Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cowboy Logic

This little guy had a hard time coming into the world! His story is in the video below.

Baby Calf

Baby Calf

Enjoy the cowboy logic!

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Cowboy Chili

This is a recipe that I came up with a few years ago and we think it is some the best chili we have ever had. The most important ingredient is to start with some quality sausage, of course Blue and Gold from your local FFA chapter is the best you can get.

Blue and Gold sausage

Blue and Gold sausage

Get your smoker going and go ahead and smoke the whole roll, you won’t use it all in one batch of chili but it freezes really well and you will have it for next time. Throw the raw sausage on a smoking grill and cook it for about 2 hours at 275 degrees. Don’t worry if it’s not completely done you can brown it with your hamburger meat.

Smoked sausage adds great flavor

Smoked sausage adds great flavor

 

After a couple of hours they look great

After a couple of hours they look great

Next brown your hamburger and onion in a skillet. I actually start with a little olive oil and saute my onion first with with garlic. Once the onion is soft and to your liking set it aside and brown your hamburger.

Smoked sausage in wuth the hamburger

Smoked sausage in wuth the hamburger

I’m using a whole roll here but I am making a very large batch of chili for a family birthday party. Go ahead and break up the sausage and hamburger as much as possible and make sure all the meat is lightly browned. Next add your crushed tomatoes, chili powder, sugar, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. This next ingredient is what really makes the chili!

Chipotle pepper

Chipotle pepper

When I am getting a lot of jalapenos from the garden in the summer, I pick a large mess and put them on my smoker as cool as I can get it for about 16 hours and this is what you wind up with. Chop up your chipotle and add it to your chili, your house will be smelling great and everyone will want to know your secret spices. Simmer covered for about an hour over low heat then add the beans and cook for another 15 minutes.

Everybody enjoys chili

Everybody enjoys chili

The last step is to enjoy enjoy it with people you love. It just makes you feel good to make a meal from scratch, knowing that it is healthy and tastes great!

Recipe

1.5 pounds hamburger, 1 large onion chopped, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 chipotle chopped, 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained

 

 

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Waitin on Springtime

Waitin on Springtime

 

Sport my Quarterhorse

Sport my Quarterhorse

If my horse could talk, here’s what he would say

Im waitin on springtime with it’s warm sunny days

When the grass is all green and the pickins are great

I’ll be slicked off and sassy coming off winter break

Anyone can ride me, saddled or bareback, bridled or not

The winter has been long, and I want out of this lot

I’m a good solid cow-horse, I can keep a rope tight

I know just how much tension so the calves don’t fight

I can side-pass on gate duty, and ground tie and stand

I’m steady, even tempered, and they say a “good hand”

I carry my cowboy riding tall at any gait

Through sagebrush, canyons, and water without complaint

I can turn on a dime and leave you some change

Stop a cow, cut her out, turn her back, I love the game

I can trot the big circles and go all day long

Your spurs and your gear bounce in tune to my song

Younger horses are hard to catch, they shy and they buck

They baulk at water crossings and trailers and such

I come when you whistle, and stop on your cue,

I’m waitin on springtime to ride herd with you

 

 

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Big Bale Flaker

I started feeding big square bales of alfalfa for my winter protein instead of cubes or grain. I think the cows do better on it, and if you shop around it will cost you less than cubes for the protein. The problem with these bales is that they are 4x4x8 feet in size and they weigh about 2,000 pounds. When you cut the strings and drive over rough ground they tend to fall apart. The first year I would climb on the back of the truck and pry off one flake at a time. Then I’d pull up and repeat the process til all the cows were fed in that pasture, tie the strings back around the remainder of the bale, and go to the next pasture. This got old pretty quick. That summer I started thinking about how I could automate the process some, and I came up with a flaker that pulls the bale forward to the edge of the truck with an electric wench from a control inside the cab. Then I added an arm that is run by a cylinder powered by my Hydrabed that comes into the bale and flakes off whatever size blocks you need. This arm also acts as a stabilizer to hold the bale together while you are driving to and from the feeding areas. I had to tweak a few things about it as always, but it really works well. If you don’t have a hydraulic bale bed, I think the flaker could be made to run off a self contained unit fairly easily.

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Houdini the Cow?

A few years ago I sent my order buyer/father-in-law to the local sale to pick me up a nice cow calf pair. Later that day he showed up with a cow with a nice looking bull calf at her side. We stood at the side of the trailer admiring the purchase. The price was right; the cow and calf looked great; and though I don’t remember thinking this, surely we wondered why her previous owner had sold her.photo

 

Looks innocent enough, doesn’t she? We went ahead and unloaded her in the lot away from the herd for a few days to make sure she hadn’t picked up any sicknesses from the sale barn and also to be able to watch her closely and treat her if need be. Now the pen where we put her had a pipe fence about 5 feet tall. It was very secure for a cow, but a small calf could go under or through the pipes very easily. However, this is not a concern because the calves generally stay close to their mamas. The next day I went down to check on my new purchase and they were gone! I checked all the gates, and they were secure. There were no holes or bent places in the fence, but the pen was empty. I finally found them on the other side of the barn in a different pen and all I could figure is that she jumped out. So, I decided to name her Houdini. She stayed in that pen until it was time to turn her out with the herd, and everything was fine. When it comes time to wean a calf, we practice fencline weaning because it is much easier on the animals. This way, they don’t feel like they are separated. I noticed that each time I went down to feed, Houdini’s calf was very content. I would put the feed out for them and her calf would come up and eat quickly while some of the others would continue to stand by their mamas. One day I changed my schedule and went to feed at a different tim. As I approached the pasture, I noticed Houdini quickly making her way toward the fence from the calves’ side of the pen. I watched in amazement as she jumped and cleared the fence just like a deer back to her side of the fence. As I got closer to feed them, sure enough, her calf had milk all over its nose. Houdini had been jumping in and out every day between my feeding times to take care of her baby. Usually you cull a cow for bad behavior, and this would certainly qualify. The problem is she consistently produces calves that are in the top group of all our cattle. Number 1217 on the banner of this page is one of her calves, and my wife and kids think she is the best cow ever. So now we just have a mutual understanding that if she likes it there, she stays there, and so far she likes the pasture she is in.

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Brick Oven Pizza

One of my favorite pizza recipes by far is this dough recipe that I came across on   the Forno Bravo site. This takes a little time but it is well worth it.

Dough balls resting

Dough balls resting

Authentic Vera Pizza Napoletana Dough Recipe

Ingredients

By Volume
4 cups Molino Caputo Tipo 00 flour
1 ½ cups, plus 2 TBL water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry active yeast

By Weight
500gr Molino Caputo Tipo 00 flour
325gr water (65% hydration)
10gr salt
3gr active dry yeast

We highly recommend cooking by weight. It is fast, and easy to get the exact hydration (water to flour ratio) and dough ball size you want. Personally, I do not use recipes or a mixing cup when I cook dinner for the family, but pizza and bread dough is different. Being exact counts, and nothing works better than a digital scale.

Mix the dough in a stand mixer, by hand or in a bread machine. If you are using a stand mixer, mix it slowly for two minutes, faster for 5 minutes, and slow again for 2 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until double. Punch it down and push out the air bubbles. Form the dough into a large ball, then cut it into three 275gr equal pieces

To make your pizza balls, shape each piece of dough into a ball. Gently roll your dough into a ball, then stretch the top of the ball down and around the rest of the ball, until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together to make a smooth ball with a tight outer “skin.” Set your ball seam-side down where it can rest. Dust your pizza balls with flour, and store them under a damp towel, in a proofing tray, or under plastic wrap. This will prevent the outside of the ball from drying out and creating a crust, and becoming difficult to work with. The top of the pizza ball should be soft and silky.

Your pizza balls will need to rest for about an hour to become soft and elastic, so that they can be easily stretched into a thin crust pizza.

If you won’t need your dough for more than an hour, refrigerate it until you are ready to start.

 

Use plenty of flour

Use plenty of flour

Stretch the dough as thin as possible without tearing it.

Put on whatever toppings you like

Put on whatever toppings you like
I use a metal peel to scoop it up

I use a metal peel to scoop it up

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t have a wood oven, have a pizza stone preheated in your oven and it works really well.

Turn it around often

Turn it around often

In a properly heated oven, 500 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit will cook it in about 5 to 7 minutes.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Nice!

 

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Why I Speak Cow

A few years ago, I was starting to learn how to handle cattle while on horseback. I was at an older gentleman’s arena, and he offered to give me some one-on-one coaching if I would come back the next day. I had handled cattle on foot my whole life, but I could see that those techniques didn’t really transfer over to the saddle, so I took him up on his offer. The next day when I arrived, horse in tow, he told me to tie my horse up and come down to the cattle on foot. This was not exactly what I had in mind but I decided to do whatever he told me. He took me through a series of exercises walking into the herd and getting one calf out, he taught me about body position (where I was in relation to the calf’s shoulder or hip), he taught me how to pick out the calf I wanted to move and focus on that calf to create pressure with only my eyes. He taught me when to use my voice and when not to, and how loud I should be. Then he told me to get on my horse and give my horse every advantage by picking my calf from far off and remaining focused on him as I rode into the herd. I was amazed. By focusing on the calf I wanted, my horse seemed to go right to that calf. With very minimal reining I could move the calf easily and it didn’t seem to affect the other animals. (in other words I didn’t bust the herd). I continued to go back nearly every week for about a year,  honing my skills and continuing to learn more of the “old ways” of handling cattle. These skills and newly discovered old ideas dominated my thinking anytime I was around cattle. Even in very confined situations like the working/sorting alley, I was always amazed by how much I could accomplish while actually doing so little. Today, we run a full cow/calf operation. I am continuing to change pen layouts and holding areas to look more like a more natural place for a cow to be. I am also trying to create natural movement to make it easier to process the cattle. Easier on me means it’s easier on the cattle, and that equates to a better quality and healthier end product. The best way to treat animals with dignity and respect is to allow them to display their natural tendendencies. All of these things have added up to a lot gentler herd, and though it probably goes without saying, we don’t own a hot shot.

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