Our Annual Family Picnic

When we move our cows to summer range every June, I pack a picnic lunch for our family to enjoy afterwards. It’s made the annual cow-moving trek a family tradition.

Sadly, we rarely have picnics, which I need to change. When our kids were younger, the thought of food (mostly a can of pop and a candy bar) at the end of the trail was incentive to keep them going when the last quarter of the ride got wearisome for them.

It’s usually mid afternoon by the time we reach our destination with the cows and everybody’s ready to find out what I packed for lunch. We try to find a comfortable, shady spot to eat while we watch and listen to the herd get paired up and settle down.

When I pack our family picnic lunch, the kids especially, want a pop since I rarely buy it. I have to have some kind of sweet treat in our picnic lunch for everyone also—usually candy bars. I try to include easy-to-eat finger foods like carrot sticks, jerky, granola bars, homemade trail mix and apples or oranges, but sometimes I throw in leftovers that require silverware.

Since I bake my own bread, I’ve found that the sandwiches I make with homemade bread usually don’t survive the journey very well so I make sandwich “wraps” using tortillas instead. They’re easy to eat and all the fixin’s stay put better. My favorite wraps are made with steak.

 

Note: Keep in mind that I photographed our family picnic lunch in haste due to a last-minute thought to blog about my favorite steak wraps as I was hurriedly making our picnic lunch right before we set out. This was not a well-thought out blog post, so I am leaving some of my recipe ingredients to your imagination since I didn’t have them available at the time of my “photo shoot” (drawbacks to living far from town).

Imagine if you will, the following missing ingredients in my steak wraps recipe: dry coleslaw mix from a bag, onions, green pepper or jalapeño peppers, freshly chopped cilantro, shredded Colby Jack cheese (my favorite) or any other ingredients that may appeal to you should you be interested in trying the recipe.

My guys like mayonnaise or salad dressing so I spread one or the other onto a tortilla; layer leftover sliced steak, their favorite cheese—American cheese slices,

dry coleslaw mix from a bag, and a sprinkling of seasoning salt.

Depending on what I have available I may add other ingredients like lettuce for them but their sandwich preference is usually pretty basic.

I’m not fond of the taste of mayonnaise or salad dressing but I’ve created a tasty alternative using either ranch dressing or avocado. Avocado is my favorite if I have a choice but ranch dressing tastes good with steak also. I mash a ripened avocado to cover the tortilla.

I add leftover steak strips, onions, dry coleslaw mix, and/or chopped fresh cilantro, shredded Colby Jack cheese or mozzarella cheese, and a little garlic salt. If adding a tomato, I prefer Romas because they’re firmer; otherwise it depends on the tomato. Once the wraps are made, I wrap them up in tinfoil

and place neatly in an organized fashion as you can see by my tidiness in packing our picnic lunch right before heading out.

 

I use several ice packs to help keep everything tightly packed and cold and the picnic lunch gets dispersed among saddle bags if we’re all horseback. If not, I place everything in a cooler of some sort that rides on the four-wheeler.

Having family picnics just because aren’t as popular as they used to be but our family has enjoyed the tradition of picnicking while giving our cows time to pair up. I love our family picnics and hope our kids will cherish them as much I do.

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About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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2 Responses to Our Annual Family Picnic

  1. mary tobia says:

    I just read your column for the 1st time finding a link from the Mitchel paper.
    I live in PA but grew up in Geddes SD on a farm so I can relate to your stories. Loved the .25 story about your bathroom. Yes, we had that same “design” to our bathroom too. I write a column for our local newspaper and the readers just love it when I talk about growing up on a farm in the 60′s in south dakota. If you don’t mind I may take a que from you and write about my old bathroom memories. Keep up the good work!

    • Mary, thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself. Who knew my bathroom could be so inspiring! LOL! You’re welcome to take a cue from mine. I am always reading other columnists for inspiration. Glad I could oblige someone else.

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