One, Two, Three Sweet Additions to The Farm!

 Homer, Sally and Pearl watching a chicken

Homer, Sally and Pearl watching a chicken

Since I last blogged a lot has happened on the farm. We have been blessed with three new calves. Two girls and one bull. In four years we have only had one other heifer calf and all others have been bulls. One of these sweeties is the calf of Ruby, our only other heifer born here. We found the two of them early in the morning lounging in the pasture on September 27. We named Ruby’s calf Pearl. The same morning also lounging on the other side of the pasture was Sandy with her brand new heifer calf Sally. Sally has white markings on her side like her mom.

These two girls will grow up together to be our future milk cows in about two years. A lot of patient work will go into them to prepare them to be good milk cows. Training begins now with halter training, touching, walking them to the milking parlor and getting used to the sights and sounds of stanchions clanging and equipment running. As did Ruby they should ease right in to the milking routine when they calve in about two years.

Holly also had her calf about a week later on October 3. We were present for her delivery which wasn’t quite as easy as the others but ended up fine with a big bouncing boy named Homer. He too is precious with his “chiclet” teeth smile. (If anyone remembers what chiclet gum looks like!) He too will stay here on the farm and will grow up as a steer in the pasture with Henry who is now 2 1/2 months old and growing to be quite a handsome steer too.

With that, fall calving season is over with all six girls in milk now!

Check back soon as we will be announcing some pretty exciting news about the farm and an opportunity for you!

Mary Lynn

Ben the Farm Dog and Sandy the Cow

Ben the farm dog here again.  It's getting hot already today so I'm going to relax here on the back porch a while and tell you a little farm story.   As promised, I'm back to tell you about my favorite cow Sandy.  When I first came to the farm last year I was but a wee pup and quite scared of those big ole cow girls. 

Farmer Randy would take me out to the pasture to visit the cows but I was afraid of those big girl cows.  They would shake their heads and chase me til I ran to hide behind farmer Randy or run out of the pasture altogether.  That is, all but one of those cows.  Miss Sandy didn't shake her head at me and chase me.  She would walk up to me but it still scared me and I would run.  She would just stand there with a puzzled look on her face as if to say "why did he run off like that?".  

As time went on, I was growing bigger and was not as scared anymore.  Finally I would just stand there when Miss Sandy would walk up to me.  She started nuzzling and licking me. Did she think that I was her calf?  I'm not sure but I don't mind if she does.  We are just about the same color.   

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Little by little I started to enjoy her company and her nuzzling.   Now we are best friends!  I go out to the pasture just to visit her most days.  Sometimes we even take a nap together.  Miss Sandy is a milk cow so she comes to the barn in the morning and evening to get milked.  I visit her there too and lay in front of the fans while she eats. Sometimes she even drops a nibble of her food for me.

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The other cows tolerate me now too, though Miss Holly still runs me off sometimes.  Maybe she is just playing with me!  

It's time for me to take a walk around the farm to make sure everybody is ok.  Then I will go visit with farmer Randy a while.  We might go to the pasture and chase mice ........well, I will chase mice while farmer Randy mows the pasture and scares them up for me!  

Ya'll take care til next time!

Ben the farm dog

Tips to Tender Pastured Chicken

It all starts with how chickens are raised and how they are processed.  So the number one step to a tender chicken is to know your farmer.  

We raise our chickens in small batches that are free-range on pasture.  We only close them up at night to protect from predators.  During the day they are grazing on fresh grass, eating bugs, grubs and such.  The exercise helps to make healthy, happy birds.....not tough birds.  You get tender muscle meat and not mush from birds not allowed exercise.

They get lots of raw milk and kefir.  We can taste the difference when our birds are milk fed.  The grain we feed is non gmo and soy free.  

The harvesting and processing of our meat birds all happens right here on the farm.  They have no stress from traveling to a processor miles away.  Low stress at harvesting helps to prevent tough meat.

Most pastured chicken processors freeze their birds the same day they are butchered.  We do not.  We chill our chickens for 24 to 48 hours before freezing.  The chemicals responsible for rigormortis need to be broken down a little before being frozen. This makes a huge difference in making a tender chicken.  This way you do not have to brine for tenderness.

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There are so many delicious ways to cook a  pastured chicken but most often we roast it.  Roasting is quick and easy and allows for several meals out of one bird.  Just rinse and dry the bird.  You can leave it whole or spatchcock (butterfly) it.  Rub on some softened butter or olive oil.  Salt and pepper it.  If desired, add some herbs like rosemary and maybe a bit of lemon juice.  The key is to start with a HOT oven (450) for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 375 for the remaining time of 45-55 minutes or more depending on the size of the bird. 

 

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After you have the first meal of succulent roast chicken you can pull the rest of the meat off the bones and then use the carcass to make stock that can be used in soups or other recipes.  

A few ideas for the leftover meat:

  1.  Shred the meat and add barbecue sauce for pulled chicken sandwiches.
  2.  Mince for chicken salad.
  3.  Chop for Chicken Pot Pie.
  4.  Shred for enchiladas.
  5.  Chunk for soup.
  6.  Use in stir fry.
  7.  Make Chicken Divan.

One chicken has so many possibilities!  Cook two at one time, debone, chop and freeze the meat for future meals.  I call this farm fresh fast food!  

Contact us at 910-770-0241 to purchase some of these delicious and nutritious McGirt Farm pastured chickens!

 

 

Hattie's Calf Has a Name!

Thanks to everyone who offered names for Hattie's calf.  There were some very good suggestions and it was enjoyable to read all of them.  

But now it's time to announce our new little fella's name.  He will be called Henry.  It looked like Howard was going to win earlier this afternoon but Henry came on strong in the end as the most popular name. 

We hope that you enjoyed participating in the process of naming Henry as much as we did!

 

Randy and Mary Lynn

Help Us Name Hattie's Calf

It was time for Monday's evening milking when we noticed Hattie alone in the backside of the south pasture.  We walked down to check on her and when we got near we could see two little feet poking out!  A calf was being born.  What a beautiful sight to witness. 

She had no problems calving and in about 15 or so minutes her calf was on the ground.  Immediately she started to lick him clean and dry.  He was alert and started flapping his ears and nuzzling his mom.  It didn't take him too long to find a teat and start nursing.  Hattie and her wee one are doing great!

Now we want to get your help to name this sweet boy.

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We prefer his name to start with an H but it doesn't have to.  Also we need only one or two syllable names as our cows learn their names and that makes it easier to call them.  

Please put your name choices in the blog comments below or email us.

We are excited to have your input.  This is going to be fun!

We will announce the winning selection as soon as it is chosen.  

You are welcome visit this sweet fella at the farm.  Just let us know you are coming and we look forward to seeing you.