Wednesday, November 28, 2012

13th Week (November 19, 2012)

This was a holiday week so no formal classes.  However, the learning experience continued.
On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday my Wife and I headed down to the small town of Shullsburg Wisconsin to pick-up a quarter beef that was raised by my Wife's sister and Brother in-law on their farm.  They both have town jobs and only sell the beef to family and friends.  It is very good tasting beef, raised on pasture and finished on grain for the last month or so prior to butcher.  They seldom if ever use antibiotics and the animals have a very good and happy quality of life.  The cattle have a cool clear fresh spring fed stream to get water from, trees to hang out under during bad weather or if it is too hot out.  They just happily hang around in the pasture having a good relaxing time, having a high quality of life, until the day they end up in the freezer, full-filling their destiny in a stress free manner.

They continuously graze their cattle, but note in the picture below all the stream banks are well vegetated, not eroding and the stream is filled with watercress.   I think the reason the land is in good shape is that they keep an appropriate stocking density so as to not over tax the land.

 The beef is butchered at the local State Licensed Webers Meat Market in Cuba City Wisconsin.  They do a very good job.  They keep a card on how we like our beef butchered, so we just have to call in and tell them we want the same as last year.  If you're ever in SW Wisconsin I suggest you stop into Webers and pick up some product (their breakfast sausage links are awesome).  Website is .  It is very important to how your food is raised and processed.

Another thing my Brother in-law has done is to install an outside wood stove boiler.  With this he uses the down/dead wood in his wood lot to heat both his house and the hot water for the house.  Which is great because you never run out of hot water when taking a shower.  I asked my brother in-law once why he didn't put in a corn stove boiler for heat and just use some of the corn he raises, thinking it would be less work than cutting wood.  His answer was "why would I burn something I can sell (corn) when I can burn something I get for free" (which is also a renewable resource).  Sometimes common sense goes a long way.

The rest of the Thanksgiving week was spent in rural Morrison County Minnesota at my Sister's place where my whole Family gathered to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday.
The boys provided a couple of sustainably raised Thanksgiving Grouse.
We all went for a hay ride, stopping to check on the horses along the way.
Apparently the horses where on Holiday also and they deferred to the tractor to pull the wagon.
However, my favorite family Thanksgiving Tradition is making homemade ice cream.  I remember doing this at my grandparents when I was a little kid and I am sure my Dad did it when he was a little kid. This year now that I am 51-yrs old my Dad actually let me supervise the ice cream making, adding the crushed ice and salt as needed.  AS everyone hopefully knows, the best part of making ice cream is licking the dasher when your done cranking.  This can get very competitive in our family as shown in this video.

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