Saturday, October 30, 2010

Showing




THIS is why we show. We raise good cattle. They make great beef, & they have even better dispositions. The show-ring thing drives me nutz.
I get really frustrated that a heifer who is rude, or even downright mean or NOT broke can do well in the ring. Disposition IS a culling factor in our herd. More on that subject later.
I also get frustrated with the families that show cattle & the children just walk in, in time to lead the calf in the ring. The child doesn’t WORK with their calf. Then there’s the type that show & get really upset when they don’t win. They are rude & mean when the judge doesn’t pick them.
And another thing that frustrates me is the politics! A judge who has no consistency & just picks the stick that’s leading them, or breeding them. THAT really gets me going.
BUT my Honey loves to show. He grew up showing & loving cattle. Our girls are really doing well with their cattle. But to me, the main thing is that they WORK with their cattle. Each day, they get up before dawn, catch, wash, blow, brush & feed their calves. Then, several times each day, they’re out checking & walking their heifers. Each night, they again work with their heifers to make sure they are fed.
Their calves are calm, tame & broke before they ever step in a showring. Don’t get me wrong, there have been days when Freedom wants to play or Sophie wants to just stand still & not walk. But our heifers would never be mean to a child.

We love to go to shows. I love how the girls get so excited & intense watching the classes & the judge. I actually enjoy the preparation too. I like getting up early on show day, washing & getting the heifers all ready. I LOVE talking with all of the other exhibitors & breeders. The comraderie is awesome.
The thing that I really love about showing is truly the smiles!! I love the smiles on our girls’ faces when they go in the ring. I love how intense A.Cowgirl gets. Each child that smiles and enjoys themselves is really the ONLY reason to go to a show.

 

Smile!! & Eat Happy Beef

~GreenRanchingMom - Mama to the Momma Cows @ the ECC

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wow! We were featured in the latest issue of the AMAA Voice

Thanks to Jennifer Bremer for writing this article & everyone at the American Maine Anjou Association for thinking of us.  With everyone's support our beef business continues to grow & the success of our Ranch is due to all of you who support us!!

I have updated our website recently & will continue to add more pictures.

THANKS for all your support & encouragement!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rancher Respect

So, This is going to be one of those posts I've warned you about. 
This is MY OPINION.
Because....Its MY BLOG.
Plus.... This is something I feel VERRY passionately about!

First, I must refresh your memory...

We haven't always been Wierd Ranchers.  I was raised on a small acreage with Quarter Horses, & Honey was raised with a small cattle herd.  We are both formally educated at Iowa State University with degrees in Animal Science.  After college, I worked in the sales field for a large health insurance agency & Honey persued careers in the cattle industry.  He managed the shipping department at Hawkeye Breeders for several years.  After that he became the manager of a large (1550 head) cow-calf operation.  So we KNOW conventional.  In addition over the past 10 years we've had about 100 of our own cows & anywhere from 30 to 300 Custom cows (we managed other people's cows). I only remind you of this information so you'll remember that we KNOW conventional.  And, now..... we're wierd.  We run our ranch UN-conventionally.

This, my friends, is where the dichotomy lies.

Many un-conventional producers; organic, grass based, natural etc.  feel that it is part of their sales or informational tactics to put down conventional production methods.  Some un-conventional producers think that consumers need to understand that conventional production methods are BAD. 

And some conventional producers, go out of their way to say that un-conventional (organic, grass-based, natural or free range) methods are bad or not good enough.

THIS FRUSTRATES ME!!! (~yes, I know I just screamed, it frustrates me THAT much)

As the saying goes, Why can't we just get along???

I know that there are some conventional producers that need to improve their farms.  I know of some un-conventional producers that need to improve the conditions for their animals too.  They're both working to get better.  I don't like ANY conditions that aren't optimal.  But heck, we've experienced times when we'd LOVE to improve the circumstances or environment.

I think I heard that right now, only 2% of our population are farmers or ranchers.  I believe that about 2% of our population is vegetarian.  Now, remember this post is about respect.  We need to make sure that we (meat producers) don't put down meat production in general; because there is an option (vegetarianism) that will allow those alienated people to show they don't want to deal with bad or negative meat circumstances.

We as farmers & ranchers NEED to stick together!  We NEED to respect that there are MANY different ways to raise animals & vegetables.  There are good ways, better ways, & the best ways. 

But, you know what? Good, Better & Best are all OPINIONS!  It is an opinion that one way is better than another.  Because we all have different preferences.  I may prefer to have animal choices in food at the top of my list.  You may have profit at the top of your list so you can stay in business.  I may choose to only feed grass to my ruminants, you may choose to feed a more diverse diet.  I may choose to let my chickens run around our entire ranch, you may choose to have some in a coop.  I could go on & on, but you get the drift, we are all different, because we are inately different people.

As far as "proof" that one way or another is "better", well, you can "prove" anything.  And, you can find anything that may serve as proof for your opinion on the internet too.  Numberous studies prove & disprove nearly everything there is to debate in agriculture (& life in general).

What I BELIEVE we all need to remember is:
That we're all people
We all have families
As American Farmers & Ranchers, we are raising the healthiest, safest food on the planet (the US has the lowest rates of food borne diseases)
We are all trying to be a little better each day & improve our operations
We all (almost all) have limited budgets & we have to work within those budgets
We are all aware that what we DO effects and affects our land and environment

We ALL need to remember that each time we talk negatively about someone, we are in-turn hurting our OWN farm or ranch.

Just as I type this, I'm aware that if I speak negatively about vegetarians in general, I'm putting down a very wonderful friend.  If you think about putting down or disparaging another style of farming or ranching, you MUST realize that you are directly putting down a PERSON and a family.  I know that we all think or are trying to do something "better", but we must NOT prosper at the cost of another's harm.

We CAN do better without putting down another style.

So, if your unconventional THINK about what you say.  THINK about the positives of your operation without saying anything negative about anyone (or thing) else.  When we are promoting ourselves, we need to promote ALL agriculture.  We should just choose to talk about how WE do things.  About why we do these things.

Lest you think I'm throwing stones in a glass house, I'm not.  I KNOW that I'm not perfect.  I was recently showed how I was talking negatives (even when I was trying NOT to) by the reaction on someone's face.  Because, he KNEW the person I was inadvertently putting down.

Please, please, please, we ALL NEED TO GET ALONG!

THINK about what you are saying, and THINK about who you are really affecting with your negative comments.  I encourage you to vote about agriculture 3 times each day.  Each time you pick up your cup, spoon, or fork; T.H.I.N.K. about what you're choosing.  I hope you're choosing healthy american raised food!!! 

And just so you know.  This is my original (un-edited) version.  I made 3 revisions to this post, but decided to let my raw thoughts be broadcast for all to read, because if we don't already know it, I'm as blunt & honest as it gets in real life.

~GreenRanchingMom

Monday, September 27, 2010

Writers Block

You know, this is my PERSONAL BLOG.  They call it that because its MY blog.  My point of view, my perspective .  So, you WILL see my personal rants coming soon.  I've had them in draft for way too long, worrying & obsessing about the way that others might react. 

So, when you read my reflections, just remember that they're MINE.  They aren't rude, just my point of view.  I'm not trying to be mean or disrespectful, because that is THE last thing that I would EVER want to be.  I'm always trying to see others' points of view and learn.

Hope you're having a beautiful fall day!  Its lovely here!  The cows are grazing south of the house & the girls are letting their horses graze in the back yard while they play on the swingset.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No really, this is OUR Soapbox!!!

local soaps

The box on the right is MY SOAPBOX!!! I'm so excited about it!!! You see, this soap from Prairieland Herbs has our tallow in it. 

As many of you know, we raise beef cattle.  We sell our beef by the halves, quarters & eighths.  I've always been pretty adamant that we should respect each animal and all that they give us.  That means using everything that they give us at harvest time.  I've tanned some hides (not much success there). We always use soup bones in our house to make stock and for doggie bones.  When others buy beef &don't request their soup bones or organ meats, we save those for friends who feed thier dogs "raw".  We are very adamant that everything go to good use!  Thus, I've been searching for a good use of our tallow!

I FOUND IT!!! Maggie & Donna @Prairieland Herbs talked with their wonderful soapmaker Karla, and returned to an old recipe that has natural, local ingredients!!! Like our Tallow!!  Our family has been using this wonderful, fragrant soap for several weeks and wow!  I was really suprised, its not greasy or stinky.  Its soft and moisturizing & makes a really great lather!!

Btw, I thought of asking Maggie about our tallow because I love tons of her products like the Healing Wand, and her family & doggies  love our beef!!

They have super fast shipping & are also available at their store in Woodward.  I'll be there on Sunday as its one of the Sample Sunday dates.

Thank you to Maggie, Karla & Donna for helping me find another use for another part of our beefs!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

This is my soapbox....be prepared for me to be stepping on it frequently

I haven't been posting much about my opinions lately.

This is my SoapBox




I will be stepping up onto my soapbox HERE on my blog.  In more ways than one.

As usual, I try to think before I speak, but it IS my blog & I will say what I want.  I do have several posts in draft for me to tone down. : )

Hang on to your saddlehorn, we're going for a run.

GreenRanchingMom

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Simplicity

So, my friend Diana @ Spain in Iowa has a fun Blog hop about simplicity in our lives.

This has me thinking, how am I simple, how can I make our lives more Simple?

I'm in  list making mood, so here it goes...

Simple things we do
Grocery shop once a month - less trips to the store means less junk comes in the house & less diesel to travel
Live in the old house (rather than build a new one right away)
Feed us and our animals REAL foods (whole foods that are recognizeable for what they are)
Keep something until it wears out (or beyond)
We use old machinery (& keep fixing it)
We only have the truck as our family vehicle (the diesel gets great  {15-20mpg} fuel economy too)

Areas we can improve upon
I think that this winter, we'll to NOT buy ANYTHING the month of January! 
Do more canning this summer (even though I once again killed my garden)
Keep working towards growing ALL of our cattle feeds
Work towards year round grazing so we don't need as much hay (thus reducing the need for using the tractors)

What do you do in your daily life to make things simple?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Junior Nationals



Right now we're up in a little northern Iowa town for the Maine Anjou National Junior Heifer Show.  The girls brought 3 heifers. We are lucky enough to borrow my parents (new to them) camper & stay at the fairgrounds.  So wonderful to have a place to nap Wyatt & cook (if we want) & get cleaned up during the day.

Well, the weekend up here was great!  We had tons of fun relazing & camping & playing & napping.  Then Sunday came.  Check-in welcome party, more work, a little more play. 
Sunday Night & Monday............well, they just weren't fun.  I ran (5 hours) home to haul my piggies for 5 hrs & then came back up.

Today (Tuesday) we had a Fitting Contest.  A.Cowgirl was in it with 2 other girls from Iowa.  They had so much fun!! I had TONS of fun watching the 3 dads!! 


 Poor guys just couldn't take it as the girls were doing their best job (but it wasn't "right").  They were cringing, shaking their heads & trying not to let the yells under their breath get too loud.  The girls were smiling & working & having fun!!

So far its been a great week!  I'll try to keep you (kim) posted as the week goes along

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Puppies!!!

I think that I mentioned about 7 weeks ago via TWITTER that Rosie & Chilli had a litter of Puppies. 
And now is the time when I show you cute puppy pictures so that you will be enticed to have one for your very own!



You can see from this picture how cute and colorful the black tri's are!  We have 2 boys & 1 girl Black Tri.

This little guy is a lover, but I think he's going to work too!  He doesn't like anyone coming under his tire (on the semi-trailer) to get him for bed.  So cute when he barks & gets all ruffled up!





Remember, all of these puppies have great dispositions! 



This little boy is a cutie that wants to work!  He will heel the girls & play
We have 3 Merle's Left.  2 boys & 1 Girl.  All three have beautiful colored eyes.  Both Blue and Brown in each eye.  Rosie's eye's are split down the center and half blue/half brown.


We are starting to learn their personalities, and some will be great working dogs, some will be wonderful city dogs & pets.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tallow Rendering


Here is our Tallow





Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Choices & Perspective

Last night Honey came home & talked about a family he met at the co-op.  They were a couple in their 50's-60's with their 20 something son. 
They were traveling in a covered wagon. 
From Arkansas to Nebraska. 
They left home in November.
They stopped in to buy some corn & hay for their 3 horses.
They did stop for a while in Illinois this winter & work.
The horses were in good shape (not skinny).
The people were clean, nice & happy.

Of course after they left there was quite a bit of "shop talk".
WHY would you do that? 
Just BUY a truck.
CRAZY?

I was really impressed that Honey had quite a few questions in return for the guys.
Why NOT?
What if they just WANTED to?
It would be neat to REALLY see the country like that?
What IF they couldn't afford a Truck?
The wagon WAS really nice.  It had a completely enclosed (clear plastic) front that they had some Amish make for them.
Don't you think it would be really nice to just live that simply?  No bills & debts?

Hmmm, wow, we have come a LONG way in the past 2 years in our way of thinking!  Today, we ran the truck to get some new tires before Honey had to go to work.  We traveled only 10 miles west, and we saw them setting out for the day (8 or 9 miles west of where they were at noon yesterday).    Indeed 2 big paint horses pulling a covered wagon & leading a third paint horse.

I know that we get LOTS of questions about why we have chosen our way of life & finishing cattle.  I am constantly defending my choice to harvest our calves younger & at 1000# instead of the 1300# (FAT) cattle.
It is wonderful that Grass-Fed & Pastured Beef is becoming more widely known!  (Even our Banker yesterday knew about grass-fed beef!)

If I had to make choices again about downsizing & completely changing our operation 2 years ago ...... Would I do it the same?  YES!!!  I might change some details, but the BIG picture would stay the same.  We'd still be in debt, but, we'd still be cattle ranchers.
We'd still have to have off farm jobs.
We'd still be moving towards more grass & less corn.
We'd still be working towards raising ALL of our own feeds (but we'd still buy our outside feeds from our neighbors)
We'd still have our wonderful Maine-Anjou cows!

And yes, Freedom would still get loose on a regular basis, no matter how many new knots we tie on her *locked* gate.  (She was in the front yard again this morning)


I'm off to work on our website & get some prices up, so drop me a note ebersolecattleco(at)yahoo(dot)com if you're interested in learning more about our fall GRASS-FED beef & setting up a payment plan to reserve your beef!

I hope you have a great day!  The sun is shining & we're off to go play in the barn.
GreenRanchMom

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fall Calves


Fall calves are being weaned.  Its nice when you wean fall calves this time of year, they've mostly weaned themselves.  Not much bawling, or crying, because they've naturally weaned themselves.  They've been on grass & hay all winter with their cows, so they are great foragers.  We like to keep them on the cow through the winter to help them learn to forage & keep drinking from thier mamas.  The extra protien from the milk keeps them gaining a little weight & be healthier calves.

I LOVE our fall-calves.  They don't take much work when they're born & are quite easy to wean.  Another reason that they get along great after weaning is because they will stay on grass.  We try to keep all of our Fall Calves for 100% Grass-Fed Beef.

We don't have a big group of Fall-Calvers, but they're a nice little group.  This year we have 12 extra Fall calves.  So..... I'm having a special on our Grass-Fed Beef.  If you reserve your Grass-Fed Beef now, you will recieve a 5% discount.  These calves will finish in Late November.

I encourage you to keep checking back.  Each calf that is reserved will be updated with their growth & progress on this blog.  By reserving your beef now, you'll get to watch your calf grow & see the beautiful pastures where they reside.

I look forward to talking with you!!

Now for the ranch update. .....
WE LEFT THE RANCH FOR A NIGHT!!! 
Wow, such a long time since we've all spent a night away from the ranch!  We had to do some paperwork in the big city, so Honey had to leave the ranch.

Now, this may seem small to you, but it is a BIG day when I can get Honey off the ranch & out of the truck when we go into town!  He'd rather be my driver & "watch the truck" when we go to town.  After all of our paperwork was finished, we dropped off Squeak @ Grandpa & Grandma's.  We were then VERY brave & took the girls to a movie.  (Did I mention that we worked a full day on the ranch first?)  So, we took them to see "How to Train A Dragon" in 2D at....9:30.

All of us really enjoyed the movie, J.ust a Cowgirl was a little worried & scared at parts (she's really tenderharted).  So, we enjoyed a late night off the ranch & spent the night in the Big City.  On Sunday, we even went shopping.  Honey lucked out, & Squeak was sleeping, so he didn't have to go inside the (GASP) Mall.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!! 

Sorry for the bad picture, it was taken @ dawn this morning.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Ranch additions

We added two new KIDS to the Ranch this weekend. 
Yes, I know Pygmy's??? REALLY??? 
Yes, call it a moment of weakness when I brought home 2 Pygmy Goats in my Dog Box last summer!
And, YES, the Billy is still here.  But, He does need a new home!  AnY oNe????  Bueler???Bueler???

Honey keeps calling him Enchillada or Mexican Food.  And, If some of these (we now have 6!) don't find new homes they will be sold for Mexican food.  They are pygmy's but they have a little meat on their bones!

We're currently trying to convince Just a Cowgirl to get a couple of Boer or Nubian goats!  At least they would be a little bit easier to market & she could show them.  We have repeatedly told her that you can't show Pygmy's @ our county fair.  (shhhhh, please don't add a new class for her, pleeease). 

But, Honey has resigned himself to the fact that a couple of the little critters will be staying around. 
IF they stay in their pen & don't rip more feed bags.

Really, Honey is quite a sofitie.  The kidding story is rather cute!... read on...

We were standing by the road chatting with a neighbor guy, when the girls came running over that "SHE HAS A FOOT!!!".  I had them run back & forth (to the pen) and check if there were 2 feet & a nose.  Uh OH!!! no Nose!   Honey grumbless "I'm not pulling a goat".  They guys chuckle & I go over to check it out.  2 min later, Honey is at the goat pen & wrist deep in a goat, because I couldn't find the head.  I could tell the kid was already dead, but we had to help the nanny & others that were in there (she was HUGE).  After a lot of finageling, we finally had to just pull the kid with the head back.  The kid made it out, but was already dead.  We let the nanny work a little while, & then helped her with the next two kids because they ended up both being head first (no feet in front) & they both survived!

Its really beautiful to see a hardened cowboy pull a little pygmy kid, because he wouldn't consider letting it suffer (or his girls).

This is why I'm lucky to be married to such a great cattleman, rancher, and wonderful father!

Btw, Honey loves the camera more than I do.  This face is the best it gets when a camera is involved.  Even if he's really excited that ECC Ultimate 889U won his Division at the American Royal.  Ultimate is still for sale, let me know if you're interested in a great bull!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Calving Heifers is CRAZY hard, WONDERFUL work!

Well, we're about a month into calving our group of heifers.  We are half way through, & I was starting to see the end of the tunnel.....Then the mud season started.  That changes things up & makes them much more interesting.  As I was slogging through the mud the other day, I started working on a blog post (in my head, I had to think of something positive!)

Calving heifers is hard work!!  Just so we're clear, a heifer is a female bovine that has never had a calf. 

Imagine how clueless you were as a first-time mom (or parent).
Then, imagine you can't talk....to anyone who has had a baby before.
And, you're in a "room" with 30-50 other first time moms.
Then, imagine you go into labor early.  (remeber, you have no teaching about labor, only instincts)
Add in a BUNCH of mud, and other nosy (first-time) moms "helping".
Then, you have to figure out how to get the little guy out, & then standing & nursing.

Wow, thats a lot of work!  And Confusion!  And then, if some crazy lady, is trying to get you to go somewhere different, LOOK OUT, MASS CONFUSION!

Thats calving heifers in a nutshell....confusion!

The good thing is, I was finally able to convince the heifer that the muddy thing on the sled, WAS her calf.  That she should follow it INTO the barn.  The calf was new, but had been licked clean (good mama).  Once in the barn, the heifer (862u) nursed her calf like a champ!  As soon as the rain stops tonight, she will get to go back outside (into mass confusion again) into the pairs pasture.

In this new pasture, she will find 15 other new mamas with their babies.  Everyone is black.  She can't read ear-tags to tell which calf is hers.  Somehow, she will keep track of her calf at every moment & know when he is in trouble.

Luckily for us, every animal has instincts.  If we listen to ours, we have as many instincts as cattle do, we just have to listen to them!

If I let the heifers take their time to calve (not be a nervous mama) they will have their calves outside perfectly fine!  I just get too nervous, and want to help.  I just need to let thier instincts take over & nature take its course.

So far, the spring is looking up!

I hope today is a sunny day for you!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This winter has been LONG & AWFUL

Well, unless you've been on a sabbatical in another country, you know that this winter in Iowa (well, most of the country) has been Long, SNOWY, dreary, nasty, and whatever other negative words you can think of.

We have lost several cows this winter.  I think more than we have lost in the last 3 years combined.  We are not very far ahead in the calf percentages.

So sorry that I haven't been blogging much.

I love ranching & raising cattle so much that its hard to write negative things. : (

We are also working to re-finance the whole ranch.  This takes tons of time & can also be very frustrating!

I'm sure you'll excuse my lack of enthusiasm for blogging.

 A little photo of my little Squeak, "Cowboyin"  This wild buckin horse has been happily buckin him off for about two months.  When his buckin horse gets too rough (meaning he throws himself off too hard & hits his head on the floor or couch) he gets put away in his stall.  I keep handing him a rope (wishing & hoping he'll be a roper) but no such luck.  I think we're destined for a Rough Stock little boy.  I sure can't wait until the weather is nicer & he can start riding 7-Up!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What have we been up to???

Blogger doesn't like me.  Won't let me upload pictures.  It let me upload this one picture.
But, I do love this picture!!!  A.Cowgirl talking with her heifer (Freedom) before she took her to the ShowRing at the Iowa Beef Expo.   These two have an amazing bond!  A.Cowgirl loves all animals!  Her dog Lola broke her foot Sunday afternoon.  A.Cowgirl sat with her in the porch & read a book to her all afternoon.   We splinted her leg & A.Cowgirl was so careful with her.  When we took her to the vet yesterday, A.Cowgirl was right in there holding her dog & making sure she knew exactly what they were doing to her dog.  She took her outside 4 times yesterday & made sure she protected the cast with a plastic bag each time.  It is SO WONDERFUL to see her love her animals!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hospice House (Barn)

Well, this time of year is always hard on me.  One of the hard parts about Ranching & Raising Cows the way we do. 
What I mean by that is, we keep old cows.  Old cows eventually die. 
No two ways around it, everyone eventually dies.  Cows do too.

That being said.  What is "OLD" for a cow?  Most ranches cull their cows anywhere from 5-9 years of age.  They go to the sale barn, are bought by a packer & are made into hamburger.  Sometimes, if they are pregnant, a small farmer will buy them, calve them, & at the end of the year they will sell the open cows (for hamburger) and the calves.

We are different.  We are very different.  We keep our BEST cows their entire lives.  A cow that has produced great calves for us gets to live her entire life here on the ranch.

What makes her great?  Well, she could have produced bulls or heifers that we have sold at a premium or kept here on the ranch.  She was open (not pregnant) very few times while producing these good calves.  The great cows always get a second (or third) chance, and are kept even if they are open one year.

Today it was 7853.  She has been a great cow for us.  Before we bought her, she was shown 2 years at the Denver Stock Show.  She has raised several great calves for us.  We have 3 or 4 of her females in our herd and  we've sold several bulls she raised.  Three years ago she stifled herself.  What this means is that she hurt her hip ligaments & couldn't walk very good.  We contemplated culling her.  But, she had been a good cow & if we culled her, we wouldn't get very much at all.  So, she stayed.

She lived her life @ the home ranch & was babied a little.  She had great grass in the summer.  In the winter she lived in the "baby" or heifer pen.  This pen eats the best hay all winter & doesn't have to travel to get water.  They have access to the barn & extra  shelter when they are outside.

But, everyone gets old & most of us go downhill, & then we die.  7853 did.  She was born in 1995.  Wow, in "Cow Years" she was REALLY old.  15 is an amazing age for a cow.

Honey & I were pretty upset early this morning when we found her down. We consoled ourselves with the fact that we had given her 3 more years than most any other ranch would have.  She raised 2 more outstanding heifers for us.  She was fat & happy & ate great grass for 3 extra years.  Well, really about 8 extra years if you figure we should have culled her when she was 6 or 7.  It took a little extra work to care for her, but it WAS worth it. 

This morning, I took her water & some extra good hay.  She drank very little & munched on the hay a bit.  But, we both knew that once an old cow goes down like this, she usually doesn't get up.  I was with her for an hour & let her be for a bit.  When I went back out, she was gone. 

This time of year is really hard for me!  But, I console myself with the fact that I love my animals, literally till thier end.

Just remember there are tons of other ranchers out there just like me, caring for their cattle every day, no matter what God & the Weather brings them.


I've been thinking about Gilmer Dairy's e-Dopt a cow program.  Would anyone be interested in e-Dopting a beef cow.  We currently have 5 old cows that will live her for the rest of thier lives, wether they raise a calf or not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Steaks - The WinterTime cheating way

Wow,  so first I'm humbled!! Diana is a great friend and Foodie.  I had facebooked the other day about having steaks in the oven.  The next night this wonderful foodie asked ME how I made them.  WOW!  I was humbled!  I guess my busy mama way of cooking is different to those who love to cook.

Then another friend wondered how I was making steaks this time of year.  Because the wind is blowing @ 20 Below Zero and its too cold to even go check on the gril this week.  Hmm, really, they want to know how I'm meaking steak??  You see, I love to LOOK at recipes, but I rarely follow them.  I very rarely have time to cook, let alone something fancy.  But, BEEF, real BEEF is a requirement around here at least 5 nights a week.  So, I guess (suprised me!) that I have found some innovative ways to cheat on time, and still make our beef taste great.

So here goes...



Steaks, The Busy (Forgetful) Mama Way

10 min before supper, you wonder what you're going to eat.  Grab some steaks out of the Freezer.
Perhaps 2 RibEye's or 2 Flank Steaks

1   Place steak packages in the sink under warm running water.  Select Pan & start thinking of vegetable sides (in default choose potatoes & corn)

2    Unwrap steaks & split 2 frozen steaks apart.

3   Heat up cast iron skillet with a little olive oil.  When pan is HOT place 2 steaks in the pan. 

4   Preheat Oven to 350 with a cookie sheet or glass caserole dish already in the oven (to warm the dish)

5   Flip steaks & season with your favorite seasonings.  I used Lemon Pepper.  Yes, really flip them after about 2 min.

6   Get out the veggies.  I selected some frozen sweet corn & a couple of potatoes & started chopping.

7   Take the first 2 steaks out of the pan & place them in the Oven Dish.  Put a little more Olive Oil in the pan & start cooking the next 2 steaks.  (we usually eat about 3-4 steaks for our family of 5, & I can't fit them all on at once)

8   After 2 min on each side (or just a good sear, if you like yours a little rare) Put them both in the oven with the other steaks.

9   Fry or warm your veggies.  I usually cheat & use the same pan (some would call this...____...? Where you use all of the drippings?  See, I'm not a Foodie) to cook the veggies.

10   As soon as your veggies are ready, the kids are called, and the table is set (in our house about 15-30 min) Your Steaks should be ready.  I usually pull out the bottom steak to check done-ness & start cutting for the kids.

Total Cook & Prep Time     UNDER 45 Min!  From Freezer To Table!

So, If you don't know What's For Dinner....Its BEEF STEAKS in the Winter  (the Busy Mama Way)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

RANCHER.........NOT Farmer

I always say that we are "Ranchers" not "Farmers".

Why, because I don't grow crops, I don't like machinery, and I don't like firing up the tractor (yes, I know, I said that one twice).

Really, I don't like Machinery.  It breaks, It gets stuck, and then you're in a position that you NEEED to use said equipment to feed the cows & horses.  YUCK!!!

For example, this year (last week) at one point we had a borrowed 4 wheel drive tractor, STUCK, our IH 1486 with a small little hydraulic line broken (discovered after I crashed it into our pipe fence, because I had no steering).  Then I stuck the 1466 trying to pull out the 4x4 tractor  (silly, YES! But he asked me to come help).  Then, while honey was getting dug out (where the 4x4 tractor was) I stuck my Dually.  And yes, the 4x4 is still out on the feed truck!  It wasn't really fixed, I guess. And, our old Ford tractor still won't run right.  UGH!!!


So, In the span of 3 hours we were down from
2 4x4 trucks,
1 jeep
3 tractors
1 borrowed 4x4 tractor
1 4-wheeler

to
1 2-wheel drive truck
1 Jeep (5 miles from the house where honey was stuck)


UGH!!!
I don't L.I.K.E. Machinery!!!

So, that's why I want to be a Rancher!!!  I want to Year-Round Graze.  I don't want to buy a feed-wagon.  I'll just keep carrying buckets.  I really, truly, don't like machinery.  Don't get me wrong, I still want to keep the truck!!  I like going places,  But DARNIT, I want it to run, ALL the time!!

Thanks for listening to my machinery rant.  But, as you guessed it, Honey stuck the jeep this AM.  So, by 8 am we had already been stuck today.  yeah, winter......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kelsey


I WISH I were the PW today

On days like today I really wish I were PW.  Only so I could have someone do chores so that I could take beautiful pictures of everything.

It is warmer today with weather near 30degrees (ABOVE zero).  The cows were all frosted this morning.  not a cold frost, just a pretty white tip on all of their long hairs.  The mares were absolutely BEAUTIFUL this morning.  The mares' forelocks (bangs) were all frosty.  Their eyelashes were painted white as they were talking to me this morning.  As I cut the net wrap off the round bales on the truck, I WISHED I WERE PW.  I thought of how TRULY blessed I am to live such a life!

Our life is so beautiful, that pictures would still not do it any justice.

Then, I'm back to real life. 
The cows walk out the gate
the sale bull is out with the old bulls (hurry get him in before he gets in a fight!)
Mares & geldings are bickering over who gets to eat where
$%&* there's a dead BEEF!
AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Now I really wish I were PW.  I wish I could talk about only the positive glamorous life of ranchers.  Not about the real $^&T.  Literally, a life covered in poo!  Death, unfortunately IS part of life on a ranch.  Sickness is a part of ranch life.  Frustration and cash flow is also a part of life on the ranch.

But, PW doesn't post anything near to real life.  Just the fantabulous parts of life on the ranch.  Oh well, I will go ahead and keep reading PW.  She posts really great pictures and all the beautiful parts of life on the ranch.

BTW, you know I don't even re-read my blogs before I post them.  I. Just. Write.
Thank you for listening!!!  I hope to get to take my (point & click) camera out to chore more now that it isn't 20 below zero!