Working Cattle: Who Is Going To Have a Baby?

Twice a year we round up all the cattle and check to see which females are pregnant. This is also when they get fly tags in the early summer, get wormed and have their semi-annual vaccinations. Preventive health care is essential to a healthy herd. It is the same thing that families practice with their kid’s check-ups.

This is a long day of work and it normally falls on the hottest day of the summer and the coolest rainy day of the fall. Every year I say I will build a shed over the work chute so you do not get heat stroke or catch a cold. As things get priortized, I doubt this will every happen.

Knock on wood, we have very little problem with the health of our herd. The most significant this year was a young cow that broke its leg (it is going to heal, but take 6 months), a cow that lost its hoof (ugly affair and lots of blood , but it will recover and re-grow a hoof), a cow with prolapse (uterus fell out at calf’s birth- another bloody mess stuffing it back in- it’s the size of a very large watermelon) and a cow that cut the top of her head off (stapled back after loss of a lot of blood and recovered). Such is life on the farm and why the rancher/farmer can NEVER get off the reservation.

Working cattle, like in the movies, still happens with cowboys, horses roping calves and hot branding, but for the most part ranchers handle their cattle in corrals with a squeeze chute and the cattle are kept calm.

The cattle are driven into the corral for a day of fun in the sun.

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Javier and Christi check to see if a cow has is pregnant. They are trying to feel the baby in the uterus by putting their arm all the way in the anus. They have a large plastic sleeve onver their hand and arm.

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Good record keeping (we always make mistakes) and team work is essential. Paul the lead guy here
on this day’s work.

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The fall born calves are weaned at this time of the year and separated from their moms. This gorup has calves to wean and those that will remain on the cow.

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Javier takes a water break and Christi and paul check supplies

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Chef Eva at the Dallas Farmer's Market

Eva was invited by the Dallas Farmer’s Market to be a part of their summer celebrity chef program on Saturday mornings. July 2 she had a demonstration on how to make blueberry jam.

It was a cool 102 degrees, but a nice crowd came out and they took home the jam made.



End of Season Blueberry Patch Photos

These photos were taken today, july 19. This is the last day we are picking for commercial flats. After this, what we pick will be to freeze for our own use.

This also marks time when we offer a steep price discount to glean the berry field. This gives our customers once last chance to load up on Greer Farm blueberries. The price is $1.75 per pound.

These berries were picked this morning. They are still full of juice and sweet.


Javier picked these berries in a short time.


This is the best picking crew. At 6:00 am most every day Javier, Christi and Eva hit
the berry field and picked for three hours. Their berries end up in Eva’s popular jams
and sauces, and their flats of select berries were sought after in the Dallas area,
Longview and Shreveport.


Caroline, Eva’s cousin from Germany, Alex and a few others picked, but were
not in the photo taken today.


This is a bin of fresh picked berries. We air cool them in the chiller room
after they are picked.


A lot of rows are completely bare of berries, but then there are hundreds of bushes
still loaded like this one.


Where Do Chickens Come From?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg. Well the chicken of course and our came to the Post Office in Daingerfield. They arrived in several deliveries and we had grand kids here for each.

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All the (farm) News That is Fit to Read

For years I have wanted to have an information station in the cabin area. All things come to those that wait. We got it this year and can shared what is happening on the farm and local event with our cabin guests.

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New Dock on Gos Lake

The dock on our lake was built around 1980. It was finally time to retire the deck and replace it. I wonder if the new deck will last 30+ years? If you like to fish sitting on a dock, we have the place for you.

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The old deck

The new deck

Fertilize a Meadow or a Fools's Errand

Every year we have our soil tested and add minerals and fertilizer as necessary to grow the very best grass we can for our animals. Our tests are don by Texas Plant & soil LAb in Edinburg. They conduct their tests very different that A&M and SFA. The state labs basically just measure mineral content and nitrogen. TP&SL actually conduct a test that extracts minerals in the soil in the same manner that a plant utilizes them. this gives you very different results. We also test for micro-nutrient content. As a result we distribute a very different blend. This year our blend included the traditional nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus and sulfur, but also magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese and zinc.

The only problem is that to fertilize our whole farm (grass growing areas) it cost about the same as buying a small pick-up, and you have to have moisture to make the fertilize work. Well this year things did not work out so well. We have had a total of 2 inches of rain since we fertilized and while our pastures look better than most of our neighbors, we did not get the bang for the buck we needed. We are having to buy our hay from a farm near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Spreading fertilizer (money)


Gold laying on the ground

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Cattle enjoying the last of the spring grasses.

Shearing the Sheep

We have Suffolk Sheep and once a year they are rounded up, before it gets too hot, and we shear them. They also get wormed and their hoofs trimmed. They look a bit odd after they lose their wool, but I know they feel better. Your can rub your hands through the wool or over their bodies and get a nice coating of lanolin for chaffed hands. We hope to have spring lamb in 2012.

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Eva's Blueberry Jam Recipe

This is this is the recipe that Eva uses to make her Blueberry Jam.

Blueberry Jam
5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) crushed
5 cups sugar
1 package 100% fruit pectin
2 tablespoons  lemon juice
Crush berries and add lemon juice, then add pectin and put in large pot to cook.
Bring mixture to full boil stirring frequently
Add sugar all at once
Stir until dissolved
Heat until a rolling boil again stirring often
Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly
Remove from heat
Skim foam off the top and discard
Prior to preparing the mixture wash canning jars on hot cycle in dishwasher or had dip in boiling water for 10 seconds
Ladle hot jam mixture into jelly canning to ¼ inch below the rim
Very important:  Wipe the jar rim clean with a wet cloth before placing on the lid
Place the jar lids and rims in a pot of boiling water for at least 30 seconds
Place a lid on each jar and hand tighten a rim until the point of resistance (do not over tighten)
Have a pot of boiling water ready
Place the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes (jars must be covered by ¾ of an inch)
Remove the jars and gently wipe the lid dry.
Let cool for 24 hours
Lids will pop as they cool and seal
Before storage, tighten the rims
Each lid should be slightly indented
If lid puffed up the jar did not seal and cannot be stored. The jam can be used if you place this jar in the refrigerator
Yields six ½ pint jars or three pint jars

Baby Goats on the Farm

This year there is no shortage of little baby goats to entertain us. Our goats have a purpose. Some get sold, some are for BBQ, but for the most part, they keep down the grass, weeds and brambles in the woods were we desire a clean look.

After they are born we keep them by the old barn until they are older. this week they head into the paddock by the lake.