21 hours ago
Monday, March 5, 2012
Three books: Cattle, cooking and preparing
* Don't saddle yourself with a huge mortgage for your cow acreage; suggests strategies for finding low or no cost land that I find pretty credible. I've arranged to use 17 acres of grass for the next 3 years in return for a side of beef; I used a strategy similar to those described here to get that deal done.
* Don't fall in love with equipment; spend as little as you can on the machinery, and as much as you can on the things that make you money -- like more cattle.
* Take advantage of seasonal variations in price by picking a type of cattle buyer and timing your production to the peak price. Example: Sell to people who want summer grazers. Calve in the fall and sell the weanlings in the spring, when the demand is high for summer grazing stock.
Practical, useful advice and a reminder that producing a farm product is only have the battle. You have to sell it, too. Each market that you might sell to is discussed.
It does include chapters on grazing plans and waterers and design for mineral feeders and so on, but I think that the discussions of marketing your cattle are the best part -- if you've never look at having cows, it talks about the way that prices will go from year to year, and when you can get a better price for the same animal.
Recommended reading if you're into cattle.
This book is a collection of recipes and strategies for cooking all the parts of the animal that are difficult to cook, or unfamiliar to most people. Pigs feet and marrow bones and all of the things that most farmers are left with after they sell the animal.
Feet, tails, shanks, lungs, heart, liver, bones, necks -- all are covered, and for beef, pork and lamb. No matter what you're slaughtering you'll find recipes in here for that.
I have a sincere interest in using as much of each animal as I can; and things like marrow bones are *really* tasty. So if you're interested in using a higher percentage of your animal, or perhaps just in getting more food value out of your slaughter, this is a book that I'd recommend.
For those folks who are interested in the long-term storage of food that doesn't require electricity, this book is very useful. It'll give you a brief treatise on food safety, and then take you on a nuts-and-bolts guide through various preservation methods that result in tasty food that will keep for years.