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What​'s Happening on the Farm

Pepper Steak

January 20, 2023

On a cold evening in January, this dish will warm the soul!

This is what I did...

I started by tenderizing some room temperature cubed steak, then seasoning it with course salt and black pepper. I used about 1 1/4 pounds of our grass-fed round steak that had been cubed. I cut them into strips and then bite sizes.

Next, I cut up 3 green bell peppers and 2 large yellow onions, and roughly chopped 3 cloves of garlic. I sauteed the veggies and garlic in olive oil and butter until they had just begun to soften.

I removed them from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

After letting the seasoned meat rest for 10 minutes, I dredged the steak bites in some flour. I used whole wheat flour, but any flour will work. Then, I browned the steak bites in olive oil and butter at a medium temperature.

Once the steak bites were browned, I removed them to the bowl with veggies.

Next, I deglazed the skillet with a little water to mobilize all of the bits that get stuck to the bottom. I added the rest of my flour to the remaining fat in the skillet and browned my flour slowly, before adding water to make the gravy.  Then I seasoned it with some soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and a little more salt and pepper.

I returned the meat and veggies to the skillet and served over hot rice. I used whole grain brown rice that I had previously cooked and frozen. Any rice that you like will work just fine.

You can also add fresh or pickled jalapeno pepper if you like more spice, and vary the red pepper flakes to taste.


Pan-seared Steaks

January 13, 2023

There is nothing like a good steak!  Although Tim loves to grill, tonight we chose to pan-sear a T-bone and a bone-in Ribeye.  Here's what I did:

*  Let the steaks warm up to almost room temp (or at least 50 degrees internal temp.

*  Season both sides with course salt and course ground black pepper.  Rub it in and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.

*  In this big ol' cast iron skillet, I heated some unsalted butter on medium-high heat.  Make sure the butter doesn't burn.

*  Cook on medium-high heat until a good caramelized crust has formed, then turn. 

*  Depending on the thickness of the steaks, you may wish to finish them off in the oven until the desired inner doneness is achieved.

*   These steaks are 1 inch thick (what we prefer for our grass-fed beef cuts), so once caramelized, they were the perfect medium-rare to medium stage.

*  Remove these from the pan to a cutting board and let rest for 8-10 minutes.

*  Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with a small amount of water, and spoon that glorious goodness over the steaks.


Meet Kevin and Buddy, the Christmas calves

December 21, 2022

On glorious mornings like this, I can't help but be humbled by this place and the life we are making here.

We have had two more calves born, both males, and the boys thought they needed Christmas names, so Kevin and Buddy it is.  This sweet boy is Kevin.  His Mama, whom I call Split Ear because somehow she tore her ear, is not as sweet as some of our other Mamas.  She has become pretty aggressive as her time for delivery approached.  Any pregnant woman can relate, right?  Even a very calm and friendly cow can become aggressive when it comes to her baby.  Because we want our Mamas to be protective of their calves, and obviously don't want to get ourselves hurt, we try to be very respectful of their space.

We moved our little herd from one pasture to another for several reasons.  We have implemented a rotational grazing routine, where the grass gets an opportunity to recover and provide more nutrition.  Because our cows are grass-fed, and only receive a small amount of vegetarian grain, the health of the forage (grasses) that nourishes them is so important.  Even in late December, this field has a good amount of green grass for grazing.

The second reason we moved them, is the sad circumstance of a stillborn calf and a grieving Mama.  The loss of calves is something that happens, but always leaves a sadness within our hearts and within the herd.  A grieving Mama, whether human or animal, is heartbreaking to watch.

This is buddy, getting some great nutrition and immunity from that initial Mama's milk (colostrum).  This Mama is our most experienced at birthing and caring for her babies.  She, sadly, didn't get a name and just goes by #23.   The lack of a proper name, however, does not indicate our lack of love and respect for this girl.  She has produced some great calves.  We are so blessed.

Meet "Pilgrim"

November 23, 2022

Here we are, the day before Thanksgiving, and this cutie-pie has arrived.  In honor of the holiday, we have named him "Pilgrim".  Pilgrim's Mama, Dunna, is doing a great job tending to her new baby.  All four of these first-time Mamas have just amazed me.  It is indescribable to watch these animals go through labor, push out a calf, and then just get to work doing what they instinctively know to do.  They don't have books to tell them what to expect.  They don't have friends and relatives coaching them (although the interaction of the other cows is fascinating, but that's another story for another day).  They don't have nurses and doctors helping them through the process.  They just know!  What a wonderful Master Designer we have!

In this first photo you can see the cord still hanging from the Mama, yet to be delivered.   It is such a blessing to be able to witness these wonderful and miraculous events, and know that God is in control.

Madison County Cattlemen's Association meeting

November 22, 2022

Our grandchildren love the farm!  Last night Tim took Levi to the Cattlemen's meeting to give him a taste of the "business" side of things, and also to have a great steak dinner with the men-folk. 

This year's president, Dylan Chandler, graciously asked Levi to be a part of the door prize drawing.  We love our community!

Tim and Sweet Baby a few days prior.

Fannie Mae

Mama (we call her Loner) and Fannie Mae resting

Meet "Fannie Mae" and "Kirby"

November 5, 2022

Today has been a very exciting day here on the farm.  Early this morning Tim and Levi, our 9 year-old grandson, went out to check on the cows.   They returned with the exciting news that we had a new calf.  As I was getting breakfast going, I didn't get out there to see what was happening first-hand, and certainly didn't get any photos from the guys.  It was another little heifer (female) and the boys named her "Fannie Mae".... where do they come up with this stuff?

Fannie Mae's Mama was not quite as bewildered as Boo's Mama, and had no interest whatsoever in letting us get near her new baby.

We left her alone to do her thing, and went about our business.  After all, this was Saturday, and the UGA - TN game would be coming on at 3:00.  As we prepared our "at home tailgating" fare, and geared up for the big game, the cows were not in the forefront of our attention.  At half-time, though, Tim decided he would go out and check on everybody.

He  called me on the phone from the pasture and asked me to come out there because "Sweet Baby" was in active labor with feet sticking out.  Sweet Baby is the youngest of our bred heifers this year, and has had such a gentle disposition that she allows us to rub her head.  She even taught the rest of the herd that it was okay to eat out of our hands. 

When I got out there, sure enough, there were two precious little feet presenting just as they were supposed to.  She lay down --- got up --- lay down --- got up and made her way into the woods down by a creek.  I followed at a distance to make sure my Sweet Baby was okay.  She lay down, and out the calf came..... but neither one moved.  As I stood there, binoculars glued to my eyes, my heart raced.  I wanted to go to her, but I knew to stay back.  Still no movement.  Should I go?  I need to stimulate that baby and make him breathe.  No, I have to stay back and let her do it.  As a minute, maybe two, passed I was getting frantic!  I headed down the hill into the woods to get this little fella breathing.  I was moving slowly and trying to be quiet, but my heart was pounding.  Still no movement.  Just as I got about 4 feet away, Sweet Baby stood up, and this precious new living thing started to breathe and twitch its ears inside the sac.  At that moment, the tears started flowing as I thanked God for His faithfulness.  She immediately attended him, cleaned him up, nudged him, got him standing up, and let him nurse.

Suddenly, the football game, nor anything else for that matter, held any importance to this miracle of nature.  Our daughter and two of our grandsons were also able to witness this moment.  We did, however, name him Kirby in honor of Coach Kirby Smart.  What a blessing!

Meet "Boo"

November 1, 2022

Last evening was Halloween.  Late in the afternoon, we could see signs of labor beginning in one of our expectant Mama cows.  As dark approached, we went inside with hopeful hearts that this first-time Mama would have an easy delivery without any trouble.  This morning early, we came out into the fog to find this precious site.  This calf had not been born long, as Mama was busy cleaning her up.  It wasn't long before we witnessed her stand and wobble around until she was steady on her own. 

This first-time Mama, and the first to calve this season, was a little unsure about what this was all about.  She came up the hill to where we were, as if to ask for our help in figuring this whole thing out.   The heifer calf, which we named "Boo", came right to me!  As I was backing away, so as not to alarm her Mama, she came so close that I rubbed her whole head and neck, while her bewildered Mama just stood there and watched.  It was quite the experience for me.

Sweet little Boo lay down practically at my feet, while her Mama instinctively licked her, made Mama noises to her, and nudged her gently.  What an awesome instinct that God has put in these animals; they just seem to know what to do.  The whole process is absolutely fascinating to me.  I could stay out in the pasture with the herd all day and just watch and listen to them interact with one another.

Finally, Boo stood and nursed (at least it was the first time we saw her nurse).   At this point, knowing that she was up and mobile, as well as getting the nutrition she needed, I was finally able to drag myself back to the house to begin my work day.   I must admit I didn't get much done today with all of this cuteness going on in the pasture.  I am thankful today for this new life that has been given to us. 

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