Great article and video about supporting local agriculture and turkeys for Thanksgiving. It even features our good friends at Gusty Ridge Ranch!
Check our our friends at Gusty Ridge Ranch!
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Direct marketing - Farmers let you shop for food from the source - colorado springs independent newspaper
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Going back to 2008, one of the first articles that wrote about Katie and Heritage Belle Farms. To read the article, click on the following link:
This article was published almost two years ago, but we realized that we hadn't linked it to our blog. We're so glad to have met Bonnie with Hungry Chicken Homestead. She's been a great friend and promoter of Heritage Belle Farms. To read the article, click on the following link:
Christmas morning, a little before 5am, we were woken by what we thought were coyotes barking. We laid there a moment, both thinking, "that sounds close." Before I knew it, Josh was on the front porch firing off the shotgun in his skivvies. Josh bounded back in the bedroom and shouted, "get dressed, its your sheep." Still half asleep and in a blur as to what was going on, I leaped out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran out into that cold Christmas morning expecting to see a sheep massacre. But to my surprise, not a single ovine body was to be found on the ground. The flock was scared out of their wits, but all 31 (not that I counted) appeared to be there. Josh swore up and down that he saw a big black dog in the pen with the sheep and "a little yippy dog too." I thought what I heard didn't sound like coyotes barking. Coyotes don't bark. How dogs got in there is still a mystery. The entire sheep pen is fenced with small animal wire and a barbed wire strand on top of that. We waited a few hours for the sun to come up, went out and did farm chores, then checked on the sheep. Other than being completely traumatized, there didn't appear to be any major injuries. No sheep was limping, there was no blood soaked fleeces...it was a Christmas miracle! We walked the perimeter of the pen, no sign of going under, through or over. The fence was solid. We discovered dog paw prints in the sand, Josh was correct after all! There was a BIG dog in the pen with the sheep. One big enough to jump over a 4ft fence with ease. Later on that day, we discovered that a ewe and a lamb had been bitten, but they seem to be doing ok. I chalk that up to the Navajo Churro breed - they are one tough breed of sheep! True survivalists! We lucked out this time, but ever since, I've been sleeping with one eye open, worrying that those dogs might come back; and so begins my process of finding a pair of livestock guardian dogs.
Written by Stan Searle
Lately, there’s been a growing interest in protein-rich, grass-fed beef. In fact, in a lot of health conscious Colorado households, “it’s what’s for dinner.” And the experts say it is also better for you. Besides being lower in calories, the beef that comes right off the range has a lot more of the important omega-3 fatty acids. Cattle fed on Colorado’s grasslands, rather than in feedlots, don’t have the growth hormones that some folks would like to avoid.
So, where are the grasslands that all those protein rich critters call home? All over Colorado and in most other Western states,“cow outfits” of every size are producing beef on grass pastures and open range, completely free of steroids in a spacious, natural environment. The best adapted to the wide open spaces are the Texas Longhorns, the original cattle of the American West. These historic cattle are being raised, not just for their spectacular horns and splashy colors, but for their “genetically-trimmed” lean beef.
Their unique traits were developed over four centuries of “survival of the fittest”—thriving in the brush lands of Mexico and what was to become the Southern U.S. after the first “Spanish cattle” were brought to the Americas by Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. The few that escaped into the wild, over time, multiplied into the millions along the Gulf Coast. Following the Civil War, jobless young men looking for a few dollars hired out to ambitious ranchers to locate and gather the wild cattle and drive them North and East to feed a depleted nation.
Eventually about 10 million of these bovine survivalists were driven to railheads like Dodge City, Abilene and Ogallala. Thousands more were moved by trail, train and barge in every direction, to be slaughtered for meat, hides and tallow and to stock farms and ranches from California to the Midwest and into Canada.
The first trail herd to reach Colorado—and the first beef cattle other than oxen pulling wagons—were driven across Indian Territory, through Kansas Territory and into Colorado Territory by Texas rancher Oliver Loving in 1860. With John Dawson, he started a herd of 1,500 toward Denver, Colorado to feed miners in the area. They crossed the Red River, traveled to the Arkansas River, and followed it to Pueblo, Colorado, where the cattle wintered. In the spring Loving sold his cattle for gold and tried to leave for Texas. However, the Civil War had broken out and the Union authorities prevented him from returning to the South until Kit Carson and others interceded for him.
Following the war, famous Texas Ranger, Indian fighter and trail blazer Charles Goodnight, partnered with Loving to resume the cattle trade in Colorado. They established a trail into New Mexico, then through Raton Pass into Colorado Territory. The Goodnight-Loving Trail passed just east of the present city of Colorado Springs along the headwaters of Upper Black Squirrel Creek. Crossing into the Cherry Creek drainage they followed it to Denver. Buyers of this first herd were the U.S. Army, to provision troops and Indians in New Mexico, and prominent Colorado pioneer John Iliff, who took possession of the balance of the herd at Denver.
Unfortunately, Oliver Loving died in 1867 of complications from arrow wounds suffered in an attack by Comanche braves along the Pecos River. [As a footnote to history, the Lonesome Dove miniseries was based on Goodnight and Loving.] Goodnight and others continued to “head ‘em north” to stock the sprawling ranches that were quickly established. The land was free to anyone who had the cattle to eat the grass and the courage and determination to defend his holdings against rustlers, Indians and competing cowmen and sheepmen.
Texas Longhorn cattle were uniquely suited for the miles of travel between feed and water, the harsh elements of winter and summer, and the slim pickings on big stretches of marginal land. Four hundred years of adaptation had, through survival-of-the-fittest, produced a breed that was, and still is, genetically equipped to cope where other breeds cannot. Among the Longhorn’s genetic traits are instinctive protection of their babies, utilization of various plants that other cattle won’t touch, disease resistance, and longevity that gives them double the productive life of other breeds. The meat is genetically leaner, while retaining tenderness and taste.
However, more than a special breed of cattle was spawned by the post-war expansion of open range ranching. Civil War veterans and men and boys of various ethnic and vocational backgrounds hired on to gather, drive and care for the herds being assembled. Their best mentors in the skills of horsemanship and cattle handling were the Mexican vaqueros, the first of the special brand of men who became known as “cowboys.”
The cowboys’ skills, hard work and bravery became legendary, the subject of thousands of yarns, books, movies, songs and poems. Their clothing and equipment, at first improvised for function and economy, still influences fashion around the world . . . and cowboy music is popular on every continent. The sport of rodeo, which has changed in only a few minor ways, was invented by cowboys seeking some diversion and wanting to show off the skills they used every day in roping, branding, doctoring and rescuing the Longhorn cattle, as well as mastering the wild bronco of the range. On ranches across Colorado and the West, you can still find the American cowboy . . . and the cattle that “invented” him, the Texas Longhorn. And that good, lean, grass fed beef? It’s still “What’s for dinner!”
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Heritage Belle Farms
22755 East Garrett Road
Calhan, CO 80808
Heritage Belle Farms is our private residence, and is NOT a public farm. Please make arrangements to visit the farm or to make a purchase from the farm. Thank you