Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In the cattle business...

Enjoying their new grass...

We bought our first two steers today. What an exciting event to go to the sale and bid for the first time. The breed we have chosen is a cross between a Red Angus cow and a Hereford Bull. Now, that being said, the first two we bought are red angus steers...and here is why. First of all we need the experience before we get more into a cow/calf operation like we would like to. Secondly, we need more cash. And thirdly, we want to be certain that this cross finishes out well on grass as we have been told and read. These red angus steers will be close enough taste wise. Actually, as far as the taste, I am told it is basically the same as black angus. Apparently the reason these crosses are better for the intensive grazing we plan  to do, is because of the way they were bred originally, to finish on grass verses grain.  Ok, now for the way we are going to raise them. We plan on rotating them daily in front of our chickens. It is called mob grazing. Basically, you give however many cows you have enough grass for a 24 hour period, enough meaning: 60% eaten, 30% trampled and 10% left. This is a model that we found in our research, done by Greg Judy. I believe that Joel Salitin does this as well, although I am not sure if he rotates them daily or not. Either way, these intensive, rotational grazing methods not only eliminate the need for hay ( in our area), but it quickly builds the topsoil while growing some of best meat you can eat. The cows also live a much happier life, and they are much more tame. We will be rotating our milk cows in a similar manner, but we will bring them to the barn area at night so that they will stay tame for milking. This is going to be an exciting year!

Area to the left grazed, area to the right ungrazed...

The perimeter fence is three hot strands, and the fence with the yellow poles is what we move everyday.  Basically a big rectangle that we divide off, enough for a days worth of grass. No need to worry about back-grazing in the winter, but in the summer they will have a fence behind them as well...

Monday, February 20, 2012

I figured it out...

So here is a scenario: I go to the store and shop like the average American. I grab a few loaves of bread, Wonder to be exact, maybe even the wheat Wonder (if they have that). Then I head over to the pesticide laden produce and put a few iceberg lettuce heads in my cart and some potatoes sprayed with sprout inhibitors and I might even get a couple red, vine ripened tomatoes (it's January, so surely they ripened on the vine somewhere...). OK, now I have to get some dressing for all of this, so I throw in some ranch. I try to read the back of the bottle, but it's too confusing and the "natural" organic bottle is too expensive, so I get it anyway, after all, maybe all those words aren't that bad, I mean the store is for me...right? Now i make my way over to the frozen section and grab the main course for the night...Tyson Nuggets! Hey, they are on sale! Great! Oops, I forgot the pb&j, so when I make it to that isle, I find the latest in technology...pb&j in one bottle! Time saver! Plus, it's on sale! Now that I have all of my healthy stuff, time to splurge a little. Snack isle, here I come! Hmmm, so many choices...hey, i remember seeing those keebler elves on TV once, and they said they were natural, so I'll get those. Fudge covered grahams...with no expiration date! What should I get to wash this down, I know, I saw some of those little "chubby sodas" in the middle of the isle, and what a deal...only 25 cents each! That's cheaper than water! I'll take 10 of those, that should be enough to get me through the weekend, I mean I do have a bottle of Dew left over from breakfast. I almost forgot...popsicles! I saw someone getting those ones that you can scribble with, my kids will like those! And... they are on sale! I did want to get some bacon for breakfast, so I'll see if I can find any on sale...yep there is one, and it's got a picture of a farm on it with a happy little pig munching on grass! Jackpot! All of these great deals, and not only are they on sale, but I have coupons as well! So, now I head to checkout.  "Do you have your store card today?" Yes!!! More savings! "Your total is $14.96" " Would you like to donate $1 to the National Heart Foundation?" Sure! I mean, this is great! I save all this money on all of this "natural" stuff and I get to invest in my future all at the same place! How great!

Ok. well, now we are out of the scenario. Hopefully no one got offended, well, actually hopefully somebody did get offended enough to at least think. It really registered as I went through the checkout buying some batteries today, as the lady in front of me who was buying a box of Popsicles, some "chubby" soda and some candy bars for her little girl, (that should be child abuse!) was asked if she would like to donate a dollar to the Heart Association. Thankfully she did donate. It makes total sense to donate, I mean, if you shop like this, you better donate a lot, because you are investing in insurance for your future! I really hope that those of you that read this and have the thought "He needs more mercy on people, times are tough!" that you will realize that I am in these times as well, and odds are I have more mouths to feed. We need to make better choices about our foods, it IS possible and it NEEDS to be our priority to educate ourselves and to have a little more discipline. That is what we deserve, not the chemicals and the sick animals, or the sugars that our bodies can't process...

Sometimes local cost more, and sometimes real food cost more, but there are plenty of growers and farmers around that would be willing to work with you on making it doable for you! Just ask! Oh, and this is not about living in fear, it's about educating ourselves and doing what is right!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Upcoming Events...

2012 is beginning to seem very busy for us, and we are excited to say the least! First of all, we have been selected to participate in the 2012 MerleFest! That is a huge deal for us! Secondly, our products are currently in the final stages of review with Earth Fare, that's really cool! Our children are growing faster than they should, but that's ok, they are a huge help and part of all of this. Be sure and thank them as you see them, as most of you already do, for their hard work! The CSA shares are filling quickly, which tells me that supporting local, and knowing who grows your food, is becoming a priority for a lot of people! That is awesome! Tonight, after dark, in the snow, the older boys and I, went out for a sled ride behind the four wheeler. What a blast! Well worth the frozen hands. Friday the 24th of February, we will be attending a "Go Local" event here in Wilkes. It will be at: 164 Union School Dr.  North Wilkesboro, NC (*Celebration Church)
This event is not endorsed or sponsored by Celebration Church
Bee swarm...ever feel this busy?

One more last event to mention, then I need to go to bed...We will be setting up a booth in Charlotte at the 52nd annual Southern Springs Home & Garden Show starting Feb. 29th thru the 4th of March. Stop by if you happen to be in the area!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2012 Real Food CSA

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”. Consumers and farmers work together on behalf of each other. While the farmer is tending the earth on behalf of others, consumers share the costs of supporting the farm and share the risk of variable harvests (and also share the over-abundance of a particularly fruitful years). Membership in the CSA is based on shares of the harvest. Members are called shareholders and they subscribe or underwrite the harvest for the entire season in advance. Each project handles this relationship in its own fashion. Every farm is different in length of season, crops grown, level of social activities and price they set for their shares. CSA is not about cheap food, which is usually neither nourishing nor grown with care of the environment in mind; it is about real food! We encourage you to compare prices of a share to the supermarket's "cheap food."

We have 2 main choices for this years CSA shares:

1. Veggie CSA - $450 Veggie’s Only (May 1 thru October6)
2. Meat/Veggie CSA - $625 Veggies + 12 chickens (every other week for chicken)
no eggs/soap this year. (May 1 thru October 2)

There is another choice for those of you that just can't quite afford a full, or can't find a partner to do a share with:

3. Half CSA - $250 (May 1 thru Oct. 6)

email us at: for more information, or call us at 336-696-8060
you can also visit our farm website: