Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cows, cows, cows

That is the creative way Henry calls the cows when he feeds them. We are now the proud owners (once we make a downpayment) of 30 Black Angus stocker cows. We'll raise them through the summer and then have them butchered and sell the meat straight to customers, a food coop, and possibly, a local butcher.

This farm to table system is not as popular as it should be. I'm sure many people have heard about how the family farm is dying. It used to be that farmers would raise their cattle and then sell them to the processor who would butcher the cows and wrap them in plastic for the grocery store. With the advent of factory farming, a lot of small family farmers can't make money finishing cows in the traditional system. (Obviously, this is more complex than I make it sound here.)

Recently, we've been meeting farmers who are marketing directly to the customer. This does several things: a) cuts out the middle man, putting more money straight into the farmer's pocket b) allows customers "to know" their meat. (I haven't done a lot of reading on this yet, but apparently, meat that is raised organically is higher in Omega-3s than traditional meat.) This is ideal for smaller farmers, although we know people who have started a coop and are selling their meat together on a larger scale.

We're excited to get involved in this. This fall, we butchered five of our own beeves (an animal raised and slaughtered for beef), kept half a cow for meat (yummy, yummy), and sold the rest. It was exciting to finally get a taste (haha) of what farming could look like for us.

Check out Eat Wild if you want to find a farmer near you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book Review: Big Red Barn

Wow. I have readers - plural, which means more people than just my husband are reading this.

Hello to all five of you!

I was going to post about how we came to be farming in the first place, but that's a much longer story than I have brainpower for tonight. Instead, I thought it might be fun to do a mini book review.

Big Red Barn

by Margaret Wise Brown

I love this book. It's by the same woman who wrote Good Night Moon, but it's far less popular. (We only have one copy of Big Red Barn versus the three we were given of Good Night Moon). Almost all the animals mentioned including the bats and mice live on our farm.

Moses loves animals, and I can't wait until he really gets into reading. I think he'll love this book. (Right now, he just wants to turn the pages of his board books, but that's better than chewing them which he used to do).

This would make a great baby gift for any country dweller or city dweller who misses the sight of a corn field. (The one thing this book is missing is the manure that is ever-present on a farm, which depending on your point of view could be good or bad).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dropping fast

So this morning which started out with such promise - a new blog, sunshine, etc. - has gone downhill alarmingly quickly. So downhill that I am now sitting with a spoon, peanut butter (the ground up peanut stuff) and certified organic fair trade chocolate chips.

I pay my bills online and did so today. Unfortunately, I sent the payment for my credit card to an old credit card that is no longer active. That means I now get to spend several hours phoning back and forth between my bank and the credit card company while my money floats along in outer space. ARGH! I hate it when I'm stupid

In farming news, my husband is perusing the Gencor catalogue and comparing Angus bulls' rates to a bull we're interested in buying. We're also trying to think of a name for our personal farm enterprise, but I haven't really had anything click. H is partial to bird names. Suggestions?

Hi! My name is... Sarah

So, I've decided to join everyone else residing in North America and start a blog. This will hopefully encourage me to write more. I plan on exploring my life as a mom and farmer. I love to bake, so I'm sure we'll be talking about that too.

Currently, I'm a 1/4 owner of Russet House Farm, an (uncertified) organic farm in Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada. We raise rare breed Kerry cattle, Muscovy ducks, and chickens, in addition to having a large garden. We also run a lot of educational programming, which you can read about on the web site.

I have an 8 month old son who is currently awake and talking to himself in his bed, so I should probably go get him.

There are a ton of bloggers who I love to read and who have inspired me to start blogging, so as I get time, I'll try and post links to them in the sidebar.