define(WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE, true); add_filter( auto_update_plugin, __return_true ); add_filter( auto_update_theme, __return_true ); August 2014 – Welcome to the Ranch!

Archive for August, 2014

Open Air Meat Market

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

meat market smaller

My husband, our only daughter, our 13 year old son, and I just returned from a mission trip in Uganda. We had an amazing time together serving the community, the missionaries, the church, and the Lord.

If you have ever traveled to Africa, you know about sensory overload. There are so many sights to take in and so many things that you don’t normally see that your mind swirls trying to process everything. As we passed through a bustling town filled with customers and vendors, we pulled over to purchase drinks for the remainder of our drive.

I looked to my left and there was an open air meat market. Beef was hanging from hooks while butchers were cutting off hunks of beef for waiting customers. It was fresh beef. The hooves and head were laying on the ground. On a table were the organs and other miscellaneous pieces. One vendor was weighing out organ meat to sell.

Beef is expensive in Uganda. At restaurants, beef costs a lot, chicken is more, and pork costs the most. So it is quite the opposite from the United States. In a culture where villagers live off of a diet high in starch, most of their protein comes from beans and peanuts, which they call ground nuts or g-nuts.

When we were served beef on occasion at a villagers home, it was usually beef bone broth. I knew how healthy the bone broth is as well as how uncommon it is to have beef on a daily basis in Uganda. They were putting out their best for us.

Inevitably when you return from a third world country, you cannot help being humbled by how blessed we are as a family and a nation. I wanted to show you this photograph and describe the open air meat market because I thought it would interest you as grass fed customers and/or fans of ranch living.

There is a movement to go back to how things were done in the past. Slow food movements, lacto-fermented foods, and traditional sourdough breads are among the trends of my health-conscious generation. I have a feeling that many of you would feel uncomfortable purchasing your beef in this fashion. Please let me know if I am wrong by leaving a comment.

End of the Summer Blues

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

It is that time of year when you cannot walk into Wal-Mart or other stores without noticing that it is Back-to-School time. Aisles and shelving units are full with crayons, glue sticks, scissors, and notebook paper. Backpacks and locker organizers fill every nook and cranny.

This year is a little different for our family. It is the first year that one of my children is embarking on a new stage of life. My oldest son is on his way to Sam Houston State University. As exciting as it is to see him on his way to further his education and move boldly into adulthood, a little part of me is sad.

I honestly don’t know where the time went. It seems like just yesterday when he began Kindergarten. They say, “Time flies when you are having fun.” I know not everything was fun as I parented and loved and trained my son. It is hard work, but it sure did fly.

I also know that my parenting job is not over. In some ways it is only getting harder. I am having to step back big and let his wings soar. He will make mistakes and he will suffer the consequences, but he will most importantly learn from them.

Since we have a multi-generational herd, it is interesting to watch as mama cows love and care for their baby calves. They nurse them and clean them. They protect them and cuddle up beside them at night. Then at a certain time, the calves are weaned. Usually we wean them, but a mama cow will eventually wean their own calves. It is not natural for a grown cow to still be nursing. How strange would that be?

This whole parenting journey has been one long weaning process as I keep training and teaching my children. Then simultaneously I keep stepping back and letting them learn by making decisions for themselves. This marks a huge turning point in our lives.

It is the juxtaposition of excitement and sadness, which makes this life event so trying. It marks a new dynamic in our family. So instead of nerdy thrill I get from buying boxes of new crayons and finding bargains on spiral notebooks, I am dealing with a mild case of the end of the summer blues. The good news is that Sam is less than an hour drive away.

Morning or Evening Baths

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Occasionally I find myself a casual observer in people’s lives. Like a fly on the wall, I watch as life unfolds around me, making observations, and meditating on the little details that separate my life from others. The other day I was in an acquaintance’s home relatively early in the morning; she just so happens to live in the city.

Their morning routine was well underway by the time I had arrived. A bread machine was kneading the dough by the tell-tale thumping noise rising from the kitchen. The coffee pot held the last cup warm in the carafe. Breakfast dishes sat unattended on the table. The small children were in the bathtub getting ready for the new day.

I was struck by the latter because it was a striking difference from our family’s life in the country. It’s not because we don’t have a bathtub. For clarification, We do not bathe “Little House on the Prairie”-style by dragging a tub into the kitchen on Saturday evening and filling it with warm water. And, we certainly do not share bath water.

It was not the way in which they bathed. The striking difference for me was the time. The only day that we bathe or shower in the morning is on Sunday. We go to church early in the morning and want to be clean and look our best.

If you cannot figure out why we would not do this the other six days of the week, I would guess that you don’t work outdoors. Out in the country, especially in the summer, there is so much work to be done outside. It is almost a guarantee that you are going to be dirty and sweaty before lunch. There simply is no point in bathing at the beginning of the day.

Even on days that are not filled with labor intensive work, we go swim in the lake. Contrary to some opinion, we do not feel that this activity qualifies as a bath. In fact, it almost requires one. Or, we ride horses and get covered with horse hair, dust, and sweat. Or on a day like today, my boys spent the afternoon riding their bikes through mud puddles down the worn path through the pasture. They came home covered in mud splattered from head to two, but concentrated in a strip down their back.

Again there is just no point in bathing in the morning on a typical day. I never thought much about it until I realized that not every family has the same routines. For us not bathing in the morning leads to tanned arms, necks, and faces. It leads to freckles on full, healthy cheeks. My daughter gets free highlights as the sunshine lightens her light brown hair with blonde streaks. It also leads to my kids being active and receiving all the vitamin D there bodies can absorb.

You might think I am drawing conclusions or placing too much emphasis on the baths themselves. On Sunday mornings once the kids are bathed/showered, I immediately hear myself repeating, “Don’t get dirty.” I think it would be true any day whether it be Wednesday or Tuesday. Once you are freshly clean, you want to stay that way.

Therefore, the key to having healthy, active, outdoor kids is to cut out bathing in the mornings and institute evening baths. It would be interesting to do a little, unofficial experiment and see if my hypothesis is correct. Regardless of whether you live in the city or country, you can see if when you bathe affects how active you are during the day. Let me know if you actually do it or even if you think theory is all rubbish. Until then, I’ll be outside getting dirty.

Martin Family Review

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

In this day and age, it is so easy to read reviews of products. When I shop on Amazon, I can spend as much time looking at products as I spend reading customer reviews. Assuming that you are a like-minded consumer, I feel it is important to occasionally share feedback from our customers. The following is a recent one I received via email, but there is now a whole page on our website devoted to customer feedback. We call the page, “Testimonials.” Check it out if you to read more than the following.

Hi Lara,

I wanted to provide feedback on how much we have enjoyed the meat we purchased from you. When we bought the beef,we were just hoping for meat that was from a reliable company without the additional hormones, fat and ‘unknown’ additives of store purchased meat (no matter how ‘organic’). What we received was wonderfully lean, quality, full-flavored meat. Although it originally seemed like a lot of meat so that it might be hard to use it all in a reasonable time, I am surprised at how we have gone through it at a record rate.

Your company made buying the meat and the butchering process easy and straightforward so that we could optimize the cuts that we use the most. The ability to butcher and store the cuts in the thickness and weights that we use the most was also very helpful.

My husband loves to cook and is inspired by good quality ingredients. He loves to cook with this beef! We can taste the difference in freshness and although he has had to adjust his cooking style a bit to account for less fat, this has been a good adjustment.

We can’t wait for our next cow and knowing exactly where our beef came from adds to that enjoyment. Thank you for such a positive experience!


The Martin Family

Thank you, Martin family, for your positive feedback and kind words. We look forward to supplying your family with more grass fed beef in the future.

Linksys Router Setup