Thursday, May 29, 2014

About Traveling...

Most definitely spring has arrived. Weeds are trying to dominate my landscaping and I am determined to make sure my flowers have a fighting chance. I made a purchase a few years ago from a nursery in Colorado. It was the only place I could find an Austrian Copper rose for sale. I am so glad I did. It gives me enormous pleasure to look at it.

My brother in law was here for the first time. I did a bit of cooking, but not much else as it was a rough week. Not much has changed in that department, although I am having a great day today and hope to have another and another...

I’ve got lots of soap cured for summer sales. CucumberMelon, Lemongrass, KiwiLemon and Jasmine, just to name a few. Check out the sales page at RanchRusticSoaps at , or go the store.

Because of the cheatgrass seed heading out, I can’t let the dogs in the sheep’s night pasture until I can get rid of it as they keep getting into it. The horse corral is even worse so they are guarding at night from the yard. Daytime, the sheep are on their own as I have yet to get the radio fence finished. We are having to string almost a mile of wire and I have been incapacitated and TheMan won’t take time to do it so it’s going to be a problem for awhile, I’m afraid. I hope I don’t lose any lambs before I get things straightened out. I had to haul the dogs in to the vet because Mr Potamus got a cheatgrass seed caught in his throat. He doesn't like leaving home anymore than I do. He likes even less getting in a pickup truck. So, we had to take the Potamus Limo.

They didn't like it much. 

We have had to make a couple of trips into Burns this year. The last one, we stopped at Dairy Queen for a to-go bite. Upon leaving town, we discovered they left out half of the order. We turned around, drove all the way back and waited for the second half. Part of that was a large side of onion rings. For this kind of service, some folks think they are worth $15 an hour. I don't think so, Sherlock.

This is the smallest 'large' I ever saw.

But, once again, the good news is that if you have to drive for hours into town, you might as well have views like this along the way. This is heading for the small town West of the ranch, which is really only 2 hours, but it has very few stores so we don't go there often, choosing instead to make it a day and head to Idaho where there is everything we might need in one trip.

It hard to see them in the picture above, but we passed some of the wild horses on the way out. We also passed a herd of antelope, several cows (as it is open range) and 13 snakes on the dirt road!

Yeah. I can do this.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back…It's Still Progress

We decided it was time to take the goats into town to their new home. As providence would have it, my new medicine arrived the night before and I needed to see the nurse in town about administering the shot to myself, as I do real good with injector pens, but this only comes in a needle and syringe, and being quite needle-shy, I have a nasty little habit of passing out when something pierces my skin. Yeah, go figure. I could break colts and bust a leg or ribs or whatever, but a little thing like a shot or piercing my ears knocks me flat. Just one of my idiosyncracies, I guess. At any rate, this was a very good thing, as town is nearly 4 hours away and we don't like to go there often. The timing was impeccable and knowing what I do about Him, it was no accident.

We figured that if we left at 6 am, we would have time to stop for breakfast, before heading to the hospital. All we had to do was grab Annie and lead her to the long horse trailer we pull around with us. Patch and Shugar always follow her so there were no worries there….

Morning came (too early) and after throwing on some clothes, grabbing a few things we would need for the trip (which always takes about 20 hours or so, to get there and back) such as the Ipod with the booktapes on it, a grocery and errands list, a couple of big coolers and the house dogs, TheMan fed MissEmmaLouMoo who how has 3 calves on her as I have been unable to milk lately and she needs to have all the milk she is producing used up, to prevent mastitis.

We headed for the goats.
 With Annie and Patch in hand, we marched confidently across the sheep pasture, through the Maremmas and toward the front gate. My confidence didn't waiver until I looked back and saw Shugar (the only one who is pretty wild yet, due to holding a grudge about her early horn disbudding) was firmly planted at the other end of the pasture hiding behind the crazy ram. After much cajoling and pleading we made no headway so chose instead to push all the sheep and goats into the little area where the dogs eat, in order to capture Shugar. With a little sweat on our part, we had success and dragged everyone to the horse trailer…one hour late. Mr Cider got out and that slowed things down as well because in his advancing age, he can't jump back in. I know how he feels.

I decided to comfort myself with the thought of over indulging in Maple Bars which they usually have fresh at a little gas station store in Jordan Valley, a couple of hours away. It's the only town between us and civilization and it's pretty much a one blink experience. After an interminably long drive through the chapparal of South Eastern Oregon, enjoying the varied scenery of sagebrush and mesquite, mesas and hills, gullys and small streams we made it to Jordon Valley. Mouth watering, I ran in to find they only had 3 Maple Bars, so I opted to eat one and split one with TheMan. They are tasty, but not very filling.

I suppose because you drive for hours in SE Oregon without passing a town, that a building by the side of the road merits the sign above. After all, there might be another truck on the road somewhere.

Also, SE Oregon is famous for having pretend towns. This is the booming town of Rome, Oregon. The whole thing. One little gas station/cafe kinda thing.

We made it to the hospital and the decision was made that TheMan would have to learn to give me the injections as the passing out thing just isn't feasible these days. I don't get up as easy as I used to, and I could just visualize the damage I could do falling forward with a needle in my gut. He did an admirable job, despite my squeaking and complaining and we took off for the goats' new home.

The people were super nice, had goats, sheep, llamas and some calves, but mostly, they had 6 kids and that is what the goats need is someone to play with them. Annie and Patch are people lovers and Shugar just needs to learn that not everyone wants to hurt her. We left with a dozen of THE BEST cupcakes we have ever tasted. We'll be back for both more cupcakes and goats milk in the future.

Back home only 16 hours later we hit the sack. Next morning, we woke up to this.

Good thing we brought the tomato starts back in the house. Looking forward to some warmer weather coming and a visit from a brother in law who has never yet been here.

Mother's Day was wonderful. Cold, but I had recieved a beautiful email from one son and the next day, a phone call from the other. Even though I don't hear well, and usually discourage phone calls, it was great to hear his voice. I'm so grateful for the time I had with them, and for the beautiful wives and mothers they both married. Our girls are doing well too, one moves her family into a new house this week and the other is having another baby.

This week I'll be making more Whipped Tallow for the store. It sells on Etsy, if you click the link, or at my webstore at Ranch Rustics. A few new fragrances of wax tarts and candles might be in order too, along with making some more super rich, amazing ice cream.

Just because it's so amazing, I am going to share the recipe.

First off, I separate the yolks from 16 ranch eggs. I break them into a bowl, so if there is a spot on one, or if a yolk breaks into the white, it doesn't ruin the whites, which can be used later for either a pavlova or angel food cake. Even a speck of yolk in it would inhibit the whites from whipping properly. So yolks in one little container, whites into another, then the yolk is plopped into the measure cup with the rest.

Combine your 16 yolks with 2 cups of castor or Bakers sugar. It is a much finer sugar that will more easily blend. I run it in the Bosch mixer until it thickens. Meantime, a quart of milk heats on the stove until it is scalded. Luckily I got several gallons of milk from Emma before I had to quit milking her.

Next is the tricky part. You have to 'temper' the eggs. Pour a small stream of hot milk into the egg mixture while the mixer is running. Just a bit at a time. You want to slowly bring the temperature of the eggs up, otherwise you will wind up with scrambled egg instead of ice cream. Once you have blended enough of the hot milk into the egg mix, pour the egg mixture into the pan and put it back on the burner. Heat until the mixture thickens up and coats the back of a spoon. DON'T let it come to a boil or it will curdle your eggs. Once it is thickened, pour it all into your ice cream container and chill it over night.

The next day, add a quart of heavy cream (EmmaLou's heavy cream is divine, btw) and 8 tsp of vanilla. (In our case it is homemade with vodka and vanilla beans infusing for months) Add the ice and salt to the ice cream freezer according to directions and churn it.

This ice cream was so rich, with all the homegrown and homemade ingredients it was actually YELLOW.
It was also really good. We've had it every night so far. Sometimes in a bowl, sometimes on a cone, sometimes with homemade Dulce de Leche caramel poured over the top…Oh My Heavens! It's some radically good stuff.

THE Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

16 egg yolks
2 cups castor sugar
4 cups milk
4 cups heavy cream
8 tsp vanilla

Beat yolks and sugar until thickened.
Pour quart of milk in sauce pan and scald. 
Pour some of hot milk into egg mixture while beating, to temper eggs.
Pour egg mix back into pan and heat until mixture thickens enough to coat back of a spoon.
Pour into container and chill over night
Right before churning, add 
4 cups heavy cream
8 tsp vanilla.
Churn according to freezer directions.

for soaps, candles or whipped tallow butter, here is a link to the Etsy store: