End of 2008... A New Beginning

Peter Drucker gave advice to management of companies for many years and became the leading consultant in how companies need to change to survive and thrive. One bit of advice is also good for all of us that are making New Year's Resolutions.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

I totally believe this and have practiced it all my life. When I did not things normally did not go as I expected them to. When we left the corporate world in late 1998 to return to Daingerfield and build a farm and ranch business, we developed a business plan with a set of goals. some were as minor as building fences in a certain place during a certain time period and others were more important like moving into agritourism and building rental log cabins.

Our goals and targets in our plan were our predictions of what our future would look like. When you visit your farm, you see what we have created. Are we finished, probably not. We are digesting what we have developed now and taking a breath before we stretch out.

Things that may become part of our future include pasture raised pork, spring grass-fed lamb, cheese making, some sort of event center with commercial kitchen to make products using our farm products, and maybe even space for larger gatherings and weddings. Like our accomplishments in the past, we will evaluate each of these based on our resources, the probability of success (profitable), how they fit with what we are doing and our customer base, physical time to do them and a reflection of our age.... do we have time left to do them.

We hope that the resolutions you make for 2009 are ones that you can create and make your life better for you and those around you.

Happy New Year

Eating Healthy

The only time I was able to lose weight and keep it off was when I ate as a cave man did. Grass-fed meats, fresh fish, and fruits and vegetables that grow naturally and are not processed. I also cut out dairy products. I lost the weight I wanted felt great; then I got off that diet and gained back what I had lost and then some. I need to start it again after the holiday. I have no excuse not to do this.

The reason I was reminded of this is a recent article on primal eating. It is an excellent piece of information on how to eat healthy.

We are farmers and ranchers that sell grass-fed beef, fruit, vegetables and berries and hope to have grass-fed pork next year. What you buy from us is not processed food and is healthy for you. I really enjoy getting feed-back from our customers that say our blueberries are the best tasting they have ever had and someone this week said they had forgot what real beef tasted like.

It is months early to come to the farm and get fruit, berries and vegetables, and beef has to be pre-ordered. It is not too early to think about pre-ordering beef as it becomes available. Information is available on our website.

We have a number of split quarters not already sold. We are trying to reduce the cost by offering 1/8th of a quarter of split beef by matching those interested in this. This reduces the amount of beef you get to about 60-75 pounds and cuts your investment in good beef in half.

Calving Season

A rancher's bread and butter is the success of the calving season. We had a good year despite losing two full-term heifers for no obvious reasons. The number of bulls slightly outnumber the number of heifers. It is a real joy to visit our cattle herd and see all the little calves running, playing and getting a milk shake from their mom. We had one calf born whose legs were straight out and it could not walk. I figured we would have to put it down, but our wonderful vet gave it a few shots and we followed it up with more (vitamin b), hand held the calf under its mom to nurse, and gave it a lot of TLC in a barn stall. After a few days, she was up on swaying legs and in a few weeks she and mom were back with the herd.

We are now planning our next fall calf crop. Over Thanksgiving, when our boys were home, we separated the females into two groups. Having semen tested two herd bulls, we are now positioned to place a bull with each group around December 20. With any luck, we will have our first calf near the end of September 2009 and the last shortly after Thanksgiving.

Over the next months we will evaluate our young bulls to determine which will stay a bull and which will become a beef producing steer. The females will also be evaluated to see if they fit in the design box we have for breeding cattle. Our herd size is approaching the point where we will have to sell more and more cattle each year. We have only a given amount of grass. With rotation and planting both supplemental winter and summer forage, we can handle a pretty good size herd.

The tough economic times the country is facing has derailed our plans to sell our 2007 steers on the East Coast to be finished on grass there for that market. We look at this as an opportunity as it lets of take a second look at farm finished beef sold in our own market. You will probably hear more about that later in 2009.

Our Family Is Growing

If you wondered where why there have been no recent blogs since mid-November we have been very busy and our family has expanded.

December 6 Timothy Daniel Walters was born to our daughter Amy and her husband Jon. He arrived a bit early and is still in NICVU, but we expect he will be home with his parents in a week. He weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz.

November 13 Javier Sidney Del Angel Bautista was born to Javier (our 3rd son) and his wife Jovita. He was 8 lbs. 7 oz.

Timothy and Sidney are great additions to our clan.

We expect another grandchild in June 2009.