Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An escape

I am house sitting for a ranch that is a ways out of town.  It is incredible.  I look forward to the week or so I get to spend out here each year.  There is a wild tranquility about the place that makes for a distinct feeling of removal from town.  It is as though a scale from the mundane hardness of society falls away with each rise and fall of the landscape on the drive out.  It is a place for dreaming, a place for exploring, a place for gentle sunrises and smiling skies.  The house is nestled into the side of massive foothill and looks out over hundreds of acres of sage and grass, the landscape is dotted with the occasional horse, cow, deer, and coyote (these are more heard than seen).  Here with the cleaner air and sweeping vistas there is room for your soul to roam and steep in the scents of fresh dirt after rain and sweet searing sage.
From last fall in the smoke from the worst fires I've seen in a long time.

Smoke does make for a nice sunrise

Can just imagine a heard of cattle and their cowboys

Love Love Love this shot, I wish it was from a real camera and not just my phone.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Face to the sun

Oh glorious glorious weather!  Mild mornings and warm afternoons make for a happy girl.  Things are going good down at the track, but I'm moving through chores so fast (and it is dark for so long) that I have yet to get any pictures.  I love the morning routine of grain, grooming, tacking, stalls and hay.  Thank goodness Alyssa has been coming down and helping or 'the ship would be underwater.'  I feel very productive having 7 horses totally done by 9am.

Diva is almost all shedded out, it is like she couldn't stand being 'wintery' for another day.  Fits her name.
Pat cat loves Diva

Being a princess is hard work
Reports are that Bridger has patience issues but a good brain, and Sadie likes to bite. Yup. My thoughts exactly.

In other news, Charlie is still cute!
"Curl your tail like this Pat cat"

Trying out McDreamy eyes
Sorry for the concise verb-age here, it is way past my early rising bedtime.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Setting the alarm

Wind.  That's what was up today.  I worked the last two days at the big spring sale at Flynn's Saddle Shop (my side job), it has been a couple of great days for business and it is always fun to catch up with friends.  Bigger news than the sale: 1. Bridger and Sadie finally left with the cowboy today. 2. Horses arrive at the track tonight so chores in the morning.  You may be wondering what this signifies?  No more sleeping until 6 am, nope I will be staring 4:30 am in the face sooner than later.  John and I are taking it easy to start with (6:45 am start at the barn tomorrow).
Here are a few shots of what fun things come with early mornings (thanks to Alyssa, Carrie, and my mom for great shots all from 2012).
Three red heads

Rail birds

Need a shoe?

Zoom Zoom (John in the white helmet)

Me and Tanner's Event, wheeeee!
Well I had better head to bed...early morning (don't forget daylight savings)!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Deeper than I planned

Just a quickie today as I have a test later and several things to accomplish between now and then!  I'm excited to say that Bridger is off to the cowboy sometime this week as is little Sadie.  The colts are ready to head into the track and John and I will start training up here while we wait for Eugene's undetermined arrival home.  I am in love with the coming of spring, each day seems like small gift waiting to be unwrapped.  Even with the wind that keeps pummeling me in the face, I'm looking forward to things to come.  I took this picture getting hay on Sunday, I was struck by the beauty that those in the city don't get to see everyday.  Yes I know they get other beauty, but it isn't this sort.  The windmill, the wild Owyhees, the tractors, the sheds, yes even the muddy tracks, it pulls at my heartstrings.  This is the backbone of where we live, the people who work the land, raise the animals, get up early and go to bed late.
This is a land full of promise, even with all the strife and uproar in politics, the grass still grows.  Soon we will be seeing the green buds of leaves on the trees, and the crocus and hyacinth will push their way up out of the ground.  So, while the wind roars and the rain pours I will have a smile on my face.  The rumblings of a new season of growth and change make the soles of my boots tremble with excitement.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Just a note and a recipe

I have to apologize for the strange format here, tried to fix it and finally gave up with a better than worst version...blogger headache.

I got this shot a few days ago and forgot to post it here, the wind was howling but it was warm and the mud was drying up so no complaints here.  I also waxed a bit poetic about the day.

As the whispering wings of wind whistled through the tree tops they started to pull at the edges of the barren cloak of winter making way for the hopes of spring and the growth of green

Also, I've promised recipes and not come through so finally I bring you....Pretzel rolls!
I found this recipe while watching the food network with grandma, there are several steps, but it is so worth it.   Not kidding here: my friends request them!  They are moist with that classic chewy outside, and full of sweet/mildly garlicly flavor.  I could literally eat an entire batch right out of the oven and then lay there moaning, it would be worth it.  Ok, so I haven't done this, but the self control needed to not do that involves giving them away.  I must give credit where credit is due so here is the link to the original recipe, I follow it verbatim, I like to tweak ingredients and such but these are perfection as is.

Pretzel Hot Dog Buns:
1 cup milk

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 packet active dry yeast

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 small cloves garlic, grated

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 cup bread flour

1/2 cup baking soda

Pretzel salt or coarse ground sea salt, for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar and honey to 105 to 110 degrees F. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast blooms. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and garlic and cook until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Combine the all-purpose flour and bread flour in a mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the blooming yeast, and then add in the melted butter and garlic mixture. Mix on medium speed until the dough has come together and is smooth and elastic in texture and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and form into a ball. Cut into 4 equal pieces, and then cut those in half to form 8 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a ball and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Cover with a dish cloth and let them rest in a warm place for 12 to 15 minutes. Once rested, lightly dust your work surface again and roll the balls into 7-inch logs. Place onto the other prepared baking sheet, cover, place back in the warm spot and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place one oven rack high and one low. Line 2 more baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil, and then add the baking soda. In batches, place the dough in the water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spatula, remove the logs and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the logs with pretzel salt as they come out of the water, to ensure the salt sticks. Then cut 3 diagonal slits on top of the bread, not too deep. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating between the top and bottom racks of the oven halfway through the cooking.