Farming with a tiny carbon hoofprint (TM) Mon, 07 Aug 2017 18:29:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sizzling burgers, juicy steaks, luscious roasts – time to order 100% grass-fed beef Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:43:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> It’s that time again – harvest at Bull Brook Keep, home of 100% grass-fed beef.
Ahh, the sizzle of grass-fed beef!

Ahh, the sizzle of grass-fed beef!

What does it mean? Great taste, high nutrition, and eating with a tiny carbon hoofprint(c) because our happy cattle enjoy fresh pasture grasses all summer and high-quality hay in the winter. They get a natural diet – no grains, no hormones and no subclinical antibiotics. Our herd is out in the sunshine year-round.
Harvest time means it’s time to reserve a variety package (ranging from 30 lbs. up to 220 lbs., or more) to suit your family size and freezer space. It’s easy to do with a deposit online or with a check.
What will you get? Steaks, roasts, ground beef, and more. The steaks include these types: T-bones, ribeye, sirloin, sirloin tip (tender!), tenderloin, NY Strip, top round, flank and skirt. Roasts will include two or more of these: chuck, arm, cross-rib, sirloin tip. And ground beef, is, ground beef.
You can order now. Here’s how

The rush to winter Tue, 02 Dec 2014 19:55:27 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Last year, we experienced the “polar vortex” with temperatures in the -40 range and winds of over 35 mph. Over 4.5 ft of snow covered our pastures and the cows eventually refused to slog through it to get to the brook to drink. Dave and I had to haul water every day, and break ice (that formed on the water trough) every morning. Ugg.
Now, we’re all wondering what this season will bring, what with January temperatures having arrived in November.
Right now, fat flakes are swirling across the fields. I brushed them off my face and coat when I came in 10 minutes ago. The air had been clear when I started out about noon. I’d heard snow was in the forecast, so I pulled on snow pants and woolen hat to insulate myself against the rising wind long enough to move two big round bales of hay out to the moos. The cows still had remnants of a couple of bales out there, but I wanted to make sure they could get their fill if temperatures began to drop.
Moving hay in the snow

Moving hay in the snow

It’s funny, the cows immediately began walking up to the barn when they heard me fire up my John Deere. They knew fresh alfalfa-and-grass hay was on the way. It was fun to watch them approach – they’ve become so furry for the winter season. These BueLingo beef cattle were designed for the Upper Midwest; they just don’t pay much attention to the cold.
Well, they’ve got their hay, and I’m going to warm up some tea and make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Then we’ll all sit for a bit and watch the snow.

The reluctant lover Fri, 13 Jun 2014 03:27:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Spring, 2014
Farm Update

He called to say he’d be an hour late. A tiny inconvenience, but unavoidable. He’d had to drive to Eau Clare earlier in the day. Fortunately, the breeze was gentle. I didn’t mind standing in the bright sunshine.

When he arrived, he pulled the long trailer up close to the milking parlor and disappeared inside the barn. Five minutes. Not a sound. Ten minutes. Birds sang over the alfalfa field. Fifteen minutes and nothing coming from the barn. What was going on?

I paced, but made sure I stayed away from the barn windows. I didn’t want him to spot me and, perhaps, turn back. Tracy – the truck driver – quickly walked out of the barn, grabbed something out of his truck and marched back into the barn. Now what?

It was still – again.

Then I heard it, the clumping of heavy hooves on metal as Full Throttle, my pure-bred BueLingo bull, reluctantly climbed into the cattle trailer. I’d hired Tracy to haul my bull a few miles down the road. Full Throttle, like all my herd, is a 100% grass-fed bovine raised sustainably and kept close to home so that he remains calm and healthy. He gets no growth hormones and no sub-therapeutic antibiotics. He enjoys sunshine and fresh air every day of the year.

Today was moving day. Time to transfer him from my friend Norm’s farm, where I had boarded him over the winter, to my friend Josh’s farm, where he’d “keep company” with a small herd of Jersey diary cows for a couple of months.

“He just didn’t want to leave the barn,” said Norm. “He’d just close his eyes and turn his back on us.” I took this as evidence of the good treatment he’d enjoyed in Norm’s experienced hands. Thirty years a dairy farmer, Norm now raised a small herd of beef cattle. My bull stayed with the other bachelors – a strategy needed to make sure yearling heifers weren’t bred too young or out of season.

Beef bull and dairy cows

Full Throttle, BueLingo black and white bull, and Jersey cows

Bull and dairy cows

My BueLingo bull walks the lane with the Jersey ladies

With Full Throttle safe in the roomy trailer, we set off for our three-mile trip. A few minutes later, we pulled into Josh’s Turnip Rock Farm, a sustainable CSA vegetable farm, and a growing organic dairy and cheese operation. It appeared his herd had gotten the memo: the doe-eyed Jersey cows lined the fence, and there was no need to coax my two-year old bull from the trailer. He eagerly stepped into the throng of welcoming ladies. Elvis was in the room.
After the initial introductions, Full Throttle walked further into the field and continued to get acquainted with the half-dozen gentle cows. At one point, he stopped and looked back at me as if to say “Why didn’t you just tell me?”

Bull Brook Keep is a small-family, cow-calf farm committed to sustainable and humane livestock breeding and production. Full Throttle will be back on my farm in mid-July to reacquaint himself with his home-based herd.
Sylvia Burgos Toftness
Bull Brook Keep