Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reservations, beef sales, and rain..

Just wanted to thank everyone that has been sending in their reservations in. As weaning approaches, this will be VERY helpful in knowing how much demand there will be. I would like to have reservations in by September 15 for spring delivery. I realize that your plans may change before the spring delivery date, but I would rather have beef available for you, than the alternative. Just to clear up a recent customer question: YES, beef will be processed in Northern Colorado, and delivery will still be available.

I do still have one eighth of beef for sale. It weighs about 60 lbs, and is a good mix of steaks, roasts and ground beef. I also have ground beef for sale, also. If anyone has ANY interest on either beef package, please contact me. This will most likely be the only beef I will have available until the spring delivery.

We have been getting regular rains daily for the last week here on the ranch. The thirsty ground is soaking it up and the hills are greening up. Although these rains are a little late from a grazing standpoint, they are building up the sub-soil moisture, and are excellent for the grasses' roots as they go into dormancy. Although the mud is starting to cake up on my boots, I am extremely grateful for this moisture.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My kind of evening...

when all I can hear is cows grazing. Our cows are currently grazing some lush riverbottom pasture. And boy, are they content. I truly heart happy cows. The mantra that I grew up on was if you treat your cows right they will treat you right. And that is what I live by every day. The kids and I went to go check on our older cows and their calves this evening. And I had to pause and enjoy the moment. It was absolutely still, which truly is amazing for Wyoming, and all I could hear was my cows munching grass. Then, every now and then, you would hear the 'oooof'' as a cow would lay down in the grass, content, preparing to enjoy her cud. This cowgirl's kind of bliss.

Happy cows belly deep in grass. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Recipe from the Ranch

I think since I love cooking with beef, and this blog is devoted to beef - I should share some of my favorite beef recipes. My plan is that I will share one a week - we will see how that goes. But for now I will share a recipe that we just had last night.

Simple Salisbury Steak

Serves Six

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 - 10 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup, divided
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

In a medium bowl, mix together ground beef, 1/4 c. mushroom soup, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, salt and pepper. Shape firmly into 6 patties. Then, mix together remaining soup and sliced mushrooms. Place patties in skillet and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through. Spoon off excess fat. Add mushroom sauce to skillet and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce is heated through, turning patties occasionally.

This can be prepared and frozen. Make the patties and individually wrap them in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag. Mix the sauce and you can then freeze the sauce in a quart size bag. When you are ready for the meal, thaw patties and sauce completely before cooking.

We had it with a veggie and french fries. A classic simplified.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What the hay?!

A behind the scenes look at we make the food our cows eat in the winter.

- as published on my blog, Blessed is She that Believes..

Being out in the hayfield has been an annual occurrence in my life since I was six. In my younger years, my dad and grandpa created a 'covered wagon' with a flatbed wagon and a tarp. Getting to have real live Laura Ingalls adventures was a highlight of my summer. Being immersed in sunshine, the flora and fauna of the Sandhills, and spending quality time with my Grandpa and my Dad - such great memories.

The hay crew circa 1986 - my Grandpa on the dump rake in the background and me on the sweep with a barn cat
When I finally got to become part of the hay crew, my job was the sweep. Here is a photo of me on the sweep. This is in the mid 1990s. As you can see, we upgraded our sweep technology. A sweep is actually a reversed tractor with a wooden fork type structure on the front (back) of it. Now unless you grew up in agriculture, you may wonder how this sweep thing works in the haying process.

The nuts and bolts of haying while I was growing up: The Kosch double bar sickle mower would cut the hay, a dump rake would come along and collect the mowed hay into long windrows. Then the sweep would travel up and down the windrows to gather the hay into bunches. Then a tractor with a specialized loader attachment would pick up the bunches of hay, and put them into loose stacks of hay.

Below is a close up picture of a loose stack of hay - we fondly called them gumdrops. Now you have got to love the hat that my Grandpa is wearing - he is on the right. It has so much character, just about as much as the man himself.

Another highlight of the summers was when my cousins and family came to visit and got to see what life was like on the ranch.
Now since my childhood years, haying has changed alot. Not only in our family's operation, but in general. There are still ranchers that use loose stacks and a few still use beaver slides.

A beaver slide - photo courtesy of Wikipedia
But most ranchers now use bales - whether they are round or square bales. They are typically what you will find on most ranches throughout the Sandhills and in Wyoming. They are what we put up on our ranch.
A Round Bale
To make a round bale, the hay is left laying in the windrow after raking. Sometimes the windrows are brought together by a rake called a V rake. A tractor pulling a round baler drives over the windrow. The hay is picked up off of the ground by a big metal comb on a reel turning very fast. It is then turned and wrapped round and round inside a chamber until it forms a cylindrical bale. Then twine or a sheet of netting (called net wrap) is wrapped around the bale to keep the hay from falling off. The baler's door then opens, and the bale is pushed out.
What we use now to put up hay: the cast of characters, from left to right: swather - cuts the hay and puts it into windrows, tractor pulling a V rake - combines two windrows into one, tractor pulling a round baler - bales the hay, and finally a tractor pulling a hay hiker - moves the bales off the field to a central location.
So today I traded in my typical agenda of checking on cows for cutting hay, and although a lot has changed from when I helped my Grandpa and my dad almost thirty years ago, there's just something about a sunshiny day out in a hayfield.
My View

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ready to Get Your Grill On?

I have a quarter of beef ready to go to someone's freezer. 120 lbs. of zinc, iron and protein packed steaks, roasts and ground beef. I can split into two eighths, if preferred. Let me know if you are interested, with contact information, and I will connect with you as soon as possible.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome to this beef-eater's little spot on the internet. I have decided that this may be a better marketing location for the beef products, and give me a little more freedom to share the day to day activities on the production of our beef products, a better format for sharing recipes, and also a way for non-Facebook users to stay up to date on all that is going on at Churches Natural Beef.

a view of our cows out on summer pasture