The bank has repossessed Premier Meats, my closest organic meat processor, but I am preparing to have lambs slaughtered on the farm and processed locally for direct sale of whole or 1/2 lambs–which is something I have always wanted to do for it is less stressful for the lambs. For my retail sales, I need USDA inspection and organic certification, which will be accomplished at Black Earth Meats in February. I have plenty of packaged lamb in stock to last until then.
If you are interested in a whole lamb or 1/2 lamb, please contact me. For on-farm slaughter, I need to contract with the customer before the slaughter date. The lambs are beautiful this year. Since pasture ended, they have been getting a nice mix of organic oats and milo to supplement their hay ration and they love it. A whole lamb is 45-50 pounds hanging weight and sells for $4/lb hanging weight plus the cost of processing. The customer gives the cutting instructions. 1/2 lamb is about 17# of packaged meat–chops, a leg roast, shanks, kabobs and ground–and sells for $140, which includes processing costs. With either, bones and organ meat are included as options at no extra processing cost.
I think food is a great gift, especially special things like sausage or steaks. So I’m putting together assortments in nice holiday boxes. I can do a nice sausage assortment of lamb gyros, beef summer sausage, beef ring bologna and beef weiners (all organic ingredients, of course!) for $38 or a beef steak assortment of rib steaks, t-bones or porterhouse, sirloin or flat iron or flank for $67. I could also do a lamb gift box of chops, a roast and ground. And, in a couple of weeks, I’ll have a special new lamb sausage to put in these boxes. Travis at 7 Rivers Sausage has perfected his old world fermented salami with an organic recipe and he is making a batch of it out of lamb I just had butchered. These are worthy gift boxes, not what you often see at great prices for little actual value. All I’ve done in pricing is add the cost of the box! Let me know by phone or email if you want one. Only thing I may run short on is beef summer sausage. I also have lamb liver sausage for those who are more adventuresome in palate.
I just finished this Aran sweater for my granddaughter Nora. Our Shetland/Rambouillet yarn is perfect for Aran knitting. Still plenty available of white and the two shades of brown–some grey, also. It’s 3-ply worsted and the skeins are around 250 yards, 7-8 ounces. We’re selling it for $3.50/ounce. This pattern is by Kathryn Ashley-Wright of Ewetopia in Viroqua.
The solar panels are soaking up the energy and generating electricity! Henry has the array, power center and batteries connected and solar is now powering the fencer and barn lights. Next step is to connect the house and we’ll cut our ties to the power company and be providing all our own power. This is … Keep reading
I don’t have a photo to go with this post yet. There are plenty of options: the cattle so happy to be out on “real” pasture with the hair sheep, gobbling up the taller, coarser grass that the sheep turned down; the four new goat girls getting to know Mr. Moonbaby Donkey on the pond pasture where they’re going to find their favorite forage, some multiflora rose; the woolly sheep with their lambs up on a separate pasture unaware that the shearer’s coming tomorrow and they’re soon going to be feeling very fresh and ready for summer’s sun; or maybe just the wild ducks enjoying our pond today. I’ll choose one for sure, but the image I really want to convey is more in the feeling realm…..the contentment and gratitude I experience on a day like today–going to the Farmers Market and delivering beef and lamb to familiar folks, chatting with friends and fellow vendors, meeting new people who like what this farm has to offer them, then coming home and visiting the critters, preparing for a supper of grilled teriyaki sirloin and asparagus from the garden and planning tomorrow’s hearty shearing crew dinner. I’m one happy old lady right now and my blessings are too numerous to count. (Though I know I’ll be one stiff and sore old lady at the end of the day tomorrow, after trimming 120 hooves!) And turns out the best photo is right outside my door.
Here’s my creation to go with baked potatoes and broiled lamb chops:
I recommend halving this unless you have a powerful food processor and a crowd to feed. I’ll freeze some. Nettles are so nutrient-dense they don’t keep long. I wear gloves when picking nettles and have a plastic bag over my hand when washing them.
1# nettles (washed, steamed, cooled, drained, and wrung out in a towel)
2 C. Toasted sunflower seeds (pine nuts or walnuts good; I had sunflower seeds)
2 t. Garlic powder (or fresh equivalent, we’re out of fresh)
1 t. Salt
1/2 t. Pepper
2 T. Lime or lemon juice
2 1/2 C. Olive oil
Blend it up!
Mix with 2 C. Grated Parmesan.
Best pesto I’ve ever made! Sheep and cattle have fresh pasture, and we’re dining on nettles. Life is good.
Lambing is always a special time of both challenges and delights. The challenges this year were because lambing came a month before pasture, which means hay feeding, lots, pens in the barn, bedding, sometimes heat lamps. More work for Bonnie and Craig–which is why I haven’t posted anything recently. But the blessings are many. First off is what a joy it is to have a “normal” spring! Last year was not the way spring should be and so no surprise that right on spring’s heels came the drought of summer. So bless the snow, sleet, rain and cool temperatures, for though it means April is an intense month here on the farm (and my heart aches for critters on farms where hay is running out) and the cattle and sheep look longingly at their pastures while gobbling up every little bit of green in the lots, it’s the norm for our climate and bodes well for the rest of the year.
A blessing, too, is that barn lambing really gives me a good look at how my sheep are doing, in terms of productivity and mothering ability. Having culled heavily with last summer’s drought and with good production records and new ram genetics in these 2013 lambs, I am pleased to be able to have this closeup look at the 2013 lambing in order to select Katahdin breeding stock for replacements here on the farm and for sale at weaning this fall.
The ewe in the picture is stellar. She is doing a fantastic job of raising quads–3 rams and a ewe. These ram lambs will be for sale, but I won’t part with the ewe lamb!
Newton meets two of his sons.
I couldn’t go to work in town and spent all day at the computer or on a conference call, but Craig went out and made sure the sheep and cows had all they needed. Cattle huddled in the corral around a feeder; ewes hunkered down in a little wooded area; feeder lambs seemed oblivious; Moonbaby … Keep reading
This picture doesn’t show their beauty fully, but it’s fitting because they’re still really shy on their second day at the farm (Moon Baby the donkey isn’t helping matters), but these are the seven Icelandic ewes we purchased and brought home Sunday. Individual photo shoots will follow showing their lovely fleeces and, on some, their … Keep reading