Posts Tagged ‘beef


Greenhorns & Calves

Mom, calf, birth, ranch, Oregon, cattle, photography, SwittersB

My wife and I were hiking along a fence line of a pasture, when we came upon a cow aggressively licking a very wet looking calf on the ground. The calf was barely able to stand. The cow had the umbilical cord hanging from her rear. A calf had been born. For that afternoon we kept an eye on the little white faced newborn. It all seemed so interesting and dare I say gentle…the ‘mother’/calf thing. The next day we happened by and the little white faced calf was up and about, staying near the mother cow. Off in another area, near us, was a different cow. Tail partially raised…vulva protruding. We moved on to check out an area nearby for fishing, not realizing the nearby cow was about to give birth. A short time later. we returned and there on the ground was a new born calf…sopping wet, the mother cow licking away on the calf and again the umbilical cord hanging from the mother cow’s rear end. Two new born calves in two days. It all seemed, on the surface as interesting and ‘cute’.

calf-birth-new born-cattle-photography-SwittersB-ranch

Then the questions started: will the ranchers know the calves were born? What happens if it is a female or a male? How many calves does a cow have in her life time? How many bulls are on a ranch for how many cows? How many years do the cows live? Then a little greenhorn research provided the realities of castrated male calves, heifers, breeding, bulls & the end game…beef!

My research results ended up generating a “I don’t want to hear about it” from my wife. The calves were cute trotting around, some head butting, some staying close to their mother cows. But, our obvious naiveté to the daily realities of ranching was a worthy learning experience.

I like my steaks medium rare. Looking at the eventual source challenged my city born and bred life style awareness of food production. No apologies…just nice to experience both sides of the food chain. 


The Bull…fully equipped


Ranch Life: What does this mean?

I came across these two poles some fifteen feet or more in the air with strands of barbed wire strung across the from pole to pole and wedged in between the strands of wire was a large bone (femur?). Now I have no idea what that signifies. Maybe nothing but good humor or something more obvious to those that are around the ranch life. I took a photograph and planned to research the meaning. I have come up with zip, zero, nada.

Maybe it is a good luck gesture…or to ward off bad juju gesture…or a sign of the cattle and ranch life…or some one has a big appetite. Maybe someday some one will comment here and let us know. Probably obvious, but not to me.

OK: Update….I contacted some land owners near this interesting landmark and received this explanation for the large bone suspended between posts on barbed wire: some time ago the owners of the land placed the large bone up above as a humorous item to promote conversation and suggest the cattle rancher’s life out West. So, kind of artistic and tongue in cheek.


Cowboy Dinner Tree (To Do List & Very Full Belly)

Many years ago, I heard about the Cowboy Dinner Tree. I wrote down the name on a piece of cardboard and pegged it to the wall over my garage work bench. It was something to do someday.

Every few years, I would mention the possibility of going there and each year there was a conflict, interruption etc. You know how it goes. Well, this year, out of the blue, my wife suggested we go to the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Amazing suggestion. I made the reservations for not only the restaurant but for one of the two little cabins near the restaurant. The plan was set and we recently ventured to central, Southern Oregon to fulfill this long time quest. It was a very wonderful outing.

The drive was about 5 hours with all the usual stops one has to make. The pace was easy going and we arrived just before the 3pm check in time. I had scheduled dinner for a bit later. 

The days/hours vary with the season so you definitely want to check in advance at the Cowboy Dinner Tree site or call them.

The rustic image is from a nice collection, spreading, of ranch life stuff. Don’t let the remoteness, decor or oddities confuse. Abundant hospitality and grub awaits inside.

We dined with about a dozen other diners this evening. You pretty well sit by yourselves and take in the interior decor, the low light and the amazing service from Connie…such a sweet, hard working woman. You can review the site for info re the meals, but suffice to say you can choose either from a whole roasted chicken or a large sirloin butt steak that ranges from 26 to 30 ounces. A salad, fresh baked rolls with a beverage choice starts you out (no alcohol here).

You are hungry so the salad goes down easy enough along with a few rolls. Then a large serving bowl of beans arrives with ladle. This blend of spices, pinto and black beans is some of the finest I have ever tasted. Simple, hearty and wait, you ate that whole bowl of beans! Hmmm. Before you can fully contemplate the beans, here comes your over flowing plate. My wife and I chose the beef. Next time we would do one chicken and one beef. It is a shockingly big cut of beef. You anticipate this because you’ve heard about it or read about it. But, no it is actually big. Count on left overs. Bring a cooler, ice and a container for inside the cooler. 

The meal is finished off, well you are finished off, with a nice reasonably sized dessert and you are done. It is immensely tasty and if you pace yourself and allow for left overs you will survive it just fine.

There is a gift shop but it was closed for repairs while we visited. It looked to have some art work, the usual T’s and other keepsakes to show you were there. I grabbed a cap from the restaurant.

The Beans. I love a good pot of beans. The combined pinto and black beans had some nice blend of spices plus something sweet? I had to add ground pepper to mine.

Ms. SwittersB with half a cow (actually I believe it is a Top Sirloin Butt Steak).

My steak and a perfect baked potato. There is a rub put on the meat. No steak sauces are offered. You don’t need it, but I guess you could cart in a small bottle if you had to have it. I opted for some sinus shattering, ear tweaking, eye closing, face making horseradish. A little dab ‘il do you! Butter and sour cream for the bakers. The rolls were perfect.

At this point, I was so full and almost delirious that I forgot to take a pic of the dessert, a little strawberry, sauce and cake affair. 

Now the whole dinner is admittedly over the top quantity wise, but this is a left overs situation. Plan on this so a goodly amount of food does not go to waste. There will be enough meat for several days of ‘normal’ eating.  Ok, you are done. So, don’t just rush to your car and drive away. If the weather allows walk around the grounds a little bit and take in the old ranch equipment and take some photographs.

The weather had cooled off considerably and a front was pushing in to the NW. We made our way down the road, a short distance, to the “small cabin”. It was a perfect shelter complete with a small fridge, coffee maker, wood burning stove, indoor plumbing and the world’s smallest hot water heater & a shower…hurry! Electricity, a heavy quilt and it is a cozy place to contemplate your stomach.

The morning was a bit chilly. We probably didn’t need a fire, but I got up early and made my way to the wood stove I have prepped the night before. It took the edge off the chill….especially after that hot water heater empties out fast!

The Cowboy Dinner Tree (south of Silver Lake, Oregon) was an enjoyable adventure. It has been around for 20 some years and has a devoted following. Any hearty carnivore should venture there once, or more. 


Kalyn’s Pot Roast (That Time of Year)


As the weather turns slightly cooler in the Pacific N.W. that hearty comfort food comes to mind…meat!…so, a Pot Roast sounds quite fortifying! Check out Kalyn’s Recipe; Thanks also to MHF at Great Poetry for pointing the way too @ the Goddess of Pot Roast. OK, admit it, just the mention of Pot Roast four times has your mouth watering.



Fattening Up? Too Many Anti-Biotics?


A new study suggests you may be closely linked to barnyard animals destined for the meat case. Not a pretty consideration is it?


The Bull…A Photograph in the Dark

I was recently traveling on a back road on the East side of Mt. Hood. It was about dark and the silhouette of the mountain against the fading light seemed to have possibilities for a photograph. I took a few shots. As I turned to enter the rig next to a fence line, I sensed movement beside me. I looked but could not gain my depth perception at first. When I did, a large, dark face stared at me. The passive face stayed that way as I snapped a shot. I messed with the exposure so you could enjoy the big guy’s head.

The shot of Mt. Hood on the East side. The shot didn’t turn out as I had envisioned.

The Bull chewing his grass. Not the best shot but still the chance meeting over a fence line at last light was ‘fun’. Being a city boy who escapes to the country for sanity, I am not familiar or at ease around car size critters.

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