Well I have been a bit lazy as of late on my posts but I will blame it on the fact my Blackberry died and my android is not working how I would like…. the new Blackberry is coming and I refuse to jump on the apple bandwagon… Besides its been a long winter and I don’t think I need to remind all how long the winter has been and how much snow we have had….That said we are on the down hill slide to spring and every day the days are getting longer and the sun stronger and warmer…. I was passed on a great story about one of our newest ranchers Matthew Gould… it is a great video and it will give you all an idea of who the young guys in our band of merry ranchers are.
Well I hardly got off the plane November 4th and I was on he 1st cattle drive getting cattle home from the North pastures the next day. Erika and the crew (Dominik, Cyrell & Lara) did a great job looking after things and for all the weather that got thrown at them things turned out well…. needless to say I got home with a nice gift from our local wolf population with 3 dead calves and 1 dead bull…. that’s 20 animals that we’ve lost in a year to predators and this winter the tables will get turned. Needless to say I bet we spent 7 days straight after I got home just moving and sorting cows on a constant basis. The weather was cold and the warmest it got was -5 degrees… perfect for the last cattle drive of the season. We even had time to smoke some cigars. Now the cattle are settled in for the winter and look forward to coming out the other side when the days get lonoger…. sun up is 9 am and its dark by 5 pm…. no excuse now not to keep up with my blogs
I don’t think it matters what season it is its always busy around our place…October went by like lightning .. I was home for 2 weeks, which was pretty much all about getting ready for the next three weeks that I would be gone. Every fall I have a 2 legged hunting season… no its not in my back forty but overseas in Europe visiting and meeting with old and new perspective buyers, end users and distributors of Heritage Angus Beef. This three week trip had me going through 6 countries with stops including: Geneva, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Milan, Zurich and Frankfurt…. at the end I had a bit of city overdose, but made the most of it while the crew back home had to contend with an early winter and ton of things that were suppose to get done in a calmer and more relaxed pace but the weather screwed that up. Some people can type faster than they can talk… for me its the opposite…. so I will let he Videos speak for themselves. As well check out some of the pictures for those that love their meat.
Canada Beef Crew and the Cowboys…Martin Lemoyne was a great help with French translation
A French Butcher in Love with his Ribeyes…check out the size
Gotta each Vegetables as well
Dry aged ribeyes… the french have not figured out marbling
Jason Hagel is a top man but how about that hip…a new meaning to TOP BUTT
Its a busy schedule running a branded beef program, being a father, husband and also running a ranch… I spend many many hours of the week in the office 15 feet from the kitchen table talking to customers and working with the partners of Heritage Angus… sometimes more than I would like, so when the opportunity comes to get in the saddle and get out with the cows I am all over it. September is some of the prettiest times of the years to be out on the range…. its a time for reflecting back over the past summer and for seeing if all the best laid plans turned out…. I love to see how well the calves have grown how the grass held up and what the cows look like as we head towards winter. Being a real rancher and being a partner with nature is something the ranchers of Heritage Angus are all very proud of. …. Heritage Angus Beef is not a spin doctored brand… it is real ranchers and real families that are proud of being part of something good.
Recently I had the fortune to take part and be a part of the first ever Banff Meat Ball. This event was sponsored in part by the Alberta Meat and Livestock Agency as well as Agriculture and Agrifood Canada. The event brought together chefs and food writers from around the world to show them the story behind many of Alberta’s different proteins. We had Chefs from Dubai, Hong Kong, China, Swizterland and Food Writers from Italy, Belgium, as well as Taiwan. They got a chance to see first hand the origin of the different proteins and then got a chance to work with them at the Beautiful Banff Center. As a spin off we had a “Iron Chef competition” where the chefs had a chance to be creative with proteins of their choosing. Creative was saying it mildly and the fruits of the afternoons labors were something else to taste.
As you can tell from my posts, I have been on a bit of a summer hyatas getting posts up. Summers on the ranch are always so busy and it seems that there is always a million things lots going on…. next thing you know 2 months go by and its September. This morning as our oldest 2 boys got back on the bus and headed off to school, I figured it was time to get back to my postings. Summer 2012 was a great one… from the ranching perspective it started of wet with lots of rain and finished dry and hot however we we still produced enough grass for the cows and plenty of hay for the long winter nights. We got lots of projects done including 10 miles of fencing, artificial inseminating and repainting all the out buildings. We also made sure that we took the time to have some fun. Our ranch is on the banks of the Spirit River hence our name sake and the other half of the ranch is on the Peace River. The Peace River is by far the largest river in Alberta, with its head waters in Northern British Columbia. Every time I see it is is awe inspiring. It is a place that gives you energy and also a place where one can reflect. For our family it is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon or a quick ride on a weekday evening…. The video above is a compilation of some of the summers fun and it will give you good idea of the rivers views, its tranquility and how we get a chance to enjoy it. .
Every year I swear I will take more time to enjoy June and make it slow down… Every year it goes by in a flash, even though we have the longest daylight length. I guess that’s because there is lots always on the go and a ton of things to see and enjoy…. especially with the kids. This year has been one of the best in our 10 years on this ranch. The grass is going from knee deep to belly deep in record time thanks to all the steady rains and showers we have been getting…Needless to say our grazing management needs to be top end to keep up with all mother nature is producing. This year we also are having a little nature wonder with an enormous tent caterpillar plague that literally has cleaned off all the leave for hundreds of square kilometers… the leaves will grow back, but in the meantime it is a strange view seeing green pastures and no leaves on the trees… a wonderland for curious kids and a crazy dad.
There is always lots to do on a ranch, however when spring hits it switches to turbo overdrive…. good thing there is lots of hours of daylight! Our cows and heifers start calving at the end of April and then for 2 months there is a steady flow of calves being born throughout our ranch. 400 of the cows on our ranch are registered Aberdeen Angus. Many of the bull calves that are born are later in life destined to be the future herd sires of calves at other ranches. Being that the cattle are registered we need to keep track of their pedigree and so we need to verify the dam, the sires, the birth dates and the birth weights of the calves. Every evening the crew goes on safari with our 30 year old landcrusier to check the cows and search for new calves to tag and properly identify…. this video is about how that is done and why “Heritage Angus is being part of something good.
This is the 10th spring on our ranch here in the heart of the Peace River Region. We knew when we moved north to our place on the banks of the Spirit River that we were moving to a place that was a little more bio diverse than where I grew up east of Camrose. Little did we know all the creatures that would visit or make make their home here on our ranch. To date along with Ducks Unlimited we have restored well over 150 wetlands….and all we did was hold back the water, manage the land a little different and let mother nature take her course…. sort of the field of dreams … “build it and they will come”… well it did, first the native vegetation came back and then little by little the creatures big and small started showing up. To date we have had over 150 bird species that have frequented our ranch….. the sign for us that spring is really here is when the trumpeter swans park themselves on our wetlands for a rest on their long journey north to their nesting sites in Canada’s High Arctic. Biodiversity is another reason why Heritage Angus is being part of something good!
Well last week we had a blast…. a group of devote ranchers made a journey out to Vancouver Island to visit and meet the beef customers in Quality Foods stores (www.qualityfoods.com). Quality Foods has been a proud partner with Heritage Angus now for 5 years… it is awesome to have retailers like this, that help us connect our ranchers pastures to consumer plates. The staff and owners of Quality Foods were great hosts and as you can see by the pictures they were out in full ranch force helping to spread the story of how consumers can be, ”part of something good”. It was also good for all the ranchers that went to see the journey beef takes from their ranch and the people along that help us make the connection with the consumer…. A big ranch thanks for all that helped make this possible and an even bigger thanks to the consumers and customers that support by buying Heritage Angus beef products. Pictured below are two of our ranchers Ian Murray from Shoestring Ranch and Rebecca Heiberg from Heiberg Farms, as well as the staff from the Courtney Quality Foods Store