Saving Summer - Home on the Range Blog at - 278673

Home on the Range

Saving Summer 
Jul. 2, 2012 4:17 pm 
Updated: Jul. 17, 2012 7:06 pm

We are finally getting into the swing of summer. The days are mostly warm now and some of my flowers are blooming. The corn, tomatoes, squash, peas, beans and carrots are up and I am looking forward to the harvest already.
Each morning brings pretty much the same, I warm up goat milk for Prissy’s triplets whom she decided not to feed, while Randyman makes the 11 bottles for the leppie calves. With everything in the wagon, we head out to the corrals. I run ahead and like the Pied Piper, lead the meatie chickens to their feeders where they all mob me, as Randyman pulls the bottle wagon safely past. Butterflies drift lazily on the air currents, alighting to caress the flowers that have already opened their petals to the world. The roses, calendula, purple cone flowers, stock and  carnations keep them sated while they wait for marigolds, cosmos, daisies and hollyhocks to open. Birds chatter noisily in the trees as we go about our business and the hummingbirds gorge themselves on the trumpet vine that scampers over the rock wall.
We split the calves up into two groups and give them their bottles. They bump and push one another while they greedily suck down the milk replacer. We try valiantly to keep everyone at their own bottle to make sure they all get their share.
 No one has to be fed by stomach tube, or given shots today so that makes it a bit easier. Wimpy and Mister stare at me over the fence, expectantly, wondering if they will get any treats in addition to their pasture this morning. It ain’t likely. The horse cavvy peeks over the fence to say good morning.

The cowboys bring them up every morning to the corral by the barn to catch and saddle the horses they will use for the day. The horse wrangler drives a 4 wheeler down to the big pasture they live in. Its several hundred acres. He/she rounds them up and follows them a mile up the dirt lane to the barn. After saddling, they will open the gate and the horses not working that day will drift their way back down to the pasture again.
I count laying hens and chicks while we bottle feed, and laugh at the funny looking chickens that came with the meaties. They are very interesting colors and I have NO idea what kind they are. They are having a good life though, running around loose and scavenging bugs and spilt grain from the calves’ trough. The sun warms my back and I listen to the cooing of mourning doves as the goat kids greedily consume their bottles, bumping and pulling as I try my darndest to hold on to them. It’s exponentially harder to feed and hold 3 large coke bottles, than it is to do just two. I struggle to keep them in my hands as I sit on a stump to maintain my balance. The other set of triplets cuddle up to Bruno. They know he will keep watch over them. I watch as one little goat walks all over the dog without him making a single complaint. It is really amazing the way a real LGD will bond with its stock.

 EmmaLou and her cronies are grazing around in the pasture, lazily switching at flies. Soon they will curl up for a siesta under the octopus tree. The lambs are bleating and begging for attention, from the horses’ pasture. They walked under the hotwire last night and decided to stay. The horses don’t seem to mind a bit. There is plenty to go around. We push the calves down the alleyway and out the gate to the back pasture. This is their first time out. Cletus escorts them and finds himself a good spot in the pasture to keep watch over them.

After we are done, the bottle wagon is hauled back to the house and Randyman loosens all the caps so I can wash them. This will be the first of 3 feedings, as the calves also get a noon feeding. It feels like all I do is feed calves and wash bottles all day. I hope we will soon be able to turn them out into the pasture and cut the noon feeding out of our day. I have already pushed the milk goats to once a day milking, at night. It makes it a lot easier to only have to process milk and take the machine all apart to clean just once.
Each morning, I usually wash the bottles, check for email, then make a log or two of soap, as it is hard to keep it in inventory these days. I am thrilled people are loving it so much. The little bit of money I make helps with the care of the animals, as we do have to buy supplemental feed, veterinary meds and the horses need shoes now and again. Every little bit helps.
The rest of the day may be spent canning, cooking, gardening or sewing, or any combination of those.
This week I canned some potatoes before they went bad. Going to the store only every 3 months, we can run out of a lot of things, or worse, have it go bad. I put away what we want to use fresh, then can the rest. These can be quickly heated up as home fries, or mashed potatoes, potato soup or any number of different ways. Tonight I drained a quart and dumped them in the frying pan with some ghee, parsley, salt & pepper and just heated them up until they were browned, to go with our lamb chops. They were buttery and delicious. 
 I made some blueberry sauce and canned that, to use over ice cream and on our wholegrain waffles. 

I also made some homemade Dulce De Leche with goat milk. Now THIS is something to brag about. The boss’ wife asked me 
“So how do you keep yourself from just sitting down and eating all that yourself with a spoon??”. Dulce de Leche is a rich, incredibly flavorful carmelized milk. It’s easily made and if you use real vanilla beans in it, its amazing!

 I have found that if my oils and lye are prepared, I can make soap while my bread is rising, and boil and sterilize jars at the same time.  A little multi tasking gets a whole lot more done. At the end of a couple hours, I have soap in the molds, hot bread on the counter and jars of food cooling. It’s a good feeling. With as much as there is to do here, there isn't any other way. We enjoy our leisure time while we sleep. I think its a whole lot better that way, cuz I always manage to somehow still be behind on my chores.

I made a list of canned goods I want to put up this year. Last January, I canned several different soups and stews and it was the best investment of time I could have made, as there were many, many nights that I was just too exhausted, or in too much pain to fix dinner. Grabbing a jar of something wonderful and homemade and heating it up was better than I can possibly describe. I would much rather do that, than go out for dinner...which of course, is NOT an option for us, but it used to be, when we lived in California. Our 4 or so trips a year to town is more than enough eating out for me. A day spent canning, saves us money, time, and provides us with a much healthier alternative. It will save valuable space in my freezers as well as make for quick and easy meals. Canning is one of the best skills I have learned. Why not give it a try? 
Here are some of the items on my 2012 canning list. 
A lot of the ingredients will come from our garden, but we might find a farmers market on the way around town  next trip for other stuff. Some things I also dehydrate, but I want to compare them so I will can a few as well, this year
Jams & Jellies
Tomato Products
Spaghetti sauce
Pizza sauce
Chicken Tortilla
Clam Chowder
Chicken Stock
Cheesy Chicken Chowder
Potato Soup
Ground beef/meatballs
For tacos
Shredded Mexican Beef-for quick burritos or taco salads
Beef Dip Beef-for quick sandwiches
Chicken-for salads, enchiladas, casseroles, etc.
Green beans
Blueberry, Strawberry & Blackberry sauces and syrups
Pie fillings
Can you think of any other meals, items that might be handy to have canned in one's pantry?
If you don't can now, you might consider it. The benefits are beyond counting.
Jul. 2, 2012 4:27 pm
Wonderful Pictures
Jul. 2, 2012 4:27 pm
Another amazing blog, petey! You paint such beautiful pictures with your words...makes me wish I could come visit you, even for just a short time, and get a taste of your life for myself! I know I've asked you questions about canning before and you've been extremely helpful, but I was wondering if there is a book or online resource I could get that can help me learn to can many of the things you've mentioned. So far, the only things I've successfully canned are pickles, applesauce, and jams/jellies. I would LOVE to branch out and can soups and my own veggies so I can stop buying canned veggies at the store.
Jul. 2, 2012 4:33 pm
Keri, I highly recommend Balls "Complete Book of Home Preserving" It has all the information you need to both waterbath and pressure can and also has 400 recipes for all kinds of wonderful stuff..including ChocolateRaspberrySunday can you go wrong?? The thing we really noticed about canning our own stuff is the flavor. We now eat things we wouldn't even touch before and we love it!
Jul. 2, 2012 5:45 pm
Petey, do you have chokecherry bushes in your neck of the woods? They are so very easy to harvest and they make great jelly, jam or syrup.
Jul. 2, 2012 5:48 pm
Thanks Petey, for the canning recommendation. I tried my hand a couple summers ago at canning peach halves, strawberry jalapeno jam and something else that I can't remember. While I follow the canning directions to a "T", My peaches rose to the top of the jar and the the strawberries did as well. I can't find the answer to this problem. I have plenty of supplies so I'll try my hand at it again. Thanks for your inspiration, Petey! P.S. We rarely eat out either. Why bother when my husband, also "Randyman", says my cooking is restaurant quality! Bless his heart!
Jul. 2, 2012 5:58 pm
My parents canned and we all had a hand in the process. I hang my head in shame as I am far too lazy to carry on the tradition. I got tired just reading your list! I know it will be worth the effort for you. Thanks for sharing.
Jul. 2, 2012 5:59 pm
redly, I am not sure if we have chokecherries on the way up the mountain or not. We used to have them on the ranch in California, although I never did can them...I'd love to find some to make some cough syrup tho!
Jul. 2, 2012 6:09 pm
Cathy, I haven't had that happen but I understand there are a few things that could contribute to the floating fruit. I hope it turns out well for you next time!
Jul. 2, 2012 7:04 pm
Hi, petey! The first picture of the barn and the mountains took my breath away! Here's hoping that once the young 'uns are weaned from the bottle you will have some time to just soak in the beauty of your surroundings. I have canned a few things, but we no longer have access to a garden. I haven't quite got the hang of gardening in South Texas. Not many things besides cactus thrive in this heat! Thanks for once again transporting me to your world for a few moments!
Jul. 2, 2012 7:09 pm
Did I ever tell you my mother canned Fish one time when I was about 10 yrs old? Have you ever made rootbeer? Mom did that too and most of the time it was Delish! Love your pics and your blog! I should try canning too! Wth, why not? Lol Thank for trying to teach us something old is new again! Btw, I do love to eat out, if for nothing but someone else get KP duty! Lol
Jul. 2, 2012 7:13 pm
My parents made and bottled root beer, too!
Jul. 2, 2012 7:39 pm
My grandpa actually made rootbeer and sold it thru his company, but no one else in the family learned how from him...I LOVE rootbeer floats!
Jul. 2, 2012 7:41 pm
ha! considering it would be a minimum of 4 hours driving for us to eat out, opening a jar and dumping it in the microwave is pretty much as out of KP duty as I can get! Marie C, thats cool. I thought about trying that, but I don't drink carbonated beverages, they make me thirsty!
Jul. 2, 2012 10:36 pm
Awesome blog as usual, Petey! Love pic #4:)
Jul. 3, 2012 4:40 am
as usual -i love alllll you do- what a wonderful life- just like a storybook--when you write about canning i always think about my gggrandma- she always canned sausage when they would kill a hog in the fall- make the patties- put them in quart jars- cover them with lard- cap them & store them upside down- in the winter -ohmy, that was the best sausauge- you always bring back the best memories for me-- thank you Petey-- be safe and pat all the animals for me- judy-
Jul. 3, 2012 5:11 am
Loved that first photo! Have you ever thought of turning your photos into greeting cards? You capture some lovely moments with your camera. I've only canned the basics-tomatoes, stock, fruits and green beans, no soups or meals in a can but what I do can I really appreciate having on hand!
Jul. 3, 2012 7:57 am
Thanks guys! Cat, I never thought of that, that would be kind of a neat idea. I'll have to look into that!
Jul. 3, 2012 8:45 am
Hi Petey! What a wonderful blog. Makes me feel lazy though (haha). All I've managed to do is freeze cherries, blueberries, pineapple, grapes, kiwis, tomatoes and blackberries for winter.I have canned chokecherry jelly and its good. I prefer raspberry though. I am going to blueberry jelly this year.Perhaps even pincherry jelly if I can get them. Your pics are just beautiful. Thank you once again for sharing your most magnificent life. I am amazed that Bruno lets the kids do that. He must be a great dog.Sounds very gentle. He's very beautiful. Have a great day.
Jul. 3, 2012 1:01 pm
Wow, you really have your day cut out for you. I was out of breath just thinking about the three feedings, let alone making soap, canning and baking. Truly an amazing life you your blogs and the pictures of your homestead.
Jul. 3, 2012 1:38 pm
Rocketwoman, I can't say for certain but I suspect you've the chops to give Alf Wight a run for his money should you ever choose to pen a tome. Wights pen name was James Herriot.
Jul. 3, 2012 2:13 pm
Petey, you have such a beautiful way of describing your life, it makes us feel like we are right there! Along with your many talents and chores, you could easily have a book in your future painting the seasons in your life! So enjoyable! Thanks!
Jul. 3, 2012 3:11 pm
Wonderful blog Petey - I don't know how many hours are in your day but I think there must be more than 24. As always, I love the photos and the stories of your life. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Jul. 3, 2012 5:02 pm
You guys are funny. Actually, I waste quite a lot of time, and truly I am usually running way behind on the chore list. I have definitely slowed down, but living here is worth all the work we do put into it! Raedwolf, I didn't know he had a pen name. I remember reading those books as a kid. I liked em!
Jul. 3, 2012 7:25 pm
Another amazing blog, Petey! The pictures are breathtaking. I would have to sit and gaze.... a lot if I had that view. You are an inspiration in all that you do. We have had horrible heat for over 15 days and no rain in over 35 days, so we have been watering 2 new flower beds we planted this year, and about 25 potted plants plus some young trees every evening. That about wears me out. And the lawn looks like straw. I can't imagine all that you do. As always, I thank you for sharing with us!!
Jul. 3, 2012 9:15 pm
Watering all that in the heat would be exhausting! I hope you get better weather soon! I don't do as much as people seem to think... a lot of the things i do SAVE me time, and well....maybe add up all the minutes it takes in a year to go to the store and back...I just spend them differently :)
Jul. 4, 2012 8:07 am
Petey-you stirred up memories of homemade preserves. My Grandma always put up preserves and syrups. Your canning list is 5 stars in my book! You have chili on your list- is that chopped green chili? My MIL would can hot dill pickles and cherry peppers. What about canning French Dressing? I also wondered about what cheeses you make? My FIL used to talk about curd cheese-at least I think that is what it called. Do you make goat cheese, ricotta, or mozzarella cheese?
Jul. 4, 2012 2:35 pm
no, its chilibean chili. I usually just freeze jalapenos whole, so I haven't canned them. I've never canned anything like dressing, but then Randyman will only use ranch, so.... I do make mozzarella and ricotta, with both goat and cows milk. I have been working on hard cheeses this year, some cheddars and jacks, and a parmesan, I made some feta, but I didn't like it.Two feta lovers said it was good tho. I don't feel like I have totally nailed the hard cheeses yet, but I won't give up until I do. Mozzarella, ricotta and those are one day cheeses and are pretty easy.
Jul. 5, 2012 2:17 am
For those who think canning in the traditional way is too daunting for them, I have friends who use the sealing food saver machine to also preserve food in jars. It has a vacuum attachment for the jars. My daughter in law preserves her soups and spaghetti sauce in jars for freezing this way. I think it is called a "Seal a Meal".
Jul. 5, 2012 7:56 am
i don't know how safe that is, but the attachment is great for putting lettuce in jars. It keeps over a month that way. Traditional canning is pretty easy tho. The Ball Blue book ($8) has all the info you need :)
J. Dub 
Jul. 5, 2012 8:37 am
Petey, I ALWAYS love your blogs. Your way of life intrigues me. It makes me jealous too! Again I thank you for sharing your everyday life with us.
Jul. 5, 2012 4:45 pm
Petey, I have read everyone of your blogs and loved them all. You really need to write a book of your life and experiences. I can salsa which you may include under your tomato products. We love that fresh, summery taste in the winter. Cathy Meyers - Someone else may have answered your fruit float question but here goes mine. When I can peach halves I only use regular mouth canning jars - not the wide-mouth jars. I place my first peach halves standing up in the bottom, pack really well, and place one peach half horizontally on top, sort of wedging the others down. Make sure this peach half is not above the bottle neck of the jar. I start to add the liquid and really work with my bubble remover (a large plastic knife for me) to get all the air bubbles out. I still have some floating peaches but not like I use to have. If your jar is sealed, it's mainly cosmetic that the peaches float, they are not unsafe to eat. You can shake the jars once a week so the peaches and the liquid redistribute. You can do everything exactly right with peaches and still have floaters. With your jam fruit floats, was it properly jellied to jam stage (the saucer test in the freezer) before canning?
Jul. 5, 2012 9:04 pm
Thanks maxie, for the tips and the encouragement
Jul. 6, 2012 5:41 pm
Beautiful blog of a beautiful life. The first photo is just amazing. Oregon at it's finest for sure. While you work hard, isn't it all just so very worth it? You don't have to battle traffic and noisey neighbors. My soul is always soothed after reading your stories. Thank you.
Jul. 6, 2012 8:11 pm
That photo of Cletus in the pasture is priceless--magazine-cover worthy for sure. Loved this!
Jul. 7, 2012 1:38 am
What a beautiful life and Blog Petey.
Jul. 7, 2012 5:55 am
Happy Birthday, Petey!
Jul. 7, 2012 6:27 am
Petey, as always I stand in awe. Thank you for sharing your talents and blessings. I am so thankful God has blessed you with another year of life! Happy Birthday :)
Jul. 7, 2012 7:09 am
Happy Birthday! Thank you for a wonderful blog, very much enjoyed it!
Jul. 7, 2012 7:46 am
Thanks you guys. You are very kind!
Jul. 7, 2012 10:46 am
I just love your blog and the pictures :O) you dogs look like happy campers just laying around....
Jul. 7, 2012 11:56 am
Petey, this is the first time I've read your are an amazing woman! You make your readers feel as if we are right there with your canning/baking/everything work! Got tired reading all the things you do in a day... And Happy Birthday to you!! May you have many years of joy and peacefulness!!
Jul. 7, 2012 12:35 pm
Great bog Petey. Happy Birthday
Jul. 7, 2012 3:02 pm
thanks, glad you stopped by neeniejan and thank you! Thank you all for the well wishes
Jul. 9, 2012 9:41 pm
Petey, I LOVE your blog entry! I'm so glad it was one of the ones featured on the main page so that I could find it. It is a beautiful and evocative post and the photos are wonderful, too! As for canning, I haven't done much since childhood with my Grandmas. But, this year I am determined to at least get a little done - nothing on your scale, though. So far, I've only put up some Pineapple/Apricot jam and some Low Sugar Raspberry jam. I intend to do regular peach, peach/mango, nectarine lavender, blackberry and strawberry jams. I'm also planning some hot pepper jelly, pear preserves, pear relish, apple butter and crystallized pickles - if my Aunt sends me my Grandmother's recipe. Finally, if I can find a good quantity at a good price, I'd like to put up a few jars of fig preserves, too.
Jul. 9, 2012 9:55 pm
P.S. Just read that 7/7 was your birthday. So, your birthday is the same as my Mama. Anyway, Happy Belated Birthday - I hope it was wonderful!
Jul. 16, 2012 2:26 pm
thanks Gayla...actually, its the 8th, but Marianne is extra prompt! LOL Sounds like you will be doing PLENTY of canning!
Jul. 17, 2012 7:06 pm
like Arthur replied I am shocked that a student able to earn $9035 in four weeks on the internet. have you seen this web link
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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.
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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