Goats Eating A Mushroom

We have been feeding for over a month, but this is the first time the goats created a work of art out of a bale of hay.

Challenging Calving Season: Triplets, Twins and Crooked Legs

We started our fall calving season early this year by 10 days and it has been a challenge. Right off the start a seasoned cow had triplets, three bull calves. Each was full term and perfect in every way but different sizes; 15 pounds, 20 pounds and 30 pounds. Only the heavier calf lived, but it was too short to nurse. We loaded up cow and calf and brought them home so we could hold up the little fellow (for 10 days) until he had grown enough to reach a tit on his own.

The next cow that calved had twins. Both were healthy, but one was a freemartin. We loaded up the cow and calves and brought them home so we could be sure the cow nursed each equally. Often when you have twins the cow favors the first born over the second born.

Then the next cow to calve lost her calf. So.... we loaded her up and brought her home too. Since it has only been one day since we had the twins we used old tricks to get her to accept one of them. Rubbing smells off the calf on the cows nose, putting the cow in a chute and having the calf nurse then rub the udder milk on the calf. Within two days all was well and she took the calf.

In the barn now is a calf that has hooked front hoofs. She was positioned in the womb in such a way that her legs never moved. We have her in a leg brace for two days then take it off. On the off day she rides in a sling so she is half walking. Each day she gets better. We milk her mom and she drinks from a bottle. We love each and every animal on the farm and do what we can for them.

Last Friday a heifer that was near calving had an udder infection and all four tits were hard. Javier took her to the vet for treatment and brought her back to the barn. the next morning at 6:00 am when checked she was in hard labor and having problems. I was away in Houston. Javier worked for several hours and eventually pulled the calf and all was well. Since the cow had the udder problem, he took it to the vet to give it colostrum. At 5:00 pm he found the cow down with her uterus out on the ground and bleeding. She had a prolapse. Javier called the vet to come to the farm. He got a cloth under the uterus and cleaned it off and started to push it back inside her. This took a long time easing it bit by bit. By the time the vet got to the farm he had it in and she was standing. The vet finished, tied it off and gave her medicine. We bottle fed the calf for a day and then mom's udder came in and she gave good milk.

Over the last 9 weeks we have had a set of twins die and two still born full term calves. We have also had many calves born with no difficulty. It has been a very challenging calving season and we are not finished yet. Winter/Spring calving starts in late February. Hopefully it will be less exciting.

Road Trip: Bringing Cows From Canada - Maine-Anjou Fullbloods

Javier and I embarked on a great journey October 24. We took the old 1999 F350 one ton truck and decade old cattle trailer on a 4,000+ mile road trip from the farm to Canada and back. Some in the family suggested I buy a new truck to make the trip. All we did is have our old beast checked over by the boys in the local garage and off we went.

Neither of us had seen any of this country and we were amazed at the vast empty plains from northern Oklahoma all the way to Saskatchewan. I am not sure what area is most depressing when you consider it has become depopulated: western Kansas, Wyoming or Montana. I am certain that as time moves forward there will be less and less people here. There is nothing to attract or retain any young folks except limited oil & gas, and large scale ranching and farming. There is next to no economic activity. Wind farms are all along the way, but that is not creating local jobs.

It was fall round-up season in Wyoming and Montana. Cattle that had been released into the mountain flats were being driven back to where they could be sorted, branded, calves weaned and sent to feed lots. Heifers and cows placed where they could be fed in the winter. Too many to count 18 wheeler cattle pots were moving the calves to market. It all reminded me of Lonesome Dove. Not much has changed except modes of transport in a hundred years.

We had one Canadian heifer to pick up in Montana that was bought last year and that was a far as she got. She spent the summer on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation on the Canadian border on open range and was rounded up by horseback with other cattle. Our other heifers were purchased in August in Saskatchewan from Manitou Maine-Anjou. We visited this ranch a few years ago and they have really good bloodlines that are different than ours. They have also recently imported semen from France to create new outcross blood lines. It is important if you have purebred cattle to add different blood lines rather than line breed. Four of these heifers are bred for late winter calves, so we will have some interesting bloodlines to work with in our herd in the future.

We left the farm mid-afternoon October 24 with a 55 gallon drum of extra diesel, lots of food and snacks, water and bales of hay for our big adventure. By midnight we were in Salina, Kansas and tired. Cheap motel number 1. The next day we made it to Sheridan, Wyoming a little after midnight. Inexpensive hotel number 2. Day three found us in Augusta, Montana and we stayed with a friend of mine. It was the first day of hunting season and the local tap room was full of hunters with tall tales of the ones they did not shoot. Day 4 ended in Shelby, Montana just south of the border. We got to see the east side of Glacier National Park on the way to Shelby. Expensive and only motel in town number 3. Day 5 started out at 4:00 am headed north to meet a truck bringing the cattle south out of Canada. Blowing snow had slowed things down.

The border at Sweet Grass, Montana is no more than a very elaborate Homeland Security crossing at the end of Interstate 15. No gas station, no toilet, nada. We met the truck at a USDA facility there and had to offload the cattle for inspection. A cold, wet and windy morning to be doing this. On the road again, we headed to Sun River to pick up the heifer we bought last year. That accomplished, and taking time to repair and re-repair the lights on the trailer, we got to Great Falls. There we had to go through Montana Brand Inspection. Since Montana is pretty much open range, all cattle are branded and if you move any form one county to another the brand needs to be inspected along with proof of ownership.

It was after midnight when we got to Buffalo, Wyoming tired and ready for a few hours of sleep before the long drive home. We had laid in the trailer a foot of wheat straw and the cattle were secure and comfortable. We gave them water and fresh hay to eat. Cheap hotel number 4. One impression I got was at night driving on the interstate. You could go for 30 to 40 minutes and never see another vehicle. Such a lonely country.

The last day of our trip was our longest. We started at 6:00 am Monday and 1,400 miles later it was 7:30 am Tuesday and we drove through the farm gate. That is a long day I can tell you. The cattle arrived safe and sound, but were happy to get out and stretch their legs. Our mission was accomplished, no great problems and our old truck and trailer served us well.

Why did we do this? Because I believe that our fullblood Maine-Anjou cattle are some of the best fullblood cattle you can raise. If you are going to raise cattle, why not raise the best?

Zebras On Our Farm:The Shaker Sisters

Our daughter is the Wellness Director at the Westside Tennis & Fitness club in west Houston. Last summer the club had a children's camp and as part of the camp activities had various animals. This included two baby female Grant's zebras.

Grant's zebra are the smallest of six subspecies of zebra on the high plains of Africa. They average 53 inches in height (like a small donkey), weigh 500 to 700 pounds at maturity and can live for 28 years or more.

After a lot of family discussion, it was agreed that we would bring the zebra to the farm and give them a home. We will keep you up-to-date as they mature. Eva has already been to a three day zebra training school.

There are a few things you have to watch for when being around these ladies. First, they love to show their teeth and can bite if given the chance. Second they kick both backwards and sideways. Not too long after they arrived, the smallest lady fell at my feet. I found that was a natural trait if something they fear is too near. I tripped over the zebra and my head crashed into a steel pen panel pipe. Feeling the young lady getting up, I knew she was now going to kick. I cradled my head so it would not get a blow and bam... she kicked my butt like it has never been kicked. Eva and Javier dragged me stunned out of the pen. I was seeing stars and my back side was ready to turn all shades of blue, black and yellow. I learned a lesson and since have not had any such mishaps with our new residents.

So if you have a farm stay in one of our lakeside log cabins, you can visit The Shaker Sisters. Why that name? One is called Salt and the other Pepper.

Farm to Fork Cooking: Photos of November Class

The November cooking class became a festive party with hands-on participation. Enjoy the photos of the class at work.

The menu was Getting Ready for Holiday Gatherings
Cornmeal crusted miniature pies
Beef empanadas
Shrimp fritters with spicy ginger sauce
Portabella mushroom tarts
Chili infused chocolate chip cookies
Ginger cookies with white chocolate drizzle

Bull On The Loose - Not Really

One of our herd bulls apparently did not like the hay ring in his paddock or thought it was a toy. When we were out by the barn yesterday evening we saw him running across the field with the ring around him. He seemed quiet bothered by his situation. It was not easy trying to get it off him as when we approached he would run away. Eventually the ring turned side ways and he walked out of it.

This is where the hay ring is supposed to be

This is the bull inside the ring

Is sustainable Agriculture Possible?

"Sustainable if obtainable if humans are retrainable"

Sign on the wall in Bill the Butcher's shop in Seattle, Washington


It's A Wonderful Life

Occasionally you run across an article that is so interesting or meaningful that you want to pass it on. Gregg Hillyer has such a piece in the December Progressive Farmer magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

It’s a Wonderful Life

A Christmas tradition at the Hillyer household
is to watch Frank Capra’s classic film “It’s
a Wonderful Life.” If you’re unfamiliar
with the story, it revolves around the life of
George Bailey, a man who wants to see the world and
escape the tiny town of Bedford Falls. But a series of
events prevents George from leaving. He marries a
hometown girl and settles down to raise a family and
run the Bailey Building and Loan Association.
George is hopelessly frustrated by a life filled with
disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. On one
eventful Christmas Eve, misplaced funds threaten to
financially ruin his business. Out of luck and out of
time, George contemplates jumping off a bridge into
the frigid water below. But Clarence, his guardian
angel, intervenes before he can leap in.
George is skeptical when Clarence reveals his
identity and responds bitterly that he wishes he had
never been born. So Clarence shows George what life
would have been like if he never existed.
Some would argue, I suppose, the 1947 film is too
simplistic, too sentimental and too superficial in its
portrayal of life and problem solving. And in a world
today where we’re constantly surrounded by cynicism,
conflict and unconcern, it’s hard to disagree.
But this same innocence is what gives the movie
its charm and why my family looks forward to our
annual holiday screening. For within the theatrical
script lies an important lesson that as parents my wife
and I try to reinforce often with our three children:
Success isn’t measured solely by wealth but by the love
of family and friends.
It’s a message that especially bears repeating
during the Christmas season as we pause to
reflect on the past year and count our many
No one probably counts their blessings more
than farmers and ranchers, who are in general
a thankful lot. After all, your livelihood largely
depends on the fickle nature of weather. Who
doesn’t say a quick word of thanks when a
timely rain falls in July or your cow herd finishes
a successful calving season?
Yet farming will always be a challenging
business with good years and bad. There are no
guarantees for success, no matter your skill set
or level of planning. Unfortunately, as operations
have gotten bigger and with it the level of risk, it’s
easy to get so wrapped up running the business
that everything else, it seems, gets pushed aside.
When my twin brother was farming, he
often observed neighbors had stopped being
neighborly. Gone were the days when families
would drop by unannounced on a lazy summer
Sunday afternoon to visit, or farmers would
greet each other on the road and then pull over their
pickups to chat. It bothered him the people he knew
best had become detached from their community.
So during this holiday season, take the time to
show your appreciation to those who really matter
in your life. Reach out and reconnect. For just as
Clarence reminded George: “ … no man is a failure
who has friends.”
Editor in Chief
Gregg Hillyer
Editor In Chief Gregg Hillyer
2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415
Birmingham, AL 35209

Eva and Sid on Merrill Lynch Webcast

Eva and I were approached by Merrill Lynch - Bank of America to be featured on a special hosted by Charles Gibson, former ABC Evening News commentator. The focus was on how to have a second career. It is called Second Acts. If you are over 40, I recommend you devote an hour to it. What you learn may affect how you look at the rest of your life.

Also, Merrill Lynch created an advertising segment for the media using our story. It really captures our life together and what we are doing on our farm and with our life. It is called Learning to Slow Down - Life on a Farm

Greer Farm Grass Fed Beef

Greer Farm Maine-Anjou Cattle
The very best beef one can buy
Our cattle are raised naturally on our farm
with lots of tender, loving, care
We do not feed antibiotics, growth hormones or any artificial supplements
Grass or Grain Finished Beef:  It’s Your Choice
Available by the half or split quarter
Cost depends on the size of a steer
For grass finished, about $5 per pound cut, packaged and frozen
All natural grain/grass finished about $6.00 per pound
(Grain finishing by special request)
Discounts Available: Buy Half 5%, Repeat Customer 5%, Bring a New Customer 5%
Grass finished split quarters average $500-$700
Approximately 2-1/2 normal freezer shelves
If natural grain finished, you pay extra for the cost of the grain
Too Much Beef, share a quarter family or friends
USDA packaged cuts available at the farm
If you buy from us, you know…
What you are eating
How it was raised
Where it came from
Additional information at www.greerfarm.com/cattle/beef.html
903-645-3232 ◦ Daingerfield, Texas ◦ info@greerfarm.com

Farm to Fork Specials: Beef, Berries and Jam

Our family farm offers a variety of products both fresh and preserved. These are our current farm specials.

Farm to Fork Specials

Maine-Anjou All Natural Grass Finished Ground Beef
90/10 lean
10-19 pounds $4.75/pound
20 pounds or more $4.50/pound
Select Cuts of Grass Fed Beef
Limited quantities – Next Harvest January 2011
Call for availability
Ground beef  $5.00/pound T-bone Steak  $11.00/pound Rib Eye Steak   $13.00/pound Sirloin Steak  $10/pound Liver  $4.00/pound Short Ribs  $4.50/pound Round Steak  $6.50/pound Chuck Roast  $6.25/pound
Select Cuts of Milk Fed - Free Range Veal
Limited quantities – Next Harvest January 2011
Round Steak Cutlet $15/pound
Loin Chop/T-bone Steak $18/pound
Sirloin Steak $13/pound
Ground $7/pound
Fresh Frozen Greer Farm Blueberries
2010 June/July Crop
$25/5 pound bag

Homemade from Greer Farm Fruit
Chipolte Sauces $5
(Serve over cream cheese and crackers or as a barbecue basting sauce)
Blueberry – Chipolte
Blackberry – Chipolte
Blueberry – Habanero Chipolte
Jams & Preserves $5/$8
Blueberry – Peach Jam
Blueberry Jam
Blackberry Jam
Fig Preserves with Lemon
Pear Preserves
Apple Pear Preserves
Pear Cinnamon Preserves
Syrups $8/$5
Pear Cinnamon
Apple Pear
Blueberry Pie Filling $10/quart

Pear Compote $8

2011 Cooking Classes: January to April

Farm to Fork Cooking
with Chef Eva

Unique Opportunities to Expand Your Culinary Horizons
January 15, 2011
(MLK Holiday Weekend)
Kicking off the New Year with Great Starters
Hoisin beef and scallion rolls
Stuffed endive leaves and celery with homemade cream cheese and spices
Chicken brochettes with spicy peanut sauce
Warm black bean and chipotle dip with homemade tortilla chips
Salmon canapés on black pepper potato chips
Coconut tartlets
February 5, 2011
Super Bowl Party Favorites
Chili lime peanuts
Spicy Sriracha chicken wings
Lump crab salsa with homemade potato chips
Mediterranean tomato olive and walnut salad
Pork and purple hull pea chili with toasted cornmeal cornbread sticks
Apple bread and butter pudding with whiskey caramel sauce
March 5, 2011
Mardi Gras Feast
Lump crab meat and brie soup
Commanders egg Benedict with special sauce and homemade triple meat sausage
Imperial crawfish
Cajun Caesar salad
Creamy Pralines
April 16, 2011

Scarborough Fair...Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Cooking with Herbs
Scarlet Nantes carrot soup with mint
Rosemary sage thyme garlic flan with crispy shallots with arugula and radicchio salad
Grilled Scallops with salsa Verde
Herb crusted chicken Cordon Bleu with basil pesto with hazelnuts
Mashed potatoes with toasted coriander and roasted garlic
Lemon Verbena Ice cream
Schedule for May-November 2011 available in January


All classes are at the Farm House and start at 11:00 AM
Ask about Private Classes for Special Occasions, a Gathering of Friends or Team Building
Gift Certificates Available
903-645-3232  ●www.greerfarm.com  ● eva@greerfarm.com


Please read our cancellation policy before making a reservation.
Classes are by reservation only and must be paid for in advance.  Call 903-645-3232 for availability and/or to make a reservation using a credit card.  Space is filled on a first come – first served basis.  Participants should be 16 or older.  If your preferred class is full, we will place you on a waiting list. 

Cancellation Policy

Due to the financial impact of cancellations at the last minute, our cancellation policy is strictly followed.  There are no exceptions regardless of the circumstances or nature of an emergency situation. 14 day advance notice is required for any cancellation.  The class fee is non-refundable, but we will issue a credit toward a future class or your enrollment transferred to another person.

If cancellation is within 14 days of the class date, forfeiture of the fee will result unless we can re-book your reservation.  If we are able to re-book your reservation, you can utilize your fee as a credit toward a future class.We reserve the right to cancel any class at any time. Classes may be cancelled due to insufficient participation, illness of the instructor or inclement weather. In such instances you can receive a full refund or offered a credit toward another class.