Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year - Day 2 - Steak for Breakfast

Morning Has Broken - January 2, 2011

After an all-too-brief sleep, I awoke just before 5 a.m. -- hungry!  After my New Year's Day lunch, I hadn't much appetite for supper, but did eat a small cheese sandwich around midnight before putting my head on the pillow about 1 a.m.  (I stay up waaaay too late.)  My tummy was growling when I went into the kitchen to make coffee and feed the cats, so I did something about it.  I'm not usually much of a morning eater, but I fixed cube steak and gravy for breakfast (Yum!), and that triggered a memory of the first time I had steak for breakfast.

When I was about 14 years old, my family and I spent the weekend of Easter with some friends who lived on a very large ranch (640,000 acres) about 50 miles west of Albuquerque. My father had been engaged to do some construction work on the family home, and to wire the house and some outbuildings for electricity, which was provided by a shed full of large storage batteries, kept charged by a wind-charger.  Being used to city-provided electricity all my life, I found it fascinating.  I was very interested in just about everything on the ranch, having never before experienced anything quite like it. We slept in the main house guest rooms, but I was almost too excited to sleep, and at about 5 a.m. on the first morning at the ranch, I awoke to the sound of someone moving about in another part of the house. Rising and dressing, I wandered down the hall to the kitchen where I found "Shorty," the ranch cook, working on breakfast.  He had already made coffee in a blue granite-wear pot that was about a foot tall.  The coffee was boiled in cowboy style, with a few eggshells thrown in to settle the grounds.  He poured a mug full for me, added a whopping dollop of thick cream and some sugar, and began to fix breakfast for the city-folk -- biscuits, eggs, steak and gravy. I watched in awe;  I didn't know a bandy-legged cowboy could be so efficient in the kitchen. He had  already prepared and served much the same to the cowboys in the bunkhouse, who had been up and about for some time, as had "Mr. H." the ranch owner.  That was the first time I had ever seen that much meat for breakfast, and it was tasty!   If our family breakfasts had meat, it was usually bacon, or perhaps a bit of ham.

After pre-New Year's Day high temperatures in the 70's, the unseasonal warmth has left us.  This morning it was 19 degrees when I awoke.  The thermostat in the hallway was showing 61 degrees when ventured to the kitchen, so I knew it had cooled off considerably since I went to bed.  That's too cool inside for both me and the cats, so I cranked it up a notch. It's still a bit chilly in the house, but I bundled up.  I just received my natural gas bill, and I need to do whatever it takes to control that particular expense.

My afternoon was spent in slothful inactivity -- after church, I fixed a sandwich of left over steak, then covered up with my Christmas quilt and took a nice nap!

So endeth the second day of the new year. Tomorrow is also a day.


Snap said...

Sounds like a wonderful day and I loved your steak for breakfast story. New Mexico was an adventure for me too!

Arkansas Patti said...

What a delightful memory and I have to admit I was surprised about the wind powered electricity. Here I thought that was a modern technology.
Used to love steak and eggs after partying all night in my younger days.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

OH Pat... I love hearing your memories of being on that huge ranch as a child. Wow--that was bigtime living for sure!!!!! What memories!!!!

I have never had 'steak' for breakfast --but have had my share of eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits through the years, along with that deilcious sawmill gravy!!!!

Have a good day tomorrow --and stay WARM.

Suldog said...

Good story. I love steak and eggs for breakfast. I don't have it more than once or twice a year, but it sure hits the spot when I do.

rhymeswithplague said...

640,000 acres!!?? Are you kidding me??

Let's see, there are 640 acres in a square mile so that ranch covered 1000 square miles. You can look it up in a book that the state of Rhode Island, the state where I was born, has 1045 square miles of land. So that ranch was for all practical purposes the same size as Rhode Island! All owned by one family, you think?

Historical note: At one time the King Ranch in South Texas covered 1,300,000 acres (2031 square miles), as large as Delaware.