Ranch Recipes The year is winding down quickly and it seems there are so many places to go, people to see, and the house is looking more and more like a pigsty. I cringe when I have to leave and the house is in such disarray. Jessica and I went to Lexington, MO to buy a Great Pyrenees guard dog. Not thrilled with the prospect of having a dog, but something must be done for predator control for the hens and sheep. He seems like a very well mannered dog and being 1-year-old, we have skipped the puppy stage! Jessica took him out to show him his boundaries. She may have to do this for several days. Two hours were spent preparing Christmas cards for mailing whilst we watched the movie, Luther. Though it was released more than a year ago on the big screen in other areas, it never was here, however, it is available on DVD for rent as of November 30th. Very well done. The bulls were turned out with the fall-calving cows just before Thanksgiving. Calves have been given their vaccinations, castrated, and dehorned. Jessica selected which ewes to put with which ram and they have been turned into their respective flocks on December 3rd. So now we are ready to sit back and let the animals do their thing for the winter. If the weather is good, we?ll pull the bulls and rams out sometime in January, if the weather is yucky, we just leave them alone and just sell those females, which don?t breed, within our selected timeframe. The biggest jobs for the winter are making sure the animals have water and stockpiled grass. Hay if necessary. Allen and I went to the bank?s Christmas party last week at the Linneus Community Centre. Avery Bright and his family and friends provided great entertainment. We had a nice meal and good time of visiting. All organized by the ladies who work at the Bank of Purdin. About four years ago, my friend Cameron Best, from Australia helped Jessica find a pen pal who had similar interests. They have been writing back and forth faithfully all this time. Shona, her friend, as it turns out, has two younger brothers near to the age of Dallas and Nathan, and now they, too, are writing. Now, that they have e-mail, they are starting to use that as well. They have really enjoyed their long distance friendship. Many of you may have met Cameron when he stayed with Tom and Jean Triplett so many years ago. We?ve stayed in touch and Cameron has even come back to the States for a visit a few times. He lives in Queensland and is married to Sandra and they have two daughters. Cameron shared one of his favourite recipes for me to publish here. It is great and I want to really encourage you to try it. Corned Beef 5 lb rolled rump roast 4 1/2 quarts of water 2 lbs coarse salt Heat water to dissolve salt then let cool completely. Stab thawed roast about 60 times with a long-tined meat fork. Pour salt water into a #2 ceramic crock and submerge roast into it. Weight down the roast with a brick or whatever. Place crock in a cool place and cover with kitchen towel. Let sit for 9 days. (I found some recipes, which called for turning the roast everyday, but we forgot to do that and it worked fine). To cook: Rinse roast, then place in a stockpot filled with enough water to cover roast 1 inch. Bring to slow boil, then pour off water, rinse out pot and refill with enough water to cover roast 1 inch. While water is heating add 2 tablespoons brown sugar, two bay leaves, 1 onion, quartered, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, and 1/4-cup vinegar. Cover and bring to slow boil, then simmer until meat falls off of a fork or skewer. (about 3 hours). Serve with mashed potatoes or for an easy potluck, break up the meat and stir into potatoes and serve in a crock pot. Or let cool and slice off for sandwiches to take to work. Tauna Powell lives with her family near Laclede, Missouri. She can be reached at www.mastersranch.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to her at The Master?s Ranch, 19554 Fort Road, Laclede, MO 64651.