Update on product availability

As usual, I took my Tuesday drive to go pick up goodies for the store. Since we are running at such a pace I thought it best to continue to update everyone on what we have in the store. This isn’t exhaustive, but if you see something missing, that is probably because we don’t currently have it.

I basically just took pics of the freezers so this is just like looking in the door to see what is available. Of course this is live as of yesterday so once the doors open, all bets are off.

We did get our normal compliment of milk, raw milk, cream, chocolate milk this week so that is fully stocked.

eggs in the cooler
25 dozen eggs

We didn’t get our full compliment of eggs this week. 25 dozen instead of 40. They will sell out over the week but not by much. Hopefully with warmer weather we’ll get more next week.

Shrimp is in the cooler frozen
Shrimp is back

Thanks to Jeanette and Cody, we were able to get shrimp back in the store, finally! Scallops are supposedly to arrive next week.

Jeanette and Cody stocking ice cream
Jeanette and Cody stocking ice cream

We were almost out of ice cream so Christy brought us a good load to get us back to relatively normal stock.

Ice cream on the shelf
Not quite 100% stock but close

Beef is probably what is everyone’s question right now. We take a cow per month to the processor. it is normal that we get low on products towards the end of the month, but not this low.

We are out of hamburger, almost all steaks, and a number of other things. Below is what we have.

The good news is we should have our cow back this Friday so if you were coming this week, plan on Friday or Saturday for your visit.

Beef roasts in the freezer
As I predicted, roasts are still available.
Briskets in the freezer
We have four briskets left in the freezer
Ranch steaks in the freezer
Ranch steaks are still available
Osso Bucco in the freezer
Osso Bucco is one of my favorite cuts for a crock pot meal. We have plenty right now.

Pork, which I just restocked, is already starting to dwindle. Most of our pork went to our processor to make things like BBQ and sausage so the hope was that some of it would be available this Tuesday. Alas, it will be next Tuesday at best.

Bone in pork chops
Bone in chops are still readily available
Bacon!
Bacon is still in good supply, which is surprising
One last boston butt
We have one last boston butt available
Ground pork
We have some ground pork still available but it is dwindling
Rabbit and ground chicken
We have a few packs of ground chicken, and a couple of rabbits available

Chicken, and other items we get from Brittany Ridge, are pretty slim. We received no chicken this week, and were told that we were still a couple of weeks away from processing any new chickens. If the weather will warm up, we’ll see some growth so it is coming.

Once we do get chickens to process, they will be whole chickens only for the first few weeks. Those of you looking for boneless skinless breasts are going to be a while till we have them again.

One thing we still have plenty of is rabbit. If you’ve never stepped out and tried a different source of protein, now is a good time to expand your horizons.

Ball mason jars
We still need some ball jars if anyone has any

Again, we are getting a cow back this week. Should be Friday. May be Saturday. We won’t know till the processor calls us. I hope to get some pork back next week as well. Chicken we are still a few weeks out but it will start coming in before too long.

Thank you everyone for your patience as we work through this once in a lifetime event.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Donations requested

Pints and quarts would be awesome

For the past several years we’ve been rendering lard and tallow for customers. We used Ball/Mason jars that between Jeanette and I we already had laying about. Now we’ve reached a point where we are fresh out of jars. A lot of our customers can/preserve routinely and of course reuse their jars, but I’m sure there are people out there who have jars laying about gathering dust. If that person is you, please bring those pint and quart mason jars by the store. We’d sure be appreciative.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Beef is on the way and a bit of an adventure

This morning first thing we loaded up two cows in the trailer.

One was one of our finished cows for our store. As usual, we finish one cow per month and therefore once per month somebody takes the ride to the great pasture in the sky so that we can have steaks in the store.

Cow standing on a trailer.
Yes he’s cute. But if we didn’t eat them, he’d have never been born. This is the only bad day he’s ever had in his life.

But also this month, we had a new candidate for taking a ride off of the farm. A few weeks ago, and I just realized that I never posted about this, we had a Ninja Jr episode.

Dog asleep on her back with legs in the air
She actually sleeps like that

Roxy, our new rescue dog, has decided that nothing is more fun than chasing cows. She’s actually really well trained, but for whatever reason I haven’t been able to break her from her interest in chasing cattle. Really she will chase anything. Squirrels, birds, sticks, balls. Anything. So a cow running is just another game to her.

Well the Mrs and I had run to Lowes to pick up some plants, because, stay at home order meant gardening. We had a friends son over since they had volunteered to deliver medical supplies to first responders all over the state. Their son had inconveniently just fallen through a ceiling and maybe, maybe not, had broken a rib. We were given strict orders to make sure he took it easy. Taking it easy on a farm means you get lighter work, not no work, so we went to work on mulching the garden.

Broken rib? Good thing chips are light. And we were only shoveling about 5 yards of chips anyway so big deal

With the morning’s work completed, we left the kids to go fishing or whatever, while we went to Lowes. After shopping for plants, we returned with Grandma, the wife, and I and pulled up to the garden. I saw the kids were indeed fishing, and were coming up to the barn, to say hello I guess.

I hopped out of the truck, and into the backhoe so I could put it away. Grandma and the wife both started unloading plants and futzing about in the garden. Just as I got the tractor cranked, I saw a cow go shooting across the yard. I slammed the backhoe into top gear and raced across the yard, right by the garden at full speed. I could see kids, and a dog, running behind the cow. I made it to just in front of our house and cut the cow off with the backhoe. The cow, as cows will do, wanted to go its own merry way.

Imagine doing this with a backhoe

I had to do the job of being a cutting horse, with a backhoe, which coincidentally still had a bucket full of chips. Backhoes are not known for being graceful animals. I made it about 4 back and forths before the cow finally made it around me and took off into the woods.

By this point, Spork had locked Roxy in the store, The Princess was in hot pursuit through the woods, and our broken ribbed, please take it easy with him son #2 was booking down the driveway so fast I never saw him.

I took off running because the cow was heading for the front gate. I ran all the way down and manually pulled the gate closed before the cow could arrive. With that done, I collected the Princess and tried to figure out where the cow was and from whence it had come.

As I asked what had happened I learned that the dog had decided to chase the cow while the kids were fishing. To put this in perspective, the last time the kids went fishing, the dog decided that water was fun and jumped in, only to “nearly drown” before the kids could pull her out of the water. At least that is what I was told. 30 minutes later we received a call that “I have your dog.”

Huh? Where are you?

Across the lake in a subdivision. The dog that 30 minutes prior “didn’t know how to swim”, had swam all the way across the lake and walked up on shore to these people to play with them. Never have I ever had a dog end up on the other side of the lake.

So now the same dog, just a few weeks later, had chased the cow and the cow jumped the fence and had escaped, not just the pasture, but then out of the pasture, into the barnyard, out of the barn yard, and into my yard, then into the woods.

Sigh. What next.

About this time, I receive a call from our missing second son who says he’s out on the road, having chased the cow out there. Ugh, I don’t even know how the blasted thing got off the farm!

So I load the kids into the truck and race down to find my borrowed son standing off the side of the road, with some minor bleeding. He’d apparently tried to turn the cow around a few times, and at some point the cow had decided to just run him over. Great. How am I going to explain this to his parents.

So I’m in the truck with a rented kid who is bleeding, and two kids that belong to me, neither of which are wearing shoes, because, farm kids.

I notice that some Latinos are standing out in front of the trailer park and as I proceed down the road I find a group looking back towards our fence. I pull into a old road we are fixing up on that part of the farm and go see that the cow is standing at the bottom of a ditch, on the wrong side of the fence, relatively surrounded by Mexicans. I go down to where the cow is and think to myself,

“Self, if we can get the cow to go back over that relatively broken down fence and onto the farm, we’ll be good. But if that cow comes out of that ditch, it’ll end up in the road and that will be bad.”

So as I ease down towards the cow, he decides that my addition to the numbers means that staying in the ditch is no longer viable, and he decides he’s coming out my way. As he starts coming up, I head down and we meet in the middle, I want the high ground for this shoving match. I push him back a few times trying to get him to turn around. He makes it clear that, “Thank you for your suggestion and guidance Sir, but I’d like to go out the way that you are blocking, so apologies, but I’m going to go through you now.”

When it devolves to that, I grab one ear and knock/push his head aside and body tackle the cow to the ground. I’ve bulldogged cows down before and if you can get them off balance, it is doable. So like any 18 year old would, I went in full force and body checked the cow while controlling his head and wumphf! We hit the ground in a tangle. Easy peasy.

Except I’m not 18 anymore. When I hit the cow, I heard, and felt, a *SNAP*.

Oops. That can’t be good. A rib let go in the collision. We’ll have to worry about that later.

As I’m wrestling the cow who is now trying to get back up, I feel a big weight fall on him. I look back and one of the Mexican men had jumped on his back half and was helping me hold the cow down. Sweet!

We wrangled around with the cow a few minutes before we finally let him up and now between the two of us pushed and shoved the cow till he hopped back onto the farm.

I tried to pay the neighbors who had helped me and despite the language barrier they were clear that no money was needed or wanted and they were happy to help. Great people and I’m appreciative of them.

Now that I was off the ground, it was time to start hurting. Breathing hurt. The rib was definitely broken. My legs were shredded from rolling on the ground in shorts and flip flops (official farmer apparel) and I couldn’t run to chase the cow any longer. Heck I couldnt’ run to do anything. I started walking back, with son #2, while son #1 took my truck and drove it back on the road and down to our main entrance. This was without a license since he’s 15 but in a situation like this you do what you have to do. I do recall something about being able to operate a farm vehicle on the road without a license when moving from one farm property to another. It’s been a decade since I read that statue, but surely it applies in this circumstance.

The cow ended up in our pasture, but not the one where the rest of the cows were so he was standing in the corner alone. We locked down all the gates and exits as best we could and I hobbled over to the house. It was about this time that the wife came up and said, “Hey, what is going on?”

Grandma and the wife were so enamored with their plants in the garden, they were completely oblivious to the entire thing. The backhoe doing 30mph across the yard, the yelling, the running. All of it. I explained that I’d broken myself, the cow was back, and that I needed to sit down. Just as I sat down, son #2’s parents pulled up from their long day of driving, tired and ready to collect their son we’d be “keeping safe.”

Oh no.

Fortunately his parents are the cool kids, and they just rolled with it, bleeding son and all. Just another adventure day on the farm.

So that was a couple of weeks ago. Today, Miguel had a calf he wanted to send off the farm along with our normal monthly cow. He wasn’t performing well and basically didn’t meet Miguel’s standards. I didn’t even ask. My mantra is love your neighbors, forgive your enemies, but do neither for your cattle. One strike and you are out. I didn’t even listen to his reasons, if he wanted him gone, load him and I’d drop him off at the sale barn on my way to the processor. You can imagine my surprise when I looked in the trailer and saw this.

I think this is my escape artist

Despite rolling around on the ground with the cow, I couldn’t quite remember what the cows ear tag number was. 147 is what I though I remembered, although maybe it was 143. But regardless, my first guess was 147 and look who is looking back at me when I look in the trailer. Miguel had no idea, he didn’t like this cow for different reasons but I certainly had no qualms about taking him to the sale barn to be someone else’s problem.

I wonder if he’ll end up as someone else’s Ninja Cow?

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Pork is back!

A few weeks ago I took some hogs to the processor because we were already running short, even though I’d just taken hogs a few weeks before. This is the trip that takes about 5 hours total so we try to make it as efficient as possible.

This time fit the bill. The hanging weight of our hogs was about 2000 pounds and our cuts came back at almost 1200 lbs. I received word late Friday that our hogs were ready to be picked up so I went down first thing Monday morning to get all our porky goodness. I filled up every freezer on the trailer with no room to spare!

On the way home, I stopped by Dean Street Processing to see Brooke (Hi Brooke!) and drop off cuts like ham, trim, etc. These will be made into sausage, BBQ, things like that. Cuts like Boston Butts, bacon, and pork chops all came home to go in the freezer to be ready to sell when we open tomorrow.

So we are still somewhat stocked on beef. There is a cow going to the processor this Friday so next Friday we’ll be fully stocked again, assuming they are finished on time. Things are crazy at the processor right now. There is still hamburger left in the store along with a number of cuts. Don’t ask for ribeyes, we don’t have those during normal times, but there is beef for dinner. Pork has been restocked, and sausage and BBQ were already in good supply.

Chicken, well, our chicken farmer is sick (not Covid 19!) and I couldn’t meet her today but I’m planning on seeing her tomorrow. Then we’ll see if she can scrape up anything for chicken this week, but I don’t have high hopes. Maybe next week she’ll be able to process some birds.

We are open our normal hours this week, and Jeanette will be back from vacation so anyone that was looking to talk to her, stop by and see her.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

We are still open normal hours

I keep getting emails from really smart people asking, “So um, with the zombie apocalypse and all, are you guys open like normal?”

The answer is, yes, we are open like normal. Well as normal as we can be right now. We are limiting our patrons in the store to 5 people at a time. We are also pretty thin on chicken and some cuts of pork. Beef and other items are still fairly decent. Seafood is starting to look a bit thin but it looks like there is still a selection. We have eggs a plenty (thank you Christy, Tamryn, Jeanette, and Bill) who are all contributing everything they can to help meet demand on eggs.

The Princess is working this week, giving Jeanette some time off. She’ll be glad to help you when you stop by.

We have had some people asking if we are doing preorders and curbside delivery. Because we are staffed by one 13 year old, the answer is no. We just don’t have the staffing to have curbside delivery but we are wiping everything down repeatedly, and requiring that everyone wash their hands before they enter the store.

We are happy to see you Friday and Saturday during our normal hours. As always, we appreciate your support during this crazy time.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Milk and eggs are good. Chicken, not so much

I made my rounds today to pick up milk, chicken, pork, eggs, and lamb. Everything went as planned, except for chicken. Actually I guess chicken did go as planned because I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get much. And I was correct. We’ve tapped out our chicken farmer for at least 2-3 weeks when some new birds are ready and on the ground.

But milk and eggs are in good shape. Both coolers are full and look good. We also got some more lamb in, and pork BBQ and kielbasa sausage.

So overall we are in good shape. But chicken is going to be thin for a few weeks.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

More pork to the processor

In my continuing efforts to keep you up to date on our product, I’m letting you know that we are taking hogs to the processor again today. It takes most all day to get there, unload, and get back. That doesn’t count loading the hard headed things, which at this point is nearly impossible.

You see, we had about 140 hogs on this farm at one point. We’d gotten them in an effort to supply a wholesale customer who then went out of business, leaving us holding the bag (guess what my answer is when wholesale people call me). The hogs we have here now are the last hogs on the farm from that lot. They’ve lived here for a long time, and they have watched other hogs get on the trailer, never to return. They don’t know what happens when you get on the trailer, but at this point, they know they don’t want any part of it.

And they are huge.

And they have a bad attitude.

And they are four wheel drive.

So loading is an adventure and we get what we get most days. It isn’t, get that hog over there, and this one here. If we want two, and we get two, then we are thankful. If three get on? Bonus! Only one. Ugh, best we could do.

So assuming we get two loaded today, I’ll haul them to Acre Station to get them processed. Should take about 1.5 weeks to get the original processing done. Then I haul the primals (think huge hunks of meat) from Acre Station to Dean Street to get the value add stuff done. The pork chops and regular cuts will come back home after drop off at Dean Street as they don’t need any additional processing. The stuff I dropped at Dean Street is another couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I’m picking up chicken, milk, buttter, etc. tomorrow so that we are stocked for open on Wednesday. Dunno what Christy will be able to magic up for us in the chicken department. It isn’t like we are in mid-summer and she has lots of birds on the ground ready to harvest. I expect we’ll have lean times for a bit on chicken before she has more to process for us. But know that she is doing the best she can, which is a far sight better than I could do.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Farm fresh produce, CSA signups are open!

Normally I have to get peoples attention to even read something about food. But with all the craziness going on right now, everyone is talking about food, except when they are talking about toilet paper!

In the middle of all the corona craziness, I get a call from our Jennifer, our produce farmer and now long time CSA partner. We’ve been a drop off point for her for several years. We don’t charge her, or you. The idea is, hopefully you like the convenience of picking up here, and you’ll buy some meat while you are here. Not everyone does that, but enough do that we still like to be part of it. Plus we like Jennifer and her product so that helps.

So Jennifer says, “Hi, howya been. Etc, etc. Do you still want to be a part of the CSA this year?”

I’ve got people climbing the fences trying to buy product and she wants to know if I want fresh produce for customers? Um, yeah.

This is her advertisement. Legit that is just a pic of one of her drop offs. I’ve seen plenty to judge

So as usual, the signups go to Jennifer directly at chickadeefarmsnc.com. Just select that you want to pick up at Ninja Cow Farm and you’ll be on the list for veggie goodness. If there has ever been a time to support your local farmer, and secure your supply from that farmer, this is it. Thousands of you get these posts. I don’t know how many spots she has but if you are thinking about it, I’d go ahead and do it before your neighbor does. Know you have fresh food coming to the house this year.

Any buy a pork chop when you stop by.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Hand washing and social distancing

When you are a farmer, a welder, a machinist, or a mechanic, hand washing is what you do before you eat lunch. Maybe. Depends on which end of the cow you were working on. I’m all those things, so it isn’t unusual that when I wash my hands, the water comes off brown or black. That just comes with the job. There isn’t much hand washing till lunch because whats the point, you are just going to grab the next cow anyway. You just learn to scratch your nose with another part of your body.

But now we have hand washing as a national pastime thanks to this virus. And while we’ve always had the ability to wash your hands when you visit the farm, in our conveniently located bathroom (go back outside, turn right, no the other right, last door on the right, in the shop, past the box/wall thingie, turn left, turn left again….yeah, that’s not exactly obvious) We decided (Jeanette told me to) maybe it would be prudent to get our hand washing station from the CFSA Farm Tour back into operation and put some of our soap and water out front.

Step one, find the girls. One was working, so that was easy. And conveniently she was able to summon the other one with promises of warm weather and splashing with the hose.

Before they had drenched each other, but after they had gotten it mostly clean

Step two. Clean all the gook from sitting outside all year to you don’t end up dirtier than when you started.

Step three. Fix the drain. “Fix” may be a stretch. I bodged the dodgiest collection of random plumbing parts I had. And threw in a flower water jug for good measure. Just so the water wouldn’t splash on your feet. I’m working with random scraps here. I didn’t want to leave the farm to go to Lowes unless I absolutely had to. Cut me some slack.

The Princess is going to make a sign that says, “Stop. Wash your filthy hands before you come inside.” Or something like that. There really is no telling with her. Jeanette will probably fix it to be more welcoming when she gets here Wednesday. Whatever it says, please wash your hands before you come inside.

It will also say something about social distancing and no more than 6 people in the store at a time. That usually isn’t a problem, but for you Wednesday at 2pm people, it will be. Enjoy the sunshine and hang out outside until someone else comes out.

But for today, please wash your hands before you come in. The weather is beautiful and of course we have real soap (the thing that actually works on this virus) available right there in bar form the way God intended it. (Can you tell I hate those foamy pump bottle things my wife keeps scattering around?)

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

The beef made it

Yesterday I posted that I was going to pick up pork from the processor, and then high tail it to the beef processor to pick up beef. That plan worked just as I described, except I arrived at the store 30 minutes after our opening. There was already a line of happy people social distancing outside in the warm weather, enjoying an impromptu bee show since our bee keeper Jennifer had shown up to home a swarm she’d picked up from Cary. We’ve never had posh Cary bees before, so I hope they can adapt to the redneck lifestyle.

I picked up our beef right off the cutting table (figuratively of course, they had to package it). It was cold but not even close to frozen yet. Into our trailer freezers it went as quickly as we could and then we headed straight for the farm.

Jeanette and her son Cody grabbed the beef off almost as soon as I stopped rolling, and started handing it out to people who were waiting. In the words of Jeanette after it was all over, “That is about as farm to table as it gets!” She wasn’t kidding. The meat hadn’t even had time to freeze!

But not to worry. It is frozen now and we are well stocked with beef. The Princess will be working the store today and we are open from 9am-1pm. Unlike what is going on in the grocery stores, we won’t be having any hoarding in our store. If you need a few pounds of hamburger, we are glad to see you. If you want 10, 20, 30lbs, The Princess is going to call me. I’m going to stop what I am doing and walk over. And I’m going to be grumpy. This cow needs to last us till next month and everyone gets a fair shake. If you are looking to put some meat back, I suggest roasts as we still had roasts after the last cow and we received a number back again. So instead of 10 lbs of hamburger, get 3lbs and a couple of roasts. That would be no problem and feed you just the same.

I will be dropping off two more hogs Monday, and then picking up BBQ and kielbasa on Tuesday. Along with whatever chicken is left (that is becoming a problem), milk (business as usual), and hopefully lamb. So Wednesday we should be well stocked again for your needs.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.