A few weeks ago, I found myself tagged in a comment by a facebook friend of mine, Glen Groth. It was on a page called American Meat. They were looking for young ranchers and farmers under 35 in California. Well sure enough I got an e-mail from them, asking about me and the ranch.
Things progressed and the director Graham, finally gave me a call. We chatted for a while and we set a date for American Meat crew to come on out to the Ranch. I got the morning off from my town job, cleaned my house and hoped I wouldn’t sound like a complete moron.
Graham and Andy.
Graham and Andy showed up bright and early. It was kind of odd because they told me to act like they were not there and just do my thing. That is really hard for me to do. When people are here I like to talk and visit and tell stories. Any way I took them to check salt. Of course I got the truck stuck because they were filming and that is just how I roll. Then I busted a bag of salt (the bag was wet and I didn’t notice) and when we were doing the interview part I’m certain I had a snoticle coming out of my nose. Graham and Andy were lovely enough to edit all of that stuff out so I look like I am actually a coherent adult, thanks guys!
This is what getting video’d looks like.
Here is the finished product, enjoy! (And go check out the other videos
, there are some super cool farmers and ranchers out there!!)
Remember a few months back when the Ranch caught on fire? They did catch the guy and he did have some insurance, but not enough to fix all the fence he destroyed. Over my Thanksgiving break I was able to help my Dad fix that fence so we can put our cattle back in their fields. I took this opportunity to take a few pictures of our fence fixing. Since I was trying to keep up with Dad (I know sometimes I drive my family insane with all my picture taking but, hey, that is what happens when you have a blog!), I didn’t get to document the whole process. As any cattleperson will tell you though, there is no end to fence building, so at some point expect a blog about fence building.
This was one of the worst ranch days recently. SO scary!
The accident took out many wooden posts. The posts are redwood hearts and have been there longer than my Dad has been alive. We replaced the wooden posts with metal t-posts.
The metal t-posts have to be pounded in by hand.
The soil on this ranch is basically rock. Imagine pounding a metal post into almost solid rock – it makes my teeth and boobs hurt, I simply can’t do it.
I am the official ranch fence clipper. I can clip like it’s my job (oh hey it is!). My little hands are perfect for getting into the small places in-between the wires. I also use a big nail instead of pliers – it’s just easier for my little hands.
I start by putting the clip around the post and wire.
I use the nail to wrap the clip around the wire…
Like so ….
When repairing your fence you want your wires to be close together so a cow can’t stick her head through the wires and break them.
A great way to make your fence last a little longer is to get it off the ground. That way the wire won’t sit in mud/water/moisture and rust.
Look, all fixed!!!!! Until the next bull fight or car accident!
Unlike my job in town, production agriculture does not give days off. I spent my Thanksgiving fixing fence, cutting wood and picking pecans with my family, while my friends watched parades and football games. I am incredibly thankful that I have a lifestyle that enables me to work with animals, nature and my family. I hope this blog is able to convey that to you out there in consumerland. Happy Holidays Friends!
- Char fits perfectly into my cat carrier! And he didn’t even get car sick this time!
As you recall from the last post, Char went to Kristen’s house for some runt TLC. I am happy to report that Char responded nicely to Kristen’s hospital pen and is back on the ranch with his friends.
Char’s private pig house.
Mahina came over and spent the day fixing up a separate pen for Char, so he wouldn’t have to work so hard for his groceries. Char liked it. Until he finished his dinner. He then broke into the other pen with his friends. We’ve been watching him closely, but he seems to be doing just fine.
Look at his little pig butt! Curly tail! Curly tail means happy and healthy piggy!
Char is eating well.
- REALLY well. He gets to snack before the others, much to the alarm of Nikki-Dog (see her pointing at him? She is telling me he is not supposed to be there).
These pigs have become master rooters. remember how I told you the stickers and weeds were pretty nasty is their pen? Well check out the natural rototillers!
Before and after – I’m planning how to apply my hog power to other overgrown parts of the ranch….. exciting!!!
HOWEVER. The downside to pastured pork:
I found a tick on a pig. It upset me greatly. But it was a great time to e-mail my pig experts about a parasite prevention plan! Who wants to come over and help give shots?
My favorite part about owning pigs again? Pig races. This is the best video I could get of it, but trust me, we do this everyday so I’ll get some good ones later. http://youtu.be/wu2jjdNYwHY
When they catch me they get treats and the get to root at me:
This is treat time and root time. It’s a good time!
The Kennedy Ranch. Or as we call it today, Sycamore Ranch, or The Chico Ranch. This ranch is still in our family, actually all the ranches mentioned in the article below are still in production. A portion of it was sold off as an eminent domain in the 1980’s, but for the most part, this ranch is largely intact. Quite frankly, this is one of the most beautiful ranches in Northern California.
It’s a couple of miles away from downtown Chico, right over the fence from Bidwell Park, and homes have been built on the portion that was taken away. But once you enter the gate, and go over the hill, you feel like civilization and all of your problems are hundreds of miles away. When I am there I imagine what it must have been like when my great grandparents bought it. I’m just starting to uncover the history behind these ranches, but I understand why my family chose to settle, live and die here.
My Mom recently gave me a box of newspaper clippings. This box was from either my Grandfather or from my Great Aunt. It contained mainly clipping about agriculture from 1954, but it did have some gems. These gems included the article posted below and some other clippings relevant to the Family. I’ll be posting them over the next several weeks because they are really cool. This article is about the purchase of the Kennedy Ranch.
I’m having a good morning. First it started when I woke up with no fuzzy white cat ass in my face, a rare treat! For some reason, Jack decided to sleep in his own cat bed, something he rarely does. Without my hot, furry, bed stealing cat, I got enough sleep and was actually early enough to work to make a coffee and pastry run, and the coffee shop had homemade pistachio s’mores! It was like Christmas!
While I was waiting for my coffee I checked my e-mail and guess what? My day got even better!!!! I won something! A really cool book from someone cool! I’ve been enjoying westeastern.me blog for a while now, her blog is very well done and entertaining. Plus her pictures are badass. And there are horses. Go there, enjoy her story.
So Jessica inspired me to pay it forward. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a giveaway, it’s time. My Mom is sponsoring this giveaway, thanks Mom! We make old fashioned lye based soap on the Ranch, just like our great grandparents used. Its lovely soap, I’ve used it since I was a teenager and attribute the fact that I still get carded every time I attempt to buy booze or get into a bar, to that soap. Well that and lots of water and sunscreen.
Oops, sorry, I lost focus there for a moment. Back to the soap. My Mom has been making this soap for a long time. She always had a passion for soapmaking ever since she was a child. Being the youngest of 5 kids, my Mom developed a colorful vocabulary and became very well acquainted with the taste of soap at a young age. We are working on new pin up girl labels (by we, I mean me), but my limited skill with Photoshop is proving to be a hindrance (hint, crafty photo people want to come over and help?).
This giveaway is for two of bars of Table Mountain Ranch Goats milk Soap, in Lavender Breeze and Yuzu. All you have to do in comment on this blog. Next Tuesday, May 15, 2012, I will use random.org to select a winner. Good luck!