Grass Fed Beef

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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

A Calf Update

Remember those cute little calves born a few months ago?

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The wobbly little creatures who could barely stand up?

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And weren’t much bigger than our heeler Molly?

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They bawled for their mothers a lot?

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Those little babies are now sleek, fat calves grazing in the lush pasture.

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Remember A-1 – the calf who had a difficult birth and was so weak he could barely hold his head up? The one we had to tube feed him for five days?

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He is now a big, good looking steer. Here he is grazing in front of one of our smaller cows. In case you missed that episode, you can read about A-1 here

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Here he is on the left with the other calves – he’s the biggest of the lot.

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All the calves – and cows too for that matter – are enjoying the summer pastures and doing really well.

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The calves are still curious critters. When I go out to the pasture to take pictures it doesn’t take very long for them to come up and see what I’m doing.

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And some of them are a little slow learning how to nurse safely. If they stand behind the cow instead of at the side of the cow, they are in the “danger zone” as you can see from Mildred’s calf on the left here.

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He is the only one who can’t seem to figure out how to avoid this problem.

Millie

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know that a couple of years ago we had an orphaned calf, Millie. Since her mama died when she was four months old, she got a lot of extra attention and has become something of a pet.

She has a sweet personality and has become a real “people’ heifer since she was around us so much as a calf. She is also a full blood Lowline Angus – our other breeding stock are half bloods – so she is very small. Here she is eating hay this past winter next to Dolly a half blood heifer.

Well, our little Millie is all grown up – well at least as grown up as she is going to get – and has just given birth to her first calf, also a heifer.

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Millie was small as a calf, but this little one is tiny. The average size of our other calves born this year was 70 pounds; this one is maybe 40 pounds and she is a week old.

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She’s a spunky little thing and very quick too. Alex checked her when she was just a couple of hours old and he had a hard time holding her down.

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She usually stays pretty close to her mama.  Millie is on her own schedule later than the other cows and calves, so the two of them are all alone in this pasture.  All the other cows and calves are down the road at our summer pasture and those calves are all a couple of months old now.

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Millie is a good mom and diligently takes care of her baby. It always amazes me how these cows instinctively know what to do – even with their first calves.

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Millie really doesn’t fit with our meat breeding program since we’ve gone to half-blood Lowlines to get a little bigger carcass.

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As I said though, she’s a sweet little thing and she had this calf on her own with no problems. So, I guess we just have one option.

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 Name the calf! Rick calls her “Vanilli” As in Millie Vanilli – and if you are too young to remember that whole episode you can read about it here. Surely we can come up with a better name than that! Any suggestions?

Summer Pastures

After a wet and cool spring, the sun has been shining on the grass and it is time to move the cattle onto their summer pastures – yeah! So my son Alex and I loaded the cattle in our little stock trailer and took them down the road to their home for the summer.

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The steers – and Ox the bull – were so happy to see the fresh green grass they started grazing as soon as they got out of the trailer.

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With only two of us (Rick was out-of-town) we were a little short-handed for moving cattle, but the boys all co-operated and we got them loaded and moved with no problem.

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The summer pasture is only a half a mile from our place; it is a beautiful location with mountains and glaciers all around.

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These steers will have a wonderful summer on all the fresh grass they can eat.

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The cattle are not the only ones enjoying the location. See the house in the background next to the old barn? Alex lives there now! He can keep an eye on the cattle all summer, and enjoy his own views.

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