Monday, December 12, 2011

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Well I mentioned my spiced apple cider the other day on my Facebook page and I have had requests for the recipe so I'm sharing it here with everyone. It is a supper easy recipe to make and it will have your whole house smelling wonderful for hours.
I make mine in the Crock-pot but you can just as easily fix it in a pot on the stove top. I also make a ton of it because before you know it, all the cider is gone!

64 oz bottle of apple cider
1 large orange sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 tablespoon whole cloves

Put all the ingredients in your Crock-pot or pan, heat to boiling and then turn down the heat to warm on a Crock-pot or simmer on the stove. Enjoy the taste of the cider and the smell in your house.

Enjoy this with your family this holiday season. May the blessings of the season be with you and yours and continue into the next year. Stop by Fresh From the Farm linky party for more great recipes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's December WHAT!

I am not sure where all the time has already gone in this month. I mean really by the second weekend of December my house looks like an army of elves lives here. The tree is up and decorated, the lights are strung, all the Christmas decorations are up in every room of the house.
This year, there is a tree in the living room, still not decorated and the only Christmas decorations that have made it out of the closet is one wreath hanging on the back door and my Nativity scene in the living room. I'm not looking at the calendar and seriously wondering if it would really be worth it to drag all the stuff out of the closet and decorate.
Okay, yes it would be worth it, but just where am I to find the time? Think one night this next week I'm going to fire up the Christmas movies, make some hot chocolate and go on a decorating spree once everyone else goes to bed.
I do know that at least by the time that I go to bed tonight the tree will have at the very least it's lights on. Right now it just looks like we built our living room around a large pine tree that we forgot to cut down!
No I'm not posting pictures of that because it is just very sad looking right now, but I will have pictures once my living room has it's Christmas decorations showing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A fun afternoon in the snow

What ranch kids (and dad's) spend the afternoon doing after all the work is done? They tie an inner-tube to the quad and have their daddy pull them around the driveway in front of the house of course!

They had a blast, then it was inside to warm up with some hot apple cider.

I'm linking up with Fresh from the Farm and her Photo Friday linky party. Stop by for a visit and some great pictures.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A snowy morning

Good morning from snowy New Mexico! The snow finally decided to show up early this morning. Left to put out blocks and break the water for the cows this morning and did not take my camera because the snow had not started yet. But by the time we were done it was coming down a good pace and me with no camera!

Did take a few pictures from the house when I got home.
I love how the bluffs look with snow on them

The girls are working on school, so I'm getting caught up on some paperwork and computer work and then baking is on the agenda for today.
 So what is  on the schedule for baking?
First up is this yummy Cranberry Apple Bread, love to use cranberries this time of year in my baking.

Next I think will be my version of a Fruit Cake. Now this is not your traditional dry candied fruit filled cake. I use dried cranberries, cherries, fresh apples, canned pineapple and raisins. The recipe calls for only 3 cups of raisins but I split that 3 cups total over all the different fruits and cut the 3 cups of pecans down to 1 1/2 cups walnuts. As for the brandy you can make the cake without it, just add 1/2 cup water and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in it's place. I love this cake as there is actual cake to the fruit cake part.

Also on the schedule is eggnog this time of year. This is when having your own chickens and extra eggs comes in handy! Last year for the Christmas season I was going through 18 eggs a day! Glad I did not have to keep buying them at the store.

Well the snow is still falling and I'm off to bake, have a great weekend everyone and if you are baking this holiday season let me know what you are baking. Share some pictures or recipes on my Facebook page Tales of a Ranchers Wife of your favorite holiday recipes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A vistior for the day

Ryan Goodman from Agriculture Proud is asking today for those of us in the farming and ranching world to share, honestly, how we would do things if someone who was not a farmer or rancher was to follow us around for a day. Wile I would hope that the answer to that question would be we would do nothing different, that is sadly not always the case. I can say for us though we do nothing different, other than go a little slower and explain a lot, when we have visitors to our ranch.

For those that don't know we are located in Northwest New Mexico and we run a commercial Hereford/Angus cross beef cattle ranch. It is not a big ranch by many standards, we are only around 30,000 acres and have 150 head. My husband is the 4th generation on the ranch and that makes our two girls the 5th. We do all the daily work with just our selves and one wonderful man, Alan that works just as hard as we do. When time comes for us to gather, brand or ship that is when we call in reinforcements, mostly family to come and help fill in the extra spots.  It is not always family that comes and helps though as we have hosted some exchange students from Germany and Korea one branding and this year two of our local missionaries came and helped out during shipping time.

Here are our two missionaries. Elder Totten, on the right had never before been around cattle so this was truly a new experience for him.

Elder Hunsaker had never helped work cattle before, but it did not take long before he was an old hand at it though

Even Elder Totten got in the spirit of things before the end of the day
Working cattle in pens and corrals is not the easiest thing to do even with a group of experienced cowboys, add to that two young men who have never worked cattle before and you could be in for a world of trouble. But we look at it as a way to share what we do on a daily basis with someone who would otherwise never have that experience. Showing those outside the ranching industry just what we do on a daily and yearly basis is important. It lets them understand what goes into raising and growing healthy, good quality beef cattle. It also gives us another voice to share our story with those that we may never meet, but they too have a better idea.

I love having new people come around and show them our ranch, it is something I am very proud of. I love answering all their questions about why we do this and why we put cattle in certain places. The answers are always honest, they are sometime hard for people to hear, such as when can't always save every animal that is sick or injured. One thing that I can't wait to start is once I have my own elementary classroom is having the class visit the ranch and see first hand us working with the cattle and sharing with the kids just where it is that the beef they see in the grocery store comes from.

I am proud to be a rancher's wife and I am proud to say that when we have in the past shared that with people we change nothing that we do from when they are not around.

Make sure and stop by Agriculture Proud for a continually update list of other blogs writing about this topic today. We are happy to have you visit!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A quick peek at what I have been busy with

Well I have been busy around the ranch lately. The oldest was off on her first deer hunt last weekend, it was a long 5 days filled with snow, cold weather and mud and not a buck to show for all her hard work. But I am proud of her as she was excited from the hunt and ready to tackle it again next year.
She was so tired by the last day that she fell asleep in the back of the truck waiting until evening to hunt again.
That girl was up at 4am every morning of her hunt and would not quit until the very last of the shooting light had faded. It was not through lack of trying that she did not get a buck. While there is no fresh venison in our freezer this year I could not be more proud of her.

I have also started back to school myself. Only 6 more classes and I will be ready to student teach. I'm ready to be done taking classes. Enough about that though.

What has kept me the busiest is getting everything lined out for starting my own business. I am starting an on-line store where I will sell handmade, custom purses, totes, home decor, baby items and blankets. I want to thank everyone who submitted names for the store. The winner was Celeste Settrini with her suggestion of Twisted Stitches. As a reward for coming up with the winning name Celeste is getting a custom made tote in her choice of material.
I thought I would give everyone a little peek into some of the material that I will be using to make some totes and baby items to sell in my store. If you see anything you like let me know and I will be more than happy to put together the item for you.
Here is one of the western prints that I have to use to make a purse or tote

Another western print, I love this one.

Pretty blue and brown for another purse/tote

I think I will make a purse out of these for myself too! The center material is a faux tooled leather that I just love.

This set and the next will be made into burp clothes. Nice big ones 16"x21 backed with terry cloth seems like good thick ones are hard to find anymore. The material is a nice soft flannel.

Just thought the print on this was too cute and great for boy or girl.

Another burp cloth set in flannel also.

And the close up of the print pattern
Here is one of the burp clothes all completed, both sides shown.

The flannel side of the burp cloth

Up close of the pattern
 I have more western material on order that will be here next week and I will get pictures up so that you can look through that also. I also got some new material at the store today, but have not had a chance to take pictures yet, the ones above I got taken this morning. Then the hubby showed up with a new orphan calf this afternoon and we have been trying to get her to eat... so the picture taking has gotten delayed.

Christmas is just around the corner you know and I will also have some handmade ornaments and hand-painted ornaments for sale also. If you are interested in anything that you have seen here e-mail me at with any requests or questions. I'm getting everything set up for the on-line store and will let you know when it is up and running and you can order from there.

Thanks to everyone who had encouraged me in starting this business and I look forward to watching it grow.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Love this time of year, oh and ribs too!

It is surely feeling like fall here. Not only in the sense that it is hunting season but the fact that the fireplace is going everyday, I'm wanting to bake everyday, soup is back on the dinner menus and it is by oldest birthday. The hubby is strange in the fact that he only wants or will eat soup and stew during the fall and winter. Me I could eat a big bowl of chili any night of the week!
So just what has been cooking in the kitchen? Today is brownies and Crock-pot pork ribs. It is my oldest daughter's 14th birthday today. She requested her favorite of BBQ pork ribs cooked in the Crock-pot and I was all ready to share with you photos of all the steps, but the camera went with the hunters today and has not returned. I'm hoping that means that they have a buck down and will be coming home with pictures and meat!
So I will give you the recipe and you will just have to use your imagination for the picture part.

Easy Crock-pot BBQ Pork Ribs

1 rack of ribs (around 5 lbs)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
BBQ sauce

To keep the ribs from making a mess in the crock pot, line it with aluminum foil. Put in two pieces of aluminum foil cross wise and this will keep everything from sticking in the pot and make clean up a breeze.
After that split the rack of ribs in half, salt and pepper to taste, put in the crock pot pour in the liquid smoke and a small amount of BBQ sauce and cook on high heat for 3 hours. After 3 hours turn to low heat and continue to cook until the meat is just ready to fall off the bones.
Now you can finish the ribs in different ways. If the weather is warm and nice I fire up the propane grill and baste them with the BBQ sauce that way. However if the weather is like it is today I put the ribs on a cookie sheet spread the BBQ sauce all over them and put them in under the broiler for no more than 15 min or until the BBQ sauce is cooked on the ribs.
Serve this with your favorite rib side dishes and don't worry about the clean up, because you lined the pot with aluminum foil.
Stop by the linky party with Fresh from the Farm recipe swap for even more great recipes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help me and get a prize!

Okay I'm having my first give away. I'm working on starting an on-line store to sell my sewing and crochet items and I'm in need of a name.
This is where you come in. Leave me a message here on my blog or if you are on Facebook, stop by my page there Tales of a Ranchers Wife and leave me a post with your ideas. The deadline is Wednesday the 9th to leave an idea or suggestion. I will take the top three and post those on Thursday and then pick the winner from those three on Friday the 11th. The winner will get a hand-made tote in their choice of material.
I have a few ideas for names from friends so far and Meg with Hook, Thread and Create is in the lead. So stop by and help give some ideas and win yourself a pretty new tote.

The one pictured here is one that I just made for my oldest daughter and gives you an idea but I will work with you so that you get one that is just perfect for you.
The size is 13 inches wide and 10 inches high with pockets on the inside and out if you want.

So start thinking of ideas and be sure to share them! I'm looking forward to seeing all the different names come through, the hard part will be picking just one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

For Wordless Wednesday this week I'm showcasing my oldest daughters photography. All these pictures she took around the ranch.
Love the view from this one

This one is my favorite

Good job Bibble! You may just end up with a camera for Christmas after all. Will help keep mine from disappearing all the time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hunk of Meat Monday

 Here is my quest post for fellow blogger Pinke Post and her Hunk of Meat Monday series. Stop by her blog and check out life on the prairies of North Dakota.
Hunting season has hit our house in a big way this year. First it starts with me and dove season and then quickly moves on to archery season and now we are looking to the rifle deer season. This year is extra special as our oldest has her first deer hunting coming up in the next few weeks. Hoping to have plenty of pictures to post a great story to go with them in a few weeks!

 We have been scouting for a good buck for her and she has a few picked out that she wants to go after. So in honor of her upcoming hunt I’m sharing my recipe for Venison Stew which I am hoping to be able to make often this winter. I love nothing better than being able to open my freezer and pull out a package of venison to cook up, done right venison is tender, flavorful and can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Pretty much if a recipe calls for beef you can replace it with equal amounts of venison. The only thing to remember is that venison has very little fat so if you use it in a ground form it will not shrink down like ground beef.
Venison Stew
2 lb venison roast or tenderloin rinsed, drained and trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup carrots chopped
½ cup celery chopped
½ cup onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 potatoes chopped
½ cup red cooking wine
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire  sauce
1 tsp of each of the following spices: Thyme, Sage, Parsley, Oregano, Basil
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) In a cast iron dutch oven brown the venison. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until soft.
2) Add the potatoes, tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, Worcestershire sauce, spices and enough water to create the broth.
(Insert “stew picture” here)
Stir and bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook until the meat and potatoes are tender. You may need to add water as the stew cooks, do not let the broth get too low.

Serve with a salad and a good loaf of bread to use to pick up all the broth in the bottom of the bowl.
Here is hoping that your hunting season is successful. Get out there and take your kids with you, even the girls!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A quick update

Well the steers are all sold, other then the ones we are keeping to put in the freezer, the heifers are weaned and turned out with the cows and the bulls are in their winter pasture. That means that the "slow" season is upon us and that translates to hunting in this house. As I type this the hubby is out on his opening morning hunt for a deer and we are getting everything ready for our oldest daughters first deer hunt in a week and a half. Me I'm just waiting for duck and goose season later in the fall.
I have been keeping busy canning spaghetti sauce, salsa, pinto beans and pork and beans. Nothing I love more than putting up my own food to use through the winter. The weather is turning more and more to fall, with the nights getting cooler and the oak trees starting to turn. This next week will be a trip around the ranch looking for acorns to gather and the start of the search for the perfect Christmas tree. I know that it is still October, but if we start now we can all agree on one before Christmas is here!
Well I'm off for the day, oldest has a birthday party for a friend in town and I'm working on a baby blanket and bag for a friend who is expecting a baby soon.
I have also not forgotten the "after" pictures for the living room re-arrange. I did get the furniture moved and the fireplace partially done, just need to get my curtains up and then I will post pictures. Until then here are some pictures from when we sorted all the calves off back in September (I know I'm behind!)
Getting everyone set on what goes into each pen.

One of our heifers

Some more calves and some of the cows

The young man in this picture is one of our missionaries, Elder Totten that came out to help. This was all new for him as he is from Minnesota, but he jumped right in.

The steer calf in the middle did not want to be sorted so he decided to go hang out with the big boys.

The young man on the left is the other missionary Elder Huntsaker, but he was much more at home as he is from Utah and his uncle has a ranch and he grew up around cows.

All our girls, not happy about their babies being some where else!

Work almost done for the day and just in time for the weather to move in!

Elder Huntsaker helping to work the gates around the squeeze-shoot

Even Elder Totten got in on the action

Letting the last of the cow out.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and stop by Pinke Post on Monday to see my guest post and recipe for Venison Stew.