Tag Archives: rogue valley oregon

Bully to Bullion

9 Jan

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This is Rammy’s heart.  It is outside his body now.  In the freezer, to be exact.  His mean streak escalated to the point that he began charging us and there is just no turning that habit around.

Of course his incredible destructiveness also contributed to his demise.  There’s this:

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and this:

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and this entire fence line:

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Rammy repairs have begun, these green T posts are the beginning of a new fence line. The barnyard creatures are establishing their new pecking order.  And most of the labor of processing his body is complete.  The hide is skinned, pinned and salted.  The meat is cut and frozen.  The bone broth finally came off the heat today.  It turned out beautifully.

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Here it is in the cookpot.  And here it is in the jar.

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We’re jerking all the back and neck meat with a Bresaola recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book.  Its one day into a five day brine right now.  I tried another, quicker recipe from said book, Spiced Hot Smoked Liver, improvising a bit on the spice blend.

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I rubbed the spice blend into the liver and it sat for 4 hours.

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Then I wiped it off and smoked it with maple wood for an hour.  I must admit I’m not a fan of liver but I do know it is a healthful medicine, so I wanted to try this but I wasn’t exactly thrilled to eat it.  I did try it tonight and besides tasting like liver, the spicing turned out really nice.  If you live local to me and you love liver, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll gladly bring you some slices of this latest work of art.

I can’t get my man to eat organ meat with me (yet).  But I have been reading a ton about it and experimenting a little.  Partially because I don’t want to waste any thing from these gorgeous creatures who died so that we may be nourished.  And partially because I believe the organs are incredible sources of power.  Last month when my child was sick and my man was really, really sick, I ate a lamb’s heart to strengthen my body’s fight to be well.  I think it was the strength I needed, I did not get sick.

And while we’re talking about organ meat, I am well aware that the source of Rammy’s destructive behavior was his nut sack.  Raging testosterone is what fueled his hours upon hours of head banging every object that stood between him and his girls.  It is what kept him at the top of the barnyard pecking order and it is what eventually turned him mean.  So I harvested them, yes.  But they have yet to hit the fry pan….. we’ll see. Here they are anyway, one straight out of the sack and one skinned.

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Rammy was one of the first sheep we got, he was three months old and we named him Gendry because we love the Game of Thrones book series.  We watched him grow into his manhood and become a force to be reckoned with.  We could jovially tell you all of his courting rituals and many a hilarious story about his manhood.  We had him just over two years and we have loved him beyond reason (obviously!  what real farmer would allow so much property destruction?)  When the day of his death came, he knew.  He’d been chained up like a junkyard dog for two days, giving everyone on the farm a much needed break from his dominion.  The day was perfect!  A chilly morning that gave way to a glorious winter day.  Here is a silly shot of our livestock guardian dogs that morning.

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From my facebook page: “Some things cannot be counted in a straight line. Like going from one kid to two kids, its an exponential growth and not easily calculated. Turns out butchering a ram rather than a lamb is similar. We got started at 9 am yesterday and I was still cutting meat at midnight! Today we are sore and spun, but satisfied. I keep thinking about it and the word that sticks is Beautiful. That might seem odd, but its my truth. We spent lots of time with him in the morning, brushing him and thanking him and recollecting, it was deeply sweet. His death was resigned and easy. D cuts the throat, no guns involved. We held him and loved him as he passed. I love him still. Raising animals like this is a labor of love and requires great stamina… heart, mind and body.”

I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise animals, harvest them intentionally and turn them into medicine for people.  I am touched by each animal born here and each life we take.  And I am forever improved for having raised, known and slaughtered our Rammy.  RIP and thanks for the snacks!

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So Much Living Gets In The Way of Blogging….

10 Jul

 

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It seems so simple that I could live and then have a short lil summary to blog about.  Though as you know, there is a space and silence between my blogs.  As much as I want to keep things simple, my writing is deep and only flows when it flows.  I have many an attempt in the drafts folder, but few that get published.  Anyhow.  It is summer now.  Happy summer people!   Dive into the goodness of your friends, adventures and gardens!

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Like all of you, we have been busy, busy, busy!  The farm is bursting forth with the fruits of our labor.  Somehow, in year two here, we are still discovering new fruit trees in the orchard and mourning the loss of a few that are slowly dying.  We know so little about stewarding orchards and wish we knew more.  The trees I pruned this spring, which got a raised eyebrow and a muttered “hack job” from my man, have leafed, flowered and fruited quite nicely.  The apples are ready and delicious!

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Uber Herbal has been fabulously and creatively exploding!  We’ve got tons of new products, many direct from our farm.  I feel like finally my vision is clear, I’m super excited about what I have to offer and I love the way the product line is being presented and received.  Now I need to spend some time on the Etsy store…. loading up all our new, seasonal goodness.  Keep an eye out (but give me a week).  I have not put products into stores like I planned.  Mostly because I am juggling my time and this avenue needs more attention than I have to give right now.  And so it becomes a winter project.  I’ve been doing my best to give everything I choose to participate in my all.  It has been richly rewarding!

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Incredibly, in the excitement of Uber Herbal hitting stride I’ve been able to keep perspective on my life priorities and spend incredibly focused time on the farm and adventuring with my family.  Last week we had the awesome opportunity to spend two nights camping at Squaw Lake and it was incredible.  This weekend I’m taking BE to the Oregon Country Fair.  And I’ve accepted the invitation (and challenge) to attend the Burning Man Festival with some of my favorite women in the world.  My sweet friend Dana keeps assuring me that if I want it all I can have it all….. we will see!  I leave you with a photo of BE and me, taken at midnight when she suddenly emerged from the sleepy time kingdom to firmly let me know that it was high time to cuddle.  I hope all of you are enjoying the blossoming of your hearts and the fruits of your focused intentions.  Happy Summer!

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Seizing Opportunities to Step Back

5 Apr

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In springtime we took a break.  Yes BE n me took the month of March off and spent it in Florida with family and good friends.  We had an incredibly lovely adventure!

I was hoping that the distance would instigate new perspective on directing my life in a bit more of a direction.  No such luck.  Instead it distracted the heck out of me in all the best ways!  I tried to think about my life and my future, but I simply could not.

So now I have returned and the question still hangs: do I get a real kitchen for the Uber Herbal tea biz?  Or do I let the kitchen license expire (thus letting go of the business and thus opening my life up to the next great adventure)?

Last I wrote I was gushing about building a kitchen/fresh local grocery.  That idea has come and gone.  I’m back to thinking smaller scale: a production kitchen, farmers market & internet sales.  I’ve been looking at kitchen spaces across the valley and finding some good options.  I’ve also been weighing the option of not having a kitchen.  Been weighing this one deeply.

The 2012 season was rough for me and for the tea company.  Since moving to the farm, I’ve been pretty scattered.  I’m 45 minutes from my work kitchen now and the farm has taken an incredible amount of physical prowess and presence.  I immediately began to integrate products from the farm into the product line AND to launch into a second market.  Both these moves were WAY premature.

And then in August, I had the opportunity to attend the Burning Man Festival.  I laid down the farm, the tea biz, the markets, and I left for an entire week.  It was a very special experience.  As I was out in the desert I began to see that the reason Uber Herbal has been such an uphill endeavor is because it is building off the crumbled remains of my former company, Heartsong.  This was truly an eye opening realization and a great opportunity to practice self compassion.

You see I’ve been using my almost-in-foreclosure-home as my licensed kitchen.  And while it is licensable, it is by no means efficient.  It is in foreclosure because of the burst housing bubble, yes.  But also because when the market was good, I took a second mortgage out and with that money, I built the Chai Hut for Heartsong.

I never doubted this move because I had complete faith that Heartsong was gonna rock the free world organic beverage style and there would be plenty of time after our launch to take care of my home and my own needs.  Instead, the company crashed simultaneous to launching.  Instead, I found myself with nothing but a whole lot of debt, a very public failure and a few pots and pans.

What I realized in the Black Rock Desert is that I was linking the success of my new dreams with the failures of my broken ones.  And that this was an excruciating and unique form of discomfort.  The opportunity to launch a new company from a “free” workspace was impossible to resist.  But the workspace itself was totally crowded, inefficient and uninspiring for me.  I’ve worked “ghetto style” for many years and I’ve worked in some really nice spaces too.  I know that kitchens are all about their flow.  A solid floor plan and lots of storage makes a good production space. Taking time off this summer helped me to recognize my lack of passion around the business stemmed from a lack of desire to do production.  I returned home, laid most of the company dormant and began to reassess. I began to ask myself if I would want to do the business if I had a good kitchen space.  I’ve been asking myself this question for months now.  The answer is most often a yes.

If I do want to do this thing, now is the time to line it all up.  Markets begin in May.  My kitchen license renews in May.  Summer is nearly upon us!  To chai mama or not to chai mama.  That is my burning question.

And so dear reader, if you have any strong opinions about my direction in life or anything I’ve shared here, please do share with me!  I feel really stepped back from the whole thing and open to new ideas.  A new kitchen is both a leap of faith and a bit of an investment, so I’d like to hear everything from everyone so that I can make the best possible, most informed decision here.  As always thanks for being witness to my unfolding!

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