As January comes to a close, our friend, Afif and his guest are packing up to make the long trek home to Nebraska for another year. They had a gppd trip, considering it was a bad year for hunting. Luckily, that is because they are not as much into shooting birds as they are into the experience of watching the dogs work and enjoying the scenery...and they covered a lot of that. Several days they hiked 4 miles or more up the mountain then back down. They ran across bighorn sheep, mule deer, chukars, several different varieties of partridge and quail, antelope and just about all the neat things the area has to offer. After a daily dip in the hot springs, they would then come to the house and cook dinner for us all. That in itself was pretty neat, in my opinion. Prime Rib, Lamb Kebabs with Bernaise Sauce, Braised Spanish Chicken, Rib Steaks with Maitre'D Butter, Bananas Foster…what a month!
Having them fix dinner freed me up to do other things, and I got a lot accomplished much this month. Ranch Rustics inventory is in pretty good shape and as no one was here during the day but me and the critters, I would spend the days multi-tasking. Here’s what that looks like...
On this particular day.
Take a big chef knife and cut a slab of tallow into small pieces.
Feed it thru the sausage grinder on the KA and grind tallow into a large stock pot.
Turn the burner on low (I use a diffuser under the pot so nothing on the bottom will burn) and let it melt down and simmer for a couple of hours. While that is going on, grab 10 beef roasts (average of 4 lb) out of the extra fridge where they were defrosting. Cut away all the fat and bone and cut them into chunks.
1/2 the meat goes into the big electric roaster with the ingredients to make Charley's Slow Cooker Mexican Style Meat the other half goes in a large bowl and back in the fridge for tomorrow’s canning session.
Let the Charley's cook a few hours until most of the flavor has had a chance to work its way into the meat, then prepare to can it. The tallow is pretty much rendered by now, so take it off the stove to cool down enough to strain it into a big plastic bucket. Once that is done, the bucket goes into the 'store' room in the back, with all the soaps, candles and other stuff for Ranch Rustics.
Out comes the pressure canner, 7 qt jars and the rest of my stuff. After sterilizing the jars, heating the lids and filling the jars up, The Charley meat goes in for processing at 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes of pressure canning is up, I have enough time to go out back and feed the horse, sheep and chickens before the pressure goes back down and I have to open the lid. EmmaLouMoo and Sushi are hanging with the cows at the bottom of the pasture most days, so feeding is fairly quick, barring any filling of water troughs or problems.
Back in the house, its time to remove the canner lid, wait my 5 minutes and take the jars out to cool overnight. I throw everything into the sink, do all the dishes just in time for Afif and his guest to come in and start dinner, while I visit with Mr Potamus, who is still limping from being caught in the leg trap.
I sadly mention that my KA burned out while grinding tallow. Next thing I know, our friend is making a generous contribution towards a new Bosch mixer...which is great, because I need a stand mixer every day. I use it to make all our bread and other things as well as using it to make Whipped Tallow Butter for the Ranch Rustics store.
The Bosch Mixer…my new love. This bad boy can handle 15 lb of bread dough at a time!
It was a good day.
After a good bye to all the dogs, our friend loaded up with a pile of soap, a tartwarmer and spiced cider wax tarts, and his young friend bought the same for his girlfriend. I'm sure he's gonna be welcomed like a rock star.
Feel free to stop in at ranchrustics.com and have a look around at the homemade soaps, candles, wax tarts and body butters. See ya around!