Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Thistle Hill Farm

Breeding…part three…

…and now it gets really interesting…starting in the pre-dawn darkness… and a pasture alive with blinking red lights. It’s the heat detectors…right on schedule at 48 hours. When a cow goes into heat, another mounts it, crushing the chemical patch on its rump. One of Carolyn’s jobs is thawing the semen straws. That’s what that […]

Breeding step two…

…is very much a family affair. The herd has to be brought in from the pasture and sorted to isolate the target cows. We started in the dark, in a light rain. Grandson Church is really in charge now. He administers a shot of lutalyze which will bring the cow into heat in 48-72 hours. […]

Let the fun begin…

…Church moves the first group of cows into the chute to begin the process of artificial insemination. This will be his first solo effort and he’s set an ambitious schedule…almost 30 heifers and cows to bring into heat. Included in the group is a wonderful English bull whose semen, unfortunately, did not score very high. […]

Thistlehill at sunset

The bottom of the barrel…

…the stockpile barrel, that is.If there is a key in cattle raising, it is to avoid feeding hay at $100 a ton for as long possible. Here Church opens one of our last stockpiled pastures and the cows don’t need a second invitation. Video by Church Humphreys Native grasses here for the most part but […]

Parade of bulls…

…TDA Ransom…a Wooz favorite maybe because his mama was Goldings Snowdrop…selected by her when the “wise old men” of the partnership were favoring others. She called him “Handsome Ransom”…and saw something in him even in his awkward teenage years. He’s come into his own now though Wooz is no longer with us to say I […]

We don’t pay well…

…but the fringe benefit for managing Thistle Hill Farm is that you’re required to sample all the meat before it’s released to customers! Church takes that responsibility very seriously. We’re pleased to report that the first of our pork is back from the butchers and Church says the bacon is “very good”…which is a rave […]

Meeting of the braintrust…

Living in a resort…

…that’s what my 18 years at Thistle Hill have felt like. The farm has been in the family a lot longer…almost 75 years. And now a new generation…the fourth…is beginning to take hold.  Grandson Church Humphreys is managing our Devon cattle herd and showing the same appreciation for the setting in the Blue Ridge mountains […]

The three little pigs…

…who went to market the other day averaged 230 pounds hanging weight. Exactly what we were aiming for! And Church reports the spread was only five pounds…227, 230, 232. Can’t wait for our share! There is no matching fresh farm-raised pork. It’s akin to corn or tomatoes right out of the garden. And Thistle Hill […]