Gail Jenner https://gailjenner.com Official Author Website Fri, 02 Feb 2018 09:18:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 How do you translate vintage recipes? https://gailjenner.com/2018/02/translate-vintage-recipe.html https://gailjenner.com/2018/02/translate-vintage-recipe.html#respond Fri, 02 Feb 2018 09:18:55 +0000 https://gailjenner.com/?p=1636 So WELCOME to my kitchen……. Ever wondered how you translate Grandma’s wonderful old recipes? When she says ‘a dash’ of this…..or just cook ‘until done’ in a ‘hot’ oven?  What???  Hard to know? Yes, especially today when we have schedules to keep! But we want to make that something special! Who wants to take a […]

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So WELCOME to my kitchen…….

Ever wondered how you translate Grandma’s wonderful old recipes? When she says ‘a dash’ of this…..or just cook ‘until done’ in a ‘hot’ oven?  What???  Hard to know? Yes, especially today when we have schedules to keep! But we want to make that something special!
Who wants to take a chance?

Remember: if you go back in time to when Grandma or Great-Grandma was cooking on a potbelly or cast iron stove — or in a dutch oven over a campfire — she did not have the luxury (yes, luxury!) of thermometers or  dials to give her a simple way of cooking. She had to rely on instinct. Or she learned from her mother…or she learned over time. So, what do you do, 50, 80, 120 years later when you find the delightfully scribbled recipe for, say, sourdough biscuits or devil’s food cake? 

Well, there are some guidelines and standards that have been composed for ‘modern’ cooks and bakers. As the wife of a fourth generation rancher (47 years this summer), and living in his great grandmother’s house, I’ve inherited quite a collection of wonderful vintage recipes; I have become a collector of the odd recipes scrawled in faded pencil. Perhaps that’s why this last book of mine, SOURDOUGH BISCUITS AND PIONEER PIES (TwoDot) was so much fun (and work!) to put together. Seeking out other ranching and farming women, and women who have inherited recipes, I’ve developed the hankering to learn more about vintage recipes and vintage cooks!

And I’ve had fun answering people’s questions and looking for answers when I don’t have them. So I decided I’d begin a dialogue with those who, like me, enjoy the foods of our families and communities!
Where to start? How about with temperatures…as I said, Grandma and her sisters didn’t have the luxury of gauges or thermometers to make it simple. SO……

TRANSLATING COOKING TEMPERATURES:

If the recipe says:                              It means:                       
Simmering (water)                                180°
Boiling (water)                                       212°
Soft boil stage (candy/sauces)            234°
Jellying stage                                        220-222°
Very slow oven                                      250°
Slow oven                                              300°
Moderately slow oven                          325°
Moderate oven                                      350°
Moderately hot oven                             375°
Hot oven                                                 400°
Very hot oven                                        450-500°

And what about cooking times for those wonderful old cakes that Grandma made famous??? You know — the German Chocolate or Red Velvet that you’ve heard everyone rave about? Here are a few principal categories of cakes and their respective bake times:

CAKES AND THEIR COOKING TIMES:
For Sponge Cakes                      35 to 90 minutes          325°  (or moderately slow oven!)
For Angel food Cakes*              1 hour or more            325°  (or moderately slow oven!)
                          *don’t peek too soon
Butter / Loaf Cakes                      30 to 45 minutes          350°  (or moderate oven!)
Chocolate or Molasses Cakes    30 to 40 minutes          325°  (or moderately slow oven!)
Thin Layer Cakes                         20 to 30 minutes          375°  (or moderately hot oven!)
Cupcakes                                      20 to 25 minutes          375°  (or moderately hot oven!)           

A FEW EQUIVALENTS TO NOTE (the less common):
a few grains  =  less than 1/8 tsp.
3 teaspoons   = 1 Tablespoon
1 fluid ounce  =  2 Tablespoons
1  dry ounce   = 2 Tablespoons
100 grams    =  3.5 ounces
100 grams    =   7 Tablespoons butter or 1/2 cup -minus 1 Tablespoon

A RECIPE FROM THE FAMILY COLLECTION: Marie Jenner’s “Sour Cream Biscuits!”
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
Milk, as needed
Sift together dry ingredients. Mix with the sour cream to make dough. Add a little milk if needed. Roll out and cut into rounds then place on a greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 425°. Makes 12-14 biscuits.

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Five Generations Strong — Ranching — It’s a Family Affair! https://gailjenner.com/2015/07/five-generations-strong-ranching-its-a-family-affair.html https://gailjenner.com/2015/07/five-generations-strong-ranching-its-a-family-affair.html#respond Mon, 13 Jul 2015 04:14:00 +0000   Although I’ve briefly talked about the ranch, I thought I’d delve a little more into its history. Several people have mentioned they enjoy hearing about the ranch. So here’s a little more on the Jenner Cattle Company, three generations working together today, representing 3 of the 5 original generations: L-R: nephew Frank; “Great Papa” […]

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Although I’ve briefly talked about the ranch, I thought I’d delve a little more into its history. Several people have mentioned they enjoy hearing about the ranch. So here’s a little more on the Jenner Cattle Company, three generations working together today, representing 3 of the 5 original generations:

L-R: nephew Frank; “Great Papa” Jack (91); brother-in-law John; son Matt; hubby Doug; son Nick.

The Jenner Cattle Company, Inc., is one of the oldest ranches in Scott Valley, Siskiyou County, California.  For those who think California is the land of beautiful people and beautiful beaches and sun year-round, they have not visited the most northern quadrant of the state! Forty miles from Oregon, we are a rural (very rural) mountain community. We are surrounded by the Klamath National Forest, the Trinity-Salmon Alps, and the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area. The “valley” is perhaps 30 miles long and 6 miles wide. Originally the land of the Shasta, it is still the home of one of the largest tribes in northern California. Neighboring tribes include the Karuk and Yurok (further to the coast).

The first contact with whites dates back to Hudson Bay Company’s beaver trappers and early mountain men, circa 1928-30. Stephen Meek, brother to Joseph Meek, is “credited” with putting Scott Valley (then called Beaver Valley) “on the map.”  Interestingly, Stephen Meek lived for a time on a part of our ranch, and Old Pop used to recall how the Meek would hang his beaver pelts on our barn to dry in the sun (that would have been in Meek’s later years — around 1900+)… today the beaver are few, but they remain — rather fascinating to watch how quickly they can build a dam. Only trouble is that we often try to plant trees along the slough and they saw them down very quickly! LOL…
The Jenners’ entry into the valley goes back to the days of the gold rush (more on that in a future blog )…..the gold rush here followed on the heels of the Sierra Mother Lode “rush,” but actually produced as much, if not more gold. Gold was first noted in 1848, but it wasn’t until 1850 that the rush north into the Trinity region and beyond took hold. Even today, few people realize that the “northern mines” were as rich as they were, and the gold rush here lasted into the 1900s.
The Wagner Saloon in Etna
Part of the family’s ranching operation has its roots in the Wagner Ranch, purchased by Ignace and Mary Ann (Lichtenthaler) Wagner, both of Alsace, France, in March of 1874 (March 17, 1874). Although Ignace first went to mine in the area of Placerville (then known as “Hangtown” in the Sierras), he soon moved north, with a little bit of gold, as did so many gold seekers. He was a hard-worker and began to look around at how he could make a living for his family; farming and ranching was very profitable in the early days and he had come from farming stock. Later, at least one of his sons ran the Wagner Saloon in Etna. 
Another branch of the family included the Kapplers, who founded the original Etna Brewery–which has been resurrected and has won many micro-brewery awards since its “re-creation” in 1990! The Kapplers were also from Germany, arriving again as part of the gold rush. Settling in Etna, the Kapplers established the brewery and built an ice house and were the first to bring electricity to the town in 1898. Prohibition forced the brewery to close, although the beer did win a Blue Ribbon at the San Francisco Exposition in 1915.
The original farmhouse on the Wagner Ranch was built in 1859, but Ignace soon built a new home on the flat, opposite the old structure. The painting below was done by A. Cedro and stretches a good 4-5 feet across; it shows the layout of the Wagner Ranch in its “heyday.”
Note the “horse barn” (still a beautiful and historic barn, on the right….).
The Wagners raised prized horses, including some magnificent Percherons; one even won a Blue Ribbon at the 1915 Exposition. They also raised hogs and apples. Today we still butcher hogs in the same way as did the first Wagners and we smoke our hams, bacon, sausage in the “old smokehouse on the hill.” 
Our oldest son – note the “scrapers” to the left of the hog – 150 years old.
We also press cider in the 150-year old family cider press, made from a variety of apples on the ranch (many of which were planted later by my husband while in high school). Both are annual traditions that we have passed on now to the sixth generation. In fact, each Christmas our gift to neighbors, family and friends includes some of our wonderful sausage. Everyone looks forward to the gift!

NOTE: if anyone’s interested in the historic and fascinating history of processing pork — I could do a blog with photos…?

The first Jenner to arrive in Scott Valley was E.P. Jenner, who emigrated from Sussex County, England, in 1849 (again, because of the gold rush!), then founded the Union Flour Mill c. 1864, outside the town of Rough and Ready, now called Etna. With gold miners needing food and supplies, it was E.P.’s nephew, Frank S. Jenner, who followed his uncle to the valley and established a ranch on land straddling the “Island” (land between Scott River and Patterson Creek/slough) in the early 1870s, where rich bottomland produces good feed for cattle. 
This is the view from our living room window.
Today we still raise cattle on these rich pastures and native grasses – which adds to the flavor and nutrition found in our beef. It is 100% All Natural, with no hormones, no antibiotics, and it has a strong reputation as prime and superior beef.

The Jenner family, operating in its fifth generation, is centered around Frank’s original Island property, in addition to the Wagner Ranch, but we have also added to the family’s holdings and cow herd in the years since my husband and his brother joined the business (40+ years). And in the last 15 years, our two sons and nephew have joined the family operation/corporation. But “Grandpa Jack” (now 91) still works a good 8-hour day!

Today we run 1000+ cows and we’ve moved from raising Hereford to Angus-cross cattle. We calve in the late fall but since we have FOUR seasons (yes, temps drop to well below zero in the winter and we get snow that often lasts for days or weeks). With the valley floor at 2800 feet and the mountains around us peaking at 9,000 feet, we are a beautiful, green, lush valley. It’s no wonder that so many immigrants from Germany and Switzerland made this valley their home.
    

In addition, the Island ranch features a lush, natural slough, with roughly 50 acres of ponds and four reservoirs. The area is maintained as a natural preserve where waterfowl and other wildlife congregate year-round. 
In winter, the geese often “skate” along the frozen slough….
We limit hunting in order to protect both wildlife and cattle, so it’s not uncommon to see hundreds, if not thousands, of ducks, geese, herons, even pairs of eagles (both Bald and American Golden) and other bird life, as well as beaver and/or otters, etc. The diversity is amazing and there is rarely a day I don’t look out and marvel at the beauty and the fertility of nature. We love our cows, and for those who have wondered, cattle AND wildlife do cohabitate incredibly well. Cattle are natural recyclers; they are also natural fire retardants and can convert otherwise dry material into a powerful food source (like the dry hillsides that ignite in California every summer — a shame they are no longer used to keep the fire danger down). 
Now that we have the sixth generation coming on, it’s been wonderful having our rich family history to pass on — not only the stories, but the actual “material” culture of a family that has lived on the same land for almost 150 years! And now, even the Jenner “girls” have expanded the family’s enterprise; we’ve created our own business, Jenner Family Beef, which offers beef locally and regionally.

Just this year, Jenner beef is being featured at the new and exclusive Clove & Hoof butcher shop and eatery in Oakland, CA……along with an endorsement by San Francisco’s Slow Food group. By expanding what we do, we feel that we can provide for our growing family. With four generations at work now and the next coming on, we hope to maintain our family’s rich heritage!

[originally published on prairierosepublicationsblogspot.com]
copyright Gail L. Jenner  2015

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ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP……… #3 on the Top List for books on rural life! https://gailjenner.com/2014/07/ankle-high-and-knee-deep-3-on-the-top-list-for-books-on-rural-life.html https://gailjenner.com/2014/07/ankle-high-and-knee-deep-3-on-the-top-list-for-books-on-rural-life.html#respond Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Was delighted to learn that our anthology, ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP, just released officially in June, reached #3 on amazon’s Top List of books published on “rural life” and country living! It’s been a great journey…..from pitching this story over 2 1/2 years ago to the editor from Globe Pequot/Two Dot, at a Women […]

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Was delighted to learn that our anthology, ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP, just released officially in June, reached #3 on amazon’s Top List of books published on “rural life” and country living!

It’s been a great journey…..from pitching this story over 2 1/2 years ago to the editor from Globe Pequot/Two Dot, at a Women Writing the West writers’ conference….to working with 40 women from all over on memoirs and stories they had about their lives. The book also features over 20 photographs.

A wonderful collection — some selections funny, others poignant. Something for everyone!

I’ll share here one of my contributions to the anthology, entitled “Birth.” I wrote it just a couple years into our marriage, when I had to help my husband with a young cow struggling to give birth…..

Birth
Gail L. Jenner
“Oh, Doug, is it going to be all right?”
“I don’t know. It don’t want to come. Maybe the calf is turned.” My husband pulled off his long-sleeved shirt and dipped his hands into the bucket of soapy water before turning to her. His hands entered easily, but the cow resisted when he pushed his arms in up to the elbows. “Come on, Mama.”
As the cow strained against the nylon halter I held taut, I swallowed the bile that burned my throat. At the same time, a series of groans rose up out of her throat, then her legs, shaking uncontrollably, gave up beneath her swollen body. She dropped to the straw with an ominous thud.
“Is the calf turned the right way?” My words, barely spoken, tinkled like coins in the empty barn. I dropped the end of the halter. This cow wasn’t going anywhere.
Doug hesitated, brows drawn together, tongue moving across chapped lips. “The head’s okay, but one leg don’t seem to be.”
“But will it live?”
He grunted, trying to wipe his chin against his shoulder. “Not unless we get it out soon.” He withdrew his hands and stood for a moment. He glanced up at me. “We’ll have to pull it.”
With bloodied fingers, he picked up the length of chain he’d dragged out of the pickup earlier. The links of the mechanical stretcher clanked noisily.
I frowned as he circled and fastened one end of the chain around a small pair of hooves barely protruding from the young cow’s enraged cavity. Still down and panting, she twisted her head back until that the white sockets of her eyes bulged.
I held my protest. I knew Doug was doing all he could.
“When I start to pull,” he ordered, handing me one end of the chain, “make sure it don’t slip off.”
The hard links rattled as Doug pulled on the lever – once, twice; the sound sent chills down my back, reminding me of fingernails scraping against a chalkboard.
Doug yanked on the pulley again. “Hold it steady!”
The chain grew taut, but the calf didn’t budge. The cow’s belly ballooned with another contraction and she gasped.
I shrank back as she bawled again. “Oh, poor Mama,” I whispered. Why was life such a struggle?
Disgusted, Doug dropped the pulley contraption and shoved his hands back through the slimy opening, leaning forward to negotiate a better hold on the buried calf. Pearls of sweat trailed down his lean cheeks and they shimmered in the lopsided beams of amber light provided by his old pickup’s headlights.
He scowled as he probed and prodded, pushed and pulled.
Night finally edged in, the darkness filling the barn like spilled ink. Dinner hour long forgotten, I could not have moved away from the young mother even if I’d wanted to.  I was still new to marriage and this ranching life, and I hadn’t realized how tenuous life could be.
“Hey!” Doug interrupted my thoughts. “Give me that hammer and chisel.”
“Oh,” I groaned, reaching for the tools he had brought – just in case. Then I turned away, unable to watch. Only in impossible situations did a farmer or vet choose to split a young cow’s pelvis.
Hopefully it would heal.
“I have to,” Doug whispered. I nodded, touched by his attempt to ease my discomfort.
The hammer hit dully; the job was done. Throwing the tools aside, he moved swiftly. He reached for the calf’s hooves and tugged. Like a soft ripe banana, the bloody body of the bald-faced calf oozed out onto the damp straw.
Dropping to his knees, my husband wiped the afterbirth from the calf’s nose and tongue, but the tongue dangled like a fat pink tube sock, and its eyes stared blankly into the empty night.
Taking a quick, deep breath, Doug pressed his mouth over the calf’s. Sealing both nostrils, he blew breath after breath into the limp body.
I waited, tears slipping unnoticed down my cheeks.
Time passed cruelly.
Finally Doug leaned back and frowned. His eyes reflected my fear. “Too late. Too damn late.”
No! I took a step forward. You have to live. You can’t die. I held my breath. I felt Doug exhale slowly, but he avoided my glance.
And the cow, exhausted, lay, panting, her head flopped over in the straw as if she’d turned away from the awful sight.
Doug dragged the calf aside, his own face dark with unspoken disappointment. Then he returned to the cow.
He rested one palm lightly on her hip, but she didn’t move as he inspected her and cleaned her off; neither did she flinch when he gave her an injection of antibiotic from the small black bag he always carried with him.
But I couldn’t stop the tears. Turning slowly, I looked out at the stars scattered like fool’s gold across the black dome of sky. Life. Death.
I turned back to the young cow.
Doug was massaging her back and shoulders, mindless of the cold air against his wet, stained arms and hands, compassion written across his weather-stained features. “I’m sorry, old gal,” he whispered. 
Slowly he coaxed her to her feet and pulled off the halter. She trembled, but seemed to gather her strength in the next moments.
It was then his glance trapped mine.
I winced.
The cow bawled.
He smiled tentatively. There would be another birth, his eyes said.
Perhaps another death, I wanted to retort.
Perhaps. But always, life prevails. 

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ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP IS NOW ON SALE……..check it out! https://gailjenner.com/2014/06/ankle-high-and-knee-deep-is-now-on-sale-check-it-out.html https://gailjenner.com/2014/06/ankle-high-and-knee-deep-is-now-on-sale-check-it-out.html#respond Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:00:00 +0000 ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP has officially been released! I’m so thrilled….and so proud of the 40+ women who participated in this venture. It was a book I have envisioned for many years and features both known and unknown writers, many of whom declared, “I can’t write!” But our collected stories are here and already […]

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ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP has officially been released! I’m so thrilled….and so proud of the 40+ women who participated in this venture. It was a book I have envisioned for many years and features both known and unknown writers, many of whom declared, “I can’t write!”
But our collected stories are here and already the book is listed #25 on the list of books related to RURAL LIFE on www.amazon.com — and it’s only been available for a couple weeks.
As an introduction to the anthology, I’m posting the Introduction to the book here. It was part of the pitch I gave to the editor at Two Dot/Globe Pequot more than 2 years ago. She loved the concept and worked with me through the development of what would be included or discarded with energy and tenacity. I’m so grateful to Erin Turner, our editor. The pitching process took a couple of months, UNTIL I settled on the title of the book – ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP. Funny, the power in a title; when I wrote Erin and suggested it, she immediately wrote back: “That’s it! We got it now!”
“Farming seems easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles from the corn field.”  ~  Dwight Eisenhower  
            Life is all about the learning, and the “family farm” is a great schoolhouse. AnkleHigh and Knee Deep represents what 40+ rural/farm women have learned while standing in or stepping out of mud, manure, and other “offal.” It is a collection of entertaining and inspirational essays that offers a unique perspective on love, marriage, parenting, relationships, loss, and other universal issues. These women’s connection to the land and to the people and animals in their lives is documented here.            
           
            Concepts that the general public has now adopted, words like sustainability and renewable/recyclable, come to us directly from the life of a farmer or rancher. Working within a landscape that can change with the seasons or alongside the forces of nature that demand commitment and sacrifice develops deep character; interestingly, the word “character” comes from the Greek word meaning “to chisel.” That describes perfectly what living and working in an often harsh physical environment does to the human soul.
            Several of the best lessons I’ve learned have come from forty-two plus years spent onour fifth-generation ranch:
           
            *Sometimes the mud and muck gets ankle deep, but it can always be washed off.
            *You’ve got to plant the seeds before there’s anything worth harvesting.
            *Waiting is time well spent. After winter comes spring, and after spring rains comes the summer harvest.
            *Never think anything is not worth saving; sometimes it’s just the odd piece of baling wire that keeps things from falling apart.
            *Don’t be in a hurry; that’s when you run through fences or get stuck in ditches.
            *Always watch out for the soft places:  Anything that looks that good has got to be dangerous.
            *Don’t ignore the rotten apples. They can destroy the entire barrelful if overlooked.
            *Don’t be afraid of hard work and sweat. There’s nothing finer than a shower or warm fire after a day well spent.
            *Love your job. It’s what you do, all day, every day.
            *Just because a skunk is cute doesn’t mean he won’t stink!
            *Don’t look back: that’s when you find yourself belly up in a low spot.
            *Don’t hold onto trouble; you’ve got to spread the manure around in order to make it effective fertilizer.
            *Do things right the first time so you don’t have to do them twice.
            *Be willing to invest – not only money – but sweat and time. In the end you’ll have something worth keeping.
            *Out of the garbage heap grow the seeds you ignored.
            *Good fences make good neighbors; know what people’s boundaries are and learn to respect them.
            *To have a good garden, you’ve got to live in it; weeds take over quickly.
            *Weaning time can’t be ignored; there’s a right time to let go.
            *Most of the time there’s no choice:  Success requires frequent sacrifice and persistence.    
            Though not a faith-based book, this collection of essays does underscore traditional values while providing an oftimes humorous look at life spent at the wrong end of a tractor, cow, or horse. Many reflect the lessons learned from a life centered around work, work, and more work. Trivial moments become significant moments of transition – revealing that maybe the destination isn’t as important as the road that leads there. 
           
            Maybe that’s why farmers eventually become philosophers.

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG…….but the RAIN comes down and it’s a BLESSING for the WEST…… https://gailjenner.com/2014/03/spring-has-sprung-but-the-rain-comes-down-and-its-a-blessing-for-the-west.html https://gailjenner.com/2014/03/spring-has-sprung-but-the-rain-comes-down-and-its-a-blessing-for-the-west.html#respond Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:52:00 +0000 So much of the country is impatiently waiting for spring to come and to stay — while we, farmers and ranchers in the West, are anxious to see a few more days of RAIN….even snow! And today, looking out my window, I’m feeling hopeful — smiling broadly — that a soft but sterling rain is […]

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So much of the country is impatiently waiting for spring to come and to stay — while we, farmers and ranchers in the West, are anxious to see a few more days of RAIN….even snow! And today, looking out my window, I’m feeling hopeful — smiling broadly — that a soft but sterling rain is coming down and is forecast for the next day or two 🙂

Weather for the rancher is a matter of daily concern and enterprise. While many look to the sky to judge what their recreational activity may or may not include, the farmer looks to the sky to determine where he is in the cycle and seasons of life….

When winters are dry, anxiety about summer kicks in. When spring is late or doesn’t bring spring rain, there is concern over the germination of grain or grass or crops.

When frost comes late in the year, there is fear that blossoms or crops will be damaged or lost. 

Summer storms are welcome but fearsome…..grain can be leveled in a day and crops hammered into the soil. 

All in all, weather is a topic of daily discussion in the home of any farmer or rancher! It signals the possibility of a good or great or terrible harvest season — or the possibility that water will be scarce come summer and the dry, hot months that follow! 

When people speak about sustainable living or what makes for sustainability, RAIN is part of that equation. A rancher’s sustainability depends on his/her access to weather, rain/snow, and water.

So RAIN, RAIN, come NOT again — but now! The West is dry and getting drier!! Or — if Nature would agree, bring spring to the Midwest and the East and more rain to the West…..IF only we had that kind of weather control!!

Yes, it’s spring….but oh, the rain coming down is a blessing!

Have you ever considered how much has been written about rain?

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”
― Robert Frost

“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
― Vladimir Nabokov

“Love like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy.”
― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

“The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans.”
― Sherwood Smith


ENJOY THE DAY! RELISH THE RAIN AND THE NURTURING POWER IT BRINGS…..

Rain is always a Blessing….it brings HOPE and PROMISE….

It brings the harvest!

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Good NEWS!! Making the semi-finals in a script writing contest!! https://gailjenner.com/2014/03/good-news-making-the-semi-finals-in-a-script-writing-contest.html https://gailjenner.com/2014/03/good-news-making-the-semi-finals-in-a-script-writing-contest.html#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 05:45:00 +0000 Entering contests is a scary enterprise, but it’s also a way to incorporate deadlines and reviews into your writing! We just received word that our script (co-written with my 2 sisters), entitled MOVING MAMA, just placed as a semi-finalist in the Nashville Film and Screenwriting Competition! We did not make the final cut, but the […]

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Entering contests is a scary enterprise, but it’s also a way to incorporate deadlines and reviews into your writing!

We just received word that our script (co-written with my 2 sisters), entitled MOVING MAMA, just placed as a semi-finalist in the Nashville Film and Screenwriting Competition! We did not make the final cut, but the competition totaled over 1500 scripts so we have something to be proud of.

This story is close to our hearts; in the vein of Grumpy Old Men, the story idea came from our relationship with MOM, especially as it changed because of her dementia as well as aging, in general. We wrote it as a “dramedy” (drama/comedy) because so many times the experiences were ones that, if you didn’t laugh, you would cry. It’s a story that many people these days can relate to. How many of us have aging parents to care for?

We spent more than five years on this script, rewriting and rewriting — dissecting and revising — and with each version we’d hope we were getting closer to the best story. Not long ago, we had a number of actors do a table read of the script. Wow- that was a fascinating process and gave us an opportunity to listen and ‘watch’ the story unfold as the actors interpreted our words! The actress portraying Mama was dynamite and that was especially exciting.

I certainly encourage any writer to enter a few contests. It does cause you to get your work into the hands of professionals and readers who can give you an honest response to your writing. Though not every criticism is one that you have to accept, every criticism provides insight. Like sandpaper, a good critique can cause you to scrape and sand and alter the technical and/or story elements that are not touching the audience (or reader!).

And of course, our project — although rewritten more than 20 times — is ongoing…still needs some more refinement!

But, like Mama — we are ready for another new adventure 🙂

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Meet The Cowgirls of Jenner Family Beef https://gailjenner.com/2014/02/meet-cowgirls-of-jenner-family-beef.html https://gailjenner.com/2014/02/meet-cowgirls-of-jenner-family-beef.html#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:38:00 +0000 https://gailjenner.com/blog/meet-cowgirls-of-jenner-family-beef/ The Jenner Cowgirls are an eager and enthusiastic bunch. They bring to the business a wide variety of skills and experience. 

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Meet The Cowgirls of Jenner Family Beef

The Jenner Cowgirls are an eager and enthusiastic bunch. They bring to the business a wide variety of skills and experience. 
Either born on the ranch or married into this historic ranching family, each woman represents the unique Jenner Family Beef business and its connection to the Jenner Ranching family. We love the country life; we love the ranch that sustains us and has provided for five + generations of the Jenner family. We have created Jenner Family Beef as a business, offering 100% All Natural Beef for sale. Dry-aged and raised on our 5th generation family business, these cattle are raised on our own pastures, many of which are composed of native grasses….
 
 
From left to right (back): Sarah, Christy, Francyne, Lindsey; (front): Tricia, Gail, Jenny.
We like to say that the Jenner Cowgirls can do almost anything!

Our jobs are as diverse as we are: we are often expected to jump in a truck or on a horse or tractor or asked to grab a rag or wrench to help repair ailing equipment. We are cooks and gardeners and can whip up  meal for crews of hungry men and hands without complaint — or, at least, without much complaint! We can handle a fry pan while handling energetic kids; we can pull on our boots and jackets and lend a hand whenever required.

One of the most important roles each of us has come to understand is that ranch work, like housework, never ends; being available night and day is part of the job of being a ranching wife and cowgirl. Late nights, early mornings, cold days spent rounding up cattle or searching for a lost calf, and hot days spent driving an old hay truck are all part of the “ranching landscape.” But we love it. We love the connection with animals, the connection to nature and the land, and the freedom to explore and be part of the cycle of life that characterizes the cattle business — even when we suffer the heartbreak of losing an orphan calf or sick cow.

But don’t be fooled by our country girl background! These progressive cowgirls are far from backwoods. As fashion-forward fashionistas, teachers, acclaimed author, nurse, CPA, & nutrition-seeking entrepreneurs, these Mommas wear many hats — and the designer boots that go with ’em!

We feel blessed to be a part of the world of ranching and to be able to offer our children the opportunity to grow up in a business that is now moving into its sixth generation…

Meet The Cowboys of Jenner Cattle Co.


The Men

From left to right (3 generations):  Frank, Jack, John, Matt, Doug, and Nick
 
Jenner Family Beef features the prime beef raised by Jenner Cattle Company.  The Jenner Cowboys work long hours and long seasons…and working as a team and having the same goals is what has made this a successful family business.

In addition to being ranchers, they are farmers, mechanics, equipment operators, and engineers. Their work ethic and commitment to making the ranch self-sufficient means that they do it all. No hired hands — only family/partners sharing the workload. Whether it’s mending fences under the hot summer sun or during a snowstorm, moving water and taking care of ditches and pivots, rescuing orphaned calves and pulling calves at 1 a.m., or baling and hauling hay before a sudden summer storm moves through, these guys are on the job.

They are exceptional stewards of the land — which includes a natural preserve that has been maintained for 100 years — testimony to the love they share for what God has provided. Waterfowl and wildlife share open space with our herd of cows and calves. On horseback, in a beat-up old pickup, or on a four-wheeler, they are on the move.

Now a 5th generational family-owned and operated ranch, the Jenner Cowboys are a unique bunch of guys. Meet them here: (from left to right) Frank, Jack, John, Matt, Doug, and Nick. With a shared vision for the future, these fellows work side by side, three generations strong.

 
For more, visit us at www.jennerfamilybeef.com!

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Happy NEW Year! What are YOUR goals for the upcoming year? https://gailjenner.com/2014/01/happy-new-year-what-are-your-goals-for-the-upcoming-year.html https://gailjenner.com/2014/01/happy-new-year-what-are-your-goals-for-the-upcoming-year.html#respond Fri, 03 Jan 2014 23:03:00 +0000 Sometimes it’s hard to think about “resolutions!” I’m less inclined to think in terms of resolutions because they seem so hard to keep….and they seem hard and fast. I prefer to consider the year in terms of goals. And as an author, goals are crucial in achieving a final product: the BOOK! Every book, whether […]

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Sometimes it’s hard to think about “resolutions!” I’m less inclined to think in terms of resolutions because they seem so hard to keep….and they seem hard and fast. I prefer to consider the year in terms of goals. And as an author, goals are crucial in achieving a final product: the BOOK!

Every book, whether fiction or nonfiction, has a series of goals that must be met. Whether it be a daily page or word count, or chapters completed, or revisions tackled — without setting or establishing goals related to those behaviors — the book cannot be completed. In some ways, writing makes goal setting in general intrinsic to the process of creating a story or completing a written project.

For those not in the writing — or product-creating world of work — it can be easier to build “fluff” into your goal-setting….let’s see: I’m going to lose weight; I’m going to be a better parent; I’m going to make more money. Those kinds of goals are vague, without measurement, without consequence.

But saying, “I will complete my novel by the end of the year and submit it to x-number publishers and/or agents,” has a consequence. Even more consequential? IF you have an editor WAITING for those pages by the end of the year — or assigned date. And I’ve also discovered that having a writing deadline via a conference or group assignments (critique or otherwise) can also be incentive to keep writing when you encounter the infamous writer’s block or encounter challenges to time spent with butt in seat and hands on the keyboard!

I’m beginning to wonder if more of my goals should have a direct and clear consequence attached to it…thus, rather than “resolving” to do this or that, IF I DON’T DO…this or that….there could be a negative consequence associated with each of my year’s goals, as both writer/author and business partner and human being!

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COSTCO SIGNING FOR THE STATE OF JEFFERSON: a great success! https://gailjenner.com/2013/12/costco-signing-for-the-state-of-jefferson-a-great-success.html https://gailjenner.com/2013/12/costco-signing-for-the-state-of-jefferson-a-great-success.html#respond Sat, 21 Dec 2013 15:38:00 +0000 After the disappointing return trip home after unexpected heavy snows and road closures, I got to return to Roseburg, Oregon, and the Costco there for a book signing on December 17. Wow! It was a great success…..and I personally sold about 30 books. Apart from my first book signing years ago at Barnes & Noble […]

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After the disappointing return trip home after unexpected heavy snows and road closures, I got to return to Roseburg, Oregon, and the Costco there for a book signing on December 17. Wow! It was a great success…..and I personally sold about 30 books.

Apart from my first book signing years ago at Barnes & Noble in Chico, California, this has been my best showing for a sale…..and people were so gracious! Perhaps it was because it was still a snowy day and people seemed to be in holiday spirirt, but buyers stopped by to visit and ask questions, even if they didn’t buy. A couple of people stopped by to say they had already bought my book: THE STATE OF JEFFERSON: THEN & NOW, by Arcadia Publishing! I was hoping that Costco would also have our newest book, POSTCARDS FROM THE STATE OF JEFFERSON (Arcadia, 2013), but they are saving that one for spring.

Sometimes it is so hard to do a book signing; I struggle with getting my face out there and “stopping traffic” but as I visited with some people, others stopped by to see what was going on. Costco employees were friendly, too, stopping by to check on me, etc.

So, all in all, the event was fun and profitable. Thank you, Costco!

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SNOW AND MY DECEMBER COSTCO BOOK SIGNING! https://gailjenner.com/2013/12/snow-and-my-december-costco-book-signing.html https://gailjenner.com/2013/12/snow-and-my-december-costco-book-signing.html#respond Tue, 10 Dec 2013 17:04:00 +0000 Well, I was headed to Roseburg, Oregon, for a Costco Christmas book signing on Friday, December 6, only to CANCEL it when the snow piled up and the Interstate above Sexton Summit and beyond was shut down due to snow and accidents! Rather than chancing the conditions, I left Grants Pass a disappointed author….however, the […]

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Well, I was headed to Roseburg, Oregon, for a Costco Christmas book signing on Friday, December 6, only to CANCEL it when the snow piled up and the Interstate above Sexton Summit and beyond was shut down due to snow and accidents!

Rather than chancing the conditions, I left Grants Pass a disappointed author….however, the wonderful people at Costco and Arcadia Publishing decided to RESCHEDULE the event for THIS coming Friday, December 13th.

The weather here in Western Siskiyou County, of course, has continued to be intimidating. Sunday morning we awoke to -18….that is, MINUS 18 degrees BELOW ZERO! What a nightmare for my ranching husband and crew as they struggled to keep trucks running in order to feed and water the herd….after a very long day, everyone was spent. Monday morning started with -11 and TODAY, the temperature rose to -6 degrees. A regular heat wave….

Still, the temps are supposed to keep improving, so I am hopeful that the book signing for Friday will go as scheduled. So, if you are in the area, check out COSTCO in Roseburg this Friday, from 11 am to 2 pm…. It should be an opportunity to check out my Arcadia Next Generation Finalist for Best Regional Nonfiction, THE STATE OF JEFFERSON: THEN & NOW. I look forward to meeting and greeting everyone.

And for more on my other Arcadia titles, check them out: WESTERN SISKIYOU COUNTY: GOLD & DREAMS; IMAGES OF THE STATE OF JEFFERSON; and the newest title, POSTCARDS FROM THE STATE OF JEFFERSON (released April 2013). Visit my author’s website at: www.gailjenner.com or visit me on FB at “Author Gail Jenner” or log onto amazon, b&n, or other bookseller websites. My other State of Jefferson title, HISTORIC INNS & EATERIES IN THE STATE OF JEFFERSON, was published by Old American Publishing. Check it out, too…

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