Monday, July 30, 2012

Rattlesnake season

There are rattlesnakes in the area where we live. I haven´t been really concerned about it so far. I´m planning on staying out of their way but I don´t want them close to the house. For a couple of days it seems like they are coming closer to the house. Unfortunately Trigger is not afraid of them, at all. He is very curious and approaches them with his muzzle to smell them. I´m really concerned about that. I thought all horses by evolution avoided snakes. Is there something I can do to make him stay away from them?

Yesterday he approached a big one right by our gate. Philip saw it and shoot the snake with a Remmington 870 12 guage. It was difficult to shoot the snake without aiming towards the house or Trigger, Trigger really wanted to be close to the snake. The snake was at the base of a big oak tree, he was curled up and rattling. When they do that their head is at the center of their body mass. Philip aimed for his head using the home defence rounds that he usually have in the shootgun which may not have been the best choiche for a snake that was intented to eat. In retrospect the Winchester PDX round may not have been the best round to choose for preserving the snake for cooking, but the purpose was to quickly neutralize the snake to prevent injury to horse and dog. Philip turned the snake into dinner we try not to waste anything. It was about 1½lbs of meat on the snake.

Northcutt Ranch Rattlesnake Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Start with a rattlesnake, dead ones work best, making sure the head is properly disposed of.
A rattlesnake's head can still deliver venom hours after death. If you are in the woods and eating rattle snake, it is customary to bury the head to avoid accidental poisoning.
Remove the skin by slitting the snake down the middle of its belly.  Peel the skin off like a jacket. It will open up and expose its innards. Remove them and dispose.
Cut the snake into segments so you can bring to a boil it in a pot and simmer for about one hour with lime or lemon juice and salt. This will help you to easily remove the meat from the bones.
Remove the meat from the bones. The ribs will just pull right out. The spine also provides some meat. Rattlesnake meat is rare and expensive if you can find it, so dont leave any behind.
Chop the meat up into finer pieces. It has a tendency to be a little chewy and stringy. Chopping it up will help to eliminate that.
Take the meat and cook it in a frying pan with some organic butter. Add a little sea salt, lemon pepper, and a splash of California Chardonnay or other white wine. Toss in a spoonful of chopped garlic, and some artichoke hearts. Saute.
Set aside to cool.
Boil your water for the bow ties. Add some sea salt. It's best al dente.
Rinse in a colander or strainer with some cool water.
Toss the cooled rattlesnake meat into the pasta and stir. Add some olive oil mayonaise, chopped cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, diced green onions, lemon juice, more lemon pepper, and some cilantro. Serve chilled.
There are few people in the world who have eaten rattlesnake. Its flavor is often compared to chicken or cornish game hen, but a litttle gamier in flavor.
It is delicious when properly prepared and simply edible in a survival situation.
But on the ranch we try not to waste anything. Its not in the spirit of what we do.
When nature gives you lemons you make lemonade. When you get a rattlesnake, you make pasta salad!

This morning Trigger approached another one, I woke up by the sound of the snake underneath my window, next to Trigger.  

Other than this little problem which I can´t do much about (I´m supposed to take it really easy for a couple of weeks) it´s wonderful to be at home. Hayley is an adorable little girl. She eats (a lot!), sleeps, poops, eats and looks around with her big eyes. Today I was reading Swedish fairy tales for her by my favorite author of children’s books, Astrid Lindgren.  She enjoys when I read to her, I´ve been doing that since early pregnancy. I believe that every book we read to our children from the very beginning is a huge benefit for life. We speak English at home and I want her to learn Swedish as well therefor I´m going to read to her in Swedish every day.

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