Friday, December 30, 2011

Beef, our house, and the new year

Bridget's and Molly's calves are now beef -- or something between veal and beef. They're not technically veal because veal is supposedly one hundred percent milk-fed, and these boys spent their whole lives on pasture nursing and eating grass the way nature intended. The butcher at the locker said that they'll have more flavor than veal but not as strong as beef.

I'm thinking this is probably what our ancestors thought of as veal. After all, historically animals would have been raised on grass with their mother. Today's veal comes from anemic calves that are fed an unnatural diet of only milk, and they're confined to small pens. It would be really interesting to find a book written more than a century ago on the raising of cattle. I'm sure one is out there. I just have to find it. After all, this really makes perfect sense. Calves are born in spring and grow up eating fresh pasture and their mother's milk. They are never castrated and are butchered before winter sets in so you don't have to start feeding hay.

Happy birthday, house!
It's hard to believe that we moved in to our house seven years ago tomorrow -- not because time flies, but because it is still not finished. I can't believe that we have lived here for seven years and have not finished the stairs or all of the trim around the windows and doors. Then again, on a farm there is always so much other stuff to do. And the needs of your animals and garden don't wait. Stairs and trim don't seem very important in the grand scheme of life.

Happy New Year!
Our first goats will be arriving around Jan. 12, and Bridget and Molly will be calving again in April. And my next baby -- er, book, called Ecofrugal -- will be hitting bookstores in the fall! I hope everyone has an outstanding 2012 where all of your homesteading dreams come true!


Nancy K. said...

You're really gonna do goats in January again, huh? ;-)

I wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year as well!

Mary Ann said...

That's a nice calf... we are afraid to have calves here, we are afraid they would NEVER be sent away! Happy New Year!

Deborah Niemann said...

Nancy, yep kidding in January. I prefer kidding before spring because the does seem to handle it better when the parasites are dormant. This year has been so ridiculously warm though, it won't be a big deal if this weather continues.

MaryAnn, I had a much harder time making that phone call to send them in than I expected! I procrastinated much longer than I should have!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

We often get requests for veal and customers are surprised when we say "sorry, we like our calves to be able to stay outside and RUN" So few folks understand what veal is and how it impacts the well being of an animal uo until slaughter. I too love good tastting meat but not at that price!

PS the trim, paint,floors, etc never get done once you start raising livestock. Its always THEM over us it seems!

Blackhorse Hill said...

When I was still working at the library, I had to search for arcane stuff all the time. If you do a "google books" search for veal or raising veal, you will find several free e-books on the subject. I took a short look at them. Might be something of use there.

Also try WorldCat.

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

In Australia (back when I lived there 12yrs ago) they would have "Baby Beef" in the supermarkets, it was beef between 6months and 12months of age that had been grazed...I loved it because it was there was no such thing as a bad cut of baby beef, it was always flavorful and tender.

Hope you have a wonderfully blessed new year.

Miss Effie said...

Deborah -- I have an early copy of "Feeds and Feeding" by Morrison. It was re-written in the 40's by Sleeter Bull ... I do have his 1920's book on livestock management.

When it slows down later today ... I will check it out and what it says about veal.

LindaG said...

The way I see it, is our ancestors didn't have access to all the stuff we did - and they didn't have money for it.
I imagine chickens were always free ranged and fed scraps, and cattle were mostly grass fed, too.

I imagine your beeves are going to be excellent! :-)

Haha. Happy birthday to your house! As you say, there is always stuff to do; and as long as the house is livable, what's a little trim and such? ;-)

Happy New Year to you, all, too! I hope it is fantastic and successful for you all.

Unknown said...

Hi Deborah, I live in Britain and the excellent Countryfile show on BBC had a segment on veal, or more specifically what's called 'rose veal' on Sunday night. I'd always thought veal was.. as described (not something I'd ever consider ingesting). The show was really informative - flagging that because there is no longer much of a veal market, male dairy calves are almost universally shot at birth. In Britain, however, there is now a bit of a turn. The old style 'veal crates' have been banned since the 1990s (but not many people know that) and there's an increasing attempt to grow male dairy calves on through a pasture and other means and find a market for it - thus trying to educate that veal from dairy calves that would otherwise have been shot at birth is not a bad thing, IF they are raised humanely. Even the RSPCA and Compassion for World Farming support this. The result is 'rose veal' (and tastes as others describe). It sure sounds like a good thing to me.

Deborah Niemann said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Unknown! It is always interesting to hear what is happening in other countries! Hope you'll stop in again soon!


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