Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fab Four

From top left , clockwise my grandfather Tom in WWI,  My uncle Frank WWII
My Father Don Korean War and my Aunt Bernie Korean War

I meant to post this on Veterans Day but forgot, then ran across the pic again in my pc while looking for who knows what. Give me a break it was 5 minutes ago. Who has that kind of memory span?

They are a fine looking group are they not? My grandfather used to drive the chuckwagon in WW1. Apparently quite good with horses and my father always blamed my affinity for the hay burning critters on his father's genes. Grandpa was grumpy much of the time but after yelling at us for whatever, he'd fill our pockets with quarters.

I have never been above getting yelled at for money. It' how I learned to put up with aragant physicians for over 3 decades.

My uncle Frank looks like one of the Rat Pack doesn't he? All Frank Sinatra slick in his leather WWII jacket. Don't recall much about him. Died of kidney failure in his 40's but he was my dad's oldest and only brother and his personal hero so he kept Frank alive for us with lots of great stories, like how Frank baked and sold bread during the depression to hepl pay the rent, but hid the cookware from his dad so he wouldn't be thought a "sissy"  Seems pretty manly to me

My aunt Bernie, one tough chick who said no to many suitors in order to care for her developmentally disabled sister and thus kept her out of the horrible institutions of the early part of this century. She died this past summer at a rocking 93, still dressing herself and "sharing" her opinion whether you asked for it or not. She is my personal hero. My debt to her always due. Miss her.

My father Don. Died too stinking young at 63 but lives most in my heart at this Christmas time. With his Kurt Russell baby face he was always a kid at heart which made life even tougher for my mother but always interesting for us kids. One minute his Irish temper had him threatening to throw out the TV (while holding it dramatically over his head) and the next he was giggling with us until he couldn't breathe.

Yeah. My gene pool up there. Someone throw me a life preserver.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Equine UFO's

Time for an Ennis update. Purchased this last summer, Ennis and I are still getting to know each other. But the getting is good. I have already ridden her more in the last 8 weeks than I did my last two horses in the last two years.


Because she is a better horse and I am a better horseman. "Better" meaning I am well aware of my limits and believe me...I am limited. Recently she and I have been working on the flying monster, the big yellow and blue kind.

Original to the Midwest, this particular UFO is often disguised as a kiddie pool. When filled with water and screaming children it offers no real threat to the equine but when empty and set free it becomes ominous.

To begin, we introduce ourselves from the ground

As non-threatening as Sweden itself, this used up Blue and Yellow Slip and Slide Pool waits for its next assignment. The horse in training is brought into the ring and introductions are made.

Ennis meet long piece of benign plastic, Plastic, meet horse, who is also a mare which means all bets are off. Please note Doolin the Donkeys role...STAY OUT OF THE WAY. If inside he'd be dragging the plastic around at top speed and horse would be flying through the air.

Then I allow her to investigate. No sudden moves. No scare tactics. It's all about trust here folks.

Next is gentle liftoff.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I was once elected May Queen. Circa 1966, Lady of Lourdes Church May Day celebration, Chicago. Thanks for noticing my Queenly Form. 
I'm the lovely brunette in the center
You'll also notice that neither the horse nor the donkey (not sure how he made it INSIDE the round pen) are completely ignoring me. So I up the pressure  a tad.
Now I'm getting her attention. So I play around awhile. Up goes the flag and down goes the flag, each time a little higher and I give her room to move applying enough pressure but not too much. The last thing I want is her trying to leap over the round pen.

Over time, she reacts less and less and in between the flight of the flag I approach her slowly but not in a sneaky manner so that soon I can rub her with the pool without HER taking flight. I also lounge her over and around it allowing her to crush it with her mighty hooves. We all need to feel empowered eh?
So there you go. Lesson over. Fear gone.
Horses, especially of the mare variety, are animals of prey. Big cowards. They will choose to run when frightened and it takes many many lessons like this. Many many wet blanket rides, preferably though huge fields overgrown with blowing blue and yellow swimming pools before Ennis will be acclimated to them.  She will also need to put her trust in me, something else that takes time. And just when I think she has conquered her fear, mastered her phobia...a RED swimming pool will blow across her path :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saponification Sunday. Display Drama

Another week. Another few bars of soap. Still happily struggling to keep up with Christmas orders and the supply I like to keep on hand in our own little farm store. Finally got to the point that several batches hit the magical CURE date (which basically means the burns I had on my arms from sloppy soap slinging had been cured) at the same time and could be put up for sale.

I was tired of the old wire rack in my store that looked ugly and never kept the bars upright so I recycled an old wooden silverware box for a new display. I covered the vintage blue velvet which was probably keen in Elvis's day but over time had taken on the appearance of tacky, with some new burlap. Final result, not too glam, not to shabby, good enough for my farmy store.

I stayed up late trimming bars, wrapping with my label and then adding the ingredient label before I arranged each of the bars in a charming and attractive manner, or so I told myself. Pleased with my new display box, I lovingly carried it to my store cooing all the time "Who's the prettiest box on the farm? No, YOU are, No, YOU are..."

After settling it into its new home on top of the antique childs school desk, I reluctantly walked away. Thats when the unthinkable happened. Why oh why didn't I lock the farm store door??!

Some heathen, some dirty heathen hiding behind the innocence of an infant, BOUGHT my soap. Lots of my soap and before I could recover someone else came in and bought more and before the day was over 2/3 of the boxes contents were gone...POOF...just like that. Don't you just hate that? You work so hard brewing the stuff, unmolding it, trimming it, wrapping it with care and love and then you blink and it's just gone. If I had meant for people to buy my soap I would've put prices on them.


I may have to go back to paiting mason jars using the Donna Dewberry method. No one ever bought that junk piece of original art.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Revolving Pigs

After weeks of hard work, (not mine, his) our second large hocienda is in place. It is the one in the back. The one closer up is the first one Keith built two years ago. Read more about the building of the recycled hog palace HERE

We are now accepting applications for residents of the new dwelling. Although most landlords must be very careful about how they screen applicants, Fair Housing Laws and such, we have no such requirements here.

Basically we insist upon:
All four feet on the ground except during breeding.
No more than 10 additional roommates at any one time
No grain stealing. One scoop per hog per day. Violators will be sent to the locker early, natural consequences you know.

With no willing applicants, (they heard there was no indoor pool) we recruited our own new tenants through the bribery of milk soaked grain on the back of the livestock trailer.  First we recorded wattles, (number and position of) teats, (number and function) and ear position (erect, tipped or lopped) All criteria needed when identifying which Red Wattle Hogs may be suitable for sale as registered breeders. Those that fit the criteria were ear tagged with lime green plastic tags.  Of the 15 in these two groups we only identified 3 suitable for such registration. The best of the best, then eat the rest ! Using Keith's new piglet ramp we loaded these two litters taking them from the barn that had been their home the last couple weeks.

Recently weaned from their mothers we had them in the barn a short time to acquaint them to being fed by humans and to train them to a single strand of electric wire. But they were getting big and needed bigger digs.
The ramp, another item built entirely of leftovers proved mighty handy. In the past we would lodge a couple bales of hay against the back of the trailer and then "encourage" them to jump up. With the new  ramp... well the only thing easily would have been an escalator.
All safely on board, Keith drove Miss Daisy and her friends to the north east side of our farm dropping them off at the new hogcienda where we placed a large bale of hay and pulled around a livestock panel for a small outside run.
That's our  15 year old niece Bridgette helping us out for the weekend. Currently in negotiations with her parents to keep her indentured full time. She was a natural when it came to pig herding!
We'll keep this lot in the small outside area for a week or so , until they associate this new building as their home base, then they will have access to the whole big pasture after that. Piglets came off the trailer easily and had a riot with new bigger digs.
Then it was back over to the west side of the farm to pick up Leopard who was more than ready to be separated from her soon-to-be-weaned babies. Again with the promise of grain soaked in heaven (raw, slightly sour milk) the big mama leapt up on the trailer, not even waving goodbye to the offspring.
Max waited patiently for her. He has learned over the years that when the trailer approaches it most often means a new lady, or at least one he hasn't seen in a couple months while they were off raising their babies, has returned. He really does his best to look spiffy for his next breeding adventure.
Mucho attractivo wouldn't you say ?  Cute how he was in such a hurry he didn't get all the shave cream wiped off isn't it? He also insists on meeting his ladies  at the door, no sitting in the car at the curb, honking, for this gentlehog.
That's Debbie in the background feeling more than dejected. She immediately takes after Leopard to remind her who is boss hog.

  Once the hierarchy is again established everyone settles down and Keith takes the trailer BACK to the other side of the farm to pick up Les enfants so abruptly abandoned by Leopard. They will go into the barn stall just emptied minutes before. There, they too will learn about humans who provide feed. But first they need to learn how to use the ramp properly, although watching them go down backwards was worth a giggle.

Neat, how these four piglets came from the same set up parents. Their mama, Leopard is 50% Red Wattle and 50% crossbred mix. Their daddy is full red wattle. All of the litter was  born with two wattles. 2 looked like mamma, 2 like daddy. Sadly only 1of the above 4 was born with brains. (The other two piglest of this litter were still on the trailer so for statistical analysis were not included in the authors findings)
So to summarize, we moved 15 piglets  out to the north east pasture, one sow to the south east pasture and 6 piglets into the barn. We counted teats and ears and wattles , identifying those for the freezer and those for high society.  We even trained one niece in the basics of pastured pig care. All before lunch.
Of course we didn't eat lunch until 3pm so maybe we're not that impressive after all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 1956

Any idea why these two Yahoos are smiling? Well, they just pulled off the best free party gag ever. Back in 1956 my folks, that's Don the Irish Cheshire Cat on the left and his too beautiful to be true bride on the right, Thelma aka "Dusty"
Here is my version of the conversation.
Don: "So doll, when should we tie the knot ?"
Dusty: "I'll tie your knot in a half nelson if you call me "doll" again"
Don: " OK Darlin' when should we get married?'
Dusty: " I say Thanksgiving Day. Your family never turns down a free meal, they'll all be in one place so all they got to do is show up at the church first for a few moments, we throw cake down their throats right afterwards and then we all go to your parents house for a free reception. "
Don: "Hey ! You got something there Doll Face, oops, I mean Mrs President."
And so that is how I believe  it came that my parents and the parents of my 5 siblings decided to get hitched on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 24, 1956.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
P.S. No, that is not a reflection of an UFO on the door of my parents get away car. It's my kitchen lights. When I could not find my scanned picture of the original phot above, lost somewhere in the bowels of my computer, (and scanning it FOUR more times still did not make it appear) I finally just pulled the framed photo off my wall, took a picture of the picture, threw my memory card in my pc and saved it to my desktop long enough to copy it for this post. Cause that is the eejit way I roll.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Visiting Old Friends

This summer I finally admitted my two quarter horses were no longer beneficial to my rickety spine. So I gave them, free of charge, to what I hoped would be a good home. I had posted an ad on line and after interviewing a couple of people I choose the Kankakee State Park Riding stable.

With Gus and Nora gone I moved into my new equine life with my first gaited horse, a Missouri Fox Trotter named Ennis.

We're doing just fine. Thank you

But I kept thinking about those other two. Were they being fed? Was Gus given time to adapt? Was Nora being used to her full potential? So Keith and I took a few hours off last week and dropped in for a surprise visit. Guess what we found?

Two well cared for critters, that's what we found. Good condition, well trimmed feet and pleasant attitudes. Gus, my older guy was easily caught (never for me was he easy) and led up to say hello by his new best friend, the owners young daughter. You could tell by the gentle look in his eyes and her caring touch that they were well connected. I mean anyone with cool wellies like hers had to be OK.

Then it was time to see Nora. She was the one I missed the most because she and I went through the most. 3 full days with Chris Cox about killed both of us. But she too seems to have found herself good home. The young horsewoman were really enjoying her and the owner Bob has plans to show her himself this next year.
All this made me HAPPY. In this crappy economic time when horses are being dumped or neglected or sold for pennies I was so relieved  that my old buddies are now someone else's good buddies. Thanks so much to the Switzer Family!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Saponification Sunday Monday...Black is Back

First of all a great big THANK YOU to all who granted my request of posting your faces on your blogs. I loved seeing all of you! Now, onto suds.

Once again, tardy with the Sunday Soap blog. My excuses this time in no particular order

1. Family visiting from out of state all weekend.
2. Family visiting from out of state all weekend.
3. Family visiting from out of state all weekend.

Since it was my only excuse I thought I should list it a few times. What's really sad is my company was hardly here all day Saturday and they left Sunday at 10am. But no body needs to know that OK?

I did however MAKE soap this past week in preparation for Christmas orders as well as a Fund Raiser for another farm. I was in a black mood.

Black as in charcoal. But I struggle with the concentration formula. Too little and I get a muddy grey. Too much and it smears when I cut it. Of course THAT might have something to do with the ax I use to cut my soaps. Might be time to get a real soap cutter. I've got my eye on this one for any of you unsure of what to gift me with this Christmas. (hello ? husband? are you out there?)

Available HERE
Back to black. I like to mix about 1 teaspoon of powdered charcoal in 1/4 cup of my premixed, pre-measured soap oils. I'll use that to color about 1 pound of soap. It can color your suds gray but the color rinses off your skin easily. I have made pure black soaps, or black with white squares but I really love doing the white, black, pink white layered soap.

To get the fun design above I'll plunge a small whisk into the soap several times just after pouring. You will need to work fast though as charcoal definitely speeds up trace. The fun is always in the unmolding and cutting (did I mention I could use a professional soap cutter for Christmas? I can't remember. I've had my eye on this one.)

You never know how the layers will evolve but when you are playing with black soap you are guaranteed drama. You are also often guaranteed a mess. I tend to come away with black powder on my face, my hands and across my bosom.
Don't ask.

The swirls on top are easy. Just pour while exercising with a Hoola Hoop. Works every time. Of course your floors, cat and cabinet doors get "Decorated" as well. I'd probably do a better job if I wasn't so distracted thinking about a soap cutter I'd like to get. I've had my eye on this one:

I'm not sure but you might be able to find it here
Charcoal is reported to have qualities good for the health of your skin in the areas of detoxification. Reports are made that it lessons acne, helps retain moisture, removes dead skin cells through slight exfoliation, eases the itching and pain of insect bites to name a few.
Since I am not a scientist and have no research team I can not make such specific claims but I will stand by the facts I know: that is it messy and fun.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Come out, Come out, Wherever you are.

Donna Marie O'Shaughnessy
Taken by one of my sisters, October 2012
at the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana
Face it's time to show your mug.  I've been blogging for 2  1/2 years and am fortunate enough to have 219 followers (as of 5 minutes ago. One more post about Raw Milk Renegades and that number will likely plummet to 218) ). I also follow many many blogs and feel... you know...bonded to a lot of you, those 3 goofballs across the pond for example, plus lots of you local eejits. And then of course all you stalkers who read but never private detective is so ON to you.
But something is missing...your  beautiful faces. A few of you from time to time are good about putting the real you out there for all of us to see, but most of you, most of us,  prefer to bare naked our words but not our visage.
Well, I am asking for an about face.
Take a moment, grab your camera and give it to someone else for a change and then put your best face forward on your blog. I want to SEE all you charmers out there, especially you wisenheimers who wear sarcasm as your hooded cloak. You can make it as lovely or goofy as you want, or print it in Sepia tone like I did above (a real wrinkle smoother) , all I ask is that the photo is current.
Come on. Do it for me. Do it for all YOUR followers who want to see the loveliness behind the wit, the charm, the fountain of information we all thrive upon.  Beside, when was the last time I asked you to do something for me?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sophie in Waiting

As if our farm life wasn't goofy enough...I get an email from the University of Pennsylvania, the one located in Philadelphia. (Who out there, like me, instantly hears the them song to "Philadelphia" with Tom Hanks? Raise your hand) Seems we have something they want.

A certain pig.

Or I should say a certain breed of pig. The U of Penn, or is it UPenn ? UPennie? Whatever. The representative told me of a research program taking place that involves the behavior of Heritage Hogs. They specifically wanted to add a Red Wattle to their program and we just happen to have one available.

Meet Sophie


Born on Kiss My Grass Farms in Indiana, we purchased her as a wee babe from the Jordan family. We've owned her for over a year now and she's given us two litters. Proving herself to be a good mommy, coupled with her gentle personality we offered her to the University. After pics and papers and proof she was indeed a Red Wattle hog and not a Red Wattle cow (just another funny customer comment) she will be heading east in the spring.

Prior to that we have some Mad Max juggling to do. The research program wants a PREGNANT Red Wattle and they want her to farrow in early April. SO we took out the calculator, crunched the numbers, visited with Mad Max about his current romance schedule, seems he is indeed free when we need him, and plans are made.

But in order to have her impregnated on schedule we've had to separate her from the boys and other girls. She is a lady in waiting so to speak as she will not be bred until second week of December. After weaning her last litter from her she went promptly into heat, a heat we could not help her with, as it was too early. So off to isolation (If you call a huge 1/2 acre pasture all to herself "isolation) she went.

Man was she ticked! Pacing the wire for days, making a general fool of herself as she called across the farm for help her out of her hormonal predicament. But eventually the call of nature passed. In a couple weeks her time will come again and we'll let Mad Max visit.

If all goes well, and believe me, Max does things very well, we'll then have her pregnancy tested, and later have the pregnancy confirmed with an ultrasound. Then in March Keith and I will transport her all the way out to Penn of U, meet the vets, spend the night in the city of brotherly love, and return home.

Now all we need is someone to do chores for us for four days. Anyone...anyone...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

South Pork Goes to Georgia

Look at these stunning fashion models promoting our rinky dink farm all the way down in Georgia. That's Susan Lea on the right with her Clark Gablesque hubbie on the left wearing the T-shirts she won when she correctly identified our new farm project as the pig hutch or "hogcienda" that it is.
You can read her blog  HERE. Lots of great stuff about grass fed critters. Our kind of farmers.

Thanks again Susan for playing  "Let's make a squeal" our semi regular game here on The Midlife Farmwife. Thousands  Six have played this past year and won just like her. So be sure to follow me closely. You never know when I'll throw another freebie out there and YES I do allow you international types to play. The Chatsworth post office gets a big kick out of me sending packages to oddly named but totally exotic places like Trelawnyd and Mahomet.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Mans Junk is Another Mans Hogcienda

I am married to an incredible man. whom I love very much.
I do not, however, love his junk inventory.

Over the last 19 years of marriage we have come to an understanding. As long as he stacks his junk inventory in neat, alphabetical piles, with the largest items in back and the smallest in front, with the wood grain all facing the same way and or/ the rusted items stacked up in order of degree of decay and/or the mildewing books/magazines grouped by number of remaining pages, as long as he does THAT, there's no problem.

The real killer for me is when this good guy of mine actually pulls it all together and creates something wonderful and FREE.  Like our new hogcienda which will go out into our pasture and house several rapidly growing market hogs.  If you missed my post showing the early beginnings of this new shelter you can read about it HERE

Well, it was  almost free. He did have to break down and buy 6 long bolts for a cost of nearly 10 bucks. The rest of the recycled, up cycled, side-cycled materials came from:

My sister Marys basement remodel a decade ago
Our back deck remodel 2 months ago
Our son Coltons porch remodel earlier this summer
Our niece Tina's old barn lost in this past springs tornado
Our goat barn. Steel roof put on 15 years ago and removed with barn demolition last month
Steel beams found on our property when we bought the farm in 1995.

You'll note that entrance is now from the short side whereas last years model the entrance was from the long side. This will allow hogs to burrow back deep into the shelter when weather gets really interesting. It will also keep the shelter dryer as less snow will be able to infiltrate the interior. With only two more sides to close up we should have hogs in residence within a week.

And you know what that means don't you? Yup, happy hogs make great tasting meat. Like this

 And this

And some of this too
Gotta go. Time to make supper.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saponification Sunday...Help Wanted

I am so low.

I bribed a little girl  with a month's membership to Mooshi Monsters (web game for kids) if she would help me wrap soap.

For $5.99 I got one good little worker. In theory. I paid the membership and she PROMISED to help me next time she spent the night,

Man, I'm as bad as Obama, paying people NOT to work.

Back to soap. I got busy this past week working hard to keep up with Christmas orders. I still have not opened my on-line store yet mostly because I can't keep my stock built up. A great problem to have really. One gentleman who will go unnamed (D!) was gracious enough to up his order twice bringing it to a total of 48 bars!!! So if you are a family member of this unnamed fellow (D!) and you are reading this blog, I guess it's no surprise what you will be getting for Christmas this year. Thanks again Mr Anonymous (D!). Your support is greatly appreciated.

There were even more orders from family and friends but I can't even hint about who they are as they plan to give soap to some of YOU who read my blog. So stop harassing me cause I ain't going to tell you. I value my life too much. Paranoid? Who me?

I often soap late at night with loud music. I always have a plan but the end result is rarely similar to the plan. Take for example the green soap above. (No, not Michael, ABOVE Michael )

It started out as blue. I used Indigo powder in almond oil and then was going to make some ombre layers, you know dark layers on bottom with progressively lighter layers at the top. But, at the last minute I grabbed my dark green hemp oil instead of my light green olive oil  (just because) and my blue indigo became blue green. On top of that, I wasn't patient enough to wait for the bottom layer to harden more before pouring the next layer (That's what happens when I make soap to Pink Floyd instead of Mozart) and the layers mushed into each other causing waves and a similarity to those cell membrane slides we had to look at in 8th grade science.

Thus "structure" becomes "abstract."

I'm continuing to play with the sample items sent to me by Bramble Berry several weeks ago. By the way, don't forget this is Givember. As my SPECIAL readers of this blog you have access to an elite savings code to be used DURING the month of NOVEMBER only.    For any of my readers who uses the code when placing an order with them during November or "Givember" as Anne-Marie Likes to call it, you will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Bramble Berry Gift Certificate. The code is GIVEMBER50.
 Especially loving the Celtic Mold. It's a little tricky to unmold but I found putting it in the frig a few hours and then popping out the soap works real well.

I'm thinking about a couple pair of jeans I own that are a little tough to get out of. I wonder how much of me I can cram into our upright freezer in the basement?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Price Of Beef...Part "Duh"

Took these photos this afternoon on a balmy 63 degree day! Suppossed to turn cold and rain tomorrow. So good to see our animals still muncing on tall (enough)  grass after our horrible summer drought. The rains we had last month were amazing.

If you read my post on Tuesday you know I'm on a beef binge this week, coming on the heels of pork pricing last month. After beef we'll plunge into the dairy and our raw milk business, the farm store, etc...

We might actually get thru this by Jan. 1 !

It feels good to have a plan, as we've been flying by the seat of our pants for years. Yeah, just call me Peter Pan. As our business grew and grew we had less time to evaluate what was working and what wasn't. And it's not that we have MORE time now to do so, it is only that  we have finally made it the priority it needs to be.

So, back to beef. In the last 10 months we sent 30 head to the wait, the "Abattoir" .(Yes, that was for you Cro.)  24 of those were steers or heifers turned to beef  ( 12.75 of those went into our store) and the remaining six were "cull" cows. For you high falutin' city types, a Cull cow is an older cow who know longer is doing well as a milk cow. Because of her age, (facial wrinkles, varicose veins, etc...)  steaks and roasts are generally not as good so the entire carcass is made into some very excellent ground beef.

As folks learned of our farm and the fact that we are the only certified organic, 100% grass fed dairy and beef producer in several counties, we have been able to Pre-sell another 16 into 2013. However, we have over the last 18 months decreased our milking herd by 50%. (I'll explain why when we get into the dairy part of this budget process)

Less cows means less calves so how do we meet the increasing need for beef?

Well, we buy from other organic dairy farmers with extra calves. The nearest we have found is located at the tip of northern Illinois, about 180 miles from us one way) We are fortunate enough that they are expecting an EXCESS of calves. Good news for us.

Now, all is left is to figure out what it costs us to raise these little guys and gals into big steaks and roasts. The process to do so was tedious, but not actual rocket science. We identified all direct costs like housing, hay, bedding, minerals, vet care, etc..The biggest direct cost was processing.

The customer who buys a quarter, half or whole beef from us pays their own processing but when an animal is designated to be sold in our farm store, we pay the processing...and boy, do we pay. For the 12.75 animals that made up our stores beef supply in 2012  we paid the locker $7,548.73 , or $592 per animal. This includes labeling, packaging and weighing.

With the average HANGING WEIGHT of a full beef being 500 pounds, that means we pay $1.18 per pound for packaging alone. It's a hefty hunk we have no control over. We could have our beef processed at a non -organic locker but then we could not legally put the organic label on the package even though the meat is certified organic. But our customers want that label, that assurance that the meat is organic from beginning to end, therefore we process 90% of our beef at the organic locker in Eureka.

Next week sometime, I'll share other beef related costs with you, specifically the non-direct costs like marketing, truck insurance, and then show you how we came up with our final numbers in regards to what it actually costs us to raise that pound of ground. I know this data can be dry and dull but maybe some of you newer pasture type farmers can learn from the process.

We certainly are.

PS  Last week I blew it for Saponification Sunday. Tomorrow, I won't let you down. Cross my heart and hope to lye.