weather. It’s always too wet, too dry, too cloudy, too sunny. But this is serious, cattlepeople in the west are facing some very tough times right now. Hay is expensive, if you can find it, extra rangeland is impossible to find, and the weather refuses to compromise. I am afraid for many of my neighbors and friends. Hope for rain my friends.

11 Comments

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

Deer Hunting 2013

As most of you know I drew a deer tag this year. It’s been a long time since I have had the urge to hunt, around 6 years. After years and years of having the local dear population gorge themselves on my garden, I’ve had enough. I figured, it’s time they fed me for a change!

For the record hunting isn’t a huge passion of mine. It’s generally early, cold, I have to pee outside and there is no where to wash my hands, a little too much like camping. This year was different, I had a really, really good time. It was cold and stuff, but it was worth it!

I wanted to share some pictures from the few days I spent hunting. When I thought about it, many people in the general population never gets to see this. So, I’m sharing.

Opening day it raining, it was freezing because I did not dress for that, but I powered through and took some neat pictures.

Opening day and it’s raining, I’m freezing because I did not dress for that, but I powered through and took some neat pictures.

My Dad (pictured), loves to hunt. It's his happy place. I started to hunt because it was a way for me to bond with him.

My Dad (pictured), loves to hunt. It’s his happy place. I started to hunt because it was a way for me to bond with him.

Watching dawn break over the hills above Chico was stunning. And cold.

Watching dawn break over the hills above Chico was stunning. And cold.

Clouds over a canyon. panoramic

Clouds over a canyon. panoramic

My Uncle had to sit in between my cousin and I because apparently "we were talking too much".

My Uncle had to sit in between my cousin and I because apparently “we were talking too much”. Also: notice the RAIN?

The first day ended with no luck. Mainly just doe's and a few fawns. Can you see them?

The first day ended with no luck. Mainly just doe’s and a few fawns. Can you see them?

The second day I went was just my Dad and I. My Dad and I haven’t had a Daddy/Daughter hunt in years. I think I can only remember once, actually. So it was a lot of fun, to spend a day together on the ranch. Now this particular ranch I don’t know that well. I didn’t grow up on it, I didn’t spend much time on it because of my Dad’s insane interesting family. Things have calmed down so I now feel safe to be there. The day quickly turned into sight seeing and story telling, as we realized the deer population was just not there. My Dad mentioned several times to “put that in the blog”, referring to some picture or story.

My Dad told me a story about how he missed a week of high school to build this fence (it's in pure rock and very steep). His PE teacher was gonna flunk him - my dad's shop teacher saved his butt. My Dad pointed out to the PE teacher that he was being physical by building this fence. The PE teacher is wasn't just about being physical, it was about "getting along with your fellow man". The shop teacher reminded the PE teacher about my Dad's infamous older brothers. Dad passed.

My Dad told me a story about how he missed a week of high school to build this fence (it’s in pure rock and very steep). His PE teacher was gonna flunk him – my Dad’s shop teacher saved his butt. My Dad pointed out to the PE teacher that he was being physical by building this fence. The PE teacher said it wasn’t just about being physical, it was about “getting along with your fellow man”. The shop teacher reminded the PE teacher about my Dad’s infamous older brothers. Dad passed.

It's like a cairn, but natural! Isn't it neat!?

It’s like a cairn, but natural! Isn’t it neat!?

One of my favorite places on the ranch is here. It's Indian grinding bowls built into the creek bed.

One of my favorite places on the ranch is here. It’s Indian grinding bowls built into the creek bed.

My Dad and Uncle (the one that is featured in this blog) took all of my cousins and I here when we were little. It was a glorious day of my childhood I remember well.

My Dad and Uncle (the one that is featured in this blog) took all of my cousins and I here when we were little. It was a glorious day of my childhood I remember well.

Part of the ranch has these beautiful rock walls built on it. They are impressive. I cannot imagine how hard and heavy it would have been to build.

Part of the ranch has these beautiful rock walls built on it. They are impressive. I cannot imagine how hard and heavy it would have been to build.

This was my favorite part of the rock walls, it's a little tunnel for a creek!

This was my favorite part of the rock walls, it’s a little tunnel for a creek!

Seriously, you guys, look at this!

Seriously, you guys, look at this!

A super neat tree. My Dad happens to mention it would be a great place for bridal pictures. Subtle, Dad, subtle.

A super neat tree. My Dad happened to mention it would be a great place for bridal pictures. Subtle, Dad, subtle.

Again, we saw no legal bucks. Just doe's, see?

Again, we saw no legal bucks. Just doe’s, see?

This is a spring where the Native American's carved  a drinking basin (sorry for the crappy picture).

This is a spring where the Native American’s carved a drinking basin (sorry for the crappy picture).

The Sutter Butte from the ranch.

The Sutter Butte from the ranch.

The other side of the fence is Upper Bidwell Park and directly ahead, the City of Chico.

The other side of the fence is Upper Bidwell Park and directly ahead, the City of Chico.

Finally at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning (the THIRD morning), I spotted a little buck, and by 7:01, I had shot him through the chest. My Dad and Uncle said I almost missed. I say I planned it like that so I wouldn’t waste any meat because I never would have heard the end of it. I maintain that a childhood filled with duck hunter on Nintendo prepared me to be a very, very good shot. Plus part of hunting is stick poking. If you screw up, or miss you hear about it FOR YEARS. I make an effort to screw up as little as possible.

YAY! After years of supplying the local deer population with tomatoes and other fresh veggies, they are supply me with meat! Plus it was a lot of fun to spend time with my family, learn about the ranch and take some neat pictures share.

YAY! After years of supplying the local deer population with tomatoes and other fresh veggies, they are supplying me with meat! Plus it was a lot of fun to spend time with my family, learn about the ranch and take some neat pictures to share.

I’m going to up to cut and wrap by buck tomorrow. I plan on showing that and the field dressing of my buck in the next blog. Stayed tuned and leave me questions if there is anything you want to know. Thank you for looking!

5 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, family, Field Trip, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized, Wordless Wednesday