Monday, February 28, 2011

Fresh Start in the Greenhouse

It's that time of the year when new beginnings need to happen.
That's where the greenhouse fits in with this concept.

The greenhouse, aka Growing Dome, at the Ranch is in need of some serious cleaning up, new dirt, new seeds, new everything.  I have neglected it during the past winter months and shouldn't have but it was too cold outside. 
Now I have a lot more work on my hands than I should. 

I began by ripping and tearing everything out that was dead or almost dead including my beloved tomato plant that was pretty much gone.  I left three jalapeno plants and two pepper plants that yield more than we can reasonably eat. It's great to have them produce to much rather too little, or in some cases none at all.

I had a little help with the greenhouse makeover, thank goodness!

This is how it went....


These jalapenos and peppers will be much happier made into salsa!

Okay, so I had a little help with this redo. There's nothing wrong with help, especially from two cowboys that are much stronger than I. 

Plus they can use bigger tools than I.

 This is the greenhouse, the backhoe filled with the new dirt, and the Ranger filled with supplies.  We brought in rich dirt from another part of the ranch and mixed it with cow manure and sand.
This is the center planter where we broke up the old dirt, fixed any broken water lines and prepped for the new dirt mixture.

 New dirt going in with Sophia watching in the background. Hopefully she can do this when she grows up.


  This bucket of water contains cut-off branches from cottonwood trees as a trial to see if they will bud and later be transplanted into the ground. 

Once we get the place in order I will get more pictures, it's kind of sad looking right now.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lion Hunt: The Return Home

The cowboys finally came back late in the afternoon...

empty handed....

or should I say lion-less.

The dogs lost the scent.

What they did get was....

STUCK IN THE MUD!

Poor guys, after 8 hours of tracking mountain lions the last thing they wanted to happen was to get stuck in the mud.  


Cowboy Chris to the rescue, he brought out the tractor to pull the horse trailer out of the mud.




Some guys like to watch it all happen.


 The horses waited patiently.

Just about done.

Sophia is learning how cowboys work in the mud.
Isn't she cute!

 Looks like the tractor did its job.


Off they go.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MOUNTAIN LIONS, HOUND DOGS, HORSES AND COWBOYS

Yesterday afternoon, Kiko, one our cowboys, was working the Ranch checking fences and irrigation ditches when he came upon a clogged water pipe.  While making the repair he walked the 40 foot length of the pipe to check the other end leaving his tools and Ranger behind.  He heard the crackling of brush and sticks behind him, not thinking it was anything more than one of our cows, he ignored it.  Moments later, out of the corner of his eye, he saw the steam from the breath of two mountain lions who were staring him down.  The fear sent shivers down his back but the adrenaline kicked in as he made his mind up on what he would do next.  If he ran to the Ranger it would bring on a chase and he knew he couldn't outrun two lions.  He stood up slowly keeping a sharp eye on them.  They didn't move; just stared him down.  He could feel his heart pounding through is chest while his mind was racing on thoughts of their enormous size and power but he was able to take slow steps backwards toward the ranger.  What seemed like an hour only took minutes until he was close enough to run the last few yards to the Ranger.  When he started the engine it startled the lions and they took off running up the  mountain through the rocky terrain. He watched them until they reached the top and disappeared into the horizon. 

This is a great time of the year for lions as they have easy kill with new calves being born everyday. Word quickly spread to the neighboring ranches about the lion sighting and the next morning the tracking began.

Cowboys, Horses, and Hounds were in abundance this morning.

Hound dogs picking up the mountain lion scent.

 Horses were trailered in, they are ready to go.
 Hound dog ready to hunt


 Cowboys following the dogs to the area where the lions were.


 One of the dogs picking up the scent where the lions left fresh poop.

Checking out more lion poop!
I took a picture of the poop but I thought it might be too gross to post with these beautiful pictures.

 Most of the dogs had tracking collars on.

 Hound Dogs everywhere!
Really awesome to see them work. 

 Half of them have the scent.

The other half is still working on it.



 My cowboy,Chris, holding Sophi, still in her PJs. No time to change!

The cowboys watched as the dogs scattered through the terrain finding the scent.

 The dogs have the scent and the cowboys go get their horses.


 Up the road they went and in seconds you could no longer see them but the howls were loud and clear.

The cowboys follow the dogs.



 "Papa" watches the dogs and the cowboys up in the mountains.


No one will take Papa's gloves...they're marked!


Both of them!



 Hound kennels on one of the cowboy's trailers.

 The cowboys had rough terrain to go through to find the dogs.

They made it to the top and back down the other side. Now we wait to see what they find.

Will let ya know!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Banana Pecan & Cranberry Bread

Yesterday was one of those days that baking was necessary, for my health, I had a sweet tooth that needed to be cured! 

It worked out in my favor since I had a couple of overly ripe bananas staring me down. I just couldn't throw them away when I knew something tasty could be made out of them.

I decided to make banana nut bread with a slight twist. I used pecans instead of walnuts because I didn't have any walnuts and I used dried cranberries (Craisins) because it sounded good.

Try it sometime.




This is how it went...



 You will need 3 mixing bowls and a loaf pan to start. Unbleached Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, 2 large eggs, Vanilla Extract, Unsalted Butter, Sugar, 2-3 Very Ripe Bananas, Pecan Pieces, Dried Cranberries (Craisins).

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.



In a separate mixing bowl, sift 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda, and 1/2 Teaspoon Salt then set bowl aside.


In another bowl mash 2 very ripe bananas and set aside. See how easy this is.



In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 2 room temperature eggs and 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract and set aside.



In another mixing bowl add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter and blend until creamy.

You can use a hand mixer or my favorite, the Kitchen Aid mixer.


Slowly add the egg mixture and beat on low until mixed thoroughly.



Add the mashed bananas and stir with a spoon. The batter will be bumpy from the bananas. This is good.





Grab a rubber spatula to incorporate the flour mixture.



Next have your two year old help you pour in 1/2 cup pecan pieces and 1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins).



Have fun buttering the loaf pan with room temp butter.
Little hands are great for this too!


Pour the batter in the loaf pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then turn the bread out on the wire rack and let bread cool completely on the rack.  You can store the bread in plastic wrap or tin foil until ready to eat.

In our house, its eaten before cooled!

Enjoy!




Ingrediants

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Large eggs at room temp
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter-room temp
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas or about 1 cup, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup Craisins (cranberries that look like raisins)
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Whisk eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
Lightly butter loaf pan to prevent sticking and set aside.

With an electric hand-held mixer or standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream together room temperature butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly add egg mixture and incorporate until fully mixed.  With a spoon add mashed bananas to batter until fully mixed.  With a rubber spatula slowly incorporate the flour mixture into batter until full mixed. Fold in nuts and cranberries.

Pour batter into buttered loaf pan and smooth out evenly.  Bake in oven for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack.  Then turn pan and gently tip bread out on wire rack to continue cooling.  After bread is completely cooled wrap in plastic wrap or tin-foil.

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