Friday, March 28, 2014

Is Spring Here?

What a long-seeming and COLD winter!

Lately I have been concentrating on Dexter meat.  I raise grass-only, no hormones, no antibiotics, no GMOs beef.  Natural and delicious Dexter and Dexford beef.  Various local processors do the job.  Right now I'm eating very lean, winter-harvested meat.  Even though it would not be most recommended to order grass-fed beef in mid-winter, I have wonderful ground meat that is so lean I can put it in soups and spaghetti sauce without precooking and not have anything to skim off the top.  So far I have had "made-right" type sandwich, and also a chunk crockpotted for eating the next day, and I have been very happy with the ground.  Also, friends who pre-paid have an unexpected early pickup which gives me a chance to visit some folks I don't see often enough.  I send out evaluations to buyers who (buy live animals to make meat or) buy meat, and most come back positive.  I heard from a previous buyer this week who did NOT like a roast she'd cooked and I had no idea.  It turned out that she was unaware that grassfed beef needs to be cooked differently, and I thought she already knew the "low and slow" byword.  Shannon Hayes authored The Grassfed Gourmet, so is worth a look.  See

Early this week I had the anticipated birth of a "Legacy" calf.  In the early 2000s I was hoping to make a "mini-Woodmagic" herd on this side of the Atlantic and went in search of cows whose pedigrees contained mostly Beryl Rutherford's animals.  Hard to find relatively-unmixed, and dying off.  The "Colorado" herd came to my attention at around the same time, as a herd from early bloodlines in the U.S. that had been closed from outside influences for many years.  Among my Woodmagic finds/buys, only one gave me a calf that was unmixed (from AI, using Trillium Cluny semen).  Due to positive BLV tests in the cows, I isolated them from my normal herd and was pasturing them in an area I didn't visit often so did not get to know that bull calf well.  I eventually lost all the females without success in calves, and sold the bull last year, fortunately to some folks interested in preserving early bloodlines.  Meanwhile I had had one female transported from Delaware in 2004 or 2005 from the Colorado herd.  She has now given me 2 heifers from that Woodmagic-line bull.  I tried to buy a Colorado bull-calf from Delaware in 2012 but the owners said yes and then went into the process of dispersing their herd and I did not get one.  Now I have one Colorado cow, and two heifers that are a combination of Colorado and Woodmagic.  Have plans to try to tend and increase these rather rare Dexter lines as seedstock options for buyers, if I can manage it.

Meanwhile my Preference, from Llanfair's Mulligan (first red polled Dexter bull born in the US, I believe) is still his sweet self and getting along in a pen in my barnlot with three of my prospective future herd sires.  He has been my main herd sire for the calves to be born this year.  He tends to pass his sweet, calm temperament on to his offspring.  There is no Dexter bull in the U.S. that I am prouder to have had influence my herd than Mulligan.  And since Preference came with his sire and dam when I bought Mulligan, Preference has been with me since a calf and is so dear to me that he is prominent on my keychain and my cellphone!  I have various Mulligan descendants for sale.

My Babydoll sheep are a treasure too.  I enjoy them and appreciate their easy care.  It is nearing both shearing time and lambing time.  I have found a white ram that I was looking for but so late in the winter season that I couldn't get him to use this year.  I held out my oldest white ewes and did not breed them because I was hoping to get the ram I was seeking.  Hope that doesn't turn out to have been a mistake.  Meanwhile I have some ewe lambs from last year that should still be fine to show this year and I've tried to learn a bit more about showing so that I can.

I'm eagerly awaiting the young humans who will (I hope) be out to practice with calves and sheep and learn to handle and show them.  The weather, though it keeps bouncing between warm and cold, is moderating enough for the kids to start soon.  Your child, if you live nearby, may still enroll in the program, as I have several openings. 

A money-saving thing I ran into recently is that my cellphone provider is taking referrals and paying, $35 during March (presumably $25 later) to both the new customer and the referrer.  If you would rather switch from your contract cellphone and move to Virgin Mobile, I would definitely appreciate your using my code as referring customer: .   I saw some new acquaintances in WalMart in February, I think, looking at phones and told them about the great customer service, inexpensive plans, and good phones that Virgin Mobile has.  Since Sprint as carrier has good service in their area, they decided to try it out.  When I spoke with them yesterday, they told me they had their month already credited to them and I found today that I did too!  So I don't owe another month on that phone until mid-May and will still have continuous service--woohoo!