Tag Archives: certified angus beef

Wordless Wednesday: Moving Cows

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Beef Steers 2014

My last year of FFA.

My last year of FFA (it says ‘got beef?’ on my steer).

Back when I was a youth and heavily involved with 4-H and FFA, I raised market steers. It was a huge source of pride for me, that I would select, raise and show one of my own family’s steers. Our cattle are bred to be beef, not to win grand champion at cattle shows. Because of that I only won champion once in my whole 4-H and FFA career, HOWEVER I won or placed in the carcass contest (that is when the steer’s carcass is graded and judged) almost every year, and for a cattleperson, that values my final product, that meant tons more than a purple ribbon.

My cattle weren’t always “fluffly” at the fair (that means they didn’t have a lot of hair for me to style), but I was confident whoever purchased my calf was going to get a prime piece of beef that they would remember for years to come. I still have this same level of confidence when it comes to our cattle.

These are the steers leftover from our commercial herd this past August.

These are my steers leftover from our commercial herd this past August – they are a whisper over a year old here.

You remember that I quit my full-time job in town last spring. I am now living the dream on the ranch. Since I don’t have a steady income, my parents have graciously given me some steers to supplement my hog and sheep income. It has been a huge transition for me, to go from a salaried check every two weeks, to a couple of unknown checks a year. Budgeting is hard! These steers will be the majority of my income for the year – they will determine my quality of life, they will pay my bills. Because of this, because I know my current way of life depends on these animals, I want to do the best I can.

This is called a "tote" of grain. It is taller than my Dad.

This is called a “tote” of grain. It is taller than my Dad. I buy in bulk because I am feeding so many animals right now

I want my clients to have an opportunity to purchase “prime” beef. Prime is the grade of beef that you get in fancy, expensive steakhouses. It is delicious. To get prime beef you need to have several things:

  • good genetics
  • good feed
  • age (older calves tend to grade better than younger)
  • happy, healthy cattle (no stress and a great vaccination plan)

Since I have excellent herd genetics, I have access to grain, grass, protein minerals, hay and almond parts, my calves will be coming 24 months, and they are not stressed and are healthy, I know I can grow some great beef. I know it.

Good feed - this is rolled barley/corn, almonds and hulls, meadow hay (that we made), and a mineral block.

Good feed – this is rolled barley/corn, almonds and hulls, meadow hay (that we made), and a mineral block.

This week my Dad and I created a place for me to “finish” these steers. Since they already weigh around 1,150 pounds and are fairly fat, they will not take long to finish out. Basically by giving these steers grain, they will gain faster and the meat will taste less like grass and more like creamy, beefy deliciousness. If I had to guess, I will probably have them slaughtered around 1,400 pounds.

I took a felfie (a farmer 'selfie') while moving the steers into their new pasture.

I took a felfie (a farmer ‘selfie’) while moving the steers into their new pasture.

This is what the steers look like right now - it is going to be a blast watching them gain and finish.

This is what the steers look like right now – it is going to be a blast watching them gain and finish.

The only reason I am able to do grain finished steers this year is because the price of corn is low, so I can actually afford it, and the drought. I have no grass to finish cattle on right now – so I either hauled these guys to the auction yard or I feed them grain, and I have too many people that wanted to buy local beef this year to auction yard them. I’ve been after my Dad for a few years to let me finish some beef with grain, so this is actually exciting for me. The one thing I forgot to plan for was – I don’t get to keep one of these to eat. I am raising some of the best beef of my life and it’s already spoken for. It’s my secret hope that this beef is so beautiful (and it will be), that my Dad decides that I need to do this again next year! Come back soon and I’ll let you know how they finished!

For other local meat options check out:

Douglass Ranch 

Book Family Farm

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They Say It’s Your Birthday

It’s my birthday. But on the Ranch, birthdays are just another day. The cows don’t stop eating, the water doesn’t change itself and the bulls need to be turned out.

It’s ok, because the older I get, I find myself caring less and less about the dreaded annual event (except the cake part, I like that part).  Anyway, when my Dad asked if I could work cattle on my birthday, I was actually kind of excited about it. I figured, ‘hey, maybe I’ll get another promotion or something! It’s my birthday!’

The day started out early. I was supposed to spend the night on the summer ranch last night, but I managed to be so busy during that day, by the time I was done with all my chores it was going to be dark when I finally arrived in the mountains. And since I am the only child, my Parents tend to mitigate any extra risk they can, driving up the curvy, mountain highway in the dark is considered risky and frowned upon, hence I got to wake up in my own bed on my birthday!!!!

The cattle moved beautifully.

The cattle moved beautifully.

This ended up being a great thing because Daniel was able to come with me this morning. After I trotted over to the big house to wake my Mom and and get my cowdogs (I also got awesome presents! I love presents!!), Daniel brought me a Starbucks. All the way from town. It was glorious. I had Mom presents (plus my Mom is super crafty, so part of it was homemade with love and thought), and Starbucks, I cried. I swear, I cried tears of joy.

My birthday present to myself was this blue, under armour hoodie (I LOVE IT. IT IS THE BEST HOODIE EVER).

My birthday present to myself was this blue, under armour hoodie (I LOVE IT. IT IS THE BEST HOODIE EVER).

Daniel and I woke up before dawn (he had to wake up earlier to get coffee and drive out to the Ranch), drove a hour and half (with Starbucks!), and went to work. Did I mention it was freezing up there? It’s amazing how different the climate in California can be.

Early morning board meeting with my Dad. I just love our conference room.

Early morning board meeting with my Dad. I just love our conference room.

This was the first time poor Daniel had ever worked cattle with my Dad and I. I think it was the first time he ever worked cattle. Oh, did I mention he is a recent law school graduate? And just took the bar? I think this proves my theory that the stress of law school will prepare you for anything. He was a natural.

Even MY dog Hoot followed Daniel.

Even MY dog Hoot followed Daniel.

We have a  wonderful corral that Dr. Temple Grandin influenced heavily. It’s so much easier to work with the cattle now, and we need 3 people (sometimes 2!) instead of a big crew, thus lessening cattle stress even more. However, I made a mistake. Since the paradigm shifted and Daniel was now the one important not to get hurt (he is house counsel, can’t break him!), I got demoted from my normal job. Demoted on my birthday. Sigh.

I was the "pusher inner" today. The one that gets behind the calves to push them into the chute. These "babies" have me out-weighed by a hundred plus pounds. They handed my ass to my today.

I was the “pusher inner” today. The one that gets behind the calves to push them into the chute. These “babies” have me out-weighed by a hundred plus pounds. They handed my ass to me today. (This was my view today)

The job thief being thiefy.

The job thief being thiefy. (Also notice the skinny jeans? Wrangler will be releasing that line soon, I just know it).

We finished up with no cow, dog or person getting hurt.  Then in the best birthday move ever – my Parents gave me a couple cows to sell.

Yellow slips, we fill these out anytime an animal leaves the ranch. When a cow is sold, the person's name on the bottom right gets the check! My name went there today, yay!

Yellow slips, we fill these out anytime an animal leaves the ranch. When a cow is sold, the person’s name on the bottom right gets the check! My name went there today, yay! Happy birthday indeed! I’ll invest this back into the Ranch in the form of heritage piglets! Pork!

After working all day, and working hard! I would post pictures of my bruises, but trust me, you don’t wanna see that. We drove the hour and a half home to the Valley and Daniel took me to my favorite Mexican restaurant for a margarita and dinner. I got so much love on my social media.  It was a good day. Thanks friends (also I am exhausted and feel old, lol).

Food of the Gods.

Food of the Gods.

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Wordless Wednesday: Happy Cows

 

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Cross Rib Roast

  • 3-5 pound cross rib roast
  • Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons fine dried herbs (Rosemary, paprika, parsley etc)

I make a mixture of herbs, pepper, salt and balsamic vinegar. Peel a head of garlic.

Using a sharp knife point from a paring or a boning knife make several slits in the top of the meat. Tuck slivers or whole pieces of garlic into each slit.

Coat with your spice/vinegar mixture, drizzle with a little olive oil.  Notice I cook my roast in my cast iron frying pan, that way when I make gravy later it’s easy!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Calculate cooking time, using 20 minutes per pound of meat as a guide for a cross rib roast. Place roast in oven, TURN THE TEMPERATURE DOWN to 350 degrees and roast for the calculated time, checking with an instant meat thermometer after 3/4 of the cooking time just to make sure things are going ok. The thermometer should register about 140 (rare) to 155 degrees (medium). Remove from oven.

Look how pretty!

Pull your roast from the oven and tent with foil for about 20 minutes so the meat can rest and the juices can re-absorb.

Slice the meat and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. This is seriously one of my death row foods, the leftovers are even still breathtaking!

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