Thursday, March 25, 2010

Feeding Time

The guys have been hard at it all day.  From one pasture to another around the ranch.  We do not feed hay every time it snows, just when it is pretty deep and the cattle cannot get to the grass beneath. 

Don't the mountains look beautiful today in the bright sunshine!

Just one of several loads fed out today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A few more pictures in the snow

I was out and got a few more pictures this afternoon while it was still snowing.
The sun came out for just a little bit this evening.  I think we got about a foot total.
Rancher , Grandpa and our good neighbor are now out feeding some hay to the cows.

Rancher and Pistol taking care of snow removal in the yard

"taking a taste of the storm" (can you see his tongue sticking out?)

Bringing in the big guns to clear the roads and get to the cattle:

Rancher was following behind with the hay...

Spring Blizzard on the ranch...

A spring blizzard blew in in the middle of the night last night.  So we are back in the snowy world again.  It is still snowing and miserable out there right now, but the storm is supposed to move on this afternoon.  I got a few pics. in the snow this morning, but didn't take many as the snow is just blowing too hard still.  Maybe later.
It is nearly impossible to tell for sure with the terrible drifting, but as of this morning we were (conservatively) guessing about 10 inches with drifts to 2 1/2 feet.  Hopefully not too much more throughout the day, but it is still coming down sideways, so we will just have to see what it looks like when the sun finally comes out.

"Brownie" sitting in the snow

Cowboy hard at work shoveling us out

"Badger" resting in the snow.  You can't tell but he is sleeping on 2 1/2 feet of snow.

Maybe I will venture out later for some better pictures.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We have a new walker!

Just a shameless brag on Lil Cowpoke:

Lil Squirt is 9 months old now and not officially walking, but he can take 4 steps by himself.  He can stand and sit without holding anything and walks in between things and will take a few steps by himself.  He is following very closely in Pistol's footsteps of walking at 9.5 months.  He is an active little bugger. 

He just got his top two teeth in and now is getting another top one which will = 5 total.

He says Da, Da and ba, ba and will wave at you and loves to clap his hands.  He loves clapping so much that when he starts taking steps by himself the other kids will start clapping and he will stop and start applauding himself also.  It is too cute.

On a not so happy note he definitely is not sleeping through the night, but we won't dwell on the negatives in this bragging happy post.

He is still a very happy little guy with a mellow personality.

And his new favorite thing is pushing his walker around the house.  The kids follow him around keeping him in a clear path.

We all love him so much.  The kids get such a kick out of playing with him now.  Just seeing his picture puts a grin on my face.  We are so blessed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The joys of Cornbread ...gluten, soy, (cow) dairy free

I keep mentioning and posting pics of cornbread, but no recipe.  So here we go...

Cornbread is great!  (we just made some this morning and enjoyed it for lunch).

Gluten free cornbread has pretty much become a staple at our house.  Why?  Because it is easy and quick, inexpensive, filling, goes with tons of things and nobody can tell it is gluten free.  You can do a whole assortment of things with it and to it.

How about a nice piece of cornbread to go with your... chili, soup, stew, pot roast, steak and mashed potatoes, hamburger gravy and cornbread, plain cornbread with butter, cornbread in a bowl of milk?

1.5 cups rice flour
1.5 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk (goat, coconut, almond)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 15 oz can creamed corn

stir together dry ingredients, make a hole in the center
add in the wet ingredients and stir together
pour into a 11x17 greased glass baking dish
bake 35 min. at 425 degrees.

How easy is that?!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Veggie & Rice Chili

We (I especially) love one pot dinners.  They are so easy. 
With a freezer full of homegrown beef, all our meals are pretty much centered around beef.  We rarely buy other meats.  You could make this with ground chicken or turkey however.

So it often goes... cook up some beef and add to it a little of this and a little of that and there you go...
We love chili, stews and soups.  They all go so well with cornbread and are filling and do well as leftovers.

Here is a Chili with brown rice and veggies thrown in.
 It is gluten, soy, dairy free (well, except for the flour tortilla shown in the pic). 
We serve it with tortillas, corn tacos(flat ones) or cornbread.

1.5 pounds ground beef
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with green pepper, celery and onion
2 15. oz. cans of chili beans in sauce (make sure they are gluten-free. we use O organic brand from safeway)
3 cans of water
2.5 cups of brown rice
2 cups of frozen mixed veggies
salt, pepper and chili powder to taste.

cook ground beef
add in dry rice,
add in can of tomatoes
add in 2 cans of chili beans
using the bean cans, add in 3 cans of water,
cover pot and put on low and simmer for 20 min. or so until rice is tender
add more water if needed.
mix frozen veggies in and simmer for a few more minutes.
serve and enjoy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The calm after the storm...horses enjoying the sun

The saying around here is... if you don't like the weather just wait a few hours... 

We woke up to a crispy 6 degrees this morning and a half a foot of snow.  But the sun was out and shining strong and the animals were all soaking up the warmth....

Friday, March 19, 2010

2 new babies....

It is 30 degrees and snowing hard outside right now, but we got up to 70 degrees a few days ago. 
Just a teaser to keep us on our toes.
Took these a few days back while we were on heifer duty and the weather was nicer.
Guess I need to venture beyond the heifer pasture around the rest of the ranch now.  The cows are calving great also and we are getting a good sized group on the ground and are looking forward to our 1st brandings of the year starting next month.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The old wooden fence...

it ain't what it used to be... ain't what it used to be....
I was told this one used to contain sheep, which explains the wire on the bottom half. 
If only the old fence could talk, boy the stories it would have to tell over all these years.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bye,Bye Baby...

So long, see ya, have a great life. 

You came into the world 3 short weeks ago, kept me up late into the night helping your mama and drying you off,

You got to come in out of the winter weather and live in a plastic tub next to the warm fire for a night or two,

I fed you more times than I wanted, when I had my own little one to feed,

Cowgirl took over your feedings, tromping out into the cold late at night,

Cowboy and Pistol took over when Cowgirl got the flu,

We milked your mama, heated your bottles and fed you on schedule,

Cowgirl took you outside to run and play in the snow,

Cowboy loved on you a bit,

And..... then..............

we found another family to love you. 

We met with them and they had 4 lovely children, so Cowgirl approved...................

And off you both went, to your new, hopefully forever home.

Cowgirl misses you, but don't worry Cowgirl......

We have more babies expected this week...............oh boy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Potato Hamburger Soup & Cornbread (gluten, soy, dairy free)

gluten, soy and (cow) dairy free:

Potato Hamburger Soup Recipe:

1.5 lbs. hamburger
6 cups chopped (scrubbed but not peeled) red potatoes
1 tablespoon of shortening or oil (only needed with lean burger)
3/4 Cup rice flour
2 cups hot water
6 cups milk (we used goat)- my 2nd. favorite is coconut and then almond.
2 (15 oz. ) cans creamed corn or regular corn (verify that it is a gluten-free brand -- Green Giant and  Del Monte are verified)--optional.
- scrub your potatoes and cut up into small pieces.  Put in pot and cover with water and boil until just soft. then drain.
- In big pot like dutch oven cook your burger until done.
 -Remove from pot.  Leave oil in pot.  If you use lean burger you might not have any grease left in the pot and will need to add in a little bit. (we use our own grass fed beef and there isn't enough grease left).
- with heat on low, add in the 3/4 cup of rice flour and mix into the grease.
- add the hot water a little at a time while quickly whisking the flour mixture smooth.  Temporarily turn the heat off it you can't keep up with the thickening action. 
- add the milk in a little at a time while whisking quickly.  I add a little and then whisk until it starts thickening and then add a little more and then whisk until it starts thickening ect....
Pretty soon you should have a nice smooth thick gravy.  Turn the heat off for a minute and flavor with some salt and pepper to taste.  It might taste a little flour-y at this point but will get better in a sec.
- now add in your burger and your potatoes and stir.  Now taste and it should be very good.
- if you want, add in a couple cans of corn either regular or creamed.
-with heat back on low, heat back to hot and serve, or put into a crockpot and keep on warm.

cook the potatoes until just soft:

After whisking all the milk smooth, add the burger back in:

add the potatoes in:

stir together, warm back up, season and enjoy:

Another nice storm...

So what do you do when your kids are sick. again. and... it has been raining (yes, I said raining) and then snowing-huge flakes of snow- through the day and now outside it looks like this:

you make...
potato hamburger soup and cornbread!

And then those of you who are not sick get to enjoy it.

Rancher came home dripping wet and freezing last night after gathering heifers (horseback) in the rain and I was sure proud I had a nice hot meal waiting for him.

on a side note... more moisture = more grass to come = good fat cattle!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chocolate - Coffee - Chip Cookies (gluten, soy & dairy free... and still good!)

I am proud to say that (some of) our cookie recipes have come along so far that we no longer make a "regular" version.  This is one we enjoy. 

We have a basic cookie recipe that we use to make several different varieties with.

This one combines coffee, chocolate pudding mix and chocolate chips to form a super moist and chewy piece of chocolate heaven.  Just don't overbake.

We do use shortening, which isn't the healthiest, but we are limited to soy and dairy free and are just now getting into experimenting with healthier substitutes that still result in a moist cookie.  It can be tricky.

(listed in order of incorporation)

1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup fresh almond butter

1 (5.9 oz.) box Jello instant pudding mix- chocolate flavor
1 heaping tablespoon instant decaf coffee grounds
2 tsp. baking soda
2 3/4  to   3 cups rice flour
3/4 to 1 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand- GF, SF, DF)

In bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar.  Add eggs two at a time and mix.  mix in vanilla.  mix in almond butter.  mix in pudding mix.  mix in coffee.  mix in baking soda.  mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time until very stiff.  fold in chocolate chips.  place on cookie sheets by the tablespoon.  bake at 350 9-10 min.  cookies will still be very soft when taken out; just let them sit for another minute on the baking sheet and then cool on rack.  do not overbake, or cookies will be too dry.

gather your ingredients... here are the unusual ones in this recipe...

find yourself a little helper...
cream your sugar and shortening...

add your eggs...

add vanilla and stir...                add pudding mix and stir...

mix in coffee grounds...         stir in flour.....

fold in chips....              put on baking sheet....                            

as soon as they are cool to the touch.........................


what do you think?

have a good recipe to share?

again... the key is in the cocsistancy of the dough.  Do you all make "test cookies"?  Each time I make cookies, I will start by making just one cookie to make sure it comes out well.  That way if it comes out a little too flat I can add in a bit more flour before ruining the entire batch.

Happy cookie baking.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Add to me Pancakes -- GF, DF & SF

Why don't we just name these............. 

Add to me Pancakes.

 Why?  Because it is a good basic recipe that is just begging you to spice it up a bit.... that's why.

I already posted this recipe as my blueberry pancake recipe, but you know that sort of implies that it is only meant for blueberries, and, well... that is just all wrong.

So here we go again, same basic gluten, soy and dairy(and when I say dairy, I mean cow dairy) free.  But this time I will tell you also what I have successfully added in.

2 1/2 cups rice flour (or other gf flour)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder

4 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup milk (we use goat, coconut or almond, but goat is the best -richest)
1/2 cup of.... "add it in" .....
we have used:
     mashed banana
     chocolate chips (dairy, gluten, soy free)
     apple pie filling, with the apples chopped up
     one of our favorites is chopped up turkey ham!
     how about chopped up cooked reg. or turkey bacon...yummy
     probably many other things....

In a bowl, mix the first three ingredients together, then make a hole in the middle and add in the next three ingredients and then stir until mixed up.  Then gently fold in the "add in" ingredient.  Then measure out small amount and fry in skillet and flip carefully after bubbles form on surface.
The key is to watch your consistancy.  If your batter is too thick, your pancakes will be thick and not cook in the middle and will be dry and crumbly, so add in a little more milk.  If your batter is too thin you will have very thin pancakes that can be hard to flip.  You want it a little thick and when you put it in your frying pan, just spread it out a little thinner by hand. 

We have been really pleased with this basic pancake recipe, after playing with several for a few years now.  We now make these for the whole family and don't bother making a second batch with "regular" flour.  (thank goodness anyways as that was just more work).

So there you have it. 
We made these this morning with apple pie filling..... yummy!

Do you have a good recipe to share??


Thursday, March 4, 2010

One good ol' Cowboy...

Disclaimer:  I didn't mean it to, but this post sort of ended up being a husband brag...(smile) 
I really intended it to be a brag on the work ethic of (all) ranchers and cowboys.

ANYHOW...back to the post.............

You know I really love western photos.  Pictures of cows, horses and cowboys at work are just pretty awesome in my book.  I don't really care for the posed cowboy pictures that you often see.  You know with the guys all lined up on their fat and sassy horses with all the great cowboy gear on... you know the ironed shirt and the scarf around their neck and so forth? 
I really like pictures of real ranchers/cowboys at work in their element.  But to get a photo of them is pretty darn hard.  Most are quiet and humble and when they see that camera come out they get pretty scarce.  I dare say I have seen a few eyes roll at various brandings and vaccinations when I pulled out the old camera. 
But... when you can finally get a photo when they are distracted by the job at hand, you can't hardly take a bad one.

This is a picture of "rancher" , my husband.
Thoughts that come to my mind when looking at this photo and thinking of him are:
handsome (can I brag?)
love (truthfully it makes my heart go pitter patter),
hardworking rancher,
dedicated cowboy, husband and father
jack of all trades,

Really it is amazing all the knowledge a rancher/cowboy will have by the time they are up there in years.  They have to be able to have skills on:  mechanics, wells, pipelines and windmills, fencing, grass and grazing, calving, branding, vaccinating, cattle markets and general vetting of the cattle.

Ranchers and Cowboys are for the most part very work driven.   They are up and at 'em on their own accord because they know there is never an end to the work they must get done.  You will hear them say they never get ahead, but just staying caught up is quite a feat in itself.  They may groan and moan a bit during that midnight heifer check each night during calving season,  but yet they continue to do it year after year.  Calving problems do not stop for the night at 5 pm and well, pipline and windmill problems do not know that Sundays are reserved for church.

It is a hard and often unforgiving way of life that doesn't seem to pay nearly what it should for the sweat that is invested, but those that do it truly do love it and could never imagine another way of life.  And those that do it consider themselves blessed to be able to do it another year.  And those that do it secretely hope that their kids will someday continue on for another generation.  Because it is an honest way of life and so many of them know no other kind.

I am so blessed to be married to this man.   And our children are so blessed to learn and grow under him and his father and his brother also.

Man would he turn red if he read this post!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Playing in the mud....

For those that live on ranches, farms, up in the mountains or at the end of long dirt roads, 4x4 is something you don't want to be without!  For us, having 4x4 on older ranch pickups is an even better deal, because you don't worry so much when you are sliding sideways down the road, and your husband doesn't even raise an eyebrow when you back into a fencepost.  (For the record, rancher husband puts many more dents in the ranch pickups than I do and he freely admits this!)(also for the record, I am so. so. so thankful that we have a dedicated "town" vehicle that I don't have to share for the ranch use, because I think it might just push me over the edge to have to clean the vehicle out every time we wanted to go to town/church, ect... and not be covered in mud, manure and other unmentionables.    not that I am claiming that our "town" vehicle is spotless or anything.  )

Anyhow, I am getting off topic.... back to the mud......

For us, 2 of the above road conditions apply.  We live on a ranch and have miles upon miles of dirt roads to our house and around the ranch.  So....4x4 is often an incredible blessing to us.  Every now and then we get a blizzard that even our 4x4, tractors and all have not gotten through temporarily, but for the most part 4x4 gets us where we need to go. 

With all the little snow storms that we have been getting regularly here lately, the roads are not a pretty site right now!

but you won't hear us complaining.  Instead we are feeling pretty thankful, just as all ranchers and farmers do when they are blessed with moisture.  To us, moisture = grass  =  feed for the cattle in the months to come. 

I will say ................

that........... it is much. .........

much more pleasant when it comes in smaller, more manageable amounts.............
but that is all I will say........(smile)

So what are your roads like?

Just for the record
I guess I should add that my attitude with mud in the house (or the town vehicle) is not nearly as pleasant. 
Ok, those that know me can stop laughing now!
I can (and will) do a whole different blog on that topic alone.... and it won't be nearly as upbeat.  Maybe a title like...... uggghhhh.... the MUD and how I deal with it.... or maybe how the family has to deal with it, ...or maybe MUD makes MOM OCD?

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