Pony Up!

Get on back on your horse! That is a lot easier said than done. Anyone that has ever fallen off a horse or been buck off (like me! just kidding I probably fell) knows how difficult that is to do.

I don’t have a specific horse per se but I have one I usually ride “Sugar” because she is old and slow like me! Don’t get me wrong she has some spirit in her and can do the work but she like to be leisure. She is a good horse but she has her moments and quirks like any horse or person I guess. For example, do not tie her to anything because she will break loose. If you just drape the reins over a pole without tying she will not move. I can relate to that {don’t tell me I can’t go somewhere but I am usually content to just stay where I am}.

Well, about a month or so ago I got “bucked off” for the first time. We were going up a embankment and she was trying to run to catch up with another horse and I was pulling her back and she hopped and took off and I lost my balance and fell. I lived– barely! I got back on her right then and rode home without any problems but since then I have been hesitant to ride her. I have been riding another horse because now I trust him more — well in the round pen I trust him. I like riding her and miss it but just could not pull the trigger to ride her out on the ranch.

But, yesterday Farnash Creek Ranch expanded by nearly 1000 additional acres and I was dying to ride the new extension of property. Land just looks different from the back of a horse- ya know! So, I debated all night about which horse I would ride. Rodie who rides like a dream but is quick and touching to an inexperienced rider, Cody who rides good but is young and unpredictable, Cisco who is young, big and fast (just kidding I was never considering him) or try my luck on Sugar again. Before bed I decided it would be Rodie but this morning I woke up and decided I needed to try my luck again with Sugar!

I woke up later than expected so the heat had already set in at 8:30 am. We saddled the horses and a few morning snacks and water.DSCN7145

My husband was encouraging and had more faith in me than I did. He rode her briefly in the round pen to warm her up. Then we were off to explore the new place. We are able to enter the property from the back of the existing ranch property so the horses were comfortable and calm out to the back gate. She was walking slow and leisurely trying to get off the trail but following commands well. Then we hit the new property and she was like a new horse. Her ears were pointed forward looking for everything and anything. She had more pep in her step not quite a trot but a fast walking. She was energized and happy. I was still a little nervous but was enjoying her enthusiasm. My husband calmly talked me through her mannerisms and helped calm us both.  We both enjoyed the new property, thoroughly! She had good tall grass and big ponds to drink from and I had beautiful views and cool breezes. It was amazing!

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However, on the way back to the barn she was trying to get a little barn sour. She tried to take off on me a couple of times.  My heart was beating fast and I was tense. I was trying so hard to be relaxed! I keep trying to tell myself all the things to do. Be calm, pull to your hip not your head, don’t squeeze with your legs, don’t lean forward, etc. But nothing was working. My husband was in the front and I was trying to not let him see me look like an idiot. LOL.

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Finally, I just stopped and turned her around and made her stand still. I tried to show her who was boss. I’m not sure she bought it but she did walk slowly back to the barn and I felt better about riding her!

When we got back to the barn I did tie her to the trailer which she broke loose from! Ugh. Then she just stood there not tied while I washed her off! Women! I felt more confident about the ride and look forward to moving past the fall. I believe in life we have to face things head on even when we don’t want to and the same is true about getting back on your horse. Don’t miss out on something amazing because of the fear of falling.

-Chas

Lettuce Begin…..

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”- Audrey Hepburn

Our garden at Farnash Creek Ranch (FCR) has started to produce and we have began harvesting several of our meals. We love this time of year when you can go out to the garden and pick your dinner. The spring garden is in full swing. We have a total of four garden patches this year so we can beef up our rotational gardening program. Garden #1 is planted in peas and beans primarily to replace the nitrogen depleted by last years crop. Garden #2 is coming along nicely but not producing, yet. Garden #3 is where the action is happening right now and the one I will highlight  today. Garden #4 is still in progress but I better hurry up and get my stuff in the ground because it is getting late.

First, I would like to give a little props to that fall spinach plant that produced for us all winter even through a few pretty good frosts. It was still growing when I was planting for the spring. For a new gardener wanting to try out a few plants – spinach is easy to grow and is very versatile. We eat it raw in salads and also cook it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It grows well in containers and keeps growing after it is picked. I would suggests when planting in pots to use good quality potting soil such as miracle grow potting mix. I bought the cheap stuff one year and it turned into rock soil in the pots. Secondly, speaking from experience, there is a big different between potting mix and garden mix but the bags look exactly the same. Make sure it is potting mix.

The spring garden has really took off well after much planning and cultivating. Garden #3 has lettuce, cabbage, kale, yellow squash, cucumbers, few interspersed onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. The garden is flagged by dill and marigolds in an attempt to ward off pests.  The first thing produced was a ton of lettuce. Literally, one ton! Ok, almost a ton. This year we really concentrated on companion planting and staggered planting to keep a steady harvest and minimize pests. The lettuce loves it. I have had zero damage (knock on wood) to my lettuce from pests. I planted marigolds at the ends of the rows which I think was very beneficial or maybe our pests haven’t found them yet. Shhhhhh……. We planted butter lettuce and romaine lettuce. The butter lettuce was from seeds started in the ground and it is loving our alkaline soil! I think it is the softest most palpable lettuce I have ever put in my mouth! The romaine lettuce I started in pots and it is growing but slowly- I think my pot selection may have been too small. Luckily, we will be eating butter lettuce until the cows come home. Well really longer than that since the cows are home actually. Note, if you have not invested in a salad spinner please do so. The little device allows me to keep lettuce up to 2 weeks.

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Lettuce move on to another lettuce like plant. The Kale! The Kale has been the beauty of the garden! It is so vibrant and colorful with burst of deep green and purples. We have a little Dinosaur Kale and a ton of Red Russian Kale. This plant is also very versatile, healthy and has multiple uses. We eat it raw or cooked. This week I experimented with Kale Chips! They were delicious. This is a good healthy snack for us late night snackers! Even my son liked them. Maybe he is turning over a new leaf (he he he) since he has a brand new baby boy. May I introduce, our newest grandbaby at FCR. Holden Harrison:

Holden

Now, back to Kale. This too is an easy plant for beginners. We planted in the ground this year from seeds and they have done really well. They grow fast and are low maintenance. I have also planted some in pots and they have done really well. Although, this year the plants in the ground seem to be doing better. I have had problems in the past with not having enough to last us throughout the season. However, this year I may have over planted. So, tell me if I can send you some Kale! Also, the salad spinner works well for this too or a lettuce keeper.

LET’S GET TURNIP! These turnip greens are out of control and I love it! I have thinned them twice and was able to have a huge harvest just from thinning. The leaves were young and tender which tasted amazing. The turnips were small and I haven’t decided yet if I will roast them separately (found a delicious recipe on pinterest) or add them in with the greens. I froze the turnip part for now until I can decide. Just a side note, the turnip leaves or greens will have prickly points on the leaves so I don’t eat them raw but once they are cooked they go away and you never even knew they were there. I could eat greens at every meal. My only problems is that you can’t eat greens without cornbread and I probably shouldn’t have so much cornbread in my life. One pan won’t hurt, right?

 

We also enjoyed a great cream of broccoli & cauliflower soup & modified shepherds pie from the garden harvest! Finally, I will close with this wonderful cocktail made with fresh mint from the garden. I call it a “Barbara Bush” in honor of the recent passing of FLOTUS # 41.

Barbara Bush

It is muddled lemon juice and mint with one part Blanton’s Bourbon and one part gingerale. I know I shouldn’t mix that Bourbon with anything but i was living on the edge!

-Chas

Did you cite that recipe?

Do you cite recipes in MLA or APA? I mean it is part science and part art? Really? citing recipes? C’mon isn’t that the reason we write down recipes is to share them?

I have so many recipes that I would love to share. However, honestly I only have like three things that I make from memory or my own creation. This include chicken & dumplings, tomato gravy & biscuit, and Thanksgiving dressing.  I am sure there are other things I make from memory but part of the fun of cooking for me is making something new every time. I rarely make the same dish twice. Therefore, sharing a recipe would mean plagiarizing someones else ‘s recipe. I want to give credit where credit is due. If you crafted an Italian Manicotti from your memory or own creation that is impressive and I think you need a big WOW!

Plagiarizing recipes is a big issue these days with social media and the internet. Please see the article in Plagiarism Today (https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015/03/24/recipes-copyright-and-plagiarism/) where they discuss Anne Thorton loosing her cooking show contract because of accusations of Recipe Plagiarism. This is really scary, as Mrs. Thorton says, because there are only so many ways to make a certain dish. According to the United States copyright guidelines (https://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html) you can list the ingredients without a problem but the issue comes with the execution. The problem is there are only so many ways to prepare a dish. For example, if you have a recipe for any type of baked chicken, typically you will bake it at about 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes depending on oven, thickness of chicken, and how juicy you like it. If you bake the chicken for less time or less temperature, it will be underdone and not fit. So, the fundamentals of most recipes will be the same. Which means plagiarizing a recipe is very easy and you can do it without even knowing.

For me, I get the majority of my recipes from Pinterest. I like using Pinterest for recipes because I can just search the ingredients I already have in the cupboard. I think it helps to have a basic working knowledge of cooking and the chemistry of ingredients to know what substitutions you can successfully use. However, we are in the information age and you can google anything. I like to make recipes that I have never made and ones where I can use stuff from my garden. It makes me feel all authentic and shit ( I mean stuff) ! I feel like I am feeding my family with love when I make something grown from my own hands and really it just tastes so much freaking better.

This week we had several tasty things! I am having nuts for dinner and this post is making me hungry but here it goes!

First, I made Baby Seydi some Granny Grub! This is a semi-original recipe. My grandmother would make this for me. Things just taste better when your grandma makes them. It is basically a fried egg (over-medium) over some cheese grits with crumbled bacon or sausage! If you are lucky enough to eat it outside that is the best way! Baby Seydi loved it!

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Next, I had a lot of spinach that needed to be cooked and I had a hankerin’ for chicken so I found this delicious recipe on Pinterest called (wait it does have an official name- I will name it) Chicken Yo Self Spinach. It’s actually a chicken, spinach, sun dried tomato and bacon dish. I had to modify this dish because I burnt the bacon – BAD! Timers are for babies or people without burnt bacon! I also used freshly shredded monterey cheese with jalepenos instead of sliced. My mother-in-law, Pat, always told me to use freshly shredded cheese because it was better and she was right! It was delicious! Here is the best picture I could get. We also had a side of parmesan zucchini! Which was scrumptious even though I shredded a little skin off my thumb into the parmesan (Just a little extra protein- right?) Just kidding!

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Over the weekend I also made a couple of Korean and Thai dishes that were not only mouth watering but healthy. The mandoline is also a very dangerous tool – use the guard! One of the dishes was a cabbage / beef stir fry. It was made with grass fed beef from the ranch! It was a steer we named “Rug” because we knew we wanted to keep his hide! I also had to modify this recipe because I ran out of Soy Sauce so I used Teriyaki sauce! I also used some fresh ginger I grew last year. Ginger is easy to grow and harvest just be patient ( I tried to throw it out like 47 times but my husband kept making me wait). I have several roots I froze last year and don’t foresee running out any time in the next couple of years! It freezes well! We had a side of Thai cucumber salad with this dish. It made for a light fresh meal for a warm spring afternoon!

cabbagestirfry and cucumbers

I tried to give credit where credit was due! The best part of cooking is watching the people you love enjoy it!

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