The mercury is rising. Triple digits are here.
We've been busy putting up shade cloth and mounting fans for the animals. Misters are also in the works.
The steers appreciate the shade cloth and the fans. We plan to put misters up for them again. Last year, misters worked pretty well… for a while. But cattle are curious creatures. They were somehow able to reach the tubes and pull them down, messing up the misting system.
Even though it is truly just a mist, it can get pretty muddy underneath. In the heat of the day, the steers lounge in the shed and under the shade cloth with the fans and misters blowing right on them. And while mud might not seem pleasurable to me, the steers seem to enjoy standing right in it. I’m sure it helps them feel cooler.
This weekend was a busy one. How much can two people do in one weekend? It will make you tired just reading about it.
On Saturday morning, Tim processed all of our meat chickens while I made noodles. It took up most of the day.
After harvesting 19 meat birds, we let them rest in refrigeration for 24 hours before we bag them and place them in the freezer. This is an important step. If you skip this step, the chicken can be tough. It’s similar to letting sides of beef hang before making the individual cuts.
We prefer our chicken to be cut up in such a way that we can have a whole meal of drumsticks, thighs, breasts or wings. We even sort the wings as all double bones or all single bones. We have found this sorting of chicken parts works best for our recipes and how we like to eat.
It seems we are always running out of noodles. And with the Farmers Market in Winchester next weekend, I needed noodles for my booth! Last week I made wide pasta, most of which has already been sold. We love wide pasta for stroganoff and fettuccini Alfredo. Saturday was German noodle day. I made six batches and placed them on drying racks. Once they are dry, I will bag them up and get them ready for the Farmers Market.
On Saturday, late afternoon we moved our cattle into a small holding pasture next to our house so that we could wean calves on Sunday.
You know what they say about all work and no play… After a hard days work, we enjoyed a ride on our Kawasaki Mule and looked at the hay that had been baled this past week.
For supper, we lit up the Kamado grill in our outdoor kitchen, and enjoyed some of our Wagyu beef German sausage and homemade sauerkraut. It was a great day, but we were very tired, and sleep came easy.
We went to Church on Sunday morning. It’s like hitting the reset button. It gets us ready for the busy day and the busy week ahead.
After Church, we hauled a very sweet, beautiful steer to the processor. We are beef farmers, and we know the purpose for our cattle operation is raising beef. But we also know that happy animals make the best tasting beef. So we give all of our animals lots of love and attention. Each one is special. And each one leaves a lasting impression on us. Being connected with our food at this level is important to us and it should be to everyone. Not everyone can have a farm and raise their own food, but knowing a farmer is like knowing your food.
Here is a picture of our steer eating grass out of my hand in the trailer.
When we got back from hauling the steer, we started sorting cattle that were placed in the holding pasture. We had nine calves that needed to be weaned. We use a Tarter sweep system and sorting pens. The cows have lots of choices and open gates that all lead exactly where we want them to go. Letting the cows naturally meander and make choices is very low stress for them, and easy on us. Being easy going is so important, especially when we are out in the heat.
We hauled the nine weaned calves in two separate loads to our place in Warda, where they will enjoy grassy pastures until they are about 18 months. That is when we decide if they will stay there to be finished on grass or if we will move them back home to be finished on grain.
Here is a picture of us dropping off the weaned calves. They are being greeted by the older calves that are almost ready for their next stage in life. What a joy it is to see green pastures and water in the tanks.
It was a real treat to ride in the truck with the air conditioner blasting. By that time, we were ready for the day to be over, but it wasn't over yet. We still had to bag all of the chicken meat that Tim had butchered on Saturday, and get it into the freezer.
Wow, we were extremely tired. But we felt so good about all of the things we accomplished.
Our grain-fed Wagyu beef production is at an all-time high. We are sold out of almost everything in our freezer from a recent harvest. Our next grain-finished Wagyu beef harvest will be ready for pickup today, at which point we will organize each cut into the freezer and take inventory. Then we will get all of the pre-sold items ready for pickup. There are pre-orders for ribeyes, briskets, filet mignon, sirloins, ground beef and ribs for the 4th of July.
"Out of stock" is not something we like to post on our website, but it is now more common than ever before. We haven't quite figured out how to keep up with demand. But we are learning!
We will have a half of a grass-fed calf available in July. Half is already sold. If you are interested, please call me at (979) 540-7164 and place your deposit!
Tim and I prefer the flavor of grain finished beef. But we have made room in our freezer for some grass-fed Wagyu beef ribeyes, New York Strips, Filet mignon, Denvers and Chuckeye steaks. If the demand is good, we will consider carrying grass-fed retail cuts as a permanent product, but for now this is only a test.
Here is a side by side picture of two New York Strips. The left side is a grass-fed NYS and the right side is our grain finished beef. Both are very good, tender and delicious. We just happen to love prime Wagyu beef more than anything, and since both are loaded with healthy fats, it's a matter of personal preference. If you would like to try a side-by-side challenge, we can make that happen!
We also have yummy summer sausage with and without jalapeño & cheese, beef jerky, and German sausage links. It makes the perfect lunch on a hot and busy day.
Here is a picture of the German hot links that we enjoyed with sauerkraut. Tim ate two and I had one. On Sunday night we sliced up the leftover hot link and used it to dress up a frozen pizza. It was similar to pepperoni in size, and a delicious addition that made a quick meal seam a whole lot better. They never put enough pepperoni on frozen pizza anyway.
If you are interested in any of these delicious new products, please see our website because some of them are now available for purchase.
Thank you all for supporting our small farm. We hope to see you at the Farmers Market on Saturday in Winchester!