This is the time of year that all mammals , human included, can't wait to explore their surrounding and enjoy fresh food.For me the anticipation of fresh spinach, lettuces, wild leeks, garlic scapes, peas and other early growers is a regular Spring occurrence. All though I have planted many of these seeds I have to wait for the fruits of my labor.
The winter of all winters it seems has placed our growing season behind and we will have to hold out and be patient. The cold winter and spring as well as the rainfall this year has certainly delayed anything related to outdoor work. Growth in the pasture has been slow and the fields took their time to dry. The cows have been looking longingly at the green grasses on the other side of the fence and wondering I'm sure, why they weren't being allowed out. In order for those pastures to maintain the amount of cattle we have, we must allow it to grow to a certain stage(not to short,not to tall) to efficiently allow them to graze. The health of that pasture is key to the health of our cattle. Springtime grazing is a very rich diet and hugely water based. This nutrient rich new growth is a boost to their system after a long winter, but also acts as a diuretic, a cleanser of sorts. After some observation we can see that the cattle will choose various places in the pasture to eat. They could be munching on clover, timothy, dandelion, wild mint and probably 20 other varieties of grasses/ plant life When certain grasses turn to seed(such as timothy, orchard grass and pigweed(amaranth) the cows take interest in eating the seed heads, instinctively knowing , I suppose that these grains carry high amounts of protein that their bodies require. Whatever the cows don't eat., our meat chickens do. When the cattle graze down to a certain height we can then move our chicken on to those areas. The chickens require grasses that are closer to the ground . This gives them access to the insects that give them their protein. the chickens are moved daily to a new spot for their own kind of grazing. Their nitrogen rich manure is left behind to seep back into the soil and turn the pasture back into nutrient dense food for the cattle. Excellent teamwork I say!
So after the lengthy discussion of pasture health I can explain "The Cow Dance". As I said, the cattle have been looking longingly at the grass on the other side of the fence. If they could talk I'm sure they had a few choice words for us. Like, "When are you gonna open the dam gate so we can get down to business!" Well after much waiting for perfect conditions the gate was opened and the hounds released. This much waited for event is a highlight even for us. We watch the cattle and the cattle watch us. The gate is open, they want to get out to greener pastures but their is some hesitancy(short lived of course). As they work their way through the gate, their calves stay behind.They were born in March and really aren't sure what this event is all about. The mom's saunter, jog and gallop to the wide open. The calves still stay behind and wonder where they are going. With a wee bit of coaxing they too get into the field and the real dancing begins. They jump, run, kick and do circles around their mothers. A real joy to watch! Kind of like taking your kids to the park and letting them loose!
As we take some time to watch, the herd moves its way around the pasture leisurely, finding a spot here, finding a spot there. If I could put a phrase to their look and body language, it would be tranquil and happy. What better way to spend your life!
Katys Lady's are laying full force. Fresh Brown Eggs are available in our outdoor fridge. Leave your change in the container and pick up a dozen or two at your own convenience.
Beef Boxes will be available mid June. There are still some left. Place your order for the BBQ season coming up.
BBQ Pork Boxes are also available. Get some of our famous Bacon, sausage, chops, ham steaks and lots more.Click on the Freezer Package tab for more info.
BBQ and Roasting Chickens available June 5th. Try these Pasture Raised Chickens. Higher in omegas, Vit A,E and K, and Beta Carotene and lower in trans fats.
Middle River Farm is continually trying to improve the health of the products we sell to you and appreciate inquiries.
Taste the Difference