We've been extremely focused on getting the well repaired and after having accomplished this task, a freeze came along and destroyed our hard work. So new repairs had to be made. They have been made, the water pressure is up, and we are officially irrigating. Hubby is off to the farm right now, even as I type (it's 3:00 a.m.) to shut off the well. He's been watering fields at all hours. I can't wait to see what it will look like out there in about two weeks. It's very green now, but it's not quite the lush salad bar we are looking forward to providing for our cattle. Soon our fields will be spectacular!
Ever hopeful that any human nearby might have some alfalfa pellets to scatter for them, the cows always approach. But this time they were more interested in our new dog than any possible treats. We adopted a rescue dog who we've named Iniga (Ee-nee-ga). The cows were fascinated by her. She, on the other hand, found them terrifying and leapt from the ground and into my car through an open window to escape them. Poor doggy. She's a purebred Italian Greyhound but has some recessive traits that make her undesirable as a purebred Iggie. We, on the other hand, love her "undesirable traits," which are purely superficial anyway. And we're in love with her crazy ears. One is always up, the other is always down.
Doesn't this calf below look like he's got a little hog in him?
It may not sound very exciting to most of you, but for us, being able to finally irrigate is the culmination of many many months of hard labor. Not to mention the end to enormous amounts of money spent on alfalfa pellets and hay this winter.
Just as we got our target pastures under irrigation, the rains came. So it's lovely and green on the farm right now. Spring is in the air. The Mountain Laurel is blooming all along the creek where it smells like grape flavored Fun Dip candy.
We've got fields of yellow flowers and green grasses. And all manner of other things are blooming as well.
Our next big endeavor? To start selling beef by the pound instead of by the animal. That'll take awhile, but that's okay. We'll get there. And looking at beef prices in the grocery store today, I really don't think we'll have too much trouble finding buyers. Our beef, superior in taste and texture as it is, will still be a bargain compared to current grocery store beef prices.
Our grass farm is a relatively new operation. Our first calves ever (as a result of the introduction of our own bull--some of our initial herd had already been impregnated) started dropping in August and it's been a delight to watch them romp and frolic on the property.
When you begin an operation like this, a program designed to foster the land and allow nature to do it's job, you get to see some pretty interesting things. Frolicking cattle, cows bellering greetings at your arrival (never failing to make me think of what a brontosauraus might have sounded like), animals big enough to stomp you into the earth wanting nothing more than to nudge gently against you in hopes of a treat.
The photo above was taken from my car as I left the farm the day before yesterday. I'd been out photographing the Monarch Migration on our creek. I was beside myself with joy to see this bird at such ease, walking on the ground, surrounded by five or six of our cattle. As I got closer to the bird it leapt on to the back of this beeve for protection.
I've been here since 1989 and have been fishing, hunting, and photographing on Pinto Farm all that time. We only began our cattle operation in 2008. This egret is something I've never seen before on our property. It's not just any egret, it's a Cattle Egret! It was so elegant. I had no idea what it was, I thought at first it must be some kind of heron but then it came to me that it must be an egret of some sort. My friend Jean confirmed this for me; long time rancher, bird watcher, and observer of nature that she is.
If I correctly understood what I read about cattle egrets, then 59% of the average cattle egret's diet is horseflies. They also eat grasshoppers, crickets, and a few other unwanted farm pests. One of the fantastic things about pasture raised animals and a grass farm designed to mimic nature is that it attracts birds of all types. Birds are nature's pest control. I'll eagerly be watching for more of these magnificent birds on the property. If I were a cow, egrets would be my best friends. Imagine having a companion follow you everywhere you go, perhaps by riding on your back or shoulders, and keeping your hide nearly free of annoying pests! And all without chemicals! Ahhh, nature at it's best.
Uvalde Meat is the processor we recommend because of the quality of their processing and their outstanding service. When you purchase one of our animals for meat we deliver it to Uvalde Meat for you at no charge. Their meat is custom processed to your specifications. Visit their site at Uvalde Meat Market and Processing.