It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here – it seems like I say that a lot, and yet it is still true. First we had the mobile slaughter unit from our Farmer’s Co-Op here at the ranch. The MSU was the first one in the nation to be operational and is really a great thing for small producers like us.
Butchering day is not my favorite, but I really like that our animals are harvested in a quick, quiet, humane way with as little stress as possible. After the carcass is split into halves, the meat dry ages for 14 – 21 days in the cooler at the Co-Op.
Then the meat is cut and wrapped, frozen and ready to be boxed into individual orders. Alex, Rick and I spent a day packing boxes of meat. We were so busy packing up our orders that I forgot to take any pictures. So, you can look at a boneless chuck roast instead OK?
Last Saturday Alex and I delivered a little over a thousand pounds of our delicious grass fed beef to our customers in the Seattle area. It was a long, busy day with lots of delivery stops and boxes of beef, but it is always nice to be able to meet our customers both old and new. I was so busy with deliveries and talking to customers I forgot to take any pictures. So how about looking at a yummy steak?
Then we had visitors come to the ranch to see our operation. We enjoy showing people around and answering questions about our Lowlines and grass fed beef. But, I forgot to take any pictures of the visitors. I’m noticing a pattern here; really bad on taking pictures lately. So here is one more picture of our meat – this time hamburgers fresh off the grill.
So, that about wraps up our Fall Harvest for this year. Now we are scrambling to get ready for Thanksgiving and the snow that is predicted for this weekend.
All our cattle – steers, cows and calves and the two bulls – are back at our home ranch now, just in time for some rainy, rainy weather. We got a little over 3 inches of rain in the last 3 days. You can see the puddles of water standing in the pasture. Our soil drains very well, so the puddles will be gone in a day or two.
Today though the rain stopped and it was just clouds hanging low on the mountains.
And then a little patch of blue sky appeared. All the rain we got was snow on the mountains around us. You can see the snow-covered mountains off to the left.
The clouds parted and patches of blue sky appeared.
Rick took advantage of the dry day to fill the water trough in the bull pen. We have part of the water line to the bull pen done, but it isn’t finished yet, so we are watering the bulls with the 55 gallon drum we fill with water and tractor bucket. Gravity is our friend!
Here is why you need a head gate at the feeding trough – so the critters don’t stand in their feed. Very messy and they waste a lot of good hay.
Another glimmer of blue sky through the trees as the sun goes down.
And a couple of hours after these pictures were taken, the skies were clear and the weather turned cold. 35 degrees at 5pm – it will probably be down in the 20’s tonight. Makes the fire in the wood stove feel really good.
So, how did my two favorite veterans spend this Veteran’s Day? At a parade or maybe a patriotic concert or watching a game on TV? Of course not, they continued on building fence. It was a dry day and you don’t waste those around here – even a holiday. After all the fence posts – both wood and metal T posts – are set and the barbed wire pulled it’s time to set the gates. Alex is putting on the gate latch.
Making sure the gate is level.
Then on to the next post. These are 16 foot gates that swing two ways so there are double latches to attach for each one. The posts have to be set just right or the gates won’t latch – which does kind of defeat the whole purpose of having them in the first place. And really not a good thing when you want the cattle to stay inside.
Don’t our ranch sweatshirts with our logo on the back look nice? I think Alex needs to clean his hat though, he has bits of hay all over it. In his defense it is kind of difficult to feed hay to the cattle and not end up wearing some of it.
And voila! Both gates are set and they latch in all the right places. Open to drive across the road, and closed to move the cattle.
I turned the steers into this newly completed holding pen just to see how it would work and moved them easily in and out by myself – which is the idea.
And now on to the next fence. There does always seem to be a next fence.
The weather here on our ranch in the North Cascades has definitely changed in the past couple of days. A cold front blew through and guess what? I’ll give you a clue, here are our cattle pens and squeeze chute last week. See Lookout Mountain in the background that towers over our ranch?
Here is the mountain today. SNOW! Already. And it’s chilly out there too.
I’m not sure we are ready for this – seems awfully early in the season, but it is beautiful. Makes for some very dramatic cloud formations with our trees in silhouette.
This is the mountain to the south of us, also snow-capped and cloud covered. I love living here in our mountains, it is beautiful any direction you look.