Thursday, April 25, 2013

Old Mother Hubbard

Just like Old Mother Hubbard, I went to my cupboard and found it getting bare. Except the freezer was my cupboard and looking into it this afternoon reminds me that it’s getting close to calf-selling season again.

At this time of year, our spring calves from the previous year are getting ready to be processed. They’ve gained approximately 800 lbs. since birth on mama’s milk, grass, and grass hay. Because food supply is limited for these calves, they are fed a little bit of grain throughout the winter months. Being time to condition them for processing, we separate our calves into the lot where they are still exposed to fresh green grasses, but their grain intake will increase—no argument that this improves marbling and, in my opinion, the taste of the beef.

However, the great debate over grass-fed beef vs. grain-fed beef always seems to intensify around here when new customers begin to inquire about our beef. There are strong opinions on both sides, but the final call comes down to personal preference.

Our Calves Are Raised Naturally

According to the USDA, naturally raised means that the cattle have been given:

  • No growth promotants

  • No unnecessary antibiotics

  • No animal by-products

Our Beef Is Organic

In accordance with USDA Sec. 2105, Sec. 2107, organically produced livestock must meet these qualifications:

  •  Produced without the use of synthetic chemicals

  • Not fed plastic pellets, manure, or feed containing urea

  • Not given growth promoters and hormones

  • Complete traceability (our calves are born and raised here)


The beef we sell to our customers is the beef we feed to our children; therefore, the quality of our beef can be completely trusted. Our cattle are not kept in a crowded feedlot, which is a problem with commercial feedlots, nor are they exposed to harmful chemicals and growth stimulants. Because they are our food supply, too, we take care that our cattle remain healthy in a very humane environment.

If you would like more information on buying beef from us, go to the FAQ tab.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dash And Flash Meals For The Farmer

If you know me at all, then you probably know that I’m not a big plan-ahead person. My daughter (#1) enlightened me on the reason recently, by reminding me that I was born on the biggest procrastinating day in US history—April 15 (tax day, in case you live under a rock). At any rate, this gift of procrastination is manifested in just about every area of my life, but the most noticeable area would be in supper preparation.

The Farmer gets home around 4:30 every evening (for the past 35+ years), and being the hard working, over achieving, workaholic that he is, he’s usually starving by the time he hits the door, wraps me in his arms, and tells me what a great wife I am! (hee, hee)

Of course, being the perfect wife, I have supper timed so that he still has just enough time to check cows, move them to another paddock, and feed the bull (which I’m sure he doesn’t give a thought to how much effort I put into this notable achievement).

So, you may be wondering how the queen of procrastination can accomplish such a feat (maybe not, but read on anyway).

First of all I have a freezer full of frozen beef—frozen being a key word here. I keep staples aplenty like potatoes, canned vegetables, flour, and seasonings. And that’s really all I need; oh, and soda.

The procrastinating attribute comes to light when the Farmer calls to let me know he is on his way home from work, which gives me a full 40 minutes to prepare supper. Not too bad, if he calls when he leaves work, but more often than I like, he gets busy on the phone with someone else before he can call me. Often I have received a 20-minute warning, or worse yet, a 10-minute warning! (yeah, well supper isn’t always on the table).

Well, I have become a master of Dash and Flash Meals.

Translated—putting together a delicious meal super fast!

Hamburgers and fries are probably the easiest, because when we get our beef processed I have a lot of my hamburger made into patties. So, I scrub a few potatoes, cut them into steak fries, and soak them in vegetable oil that's been brought to a boil (saw this on FoodNetwork). Then I get the hamburger patties out of the freezer, throw them into the microwave for 2 minutes, break them apart, and throw them into the skillet. (I’m about 10 minutes in at this point) When the hamburgers are almost done, I turn the fries on high temp. And magically my hamburgers and fries get finished right before the Farmer comes in for supper.

Spaghetti is another really quick meal. I again start with frozen hamburger, peel off the outside plastic, and throw it into the microwave for 3-4 minutes. It comes out ready to crumble into a skillet. It only takes about 5 minutes to brown at a high temp, so I put my water on to boil during this process. After the hamburger is browned and drained, I add seasonings, tomato sauce and Parmesan, and simmer this until the spaghetti noodles are cooked. I usually fix biscuits (canned of course), garlic bread, or just butter bread with this.

Both of these meals can be cooked in about 20 minutes. As I was writing this, I thought of other Dash and Flash dishes that I make.

  1.       Beef and noodles

  2.       Chili (made from left-over pinto beans)

  3.       Cowboy Supper (made with beef, beans, and BBQ sauce)

  4.       Tacos

  5.       Chicken Quesadillas

  6.       Sausage hash

  7.       Steak and baked potatoes (baked meaning microwaved)

  8.       Swiss steak burgers

  9.       Chef’s salad

10.       Frozen pizza J

What about you? Do you have any Dash and Flash meals that you make? Share it with the rest of us and maybe we can exchange recipes.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Today Is My Birthday!

Today is my 53rd birthday!

Really!? Really!?

How could that be possible? How could five decades pass and me not even realize? How could I have gone through childhood, adulthood, parenthood, grandparenthood! And not notice that time was passing so quickly?



Fifty-three years…hmm.


Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I was a fat little roly-poly waddling down the sidewalk? Fortunately, this memory was recorded for me on a movie reel (Anyone remember those?).


And hasn't it been just a short time ago that we were going on family camping trips? It's not been so long ago, in my recollection, that our cousins would come to visit and we would play hide and seek in the dark (another game my children think they created).


I’m sure it was just a few summers back that we had family and friends over to swim, played tag in the cemetery, enjoyed spending summer vacations with grandparents and cousins, or rode our Shetland ponies (although I can’t remember if they were ours or Grandpa George’s).


Oh…some of the memories flood back as I write this, and for those who read this and shared some of the experiences, you will recall things like: Alley Springs, walking to the movies, the bowling alley, steal-the-flag, our old red dog, Butch, and hasn’t everyone had a dog named Blackie? There were carnival rides, basketball games, drive-in movies, cheerleader tryouts (didn’t make it), snowball fights, and long trips to Winona. Rock collections, bug collections, catching lightening bugs in the summer. Oh! and tying strings around the legs of a June bug and hanging on to it while it flew around.

As a teen I remember getting a curling iron and trying to curl wet hair. Does anyone remember Psst! I think that's what it was. You sprayed it on your hair if you didn't have time to wash it. It was like powder on your hair (eek!) Long hair, ponytails, and bell-bottoms.


And wasn’t it just yesterday that the Farmer and I were married, and experiencing the trials and triumphs that come with a new family? Well, the reality of having children grown and married and having children of their own brings me back to the possibility that maybe more time has passed than I have realized.

Although the calendar records that I have had approximately 19,345 days on the earth, I still can't believe it, because they have passed by all too quickly.

And looking at the clock I see that even more time has passed, so I’m going to end this walk down memory lane before another birthday passes me by completely.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Final Tally

The best thing about spring is seeing all the signs of the new life that is beginning to appear at this time of year.
Seeing the grass sprouting up through the cold ground, the new blossoms on the trees, the soft sounds of the wind, the chirping of the birds, the warmth of the sunshine—I could almost burst out into song! (You should be thankful there is no sound) :)

One of the greatest things about living on the farm is being able to see our calves being born. Unfortunately, three of our heifers did not
calf this spring so we are down from what we had expected. The birthing season has ended and we only have nine calves.

Although it was not the number we were expecting, we had a successful season. A couple of our calves were born during the frigid weather when winter would not turn loose of spring, and at times we wondered if they were going to make it. Seeing a brand new, wet, cold, shaking baby calf fall to the ground of a snow covered field is at times unsettling. However, the fortitude those babies have are nothing less than miraculous! It doesn’t take them long to nuzzle up to mamma and warm their little bodies.

Often the baby calves huddle together when laying out in the field. I tried to sneak up on them to take a picture, but they were too quick for me. As soon as they saw me coming they started getting up.



Oh well, I'll get a closer picture next time. Once it gets a little hotter,

they won't be so quick to jump up.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Has Sprung!

During the winter months, we contain our cattle in one or two of our back paddocks to make it easier to feed hay and to keep all our other fields from being tromped to pieces…you can imagine what a herd of 1200-pound cows would do in a soft, wet field.

Today it seems that the cold, snowy weather of the past few weeks are finally disappearing. Standing outside and looking out over the fields, I can almost see the grass growing. The smells, the sounds, and all the sights that come with a new spring are beginning to appear.

One of the first signs that spring has sprung, in our little world, is being able to open the gates and allowing our cattle to graze on the cool, green grasses of a fresh new paddock. I have to say, the cows seem pretty excited, too. 
It is quite funny to watch them crowd through the gate and run and frolic in the new field. (yeah…frolic!) I will have to post a video some time. :)

Looks like they had a belly-full

...and laying around in the sunshine

Of course, they have to get up to see what I am doing


for now, they are off the hay and onto the pastures. 

Now, like all farmers
throughout the ages, we will be praying for rain, sunshine, and a profitable harvest!