When the Cowboys are “Nesting”

We are finally in the last stretch of time before our cows start having calves. We have about a month to go. Before long, we will have little “doggies” as we call our newest cattle additions, running all over the place. I thought that puppies are the cutest and most playful animals, until I saw our calves playing with each other and racing around with their tails way up high. The most spectacular sight is to see them being born and getting hang of walking and milking within just few minutes. We eagerly wait for the mama and baby to create their new bond and figure out this milking ordeal. Let me tell you, I have lost so many nails, watching them struggle, desperately wanting to help the calf to find the utter, yet the best thing is to let them figure it out. We have been lucky so far, all of our cows are good mamas and claim their babies. We don’t take any chances though and have calf formula ready, just in case we need to use it.

The last month is hard for the cows and for the cowboys. As any expectant mother can relate, the last month is the longest and must have at least extra 10 days packed on! The nesting period begins for all soon to be moms to make sure all is ready for the wonderful arrival. My cowboys are also “nesting” the month before our first arrival. They want to be ready and give the calves the best chance to survive. This year, the cowboys built new shelters for our cows as April can be temperamental with weather. We intentionally don’t “calf” in the middle of the winter. We wait until the cows have some nice green grass and the calf is born into better weather. No need to rush and have little calves struggle through months of cold and snow.

The cowboss was pretty collected when we were expecting our little Peanut, big help with the new baby and many times assured me that the baby is still sleeping, when I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night to check on her. Well, he is the same with our cows. During calving season we sleep with the window open to hear all strange noises from coyotes to cows being in trouble. (And he complained about the baby monitor being too loud?!) He will go check on the mama cows a few times a night, in a crack of dawn and many times during the day. You can clearly see the excitement and nervousness on his face.

Each year, we will have a few cows who will require his help and he needs to act fast to save the mama and the calf. I try to stay calm, but I’m a nervous wreck on the inside, but I try to keep it together for him. We are both exhausted and relieved when all is set and done and we have another addition to our heard. It is not easy to pull out 70 lb calf! During this time, we try to provide the cowboss with any help he needs, cook tasty meals and keep it all together!

Ha, are you tired yet? Calving is a lot of work. I think the adrenalin kicks in for all of us during the month of April, we get through it and cherish every new calf.

Cooking a tasty meals after a long day of fussing with new calves is important on this outfit. 3T Ranch Chicken Pot Pie is always a winner after a long day or night.

We are expecting about 30 calves this year. Stay tuned for the most adorable photos!

 

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3T Chicken Pot Pie

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I have served this deliciousness last weekend. The cowboys spent days working on our new shelters for the cows. Calving season is coming!

Easy dinner, yet with a few extra additions, you can impress your family and friends.

What to have on hand:

  • 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Seasoning for roasting the chicken: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, olive oil – 1 tsp of each
  • Ready to use pie dough – I buy Pillsbury pie dough (you will get two sheets in one pkg)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen pearl onions
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies of your choice (I have used broccoli, cauliflower and carrots combo. I use fresh veggies from my garden in the summer, but the frozen veggies in the winter will be just fine as well).
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Seasoning for the sauce: two sprigs of fresh rosemary (chopped up into small pieces), 3 garlic cloves (chopped), 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp seasoned salt (regular salt is fine too), 1tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp nutmeg (use it, it will add so much flavor)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg

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Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Take the pie dough out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
  • Coat the chicken with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, olive oil and roast on a cookie sheet with a rack for about 30 minutes. Check the meat, flip it and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Let the chicken cool and in the meantime, let’s start on the sauce.
  • In a big size frying pan melt the butter and include all of the veggies along with the rosemary and garlic. Let the veggies be nicely coated in the butter.
  • Add the flour and constantly stir for about a minute, so you don’t burn it.
  • Slowly pour in the chicken stock and the milk. Continue stirring and the sauce will start to thicken.
  • Let’s spice it up – mix in all of the spices:  paprika, seasoned salt (regular salt is fine too), pepper and nutmeg.
  • Simmer on low during the time you will be cutting up the chicken into bitesize chunks. Add the chicken and stir.
  • Turn of your sauce and get your ramekins ready. I have used four individual ramekins, but you can certainly use one big pie dish.
  • Cut your dough about an inch bigger than your dish. I have used my cookie cutters to cut out fun western designs. You can use whatever you have at home or leave it plain!
  • Ladle your sauce with chicken into each of the ramekins, leaving about an inch at the top. Put your dough circles over the top and  firmly press around the edges. Put your cookie design on the top. Slit three small holes into each of the dough tops. The sauce will bubble during baking and needs to have an escape route, so you don’t end up with a huge mess.
  • Crack the egg, whisk it with a splash of water and brush it all over your dough. This will bring nice color to the dish.
  • Put the ramekins onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Check for doneness and if necessary bake for additional 5 minutes.

Let’s talk the salad!

  • My mother-in-law Diane makes the most delicious salads! Anytime they come over for a dinner, she has the task of bringing one of her tasty creations. Why? My cowboys don’t like fancy salads that often. Butter lettuce with Ranch is their favorite option. Bummer for me! So, we have compromised.. I have used lettuce, roasted walnuts and homemade ranch dressing. It satisfied everybody. Here is the Pioneer Woman Ranch recipe.

Dobrou chut! Bon Appetite!