Saturday, July 4, 2009

Welcome To Our New Blog!

First off, welcome to the Morgan River Ranch, sited in the beautiful western foothills of the Coast Range in the tiny town (if it could really be called that) of Bellfountain, Oregon, between Corvallis to the north and Eugene to the south. If you're just joining this blog, the original for the past year was on Yahoo 360, but since Yahoo is dumping that site in a few weeks, I moved to a much more user friendly site here at Blogspot. For those of you rejoining us here, welcome to the new home of the Ranch Blog!

Yep, finally got 'er moved today and started. Well, okay, didn't get 'er moved, the archives I saved didn't translate to the new blog at all, so I just went into continuation mode. The old blog is still over at Yahoo on the new site for viewing, but it is just too hard to use, especially for picture uploading, so I won't be publishing to it at all, but you can go over and view it for past posts.

Let's jump right in. First shot is of the early summer garden, right after we finally got the RV moved into the old red barn. That story's comin' up, complete with tons of pix from start to finish. Right now, I'm harvesting the last of the 'Cheddar' cauliflower and still harvesting lots of 'Coronado Crown' broccoli along with the continuing harvests of the sugar snap peas, snow peas, small onions and strawberries. I've been freezing the peas for stir fry on the nights I don't actually stir fry 'em right from the garden. Nothing like a great Tony round steak with fresh from the garden snow and snap peas and button broccoli pieces for an all-ranch feast! For those who don't know, Tony was our buttheaded white faced Hereford X steer shown here, taking on Cricket the Aussie pup. Totally grassfed and organically raised, he filled the chest freezer to the brim a year ago. If you're on the fence about grassfed, unconfined beef, let me tell ya. You will not get the same healthy, great tasting beef from grainfed, confined feedlot beef as you will from grassfed and finished, unconfined beef. Grassfed and finished beef has much lower bad cholesterol and also has cancer-fighting properties, plus the steers get to roam around, building muscle while they do so, in a low-stress environment that means calmer, healthier steers. All of which translate into awesome, beefy tasting, tender beef on your plate. And the saying "Meet the Meat You Eat" gives you the opportunity to see where your steer has lived and in what kind of conditions. To give you an idea, I would dearly love to come back in another life as one of my cows!

And yes, the past few days have seen us roasting up here, not necessarily a rare occurance this time of year, but still - not so enjoyable in the mid-afternoon when the temps climb above the 80 degree mark. Our normal average this time of year is 79; we're not quite 20 degrees above it, but close enough to be uncomfortable. Luckily, we got the RV into its new digs before the BBQ began, otherwise, it would have been a miserable job that Alex and Dale had. We spent part of the holiday with our pals Janet and Steve at a BBQ under their old walnut trees, quite nice, actually. So long as you didn't get out from under those trees, anyway. Janet keeps that area of lawn nicely watered and green all summer long. For us, we allow our lawns to go dormant in the summer; the only watering they get is from the sky, which means by mid-July, they're pretty well done for the year. They are already browning up in spots, but by the end of October, depending on the rains, they're back again. I do make an exception - the area under the ancient maple and black walnut trees where the swing is gets watered all summer and this year, I finally got my lawn tractor sprinkler! I love this thing; set up a course with your hose, set the front tracking wheels over the hose and let 'er rip. When it gets to the end, there is a stopper you push in the ground that trips the shutoff lever on the back and turns it off automatically. It's very cool, and relieves me of the responsibility of remembering to move the stationary sprinkler, which I usually forget to do.
Anyway, the Oregon Country Fair is coming up next weekend, kind of a 'Woodstock West', very free-spirited, with more tye-dye per square foot than a Jimi Hendrix poster. We're planning to go on Friday just to see what it's all about. There are all kinds of hippie sort of free spirit types at this fair, including folk who don't think the human body should be covered up with fabric. Very eclectic and reputed to be a whole lot of fun for us old hippies. Dale's not one of those; he's a true to the core redneck who happened to marry a hippie, but he does want to go and see what it's all about, just for fun. Then, on Sunday, we have the firefighter's benefit sporting clays shoot just up the road that we're going to go to and embarrass ourselves, all in the name of raising money for our local firefighters/EMT's.
In the meantime, it's kinda warm up here and a good day for giving the dogs their yearly bath - they'll dry quick today. So, enjoy and hope to see ya back again!
Dusty and the Zoo