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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Our Weaning Process

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Calves in the weaning process.  Notice the cows on the other side of the fence.

Calves in the weaning process.


In traditional ranching, calves are typically weaned young. The purpose is to get the calves on grain at a much younger age to bulk up. Cows are then allowed to recover quickly from nursing and be ready to be bred again at a faster rate. Traditional ranching is interested in getting beef faster and quicker.

On the other hand, grass fed beef ranching is truly a part of the slow food movement. We are interested most in quality. Therefore, we keep our calves at their mama’s sides for a much longer time. At Cross Creek Cattle Company, we typically aim for weaning at eight months. We feel that this gives the calf the best start.

Of course, we carefully monitor the condition of the mama’s. First calf heifers can sometimes not nurse a baby for eight months without losing condition in her own body. If we observe this, we wean the calf a little earlier.

We have just weaned calves again. We try to make this stressful time for both calf and cow as stress-less as possible. We separate the calves into a well-built pen, but do not cart them to the home ranch immediately. Instead we leave them in the pen with alfalfa cubes, hay, and fresh water for a few days so that the mama cows can be right on the other side of the fence.

The calves settle down in the presence of their mamas. The cows begin to dry up. They eventually will leave to go graze like any normal day. This is our signal that the weaning process is complete. We then will trailer the calves to the home ranch.

A few of our eight-month old calves.

A few of our eight-month old calves.

We want what is best for our calves and our cows. Doing what is best for our calves and cows also translates into what we believe is best for our grass fed beef customers. Cross Creek Cattle Company is dedicated to raising quality beef at affordable prices.

Whole Foods Grilling Tutorial

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Learning how to cook grass fed beef takes practice. It really involves understanding time and temperature differences from traditional cooking. Against the advice of many, you do not have to treat grass fed beef with kid gloves nor do you have to marinate everything for 24 hours. We give our customers “6 Cooking Tips for Grass Fed Beef,” which comes from an article on this blog with the same title.

Still, I get questions specifically pertaining to grilling steaks. I found this short video with very simple instructions and ingredients from Whole Foods. I liked it because it was so simple and the video does not spend the whole time extolling all the virtues of eating grass fed beef.

Instead it focuses on the how-to of grilling grass fed steaks, which is what our customers want. They already know why they have purchased the grass fed beef. Take just over one minute to watch a tutorial showing you a simple method of grilling.

Fresh the Movie

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I saw the trailer for Fresh this past week as part of the Real Food for Rookies cooking class that my children and I are taking together.  I was so intrigued that I have sought out more information.

There is a movement afoot.  A movement to get back to the basics.  A movement to grow and/or raise our food naturally without herbicides, antibiotics, etc.  Cross Creek Cattle Company is part of that movement, too.

As producers of grass fed beef, we have transformed the way we raise cattle.  Some ranchers call it re-inventing ranching.  That might be the most appropriate term; however, we don’t need to re-invent the wheel.  American ranchers/farmers need to find our way back to the way God intended our food to be raised, which is what we are trying to do with our ranching business.

Cattle were created to eat grass.  They were created to stay in a multi-generational herd.  Since we raise cattle, it only makes sense that I discuss beef all the time.  But today, I want to use a different animal to illustrate this point.

When you cram thousands of chickens into a facility in tiny cages, you are simply creating problems because chickens are supposed to forage.  They roam around eating bugs, worms, and grass.  They will peck at each other in these tight quarters so to remedy that problem farmers have to clip their beaks.  The stress of their lifestyle lowers their immune system so farmers regularly administer antibiotics.

The way our country has been raising animals, fruits, and vegetables has created problems that have led us to our current food system.  Scientists have genetically modified many of our vegetables as they look for ways to grow disease resistant, fast growing, new and improved produce.  According to many experts, the most commonly modified foods are corn and  soybeans.  We consume hormones, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides, and/or herbicides as we eat our “healthy” grilled chicken, salad, and corn on the cob.

Joel Salatin, a fellow grass fed rancher, says that he is “in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.”  From this statement, I gather that Joel Salatin feels a strong need to heal our country.  Again, the theme is not necessarily re-invent, but instead restore.  Mr. Salatin was made famous in Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Delight. He also appears in Fresh.

I really want to see this movie, but alas there are no showings anywhere near our ranch.  The public should be able to purchase the video soon for personal use.  If you are lucky and live in an area where there are showing of Fresh, please write and let me know your thoughts and impressions of the movie.

Until I hear from you or Fresh comes out for sale, I have the trailer to watch.  I am including it here at the end of this article for you to view as well.  Whether you see the movie or not, a movement is occurring in our farming and ranching communities.  Consumers want better, healthier foods.  Together we can all work to improve the state of our food supply.  Together we can restore and heal the practices in our country.

Rain, Rain, Come to Stay

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Rain, glorious rain!  It started raining last night and I believe I heard it still raining early into the morning.  At about 8 o’clock this morning it began again.  We are so excited here at Cross Creek Cattle Company.

It is the perfect rain, too.  It is not accompanied with a storm system.  We were not under a tornado watch.  We did not lose our electricity due to high winds.  We were not kept awake with thunder and lightning.  It is a steady rain.

Not only is this rain steady, but it is a soaking rain.  The water is doing exactly what we need it to do; the water is seeping into the soil nourishing the roots of our plants and grass.  It is not running off our pastures into creeks that eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico.  It is not flooding our pastures and putting our herd in peril.  As I said before, we consider ourselves blessed with this perfect rain.

As you would expect rain plays an important role on a grass fed ranch.  Grass has to have sufficient rainfall to thrive.  I know that our cattle and grass fed operation did well despite a drought last summer, but two back to back droughts would have been tough to pull through without many problems, which is why this rain is absolutely glorious.

I have a more selfish need for the rain that goes beyond the pasture conditions.  I have a big, organic vegetable garden that badly needs the rain, too.  Despite my seemingly constant watering, the plants are turning yellow.  The soil is never muddy; the soil has been soaking up all the water.  For some reason, watering with a sprinkler is not as good as rain falling from the sky for your garden.

I don’t know the reason, but I have made this observation countless times.  The garden always seems refreshed after a rain like this, but not when I water it myself.  Maybe it has something to do with the rain bringing cooler temperatures and overcast skies.  Whereas when I water, the skies are clear and the sun is still baking the plants.  Evaporation of the water might be a key issue as well.  Regardless of the reason, I am celebrating the fact that my garden is being refreshed and soaked by rain.

We want the rain to stay, but obviously we don’t want it to rain forever.  That would be unhealthy for our grass fed operation and my garden.  We want the rain to continue treating us with its blessings throughout the summer.  We definitely don’t want to endure another drought.  This great rainfall is a good sign that we will not.



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