Cruising Into Summer - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 275098

Home on the Range

Cruising into Summer 
 
May 12, 2012 11:51 am 
Updated: May 16, 2012 10:54 am

These are exciting days on the ranch. There are more warm days than cold, even though there was a lot of snowfall on the Steens this week. The grass is starting to grow and I was able to put in some of my landscaping, another step towards finishing my ‘dream backyard’.
With 3 different arches made of cattle panels, I planted vines to cover them and even though it won’t be noticeable until next summer, I know I will have years of enjoyment from them, like I did at my old house. There is just something about flowering vines rambling over the top of something that is very settling to my soul. Firecracker Red Penstemon join Purple Coneflowers in the corner of the flower garden and soon I will be planting seeds of Cosmos and Shasta Daisies to keep them all company. The yard does double duty, as I’ve planted Apricot, Apple and Peach trees, Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries and Currants. In spite of the new fenced in vegetable garden, I can’t resist tucking a few things like cabbage or squash in with the flowers for handy access and to fill in empty spaces while everything grows and evolves. I love old fashioned flowers like towering Hollyhocks and Sunflowers, along with Cosmos, Calendulas, Foxgloves and others.




The first hummingbirds have already made their appearance at the feeder. Buffy the chicken loves her new, sexy, camo vest so much, that she is raising a family. She’s been setting on eggs for the past couple of days and I am going to have to move her. Everyone has been wanting to lay in her nest box and I really only want Buff Orphington or Australorpe crosses. At least Stickman the ditzy rooster is gone so he won’t be siring any chicks. Mr T, an enormous Australorpe, is the head of the harem.
Tonite we will sneak out and carefully lift Buffy off the nest, move the eggs and stuff her in a small kennel where I can confine her with food, water, and the kids, until they hatch. It’s really kind of exciting. I haven’t had a hen hatch any chicks for several years.
Our dear neighbor has seeded some large bare patches in their lawn where the trees all fell down in the windstorm, and a huge area where there was previously a big weedy burm. For reasons unknown to all of us, Cletus and Bruno have decided that is a great place to go in the early evening and wrestle before going on patrol, leaving huge pawprints and body holes in the damp earth. I’ll put some step in posts and rig it to look like its hot-wired later today, so it is protected. 
Last nite we had stuffed the dogs into EmmaLouMoo's old corral to confine them due to the lawn damage, but after dark their barking became pretty urgent. Something was approaching that shouldn’t have. The sheep and goats were out loose with no one to protect them, so Randyman went and let the dogs out. Cletus immediately rounded up the sheep and goats and escorted them to the corral. He doesn’t do this by pushing, like a herding dog would do...he just walks over, says something to them and they obediently walk alongside him to the corral, and they stay there while he joins Bruno, who was waiting, and sprinted off into the dark of the night, in pursuit of the intruder. How the heck he is able to communicate with a completely different species is a mystery to me. It’s just terribly interesting to watch. As I have said before, LGD’s are not like any other breed of dog in existence.



I am expecting meatie chickens to arrive this week. We have to build something in the milk barn. Randyman said he will get on it right away. I hope he doesn’t forget!
Meanwhile, knowing that we only have about 60 to 80 days before these chickens will need to be processed and knowing Randyman’s proclivity towards putting things off until a decade AFTER the last minute, I asked his permission, jumped on ebay and we are now the proud owners of a brand new WHIZBANG CHICKEN PLUCKER kit! All we need is a small motor and belt to run it.  This will save us $100 in processing fees, and over $200 in fuel. We can eat a LOT of chicken for that kind of savings. It will pay for itself by next spring. Not everyone can appreciate how truly wonderful this is, but I would much rather have this than a diamond necklace.
It’s that time of year again, when I need to get back to making soap. I seem to sell out every Christmas and every spring. I’ll have to see if I can stay on top of things better and have more in inventory so people are not disappointed. It’s such great stuff, just hard to have to store so much in such a tiny house. 
I have started a “Soap page” on its own blog. The link is off to the right on my blogroll, or you can just click on http://ranchrustics.blogspot.com/.
Everything around here does double duty. The cow gives us milk and fertilizer. The garden gives us eye candy and vegetables. The dogs give us companionship and protection and the soap provides aromatherapy, cleaning and conditioning.
I mean, what better way to end a hot, muggy day working outside than to jump in the tub or shower with a bar of luxury soap that soothes your senses and nourishes your skin? ...except to maybe take a candle and a glass of wine with you.

 
Comments
May 12, 2012 1:59 pm
Ok, you piqued my curiosity with the Wizbang Chicken Plucker so I watched the video. That is quite an interesting little machine and it sure does a good job. Great blog, as always. Btw, bergamot, almond and the rum soaps would be of most interest to me.
 
petey 
May 12, 2012 3:36 pm
Thank you Marie. The Almond is one of my favorites and I am lovin the Bergamot! I have the Bay Rum down as next to make.
 
May 12, 2012 7:37 pm
Great blog - as usual Petey. Isn't it interesting that the dogs can 'talk' to their charges and get the message across. Thanks again for sharing with us.
 
May 13, 2012 7:02 am
Petey if I ever get trapped on a desert island, could you arrange to be there too? I mean, there could be goats!
 
petey 
May 13, 2012 9:40 am
B'Nana, it is amazing to watch these two interact with everything around them. They blow my mind. LOL Raedwulf...I recommend staying off the water!
 
May 13, 2012 2:00 pm
At quick glance, Bruno and Cletus almost blend in with the sheep. They are really wonderful animals. I think your chicken plucker seems like a great idea, that is not a fun chore. Thanks for another informative blog.
 
Lela 
May 13, 2012 3:46 pm
Petey-such a busy life you lead. I love Cletus and Bruno. I miss my garden from my old house. We moved and I now have an acre of land. I have to stare at a dirt back yard. I hope I can have a garden by next year. My husband and I are busy trying to remodel our old house and also getting my husband's Dad's house to sell. Meanwhile, I will have to be content with a patio garden.
 
May 13, 2012 4:02 pm
I love that you have always valued things you have around like the Plucker because I recall how you've been so thrilled about other "working" gifts you've received. Nice blog, again.
 
May 13, 2012 7:38 pm
You know, I think we all "talk" to each other. Just some of us listen better than others :)(: Animals generally listen better. Most of the times. Happy Mother's Day to you!
 
May 13, 2012 8:29 pm
I can personally attest to the luxury of the soaps that Petey makes. . . oh my gosh!!!!! It is like bathing with silk - her soap is so incredible, so silky smooth, so moisturizing, - the PH level is so compatible with the natural level of human skin - - not like chemically based soaps. The soap she makes cleans naturally, healthy and harmoniously . . . even my singing in the shower seems to sound better - LOL - - ok, maybe it doesn't really help my pitiful voice - - but I can dream while I bath in luxury!
 
char 
May 15, 2012 10:50 am
Another awesome blog. I think a lot of animals are a lot smarter than we humans give them credit for. Atleast I know Cletus and Brutus are definitely above average.I actually think they fall under the gifted and talented category!!!
 
petey 
May 16, 2012 10:54 am
Hope you all had a great weekend! Thank you for stoppin' by and taking the time to comment :)
 
 
 
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petey

Home Town
Tehachapi, California, USA
Living In
Princeton, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Knitting, Gardening, Hunting, Photography, Reading Books

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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
 
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