Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Dose of Cute: So Close, and Yet So Far

Edward and Dee Dee 1
Edward and Dee Dee

We've been busy getting ready for sheep breeding season.

Edward and Dee Dee 2

Edward and Dee Dee 3

Edward and Dee Dee 4

Edward and Dee Dee 5 - Copy
Some of us are ready now.

May you get what you want this weekend!


A couple of things:
—Today is the last day to share your favorite pie story and enter to win a copy of The Little Big Book of Comfort Food. Reading all your wonderful pie talk has been so much fun!
Got green tomatoes? Try my really easy, super popular, no sugar, no canning required, salsa-like green tomato relish recipe. Or head over to my kitchen garden blog and learn how easy it is to ripen green tomatoes indoors.
—It's time to plant your garlic!

Will spring 2011 be your first lambing season with us? You can catch up with all the past cuteness here:

© 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the randy little foodie farm blog where that interesting looking fellow on the left is Edward, our two year old Katahdin ram. With his big furrowed brow, long swinging tail, crazy Gandolf-style brisket, and thick layer of hair along his back (because he didn't shed his entire coat like our Katahdin ewes did) he is quite a sight—and looks like he should be strutting around with wooly mammoths and cavemen. But he has a great disposition, the girls obviously seem to like him, and he gives us really cute lambs. You can read more about how and why we added Katahdin hair sheep to our flock—and see a G-rated photo of Edward in action during last year's breeding season—here.

8 comments:

  1. She looks like she's in luv with him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. p.s., when you did your favorite pie story contest post, I couldn't think of anything.

    Well, now I have...LOL....a big joke in our family for years has been my Mom's Cherry pie. The joke is that the only cherry in Mom's Cherry Pie is the one little bitty single marachino cherry that she put on the top of the pie....

    Cherry Pie
    3 oz. pkg cream cheese
    1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
    1/2 tsp. almond extract
    1 small box (1 pkg) dream whip

    Regular pie crust - add 1 cup chopped pecans and bake

    Whip dream whip as directed on package only using almond extract instead of vanilla.

    Beat cream cheese and 10x sugar, fold in dream whip. Place in baked pie shell.

    Top with 1 marachino cherry.

    Refridgerate and enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ah yes - true love detonated by pheromones! accented by moans and groans and fences leaned upon with dreams of a nice step ladder for access to ram heaven! He does have a rugged handsomeness -

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm wondering why lamb is so expensive? Lamb chops are $12.99/pound, and my daughter saw some other cuts for $15.99/lb! I settled for some ground lamb at $5.99/lb which I will make lamb burgers from, but at that price, I can't afford to buy it very often. What's the story? Does the price go down in the spring?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like they can't be separated!

    ReplyDelete
  6. They're so cute, getting as close as they possibly can with the fence there!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi JR,
    Ha - that's too funny about the cherry pie! I'm just loving all these pie stories.

    Hi LSB,
    Your 'dreams of a nice step ladder' comment cracked me up. Thankfully Edward is a lot bigger and bulkier than he was two years ago - when he decided it would just be easier to tear through ELEVEN strands of barbed wire. The ensuing lambing season was a little busier than we'd planned!

    Hi Ginny,
    You're right - lamb does tend to cost more than other meats. I think a lot of that simply has to do with the size of the animal. For example, you get a lot more meat from a steer that weighs 1,100 pounds than from a lamb that weighs 120 pounds (which will only yield about 50 pounds of meat - and many lambs are butchered at a much smaller weight), and yet both animals take many months to reach that size.

    Hogs are not only often butchered at 240 pounds or more, but sows also have a whole bunch of piglets at once, and she's pregnant for less than four months.

    A ewe is pregnant for five months, and while some people raise breeds of sheep that go into heat year round so that they can squeeze three or four lambing seasons into two years, that wears out the ewe really fast - and is rough on her in the first place, especially if she's having twins each time.

    I think supply and demand also has to do with the price - as well as quality of meat. Lamb is not nearly as popular in the U.S. as it is in some other countries. On the one hand, this is good, because American lambs are not generally raised in the huge (and horrible) industrial factory farms where much of this country's 'cheap' beef and pork comes from.

    Costs are much higher when you're a farmer raising animals naturally and humanely on a small scale. For example, we recently sold some feeder lambs to a local farmer (who will raise them up to butcher weight) for about $65 apiece. Our butcher lambs, which we raise for 12 to 14 months, bring us a gross profit of about $250 each. Each ewe has one or two lambs (twins) a year - so if we're selling her twins for $130, that money must cover all of her care and feeding expenses for a year. Anything left after that is profit.

    Two years ago, we spent nearly $10,000 fencing some of our grazing fields. That fencing, while necessary (and something we put off for many, many years because of the tremendous expense), will never truly pay for itself.

    Two years ago we also spent $4,300 organically fertilizing 44 acres of fields. It should be done again this year, and the cost will be even higher, but we simply can't afford it.

    Just feeding Daisy and Marta, our livestock guard dogs, costs us about $700 a year, but the coyotes are no longer killing 12 lambs in seven months like they did before we got the dogs.

    Continued in the next comment. . .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Much of the lamb you see for sale in the U.S. is actually imported from Australia and New Zealand, where the animals are naturally grass fed (like ours are), which takes longer to fatten them up - plus you're paying for them to be transported around the world.

    That said, lamb really isn't all that much more expensive than beef if you compare 'apples' to 'apples.' The cheap prices for supermarket meats are often artificially low because they're coming from factory farms where, as I mentioned, conditions inside are often horrible, terrible damage is done by them to the environment, and the animals are regularly given dangerous things like growth hormones, constant doses of antibiotics, etc. Basically, you're getting cheap meat at a very high cost.

    At places like Whole Foods, where all of the meat in the butcher case is natural and of very high quality, the price of lamb is often about even with beef.

    Lamb rib chops and loin chops are the finest cuts, and at $15 to $20 per pound, they compare in price to the top beef steak cuts. I've seen boneless leg of lamb regularly selling there for under $8 a pound, which is a very fair price.

    A great way to get really good lamb for a lower price is to buy a whole one directly from the farmer (or split one with a friend). And here's where the smaller size of the animals can actually be a good thing. Not everybody has freezer space for 700 pounds of beef, but an entire butchered lamb will fit in even the smallest of chest freezers.

    We sell our butcher lambs directly to the 'end users,' who have them custom cut and packaged to their specifications. Their total cost ends up averaging $6 to $8 per pound (depending on what cuts they choose) for ALL cuts, which compares to the retail price of ground lamb.

    I've been meaning to put up a blog post about our lamb - we're taking orders now for late spring/early summer 2011 butcher lambs and will be delivering to St. Louis and possibly somewhere like Rolla, which is right on I-44 and is sort of midway both north/south and east/west in the state.

    If anybody is interested, you can email me for more information. farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com. We work hard to raise delicious, all natural meat, and many of our customers tell us ours is the best lamb they've ever tasted. :)

    A great resource for finding locally raised lamb (and just about any other kind of food you can think of) is LocalHarvest.org.

    For food that not only tastes good but will make you feel good, support local, family owned farms! :)

    ReplyDelete

January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

If you're waiting for a reply to your comment and have a Blogger profile (it's free to create one) you can check the NOTIFY ME box that is below and receive all follow up comments to just this specific post via email.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!