define(WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE, true); add_filter( auto_update_plugin, __return_true ); add_filter( auto_update_theme, __return_true ); September 2014 – Welcome to the Ranch!

Archive for September, 2014

New Video Released

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Here it is! Sibling Rivalry‘s brand-new music video! When you go to view it, please make sure to put it on full screen. I had a little trouble embedding the correct size video.

If you are confused about what I am talking about, please go back and read, “Sibling Rivalry.”

The entire video was not filmed here at Cross Creek Cattle Company, but a good portion of it was. It should be obvious for example that we do not have a race track on the ranch. The woods, the horses, the cows, the old, red bunkhouse, the tall grass, etc are all from here. For people that have visited here, you will see places you recognize.

We were honored to be a part of this promotional video for this music duo. Enjoy their story, their music, and the scenery. If you live relatively close, Sibling Rivalry will be performing October 4 at Bernhardt Winery in Plantersville. It will sure to be fun.

To Clean or Not to Clean Eggs

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Since many of our grass fed customers are also looking for pastured pork and free-range chicken eggs, an article this week grabbed my attention and I thought it might be interesting for you. It has nothing to do with cattle or beef, but is about eggs.

One of my main chores growing up was to feed and collect eggs. I grew up watching little chicks grow up into egg-laying hens. In many ways the chickens fed me: through the variety of ways in which you can prepare an egg, through actual chicken dishes, and through teaching me responsibility.

With that in mind, one of the first animals that we brought to our home were two dozen chicks. My children became their caretakers and in turn received the same benefits as I had from my childhood. Today we have many more animals, but the chickens are our mainstay. They are easy to raise and earn their keep through their eggs.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about eggs. When I had a surplus and gave them away, many people were surprised that they were not clean and sparkly like those at the grocery store. Some even complained after I gave them free eggs. They did not seem to care that scrubbing them actually stripped away the protective barrier around the egg making the egg itself vulnerable to bacteria.

Needless to say, some people stopped receiving free eggs. Understand, I don’t crack the egg and let a feather fall into the bowl with the yolk. I wash my eggs before using, but Americans in general are particularly crazy about cleanliness.

Why the U.S. Chills Its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn’t” by Rae Ellen Bichel is an interesting read. If you have ever wondered why other countries don’t have clean, refrigerated eggs like we do, then you should read this article. If you raise chickens and have wondered if you should clean or not clean your eggs, then this is a must read.

No More Horse Blankets?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

As the fall is approaching and we enjoy our first days of autumnal temperatures, our eyes turn to the predicted colder-than-usual temperatures this winter. As ranchers we have two main concerns: our cattle and our horses. The latter will be the focus today.

Tradition says to stall up your horses in order to provide a wind break. The different bodies heat up the interior of the barn making the stalls warmer than the outside temperatures. For years we have followed this tradition as well as feeding grain and hay. On really cold nights, we blanket the horses, especially the older ones. We have one horse in particular, who can be seen shivering in the cold.

Well, tradition is not always best or right. We looked beyond the “traditional” ranching practices of raising beef when we began raising grass fed beef. We looked further back to how they were created. I read an intriguing article that takes the same approach for the care of horses. The author considers, “How was the horse created to withstand natural climate change?”

Her findings appear scientific and logical, but go against mainstream American horse care. If you have horses, please take the time to read this article. It is a long excerpt from Holistic Horse and Hoof Care by Natalija Aleksandrova posted on “The Soul of a Horse” website.

The summation of the article is that horses need 24/7 access to free-choice hay. Horses in cold, rainy, or snowy weather need a windbreak in the form of trees, shelter, etc. that they can leave when they so desire. She believes that they do not need to be stalled based on the fact that it restricts their movement as well as separates them from sharing body heat with other horse companions. Horses also do not need to be blanketed. This actually hurts them the worst.

By and by the article is very interesting. I found her findings intriguing and compelling. Now to decide how we are going to care for our horses this year: the “traditional” way or the really traditional way?

Mild Summer

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

I cannot believe that it is already September. School is back in full swing and routine is setting back into our lifestyle.

The other day I was shocked when a meteorologist in Houston, Texas announced that on record there had not been one day this year that reached 100 degrees. That is so unusual! 1997 was the last time that this has happened.

The ranch is farther north and further from the Gulf of Mexico than Houston, and has I believe achieved temperatures to 100 degrees this summer. However, the point remains that this summer has been unusually mild.

I am in no way complaining. In fact, I am celebrating the fact. It is wonderful. It has been hot; don’t get me wrong. It has not been scorching hot.

This is better for our cattle and animals. Nothing does well when there is no relief from the heat. Without the scorching heat, our pasture grass does better, too. It is not getting burned back and turning brown. It is still green and growing.

So what does this mean for the rest of the year? Will we continue to experience below normal temperatures through the winter,too? NOAA predicts exactly this pattern. In fact, only Texas and New Mexico are facing below normal temperatures this winter. Click here to read up on it.

I’m no expert, but I hear freezing temperatures more often than normal, which means that we need to have good windbreaks for the cattle and plenty of hay. It would be much better to be overly prepared than not prepared at all.

Enjoy the last few weeks of our mild summer. You might consider using them to get prepared for less than normal winter temperatures.

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