Say, “Cheese…burger!”
May 2, 2014, 2:51 pm
Filed under: May 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,
Headed to "Freezer Camp" soon

Headed to “Freezer Camp” soon

May 2, 2014

Raising your own meat takes a while, especially when it comes to beef. We think the wait is worth it. We bought this steer last summer. He has grown quite well, especially when considering our long, cold winter. I like knowing what our animals have eaten. It gives me comfort knowing that no hormones, no antibiotics and no beef scraps were ingested by this awesome animal, in his “feed”. The mainstream meat industry, in many cases, has lost its focus.

Cattle, hogs and chickens are raised in feedlots, pens and cages where stress is the order of the day. medicines must be fed to keep the animals alive and healthy according to current government inspection standards. Now, let’s talk about meats imported from places like China… no, let’s not! I will instead talk about meat raised on pasture or in barns on small farms.

When you control every bite the animal has eaten, it gives you peace of mind. If you don’t have space or a place to raise your own meat, seek out a small farmer or rancher that you trust and buy your meat there. Local meat in most cases is better, simply because it wasn’t raised in the foul-smelling environment of a “confined feedlot operation” CFO is the name government gives the “big guys”. I guess it has more appeal than “stinky, manure slopped, cement pad crowded with animals place”.

I have to be honest and say that animals, especially cows, poop everywhere they go. Keeping up with that job takes some real effort and a lot of straw ūüėģ Pigs, one of the smartest farm animals, will pick a spot in their pen to do their business, and only go there. The farmer just has to keep up with that spot cleaning the poop and putting more bedding down. The pigs stay clean and comfortable.

I get annoyed at myself when I get behind with manure management. It is a job that must be done every day. I sometimes get too busy making everything balance, so I add straw. Yes, the animals stay clean, but the job of cleaning becomes a bigger job. The compost pile growing, is one of the positives of my laziness…but I’m still not happy when I get behind.

Animals on pasture are comfortable in the large space. Yes, they make ruts, as do I, when feeding big hay bales. Yes, mud in the winter season, becomes an obstacle, but seeing the cows laying in the sun, chewing their cuds, in total cow comfort, pleases me. I think the lack of stress, along with good, wholesome, farm-raised feed, makes great tasting, tender meat.

It takes fourteen months or so to raise a beef. The turn around time along with all the chores, helped me decide to only raise a few head now. I keep family and a few customers, in beef, but plan to continue to scale back with the cattle. I still have plenty to do and will focus more on our pork operation. I will, however, continue to raise the mouth-watering beef, that I grew up on … It helps me remember my childhood and all the good memories made there ūüėģ

Squaw Winter !
October 24, 2013, 8:58 am
Filed under: October 2013 | Tags: , , ,
Snow adds to the beauty of Autumn

Snow adds to the beauty of Autumn

October 24, 2013

¬†¬† Squaw Winter has arrived, as my great-grandfather¬†would have said, now, we will get Indian Summer. I hope he is right! I moved all the livestock yesterday getting ready for last night’s storm. The rain came cold and plentiful, followed by sleet then snow.

¬†¬† My most vulnerable animals, three little baby calves, were snug in a pen filled with straw. The horses also spent the night in their stalls, in a dry bed. The cows rested on pine needles under the boughs of the white pine trees in the lane. The sows spent the night snuggled together in a bed of old hay in a three-sided shed. The sheep laid¬†against a row of straw bales, quietly chewing their cuds, while I¬†snoozed under a pile of quilts ūüėģ

¬†¬† The snow reminds me of my youth. It seemed we often had snow for trick or treat night. If it wasn’t snowing, it was cold! Hot cider and donuts was a welcome treat upon getting home from canvassing the neighborhood for candy. Mom’s homemade vegetable soup would warm us up too. It warms me a little now as I write … thanks mom.

   Yesterday, I almost finished splitting all the wood for the sugarhouse. The rain spoiled much of the day, but a couple of hours before sunset, the weather broke and allowed for another big load to be split. We even dumped that load under the woodshed. It still needs stacked, but it is closer none the less.

¬†¬† I found a few things that need done before real winter gets here…but that is for another BLOG. Today I will work and reflect upon the good memories of my childhood, like squaw winter and my grampa, homemade soup and my mother…and snowballs with rocks in them for trick or treat!