Holy cow! Do we have exciting news! We're expecting! Please, don't have a cow . . . because that's what we're doing! Here she is, Hilltop Sara, who currently lives in Kentucky, but will hopefully join our growing menagerie on Dec. 30--just in time for a 2009 tax deduction! :)
She is a registered Dexter, a Heritage breed that is dual purpose--used for both beef and milk. We're not going to use her for beef, though! She's going to continue to be a momma cow, giving us a calf about every 9 months which will grow up to provide us our own grass-fed beef. The plan is to butcher at about 18 months to 2 years, but we have time to figure that out. Since Sara is also a milk cow, we will be able to share her milk with her calf. Her current owner says she has done that and got about a half gallon a day, much more than we need!
So that's the plan! Karen thinks that I won't be able to bear butchering "toddlers" and that we'll have a whole herd of Dexters running around! I'm sure Herb won't let that happen.
As you can see from the above photo, Sara has horns which she has learned NOT to use on horses! That is very important to me, thinking of Angel & Brandy. For now we are going to add an extra corral area (with round pen panels) adjoining the horses' corral so that Sara will have shelter in the barn, her own water tank, and her own hay while she and the horses get used to each other. Once we know that everyone is used to everyone, they can eventually be out in the field together.
We will get busy pretty quickly on lining up a romantic interest for Sara. There's a man not far away in Lafayette who has one Dexter cow and two bulls, so we'll start there. Hopefully by next September or October we could have our own calf! I have already decided I am not going to name them--unless it's something like Sirloin, T-bone, or Spareribs! That way, if I tell a guest, "You're eating T-bone," they'll just think I mean the hamburger in the chili is ground T-bone steak! :) Or we may just give them all a number and keep it really impersonal.
We'll have a couple of years to research and line up a meat-packing service. We promise to do better than this farm in VA whose brochure we got while visiting Jenny & Jean-Marc. This is a quote:
The beef we raise is top quality Angus and Hereford. All of our animals are either born or raised right here on our farm, so that you know exactly where your meat comes from. Our steers and lambs are grass-fed with free option. Our hay is grown here on our farm, by us, for us. No pesticides are used on our hay fields thus none are passed on to our animals. We do not use growth stimulants or hormones. All of our meat is USDA inspected, and clearly labeled in 15 month vacuum or butcher wrap packaging. We are proud to use Blue Ridge Meats a certified human processor.
We PROMISE not to use Blue Ridge Meats! :)
We'll let you know when Sara arrives and will be sure to post pictures of her.