Human-sized Horseradish Root

We’ve had a horseradish plant growing behind the goat stable for a couple years now.

David gave part of the plant a yank the other day and THIS is what came out!

Apparently, the gophers don’t like it. But David grated some and made a delicious sauce.

For more about horseradish and its long (no pun) history, see: Horseradish – Wikipedia

Forced Christmas Tree Downsizing

After nearly twenty years of giant, floor-to-ceiling Christmas trees (some we could barely carry), we were forced to downsize this year by three events:

  1. The 2020 fire torched much of the available tree harvest area (we don’t buy commercial trees)
  2. Early snowfall at high elevation made it impossible to reach the non-burned tree area that remains
  3. Carrying capacity limited by rotator cuff surgery

It’s hard to change our die-hard monster-tree tradition and to let go of a bit of the grand.

However, we did go as far into the snow-closed road as possible and with help from Mike and Jim, carried a smaller tree back home.

Below are photos of

  1. The torched tree harvest area … still stunningly sad, and now hauntingly beautiful with the extreme contrast of standing, dead, black, trees and fresh, white snow in bright sunlight
  2. The downsized tree parked outside the house awaiting entry and decoration
  3. Our tree hauler helpers, Mike and Jim

For a while longer (until they fall) these stark, dark sentinels bear witness to a once-grand forest

Waiting to go in to be the tree for 2022

Neil, David, Jim and Mike (no I did not wear that outfit when we got the tree … it’s a bit of an inside joke with us now)

I’ll make a new post when the tree is in the house, lit and decorated.

Thanksgiving Feast 2022

The biggest ever … had to have overflow table for the kids!

Folks at the big table … the food was so good we couldn’t get Joey to look at the camera!

The overflow table for the “kids”.

Speaking of kids, the problem with kids these days is that they are ALWAYS on their phones!

After all the feasting, those who remained engaged in raucous games of 84. My diaphragm still hurts from laughing with Gladys!

We are thankful for the abundance, family, friends and our ranch that nourishes us and brings us together.

Helping Hands for Turkey Harvest, 2022

Note: if you are not an omnivore, please note this post might not be for you …

Did you know that if given the opportunity, turkeys will consume 50% of their food as grass? We herded ours to/from pasture every day.

We harvested 18 turkeys so friends can have fresh, pasture-raised turkeys to feed their families for Thanksgiving.

This year’s harvest team was awesome: David’s mom and aunt, friend Heather, WWOOFer Michael and the Gallion family.

Here we all are (except Heather) taking a lunch break:

Left-to-right: David, Neil, Chris, Ruby, Michael, Candace, Gladys and Charlene. Photo taken by Corin Meester who was here with our friend Veronika to pick up their turkeys.

Gladys and Heather took a few photos and video to document the day. Here they are:

Turkey last day. The heaviest one finished out at 36 lbs.

The turkey plucker

The next three videos show David operating the plucker, Michael learning to operate the plucker, and David working with his mom and aunt to finish the plucked birds. I’m still recovering from rotator cuff surgery so no bird-plucking or lifting for me this year.

We are grateful for all the help and thankful for this year’s harvest.

David operating the plucker
Michael learning plucker technique
Finishing the birds

Really, Really FALL Now

… stunning leaves and rainbows and thousands of gladiolus bulbs to dig!

Yellow and green.

Red and blue.

Orange.

Junior!

Rainbow! (Unfortunately, my location was urban when this happened)

It was a perfect rainbow. Even when viewed from a parking lot.

Heather and Michael helping us dig gladiolus bulbs.

David with one of the many buckets of bulbs he dug.

Thousands of bulbs laying out to dry before winter storage.

Late Season Bounty

Nuts, squash, and even some melon, yet.

English walnuts

David scouts for walnut trees in Chico and then gets permission from a landowner to pick them up. He usually trades veggies or pies through the year.

Butternut squash

David’s quite proud of his squash, measuring in at 20″. We have lots more.

Cross-section of the butternut squash

The squash is solid and sweet. Cubed and oven-roasted … wonderful! And that squash will be a number of meals!

Honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon

We had a hard freeze, so there are no more melons in the garden. We are rapidly eating through the last of them each morning.

Doe Madness

Early this morning (2:00 a.m.), Star, our 1.5 yr-old Nubian doe, started bawling her head off … her sign of wanting “boy goat”.

Then, later this morning, Daisy (our matriarch Alpine) went looking for the alpha male, Guru. Unfortunately for Daisy, Guru is neutered.

Both of the does are in urgent need of “boy goat”. Their tales are wagging constantly, and the neutered boys are acting like real “boy goats” by nuzzling and going for rides.

I put “boy goat” in quotes because some of you know that a man showed up at our gate last Fall with what he called “boy goat”. The man told us his name was Jose, but his English was limited, so he emphasized “boy goat” by cupping his hands in front of his midsection and shaking them as if he were shaking his own balls — to ensure that we knew “boy goat” meant an INTACT boy goat. At that point, we didn’t want another “boy goat” so we declined the offer. But around here, since then, “boy goat” is often accompanied by laughter and a gesture which could be interpretated as male genital shaking.

ANYWAY, we want a purebred Nubian buck for Star and a purebred Alpine buck for Daisy. Both are milk goats, but the milk is strikingly different between the two, with Daisy’s milk being sweet and non-goaty, and Star’s mother’s milk a more traditional-tasting goat milk. We are also wanting Daisy’s next doe to be a purebred replacement for Daisy when the time comes.

So, this morning: the mad dash to find “boy goats”. We have a 4-H/FFA girl in Chico that provides buck service with her Nubian, and we can take Star there, today.

Alpine bucks are harder to find than Nubians, but we found one on Craigslist with a broken horn about thirty minutes north of Chico. Unfortunately, we have to buy him and bring him back to Daisy. Since it looks like we’ll have another “boy goat” on property now, we’ll keep him around for all of Daisy’s clan (Rose, Gigi and probably Boon).

Here is one of the Alpine’s sale pictures:

The lady says he’s a “goof”. I see that.

If all goes well, within five months, we should have around seven new goat kids on the ranch. (IF we can keep the goof “boy goat” away from all the other non-dairy does).

Note: In the three hours since I initially wrote this, Star and her “boy goat” have already approved of each other. Mark your calendars: March 25, 2023!

Note2: Smoky (pictured above) arrived at 4:15 p.m. He’s 1/2 done with his job already at 6:10 p.m. Daisy and her daughter GiGi are all over him (and he them). So, two more due on 3/25/2023. That leaves Rose and Boon yet. I had to take Chocolate away, she was about to go over the fence for Smoky. He’s their hottie!

Sheesh. Goats. 🙄🙄

Guests This Week

This week, we were happy to have Heather and Franck join us for a variety of ranch projects. If you’ve been following along, you know Heather has been here helping us a lot since she retired. We were joined by Franck, one of our former WWOOFers in 2020. Franck was on a vacation from France and came up for a few days from where he was staying in San Francisco.

We made apple cider, racked hard lemonade, hung cabinets for the outdoor kitchen, gardened, processed a lot of food, ate a lot of food, watched movies, drank wine and pomegranate margaritas and even worked in a couple games of Spicey Farkle. I jumped into the pool a couple times, but it’s getting down to 70 degrees now.

This morning Franck churned some butter!

Franck churning butter by a bouquet of zinnias gathered by Heather and a round of parmesan David and Heather made
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