Scotland and Steak

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Orkney Scotland

“Scotland is a pretty country.  The roads are so winding that they seem designed to ensure a maximally scenic experience, and the fields are greener than in most other places by orders of magnitude.  They are also pleasantly irregular, having been parceled off in an age before right angles, and are separated by fences hewed out of rock or long and commendably trim hedges.  A knight in armor on horseback would look less out of place on a Scottish road than a car does.  But what would look most natural of all is a golf cart.  The entire country is a vision of the golfing afterlife, with epic stretches of fairway and rough, and the odd clump of forest for texture.  Fields stretch out to the horizon, covering the rises in the land the way a taut blanket covers an uprise of toes.  Looking skyward, you have the feeling that the hand of God might plunge through the cloud cover to stroke all that dewy pasture like an old woman patting a cat.”

an apt description by author Mark Schatzker in his book, STEAK.

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Orkney, Scotland
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Shetland Scotland
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Longoe Farm – part of the Castle of Mey estate, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland
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Shetland
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Kingston Farm – Dunlouise Angus – Forfar, Scotland

Potato Abortion

The potatoes are getting soft and eyes are sprouting – I cut out the eyes and throw them in the bin for the chooks.  They could have had life!!!  The potatoes are quartered and thrown into a pot of boiling water, along with their skins…..

Milk leftover this week, so it is potato soup with cheese and broccoli for lunch today.

Never let food go to waste.  Get creative.

Yerba Maté

My dear friend Ivis from Bolivia introduced me to Yerba Maté several years ago and I’ve been hooked on it since.  Described as ““strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one non-alcoholic beverage.

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Cure your gourd before using. 1) Fill gourd halfway with mate and fill with hot water. 2) Soak for 24 hours. 3) Remove herb and thoroughly scrape gourd pulp from inside using a spoon.
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4) Repeat steps 1-3 a second time 5) Give it a final hot water rinse
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With a tiny spoon (souvenir size), I scoop in about four spoonfuls and fill with not quite boiling water. Some people add sugar. Be careful – the bombilla will get hot!

Be culturally in vogue with a gourd and bombilla to properly enjoy your maté,

Yerba Mate contains caffeine, so check out possible drug interactions and side effects.

Cultivation (from Wikipedia).  The Yerba mate plant is grown and processed in South America, specifically in northern Argentina (Corrientes,Misiones), Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul). Cultivators are known as yerbateros (Spanish) orervateiros (Brazilian Portuguese).

The Unique Corriente – History

Three years ago, I had never even heard of the breed of cattle called ‘Corriente,’ but now, this noble and native breed comprises over 90% of my herd!  Despite being around for centuries, few people are familiar with them.  Corrientes can be described as a small frame Longhorn with shorter and straighter growing horns and are quiet, gentle, and hardy.  Never enter a pasture, though, with any type of livestock – they are protective of their young and may be leery of strangers.

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Corriente cow with a Red Angus calf by her side.

Here’s a short history of the unique, yet ‘common,’ Corriente!

History (from North American Corriente Association)

The Corriente can be traced back to the first cattle brought to the New World by the Spanish as early as 1493. These hardy cattle were able to withstand the ocean crossing and adapt to their new land. They were brought to the West Indies and south Florida, as well as to Central and South America. Over the centuries the descendants of these cattle were bred for different purposes – milk, meat and draft animals. They also adapted through natural selection to various regions. Eventually, their descendants spread across the New World. In the early 1800’s, European and other breeds were introduced, and by the 1900’s many ranchers in the Americas were crossing their herds with modern beef cattle. Pure descendants of the original Spanish cattle almost disappeared, but some managed to survive with little human care or intervention in remote areas of Mexico, Central and South America, and in very limited numbers in some areas of the southern U.S.
Today, there is evidence of a worldwide growing interest in preserving various strains of these hardy, native cattle. Cattle associations in Spain, Cuba, Mexico and South America are making efforts similar to the NACA’s to recognize their attributes, though few actually support registries.

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Crossbred calves drinking from a tire tank. One cow to the left.
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Longhorn heifer with her first calf.

In Central and South America, the various descendants of the early Spanish cattle are generally referred to as “Criollo.” In parts of northern Mexico, they are often called “Corriente,” although this term is frequently used for any small cattle of indiscriminate breeding and not just for the type of cattle recognized by the NACA. “Corriente Ropers” became the most common term used at the border to refer to the cattle purchased for rodeo use. Thus Corriente was chosen by the founders of the NACA to be used for this registry.
John E. Rouse, in his book, World Cattle, Vol. III, Cattle of North America, explains the names used in Mexico. Regardless of the name, the NACA has made great in-roads toward defining, describing and preserving Corriente cattle as a specific breed.

“Descendants of the original Spanish cattle, little influenced by modern breeds, are now seen only in the remote parts of the country. These are generally known as Criollo cattle, although in the state of Sonora the term Corriente is more
common, and in Baja California the word Chinampo is used. All these terms, meaning ‘common cattle’ or ‘cattle of the country’ are applied to more or less pure descendants of the Spanish cattle, as well as to the indiscriminate mixtures of these and more recently introduced breeds.” cattle pics and more 443 - Copy

Too Darn Cold!

Yes, i did take out and unroll four bales of hay to my cows. Yes, i should be strip grazing. But it’s TOO DARN COLD! I get out, cut the strings, pull them off, get in the WARM pickup, unroll, then do it again. Except for cutting strings and busting ice on the tank, I’m not gettin’ out much.  Windchill is 8°F below zero.  (-22C)

The leak valve is keeping the water coming into the tank, but I think not enough overflow to keep ice from forming on top at night when the cows aren't drinking. There is always a hole straight above the leak valve that is open. Incredibly! the water in the ditch is still running - barely. — at Tannachton Farm.
The leak valve is keeping the water coming into the tank, but I think not enough overflow to keep ice from forming on top at night when the cows aren’t drinking. There is always a hole straight above the leak valve that is open. Incredibly! the water in the ditch is still running – barely. — at Tannachton Farm.

Soap Making

I’m no soap queen, but since I want the best soap available for my family and myself, the least expensive is to make it myself – although that is still not cheap.  The time spent and the materials to purchase or make add in to dollars per bar.  However, when it’s so icy cold outside, this is the time to restock our soap supplies for the year or sometimes two year’s worth!

If you figure your cost of soap remember to add in the cost of skin oils or lotions you use.  Commercial soaps typically have the glycerin removed so it can be sold to you in a separate bottle of lotion.  Home-made soaps still contain the naturally occurring glycerin.

Although it has been cold, it certainly is convenient for cooling the lye quickly!  Nothing more romantic than standing in 4 degrees Fahrenheit under a full moon at night stirring lye water!  😉

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Disaster strikes with the 100% tallow – totally crumbled, so will have to rebatch this one! Aaargh!
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Seven batches set out to cure – This will take at least four weeks before the soaps are ready to use. The plastic containers hold bits and pieces that will be used for making laundry soap.
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Shaving Soap made with Bio-Char – really excited about this soap. Will have to see how it feels once cured, but it is one of the prettiest soaps I’ve ever made! Also contain bentonite clay for slip.

Preparing for a Cold Snap!

Cold temperatures have descended on north Missouri today and forecasted to hang around for at least the next 10 days! With the ground already frozen, these continued below freezing temps made

it tough to set up the sheep electric netting fence.  Thankfully, I put up netting around several large bales of hay and running water for the sheep to stay put until the weather breaks, though I may have to chop ice if we don’t get any snow.  Sheep really don’t need water if there is snow available.

No longer am I trying to graze the road banks with the sheep.  Moving them down the bank is like pushing water now and with the ground frozen, it’s far too difficult to install the Kencove sheep netting fence.  At this point, grazing the banks in the spring after green grass starts coming on will be the next time they are pushed out.  Sheep grazing the banks eliminates the need for me to mow the banks with the brush hog, but it is extra work.

Cattle are a different story in the water department.  If there is plenty of heavy, wet snow, they won’t drink much, but if that’s what we have, it destroys the stockpiled winter forage for them to graze much faster than just being frozen or a light snow.  However, with a light snow, they will need fresh flowing water available.  Therefore, in anticipation of freezing weather, I filled the water tank and opened the leak valve so that the water will fill the tank and then continue running over the top of the overflow pipe.  Flowing water will not freeze easily – especially if the cattle are drinking from it.  The drawback to overflow is that the water is draining the pond from which it originates, though in Missouri, this is usually refilled easily when spring rains come.

Winter grazing with the lack of grass regrowth allows us to strip graze whatever size breaks we want to give the cattle or sheep.  If I know I’ll be back up to the farm the next day, I’ll give the cows a very small break of forage so that they won’t walk all over it and ruin it before grazing.  However, if it will be several days or if it’s going to be extra cold, I’ll set up a bit larger break.  The breaks are fenced with one strand of Powerflex Fence electrified polybraid fence and step-in posts for easy set up and tear down.  I use two lines and leap frog them across the paddocks  – allowing enough quality forage to maintain a healthy condition on the animals.  Strip grazing versus free access will vastly increase utilisation resulting in, on average, about 60% more grazing days!  Additionally, manure is more evenly distributed across the paddock.  (my paddocks average about 20 acres each).  My cows and calves require about 6500 lbs of dry matter per day, so accurately estimating the amount of forage per acre is crucial, then I open up enough acres for the cows to graze however many number of days I want.

Happy Grazing!

tauna

Sheep bale grazing near a small patch of timber.
Sheep bale grazing near a small patch of timber.
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Going for the green!
Cattle grazing through snow  - strip grazing stockpiles forage
Cattle grazing through snow – strip grazing stockpiles forage

Faith, Family, Farm

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