Monday, June 16, 2014

Good Fences and Good Neighbors

On Saturday, Alex and I headed over to the neighbors' house- it was our turn to check on the electric fence and trim back any stray weeds that were encroaching on the hot wire. It was also my first opportunity to see our latest sustainable food project in action: 

If they had names, they might just be Lenny and Squiggy.

 The boys were a little wary of me, at first, despite their barreling across the pasture to see us. They stopped just short of the fence (much to my relief)- maybe 10 feet or so, to get a better look before coming closer. I was more than just a little wary too, I will admit. I don't have personal experience with bovines of any sort, let alone two good-sized steers running at me. So, I opted to make friends the best way I know how: with food. 

I picked a huge handful of grass from my side of the fence, and offered it to the fellas. They seemed pleased with the gift, and apparently figured I must be okay. They came right over to eat the grass and see what else I had. My gloves were interesting to them, as well... I had to keep moving my hands to avoid getting nibbled. They were surprisingly gentle, though, which I wasn't really expecting. Oh, and the white-faced one in front likes having the top of his head scratched, particularly around his ears. 

We didn't spend a lot of time there; it was just a quick stop to check the fence and make sure everyone was doing well, but I was really pleased to finally see our co-op beef plan in action. These guys will spend the summer being rotated between two pastures, getting nice and fat off of the land... and come winter-time our three families will have a nice supply of beef in our freezers. I really couldn't ask for much more.

As usual, I'm super excited to see how this progresses and to learn new things. I've been reading about how other folks raise their beef for years (thanks, Matron of Husbandry and Head Farm Steward!) and while I'm a firm believer that reading is a great foundation, there's nothing quite like hands-on practical learning. Most importantly, though, I have to say a huge thank you to our neighbors Scott and Beth for providing the know how and the home base for this new adventure. I truly couldn't be more grateful.

Have you ever raised your own beef? I'd love to hear about it! Come on over to the Facebook page where you can post photos and tell me all about your experiences with cattle- beef and dairy, both! 

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