For the past three days I’ve been looking for the cows.  They belong to the neighbor but they sometimes visit us.  I knew there were four moms and four calves.  Every time I passed a window, I looked for them.  A dozen or more times each day I went out looking.  Hadn’t caught a glimpse of them.  Didn’t hear a mooooo . . nothing!  Vince came home at lunch and said “Did you see the cows?”  NO!  They were right out at the dge of our driveway.

I sure didn’t know girl cows had horns!  I’m sure there’s a whole lot more that I don’t know.

I see milk!  Fresh, raw milk.  Lots of cream on top!  I said to Vince  “Let’s milk her!”  I told him he could hold her still, I would do the milking.  He wouldn’t!

This one looked at us and I think she was saying . . bring it on if you’re brave enough to try it!  We didn’t!  I was joking . . no way am I going anywhere near those cows.

They look like pretty nice cows!  The guy who owns them said “the red one”, which I assume is this one, doesn’t like dogs at all but Speck never goes out when he’s not on a leash so he’ll be fine.  Once the garden is done and the chicken coop is built, I’m going to work on getting a fenced area where I can get a couple of goats just for fun.

Home Ground Meat

Have you heard about “pink slime”?  If not, and if you dare, google “pink slime”.  It just makes me sick and angry and so frustrated that this is allowed.  Assuming it’s safe to eat meat with this “product” it it, who wants to eat it?  And why are we getting it and not even knowing we’re getting it?  Makes you wonder what else we’re buying/being served and we have no idea.

Aside from the pink slime, and before I ever knew about it, I was at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and needed one pound of ground beef for a recipe.  I picked up a package of plain ground beef, 90/10 and it was about $4.99/pound (I can’t remember the prices, even though I went back to Kroger against just to look before writing this blog post).  Then I noticed on the package that there were three or four countries from which this meat could have originated.  The United States and Canada were two of them so I was fine with those two but the others, I wasn’t so fine with.  Then I saw the same 90/10 ground beef but it was the “Nolan Ryan” ground beef and it was $6.99/pound.  Then I noticed that the Nolan Ryan chuck roasts were $2.99/pound.  I remembered my meat grinder at home.  There were only two chuck roasts that appealed to me and the butcher told me they would have more the next day.  I got those two and asked Vince if he would go by there the next day and get 2 more.  You know Vince!  He came home with several more than the requested two.

There were 7 chuck roasts which I placed in the freezer for about an hour before grinding them.  They grind a little better if they’ve been in the freezer for a little while . . definitely not frozen but a bit firmer than if they had been in the fridge.

After trimming away anything I didn’t want included, which was hardly anything because I really like the Nolan Ryan beef, they were ground.

There’s no pink slime in this meat!  There’s no ammonia treated rejected parts in this ground meat.  I know that until we’re able to butcher our own cow, we have no control over exactly what’s in our meat but I feel a whole lot better about what I’m grinding here at home.

From the time I got the meat out of the freezer  until I put the packaged ground meat back in the freezer, and the grinder was washed and put away, took less than one hour!

I packaged 20 one pound packages and 12 one-half pound packages.  Sometimes I need one pound, sometimes I need 1-1/2 pounds.

That’s 26 pounds of ground beef and when comparing the $2.99/pound chuck roast price vs. the $6.99 already ground price, I saved $104.  The meat grinder was $130 so I’m thinking it was a good investment!

Just like with having a garden or animals, it’s a little more trouble to grind your own, and I wouldn’t do it for one or two pounds at a time but when I can buy good meat on sale, and grind a lot of it at once, it’s so worth it to have a better idea of what’s in our food.

Raising Your Own

Hardly a day passes that I don’t think about how things were for our ancestors, even as recent as our grandparents.  Here in Texas, with all the wind and dust, and with windows that fit tightly and have good seals, there’s so much dust.  After extremely windy days, I can feel the grit on my tile floors.  It makes me wonder how people survived in this area before air conditioning when you HAD to leave your windows open during the summer.  Ughh!  I can’t imagine how gritty and dusty things must have been.  I’ll bet those folks never failed to make their beds.  I can’t imagine crawling into a gritty, dusty bed but I suppose they were so tired at the end of the day, the dust was the least of their issues.

Yesterday evening and when I went to bed, it was so windy.  I often wonder how the houses here manage to hang on to their roofs with all this wind.  This morning, I woke up a little before 5.  I could hear the rain pounding our metal roof.  Not even having a clue what time it was yet, I opened my eyes and it was still completely dark so I looked at the cell phone to see that it was about 4:50.  Then I realized it was lightning off in the distance but while I was trying to decide if I should get up and risk waking Vince or stay there quietly til the alarm went off in about half an hour, I remembered the babies:

They were in the sewing room, and their heat lamp was on, but the heater was off in the sewing room so I figured I’d better go check on them.They’re still supposed to be kept in a 95º environment and I was afraid they were cold.  I slipped into some “going outside” clothes, simply because I knew it was about 33º out there  .. not because I thought I might run into anyone who might see me.  The chickens were fine.  The temp had dropped to about 92º.  I turned the heater on in the room because it would need to be a bit warmer out there when I go back to sew.

And then, as I ran back across the driveway from the sewing room to the house, in the cold rain, I wondered if fresh yard eggs are really that much better than store bought eggs.  Yes!  They are.  It’s worth the effort to have the chickens.  Would it be worth the extra work if I were going out every morning to milk a cow or goats?  I’ll have to think about that.

It’s the same thing with having a garden . . till up the soil, fence the garden, plant, weed, water, harvest, can the food, store the food . . is it worth it?  Some will say no, it isn’t worth it.  I suppose if I lived in an area where I could buy organically grown, very fresh produce, I might not have a garden of my own.  For me, there’s nothing better than going out and picking the tomatoes for my salad, or picking the green beans for dinner, knowing exactly what they’ve been sprayed with (or not)  or what kind of fertilizer has been used on them.  Yes, having a garden or animals is a lot of work and not everyone can do it, for various reasons, but while we can do it, I will and I can hardly wait til I get my first egg and pick our first vegetables.