So you should know by now that your favorite blogger can always bring home some bloggy humor out of almost any situation. (If you don’t, you have some homework to do. Get reading. Pronto.)
Especially when I go to the lovely, enchanting, desert-y wilderness of THIS place…
…with some of the most fun people on planet Earth. Our hiking group – 3 adults and 3 kids – turned out to provide a good ab workout as well as a leg workout, since we were constantly in stitches over various antics.
For your pleasure:
Best Line of the Day #3:
Young Hiker #1, calling back to the rest of the group from around a bend: “There’s a cave down here!!”
Young Hiker #2: “What kind of cave?”
Young Hiker #1: “The CAVE kind!!!”
Best Line of the Day #2:
Young Hiker, bounding wildly back to the group, waving arms and shouting, after an unsuccessful foray across a rocky hillside to find a lost path: “ZERO PERCENT TRAIL!!!!!”
Best Line of the Day #1:
3 exhausted Young Hikers, sprawled like puppies in the backseat as the adults start up the car at day’s end: “You’d better come save us. We’re dead.”
Our homesteading goal is, of course, to grow plenty of food in our garden. Baby steps are important for your beloved RC because otherwise she is prone to burnout, crabbiness, and fits of weeping. But then sometimes something encouraging happens and she gets happy again.
My radish patch finally came through!!! A five minute foray of picking yielded that lovely bunch, and that wasn’t even all I had planted!
However, such abundance then begs the question, what to do with all that food? The tops go straight to the goats, who play tug-of-war with them. But what about the roots?
I know what at least some of you are thinking – “Radishes? Eeeuh!” – because that is precisely what I used to think. I thought it until about 3.6 seconds after tasting these recipes.
We usually put radishes into stir fry dishes, a Bandit Ranch favorite. But with so many all at once, I wanted to get a little creative (unusual for me, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity).
I admit, I had my doubts. So did Paul. We neither of us care for raw radishes. We planted them this year because they grow quickly, they’re good for you, ya ya ya. Once upon a time, as a young impressionable wee thing, I grew my very own little row of radishes in our backyard family garden. In the hot summer. Oh, the glee when I picked the fruits of my labor, and then the horror at the first taste of those mouth-melting spicy globes of hellfire.
Okay. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. (Am I inclined to exaggeration? Um…NOOOOO…) But when it comes to spicy food, RC no likey. Thus began my anti-radish crusade.
So you will forgive us, I am sure, for approaching this little project with the utmost of discretion. Here are our attempts:
Recipe 1: take your radishes and cut them into chunks. I cut mine into quarters. Then melt a couple tablespoons of butter (more or less depending on the number of radishes; we didn’t use an exact amount) in a skillet, with salt and black pepper to taste, and saute the radish chunks in it, on medium low heat, until browned and softened to roughly the consistency of a baked potato. (The original recipe can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sauteed-radishes/detail.aspx)
Recipe 2 (with much thanks to this link – http://agrigirl.com/2013/01/06/making-radish-chips-snacks/) : cut the radishes into thin slices. Mix in a bowl a little olive oil, salt, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese (and any other preferred spices), and stir the slices around in it. Then lay them out on a cookie sheet or whatever you prefer to bake on (we use a stone tile), and bake at 375 degrees or so, for about 15 minutes. (If your slices are extra thin, it may not take that long, and if you bake on a tile as we do, you may need to flip them over halfway through.)
And the verdict?
Oh. My. Heaven.
You talkin’ about GOOD.
As my dad says about his favorite recipes, “If you put it on your head, your tongue would slap your brains out trying to get to it.” (Fill in a Southern drawl for effect.)
Since your benevolent and gracious Bandit King is allergic to potatoes (and he was born in Idaho…go figure), we never have them around. These little sauteed radishes were the consistency of potatoes, chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside, with a delicate mild taste. And the radish chips? Suffice it to say we almost arm-wrestled over those things. They were crispy, flavorful, browned (and some blackened) to absolute perfection.
So easy. So tasty. I am a radish convert. I would not be surprised if someone made a radish religion. I will never have another garden without radishes.
Hmm…this is making me hungry! I think I’ll go plant some more radish seeds now! Who’s with me?
Whew. At last the busy traveling-over-the-holidays season has calmed down and life is back to normal on el ranchito. I hardly feel guilty to admit that I have been having so much fun homesteading that I have been slacking off actually sitting down and writing about it. Imagine!
The goats have claimed much of my attention the last couple weeks. Behold:
Our oldest Pygmy doe, Mrs. Beard, saw fit to present us with these two little bundles of joy on the very nicest day possible – with a temperature of only 18 degrees! (We love you, Mrs. Beard…) Luckily I walked out to check on the back pasture citizens and surprised her about halfway through delivering. As it happened, the babies were very weak, and she had no milk for them. Zip. Nada. Nein. (Not her fault, as she was bred and not in very good condition when we got her, and there wasn’t enough time before the babies came for me to feed her enough. My excuse-fest for the day. Maybe.)
I didn’t think the little buck twin would make it. His legs were exceedingly weak, and splayed out so that the best he could do was crab-crawl along like the missing link between a frog and a fish. The doe twin was stronger, but still weak.
Luckily, I had a half dozen or so jars of frozen goat milk saved up from milking Caramel, which I had hoarded upon ceasing my daily extraction of the heavenly nectar from her. The responsibility devolved upon me to begin feeding the twins every two hours or so, with an eyedropper.
The upside? Teeny weeny baby goats living in the bathroom. OH YEAH.
The downside? Not knowing if they would make it. But they did!
They have now graduated to a real bottle (thank heavens), have quadrupled in size, and have now taken their first trip from the little pen into the big pasture!
Wide open spaces to romp in, and 4 other little babies to play with, has made them even stronger. Funnily enough, those adorable floppy ears in the first photo have now straightened out. Apparently, that is a Fainting Goat thing, and they are half Fainting so go figure.
Above is Fifi’s baby, now almost two weeks old and showing every sign of being as sweet/personable/obnoxious/escapeish as her mother. I really really really want to keep her and name her Giselle…doesn’t she just look like a Giselle?? She needs a French name!…but as I am swiftly rising in the ranks from neophyte to queen of goat hoarders, we may need to keep the herd trimmed. We went from 5 Nigerians and 6 Pygmies to 6 Nigi’s and 12 Pygmies just like that, with 1 new arrival, 2 singles, and 2 sets of twins. (That’s…what…18 goats total? My husband is so long-suffering…)
One of our second set of twins, both girls. Little fuzzybuns catching a nappy-poo in the sun…what could be cuter?? (Ahem. Yes, these are my first goat babies to have and to squeeze.)
Yes, I want to keep them all for ever and ever. But…baby goats grow up to be big goats. And big goats want to be fed. So we’re working on downsizing the Pygmy herd – keeping a couple does to produce meat babies for us – and focusing more on the Nigerian Dwarfs for milk goats. Which brings me to…
TA-DAAA!! Introducing our newest arrival on the Nigerian front, a little 7-month-old buck from a farm near Fort Worth. We were very blessed to be able to purchase Flat Rocks Peppernut (aka The Marshmallow Man). He brought with him an impressive lineage, from literal decades’ worth of careful breeding. His sire is very well proven. His mother is 11 years old, still popping out babies every year, and milking OVER A HALF A GALLON A DAY. That still amazes me…that kind of production from something the size of a Cocker Spaniel. Wowza. Am I excited about Peppernut? YES!
He is still settling in, and a bit shy, but nothing a couple handfuls of alfalfa won’t cure. Whereas when I try to take pictures of Brownie, this is the bulk of what I get…
So now I probably have you bored and groaning “Stop with the goat pictures already!!” (No? I knew there was a reason I liked you.). These little goats have really turned out to be worth their weight in gold for our homesteading needs. Easy to handle, too small to damage the trees, cheap to feed, producing meat and milk at a pace we can keep up with, and complete with entertainment value.
Me? Liking this homesteading thing? Nah, not so’s you’d really notice.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting to go to.
“Hi, my name is RC, and I’m addicted to goats…”
This recipe is GUARANTEED! Don’t believe me? Just read it. Yep, the whole thing. Ha – now I’ve got you hooked!
1/2 pound liver, sliced
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of olive oil
1. Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms, and butter in a skillet over medium high heat until onions appear translucent.
2. In a separate skillet, carefully brown the liver slices in a dash of olive oil over medium heat. Turn carefully and brown the other side. Turn off heat and carefully set aside.
3. Mix in a bowl the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Add to the skillet with the onions, etc. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Throw the liver out the window, sit down, and enjoy the fresh hot mushroom sauce.
Actually, if you are trying to be a really adventurous chef (like me) to the point where you sometimes find yourself trying really stupid and crazy things to salvage good edible food (not like me…nope…nuh uh…), there are ways to ingest the heathenish grainless meat substance known as ‘liver’.
Just chop it up real fine, slap it in a skillet, and smother the [censored] out of it with a mix of sour cream, cheddar cheese, parmesan, and your preferred blend of Italian spices. At least that’s what we did. Of course, here on the Bandit Ranch, when it comes to cheese, we all but worship the stuff. No, actually, I’m not from Wisconsin. Quit asking questions.
So if you smother the liver with enough strong, yummy tasting stuff so that you can’t taste it at all (and any health benefit from the liver is likely down in the negative zone…but do I care? Nope), you’ve won many points in my book and I will be at your house promptly in time for dinner.