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Cowboy Approved Potato Casserole

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017

By popular request, here is the potato casserole recipe that was served at this year’s branding. Belinda Sursa is a former team roper, all around ranch hand, and as part of being married to a New Mexico cowboy, she can cook too. She has fed day workin’ crews for many years. She told me that her New Mexico guys were never fans of the traditional cold potato salad, so she came up with this hot potato dish as a side for the BBQ brisket and cole slaw.  Fresh green chillis adds a New Mexico twist. She buys the hatch green chillis fresh every year, as most of us do. The roasted peppers store well in the freezer. If you don’t have fresh, Belinda suggests using the frozen variety from the freezer section. 1 large package Frozen potatoes, cubed 1...

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Cowboy Gear: Chaps

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017

Chinks. Leggin’s. Woolies. Batwings. Hair pants. Shotguns.   “Humans dress up but the cowboy dresses down.”     Short for chaparejos, the Spanish term for overalls or leather breeches, chaps are an important part of the cowboy’s wardrobe. Northern cowboys used angora or sheep pelts for warmth; “woolies”. Texas cowboys were identified as wearing the wider legs so they could be put on without removing spurs, called bat wings or buzzard wings. The plainer leather chaps with fringe were identified more with cowboys who worked in the Northwest; “shotguns”.     These hide pants have a multiple of uses, just like all of the gear used by cowboys and cowgirls. shield from cactus warmth from rain or snow protect legs from mesquite bush thorns protection from injury if he is thrown or pushed against a fence When he dismounts,...

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Cowboy Gear: Hat

Posted by on Jun 2, 2017

Stetson. Conk-case. Lid. War-bonnet. Ten-gallon.   “Don’t Mess with a cowboy’s hat.” The cowboy hat remains a universal image of the working cowboy. If you put one on your head, you’ll feel taller, perhaps a little more adventurous. In the fraction of a second, you suddenly become part of the golden age of the American west. John Batterson Stetson called his 1865 creation “Boss of the Plains”. Suited for hotter climates of the west, Stetson’s original design had a four inch crown, four inch flat brim, and cost $5 bucks.   Stetson learned the hat-making trade at an early age from his father. As a young man, he was diagnosed with consumption (tuberculosis), forcing him to leave his home and family in New Jersey for dryer climates. He relocated to the gold fields of Pikes Peak, Colorado where the...

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Cowboy Gear: Wild Rag

Posted by on May 26, 2017

Bandana. Neckerchief. Wipes. Wild Rag. “It’s the man that’s the cowhand, not the outfit he wears.” The history of cowboy gear can be traced back to the Spanish Vaquero, who without question, looked very fine sitting astride a horse. The clothes they wore added much to their mystique and Hollywood contributed their own spin to the image of the American cowboy. The tools of their trade and the garb they wore had more to do with the work at hand and the tools used by a man whose days were spent under an endless blue sky. The costume of cowboys and cowgirls have adapted because it is more applicable to the work they do rather than the latest fashion trends. The wild rag is an example.   From pirates who sailed the seas, to British colonists, and even highway...

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Branding Crew Pea Salad

Posted by on May 19, 2017

It’s that time of year… Time to round up the new crop of Angus calves for branding and vaccines.  Cowboys and cowgirls are on their horses at sunrise, and the work is done by noon, way before the thermometer will reach its peak. The branding crews are quick and efficient, and the calves are returned to their momma’s side as soon as possible. No breaks until the work is done. When the Ranch Foreman says it’s time for lunch, breakfast is a distant memory, consumed before the sun had even peaked over the corral.  Everyone is well past starved.   “Grub pile; come a runnin’!” We are so fortunate at the Sanford Ranch to have capable working crews in the branding pen as well as in the cookhouse. Tavia Vinson and her sister-in-law, Belinda Sursa, have been cooking together...

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Calf on the ground!

Posted by on May 12, 2017

“Nobody ever drowned himself in sweat.”   Finally – it is spring! Birds singing, flower and garden planting, evening walks and vacation planning. If your livelihood has anything to do with a cattle ranch though, you best hold up because spring is when the real work begins. Cowmen spend all year turning pasture grasses into steaks to feed the public, and that beef has to be transported to where the meat processors and people are. The new additions to the herd have to be identified and this is done at the Spring branding. In the early days of the great cattle drives, few fences blocked the route from Texas ranches to the rail heads north. Cowboys drove herds to central locations and the trail drives consisted of thousands of head from multiple outfits. Livestock branding was the only way...

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