Steve’s Weekly Update for 3/29/11

Climatology 2011: Nothing unusual so far this spring.  Windy with lots of temperature shifts…  Here and there grass is greening up in the pastures.

Steve’s link of the week: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/blog/precompetition-collaboration-do-more-with-less

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows, and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:

Warning – this is a difficult section to read but is a realistic and heartful experience in life on a farm–

Dottie is gone.  We processed her on the farm with the help of some friends.  Other than having to kill her, which was done with a pistol, humanely and instantaneously, this process was surprisingly easy and straightforward.  Our backhoe with forks was the key piece of equipment to make the whole process safe and simple.

Her parts are aging in our cooler and in a couple of weeks we hope to turn those parts into meat for the farm.  Almost nothing went to waste as we also have friends who know how to make food out of almost every part of a cow.

According to the law we cannot sell this beef due to the conditions in which it was processed.  But we can give it away as gifts.

We would also like to start the Dottie fund, gathering gifts from members and friends to support the purchase of supplies for therapy and care of hurt cows.  The extensive research that we did to help Dottie has given a clear idea of what we need.  Best pieces of equipment come from as far away as New Zealand.  We will need several thousand dollars to do this right.

In keeping with the traditions of our area and of agricultural people all over the world, we thank Dottie for her life and for the gifts she gave us.  We honor the creator who gave her to us and who gives us all of the animals and plants that we steward with care and and a deep feeling of awe.

We are humbled by that responsibility.

Maya and Dottie’s other two cousins are Missy and Flower.  Missy is a big young cow who lost her calf last year.  She had a boy calf on Sunday just before dark.  Missy is not so comfortable being milked.  She seems to have strong mothering instincts.  We may have to work with her to get her comfortable and this will take some time.  Hopefully all will go well with her.  Flower is due in a few more weeks.

That leaves 4 more cows to calf at Mesa Top and 4 at Curtis’s.   Since last September we have had 13 calves born.  2 heifers (one lost) and 11 bulls (one lost).  We are raising 10 boys and one girl.   The oldest is now 6 months and will be sold into the beef market.  We have to start selling boys to raise money to pay to the costs of the momma cows and also of last year’s youngsters.

We are moving into a more conventional ranch way of thinking.  Raise calves until weaning, then after weaning and recovery from that stress, sell them on the commercial market if there is no other buyer.  This is necessary now especially because we cannot afford to keep them and raise them longer.   This is a problem we share with many ranchers.

This week’s cheese share update:

We have samples of the first Mesa Top Monterey Jack and Gouda.  These cheeses have a drier, almost crumbly texture and we really like the flavor.  Watch for the Monterey Jack in your cheese share this week.

This week the cheese share will be Mesa Top Monterey Jack and Green Chile Cheddar.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

More Greens arrive! Our networking with Los Poblanos and Agricultura COOP is keeping the greens coming for the CSA.  This week we have salad mix, mizuna, dinosaur kale, and something special: organic iceberg lettuce.

Iceberg lettuce has been demonized for many reasons for 40 years or more, dating back to United Farm Worker strikes, and on through the total elimination of nutritional value  until it has become tasteless produce that is basically just water.  Monte has had the idea for some time that properly grown it iceberg can be nutritious and tasty.  Let us know what you think!

On the sweet and fruity side we have a couple more Rio Star grapefruits!  We hope you enjoy them as they cannot last forever.

We include your choice of organic cheeses from Native Pastures Dairy in Portales.

We have a nice helping of the fabulous large organic pecan pieces from the Mesilla Valley, South of Las Cruces.  I was down South earlier this week and the trees are starting to leaf out so soon we will know what damage (hopefully none) the trees suffered during the historic cold spell this winter.

Membership news:

Thank you for your increasing investment in the CSA as we begin to anticipate our relationship building efforts with our farmers going into the 2011 growing season.

We appreciate your continued support!

Steve Warshawer

 

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