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GrassRoots Meats Newsletter October 2013
In this issue...
-- Fun in the Garden
-- Cheap Food
-- Lost Sheep, Lost Dog
-- The Difference an Egg Can Make
-- Phasing Out Our Toll Free Number
-- October Specials
-- In Closing ...

Fun in the Garden
Although my lower back is aching from picking cherry tomatoes, I can honestly say that having the garden this year has been a blessing like no other. Each day I take the 4 wheeler to the garden with my produce containers and come back with the rest of the day's work. I have been freezing, dehydrating, and canning a bountiful harvest. Despite a flash flood going through the greenhouse and garden recently, the vegetables continue to ripen. I have been getting creative with what to do with the abundance, since Farmer's Market is finished for the year.

My latest hobby is dehydrating - mostly tomatoes and squash. I am even doing cherry tomatoes, and although the end product is small, the result is a tart/sweet treat that is sure to be amazing on salads this winter. I am slicing the larger tomatoes and the finished product is not only delicious, it is pretty as can be. The squash I am slicing, tossing lightly in olive oil, adding some herbs and seasonings, and the result is a delicious chip that can be eaten alone or used with a dip. I am finding the whole process exciting and fun.

Allan just planted some fruit trees that should produce fruit next year, although perhaps not a large amount. We bought them at a local nursery and they are already a few years old. Two apples, a peach, two cherries, one crab apple, and a bunch of chokecherries. We have wanted to have fruit trees for years, and this is a dream come true. Our goal now is to protect them from critters and get them through the winter. Just love this farm life!

Cheap Food
Food is cheap! Don't think so? Plant a garden sometime and you will realize that the prices we pay are way too cheap. And I am not even going to talk about the cost of raising animals for food. Just the time it takes to harvest my produce, most particularly the tomatoes, makes me appreciate what a package of cherry tomatoes costs in the grocery. And when you factor in the time it took to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water them, and keep the weeds under control, a farmer is working for pennies an hour.

Don't get me wrong. Growing vegetables is not a hobby, not a job, it's a passion. It is therapy like no other. It is exercise that doesn't count, according to some gurus, but it is exercise nonetheless. It can be frustrating and back breaking at its worst, and exhilarating at its best. And in the end, it puts a harvest on the table that cannot be compared to anything you can buy in the grocery, if for no other reason than the sheer pride of knowing you grew it yourself. What other kind of work can produce this kind of satisfaction?

Lost Sheep, Lost Dog
This has been a month for lost animals! Lost to predators, and just lost. At final tally we have 11 ewes left, and no ram. We started out with over 40. Most everything has been lost to coyotes, although we have seen mountain lion tracks as well as bear tracks. The wildlife department set up cameras for a few nights and we have pictures of a bear, a fox, and some coyotes coming in to one of the carcases. And when we thought it couldn't get worse, the sheep were gone. We could not figure out if they had been mass slaughtered, or just run off. But unlike Mary's lambs, left alone they did not come home.

We are blessed to live in a small area, and once the word was spread, we got notice that they were a few miles away, and safe, although their numbers had gone from 13 to 9. The day after Allan got them back to the ranch, our male border collie took off. He had been getting out of his pen for a few days, despite all of Allan's attempts to fortify it, and in the end won the battle. Again, we posted our Lost Dog notices and soon received word that he was found, about 15 miles away. We suspect that there is a female somewhere sure to have border collie cross pups in a few months.

Earlier this summer a couple of cows got loose and we found them many miles away, a few weeks later. Allan and I think that we will start getting calls from our neighbors whenever a stray animal is found, as surely it would belong to us! Love this life on the ranch!

The Difference an Egg Can Make
And speaking of lost items, our newest chickens have started laying eggs, but the question was, where? While I had been getting 2 eggs a day from my old chickens, suddenly I was getting none. When free ranging chickens decide to change their "safe place" to lay, it can be quite the challenge to find their booty. One day last week Allan heard one of the hens give her egg laying squawk and followed her, watching where she might go to lay it. And nestled into the hay stacks in an area he had checked earlier he found a nice clutch of eggs, making me very happy, replenishing my egg supply just in the nick of time.

Can a person love a chicken? I think so. I certainly do love and appreciate mine. What a difference an egg can make. And what a pleasure those bug finding, grass eating creatures can be.

Phasing Out Our Toll Free Number
On a more serious note, we are phasing out our toll free number. I changed the number on the website banner, but will continue to have it listed on the website under the contact info and the ordering info for awhile. So many people have free long distance anymore and eliminating the number is one way that we can cut back on expenses, always necessary to keep our meat prices low. If you use the toll free number and would prefer that we keep it please, please let me know. Otherwise we will probably drop it at the end of the year.

October Specials
  • New York Steaks - $16.99 pound - Reg $19.99
  • Beef Tenderloin/Filets - $22.49 pound - Reg $27.99
  • Beef Tongue - $2.99 pound - Reg $4.99
  • Bone In Lamb Sirloin Roast - $8.99 pound - Reg $10.99
  • All Natural Whole Chicken - $18.99 each - Reg $21.99

As usual, these supplies are limited and the specials will be pulled when we run out. No rain checks!

In Closing ...
Fall is in the air. There is a definitive chill, and the days are getting shorter. And shorter. And soon we will be nestling in for the winter, hoping that whatever work still needs to be done can be accomplished easily in snowy conditions. Hope you are making plans for a winter rest as well. God bless you.

Lois & Allan

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