Tag Archives: rain
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Add cream. Stir well. Serve with a dusting of parmesan cheese and a breadstick.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!