The Other Blog

I believe you all know we have another blog on our grass fed beef sales website. In case you don’t, you can see it here.  So, I have updated the news from our tiny little ranch store on the other blog and thought I would share it with you. I was really trying to make the large picture this one of our sign on Hwy 20.

The sign looks good with the whole thing showing, but not so great when they use a tiny portion of it for the thumbnail that shows on the home page of AmericanAlpsRanch.com.  So, what else could I do? I had to use a picture of Molly and Grizzly! They have really been pretty good about all the visitors and traffic that has come through here on the weekends. They do still bark and run towards every vehicle, but they are friendly with customers and most people seem to like the dogs judging from the amount of petting and attention they have received. So, here is the post from the other blog and now you are all up to date:

OK folks, I have a confession. When we hung out our sign and opened what surely must be the smallest store around, I certainly hoped we would have customers who would see our sign and come to our ranch. I was even pretty confident, but you never really know for sure until you give it a try. So we did and you have – thank you! We’ve met some wonderful people from literally all over the world; Australia, Canada, Wales, Spain, Poland, Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Oregon and of course, Washington. It has been such fun to meet and get to know our new customers and to share information with them about our delicious and healthy grass fed beef. We hope they have appreciated getting to know where and who their meat comes from and how it is raised.

Grizzly and Molly our ranch dogs are pretty much convinced that everyone who has stopped by is here to see them. They have held up their end of the bargain by greeting each and every one of our customers personally. Grizzly (on the left) is a full blooded  Australian Cattle Dog aka as Blue Heeler aka Queensland Heeler. Molly is 3/4 Heeler and 1/4 black lab. They are the ranch guardians and they take their job very seriously.

The plan for our little store is to stay open until Labor Day – Sept. 3rd – if we have enough beef. Our grass fed beef is selling very quickly and we are almost completely sold out of all our steaks, we still have plenty of ground beef, roasts, ribs, organ meats and soup bones. After Labor Day we will close our store for the season. We have plans to move into a bigger, better building for next summer where we can serve our customers better. Memorial Day weekend is our target opening date for next season.

If your plans for the rest of the summer bring you to the North Cascades, stop by the ranch and see us. If not, you can get our wonderful meat here on our website. We are currently sold out of most of our packages, but we will have more available after our Fall Harvest – approximately the first week of November.  You can place a deposit in the Marketplace here so you won’t miss out on our meat. Of course, if you don’t visit the ranch you won’t get the personal greeting by Molly and Grizzly, but you will still get excellent beef.

Rhubarb Recipe

I had no idea that there were so many rhubarb fans out there. Since the post where I said I was yanking mine out because I don’t like rhubarb – if you didn’t read it at the time you can read it here –  several people have commented. Most of them are horrified I would pull out my perfectly good rhubarb plants. It seems to make no difference to them that neither I nor anyone in my family will actually eat the stuff.  A couple didn’t really care about that, they just wanted the rhubarb recipes. So, for you rhubarb fans, here is the recipe my quilting friend Mary Lee gave me from her mother’s cookbook which was published around 1932.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

  • pastry for 2 pie crusts

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons milk

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 4 cups diced rhubarb

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 1 Tablespoon butter

** Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pie crust pastry. Beat eggs, add remaining ingredients except butter and rhubarb and beat thoroughly. Add rhubarb to mixture, pour batter into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter, cover with lattice pastry top. Cover edge with 2 – 3 inch strip of foil. Remove foil last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm.

When done it should look something like the lovely pie pictured above which I did not bake because a. I am not a good baker and b. I do not like rhubarb. And further c. I did not even take the picture.

If you need rhubarb, mine is still available. Help yourself – please. I am not taking it out until fall. So get it now or forever hold your peace. And hopefully we are all done with rhubarb forever!

Water Lines

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember that last winter we had to do this.

Haul water to the cattle in 55 gallon drums. Only when it didn’t rain, but still not a very efficient way to do things. It took a lot of time and was a lot of work too. So that we don’t have to haul water this coming winter, we are doing this now.

Digging trenches to run water lines. Our whole place looks like a giant gopher went wild digging. There are trenches everywhere, including all the way down to the lower pasture.

While the open trenches are difficult to maneuver around and putting in all those lines is a lot of hard work, it will really be nice to have water down to the pastures! As usual Grizzly the ranch dog is right in the thick of the action.

Our son Alex was down in the ditch putting the water line together.

And Eureka! Water in the hose bib. Our hose bibs are buried about 3 feet deep to keep them from freezing in the winter. After going to all this work you want to make sure they are usable when you need them.

The work continues on the water lines, but they are making good progress.

A Kid’s View

Last week we had a group of grade school kids visit the ranch on a field trip. Unfortunately, Rick and I weren’t able to be here, but our son Alex did the tour with the kids. As a group they made and signed a thank you poster and added a picture of the gang in front of the cattle with Alex their tour guide.

Some of the kids also made an individual artistic creation of their ranch visit. They are so cute! It is quite interesting to view the ranch from each child’s perspective and see what caught their attention. This one depicted our shed and the wheelbarrow full of grass they fed to the chickens.

Here is our menagerie including Alex’s cranky cat Patches – who amazingly stayed out and let the kids pet her. Harry and Bess hid in the woods I am told. The thing I like best about this picture is the duck. We don’t have ducks.

Some of these kids are quite creative artists. The chickens in this picture have real feathers.

The chickens here are not quite so colorful, but I love the detail. See the little chicken ramp leading to the coop?And the tiny little chicken inside?

You don’t necessarily have to draw a picture to be creative. The little girl who wrote this thank you – she will be a first grader in the fall – wanted it to be very special so she wrote it backwards. I think she is quite ingenious; didn’t Leonardo Da Vinci start out that way?

All the pictures were interesting and creative, but I must admit these two are my favorites. This one for the color and attention to detail. Notice the puffy clouds which are rendered in tissue paper, the feathered chickens, sequins and foam stars and my favorite touch, the google eyes – of different sizes – on the dogs.

I love those eyes! This one really told me those kids were paying attention.

See the cow and the electric fence? Apparently while they were standing near the pasture looking at the cattle, one of the bovines got a little too close to the electric fence and got his or her nose zapped.

And you can see it all in the picture can’t you?

Traeger Smoker Grill

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that we got a new Traeger Smoker and Grill. We are really enjoying it and have had some wonderful meals smoked on that little grill! There are different sizes available from a Junior (the one we have) to big enough to feed our whole town.

This smoked chicken was wonderful. We used Mesquite Pellets and the flavor was great. We had chicken for dinner and then the next day I made smoked chicken salad with the leftovers and it was delicious if I must say so myself.

We’ve had barbecue grills for years – both gas and charcoal – and I never really used them. It was always so much trouble to get the fire going and maintain the right temperature and keep the food from burning with flare-ups. That is the thing I love about the Traeger – it is so easy and no flames flaring up scorching the food. You just load the pellets in the hopper, flip the switch and you are good to go.

So far, we’ve tried the Hickory and Mesquite wood pellets. The hickory is good on everything I think and the mesquite was great with chicken and pork. Last week I smoked some of our grass-fed beef round steak. I sliced it thin and made steak sandwiches and they were quite tasty. One of my favorite things we have cooked is hamburgers.

We start with our very own grass-fed beef. If you don’t have your own grass-fed beef, you can order some from us here on our beef sales website.

I seasoned the burgers lightly with sea salt and black pepper and put them on the grill using the hickory pellets and set it to smoke.

Sorry the picture is kind of smoky – but that is what the grill does. I turned the burgers about halfway through cooking though you don’t really have to – I like to have grill marks on both sides.  Our grass-fed beef is naturally lean so there is very little shrinkage of the ground beef patties.

And mmmm were those burgers good! Juicy and full of flavor.

Upon proof reading this post, I realize it sounds a little like a Traeger commercial or testimonial. I promise we are not selling them we just love ours; however if any Traeger Company person is reading this and wants to reward their loyal customers, we’d love to try the other types of wood pellets available.

Another recipe we tried on the smoker is this one for Uncle Wilson’s Grilled Onions. I’m really not much of an onion person, but I tried these after seeing them prepared on a food TV show. They were wonderful! Sweet and lots of flavor – and I did ours on the smoker so they were even better. Yum!