Field walk. Meet the moos! Taste great beef. Saturday, July 15, 10AM-4PM @ Bull Brook Keep

How much grass can a cow eat in a day? How fast does a calf run? Do you know how grazing improves the land? What top nutrients are in grass-fed beef?

You can find out this Saturday at the Eat Local Co-op Farm Tour! And Bull Brook Keep is one of the 27 rural and urban farms welcoming visitors to our farms that day.

What you’ll see and do:
– Move the herd at 10AM, 1:00PM and 3:00PM
– Gather wildflowers during a field walk
– Hear how 100% grass diet benefits pastures, cows and people
– See how our BueLingo cattle thrive without grain, hormones or subclinical antibiotics
– Taste some really delicious beef


We’ve got lots of parking, and there’ll be a porta-potty for your convenience. We are an easy, and very scenic, drive (here’s the map) from the Twin Cities and any point in Polk or St. Croix counties.

So grab your sunglasses, cap and sun-screen and come on out. We’d love to learn about your food journey.

Sylvia & Dave

Storm drops cow on farm? Feeling a bit at Oz.

Squinting, I picked up my phone to check the time: 5:15AM. Why was I awake? Then I remembered last night’s storm: lightning, rolling thunder and walls of rain driven by high winds – gusts that tore tree branches ripped up my tomato plants.
The little bull calf must have been frightened. He’d been left in the field after I moved the rest of the herd across the driveway and to a fresh paddock. Darn calf. It just wouldn’t stay by its moma. It kept running around me and double-backing to the old field. Crazy kid.
5:15AM. Sunday morning and the cows were mooing like crazy. The unhappy moma bellowed the lead, and the rest of the cows provided boistrous backup.
I pulled on my patched jeans, a tattered black t-shirt and an over-sized white shirt (to keep off bugs), and headed out to find the calf and coax it in with the rest of the herd. Correction: I would try to coax it back to its mom.
(Herding a calf and herding cats have a lot in common.)
Wearing my shin-high Muck boots, I was half-way across the wet field when I noticed a strange white patch moving within a shadowy stand of poplars. It bobbed about five feet above the grass. What was that? The little bull calf only reaches my waist, so it wasn’t him. Not only that, but all my cattle – BueLingos – have either black or red faces.

BueLingo calves

BueLingo calves


The white patch kept approaching.
I stopped cold. Was that a man in our field? The white patch loomed closer. When it stepped out of the trees, I saw it for what it was – a white-faced Hereford cow. What in the world? Where did this thing come from? And how did it get into our fenced-off field?
As I was mulling this over, I also spotted our errant calf. Both he and the hiefer (young female) were standing across the driveway from the rest of the herd. They were separated by 30 feet of gravel driveway and two lines of electric fence. So all this noise wasn’t just about the calf, it was also about the strange cow.
I yelled at Dave (he was on the deck enjoying a first cup of coffee), to let him know about the visitor left by last night’s storm.
Dave responded with his usual, “What in the world?”
Visiting Hereford heifer

Visiting Hereford heifer

We guessed this young Hereford was spooked by last night’s pyrotechnics, wandered over from the neighboring farm, and found (or made) a breach in our perimeter fence.
We took a breath. Seeing that both the Hereford and our little Buelingo were safe, the first order of business was finding the hole in our fence line.
I searched for an hour before church services. Nothing. Dave and I resumed our inspection after brunch. Nada. Our theory: the heifer is a jumper.
If you’ve never seen it, it’s a sight that stops you in your tracks – a 1000-lb bovine easily clearing a 5-ft fence. Breath-taking.
OK. The heifer is safe. The little bull is safe, if temporarily separated from its dam. Our fence line is intact.
Next step: knock on a few doors and find out if any of our neighbors is missing a heifer wearing an ear-tag marked #1.
It took us just a couple of tries. The worried owner lives just across a main road from our farm. She’d been frantic when she discovered her pretty red heifer missing this morning. Mystery solved, but the issue’s far from resolved.
Getting the Hereford back to her farm may take a bit of time even though her pasture is just 1/4-mile from us. It could take two days or two weeks to have her join with our herd, calmly move through rotational paddock changes, and finally make it back up to our corral. Once in the corral, we would get her into a hauler, and make the minute-long drive back to her home farm.
BREAKING NEWS: Just got a call from the Hereford’s owner. Seems the heifer jumped fences, trotted along the busy county road, turned into her home driveway and jumped back into her own field.
Theory proven. Issue resolved.
Just checked my phone. Storms forecast for Thursday.

Sat., Aug. 15, 9-9:30AM CT, Deep Roots Radio – the health & eco-benefits of bison

What: Deep Roots Radio chat with Mary Graese of North Star Bison about the environmental and human health benefits of bison.
When: Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM Central
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio, 93.1FM, and www.wpcaradio.org
Why: Millions of bison roamed America, grazing as they moved. Their grass-only diet, combined with the weight and hoof action of the huge herds, helped create the deep and fertile top-soil that was, once upon a time, six feet deep across significant portions of our continent. Today, many ranchers are capitalizing on the best qualities of bison to restore grasslands while producing excellent meat products.
Join us tomorrow morning, as co-host Dave Corbett and I chat with Mary Graese about the Wisconsin-based bison ranch she runs with her husband Lee and family.
I hope you’ll tune in.
Sylvia
About-Us-Bison-History

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how its grown

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how its grown

Video

Video: moving cows to fresh pasture. Great beef starts with the soil and grass.

My husband Dave and I are committed to a handful of values: living in thanksgiving to God, nurturing our marriage and family, producing delicious and nutritious beef, using agricultural practices that regenerate soil and pastures, improving our financial sustainability, and contributing to a thriving local community.
These core principles matter to us, to our neighbors and to our customers.
Moving our cattle from paddock (small field) to paddock is one of the things we do to regenerate soil, reinvigorate our grasses, and promote the health and growth of our BueLingo beef cattle. This practice, called rotational grazing, accomplishes several things at the same time: it puts fresh, sweet grass under the noses of the cattle; their hoof action churns up the soil and exposes dormant seeds to sun and rain, thereby increasing the diversity of plants in the field; the herd deposits fertilizer as the move; and it avoid spending money and fuel to move feed to the cattle and to remove waste from a barn. At the same time, the cows move as a herd across open fields. This is important because cows are social creatures – they are most calm and healthiest when they are with their herd. Because they are on pasture, the herd is also in open sunshine and moving on springy grass and soil. This promotes strong bodies.
I hope you enjoy this very short video of moving the herd from one paddock to the next. Although it takes time and effort for me to set up the electric fences for the temporary paddocks, moving the herd is easy because they’re always eager for fresh grass.

May 9, 9:00-9:30AM CT live w grass-fed rancher/author Cody Holmes.

Well known for his development and workshops around management intensive rotational grazing, rancher Cody Holmes is also the author of Ranching Full Time on 3 Hours a Day. In the last few years, he’s expanded into multi-species grazing, delivery and farmers markets. Now he’s working to build a local food hub based on real foods.
book_cover_small_ranchingJoin me for this conversation with Cody Holmes.

What: Deep Roots Radio live conversation with Cody Holmes.
When: May 9, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio 93.1FM and www.wpcaradio.org

I hope you’ll tune in.

Sylvia

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it's grown

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it’s grown

A day in the life

6:00 AM – As always, MPR’s Cathy Wurzer’s bright voice from the bedside radio let’s me know the world has survived another night and Minnesota is involved in all kinds of activity. Although I now farm in Western Wisconsin, I pulled many of my Minnesota habits with me when I crossed the river. In an hour the radio will automatically switch to Wisconsin Public Radio – new alliances. 6:45 AM – Doing some laundry. In the heat of summer, and when you’re dealing with livestock, sweat, dirt and manure build up on everything. Dave and I often go through two … Continue reading

The reluctant lover

Spring 2014 Farm Update He called to say he’d be an hour late. A tiny inconvenience, but unavoidable. He’d had to drive to Eau Clare earlier in the day. Fortunately, the breeze was gentle. I didn’t mind standing in the bright sunshine. When he arrived, he pulled the long trailer up close to the milking parlor and disappeared inside the barn. Five minutes. Not a sound. Ten minutes. Birds sang over the alfalfa field. Fifteen minutes and nothing coming from the barn. What was going on? I paced, but made sure I stayed away from the barn windows. I didn’t … Continue reading