It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Published on 18 December 2023 at 16:32

This is one of those rambling Christmas letters folks send during the holidays plus a few ranch happenings ................. so, continue at your own risk.

What a year it has been!





It will be our 7th Christmas on the ranch.

Connie and I continue to count our blessings to be living in a place we both love so much. We celebrated 33 years of marriage this year, hard to believe it went by so fast.  It really has been a great adventure!  We have two horses, two dogs a stray cat and Arlo the cow turned 6.  My home office is working out well and my black lab likes hanging out here with me, but he gets kind of bummed when I head into our Salinas office or the Peninsula to meet with clients. 

Hardly a dull moment on the ranch and we wouldn’t want it any other way.  We were also able to travel with some great friends to Spain and Portugal this last summer.  I have known these guys since Lighthouse elementary school 49 years ago.  It had been a while and well before covid since we were able to travel, so we enjoyed this very much.

Connie has been busy with our family business as well as working on the ranch.   She also spends a few days on a neighbor's ranch that boards horses and she has been learning a ton.  She is a lot better with the horses than I am, but I am doing my best to keep up with her and even got my own horse Shorty this year. 

The kids are 25 and 28 are doing well.  I don’t think they like being called kids anymore but too bad because it’s a term of endearment and I’m writing this, so there.  They help on the ranch as much as I can trick them into it.  They did help me repair a good portion of a fence this year and split a bunch of firewood (oh wait, that’s coming up when they come for Christmas so shhhhhh).  Both boys love their chosen careers.  We get to see them quite a bit which is super great.  They are roommates and busy outside of work as well golfing, fishing, hunting, concerts, sporting events and more. 




Working hard, playing hard and having some fun along the way. 

Have you ever had Christmas Eve dinner in an Italian home?

This night is bigger than Christmas day with the Italians by the way.  When Connie and I were first married we would have Christmas at her Nana Mary and Nanu Charlie’s home.  This was like the smallest little home with the smallest little kitchen but yet all the brothers and sisters (7 of those with my mother-n-law the oldest) along with their families all crammed in.

  It was the loudest, most chaotic scene a “Medigani” (look up that word or maybe you know it from the Sopranos) like me had ever witnessed. 

The food was fantastic with homemade pizzas, fish and seafood of all kinds.  Oysters, prawns, clams, shrimp, cracked crab, calamari……. what a feast and desserts always outnumbered the people.   We ate at least twice those nights, once for the main dinner and once when we got back from midnight mass, but really it was like an eight-hour dinner with a small break in the middle for the kids to open presents from Santa (which I never understood because Santa doesn’t even come until later that night………it’s an Italian thing).  Kids sleeping all over the place after their wonderful sugar-high crash and then all the men and boys, and of course auntie Katie, playing cards.  It was rumored my wife’s grandfather Charlie may have cheated us a bit back then, but Connie's Nana would make him give it all back…….at least most of it.  What wonderful memories those were. 

A fun little movie that may explain it better is called.

Feast of the 7 Fishes - here’s the trailer. 

Bing Videos

JNB Ranch got our first paid gig this last fall (if you count free cake and beer).  We were asked to BBQ for Kiera. Now Kiera is a four-year-old with particularly good taste and wanted some grilled JNB Ranch Beef burgers.  So, after a phone call to my buddy Bret(t) and some very detailed planning, we loaded up the sled and we were off to the party.  Let me know if you have a shindig coming up, Bret(t) doesn't drink all that much.






































Not a piece of beef to be found those Christmas Eves by the way.  But here’s a prime rib we did the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year.  You get a full prime rib with every half JNB Ranch beef you buy or a half prime rib (about 3-4 ribs) with every quarter you buy.  This takes the place of the ribeye steaks and the tomahawk steaks but it’s a wonderful way to do a roast for a group of friends and family.  Please let us know if you prefer the ribeye steaks or the prime rib so the butcher can take care of that. 




Another of our absolute favorite cuts of meat is the JNB Ranch Beef brisket.  People complicate the heck out of doing this with spritzing, crutching, foiling, touching, flipping and all kinds of other things.  You would think it was getting its hair done at the salon.  Look, I know there are lots of ways to do a brisket but here is a simple one that WORKS.

Pull out of the refrigerator and trim at least 1 hour before going in the smoker

Pre-heat smoker to 275

Rub it all over with JNB Whitecoat Rub

Put brisket in the smoker fat side up

Set timer for 12 hours

Walk away

Again, many ways to smoke a brisket and I am sure an elaborate smoker and feeding wood in all day may be slightly better, but this little smoker with some apple wood chips will not fail you.  Here is the simple smoker:

 Masterbuilt 30'' Digital Electric Smoker | Cabela's (

Here's my dad and Levi taking a ride around the ranch.  Not sure who was driving there?



Heather, these are Christmas cookies! 

My niece made these a while back.  She is growing into a wonderful person and is quite the aspiring equestrian.  She prefers English riding, but she has no problem switching to Western when she visits us on the ranch.  Here she is recently naming all the cows…………

I repeat, these Cannoli are not from the store.  My mother-n-law hand makes Cannoli every Christmas, and they are the best you ever had.  Here’s Josie (my Italian Mom) getting to know Shorty horse.  Ask her about the time I talked her into making 500 of these for a charity event.



That was a little longer than normal (if you even made it this far) but we won’t write anything until after the new year. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Many thanks to all our family and friends and thank you to all our beef buyers this last year.  We appreciate all of you very much.

Don't forget to count your blessings!

Give me a call or an email if you would like to get on the list for the tastiest beef there is! 

Here's a couple of catchy little songs -

 It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas - Bing Crosby - Bing video 

Bing Videos

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6 months ago

Nice letter!
Merry Christmas buddy

JoseAnn Tringali Noni Josie
6 months ago

What a great letter and pictures I had to finish it to the end!! Now I have catch up work to do!! Getting ready for Christmas Eve!! Love you all