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GrassRoots Meats Newsletter    August 2020
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Crazy Weather
We have been having some crazy weather this past week. Monday we experienced flash flooding like we haven't seen for quite a few years, washing out irrigation ditches and requiring emergency repairs. A few nights before that we had a light evening storm, and everything had an amber hue. Quite eerie. I took these pictures, and while I was not able to perfectly catch the crazy colors, the pictures came out pretty nice and thought I would share them with you.

The mix of blue and amber was absolutely stunning! Definitely a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
The amber was almost palpable
From the front porch - a full rainbow
Sun setting from the back porch
Allan's Health
Thanks so much to all of you who have inquired about Allan's health, and especially for all the prayers sent on his behalf. God is good, and Allan is healing, although it has been a challenging year, and month, for sure. The blood clots, while not completely gone, seem to be stable and no more have developed. His shoulder is healing pretty well, but he twisted his ankle (coming in from irrigating in the dark - don't get me started!) and he was laid up again. At the same time he developed cellulitis (staph infection) in his foot, requiring another trip to the ER, and a round of antibiotics. While healing from that he developed gout in that same foot. Believe me, Allan was getting very discouraged, and just a little grumpy. So don't quit praying, cause the devil is quite busy trying to get to him. But he is on the mend and the dark skies are clearing, making way for some beautiful sunshine. All the rain has definitely improved his spirits and lightened his work load.
Business Changes
As most of you know, our meat processor decided to quit on us, leaving us with a serious problem. But what satan intends for evil, God can turn to good, and doors are opening all around us. A local processor in Pagosa Springs is seriously looking at going USDA, which would solve more problems than I can begin to list. Needless to say we are very excited and hopeful that they will be able to forge through all the red tape and regulations to make that happen.

In the meantime we have slaughter dates set for the rest of the year for our cattle with a New Mexico state processing plant. We took our first round of animals on Tuesday. We have sold almost half of the beeves already as quarters, halves, and wholes, so if you think you might want to order, please do not wait too long. Our next soonest availability will be late October, early November. I am still working on the beef share program, but getting the legal paperwork right on this is a real challenge. If you know of an attorney with experience in agriculture who might be able to draw up the paperwork I would really appreciate his/her contact info.

In addition we are exploring another option for having the lambs processed through a USDA plant, but in lieu of that we have a September slaughter date scheduled with a Colorado state processing plant, but this would only allow us to sell halves and wholes.

Our pig producer has once again decided to call it quits. We have a slaughter date scheduled for December but we are trying to line up a processing date sooner, if we can. We are also looking for a new producer. In the meantime, we have a wonderful line of all natural pork out of Iowa, Beeler's Pork, that we are very happy with. Hopefully, if you have tried it, you are happy with it as well.

And of course, chicken. We are not at all happy with the new "eco packaging" from Sweetwater Farms. It has caused lots of problems, most particularly the difficulty of packing the meat so it will arrive still frozen. We have found a new pastured, organic, non-GMO, producer out of Nebraska, Smart Chicken, that packs in 10 pound bulk bags. The pricing is good, and we think this could solve our shipping problem. We will offer drumsticks, boneless and bone-in thighs, and boneless breasts. We will continue to offer whole chickens, as well as hearts and livers, from Sweetwater Farms.

We will also be offering organic turkeys again this year. I will be ordering them next week, so if you know you will be wanting one please send me an email and let me know the size you would like. I ran out early last year. It is SO hard to know how many to order.

Thank you for sticking with us as we work through all of these challenges. Many of you have written to thank us, and we so appreciate that you support our business both with your dollars and your encouragement. We really want to continue to be here for you and will do all we can to keep it going.
Garden Update
My garden is thriving this year, although most of the harvest will not begin until mid to late August, at the earliest. It is very hard sometimes to water and fertilize and wait. I learn so much about God's ways through my gardening, most especially patience, but also perseverance in the face of obstacles and difficulties. I seem to have overcome the problem with rolly pollies, and then ants, but my latest challenge is cabbage moths. I will be treating the plants with a combo of neem oil and garlic oil, and ordered some Bt that I will use as well. A multi-faceted approach worked well with the other insects and I hope it will work with this one too.

Another issue I am having this year is with pollination. Not seeing many bees and without them I don't have many melons forming. Very frustrating. Been trying a few things to attract the pollinators but not sure how successful I have been.
Lots of zucchini in this trough.
Planted marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos. This planter is about to explode in flowers!
The cabbage worms are attacking these brussel sprouts - hopefully my treatments work.
Been getting some green beans, with lots more coming. The limas look good, too.
Have a couple heads of cauliflower developing.
Got a few nice peppers about ready to pick, and been harvesting lots of kale.
You can see some broccoli about ready to pick, but I expect these plants to do much better as it gets cooler.
Green tomatoes are plentiful, with a few starting to ripen.
The potatoes are doing great and I think I will have a really good harvest.
This trough is lush with green growth. Zucchini, melons, and potatoes mostly.

In Closing . . .   
We have been blessed with a couple of unexpected calves this summer, thanks to some uninvited bulls. Kind of fun getting surprises like that. And the monsoon rains are finally here after a VERY long drought. We are exploring the possibility of installing a sprinkler irrigation system that we hope will make the work a LOT easier for Allan as he heads into his 70's. And we are about to complete the first phase of a corral system, a dream come true after many years of using a very temporary and insufficient set of corrals. Allan was always afraid someone would get hurt. While we feel blessed that no one ever did, we are very grateful to have a really good set of corrals for the future. I will take pictures, but am waiting till it is done.

These guys are anxious to go to new pasture.

The remodel on our house continues. One day it will be complete and we will have turned what Allan calls our "cardboard house" into a real home that we will love and enjoy for many years to come. Again, pictures to follow once it is complete. Don't hold your breath, though, as this has been a very long remodel.

Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers and well wishes. God bless you all, and God bless America.
   
Lois & Allan

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