Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thinking of Spring

Spent the day after finishing the girl's lessons making apple sauce. First time I have tried this but it turned out really good. Good enough that I'm going to make a bigger batch tomorrow as I know the girls will plow through this in a flash. This has gotten me thinking of spring next year and what to put in my garden.

I have been thinking about planting a few fruit trees to add to my garden and after this summer's good luck with the garden and my canning it is safe to say that apple trees will be on that list. Trying to figure out what else to plant, cherries are a favorite for the family so they go on the list, a peach tree or two because they are my favorite fruit and I make jam with them. 

Want to try blueberry and raspberry bushes, but not sure if they will grow in this area. I know they will make it through the winter, if they can make it through in Alaska so I should have luck.

I figure if I start planning now I can have everything planned by the time I need to order my trees and plants. If nothing else it will give me something to dream about during the long cold winter to come!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking Back

Fall is on it way here and I know that winter is not far behind it. Not sure that I am ready for that yet as winter last year was one of the worst we have seen in a few years and it was another lesson for me about life and death on a ranch. The lessons were not all bad, we had our first Christmas calf and for the most part the herd came through a cold and heavy snow winter only a little worse for the wear. Of course seeing them now, you would never guess that the winter was bad, for they are fat and happy munching the day away in belly deep grass.

The one lesson that was the hardest was when I had to help with my first C-section. It was a cold clear morning at the end of February and we were just at the start of the calving season, so the hubby went out in the truck to cut the ice, put out feed and check on a cow that he had seen the evening before that looked to be close to having her baby. This was an older cow who had never had a problem before having a calf, so we were not too worried about her and in fact the hubby expected to find her that morning nursing a new baby.

My first hint that anything was wrong was when I got the call to get the vet bag, blankets, towels and get down to the pasture. When I got down to where the hubby was waiting for me he let me know that it looked like the cow had been trying to have the calf for a little bit of time and was just too tired to finish. The problem was my hands are the only ones small enough to get the chains on to pull the calf, but on that morning not even my small hands could fit. It was then that I was told to get ready, we needed to get the calf out and that meant a C-section.  Now let me say this, I have had C-sections myself, I really don't want to see what was done to me in the version of a cow! However there was no choice so I did the next best thing, I started to ask the million and one questions that I felt I needed to know, all the while the hubby is busy getting all of his surgical gear ready.

I made it through the actual C-sections to be handed a wet, slimy and squirmy little solid black calf with the instructions "Get it dried off and warmed up". Okay, I figured I can do this part: dry and warm, right.

We are still not sure what happened or why, but the calf did not make it that day. I got it dried off and it was bawling for momma as she was getting finished up from her part of the delivery. Then the next thing I know the little calf went limp in my arms and despite even trying CPR she did not make it. I held her as her heart stopped beating and then cried my eyes out. You see this was the first time that I was able to be right there when one of our calves was born and I lost her. Even all these months later just the thought of it is enough to bring tears to my eyes.  We buried her under a nice tree that day and I still visit it each trip to that pasture.

But what is taken away on one day is given on another, as a few months later I was able to help on another birth and I have gotten the joy to watch that baby grow in my back yard into the strong and pretty girl that she is today.
This picture was taken when Dot was just 1 week old, she was in our backyard since her momma did not have enough milk for her.

Not every lesson is easy to learn but some how it all works out in the end and it all reminds me to lean on my faith.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fresh Squash and Pasta Recipe

Well, it is that time of year that those of us with gardens are starting to have an over abundance of fresh vegetables and we are all trying to figure out what to do with them. I know I have run through everyone of my recipes for squash, tomatoes, peppers and peas. So the other night for dinner I was faced with the problem of how to fix the yellow squash and zucchini in a different way that the kids would eat. Well this is what I can up with and not only did they love it, they wanted seconds and wanted to know when I would fix it again. Thought I would share the recipe with you for your family to enjoy.

Fresh Squash and Pasta

Pasta of your choice ( I used fettuccine)
2 yellow crooked neck squash cut into chunks
2 zucchini cut into chunks
1/2 large onion chopped
1 large bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
For flavor use what ever spices or seasoning your family loves, for us I used a Cajun mixture along with Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt

Cook the pasta according to the directions and drain setting aside.

While the pasta is cooking, melt some butter in a large fry pan or cast iron skillet. Put in the onion, garlic and peppers and let them start cooking, Chop up the squash and zucchini and put them in along with the seasoning. Cook until the squash is cooked but still firm and slightly crunchy. Stir in the pasta and serve as a side dish.

My oldest asked me to next time add shrimp to the dish and just serve it as a main course, so this is another option for you.

Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cowboy Cooking

Now as a mother, teacher, wife, ranch hand and the various other "jobs" I have there are just nights that I don't want to cook. So one night, shortly after moving to the ranch I figured that the hubby could help out and fix dinner. He's a good cook, I mean he did manage to feed himself during the years before I came along and he runs a mean grill. Well I asked him what he wanted to cook and what he needed out of the freezer for it. His answer was stew and not to worry about it. I thought 'Cool, night off from the kitchen!'.

Yeah, what I did not know then was that when my hubby cooks "stew" it is Son of A Gun Stew, the same recipe that his grandfather use to cook. While this sound harmless, in my book stew should not contain beef kidneys, heart and what ever else strange meat was put in that night. Now I had been smelling this stew cook all day and I will admit that it did smell good and I was hungry by the time we all got around to sitting down to dinner. At that point in time I still did not know what "mystery" meat was contained in the dinner. It was not until I sat down with the bowl and started looking for my usual large chunks of beef that I thought to ask what was in Son of A Gun stew. It was then that my hubby, somewhat sheepishly, told me exactly what was put in to make this stew. While I am normally an adventurous soul when it comes to trying new food, that night the girls and I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner and hubby had enough stew to last him a week.

Now when the those nights come about where I'm too tired or still busy to cook I pull out leftovers from the fridge and everyone gets to pick what they want. It is safer that way. I have also learned that when you ask a cowboy to fix dinner and what do they need to fix it, if they tell you not to worry about: Worry about it, no telling what you are going to get.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well, here is my first go at a blog, should be a fun ride I hope.

I did not grow up on a ranch or even around them, my dad was in the Air Force and while I was raised in Texas it was far from the ranching life. Then I met my husband and he changed my life when we moved three years ago to run the ranch that has been in his family now for five generations. Now I spend my days homeschooling our two daughters, helping out on the ranch in what ever way is needed, from extra cow hand to being a nurse for new born calves.
It has been an exciting ride so far and I don't figure it to slow down anytime soon!