Archive for December, 2011

Necessary Price Increase

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Finishing Out on Rye Grass

Finishing Out on Rye Grass

At Cross Creek Cattle Company, we have always wanted to keep our grass fed beef affordable for the average American family.  For years, we have raised grass fed beef for our own family.  Even though we never gave hormones or unnecessary antibiotics to our herd, it only made sense that would reserve the healthiest beef for our table.  Therefore, the calves reserved for our consumption ate grass and hay.

Our grass fed business came into existence with the realization that there was a demand for this healthy beef.  Allow me to paraphrase what I said in my Think Natural interview with Dr. Ward Bond, “We realized that not everyone had acreage on which to raise their own beef and Cross Creek Cattle Company could provide grass fed beef, the kind we raised for our own consumption, to the public.”

The rest is history.  Every year we sell more and more beef.  Our customer base is growing and spreading all over the state of Texas.  Our ranch’s name is getting out to the public by word of mouth, by this blog, and by our interviews in magazines, newspapers, and a television show.

Throughout our years in this business, we have struggled to stay affordable to the typical family.  We have kept our prices at $3.50 per pound based on hanging carcass weight.  Even through the worst drought in recorded history, we stuck to our price despite the fact that everything was costing us more money.  For example, the price of hay went through the roof.

We never expected to make millions on grass fed beef sales, but we did expect to make some profit.  Unfortunately, we are not even breaking even.  Therefore, we are being forced to raise our price per pound effective January 1, 2012.  We hope that our customers will not begrudge us this change; it is necessary if we are going to continue to offer grass fed beef to the public.

As of January 1, 2012, we will be offering our grass fed beef for $4.00 a pound based on hanging carcass weight.  It will be the same great grass fed beef sold in the same manner as before.  We still offer a split quarter, half, or whole options.  The former receive standard cuts.  The cuts for a half and whole orders can be fully customized based on the customer’s needs and desires.  We will still be using K&C Processing in Navasota, Texas.  The only that has changed is a necessary price increase.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ranch
Not a thing was stirrin’ not even a tree branch.
The boots were sittin’ by the fire with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The calves were nestled all snug near their mas,
While they awaited the arrival o’ Santa Claus.
And the horses in their stalls with plenty of hay
Were resting peacefully from their very full day.

When over the treetops there arose such a loud noise,
the animals all shuddered in place even the boys.
Away o’er the pasture the sleigh skidded past,
It tore up the dirt road; it was going so fast.

The moon on the lake and the growing rye grass
Showed the dewdrops had fallen like shiny, clean glass.
When what to our great surprise fell from the sky,
But a light dusting of snowflakes from way up high.

A White Christmas in Texas was too good to hear
I let out a “Yahoo!” and began to cheer.
More rapid than lightning the reindeer did run
They had to deliver  the gifts ’til there was none.

On, Dasher! On, Dancer! On, Prancer and Vixen!
Now, Comet! Now, Cupid! Now, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the hill!  While it is still nightfall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

The mud flew covering the bottom of the sleigh
While the hooves slipped and slid and Santa yelled, “Hey!”
“What is this?  Precipitation has arrived?”
And I thought that this trip would be an easy drive.

Santa pulled back on the reins and shouted, “Whoa!”
Even if the reindeer wanted they couldn’t go.
It would be a short hike to the very next stop,
Just a mile walk, then a jump, skip, and a hop.

He was dressed all in red from his head to his boot
In a very large and fur-trimmed Cowboy-type suit.
A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,
And it looked as though they would burst out of the sack.

His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like apples, his nose a dewberry!
His cherry red lips were stained with tobacco,
And his once pure white beard looked a might yellow.

He trudged up the hill and then over the road,
Struggling to carry the weight of his burdensome load.
When through the darkness, he saw a twinkling, bright light
A candle in the window was a wonderful sight.

He plodded up the walk to the Holliday’s cabin
He rang the doorbell with his hands still holdin’ and grabbin’
Onto his big bag of special presents and toys,
For all the good little cowgirls and cowboys.

He spoke not a word, when the door was flung wide,
But went straight to work while PawPaw moved to his side.
He whispered a secret into the old man’s ear,
And Santa smiled and said, “It was good to be here.”

PawPaw saw how our stockings had been filled with such care.
With his tractor, he pulled the sleigh from its muddy snare
The reindeer had enough time to lift up in flight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Cross Creek Cattle Company wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This poem was obviously inspired and is based on the classic Christmas poem by Clement C. Moore.

A Ranch Tradition

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

We don’t work cows often, but when we do it is a hard day’s work.  We work steadily and methodically, but are in no rush.  If you are trying to speed things up, you are more apt to make a mistake.  At Cross Creek Cattle Company a good day of working cows is when nobody gets injured.

We had a very successful day of working cows last Monday.  It was a sheer pleasure to watch my middle son, Jake, who is ten years old work like a man.  He has had many years of experience working cows.  My father, brother, and husband have patiently taught him to perform Cowboy duties.

This time was different.  Jake  was everywhere he needed to be doing exactly what needed to be done.  I was impressed with his work ethic and his knowledge of the work.  It really was a joy to watch him and his father work side by side.  I can tell you that Jake is not afraid of getting dirty.

We have an excellent family tradition.  The ranch takes everyone who works cattle out for dinner.  In the past, we all voted to go to La Casita in Navasota.  It is a delicious Tex-Mex Restaurant.  However, this year my family is on a very strict diet in order to heal our guts for various health reasons.  Going out to eat is very difficult, but we have not stopped our ranch tradition.  We just slightly modified it, and it is equally delicious!

Now the ranch purchases the ingredients for a special meal.  We plan a menu.  Then as a family, we sit around the table filled with great food and enjoy a treat for our labor.  It is a family ranching tradition that will not go out of style.  It is one of our favorite things, even the youngest family members look forward to cattle working day.

Feeding the cowboys after a day of hard work has been a long-standing tradition in the past.  Usually someone prepared the food on site.  It could have been beans and biscuits.  It could have been fresh beef.  I have even heard of them cooking up the testicles of freshly castrated bulls.  Regardless of the type of food, Cross Creek Cattle Company is pleased to continue this fine tradition with our family-owned and operated ranch.

If you are a rancher, we would love to hear any of your traditions.  Leave a comment below to share them with us.

A Cowboy Christmas Wish List

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

It is Christmastime, which means its time to buy something for everyone on your shopping list.  Some people are more challenging to buy for than others.  If you have a cowboy on your list, here are some ideas.  I did not just sit here and brainstorm.  These are tried and true gifts that many cowboys on my Christmas list have asked for either this year or years past.

A Cowboy Christmas Wish List

Wrangler jeans-  My cowboys prefer cowboy cut, but there are many different styles available today.
Pearl-snapped Shirt-  Every cowboy likes to have a nice dress shirt.  A long or short-sleeved pearl-snapped button shirt is the way to go.
Boots-  My cowboys are very hard on their footwear.  The heels get worn down from their daily use.  There are so many different styles of boots that you need to consider your cowboy’s specific needs.
Cover-All Jumpsuit-  My husband’s favorite attire in the winter is his jumpsuit.  It keeps him warm as it adds another layer of clothing.  It is a gift that your cowboy will love more as the temperature plummets.
Pocket Knife-  You cannot have enough knives.  There is always a need for one whether you are cutting hay string or poking a hole in piece of leather horse tack.
Roll of Barbed Wire-  Fences always need to be repaired on a ranch.  My father asked for this very gift year after year and was very pleased when someone took the time to put it under the tree.
Bandanas or Wild Rags- Wearing a bandana around your neck not only makes you look like the real thing, but it can help protect your neck from the sun.  Dipped in water, a bandana can help keep you cool in the summer.  Large Cowboy Scarves, also called Wild Rags, made from silk are an excellent gift for the special cowboy on your list.
Leather Work Gloves- Cowboys use their hands daily.  To protect them from the barbs on wire or rope burn, among other things, a cowboy needs to wear good gloves.  He/She cannot have too many pairs because they do wear out after extensive use.
Chiropractic Visit- Whether they are wrestling with a calf or have been thrown off of a horse, a cowboy can suffer silently with pain.  The saying, “Got a hitch in my get-along,” was inspired by cowboys.  They might not call and make an appointment for themselves, but mine will go if I make the appointment for them.  An adjustment from a good chiropractor might just be the thing to get them feeling like new.

If the cowboy on your list has you stumped, I hope that you have found this list useful.  These are common items found under our trees at Cross Creek Cattle Company.  Don’t be surprised to hear a “Yee Haw!” on Christmas morning.

The Most Beautiful Sight

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
The Most Beautiful Sight

The Most Beautiful Sight

I know that the Thanksgiving holiday has already passed.  However, we still have blessings to count here at Cross Creek Cattle Company.

You might get tired of me writing about the drought, but I cannot reiterate enough how difficult this past year has been on ranchers and farmers.  Any occupation that is dependent on good weather has suffered this 2011.  It has been extremely hot and dry here in Texas while other parts of the United States have had too much rain.  Weather patterns are beyond our control, which is why I feel that people in these businesses tend to be dependent on God and His provision.

We planted winter grass seed in faith.  Even though it did not rain seemingly all spring and summer, we took a chance and invested in seed.  Since then, God has blessed us abundantly with rain showers.  We have received close to eight inches of rain this fall.  We are still far behind in our annual rainfall, but you have to start somewhere.

More rain is expected even this week.  Sunday and Monday have high chances of rain as more fronts sweep through the area.  We could not be more happy.  Our rye grass is growing.  Its rich green color is such a beautiful sight in the midst of the gray and browns of the surrounding area.

After this next rain, we are going to put our calves that are being finished for beef on this pasture.  They will think we let them into a candy store.  With proper rotation and management, we will hopefully be able to resume our usual pasture rotation program.  We are very excited about that prospect.

Things are looking up this winter.  As we continue to count our blessings, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the recent rain and the protection we enjoyed throughout this year.  We know from whom all are blessings come and we thank God for them.


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