More cow notes
Sorry, no baby pictures this time. Actually, no pictures at all. I'm a slacker... I'll post some non-cow stuff next time. Just getting caught up on some interesting developments in this area...
I don't think I've mentioned or cow's name yet. It's Meadow. You know, because she's a Jersey girl and and all.
If you are laughing right now, you watch too much TV. If not, well, it is a nice name for a cow, don't you think?
Something cool happened the other day. A neighbor I hadn't met before stopped by. (One cool thing about living out here is that you can call somebody a "neighbor" even if they live a couple miles away.) He was initially going to ask if he could put a couple cows on our overgrown pasture (like we've done in the past), but then he heard the tell-tale mooing coming from the vicinity of our barn.
I told him we were planning for another neighbor cut hay for us. Meanwhile Meadow plaintively bawled in the background. So he proposes a solution: He'll cut our hay for us in exchange for bringing some bovine pals for Meadow. And my first thought was, wait, I thought the way barter works is that you get something of value and you give up something of value. Both halves of the trade were beneficial to me.
Obviously what we'd be giving up is theoretical future hay, based on the grass the new cattle would graze. And theoretical wear & tear on the fences. I'm told I should ask him to cut hay and ask for money in exchange for grazing a couple of his animals in our pasture. But I really do feel like we're benefiting in multiple ways, and the trivial amount of cash ($20 per head per month, apparently) is unnecessary at this point.
I mean, we'd be getting our hay cut and baled. We'd be getting additional grass cutting and fertilizer spreading. We'd be getting companions for Meadow. We'd be contributing to the local, naturally raised meat supply. And we'd be developing a relationship with a guy who knows things and knows people and who lives right up the road from us.
He's already told me he can provide us with corn for our winter heating needs (instead of driving 25 miles each way). He can provide us with an Angus bull for breeding purposes (since we now know for sure that Meadow is not bred). He can put us in touch with a small local grain mill (which apparently is hidden from the general public because I've been searching for it for a couple years now). He can put us in touch with a vet who is closer than the one we use now (and is also apparently in stealth mode). He can provide us with freezer beef (at least unless/until we grow our own). He'd be interested in buying any of Meadow's calves that we don't want to keep. And he just seems like a good guy. I'll take building this relationship over a little gas money.
In other news, we successfully made homemade ice cream. Mmmmm. No cheese yet, but we're getting there.
And we were happy to learn (or have even further confirmed) that our milk, just like our eggs, is much more nutritious than the usual suspects. I guess animals are like computers (and people, come to think of it) in one sense: Garbage in, garbage out. Or not, as the case may be.
Milk from pastured cows:
• 39% more Omega-3 fatty acids
• 33% more Vitamin E
• 60% more CLA9 (conjugated linoleic acid)
(and I suspect more, but that's all this particular study covered)
Eggs from pastured chickens:
• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
Followup note: I just found this site that shows all kinds of nutritional benefits to our little backyard endeavor.