Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Month: June, 2013

The processing conundrum….

….the largest single cost in producing local meat, whether beef or pork, is the processing.  Butchering your meat is just about half the total cost. We reported awhile back that the bill for processing a steer into beef is very close to $500.  That compares to the $50 the Giants pay at the huge, factory […]

The elephant in the room….

….or in Congress. Now that the dreaded farm bill….with billions for town and farm….has marched down the hill (as in Capitol) again….what next? Normally, the city legislators get behind the pork (with apologies to the guys out back in the woods) for farmers in exchange for easy sailing for their much-loved Food Stamps.  This time, […]

The “high” cost of pork….

….we’ve been warning that, because of increased feed and processing costs, our pork prices will be higher this time.  But not this high: Thanks to Keith Smith for the link.  

For my fellow wine drinkers….

Is it alright to be jealous….

….of your own grandson? Church has the summer experience of a lifetime….working with Jim Gerrish at his Idaho ranch.  We’re going to miss his help here and we’re also a little worried that he’s going to want to change everything when he gets back. Wooz is more worried her grand-baby is going to get lost […]

None dare call it Big Ag….

….or Big Government, for that matter. The giant hog farms are in the midst of a desperate struggle to save their piglet crop.  Reuters is reporting a devastating virus has now hit about 200 farms in a dozen states and is spreading.  No one is estimating how many piglets have died but the mortality rate […]

Beef on the way….

….starts with pulling the steers out of the main herd.  They all come into the pen, and it’s up to me(far right) to let a bunch out at a time checking tags and undersides.  They’re held briefly in that alley until Wooz (far center in white shirt) okays the return to the pasture. When we get a […]

Fighting the big boys….

…not only a lot of hard work but lots of creativity.  We enjoy reading about farmers and cattlemen who are going the extra step to insure the survivability of their operations. In business school I think they call it “line extension”.  With the kids gone, maybe Wooz will rent the spare bedrooms?  (About as fast […]


….well, we took a deep breath and released our month-old piglets into the woods.  Not quite freedom though; a two strand polywire  electric fence is holding them to about a half acre. They come back for food and water and to sleep in an old stall, but we’ve noticed a decline in feed consumption, probably because […]

A shed raising….

….nothing so grand as a new barn.  Just a shed to keep the elements off handlers and animals at the chute.  We’ve put the joists in place and now we’re waiting for the roof trusses to arrive. “We” are Kurt Volkert, a good friend visiting from Germany, Farm Manager Duane Ard, and the architect.