Mouse in the house

As it’s a good season here in South Australia with rain, crops and hay so much so that the mice are breeding rapidly. Farming and mice go hand in hand and I dislike it very much. Most farm houses have cats for this reason, they catch the mice, they eat them and keep the numbers down.

Not so much in this farming enterprise, we have 4 cats, they were born feral, by that I mean feral. They were wild and as kittens my husband found them in his header and shed and got the dogs to help catch them. They lived in a cage in the shed on old woollen jumpers / sweater, then they were moved by the hay forks on the tractor to the back porch, then inside as it was a very cold winter. The farmer use to sit there and put his welding gloves on and pick them out of the cage one by one to pat them. They now after 7 years living with us, like the comforts of home, sleeping on beds and chairs.

The fourth cat Gatsby was caught, mid winter cold, starving and on the road, he now also resides inside and his favourite sleeping spot is on the top bunk. He climbs up there and sleeps. But what these four cats do is enter the house through the two cat flaps that my husband has had installed. They bring with them mice, hares, rabbits, the odd bat and reptiles of the lizard kind. They are so well fed they sometimes bring these mice in via their mouths, cough like they have a fur ball and spit the mice out, 8 out of 10 are eaten  and the other two are left to run free…. in my house.

It’s not abating, I had to travel to our major city the other day 300kms where I picked up our reusable shopping bags, left them in the car overnight. I drove to appointments and then at the end of the day without thinking about it, I grabbed them out of the car, put them in the trolley and went about my shopping. I came to the cash register, handed over my bags to the gentleman, started unloading my trolley to hear the cashier saying “ooo, ooo, umm” and as I looked up towards him I could see he was backing away from my bags. I did the eye roll and asked “is there a dead mouse in there?” he turned and looked at me “oh no love, it NOT dead.” he said I walked up to the bag, took it from him and walked it outside the shops. I emptied it into the carpark, watched the mouse run off and went back inside to complete the transaction.

The cashier looked at me and I said “it’s a country mouse and not likely to survive in the city, it’s travelled over 300 km’s to get here. He said “OMG, the last time I saw a mouse my partner saw it and screamed like a girl!’ I laughed and said “I think you nearly did too, didn’t you?” “oh yes, did you notice that?” it was funny as everyone within earshot stepped back as I went to take the bag outside to empty out the mouse. I have no idea how to be rid of them, I wish it wasn’t standard practice in farming hat you need to adapt to them, any ideas how to keep the cats from bringing them in? If you do feel free to let me know.

frank-look-alike-caryying-a-mouse

Supporting Locals

 

I have had a couple of things come up and surprise me over the last couple of weeks and it does surprise me. I am a great believer and pusher of Eat Local SA where anyone can come into the community and Adelaide and find our fabulous regionally grown foods. There is a fantastic website and phone App where you can find clean, premium foods close to where you are to enjoy.

I choose SA  products and lifestyle as this is where my heart and family are. We support Brand SA are members of FoodSA and proudly support local producers, growers, providores, small businesses and upcoming food trends and much more.In fact even being considered to be part of the food industry is hard work on a daily basis. I now tell people we produce meat for human consumption, ethically, humanely with no growth promotants and with much care and consideration for the source of our enterprise.

As producers of grass-fed certified meats, I like to be able to create opportunities to showcase out meat. We have worked hard and are now getting spit lamb into restaurants one being, Mischief & Mayhem Wine Lounge and Art Bar in Glenelg South Australia and we love it, we help promote it the venue and the nights (friday nights) they have lamb on.

Lamb Roast

I am also looking for opportunities locally to support our products and be involved in the community.  It’s about supporting local events and being part of a community as one should do in a country town. I have been told of an event that requires catering and though our product was recommended the person concerned with the catering stated they were not buying local. Why is that? I have no answer but if anyone does, email me so we can get ideas out there.

As members of the Limestone Collaborative, living in the clean, green environment and fantastic food bowl of South Australia. We are engaged, we are promoting our regions and producers. We love locally grown food and where I can I always buy South Australian first, Australian second and others last .

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Summer BBQ’s

The time to BBQ, it’s that time of the year in SA, well coming to it, when families want to move meal times from inside in the warmth to outside in the heat and BBQ. A few tips to make the evening pleasant – without using citronella candles that can take over the smell of a warm summer evening. One of my electrician friends tell me we do not use zappers correctly, he says to start it needs to be kept on for 5 or more nights before hand, to set up that barrier to prevent mosquito bites.

But the thing about Summer is the food, we go from comfort food in bowls to meat and salads on plates. Whether buying from supermarket, a butcher or farmer direct make sure the meat is fresh and has no smell about it.Take it back if you think it has a smell, turning food or rotten food will make animals sick so don’t feed it to them either.

What are the best meats to cook in a BBQ?  I say all of them, from beef to lamb to chicken, grilling brings a different flavour to roasting or frying, a BBQ is an Australian tradition and home chefs are only limited by their imagination and time. There is nothing nicer than having friends and family over to share a meal, where everyone can sit and enjoy each other’s company and eat some of the best meats in the world.

As well as doing the traditional lamb, beef or chicken roast, a staple in the Australian BBQ is the classic sausage sizzle. It is hard to walk past a BBQ cooking beautiful sausages, they don’t always have to be beef or lamb there are now so many flavours available to all tastes including vegan and vegetarian. Gourmet butchers have fabulous ranges as well as supermarkets. It is a matter of buying what you want cooking and eating them.

sausages-on-bbq

Depending upon the event, breakfast, lunch and dinner can be cooked outside and eaten with family, friends and or by yourself. Depending upon your time and budget there are many things to cook in a BBQ, here are some of mine

  1. Any kind of steak, Rump, T-bone, Oyster blade, Scotch Fillet, each will have a different texture and will require different cook times depending upon how you like it.
  2. Chops, I love nothing more than lamb on a BBQ, Loin, forequarter, Beef or pork, try saying no to beautiful pork ribs slow cooked on the BBQ.
  3. Sausages, beef, lamb, chicken, vegan & vegetarian as well as all of the gourmet ones available.

With the different types of BBQ’s available, you can cook not just meat, onion and sliced potato, you have different hot plates for different meats.  Never let raw meat, poultry or seafood touch cooked meat or any ready-to-eat foods, as this can cause cross-contamination. Food borne pathogens from the raw meat can easily spread to ready-to-eat foods and cause food poisoning. Always use separate plates, cutting boards and utensils to keep raw meats, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.

Find us on facebook: http://facebook.com/Bullysbeef

Or email me robyn@ullysbeef.com.au for home delivery order form into Adelaide and expanding to Melbourne within the month.

Baling hay

I do find things on the farm that are interesting and though many people think having a big tractor can do anything (well I use to) but the tractor is only a tool to get things done, it lifts, pulls, drives, tows and lifts to name a few. But in order to get things done you need the attachments much like a mix master to have a complete system.

We don’t have a baler, we employ sub contractors in to do this. They work hard, sitting and driving for hours and hours while the moisture is good to bale the hay that was raked and is lying on the ground. They can do 20 hours days if the weather conditions are right and they have job after job to do.

He came all day and left after we went to bed, we helped him move his Ute so that when he finished he didn’t have a 10 kilometre walk back to his Ute to go home in when he moved paddocks after dark. we bale the hay so that we can keep it and feed it out to our stock to align with our farming practices, which is to keep everything as natural as possible.

Farming for us is a whole of life from birth to death for our animals, the farm has been developed to consider nature, the environment and the animals. This makes it a business enterprise that is sustainable, clean and green. Our meat reflects the care and planning the farmer does with all the decisions that he makes.

Turnbull

Living on the farm we have many animals (mainly calves and lambs) to rescue and raise. Most times we are successful other times we are not. There are reasons why some animals do not mother with their children, they must know they are born unable to survive. If we find them we take them into the animals Nursery.

No such problem with the bull “turn”as he was named came in September and took to drinking from the bottle quickly and confidently, he was soon joined by Johnny and Coco the merino lambs from the city. They bonded together and became a clan. Turnbull drinking in August, joined with the lambs in September watched by our Goldie.

The lambs have moved into a mob of sheep and I couldn’t cope with the constant pooh at the door and the flies they were bringing into the house every time a back door opened so they are living well together in the shearing shed in the next paddock behind the house.

Turnbull is a very quiet Angus calf, except when he hears the shower turn on so he comes to the window and bellows for his food (milk) and boy has he grown. He waits for me at the end of the carport and comes up for a face rub with or without a bucket of milk. I am still wary of him – he will grow to be approx 1000 kilos or more and he is now at underarm height and I laugh as he walks besides me on the way to his milk feeder. I think how ridiculous it must look to strangers to see this middle aged woman carrying a silver bucket of milk in one hand with a Golden retriever walking along and on the other side Turnbull is trotting and pushing into me, so I have to direct him with my hand.

I still don’t trust him enough to walk behind him I am now at good knee capping height as that will be where he would kick back, straight into my knee cap. No thanks. Having the sunshine back has been great for everyone, including the farmer and animals.

 

 

Hay raking whilst the sun shines

When growing up I knew where eggs, meat and produce came from, my parents gave us a very rounded education. I knew hens laid eggs, lamb, beef, chicken were producers of the meat that we eat and farmers grew crop so that we could have food. My grandfather on my mothers side was a fisherman and we use to travel into the ocean in South Australia and fish with him, fillet them and cook them to eat.

Until I married a farmer I never knew how much they had to know to bring this food to the supermarket shelves and to our tables. They have to consider animals first and foremost if they produce meat for human consumption, their care and welfare are never far from farmers minds. In producing crop to sell and people to eat they need to know soil types, rainfall and what will and won’t grow to a saleable quantity. They also need to know how to drive really big tractors, trailers and trucks so that they are safe and they can and do use these as tools of trade.

The first time I was bogged (by the farmer) on the property I asked to be taught how to drive a tractor so that if one day I was needed to rescue someone, him or pull equipment I could do it safely and thus have gone on to learn most of the tractors on the farm. I have also been taught how to mix formula for baby lambs and calves so that I can feed them and raise them when they are orphaned. Nothing scientific but like humans too much bring stomach issues and too little brings starvation.

The farmer tells me most days and did before I moved here what he’s up to, not because I am interested (which I am) but for work health and safety and also if I ever feel like driving out to him I know where to look, find him and or bring him a coffee if I feel like being nice. I have taken him, coffee, morning and afternoon tea and sandwiches for the days he is out for hours at a time.

This year he got the crop in when we had good rain, the last 3 have been below average rainfall and things have been difficult. The paddocks have been dry and we have had to purchase feed stuff for the cattle and sheep. But the farmer likes to grow our own feed stuffs for the animals and at one stage last year when it was very dry (it was a drought actually) all he wanted to do was get out on the tractor and plough the soil, plant seed and watch it grow to reap it, bale it and feed it out.

We have had good rains this year and I went out to film him raking, I knew raking was not about your garden style rake but something bigger even before I did see one as he told me it needed the tractor to pull the rake. But one could be forgiven for thinking there were tools made like the garden variety rake that were attached to a big stick and then pulled along by a tractor , but alas, no here it is.

Why do we rake hay? I ask these questions even though I think I’m supposed to know but it is to take any moisture out of hay, especially as it has rained since it was cut. When baling hay they work on moisture content, if too high they stop. packing approx 600kilos of hay into a bale when wet or too green is a recipe for disaster. They can cook from the inside out and combust. I fed last year while the farmer had a break off the farm, when hay is baled it is done in brick sections in the baler and I pushed my bare arm through the brick and it was burned. I then realised the bales were too hot. After feeding out I took the tractor and took the bales one by one and placed them on the ground away from each other so that if they did catch fire we wouldn’t lose much and it wouldn’t spread very far.

It’s a great day in the Upper South east, firstly I have internet proper been about 8 weeks and the farmer is out working hard whilst I do book work. Have a great season.

hay-raking

Does Fresh & Frozen Meat weigh the same?

I think about this often, well most times I am defrosting meat and my husband the farmer tell me that frozen and fresh meat weigh the same. I have always thought that they don’t, to me frozen meat feels heavier even after taking the packaging away. If you buy meat fresh one normally buys freezer bags and puts it away or if you buy meat in thermoform (supermarket packaging) you can normally find a pad at the bottom to soak up any moisture.

I have weighed meat fresh and frozen to discover there is a difference even a minimal one, so if you are buying frozen meat and they weigh it and price it on the frozen product you may find you are paying for the water in the meat. Thus up to 1/3 more can be frozen water and myoglobin, which is the by product of fresh meat that many people mistake for ‘blood’.

There is nothing wrong with purchasing fresh or frozen as most people tend to buy extra to freeze later anyway. There is many different types of packaging and I’ll go into those next blog. If the meat looks green, smells like sulphur then take it back, washing and drying will not rid of this smell, lamb has a stronger smell but should not smell like sulphur.

Remember when taking meat out of any packaging give it a quick rinse under water, or rain water to wash off any plastic products from the wrap when in thermoform. Rub and rinse when taking meat out of cryovac package as meat can absorb the smell and can taste like the packaging leaving the meat not pleasant to eat. Remember to pat dry and do not use if the meat smells off. It does not need you to soak it, do not mix meats and or put it with poultry, this will spread bacteria and can make you sick.

If you can buy meat from your butcher or local farm paddock to plate outlets, they will not only give you the best quality (even if a little more pricey) they can give you good tips on ways to cook and how to freeze and thaw meat. If you buy grass-fed over grain-fed, they will not only smell different they will taste different.

If you have any questions you want answered on any topic meat related please feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to answer. admin@bullysbeef.com.au

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