Friday, January 31, 2014

Cow Dogs and Drivers...


Above is video of Birdie lot #14 working outside Thursday at Red Bluff.  I had planned to go watch the dogs work that day, talk shop with a couple of friends that have bulls in the sale, and check out the geldings.  I did make it out there Friday, and caught up with some old friends, watched the dogs work, checked out the latest in equipment, and drooled over some beautiful saddle blankets.
Thursday my Dad wanted to hit a couple buckets of balls on the driving range, as well as pickup a new to me driver. So that is where I landed Thursday.  I'm a lefty, so to have one of Dad's cronies give me a relatively new lefty driver was great.  Whoa, what a difference.  Dad kept saying my old driver was older than he and not worth throwing in the lake.  I agreed, but couldn't see spending mega bucks for a new one, and gently refused his offer to buy me one.  I don't know how he wrangled getting it for free, but it is a bute. Now if I keep my head in the game, and get some cleats for my boots, I just might make the ol duffer proud...
Today we were going to shoot clays, it wasn't written in stone though, and one of the other shooters couldn't make it.

 (Shooting clays is way more fun than it probably should be.)  I had been up since 4AM and was seriously dragging butt, so Dad and I decided to reschedule for next week.
My time with Dad is precious, we only have mornings during the week to get out and do things together, as that is when we have a caregiver to stay with mom.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Flammkuchen folk

So, there is this fascination with brunch/breakfast recipes around cowcamp.  Flammkuchens and Dutch Babies are among the favorites.
This recipe is so close to mine, they could be twins, besides The Roaming Kitchen had yummy pics:

Flammkuchen header 1

Flammkuchen, or tarte flambée in French, comes from the Alsace region of France. Simply, it’s a (rectangular) flatbread cooked in a wood-burning oven. (The name literally means “flaming pie/tart/cake”.) The story goes, country folk used flammkuchen to test the heat of their wood-burning ovens: If your flammkuchen caught fire or immediately burned to a crisp, the oven was still too hot to bake bread.
Of course, wood-burning ovens are quite hot even at ideal temperatures, so if you have yourself a wood-burning oven: 1) the flammkuchen will cook up, bubbly hot, in a quick 1-2 minutes. 2) expect a slightly charred outer crust
Classic flammkuchen toppings include: crème fraîche, fromage blanc/quark, white onions, and smoked bacon. Nutmeg and black pepper are not unwelcome. Classic derivations include: gruyère or comté cheese, and mushrooms.
Real flammkuchen employs bread dough, rolled very thin. (After all, it was meant as a tester before the ‘real’ bread went into the oven.)
A note on the crème fraîche: It’s not too hard to find these days. Crème fraîche is thick, creamy, sour, lovely. Please do not use non-fat sour cream, or some other horror; it’s too runny, and won’t provide the kind of concentrated flavor you’re looking for. You can experiment with fromage blanc, quark, or even goat cheese if you like.

Makes 2 individual pizzas  or 1 large
  • 1/3 pound of bacon
  • 2 small white onions
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups finely grated gruyère
  • flour
  • pizza dough
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
1. Heat the oven to 500F. If you have a pizza stone, move it to the oven a full hour before cooking, to heat up. If you are using a baking sheet, move it to the oven 30 minutes before cooking. Either way, you want to cook the flammkuchen at the base of the oven.
2. Stack up your bacon, and cut it up. Heat a wide pan (cast iron, if you’ve got one) over medium heat. When it’s warm, add the bacon. Cook until half-way to crispy, about 5 minutes. (The bacon will cook more in the oven, so don’t overdo it on the stovetop.) Move the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
3. Meanwhile, slice the onions quite thin. Once the bacon is out of the pan, you can add the onions to it. Cook the onions until lightly golden, 10-15 minutes. Stir in a pinch of salt.
4. Move the crème fraîche to a little bowl, and grate the nutmeg directly over it. Stir to combine.
5. Finely grate the cheese.

6. Take a baking sheet, and flip it upside down. Flour the surface generously.  Spread the pizza dough on top of the upturned baking sheet, and then add the toppings in this order: crème fraîche, onions, bacon, gruyère. Top with black pepper. Move the flammkuchen to the oven by carefully transferring it to the heated pizza stone/first baking sheet. (Aim for the back of the pizza stone/baking sheet.)7. Cook the flammkuchen for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and the crust is just past golden brown. Remove it from the oven. Scatter the minced chives all over.
flammkuchen, out of the oven
8. Eat the flammkuchen straight out of the oven, very hot.
h/t:   The Roaming Kitchen

Flammkuchen is best shared with a bunch of grandkids, and a close friend...

I'm off to watch the stock dog trials today, kick a few flakes of hay, and shoot the breeze at the Bull & Gelding Sale...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Obits & the fish report...

Being a mom and granny is the best gig ever.  I have had a lot of jobs over my lifetime, nothing high profile, nothing world beater. At least by some miracle of circumstance...   I have never been fired. 

 That may be part of the draw of being granny, even if you would rather take them camping, teach them to be good stewards of the land, shoot a bubble gun, ride a horse, eat direct from the garden and make a mean mud pie...than cook or knit... they can't fire you!  Came pretty darn close once job wise, when I was writing obits and the fish report for the local rag and got a little overly exuberant with it...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One More Time...

I'm not the jealous sort, really I'm not, it has always seemed like such a waste of energy to me.  
Damn Straight I'm not one bit envious of LL that he got to do this....
 but, if you happen to see an ol wild blue eyed granny with her wranglers on fire...well...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cowmen and Caddies...

Back when I was newly married, the Cowman's grandfather was still alive and running the ranches.  Sr was a Cowman thru and thru and wouldn't drive anything but a Cadillac. Between riding herd on the 3,000 acres in Oregon and the 15,000 here on the home ranch in Cali. and all the associated road trips looking for cattle and grass all over the West, a lot of miles were put on his Caddie.  

He was in his 80's when I married into the outfit. They had restricted his driving to the fifteen miles to town, down Walnut Street, then onto Main with a stop at Sacred Heart Church.  There he let grandmother off to go to mass, then he drove on down Main to the Crystal Tavern to wait for her.  After mass he reversed his route to go home.  It worked, but we often waited with held breath for that Caddie with the big man in the Stetson and the tiny wren of a woman beside him to roll over the last cattle guard.  

As the home place is pretty much in the center of the ranch, he could be in on the action even in later years.  Driving his Caddie he would chase the remuda into the horse barn for us, or if we were working cattle in the corrals he would park his Caddie on a knoll to watch.

One day as I was coming home from town, and crossed the first cattle guard, I saw great puffs of dirt, grass, and smoke ahead.  I pulled up on Sr in his high centered Caddie.  After the Caddie's tires quit spinning, I walked up and asked him how he was doing...  
"Do you have a chain in the back of your rig, girl?"  
"Yes sir, I do."   
"Well hook it up and pull me off of this knoll, I've got cattle to check and I don't want to lose my head count."
After I got him pulled out, and before he roared off across the fields again.  He gave me one of the best complements I've ever had, "Girl, you know I don't approve of women a horseback or working cattle, but you just 'might' make a hell of a hand."

I liked Sr, he was sharp as a tack, ruthless, didn't suffer fools lightly, knew more about cattle, grass, and the markets than most would ever comprehend, and loved his Caddies.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Glimpses of Granny...

Going to the mountains in the summer with my granny is behind a great many of my happiest memories.  She was an excellent seamstress, a Scrabble champ, crossword queen, bridge player, a lover of books, and a teacher by heart and profession.  The only one who had the patience to bestow some of her knowledge on a little girl with wild blonde pig tails, dreams of horses, and a propensity for taking risks. 

We were an odd mix, she and I, who rubbed along very well. I don't remember her ever swearing, or yelling.  
She, of the good manners, proper English, gardening, world travel, Shakespeare, and the Giants. Me, of riding any horse I could catch, digging up her flower beds in search of perfect night crawlers for trout fishing, and stripping naked to swim with the water snakes and trout in the big granite pools of that high mountain stream.
Her, maker of beautifully tailored suits and coats, and I of finding a way to match the hatch. 
Her, setting on the cabin's deck, snapping beans while reading a classic to a little blonde girl curled up in a wicker chair, with the sun's warming cover, til sleep overcame even the best of tales. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wild Women, Helicopters, and Bull...

Ok, so it was the afternoon from hell. I'm not going to elaborate, but it was.
On to brighter things... all the kids are fine.  The corpsman will be back state side sooner than later, Yes!  
All the sister-in-laws and their daughters (including Marymine and I) are planning a trip to Vegas.  I don't care about going to LV.  I do want to see the rest of the wild women. Not that any of them are She-rahs or any thing.

    Besides, you know if you don't go you are going to be talked about, and you will miss out on all the hugging.

Breakfast once a week with friends at our little airport has become a regular thing. The food is good and a fair number of private jets fly in.   One of the cute little guys: 

   No idea who it belongs to, just that five young reflective belt type guys got off... and the bird was gone.
Then there was a homemade speedy little experimental:

No helicopters this time.  I'll have to see if I can talk the BIL into hooking me up with a PJ's helicopter ride.  One of the great things about living here is PJ's always seem to have helos flying.

And The Bull Sale is just around the corner. With lots of horses, stock dogs, and bulls.
 What more could one want than wild women friends, helicopters and bull...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ol Bessie ...

It's been 20 years since I got ol Bessie the SUV.  She has been a lot of places and carried a lot of things... from grand kids and dogs to hay bales, calves to camping gear, scarecrows to furniture, lawn mowers to shot guns, saddles to high heels, and wattles to waders.  She never has carried a goat.  
She has on board enough stuff to stay back of beyond for a week, and a secret cubbie or two.
She has worn her American flag and Navy Corpsman's Granny stickers with pride. 
We have shared a few dings and scars along the road.  Both of our headliners are starting to sag.  She likes an extra shot of oil on occasion, but she doesn't smoke, and has never quit on me. 
I just figured we would go on together, two ol gals facing into the wind, with a ribbon of open road ahead of us. But change is the only constant.  
Unbeknownst to me Santa (Dad) got me a new ride. He said it was well deserved.  I'm not to sure about that.  I picked it up the other day.  It's shiny, has lots of bells and whistles, and hauls ass. I haven't known it long enough to name.

I can't afford two vehicles, so ol Bessie will continue her journey with someone else.  Hopefully, someone who will be kind to a spirited ol gal, likes the windows rolled down, and to sing along with Waylon and Willie.  


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Your father did...

I can cook, just not well.  No, I try to cook, without killing, and so far I have succeeded, but it's a day by day thing.  It could be because I have always been happier outside or inside crafting or reading or whatever.  None of which have anything to do with cooking. 
I can cut calves, being fast and accurate with my knife, with the best of them. But cooking mountain oysters without having blowback all over cowcamp is not in my skillset.

Today, I wanted to cook a new (to me) version of Hoppin John and my own bacon cornbread concoction to bring Good Luck in this New Year.  I told the old folks I was fixing these delights and they asked if they could have milkshakes instead... 

"Nope,  but your welcome to join me in a short prayer that we survive."  I'll be darned, if mom didn't try to make the sign of the cross, and she's not even Cathlick.

 At Dinner Mom has a tray in bed and Dad and I eat at the dinning room table.  The Hoppin John turned out really well, and the bacon cornbread did too.  Dad had two helpings of each, and mom ate most of hers as well.

 pic from Everyday Dutch Oven

 Dad has fallen in love with my Jack Russell, Willie, and is feeding him biscuits and what ever else he thinks that JR garbage receptacle would like.  We have had a few discussions about not feeding him from your plate, but dad has selective hearing, and has missed all my pleadings. 

As I was picking up mom's plate, I said, "Whoa, you ate it all."  
"Yes I did," she said with a smirky smile.  The only thing was...  Dad and Willie had both moved back into the bedroom by then to watch their football game... and mom doesn't usually eat all her food. 
"Are you sure You ate it all,  You didn't feed Willie did you?" I asked.
"Oh No, I didn't feed Willie!"   and then in her time honored way she threw Dad under the bus,  "But Your Father Did!"