Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sunrise Shadows

As always, trying to capture on film the drama and intensity of the beauty of our piece of paradise defies the abilities of either myself or even my Canon S100.  But, we try.  Here I was trying to capture the shadows and sillhouettes of the trees on the ridgeline to the east in the morning mist a few days ago.  Click on the pix for the full sized slideshow, and as always, happy to share but better in real life

Bone Box Bandit - Updated

Seems like our bloodline is pretty set and strong in some areas.  Food would be one of the big ones.  Here's a coupla shots to enjoy, and don't forget to click on the pix!

The first one is of Cricket, a few nights ago when Timmy finally drowned in that damn well and there was nothing to do but throw him out with the trash (Shelly knows of what I speak).  The second one is of Cricket's great-great grandma Morgan, our foundation bitch, taken in 2003 I believe.

Uncanny, the resemblence

3 B Night

Well, I couldn't very well say '3 DOG night', as these are girls (no, I won't use the actual, technical, scientific term for girl canines on a family blog).  Gem the BC, Cricket and Sybil cozy up on a cold, rainy night

Smokin' Hot, Baby

Yeah, not what ya thought, eh?  My experiment with smoking the hottest peppers on the planet - Scotch Bonnet Orange and Hot Paper Lantern - on the baddest smoker on the planet, the MAK 2 Star General, made right here in Dallas, Oregon, about an hour north of the ranch.  You may recall the blog posts from when we aquired this monster in the summer of 2011, from local icon Hurd's Hardware in Harrisburg (Oregon, not Pennsylvania), as in having to come home and pick up Really Big Red and go back and get it, as there was no way that monster was going in the Jellybean.  And, it took Big Orange to unload it out of the SuperDuty.

Growing both peppers in pots in the greenhouse from seeds right thru to harvests I found was the only way to grow them up here, and it worked out well.  A few of each are in the freezer, but I really wanted to try smoking them to make Dynamite Dust.  I just thought that would be a good way to utilize their fire in VERY small amounts.  I went to the experts at on the MAK forum for help, and got plenty, especial thanks to Muebe from SoCal.

Anyway, the Hot Paper Lanterns spent 5.3 hours on pure Smoke and the Scotch Bonnets took almost 10 hours total, all on the right side of the grill with the flame cover in place, on a Miracle Mat.  All I did was wash, dry and split 'em (and yes, once again I managed to blister my lips even after repeated washing of my hands - you think I'd learn), and after they were done, allow them to cool, then into one of the grinder jars that I kept for no particular reason for years, but found a use for, and a delightful one at that.  I've got a load of Ginger and Honey chicken marinating in the fridge for tomorrow night's wok adventure, and mixed in with the soyu, Aji Mirin, grated lemon peel, our very own honey off our hives, ground ginger is a dash of Dynamite Dust.

I just hope I forget to lick the bowl this time.

Picked, washed and ready to be split

On the Miracle Mat, just gettin' started

The Baddest Smoker on the Planet

2.5 hours into it.  Outside temp is 49 degrees.  I was hoping it would be warmer
4 hours.  The Hot Paper Lanterns are lookin' mighty good

5.3 hours and time to pull off the Lanterns.  Moved the Scotch Bonnets to the other side.  They will go almost a full 10 hours before perfection

Lanterns ready to go into the grinder jar

A little work with the end of a wooden spoon to break them up a bit

With the addition of the Scotch Bonnet Orange, ready to go to work

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Requiem for a Bee Girl

Friday morning on the way out to the dog run, I chanced to see a Bee Girl on a lovely, late season calendula bloom in the big wine tub by the run.  Odd, I thought - it's barely 34 degrees and wet out, she shouldn't be out yet as it was much too cold.  But closer examination showed that she most likely alighted there the previous evening and then peacefully expired, doing what she was born to do.  It just was sad yet fitting, that.

It's Flying Christmas Tree Time

And a prettier day to watch the chopper fly we couldn't have planned for.  Right across the road from the ranch is Herb's place, which he leases a huge portion of to our buddy Jose to run Xmas trees on.  This time of year, they are really ramping up production, with trees flying thru the air and rumbling over the road, headed right now to other countries such as Mexico and South America.

Such a ballet of speed and precision needs to be seen in person to be appreciately fully

Looking NW from Park Road just west of Bellfountain Park, across the road from the ranch.  Such a lovely view, this.  You can see the chopper beginning his run just to the left of the white building near centre of the pix

A bundle of trees heading for the drop zone
Just a pretty pix

Swinging in for the pickup.  Dale, being taller, took this shot from the edge of Park Road.  You can see how many trees are down, bundled and ready for pickup in that swath.  There's a whole lot more ready to be cut up further on the hill

Now THAT'S Intensity!

Cricket, o hairless one on the ground, and Bad Cat up on the haystack.  As if you couldn't tell exactly where he is.  I don't know what she'd do if she ever did catch him.

Winery of the Fall

Friday morning I finally decided that I had probably waited too long to take the pix of Benton-Lane Winery, a mere 10 minutes south of the ranch, in all its fall glory.  And, of course I had indeed waited probably 3 days too long.  The day I thought about it, I didn't have the camera with me, went home, got busy and forgot until the light was too far gone west to take decent pix.  Friday was the last day I figured to have to take ANY shots at all, so I just took what I could.  The best shots of all are from Hwy 99W (these were taken on Territorial Hwy, which runs right in front of the winery and is west of Hwy 99), and on the way home from JC I did actually find the perfect spot to stop and take pictures from there, but didn't see it until too late to come to a screeching stop on a wet road with Cricket in the car.  Maybe next year.  But, believe me, it WAS incredibly beautiful, not that you could tell from these pictures, but I got what I got, that's my story and I'm stickin' with it

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leaves Like Raindrops

A week or so ago, I was talking to my little bro Stan down in Santa Maria (California).  As usual, I missed his birthday by a few days, and since it was his 50th, felt a bit bad about that.  Just as I just now remembered that today is my other little bro Jim's birthday and it's far too late to call him, which means as usual, I will call him a few days late too, because I am bound to forget by tomorrow to call.  Stan was a little pressed for time, as he had to blow the leaves off his patio for a little gathering that evening.  I just chuckled.  One tree, even a big one, dropping some leaves on the patio?  SOME leaves?

With the ancient Oregon White oaks dropping both leaves and bushels and bushels of acorns (kind of an every other year cycle on the 'corns), the two ancient black walnuts that have about a bazillion leaves each that stick together like glue when they are even slightly damp and are slippery as hell, and the Norway maple dropping it's huge leaves as well as zillions of those nasty winged seeds EVERY DAY for almost two months, I just had to chuckle over Stan having to blow a few leaves off his patio once in a while.  Seriously, dude.  Wait until you see how we deal with leaves.

Imagine this, every single day.  If you don't pick it up when you get a chance between storms, you are in serious trouble

Ho Dog enjoys the nice green grass and the first of the maple leaves starting to fall

This area is usually brown, as it is all mulch.  Dale will blow the leaves off this area onto the grass, pick up the leaves there, and he's barely finished before it looks like this again.  Black walnut leaves.  Much, MUCH more to come
The Norway maple, just getting started

The oak leaves.  We blow them off the mulch onto the blacktop and Dale vacuums them up from there

This is where the mulched leaves go - onto the garden beds.  Most of the beds start out almost 2' deep in mulched leaves in the fall and will be down to less than 6" by spring, and loaded with worms
Look quick, it won't be like this in a few hours

Dale on his mighty leaf picker-upper-mulching machine
More bed covers

A Splendid Morning

If it was this nice on 'film', imagine how it was for real

Vanquished Kitty

The Silver Laced Wyandotte Gangsta Girl puts Good Cat in his place yet again.  You don't mess with the Gangsta Girls, even if you are a finely tuned, hunting machine

The Hay is Falling, The Hay is Falling!!

Late Saturday afternoon, off the coast near Lincoln City, about 65 miles away, there was a 2.9 shaker.  How did I know that, since it didn't even make the news, you ask?  Well, after going out to the barn and seeing what happened out there, I came back in and searched and sure enough, there it was on the Wunderground site.

What a pain, too.  Dale had to restack it all, at least all the bales that didn't pop open and spew all over the place.  We piled up the loose stuff to feed out first, but we had to get everything stacked so that Kris can bring the 10 ton in with his squeeze hopefully in the next few days.  If it could have waited just a week longer....

You can see an egg, untouched, in the nest on one of the three untouched stacks

Bad Cat and Good Cat take advantage of a cozy place to snuggle up

Ready for the new hay

So Pretty, So Deadly

Ah.  Isn't that a pretty pepper?  So nicely shaped, and look at that wonderful colour!  Would you guess that this pretty thing is a monster in disguise?  This is a Scotchbonnet Orange hot pepper.  Not sure exactly where on the Scoville scale it is, but I know it's up near 1,000,000 units.  A few nights ago, I sauntered out to the greenhouse for one to put in the tamale pie for dinner.  I finally gave up and just potted this one and grew it strictly in the greenhouse this year, which proved to be the right choice, finally.  So, having plucked this fair beauty, I proceded to chop it finely for the pie.  Now, I like hot peppers and so does Dale, especially since he can't smell anything.  He needs spice to taste stuff.  As I was dicing the pepper, I started to notice a little burning in my eyes and nose.  After I finished, I washed my hands really, really well with soap and hot water.  A few minutes later, I dabbed a finger into the sour cream (I love sour cream) and took a taste.  A microsecond later, I was scrambling for the refrigerator and the milk carton.  And I still think it left blisters on my lips.

Needless to say, only a tiny portion went into the pie, and that was just enough to kick things up to a good, spicy level.  The rest went into the freezer for future use.  I can't wait to pickle these guys.  My little bros are gonna get special Xmas gifts this year....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ranch Pastoral Scene

It just looked nice.  The old man, Ho Dog; the fresh, young, green grass; Zinger and Scooby the Holstein steer munching away; the old red barn; the pear tree turning colour.  Couldn't resist

Sheepa Pets

Sometimes I get tired of hearing all the jokes about people living in the Pacific Northwest not tanning but moulding.  However, living proof that we CAN grow pasture right on our livestock is shown below.  Nothing like having sheep that can graze not only pasture but each other.  Now THAT'S sustainability!

Jillian, Katahdadorpadoviot ewe, sports a take-along snack

Naked Mom

Oh come on now, what did you REALLY think I meant by the title?  Cricket shows off her post-partum coat blowout.  She's headed down to see Dr. Ryan Monday for 'the big one', as her momma dog days are over now. Time to maybe, possibly pass the torch to doofy daughter Sybil in a few years

I just loved the look on her face - 'seriously, you're NOT going to publish these, right?'

Speaking of doofy daughter Sybil - the pix just happens to have her in it, altho it was the goofy look on Gem the BC's face behind her I was really after

With uncle Ho Dog
Her chickens have gone to roost - bet you can't tell where

What a naked butt that is!