Thursday, May 26, 2011

The day to day...

What do we do each weekend out at the hills? Why, I'm so glad you asked!! Even though the cattle are on the greatest grass on earth (ok, that may be a little biased but its dang close) they still need a few extra supplements to help them through the summer.
So, every weekend we have a set list of tasks that have to be checked off. Each pasture that holds the Black Hereford pairs and the commercial heifers gets salt and Mineral to hold them over through the week. The steers do just fine on salt alone  We also check to make sure all the bulls are in their correct pastures, the cow count is right and everyone looks healthy.

Hoag also reloads all the fly rubs... ( I stay away from the bug killers) These rubs are located by the salt and mineral so while the cows are waiting their turn to get their grub, the walk under the rubs to get a little fly repellent which makes their overall stay in the hills much more pleasant.

That is what we do every weekend, no matter what. On top of those things, we always check to make sure the fences are hot, all the strands are up and the water gaps are holding strong. It's not glamorous but its totally necessary.

Solar Panel to keep the electric fences charged

Water Gaps.. you use what you got!

p.s. The great reward at the end of the day? Chewin the fat, a cold beer and golden oldies on the radio... "These are a few of my favorite things"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the road again

Whelp! Its that time of year again. Every weekend, Hoag and I pack up the truck and trailer, load up the dog and head for the hills. This is our routine every week until October and it's our FAVORITE time of year. (I know, I say that all the time)
This being our first solo trip of the season, we were extra excited and optimistic.. until we saw this.

Now we knew there was going to be weather and with all the talk of the Rapture, it was an unnecessary addition to the dramatic day. Normally were the satellite radio type of people, but with a skyline like this, we went straight for KPR. “Tornadoes are in the area, seek shelter immediately, if you’re on the road pull over and get in a ditch.” … right. Somehow this translated to me yelling at Hoag to drive faster as I dangled precariously out the window, dodging golf ball sized hail taking as many pictures as possible. I stopped only to pop my head back in to scream, “FASTER” My poor truck.
It was too close for comfort. Even for me. And I love storms.

But I love storms when I know I’m safe, and my horses are safe, and my house is safe… all which was left to be determined. We spent the next 4 hours off and on the phone with cowboy Phil who was giving us the play by play as the storms spared our ranch and passed off to the west.

I wish I could say the same for Joplin, Mo. Take a moment to say a prayer for those who have lost their family’s, their friends and their homes. Tornadoes are so unpredictable its terrifying. It was said on the news today that Joplin went from no tornado to an F4 to no tornado all within 9 minutes and now they are left with total destruction. If you find it in your hearts, here are some ways to help out this devastated community.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Loungin Around

It's' another rainy day.  The cattle, the ones that are left on the home ranch, are all lounging around in the pastures.Very relaxing, very zen.  So I took a seat to partake 
We did a little yoga.  This is our rain salutation

We chewed a little cud, talked a little smack. They were telling me to watch my back... I guess I should have listened. 

Time to go. Nap time's over!! Do me a favor and read this article.  Face of a Giant Agribusiness Great information about the lesser known challenges of farming and ranching.

Do it.. or else. 

Veggie pasta with Chimichurri sauce and Steak

So, as I've mentioned before, I love Pioneer Woman and I love all her friends.  This recipe was posted by one of her followers and we couldn't resist trying it out! Steak Asparagus and Chimichurri pasta

Something else I've mentioned before: my inability to follow recipes.  So this has a few twists and turns from the original.
 Start with roasting a pint of cherry tomatoes at 350 until they start to pop.  PLEASE, if you have any feelings for me whatsoever, do NOT waste all the yummy brown goodness on the pan. Add a little white wine and scrape it up while the pan is hot with a wooden spoon.  You'll thank me later.   While these are roasting.  Chop up a half onion and saute on low so they get super translucent and sweet.  
Set this aside.  Its Chimichurri time! Confession: I use a magic bullet.  Yes, I know.  Unprofessional? Yes. Easy to clean up? Super Yes!!   Add a big handful of parsley, 3 or 4 garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, juice of one lemon and olive oil.. yes, you can use a food processor, if you must.
(Psst, this is a good time to start boiling your salted water for your rigatoni)  Next, take your steak. I used a top sirloin.  S&P and slap that puppy on the grill along with your asparagus.  I put mine in a grill basket because I cannot, for the life of me, keep them from falling them onto the flame.  Grill the steak for 4 minutes on each side.

 Slice your steak, slice your asparagus, drain your pasta and toss it all together with your tomatoes and onions.  Toss again with the chimichurri sauce and top with Goat Cheese! That's right folks, I said it.  Goat cheese makes the world go round! It also makes all girlfriends very happy.  Bon Appetite!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rainy Day Mischief

Well there are days when the rain just doesn't allow for much.  And although there are many other, more important things I should be doing.. I chose to play with my ponies today.

This is Topaz.  I've had him since I was 15 years old and he was 16 months.  I never thought, in a million years, that I'd be such a sucker for the blue eyed blond hair type... but here he is, 13 years later.

He is the key to my happiness, my heart, and my very best friend.  And I love my husband for getting that.

In October 2007, he took a nasty spill which ended his career (as if we had one) of show jumping but we still find joy every chance we get in working cattle and summer rides to the pond to cool off.

Now THIS is Red, aka Gordon.  Red was at the ranch when I arrived and wanted nothing to do with me, my stalls, or my saddles... until he met my carrots.  Since then we have had a wonderful friendship.

Red is my go to man for anyone who wants to ride.  He may look like a maniac on the ground, but put a saddle on him and he's the most bomb proof horse I've had.  Red is an old Cowboy at heart; quiet, content, hard working and full of stories.  He completes our family.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Steak Tacos!

As mentioned previously... I always overcook. Always. Although I have gotten much better over the years, big groups still intimidate me and my undying fear of people leaving my house hungry has always made me overcook.

But, the plus side to this is I get very handy with my leftovers. Balsamic marinated steak tacos, anyone? I had the leftover steak from the Steak Sanwiches with tomato chutney.  This meal is a no brainer but the fun thing is you can use whatever you have in your fridge.

We managed to sneak some chutney into the fridge the day before so we had a very yummy tray of toppings. This is where Hoag gets to be creative!

We used:
Mangos – My personal fave on tacos!
Red onions
Cheese and more Cheese!

Warm up your flour torts and get to eatin’! * Best served with a cold beer!

Steak Sandwiches with Tomato Chutney for 8

A quick lesson I learned... I do not like to be interrupted during cooking. So, this makes taking step by step pictures of cooking very difficult for me. As always, I'm up to the challenge.

For Mother's day I invited my Mother (duh) and all my siblings out to the Ranch. This always seems like such a good idea, but about 10 minutes pre-meal time I'm normally totally frazzled and missing the point of entertaining my family.

I got my recipe idea from the Healthy Beef Cookbook. Two Recipes, side by side.. destined to be one. Balsamic Marinated steak Sandwiches + Tomato Chutney = Heaven.
So here we go! There are definitely photos missing, i.e. the final product. (This is no fault of mine, I was literally beating my big brother off with a wooden spoon while trying to put these sandwiches together!)
So, we'll start with the Chutney.
Chop your onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and basil to get all the dirty work out of the way.

(Here's a little trick to help you out with those pesky grape tomatoes.)

Sautee your onions, garlic and red pepper flakes  in a little olive oil for a few minutes, add the balsamic vinegar and ginger and cook down for three minutes.

Add your tomatoes

 Cook for 6 or 7 minutes and top with chopped basil. Let cool and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Now, for the Beef! I've made this with flat irons, skirt steak and top sirloin and they've all be equally delicious. The longer you leave the beef in the marinade the better.

1 cup Balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and 3 cloves minced garlic. Now be sure to cut this down to size because not everyone will be making this for 8 people!
Grill the steaks to medium rare, about 4 minutes each side. Thinly slice then assemble! Ciabatta bread, Gruyere cheese slices, baby greens, steak and chutney.
* I served this with Beer Battered Green Beans , Bean salad with mint instead of basil and my own Beet, Bacon and Goat cheese Spinach Salad.

This meal is not for those with dainty little manners. This is a "pick up the sandwich and don’t put it down till your done and you have chutney all over your face and arms and tablecloth"... type of meal. I'm working on making it dainty... but where's the fun in that?!