Some Sunflowers growing along the edge of the garden last month
It's officially fall already....snow in the mountains west of us, the first few Ash tree leaves were on the lawn this morning, and the cows' winter hair coat is becoming noticeable.
Thankfully our weather has been holding in the 80's, but some nights it gets into the 50's; making for chilly mornings!
The garden has slowed waaaay down, but that's fine! For such a short season (with the delayed Spring planting), overall the garden has done fairly well this year. It wasn't our biggest garden, but certainly not our smallest. Always the optimist, I figure there's always next year!
The chickens are growing fast, and still just one pullet is laying; but her eggs are getting bigger every day. Anyone who isn't laying by Thanksgiving will be in a stew pot or the freezer. I don't need to feed deadbeat chickens (ha) all winter!
I am the lowest I have been for a very long time on sugar; haven't come across any sales until this week. Let the stockpiling begin! :) I think I haven't bought sugar since the Holiday time(s) last year. We used quite a bit while canning, so the supply got depleted fast. Hey, that's why I do it, buy it kinda-sorta cheaper so I have it when I need it!
Kyle might be down this weekend.....Jared has been working quite a bit, so haven't talked to him much. Chandra posts pictures of Tracy for family, so that helps my "baby fix". Just wish I were closer to snuggle the little guy!
Daisy had some funky cuts on her teats, and on her udder. Not sure what she got into, or if the calf did it. They are healing well, and she isn't so "Ouchy" about them now. She's such a trooper, I do my best to be gentle when she has cuts.
I hesitate to say "calf"--Fillet is over 470#--Daisy weighs a tad over 750#. Fillet is now 6 months old and easily could be weaned. BUT the best-tasting beef is from milk-fed (real milk, NOT replacer) calves, and the longer they stay on the better flavor in the beef.
We discovered this by accident years ago when one of Dolly's calves kept getting out and became my "milk thief"--stealing my milk before I was out to milk. Sometimes cons becomes pros--it just takes time and putting two-and-two together to figure out that sometimes 'bad' things actually turn out for the good. ;)
Nessa was in some kind of "Zen" mode the other day, she was spacing off and had drool coming out of her mouth. Reminded me of an old horse taking a quick cat-nap. I had to laugh at her, and she didn't think it was funny at all when I interrupted her zen-spaced-off bliss! Her udder is growing, and looking good. I will have to get an updated photo.
Now onto more observations....the media can't seem to get jack squat right:
The guy looking for a "lost calf" and they show beef cows, but he rescues a Holstein calf......
A beef article with a photo of a Dairy cow
Or a Dairy article with a photo of a herd of Angus
Now onto craigslist ad photos:
Animals on a golf-course looking pasture. Ummmm, there is no growth since they ate it all down, so no wonder they look horrid, they are starving.....
Animals coated with mud, and/or in a feedbunk surrounded by mud (actually it's just their own poo and pee)
Calves standing next to horribly thin Nurse (Dairy) cows---I see this way too often!
Poor looking calves people want top dollar for (obviously raised cheaply on replacer and tossed out on another golf-course looking pasture)
It pains me when they list their websites, and everything is serene looking, and obviously their photos they selected gives one a peaceful, happy free-range atmosphere. Then they post horrible conditions in their 'for sale' ads. I *almost* contacted a "local" family after coming across their website (I was impressed) until I ran across their recent ads on craigslist with current photos. UGH. Not sure if it's a double standard or just stupidity...to say one thing, yet do another!
There's already enough uproar about labels of "all natural" or "beyond organic" or "free range"--or whatever the latest "name" craze is. It either IS or ISN'T like they describe. I know I'm wary of people who always meet folks elsewhere off their farm. I wonder if they don't want people to see what it REALLY looks like on their farm and the housing/pasture and in what condition the animals are. PFFFT I say!
I know everyone struggles from time to time, and yes, sometimes the weather/conditions won't be serene or idyllic.....consumers need to know this. BUT if people keep pulling the wool over their customers' eyes--it does no one any good.
It's best to be honest and upfront of why things look like they do. A simple "I had to put the calves/pigs for sale in this pen so I could catch them/-or-/they are getting weaned/-or-/it rained two inches in an hour"--gee, just be honest. I'd prefer to know what I'm buying/eating isn't a normal representative of the pictures posted!
I have little sympathy for the people that just want "cheap" food. If you want cheap, go to the supermarket, they'll gladly take your money for bland, over-processed foods. How does one *really* know that chicken or beef or pork or fruit or produce they bought wasn't raised or processed in some foreign country and shipped over here? UGH
People advertising items for sale usually take pride in their alternative/natural grown items (as compared to the industrial models--i.e. factory farms) and because people TRUST them to deliver what they promised they raised or grew.
Those who have purchased animals or retail meat/produce bought cheap and repackaged and resold for top dollar are simply traders--avoid those shysters like a plague. Those unknowingly who fall into their trap are supporting their dishonest habits. (I actually have stronger words than that to explain how they operate/take advantage of people.)
People like that only makes things tougher for legit, hardworking folks (like Morningland Dairy and countless other small farmers I know).
Feed, hay and essentials (minerals, salt, fencing, MY TIME/WORK) cost money, it's NOT FREE. Many times folks' sell their excess simply to turn around and buy hay/supplies for the next winter or year. They might eat good, but they won't get rich off what they are doing. Give trusted farmers a hearty hug and thanks. Honesty is a two-way street!
All in all I really don't think people understand just how much work (EVERY DAY--no matter the weather) goes into the food they eat.....or they'd appreciate it lots more and waste a h*ll of a lot less!