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Filed under: prairie musings, recipes, Heritage turkeys/chickens, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 1:36 pm

I posted this Nov. 17,  2010 and it’s worth repeating.

Ryon Carey got this recipe from his friend Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse.   Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant known as the birthplace of California cuisine, a style credited to its co-founder, Alice Waters.

The restaurant is located in the north Berkeley neighborhood known locally as the “Gourmet ghetto”. Chez Panisse has been listed by Restaurant magazine from 2006 to 2008 as one of the top fifty restaurants in the world.  In 2006 and 2007, Michelin awarded the restaurant a one-star rating in its guide to San Francisco Bay Area dining.

The best turkeys I’ve ever eaten were ones that I’ve soaked in brine as they are exceptionally moist and juicy.  My recipe is much simpler than this and even though it produces a similar product, it lacks the full flavor of this recipe.  If you’ve never brined a turkey before baking it, you might want to give it a try.  You need to keep it cold while it is in the brine.

For brining, start with a fresh turkey or a completely thawed turkey that is not basted or self-basted. If you can find a homegrown, free-range, fresh heritage turkey, so much the better.

Turkey Brine from Chez Panisse

2 1/2 gal. water
2 cups Kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 whole head of garlic, separated and peeled
5 whole allspice berries, crushed
4 juniper berries, smashed
1 bunch fresh sage
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch parsley
10 peppercorns
8 shallots, peeled

Place water in non-reactive container, add all ingredients and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Put turkey in brine for 24 hours, completely submerged.  Remove bird, rinse well and drain.  Pat dry.  Roast bird for 20 minutes per lb. or until juices run clear and turkey is tender.

You can place a frozen turkey in the cold brine and let it thaw.  Don’t brine the giblets.  A fresh turkey will keep for 28 days in a refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower (which is much colder than most household refrigerators).  The trick is to find out how many days it was refrigerated before you bought it. Remove the packaging from a fresh turkey,  remove giblets, then re-wrap and freeze the turkey. Place turkey in brine to thaw  for 24 hours before the big day.

You’ll experience the best turkey you ever had.



Filed under: prairie musings, Heritage turkeys/chickens, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 2:28 pm

Sunday at The Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch near Lindsborg, 4,000 turkeys will be “rounded up” and separated.  Some will be sent to market for Thanksgiving dinners while others will remain on the Ranch for breeding purposes.   Come join the fun and help corral the birds. Or just watch and giggle while others not accustomed to so many flapping wings and feathers try to do so.

Here are a few pictures from last year’s roundup.


They just can’t keep their dance cards in order.  Such confusion. Ryon Carey, famous for his own Heritage breeds of chickens, turkeys and geese is shooshing on the left.


There’s wrestling, wing flapping and breath-holding during the captures.  Gloves and visors help but are not mandatory.  Good humor, adventuresome spirits and poop tolerance are required.


Ally finally landed a turkey and had a great time doing it.  You’ll be intermingling with several different varieties of rare birds:  Standard Bronze, Maragansett, White Holland, Bourbon Red and Black Spanish.  It’s anyone’s guess when the action will start, but best estimates place the herding to start about 1:00 Sunday afternoon.  It doesn’t take as long as one might suppose.


Here’s Frank Reese on the right separating the girls from the boys and putting those aside that will be free to roam on the ranch for another year.  You can read more here about Frank and his turkeys.   Here’s the posting I did last year on the roundup.

You can also type in ‘Frank Reese’ or ‘Heritage turkeys’ in my search box and learn more about these very special turkeys.
Everyone seems to be very welcome whether or not they participate so join in on the fun.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 6:42 pm


The foundation is ready and waiting…

As were Ally and I.  It took longer than we anticipated so we spent the day getting a lot of fresh air.


We stopped in Little River at the Garden of Eden Grocery Store with Heavenly Meats.  It’s a powerful little store with an outstanding meat case located in a very small town.   Since there are not many alternatives for eating in Little River, they make a variety of fresh sandwiches and  home-bake pizza and the line of people form at the meat counter to place their order.

I found some chicken and beef base among their spices that has been hard to find in the past.  My granddaughter brought me the same brand from Dallas and it’s one I particularly like.  It’s nice to know where I can replenish my supply.  Also, check out their fresh produce while you are there.  You can buy a single apple or orange to go with your sandwich.  They also sell frozen cookie dough that originated and is produced in Little River.


They cut a variety of steaks for Fat Boyz, the local steak house restaurant located next door to the grocery that requires reservations if you intend to eat their on Friday or Saturday night.  The food is worth a long drive to get there.  The meat counter also contains a nice variety of fresh meats, cold cuts, cheese, etc.

From Little River, Ally and I drove to check on the house site then down to main street Lindsborg to eat at the Mexican food restaurant.  It was exceptional.  I had the Guadalajara special that I highly recommend.  We’ve eaten there on several occasions and I’ve never heard any complaints from others who also eat there.  It’s the cleanest Mexican food restaurant I’ve ever been in and the food is excellent “home cookin’”.


Finally, after a long wait in Ryon’s driveway, the activity got very brisk and we could see the house appearing in to view.  The ruts in the wheat field were sizable and unavoidable.


Moving on…right down the road…


Finally…the house is in the corn stubble field and on it’s way to top the foundation.  This is a charming house with lots of nice details. They moved the piano in the house.  Nothing was damaged.  A few drawers opened slightly during the move, but that was all.  This shows the back side of the house.  There is a small front entry porch on the other side,  stained glass windows and other nice features.

Ryon will have to fill in the details about the house in the comment section, when he has time.

Congratulations on the move, Ryon.  Some of us have been waiting with you for a year to find a house mover who could complete this task.  We’re all relieved the house is finally on your farm and we’re expecting a grand open house once you work out a few details.
Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 2:24 pm

Do you need baby chicks or ducks for Easter?  Hatching eggs?  Hundreds of eggs for the skillet?  If you want any or all, call Ryon at 620.245.7469.   Pick up in Lindsborg.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 5:11 pm

This was a good day.  Ally and I spent the day poking around McPherson County, enjoying every minute of it.  Our intention was to make a run for Gaeddert sweet corn, considered by many to be the best to be found anywhere in Kansas, and work in some other interesting stops along the way.  We found the Gaeddert yellow and green kiosk in the parking lot by Kreibel’s Meat Market and Grocery Store and settled on two cases (10 dozen ears) for the family.  We’ll freeze some for winter. They aren’t running out anytime soon.

We had fun buying things at Kreibels as there isn’t any place else quite like it this close to Ellsworth. They carry all varieties of organic ready to prepare dishes, a wonderful assortment of fresh meat cuts, and a great variety of condiments.  It’s an interesting/fun place to shop for people who like to cook and enjoy good food.  Their honey-baked smoked  hams are excellent so we bought one for Todd’s birthday dinner.  He doesn’t know it yet.  If you want quality meat, that’s an excellent place to find it.  It’s also one of the places where our friend, Ryon Carey, takes his eggs for sale.  You’ll not find any eggs that are better or cleaner than his.  He also sells them to Scott’s Grocery in Lindsborg and Piper’s in Marquette.  All his eggs come from happy hens that roam his farm with the turkeys, geese, guineas and visitors like us.

After loading the cooler with our purchases at Kreibel’s, we headed to the Cook’s Shop downtown.  It’s one of my favorite shops in this area and I have looked forward to showing it to Ally.  We poked around and found a few things we couldn’t live without.  I needed additional vanilla beans as I’m making vanilla and it seems a little weak.  They play nice background music      that compliments their merchandise.  Everyone is very friendly.   The last time I was there was especially interesting.  I handed a check to the clerk, she looked at it and said…”You’re Peg Britton with the blog, aren’t you?”.  I shook my head and the conversation started.  She’s one of the long time readers.  She wasn’t there today.

We had lunch at the deli downtown.  That wasn’t where I intended to go, but it worked out well.  I had a vegetarian roasted veggie hummus wrap  and artichoke soup. They were excellent.  I’m always happy with a plate of well-seasoned roasted veggies.  Ally had a tuna salad sandwich which she liked.  We each brought home half our sandwiches.

Ally had never been to Scott’s Grocery Store in Lindsborg and I wanted her to see it.  You are struck right away at how friendly everyone is.  And they thank you for shopping there.  They offer to help you find things.  They have a nice bakery, great fresh veggies, lots of gluten free products, Swedish items,  and a gallon of herring if you want it.  It’s a nice place to shop so I stop there when I’m in Lindsborg as I know they appreciate my business.

After that, we headed to Ryon’s farm for eggs and canning jars.  He’s a versatile farmer.   I love seeing all his chickens, turkeys, geese, guineas etc.  ……it’s a wonderful place filled with treasured little creatures that he is nursing along from extinction.  If it weren’t for a handful of farmers world wide like Ryon who preserve various species of fowl, they’d be lost forever.  You can’t do that unless you’re imbued from birth with that feeling of need to take care of fellow creatures as he has done since he was seven.   We came home with a boat load of eggs….it’s time to start making deviled eggs for the weekend.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 8:43 am

Here’s my thoughts on the Midland Auction.  First and foremost it really represents the dilemma for all of rural Kansas.  Many forgotten towns have splendid treasures that all deserve restoring.  From the beautiful limestone church in Western Kansas to the post-war concrete modern gymnasium, the jewels are everywhere.  Economically the problem is, one the lack of funds to complete the restoration, two the lack of core businesses to find adaptive re-uses for these buildings and three if you can accomplish one and two, finding an economic model that works and executing it.  Rural Kansas is tough.  Good employees are difficult to find and keep and marketing a small Kansas town and business is overwhelming. Construction and restoration costs don’t discriminate - it costs the same to restore a building in Jewel as it does in Wichita.  Finding enough people to travel to a small town to support a business is almost impossible, and there isn’t enough local clientele to support the business.  Therefore, the upcoming auction of the Midland will be interesting.  Will it bring what it’s “worth,” or will it realize the economic value of the potential business.  I would guess it will bring significantly less than the $3.2 million to restore.  I just can’t imagine how you can make it into a strong enough business in Wilson, to bring that price.  For me, the sale price will answer a pivotal question in my mind.  How much is a small town gem really worth.  The fate of other great buildings hang in the balance of that answer.

P.S.  What’s up with the Realtor charging a 10% buyers premium.  He must not think it will bring very much money if he needs to charge an extra 10% on top of the bid price.




Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 2:48 pm


If you are interested in baby chicks, Ryon has a plethora of varieties of the rarest breeds.  Aren’t they cute little things?  All you do is gently warm eggs and Voila!  Chicks.



Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 11:43 am

Mackenzie is here visiting so yesterday we did a road trip….the southeast loop including Salina, Lindsborg and Marquette.  We started by having lunch at Coop’s Pizzeria in downtown Salina.  Once again, I had one of their everyday specials…veggie pizza with a side of Greek salad topped with feta cheese and their special dressing.  Why change if you’ve found a good thing?  Kenz had the same only with Italian sausage pizza. Everything Coop serves is good.

One of our objectives for the trip was so find some “springish”  appearing artificial flowers at Hobby Lobby for a bouquet for Dane’s grave.  Neither of us like artificial flowers, but there aren’t many other alternatives if you want them to last more than a couple of hours. I think one of the most severe sentences a judge could levy on me for a criminal infraction is to be sentenced to serve time a in Hobby Lobby.

When I go to Lindsborg, I like to stop at Scott’s Grocery Store.  As far as small towns go, I think it has one of the best grocery stores in Kansas.  I love their section of Swedish products that includes lingonberries, cloud berries and other things I’m clueless about. They have fresh lingonberries in their meat department and great homemade brats.  They carry organic items including Ryon’s free-range chicken eggs and Hildebrand’s milk. It’s an independently-owned store offering a large variety of products in a very small town. You don’t often find that in rural Kansas.

Another nice thing about Scott’s is that they still ask you if you want “paper or plastic” bags.  With paper, you get those good sturdy sacks with handles.

There are interesting things to see and do in downtown Lindsborg.  They have an excellent Mexican food restaurant which is a good option for road food.  There are many quaint shops that carry quality merchandise.

Our next stop was to see Ryon and meet Claire, his new Great Pyrenees puppy. A French puppy who will be guarding his French geese…and other feathered friends.  We came home with dozens of cartons of fresh-from-the-hen,  free-range chicken eggs.  They last almost forever and we like the idea of having a refrigerator well-stocked with them.


Ryon has this uber-enormous gaggle of French Dewlap Toulouse geese.  Here’s a small a gathering of them. Each of their eggs will bring $5.00 or more. They are way more than that on e-bay.  A goose for the table goes for $60.


Our next stop was the drug store in Marquette that has one of the few remaining soda fountains in Kansas.  There are always local folks lolling around wanting to know where you are from and any other details they can take with them to talk about with family and friends.  They are always most welcoming and thanked us for dropping a few dollars in their town.  I love that soda fountain.  If you haven’t been there, make it a point to stop and get an old-fashioned ice cream soda…made with a smile.  If you have time, walk across the street and visit the motorcycle museum.

Then at the same intersection, we walked  across the street to Steve Piper’s grocery store to pick up some hard-to-find Pfannanstiel’s breakfast links, if they had some.  They didn’t, but I knew enough to ask the check-out lady who also appeared to be more than a disinterested clerk and one who could actually knew something. It was Mary Piper, one of the owners.  I asked her if they might have some Pfannanstiel’s sausages “in the back”, as the case was empty.    She quickly said…”The Pfannanstiel truck is unloading now, let me go check.”  Sure enough, Steve soon emerged behind the meat counter with exactly what I wanted. Perfect.

We came home by way of the Kanopolis Lake dam road and noticed how roiled and murky the water was.  The back road to mushroom rocks is a must with a drive through Carneiro to chuckle at the “Flood Zone” signs.

The south-east circle is a very scenic, rural drive and the stops along the way are fun. If I’m going to spend money anywhere, I’d much rather do it in a small town where it makes a difference and is appreciated.  Maybe you’ll want to take the same drive one of these days.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 11:26 am


Here’s one of Ryon’s trucks loaded with $12.85 worth of bread.  The bread and rolls make good feed for the chickens and one of his dogs loves bagels.  Ryon also reports the Sara Lee “everything” bagels are excellent. The work in this production is in opening all the individual packages containing the various bakery items.  Isn’t this a great truck?



Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 11:51 am

Before Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate the DOW was sitting at 10,700.  After he was elected the DOW dropped to 10,390.  That’s an immediate drop of over 300 points.

It would appear that electing a Republican is not a good thing for the stock market….at least Wall Street doesn’t react well to electing a Republican.



Filed under: political musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 11:13 am

Since the Haitian earthquake, there has been a huge outpouring of support for the devastated country from the American people.  However, something is completely unexplainable.  Why is it that the right wing of American political thought has been outright hostile toward the humanitarian aid that is flowing to Haiti?  For instance, Pat Robertson in his feeble-minded haze said that the earthquake was God’s punishment for Haiti about something that they allegedly did 200+ years ago.  According to Robertson, Haiti teamed up with the devil to overthrow the French.  I guess he cannot fathom a colony of almost exclusively slaves could overrun a white colonial power.  I’m sure Obama gives him the same night terrors.

Then the always entertaining, Rush Limbaugh went on his radio show to chastise the American relief efforts and encouraged his listeners that they had already given enough, through their tax dollars.  On the other side of the political spectrum, the segment of the country that the right wing sees as somehow not American; liberals in other words, are really helping.  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie donated one million of their own dollars to the relieve effort.  George Clooney is hosting a telethon to raise money for the victims and liberal organizations all across the country are emailing, texting and tweeting their members, pleas for assistance.  I’ve not heard of a single liberal or progressive leader say that we’ve done enough, by simply paying our taxes.  I never heard liberal or progressive leaders complain when George W. Bush sent aid to the tsunami victims in SE Asia.

Is this what the right-wing of America has become?  To be fair, I may be painting with an overly broad brush.  I’m sure there are millions of right leaning Americans who are just as moved to assist the victims as the left is.  However, I’ve not seen any conservative American leader or politician denounce Limbaugh’s and Robertson’s comments as the mean spirited, ugly comments they are.

I guess that is the modern American right and increasingly what the Republican Party has become.  It’s a sad state of affairs that the party that was founded by abolitionists to fight the scourge of slavery has been reduced to a few hateful, unconscionable leaders and people who follow them.

Ryon Carey


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