Just a quickie today because I’m supposed to be watching video lectures for the Greek and Roman Mythology course I’m taking at coursera.org.
After telling us for months that he was going to take 4-H steers to the fair again, A. changed his mind.
I’m sad about this because I’ve been totally in love with every batch that’s been through here, but there’s still hope because the younger cousins got their steers the other day and they’re living at the family farm. (The steers, not the cousins.)
Annie and I went over to check them out…
but dog got completely sidetracked by one of the cats that jumped from the top of the fence and ran into the barn.
Annie was so engrossed, she didn’t even notice when the cattle started to come outside to check her out.
Anyhow, there are five new steers at the farm and I’ve already been approved for unlimited visitation rights.
I just hope no one finds it odd when I’m out there singing to the cattle.
It’s been known to happen.
After supper this evening, Annie and I went for a walk around the family farm to take some pictures to share with you.
We ventured across the street and down the drive and first checked on the neighbor’s cows.
We then moved on to see how the soybeans were doing,
and checked out the new doors on the fertilizer storage building.
Then Annie dog and I took a stroll down the lane between two of the fields.
I got a picture of the farm from the back…
while Miss Annie plopped her butt down and took a break.
Though some days I rant and rave and complain about having twice as much work as I have time,
today was good.
The county fair opened this morning, so this is probably the only post you’ll see from this farm wife this week.
DQ (aka #174) has settled in nicely. He gets to do nothing until Thursday but stand around and look handsome.
I’ve spent most of my time up at “our” end of the fair, where the air smells more like cow poop than caramel corn…and I’m fine with that.
However, the neighbors are a bit on the noisy side.
But I did get to see my first Ground Pounders tractor pull.
Since I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, I hope to see more of the fair…and maybe even seek out the perfect sausage sandwich.
Right now, I’m ready for a hot shower and a snuggle with Annie Dog.
To all of my U.S. friends…have a safe and happy 4th of July.
Though the Trumbull County Fair doesn’t start until next week, today was weigh-in day for the Carcass Class steers. That means two of the remaining three steers left us.
The guys did a great job (after a few humorous attempts) loading the steers for the short drive to the fairgrounds. Once we got there, each trailer waited for their turn to unload and weigh in.
From their first weigh-in back in December, the two steers have gained an impressive total of 1323 lbs, or over 3 lbs. per day.
That’s even more than I gain after spending a holiday at my parent’s house!
After both steers were weighed, the paperwork all taken care of, and the pictures taken, it was time to load them back in the trailer.
It’s always sad when they’re gone, but I can look forward to new calves arriving in a few months.
As for our steers, I think the kid did a fantastic job taking care of them–he won last year for the greatest rate of gain, and I think he’s done an overall better job this time around.
Farmer D & I can’t wait to hear how the steers rank with the other 4-H projects.
I’ll let you know when we find out next week.
Want to see or read more about “fair” beef? See what Jenny at Chico Locker and Sausage Co., Inc. has to say.
I was a bit shocked when I looked at the calendar and realized that we’re only a couple of days away from June…and a little more than a month away from our county fair.
And that made me very, very sad, because that means it’s almost time for the boys in the barn to leave us.
There are currently five steers in our barn. The black and white-faced steer, a.k.a. DQ, is the boy’s show steer. Two others will be auctioned off at the fair as carcasses, and the remaining two will fill our family’s freezers.
Our 4-Her has been working with his three almost every day, and I have to say that they (the boy and the steers) look good.
Here are what the boys looked like yesterday:
Though some people may not be happy about how this story will end (including me), I can promise you that while we have our animals, we take the best care of them that we can.
Most farmers will tell you exactly the same thing.
Actually, they don’t say much of anything, which according to Farmer D is a good thing, unless you’re in the barn around supper time…then you’re serenaded by a bunch of lovely guys with beautiful baritone voices.
Is that too weird for you?
It’s a little weird to me, and I’m the one that just wrote it.
Anyhow, the cattle are doing fine. The oldest of the bunch will be one year old in February; the youngest is a little over six months old.
Since the weather is cold and endlessly wet here, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about raising beef and about the processing process.
In the food world, the grass-fed vs. grain-fed thing—and which one is best—is a huge (non) issue. Many proclaim that grass-fed beef is the only way to go…but read what Jeff Fowle, a California beef farmer and agvocate, has to say about Grass vs. Grain.
For the record, Farmer D subscribes to the “grass-fed, grain-finished” school of thought.
As for the processing part (though I have no desire to do it myself), I’m fascinated with Megan Brown’s article, Brown Ranch: From Pasture to Plate. Ms. Brown is a 6th generation cattle rancher, and a strong voice in the agvocate world, who loves to share what goes on in her family business.
If you want to learn more about your favorite meat, and how it gets from the farm to your table, read everything you can from Jennifer Dewey at Chico Locker & Sausage Company, Inc., and follow @KYFarmersMatter (on Twitter.) You’ll find amazing ladies in both places that really know their stuff.
(And by now, you’ve probably noticed that I love to read and love to research.)
I’m sure I’m missing more great info out there, but it’s time to go outside and check on the boys in the barn.
What other beef-related sites do you think I should check out?
That’s the combined weight of three of our “babies,” the 4-H steers.
Of course, I had to get up at the crack of dawn yesterday to learn this—Farmer D wanted to be at the county fairgrounds by 7:30 a.m. when the weigh-in started.
Maybe 7:30 a.m. doesn’t sound too bad, but that meant D and I both had to get our middle-aged butts up and start pounding the Advil and coffee (and I had to pee at least 14 times) just to be able to move and bend enough to load the steers onto our borrowed trailer.
Luckily, our future son-in-law showed up to help, so I got to be a “girl” and wasn’t one of the luckily souls pushing cow butts. (I’m usually in the middle of the action…and the muck…because I generally don’t mind getting dirty to get a job done.) It took some tugging and rump smacking (on the cows, not the boys), but Adam and Tim got the job done.
When we got to the fairgrounds, and it was our turn, the boys had to move each steer, one at a time, out of the trailer and into the chute so the cattle could get their weights recorded. Each animal also got a new ear tag.
Though the steers were not happy about the whole process, they did good (and got fresh hay and lots of head scratching when we got home.)
And so, without further adieu (and because it makes my weight sound light as a feather), the official weights are:
- 173 (aka Norman, because he sometimes looks at you like Anthony Perkins at the end of Psycho) – 582 lbs.
- 174 (aka DQ, because he has white curls on top of his head like an ice cream sundae) - 636 lbs.
- 175 (aka the cow formerly known as 101) - 656 lbs.
That equals 1874 lbs., or what I call some serious beefcake.
(I had to say that because Farmer D teases me about always sneaking out to snuggle with the guys in the barn.)
I can’t wait to see what they look like when it’s time for the fair.
*Many thanks to Lazy B Trailer Sales, Inc. for the rental trailer. You guys rock!