Saturday, January 25, 2014

All's Well that Ends Well

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 Fosterwhat 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 and have a look around at the homemade soaps, candles, wax tarts and body butters. See ya around!


  1. You have been busy. I like how you multi task. I agree that the young chef will surprise his girlfriend with the fabulous treats he got from Ranch Rustics. Us women are always tickled when the men in out lives surprise us with unexpected PRETTY things/trinkets. I hope Potamus heals completely, soon. I shudder to think how bad that could nave been. But then, HE does look after all his creatures. Big Warm hugs from a very COLD and Very Windy Iowa.

    1. It was cute watching them sniff all the different soaps to pick out what they thought she would like.
      I'm still pretty bummed about Potamus, and in fact, I am still pretty dangerous to this guy should he cross my path. Hope the wind slows soon and the temps warm up! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Is that what a guy needs to impress a girl? Better get me some. It's lonely here too as our one person company left for warmer climes. January seems to just keep going forever this year, Petey. I'm concerned about your dog and Daniel wonders if he picked up an infection or was it a steel trap. I can't stay in the chat room so I've started not to go in there...but saw you were in last night. I can still come in here and say hello. Alex says thanks for your reply and is praying for (he calls him) Pot'mus ala Texas. God bless you guys...el-Dex

    1. Sorry to hear big D headed south again, I know you guys miss him. I think Potamus either injured the ligaments or broke a small bone. It was a metal foot trap, but he won't stay off of it and let it rest and heal. If he hears or sees something, he roars out to fend it off away from his little sheep pasture. He can't stay in the house because it is much too hot for him, so there is not much I can do. Sorry to hear the room is giving you so much trouble, I was looking forward to seeing you there. Tell Alex, thanks, I have been sick about Potamus! God bless all of you!

  3. That is a mighty nice Bosch :-)

    I will mention here how much I've been enjoying my latest soap and body butter order. You were most generous with the extra goodies too - my next purchase will need to be a tart warmer. Now if only you made and delivered eatable tarts ;-)

  4. Nice mixer!

    I am certainly enjoying my latest soap and body butter order. The dogs like the body butter too - they keep trying to eat it :-) Thank you so much for the generous inclusion of some extras. The apple soap is lovely!

    1. I am so glad you like it…too funny about the dogs! And you are very welcome :)