Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poisoned Pig!!

As I was pulling in through the gate a few days ago I noticed that one of my son's pigs was not with the other ones as usual. I thought this strange and then noticed my son in one of the yards connected to the big pasture. He was saying that something was wrong with one of the pigs. All I could here was, "circling . . . breathing hard . . . wobbly".
We ran in and called my nephew and his wife (who have had many more years than us at raising pigs). Worms, poisoning, a snake-bite possibly . . . these were all suggestions. I quickly searched the internet for "poisoning in a pig". I found some great info right away. It is amazing how useful the internet can be.
This is what I found - Algae poisoning. I found this very informative site www.thepigsite.com . Well, the day this happened, we changed our morning routine a little bit and the pigs ended up out in the pasture by the algae filled pond for 4 hours longer than normal. She was fine at noon but by 2pm or so, she was circling. We gave her a gallon of raw cow milk and then more with charcoal in it. Being a pig, she willingly slurped it down, even in her miserable condition! Within an hour (or less) she was not so wobbly. Soon, she was back to her herself, rooting around and being a bother! Here is the link to info about algae poisoing - http://www.thepigsite.com/pighealth/article/634/algae

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Out the Back Door!!

If someone would have told me a year or so ago that I would be living on an okie ranch with a bunch of farm animals at my back door, I would have laughed. But, look what was hanging out at the back door today!

What a ridiculous (but enjoyable) life.

Cookbook Recommendation

I know with the internet, many folks just go online to find recipes but, there are a handful of good cookbooks out there that are worth having on hand. So, I thought I would start mentioning them every now and then on this blog.
There is a cookbook by Sally Fallon that has some great recipes. The title of the book is Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. I highly recommend getting the book, if not just for some challenging thinking into what is typically considered a good diet. This book has some interesting views that are supported with research. Here is a link to go get your copy:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pictures of Salsa Being Made

The recipe for this salsa can be found here http://okieranchlife.blogspot.com/2009/11/tomato-salsa-recipe.html - Here are step-by-step pics of how to make homemade salsa like this:
#1 - First, go out to the garden (or the grocery store, if you have to resort to such measures) and pick some tomatoes. The tomatoes in the following pic are not as red looking as the ones we were getting off of our plants in the summer. But, these are not bad considering it is the middle of November, here in NE Oklahoma.
#2 - Here is a pic of the ingredients that will give this batch of tomatoes a kick: jalapenos, garlic & green onions:
#3 - Get the salt, pepper & lemon juice ready for use.
#4 - Start by cutting the tomatoes into chunks that can be run through the food processor.
#5 - Drop the tomatoes into the food processor bowl to chop them up.
#6 - Here is the bowl ready for chopping the tomatoes up:
#7 - Here are the tomatoes chopped up. Remember not to make them to pureed!
#8 - Here is a shot of how we like the tomatoes to look for a chunkier salsa:
#9 - Time to chop the stem end off of the jalapeno(s).
#10 - Get the green onions (or whatever onions you are going to use) ready for chopping.
#11 - Now to get the garlic ready for the chopping bowl. I usually cut both ends off of the garlic clove and then peel the skin off.
#12 - If the skins are not coming off easily, you can take a small spice jar (or the end of your knife) and give the clove a good knock. This should make the skin peel off easy.
#13 - Here are the spicy ingredients ready to chop:
#14 - Make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrap all of the hot ingredients out of the processor bowl.
#15 - Mix the hot stuff into the tomatoes with a rubber spatula or some kind of mixing spoon.
#16 - Add the salt in - to your liking.
#17 - Next, add black pepper:
#18 - Add a few squirts of lemon juice:
#19 - Here is a picture of the finished product:
#20 - Get a chip (or a saltine cracker, if you are out of chips!). Dip it and . . .
#21 - EAT IT!
And, last but not least, what to do with all of those scraps? Well, on a working homestead, everything has a part sooooo, the scraps on our ranch go to some kind of critter. This time, we dumped them to the piglets!

That's all for now! Enjoy!

Tomato Salsa recipe

It is hard to believe that it is November 21st and we are STILL getting tomatoes off of our plants. I thought for sure that are tomato plants would not be giving us anything this late into the season. I must admit, that the plants look very, very sad but, they have many tomatoes still on them. We have been able to make several rounds of fresh salsa just this past week.
I am going to give you our recipe. As you will see, there is much variation to the recipe based on your individual tastes and your ability (or non-ability) to handle hot things. Here is the recipe we make:
- 5 to 12 tomatoes (depending on how hot you like your salsa)
- 1 jalapeno (we leave the seeds in)
- 3 to 6 cloves of garlic (depending on how much garlic flavor you like)
- 3 green onions (if you like it hotter and with more onion flavor, you can use 1/2 of a red onion or brown onion in this step)
- lemon juice (a couple of squirts)
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- optional - sometimes we add in garlic powder or ground cumin

We use a food processor to chop it all up. First we do the tomatoes so that they are somewhat chunky still. Then, we put the jalapeno, garlic and onion all in and puree that. Stir it all together and add in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and whatever other spices you like. Test with a chip. If you are out of chips, saltine crackers make a fine substitute!!
I will try to post pics of the process sometime, maybe later, if I get the urge to make some more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Desert Herding vs Okie Green Pastures

There have been so many changes to our life since moving to Oklahoma almost a year and a half ago. One of the biggest changes has been in how we take care of our goats. In CA we used to feed them hay 2x a day and also try to take them out grazing for an hour or so in the desert brush around our house. The picture below shows what they had to graze on in CA:

In comparison, the 40 acres around our place in Oklahoma is GREEN. Even when it is brown, it is still green!

So, just like us, the goats have had to adjust to the different browse and bugs that come along with greener pastures. It has been a great learning experience.

Garden pickings for November

It is amazing that we are still getting veggies out of our garden here in Oklahoma. The weather took a turn towards coldness a few weeks ago but, then the sun popped out and it has been somewhat warmer for the past week.
Here is a picture from today of the turnip patch along with a close-up of a turnip. I hope to make some Pickled Turnips later this week (since one of my sons says they are delicious - I've never had them before!).

While my Mom from CA was visiting us, we picked some lettuce. Well, she cut one head completely off and now, a few weeks later, it is growing again! Look Mom - more lettuce is growing!!
I am amazed at just how much is managing to grow out in the garden this late into November. The tomato plants look really sad but are still producing tomatoes - just not as red as in the summer. They are still good for a great batch of salsa. And, the jalapeno plants, well, they just don't seem to go away. We have collected hundreds and hundreds (no joke!!) of jalapenos off of these plants. I tried to transplant one into a pot so I could bring it in for the winter but, it looked pretty sad in it's pot today. We will see if it survives.
Here is one final picture of what we collected today:

The GARLIC is planted!!

Well, after many weeks of thinking about getting the garlic into the ground, it has finally happened. We managed to get 10 different varieties into the ground. These are considered gourmet garlics and I am excited to see what happens come the spring time.

I am hoping to write up a little more about the kinds of garlic we planted. We will see when I can get to that.