Flies Carrry Our Cattle Away

I suppose that there have been flies as long as there have been cattle. They just seem to attract each other. The significant problem is that by this time of the year there are million of them on our herd and the cattle suffer. They lose weight and risk infection as the flies suck their blood.

We have never found an organic way to eleminate this problem.

The way flies are killed is to put an ear tag on the top of the ear and when the flies land on it they pick up just enough chemical to die. The tag does not inject anything into the cow. The cow is just the carrier of the tag.

Most ranchers use the same type of tag every year and that means you get a population of flies that are not affected any longer to that type of tag. We use tags from a company that has five different types and each year you use a different one.

Normally we use two tags on each cow, but this year they offered an oversize tag that is suppose to do the work of two tags. We shall see.

After a long day of rounding up cattle and getting them into a chute to get the tags we saw a vast difference from when the cattle were in the lane coming into the corral. It cannot be captured in a photo, but there was a black cloud 8-10 feet over the herd of flies following the herd.

The tag will last 3-5 months depending on weather and other environmental conditions. Normally by September we are again working the herd to protect them from flies.

The cattle in the lane headed to the barn. You can not see the black cloud of flies over them, but when you are behind them you are covered with flies ourself.

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Once in the corral there is a lot of tail swatting to get the flies off their back.


This is an example of a cows back. Every inch of it is covered like this.

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The tag is just a simple plastic device placed on top of the ear for the flies to land on it.


A contented cow knowing in a few moments she will be fly free.


Our Pigs in a Wallow

We are raising 11 pigs for meat and to sell to others for their meat. Our pigs are raised on grass pasture and fed grain that is NON-Soy and NON-GMO. Our pigs also have two pig wallows to cool off in. One is in the full sun and one is in the shade of trees. It is rather amazing to me that most days they spend it in the sun and not the shade.

Pig wallows play an important part in the health of pigs. This
article has a lot more interesting about the subject.

Our cabin guests are amazed when they see our pigs in their wallow.

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Flowers on the Farm

We have so many unusual flowers in Eva's many display gardens. Each year the Baloon Plant come to life by the kitchen door. It is one of my favorites.


Strawberry Jams

Eva has been busy all week making various kinds of of strawberry jams. We do not raise strawberries, but a nearby farm does and we picked up 280 pounds a few weeks ago. All her jams are made with freah, natural ingredients. So far whe has made
Firey Habanero, Balsamic Pink Peppercorn, Lavender, Jalapeno, Balsamic Black Peppercorn, Grand Marnier and plain strawberry. These and other jams and sauces are available at the farm.


Re-Stocking the Lake

It is time to re-stock our lake by the cabins. A few months ago we added minows, blue gil and sun fish. Next is a bass with different genetics than what we have.


Late May Farm Photos

They said yesterday on our local weather news that our spring has been delayed a month and I can believe it. These are photos taken this morning in front of the farm house, and in the barn yard of Eva's flock of ducks.


Storm Wipes Out Chicken House

Yesterday we were on high alert due to an approaching storm. As it approached around 4:00 PM the sky turned dark purple-black, the wind gusted and temperature dropped 20 degrees in minutes. By 4:30 PM it was as dark at 9:00 pm at night. Heavy rain and wind came, but not the 60-70 mph predicted. By night fall it was windy and rain, but nothing scary. We marveled how the meat chicken house had now go through two storms without any damage. After dark, the wind picked up and rain became more intense. This morning we found the chicken house in ruin and chickens all over the pasture.
We lost one chicken that was crushed. All of the others were caught and moved to the old barnyard. Harvest day is July 31, so they will stay there until they leave the farm.

Before the storm

The storm approaching


After the storm this morning


Farm Newsletter: May 2013

We sent this newsletter yesterday to those on our distribution list. If you wish to be included, please go to our home page and sign up for newsletter.

May 2013 Greer Farm Newsletter

Blueberry and Blackberry Season
Normally we would be letting you know that is it time to come and pick blackberries and blueberries, but this is not a normal year.  The berries are at least two weeks away and our vegetables are probably a month late.  We may be open by June 8.  Please check the home page of our website  for the most current information.  We appear to have a much better blackberry crop, including two new varieties producing for the first time.  The blueberry crop will be greatly diminished from last year due to a hard late freeze when many of the bushes were in full bloom.  There will be berries for pick-your-own.  We will not be picking for our commercial accounts as in past years so our pick-your-own customers can have a more enjoyable time in the berry patch.  Our price will remain the same as last year, $3.25 per pound for blueberries and blackberries.
We are not having a CSA this year delivering vegetables weekly.  While we scaled back on the amount of vegetables, we have the same nice varieties as last year.  The weather did not cooperate and we have no spring greens.  Hopefully we will have beans, onions, fingerling potatoes, garlic, squashes, tomatoes, peppers and a lot more in mid to late June.  We will sell our vegetables at the farm this year.
Log cabins on the Farm
The cooler than normal spring has made overnight visits to the farm very popular.  Since February we have had busy weekends and some weekday visitor.  We added a tetherball pole this year and found a way to keep weeds out of the bocce court.  A major change from earlier years is that the watercraft (jon boats, paddle boats, canoes and kayaks) are all free of any additional charges.  We also have two adult mountain bikes and two smaller kid's bikes for use without charge.  Hopefully in the next few weeks we will install a hammock at each cabin site.  More than ever, families and friends are booking all four cabins to share time together.  It is not too late to book all of the cabins now for summer use or in the fall when it is so nice on the farm.
What is there to do on the Farm?
 An amazing number of calls start out with a simple question.  What would we do if we came to your farm and rented a cabin?  We will take a moment to remind all of you just what is available.  Of course, the first thing is that you can relax and forget about where ever you came from.  For some, that is all they want. No television, ipod, internet, phone or other diversion.  We do have ipod/CD/radio players in each cabin, wireless internet, 200+ channels of television, dvd player, phone with free long distance, but we do not force you to use any of it! We feed animals every day and you are welcome to participate.  Currently around the barn yard is a flock of ducks Eva raised in the winter, geese, Eva's pot belly pig, goats, sheep and lambs and my roosters.  At the hay barn are our three quarter horses and Pepper the zebra.  Cats and kittens are everywhere.  There is a pasture full of pigs being raised for meat near the hay barn and the egg mobile is south of the house.  You can collect eggs in the evening.  Participation in feeding is encouraged for all ages. There is a horse shoe pit, volley ball court, sand beach, hiking trails, fishing, bocce court, tetherball and a kid's playground activity center. In the evening you can collect firewood for a camp fire and see an amazing number of stars.  We post on the information board the times the international space station can be seen as it passes over in the night. 
Farm to Fork Cooking Classes
Chef Eva developed a very interesting set of cooking classes for 2013.  The classes offer something for everyone.  There are three classes in June and two each in July and August.  This weekend, May 25, is a very different class: A Bacon Tasting.  If you want to get out of the city for a day, this will be a fun activity.  To celebrate independence Day, June 29 we are having our own celebration in the kitchen. Each of the dishes were served in a tavern near Independence Hall for the writers of the Declaration of Independence.  This includes some of Washington's, Jefferson's and Franklin's favorites. Photos of two recent classes:  For the Love of Chocolate and Singapore Street Food.
Greer Farm Products
We do not have  a farm store, but we do have a lot of natural products that you may be interested in.  Due to the demand for our grass fed beef we have only been able to stock ground beef. Maybe by mid summer we will have steaks and other cuts available.  We are taking orders for the balance of 2013 for beef by the split quarter, half and whole.  We think we offer superior grass fed beef. Beef Order Details   We also are raising pigs on pasture, pasture chickens and have free range eggs. 
Chef Eva is back making jams and sauces as the fruit and pepper season starts again.  This week she is making a variety of strawberry jams. We bought hundreds of pounds of local strawberries that are being made into jams this week.  This is a list of what we had earlier in the spring.  You can expect greater variety this year than last. All of the ingredients in her jams and sauces are raised on the farm except for local peaches and strawberries.
Geocaching on the Farm
Something is new on the farm.  Geocaching has arrived and we hid it and now you have to find it.  Be the first of the summer to find our cache.
Never Say Never
We have always turned down requests to have weddings on the farm.  I guess when you see our farm and its broad spacious gardens you wonder why not.  This is still a ball up in the air, but if someone approached us and wanted to be the first with something not too elaborate, we will consider it. 
Farmer's Don't Blog
We have been blogging about farm life since February 2006 and never missed a month to write one or many more blogs about farm life and other topics.  May 2013 is not over, but we have posted several items that may be of interest to you. If you wonder why occasionally the photo in a blog has nothing to do with the blog, I cannot help you.  We have a random bug that seems to re-sort photos in an unusual way.  A fix is on our list of items to do this summer.  If you have an interest in goat milk, we invite you to read about some friends of ours near Greenville that have a goat dairy and farm fresh goat milk available.
Hope:  What life is about
When you live on a farm and that is your means of support, every day you live in anticipation of hope.  You hope someone makes a cabin reservation or buys some beef. You hope it does not freeze or does not get too hot. You hope for rain.  Life is all about hoping for a better tomorrow.  In another life, I often spoke in public.  The corporate world is also a place full of hope. I traded a suit and tie for jeans and boots, but all the same I maintained my same focus on hoping for a better tomorrow for myself, my family and the world.
I recently ran across a copy of a speech I made in Milan, Italy 15 years ago just months before folding up my corporate tent and heading to farm.  I will quote some of it below and it is amazing how much the deeply held corporate values I had are the same today.
"What will it take to be successful?  It means embracing deeply held values that are customer focused. Values that create trust, demonstrated commitment to excellence and show concern and caring to your customer's needs.  Those that will be successful will be those that respond to the market with a contagious passion.  They will folow an unplanned path and in doing so the legacy they develop will be greater than they ever dreamed.  You will be successful by understanding that a plan of action does not need to be infallible or absolutely comprehensive.  Those that will be successful will be as always those that dare to be first, be different and to embrace change.  The leaders will not be those you expect, but those that took a different path and made their own way."
From our Home to Yours
Make our farm your farm.  Take time to relax and visit us.   There is so much to take advantage of here. 
From our family to yours we thank you for supporting our family farm.  Please forward this newsletter to anyone that may find it interesting.
All the best,
Sid, Eva and everyone on the farm
Where has all the months gone?  May is almost over and Memorial Day is this Monday.  Summer is days away.  School will soon be out and families will take off for their annual vacation. Here on the farm it is the end of calving, lambs have been weaned, day old chicks have grown into chickens, kittens scurry around in the barn and its finally warm enough for our vegetables to grow.  The bushes and brambles in the berry patch are almost ready for our pick-your-season. Eva's over 100 rose bushes are in full bloom confirming the change of season. 

Eva's Jams and Sauces: So Good

There is nothing that Eva makes in her kitchen that is not delicious. This is especially true of her jams, sauces and condements. She makes an effort to use what we grow or is grown locally to make very interesting items. This is a list of what is currently available at the farm.

It helps that we raise some of the best blueberries than can be found anyplace. The kitchen is always a great place to hang out at our farm. If your are interested in any of these give us a call or email us.

8 oz. Jars $6
Blueberry syrup
Blueberry chocolate jam
Fig syrup
Habanero peach jam
Blueberry chipotle sauce 
Blueberry habanero
Chipotle sauce
Blueberry habanero jelly
Blueberry jalapeño jam
Blueberry peach jam
Blueberry thyme jam
Blueberry balsamic black pepper jam
Blueberry port jam
Blueberry lemon jam
Blueberry Jam
Smoked Chipotle peppers in adobo saucepan
Mayan habanero hot sauce
Texas chow-chow relish
Drunken fig jam 8 oz. $7
Pickled pears pint $9
Strawberry jams available late May

Brett Speak

“Farming is a profession of hope”
Brian Brett

Cooking Class: Bacon Explosion

Saturday May 25 will be a great day on the farm. The Farm to Fork Cooking Class is all about bacon. There is no way this can be anything but a fun class and you will learn how to prepare bacon in different ways, including a bacon explosion. Do not miss it.

Saturday, May 25, 2013, 11:00 am at the farm house
A Bacon Tasting:  Special event at the Greer Farm 
We raised our own pasture pigs this year and the pork is so delicious.  There is no comparison to the pork you buy at the store that is raised in factory farms.  We have set aside a portion of the bacon from the pigs we raised for this class.  It is all natural and has not been treated with nitrates or artificial “natural” flavorings.  The highlight of the class is “building” the bacon explosion.

Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Gouda cheese
Broccoli cherry salad with warm bacon vinaigrette-and Mango glazed bacon
Bacon explosion: A unique combination of bacon and homemade pork sausage
Spinach and kale sautéed with bacon and onions
Bacon and pecan brittle ice cream served in
Bacon and chocolate tuille

We took these photos at a cast iron cook-off contest in the fall. It is one of the items on the class menu.

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Geocach: Hide and Seek

We try to do things on the farm that are fun for us and others. Geocaching is a great activity you can participate in anywhere in the world. It's an adult hide and seek game. The best way to learn about is to check out the link.

We selected a perfect spot for our first cach that is somewhat hard to find and you have to be in shape to get to it. To our surprise someone found it the first day it was out. Now others are checking it out.

Basically the rules are find it, record your name and any thing else on the notebook in the container, take waht is in it and leave something behind. Then log in and record your discovery.

Ours is in a plastic container hanging off a broken tree deep in the woods.


Se started out with his little guy in ours, but he was taken and replaced with.... oh i will let you find it and then you will know what he was replaced with.


Free Range Eggs - Ours Are Great

For as long as we have been on the farm, we have had free range chickens and farm fresh eggs. A few years ago we stepped it up and built a protable hen house that can be moved around on pasture as needed so the chickens have fresh forage.

Our chickens also have free choice NON-SOY, NON-GMO feed. Our feeds have natural ingredients including peanuts and whole grains such as flax, milo and sunflower seeds. They also get natural ground oryster shell for calcium for their egg shells. We do not add any supplements to enhance the color of the yoke. You can buy marigold extract from China (supplementd in feed) and artifically make the yoke deep yellow. You can also feed regular GMO chopped corn and accomplish this. In summer, our yokes are naturally deep yellow as the chickens have a lot of green grass. In winter, they are less yellow and we give them alfalfa hay to gvie them fresh forage. The actual fact is the color of the yoke does not affect the nutritional value of the egg at all. It just reflects what the chickens eat.There is also no difference in the nutritional value of a white versus a brown egg. Personally I am prefer brown or colored eggs.

We also had a decision to raise heritage breeds of chickens. These lay less eggs per year, but are very healthy and reflect the background that they bring to our flock. Our eggs are all colors; dark chocolate, brown, green, blue and a few white from our Polish chickens. Most farms use genetically modified layers that are normally either red or black and lay more eggs annually. They are called sex-inks. I do not find them very interesting.

The ony problem with raising heritage breed chickens on special feed milled 250 miles away is cost. We have to get $5/dozen for our eggs to make the same as we would using straight run chickens and soy-gmo based feeds. Natural quality has a cost and a benefit. With our eggs, we think you get what you pay for.

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Pasture Raised Chicken For Sale

We made a decision a few years ago to raise our own chickens to eat. After some failure, we think we have perfected the right methods with the right breed. Our chickens are raised on fresh pasture and moved every few days. In addition, the feed they have is NON-SOY and NON-GMO. You can not get any better than that. We harvest the end of May and will have frozen chicken available early June. $4/pound. They are processed in a full time USDA inspected family operated facility.

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The chickens arrive as 2 day old chicks and kept in a warm brooder until ready for the outside world. During the day they have free access to an enclosed section of fresh pasture and at night are enclosed in a hutch we move every few days for safety from night critters that will eat them. Their feed and water is also in the hutch.

We first raised white Cornish Rock chickens and found we liked nothing about them.
Green Hills Poultry web site sums up the issues we had nicely. Our greates issue is the genetically modified chick grows to harvest in 6 weeks or less and then if not immediately harvested its legs collapse and it dies under its weight.

So we looked at chickens available in the United States of European origin and raised a batch of
Freedom Rangers. These worked out very well, took almost 11 weeks to grow and the chickens were very healthy. No un-natural growth charactics. Only problem was getting the chicks from Pennsylvania. So we settled on Red Rangers with chicks available in Texas or Missouri. The Red Ranger is very similar to the Freedom Ranger, but widely available.

Grass Fed Beef - For Sale

The best moms in the cattle business (says I).


We are running an add for our excellent grass fed beef on
Craigslist. It is on this link and below if the link goes away.

Our cattle are fed all naturally. They do not get all of the nasty unnatural stimulates, growth stimulators and other stuff feed lot cattle are given. They DO NOT spend the last 3-5 months of their life in standing in a manure filled dry lot eating over 2 tons of GMO grain and Soy. Your can taste the difference.

The Ad

We have full-blood Maine-Anjou grass fed beef for sale.

Full-blood Maine-Anjou beef is the #1 beef found in fine restaurants in France. It is pre-dispositioned to fatten on grass unlike many breeds that have been bred to fatten on unnatural grain. Our cattle have never touched grain or had anything unnatural nor any hormones, they are 100% grass fed!

We harvest between 950-1200 lbs steers. You can buy a split quarter, half, or whole. A non-refundable $200 deposit is required on all purchases. The total cost of the beef (paid to us) and processing (paid to the processing facility) is about $4.70/pound hanging weight.

Our meat is processed under full-time state inspection and vacuum packed. You make your own selections on how your beef will be cut and packaged. The processor is located in Paris, Texas

For more information call the Greer Farm at 903-645-3232

Pasture Raised Pork

Last year we raised our first pastured pork. The meat was the best prok I have every tasted. This year we have a new set of pigs out on pasture. We sell our pigs by the half, a whole pig or frozen packaged individual cuts.

The most important thing to know about our pigs is that they have free access to pasture 24/7, fresh clean well water, a nice hog wallow to cool off in when the day gets hot and we free access to NON-SOY, NON-GMO feed. You will not be getting meat contaminate with grains that may not be healthy for you.

Our ad on Craigslist has more information.

These photos wer taken a month ago in our pig pasture. They are much bigger now.



These were our first pigs we raised.


The Ad...

We have Hampshire/Yorkshire cross Pasture raised pork for sale.

Our Pigs are naturally raised with NON GMO and NON SOY all natural feed. They are on pasture and woods from birth to harvest. No injections or antibiotics.

You can buy a half or whole pig. A non-refundable $150 deposit per half is required on all purchases. The total cost of the pork which includes basic processing and harvest is $6.00 per pound hanging weight. Smoking hams and bacon or other cuts is at your expense.

Our meat is processed under full-time state inspection and vacuum packed. You can make your own selections on how your pork will be cut. Bacon, sausage, ground pork, pork chops bone in/out, hams, spare ribs, etc

For more information call the Greer Farm at 903-645-3232

Farm Life: A Few Photos

We take a lot of photos on the farm, but seem to have a difficult time sharing them. These are just a few from the last week

Our display gardens are getting very pretty now. Over 100 varities of roses in full blush and many flowering shrubs in full bloom.


We plant tomatoes in the garden and in buckets also. These will last longer as we can move them to shady locations when it get real hot.


Carring a new born calf to the barn yard with his mom very close behind. Why use a truck when you can carry it?


Photos: Love of Chocolate Cooking Class

Another popular Farm to Fork Cooking Class this spring was For the Love of Chocolate. What is not to like in a cooking class that has chocolate in every dish. In these photos there are a lot of satisfied cooks.

Photos: Cooking Class Singapore Style

There is nothing more interesting than learning something totally new. Chef Eva was in Singapore last year and learned about "Hawker" style food available from street vendors. A large part of the population there get almost all their meals from these vendors. This Farm to Fork Cooking Class was really exciting. These photos are just a sample.

Head Start Visits our Farm

We had almost 60 4-5 year old kids from the Daingerfield Head Start program at the farm last week. They had a good time seeing all the farm animals, how we tag a new born calf and they planted flower seeds in a cup to take home. Photo album

Most, if not all, of these kids had never been up close to any farm animals. They passed around a goose egg and that was special for them.

The morning ended with a picnic just before we had rain.

What is this?


It's on The Greer Farm.......

Grade A Goat Milk Available

The Hutchins family near Greenville are good friends of ours and are back in the dairy goat milk business. We highly recommend their dairy and goat milk. It is hard to find famiy farms that offer good products and respect the environment. Even though, on a limited basis, we compete with our grass-fed beef, pasture riased pork and pasture poultry, we cooperate in many ways. You will not find better folks to get your goat milk from.

Rehoboth Ranch, near Greenville, Texas, has been licensed by the state of Texas to sell Grade A Raw Goat Milk since 2003.  They currently have goat milk available for booking.  The raw goat milk is sold on a repetitive order basis.  Customers place their orders at the beginning of the season for quart or gallon containers, fluid or frozen milk, for pick up every week, two weeks, OR  four weeks, for the entire season until the end of November.  Orders may be increased at any time extra milk is available.  Orders may be decreased or cancelled at any time by the customer.  All milk must be picked up at the farm.  Pickup quantities are subject to availability.  Especially during the fall, orders may be short due to seasonal decrease in production.

Quarts are $4.00, gallons are $14.00. 

State licensed Grade A Raw Milk is required by regulation to be picked up at the farm where it is produced.  It cannot be “delivered, distributed, or sold from retail establishments, including farmers’ markets.” There is currently a bill in the state legislature to get this delivery and farmers’ market sales restriction lifted.
If you would like to try a small quantity to see if you like it and want to purchase on a regular basis, please contact Rehoboth Ranch via email at hutchins@rehoboranch.com.

Goats On hill pasture in spring

Elizabeth with kid

Bees are Dying; Crops at Risk

The Wall Street Journal today has a very interesting and educational article about the die-off of bee hives and how this will affect agriculture. This is the link.

We had fewer honey bees this year when the blueberries were in flower and then we had the heavy freeze that killed off many blooms. For several years we had broung in bumble bees to pollinate and they are still around, but next year we will need to bring in some bees to ensure pollination.