Whew! We're in the middle, nearing the end, of our fall works. 3 meals a day, 12 - 14 men - can we say pooped?!
12 days total. That's a lot of dishes folks! No dishwasher here. All that remains is a washed up old cook with bleached out hands.
We've got a new crew this year, a pretty good bunch. In fact, DS mentioned that she wished they could stay forever. Huh?! I mean, I'm all for hospitality, but come on... I am not cooking for them FOREVER! In fact, Sunday is the end of the road and before the dust from their trailers has settled, this kitchen will be officially CLOSED! So anyone who happens to wander this way had better not show up expecting to be fed! I think I have earned a few days off. Even if I haven't - I'm taking them! One of the guys asked me whether I enjoyed all the cooking. Well, it depends when you ask me. Day 1 - you bet! I love all the excitement and anticipation that surrounds the ranch during fall works. Day 12 - not so much! Grin! DH told me that I spoil them and that they don't deserve the extra mile. I told him I don't do it for them. I do it for him. We're a team and I want to do my part to make this a successful outfit. Unlike some places, we really do try to make this place run in the black. Like so many families and businesses today, that's getting harder to do. Cooking is the one thing I can do to help.
I am ready to come up for air though. Seems it's been busier than usual and this time around I didn't get the opportunity to sneak away to snap pictures. A couple of mornings I had to take about and hour and a half to haul a pickup and trailer to the other end of the ranch and drop off the crew, but daybreak was still a long ways off and it was too dark to take any. The other morning I did run some vaccine to North Camp, but I only had 5 minutes before I had to head back and tend to my kitchen duties. Then this morning I sat out in the rain on the highway waiting for the crew to gather the cattle on the south side of the road. I pulled the truck across the road to stop traffic so that the crew could move the cattle across to the north side.
Often times, people are really excited to see the guys working at the side of the road, but today there was an extremely rude driver at the head of the line, he just lay on his horn and honked numerous times. Hey, take it easy buddy, you're about to cause a wreck. Cattle running amok along the open road is not the desired outcome.
Around here we're always, always busy, but ranch work does not lend itself to getting in a hurry. Speeding up just tends to get someone hurt or something broken, both items we wish to avoid. The pace around here is so very different from the outside world, I tend to forget that and on occassion, when I am reminded, it makes me want to run for the hills - or at least for my dirt road. I am simply not wired for living out there and I am so thankful that the good Lord knows that!
Every so often though, the world tries to creep in. Last week my washer quit on me, my sewing machine died, and the computer crashed - all in one day! Ack! So this week, in the midst of juggling my kitchen responsibilities, I had to haul the washer into town (it was out for a week, but thankfully under warranty!), pick up my sewing machine (because I really want to make that cute apron), and order a new computer (although I'm not thrilled about dropping the money). Most people would wave that off as just another usual day and I must admit, I handled it pretty well, but I couldn't do that on a daily basis. When I got back home, I threatened the stove and refrigerator. If they had chosen to act up this week, it would have put me over the edge. Do you think the fact that I talk to my appliances means I've been in the kitchen for too long? Wait - don't answer that!
DH just phoned and let me know they probably wouldn't be in for dinner until at least 1. No problem. Through the years I have become accustomed to feeding them any time between 11 and 3, but he's always sweet to call and give me a heads up.
That means I may have time to load my pictures and see if there's anything worthwhile (probably not) and get my dough made for the donuts I'm making in the morning. Homemade donuts on the last day of works have become a tradition. Not sure whether I'll be able to get the dessert made for tomorrow before they pull in though. I often make the next day's dessert the day before. It helps to have that done when I've got to make a run to drop off guys and horses in the morning.
Yesterday I made fried chicken and although I have been told that one cook was fired for cooking chicken for a crew, it was a huge hit with this bunch. Darn! I could have used a break! Grin! They dug into that chicken like they hadn't eaten in a week. I made baked beans and Granny's potato salad, and rolls and jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. Gone. All gone. No leftovers. Then I had to make Dave's favorite dessert - Ice Cream Sandwich dessert. I already made it once, when we worked the Corrientes the last part of September, but I made it again because he asked so sweetly. I have tried not to duplicate any of my menu this fall and so far, with the exception of a side dish or two, I've managed to do that. No one complained about eating the Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert twice though.
Through the years we've been blessed with good crews. Looking back, I can't imagine what I fed them 21 years ago when I didn't know how to cook. My apologies go out to those poor men.
Well, I had better scoot - if I burn another batch of biscuits, I might get fired. Maybe I haven't learned as much as I thought I did!