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Thursday, April 12, 2012

spring blossoms, lamb chops, and pink slime

The blossoms on all the spring trees have burst in a beautiful array of spring temperatures this year, which resulted in a very pleasant and successful lambing season. It's great to wake up and look out my window to see a ewe caring for her newborn that's barely coherent and trying to stand up. Within a few hours, they're dry and fluffy and nursing or running around.
It's amazing how they are born with their eyes open and the first thing they do after being catapulted into a new, very bright world, is to stretch out their legs and stand up.

Anyway, in the start to finish fashion of this place, I'm going to switch over the the finishing part of the life cycle at High Mill. Today I head to the butcher and pick up three lambs for a grill out taste test. This will determine what direction to go in order to keep the most delicious stock for future lambs.
To me, this step is incredibly important. Instead of breeding only for the giant-est, fast growing lambs that need a lot of antibiotics and a sterile environment to survive, I'm selecting the hardiest sheep that are able to survive minimal intervention with lambing or pasturing and without chemicals such as wormers or antibiotics. Then out of that stock, I now am selecting out the ones that give me the finest finished product. It's kinda like painting a portrait of my perfect sheep, only it's in slow motion over a period of many years, but with quite a few nice scarves and excellent dinners in the meantime.

I like sheep because they are small and easy to handle. They are very interested in watching me as much as I am interested in watching them. And I love replacing my very loud, gas powered lawnmower with these woolen lawnmowers who reduce my carbon footprint and replace my cable tv.

I also really like my butcher. I think the recent development of pink slime in meat really has reinforced this. I'm sure some young biologist was looking on paper and thought of an ingenious way to use all of those little bits that usually are scrapped for dog food and put them back into a low fat filler... plus a little ammonium hydroxide to keep it "safe."
I doubt that my butcher puts my trimmings in a centrifuge, but I like knowing that I could look him in the eye and ask.

This last trip the the butcher, I tried my hand once again at tanning hydes. This time, I was a bit more successful and it looks like I'm only 6 steps away from having some nice rugs.

Anyway, I've been so wrapped up in counting lambs that I haven't paid much attention to my beef cows that are starting to eat up this lush grass that's growing. I have also been reading about exactly why grass fed cows are healthier for you, and it's not just the leaner beef. There's been a lot of press around the good fats, Omega 3s. Whenever grass or a diverse diet replaces a grain fed diet, Omega 3s increase. CLA is another cancer fighting fat that increases with pasture raised animals.
I should have a few beef that are ready in early winter. Now I'm off to check for more lambs. We're up to 13 already!