Thursday, October 12, 2017





Lip balm 101



Way back in January I began to search for the best and easiest recipe to make my own lip balm.  Many attempts later I think we have a winner.  I embrace a simple life and like recipes that don't require buying extra ingredients or equipment that take up space in my home  Economics and my valuable time play leading roles in selecting the best recipes.   Homesteaders must accomplish many task daily.  

The first thing we need to talk about is carrier oils.  There are many to choose from but I urge you to use oils that are readily available and in your budget.  Also, you need to do some testing to make sure you aren't sensitive to the oil.  (Just put a bit on your lips and see how you react).


Here are a few options for carrier oils:

Olive Oil-used in many cosmetics and available in most pantries

Sunflower Oil-heals damaged skin

Apricot Kernel Oil-for sensitive and mature skin

Avocado Oil-rich and slow to absorb

Castor Oil-adds gloss and smoothness to lip balm    

Next ingredient

Beeswax

I went to Fain's Honey located east of Llano, Texas and bought a slab of beeswax that might possibly last my lifetime. The beeswax candles from Market Square in Mason are pure beeswax and safe to use for this project.

An optional ingredient
Butters such as Shea, Cocoa, or Mango

Now for the recipe:

3 parts carrier oil

1 part butter

1 part beeswax

Combine ingredients in small pan then place the pan inside another pan with water to make a double boiler.
Beeswax is flammable so best to be safe.
Warm slowly until beeswax is melted then pour into lip balm containers.

Additions to lip balm

You can add your favorite essential oils.
For color you can add mica powder, here is a link to the brand and color that I use.

https://www.amazon.com/Powder-Metallic-Cosmetic-Slice-Moon/dp/B008KN18SC/ref=sr_1_12_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1507828870&sr=8-12&keywords=mica+powder+cosmetic+grade


About Deodorant

We discussed three options for deodorant at our class.  This article by The Healthy Home Economist will give you great incentive to make your own.

https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/10-reasons-why-store-deodorant-stinks/

Here are direction how to make a deodorant close to organic name brand deodorants.
http://www.sixfiguresunder.com/?s=deodorant

This article is a recipe you can use to make stick deodorant.

http://www.thankyourbody.com/homemade-deodorant-stick-recipe-sensitive-skin/

And then we have my simple recipe for deodorant that works great for us.
Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, stir then adjust to consistency you like.  You can adjust recipe with the seasons.




Friday, September 29, 2017

Best Cooking Method for Grassfed Beef













BEST COOKING METHOD FOR GRASSFED BEEF





This subject is a topic of debate for all of us who have taken the reins in sourcing our own beef. The number one complaint I have heard for years is grass-fed  beef is so tough or perhaps reminds one of shoe leather.   We have been raising our own beef since 2004.   Our calves run with their mothers which gives them a diet of milk and grass.  We harvest the calves on weaning day which gives a definite advantage of tender beef.   The younger the animal the more tender the meat.

So let's discover some options for those who want tender delicious beef.

The method we have tested many times and provides true and tried results is the REVERSE SEAR METHOD.

I will discuss two good sources for information.  

The first method and the method we are currently using to cook steaks is from "Cook's Country".  Here it goes.  



  1.  Rinse steaks and pat dry, then place on rack over a cookie sheet.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  You want the beef to dry on the outer edges.
  2.  Set oven at 200 degrees and sprinkle half teaspoon of kosher salt on each side of the steak, place the cookie sheet with the steaks in the oven.
  3. After one hour take the internal temperature of the steak.  Depending on your preference of doneness for your steak you will continue to cook and check 15-30 minutes until the preferred temperature is reached.  Our steaks are cut 1.5 inches thick and we usually leave our steaks in the 200 degree oven for two hours.  
  4. When your perfect temperature is reached remove the steaks from the oven and let them rest.  I usually let them rest until we are fairly close to dinner.  Maybe I let them rest one hour.  
  5. Now is the fun part.  Mr. Rueffer will get the grill roaring and sear each side of the steak for one minute.  Any fire source will work great.  Sometimes we sear the steaks in a hot cast iron pan then add butter and one clove of garlic for each of the steaks.  Divine I must say.  The picture above is tenderloin with garlic-butter sauce.  
  6. Let the steaks rest at least 10-15 minutes.  
  7. Enjoy fork tender steak. 
   



The second source for Reverse Sear Method.






This post is full of great information and pictures.  So take a look and decide which is your favorite.


                   

  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Cattle Health


     Today I would like to discuss cattle health and our strategies for maintaining a healthy herd.   Our dairy and beef herd provide our family with home-grown and thoughtfully sourced milk and beef so we place high standards on bovine health.  We study research to ensure current understanding of bovine diseases, especially diseases that are known to be zoonotic.

     My journey began 15 years ago when we bought a dairy cow.  Thank goodness we had a knowledgeable vet who educated and guided us through testing for diseases we most definitely did not want in our raw milk.   As time marched on beef cattle were added to our farm and I realized that they are carriers of many diseases we really didn't want in our family's beef supply.  We decided to close both dairy and beef herds and raise all replacement females.  Our decision to quarantine our herd has come with many challenges such as wearing plastic gloves, covering shoes with plastic covers, and endless expensive testing.  We believe this has been a worthwhile endeavor and we are grateful to have a clean dairy and beef herd.

    A few weeks ago Mr. Rueffer decided we would have the whole herd tested at one time and to verify where we were on bovine health.  The above pictures is from that very long day for both man and bovine but the results were worth it.  The beautiful girls and a few boys above are not only vibrant with health but have lab-work papers to prove it.  THE RESULTS WERE 100% NEGATIVE FOR BVD, BLV(BOVINE LEUKOSIS VIRUS-I added some links for you to read about this disease http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/considerations-for-drinking-raw-milk-milk-zbcz1611https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/5/13-1298_articlehttp://news.berkeley.edu/2015/09/15/bovine-leukemia-virus-breast-cancer/), JOHNE'S; (https://johnes.org/zoonotic/index.html), AND NEOSPORA.  We are so happy and feel so blessed to be care-takers of these cattle.  Most disease transmission occurs maternally to offspring.  I think most of us are unaware of disease in cattle because many diseases are sub-clinical and it is often hard to detect with out lab work.  

     Dairy cattle have more incidence of disease due to confined living conditions.  We will talk about raw milk and disease another time.  In both dairy and beef herds, disease is spreading rapidly due to our current conventional systems for milk and beef.  I hope we can change our system into a system free from confinement eating of commodity crops and shipping cattle long distances for harvest.  I believe the model we are striving for here at Rueffer Ranch aids in mending our broken food system in America.

 Benefits of our model:


*Mother and calf roam freely grazing until the natural weaning time for a calf.

*Calves are born in sync with nature giving them lots of green grass and favorable conditions.  

*Calves are not shipped long distances which is stressful for the newly weaned calf. 

*Calves are milk-fed from their mothers and graze with her for supplementation.  

*Since they are born in the spring the grass conditions are prime for great beef nutrition.

*Our ancestors always harvested "the fatted calf" which provided them with tender meat, bones, and organs.  They did not have refrigeration and a calf was the right size for harvest.

*The smaller animal has smaller cuts which are just right for a healthy meal.  

*There is no use of commodity crops or factory farming.  

*Calves are from a closed tested herd which speaks volumes.

*Calves are harvested locally.

*ROSE BEEF TASTE BEST


Our cattle are gentle and we handle them very gently.




We had a Christmas picture made with our Jersey cow "Rainey".








Monday, August 7, 2017



JERSEY BULL FOR SALE


We are offering our 16 month-old bull for sale, his dam is an amazing cow Rainey and his sire is Mary Jane Farm's bull Samson.  He is tested for BLV, Neospora, Johne's, and is from a closed annually tested herd.  His grand-dam is registered with the American Jersey Association and his Dam is registered with Heritage Jersey Organization.  His grand-sire is Bruno from Holt Creek Jerseys in Nebraska that specializes in grass-fed genetics.  Please contact me at:  Caren-325-347-7261

Happy Milking!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meet the Girls

Presenting Our Milk Cows


Life is kinda funny how we never know where we will go and what passions we will pursue.  I find it extraordinary that a person can live in the city and by chance move to the country and find a passion that grows daily!
I have found my passion MILK COWS!
The learning curve has been steep but I hope to share all that I have learned with others and strive to breed the perfect family Jersey cow.  Perhaps a cow that existed around the early 1900's.
A family milk cow does and has always played a vital role in providing nutrient dense food to her homestead.
SHE IS WORTH HER WEIGHT IN GOLD!
Due to the amazing impact a milk cows brings to your homestead, I want to share the qualities I find important in finding your perfect family milk cow.
HEALTH
I Can't stress this enough.  It is so important to test your dairy cows yearly and know their background.  
Chances are you will drink raw milk and it is very important to know the status of your cows health BEFORE  you drink her raw milk.  Our herd is tested every May for the following dairy diseases:
TB (tubercolosis)
Bang's
BVD (bovine viral diarrhea)
Johne's
Q Fever
BLV (bovine leukosis virus)
She must be free from mastitis.
GENETICS
On this subject I don't necessarily mean the most popular American dairy genetics.
I PROMOTE AND PRACTICE GRASS-FED GENETICS AND DAIRYING!
Remember if you want to a grass-fed cow you must choose grass-fed genetics.  If you want to feed grain then choose accordingly.  We follow holistic management and strive to follow a Weston A. Price influenced diet, so for us our milk cow's level of nutrition is directly linked with our level of nutrition and health.
   Our herd sire is "The Balladeer of Branched Oak Bruno" purchased from Ben Gotschall of Holt Creek Jerseys in Nebraska in 2012 and we have been very pleased with Bruno and his offspring.
To read more about grass-fed genetics and information about Bruno go to:holtcreekjerseys.com
We believe an "easy keeper type cow" is desirable for a family milk cow. Maintaining body condition  while lactating on a grass-fed diet is very important to us.


We want to introduce you to the girls!
I will be adding more cows and information, but to start with here is:

RAINEY Born July 14, 2013
Her mother is a registered Jersey named Dolly and Bruno is the sire.  She has a super sweet disposition and is absolutely gorgeous.  Grass only body condition.  Her mother was one of the friendliest cows I have owned and Rainey has the exact personally of her mom.


Dolly x Bruno





----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nickel is from one of our favorite cows named
Penny (funny name).  Penny is one of our
cows milked for Cole's Creamery raw milk.
She is consistent, small statured, very agreeable
and enjoys being milked.
We have high hopes for Nickel!

NICKEL born September 10, 2013

Penny x Bruno
------------------------------------------------------------------------------






BELINDA






Meet Belinda the daughter of Blackie (Jersey x Holstein).  Blackie is used to provide milk for Cole's Creamery and is very reliable.
Belinda was born October 2014 and is sired by Bruno.  She will have an ample supply of milk.

________________________________________________________________________________



BRUNO


OUR HERD SIRE




PHOTO TAKEN AUGUST 10, 2015

Bruno remains in great condition despite our dry and very hot temperatures.
We have owned him almost 3 years and he maintains great body condition in all seasons.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chocolate



Chocolate


We have been making chocolate and have been so sweetly surprised how easy and delicious making your own chocolate can be.   We mold the chocolate for bite size pieces in a chocolate mold (link is below), pour nut clusters onto wax paper  and make peanut butter cups in mini muffin liners. This recipe is so easy and fabulous tasting you will never go back to main-stream chocolate.
A good place to start......
CHOCOLATE M0LD FROM AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Freshware-30-Cavity-Silicone-Chocolate-Jelly/dp/B003VPW0V8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1417840530&sr=8-3&keywords=Chocolate+mold
Chocolate 101
Ingredients:
Coconut Oil (I use Tropical Traditions or Premier, but your choice)
Maple Syrup (I use organic)
Cacao powder (cocoa powder), I use Valrhona 
Vanilla Extract (I use homemade)
Sea Salt

Directions:

Very Gently melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil (crucial). I barely warm the pan then move it on and off heat.  

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and whisk into oil

Add add 2-4 tablespoons of maple syrup or your preference.

At this stage you may add.

A dash of sea salt
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla.
Roasted nuts, fillings, essential oil such as peppermint, coffee, toasted coconut; then pour onto parchment paper, mini muffin liners, or in the silicone mold shown above.

Put into the refrigerator until set, enjoy and store inside the refrigerator.

Point to stress:
Do not allow even a drop of water in your recipe.
This is why I do not use a double boiler.
If chocolate thickens you may for a second at a time apply heat. CAUTION
If you overheat it will separate (seize) and be unattractive (we want beautiful).

So many wonderful things to do with this recipe such as put chocolate in a mug and add steamed milk for hot chocolate.

You can double this recipe.
This recipe fills about half of the chocolate mold.  I try to make smaller amount at time because I will eat the whole thing. ;)
________________________________________


Recipe for Healthy Chocolate
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2-4 tablespoons of maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla or more to taste

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bruno's Daughters



Bruno's Daughters

                                    (Our future milk cows)



  Two years ago we made Bruno our herd sire in our quest for grass-fed genetics, excellent body condition on grass, and healthy udders.  We believe Bruno has brought these characteristics to our herd.  These expectations with added calm demeanor from his offspring have greatly added to our farm's holistic goals.  Here are a few pictures of  our future milk cows.

Rainey
Easter


Nickel
Belinda