Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Processesing and costs for Half Beef

Today I picked up a half beef for our family.  It is from a different family and was processed by a different locker (Hoeslys in New Glarus, WI) so I'm very interested in seeing how the numbers work out compared to our previous farmer.  This steer was a Piedmontese, which is a breed we've never had before and we've heard good things about their meat.  He was grass fed and finished, which is important to our family.  We hope this will last us 2 years like the last half did, but with the way the kids are growing only time will tell!

We paid the Meyers family $2.70/lb hanging weight which for our half was 405 pounds.  Total=$1093.50
We paid Hoesly's $.49/lb for cut, wrap, feeze and $35 for our part of the kill fee.  Total = $233.45

We asked for everything to be bone in and asked for the 'odd bits' as well. All steaks were 3/4" cut, 2 per pack and roasts were about 2 lbs per pack. Here's how it broke down.

Porterhouse steaks  6 packs, 12.5 pounds
T-bone steaks 3 packs, 5.5 pounds
Sirloin steaks (1/pack)  7 packs, 9 pounds
Rib eye (bone in) 7 packs, 18 pounds
Skirt steaks 1 pack, 1 pound
Flank steak 1 pack, 1 pound
Round steak 16 packs, 27 pounds
Sirloin Tip Roast  4 packs, 10.5 pounds
Rump roasts 2 packs, 9 pounds
Arm roasts  7 packs, 17 pounds
Chuck roasts  18 packs, 32 pounds
Stew meat  8 packs, 9 pounds
Brisket  1 packs, 4 pounds
Soup bones  3 packs, 4 pounds
Short ribs  7 packs, 15 pounds
Hamburger  109 packs, 109 pounds
Heart  1 pack, 2.5 pounds
Liver 4 packs, 4 pounds
Oxtail 1 pack, 1 pound
Tongue 1 pack, 1 pound

Also asked for fat (for rendering into tallow) and long bones (for stock and dogs) which yielded 12 pounds of bones and 7.5 pounds of fat.  These numbers aren't in the take home weight totals.

So the total spent was $1326.95
Total take home weight (without bones and fat) was 292.5 pounds.
This means the conversion of hanging weight (405) to take home weight (292.5) was 72.2% 

I'm not exactly sure was our last half was, but I know it was under 65% and the quarter before that was right at 65%.  We were told this breed carries less fat than most and since we got a pure bred we wondered if we'd have good conversion and we did!  More meat and bones mean more meals and stock!

So the final number we always want to know is what did I pay for this meat per pound...$4.54 is the answer.  That includes all the great steak cuts and also includes the liver (we aren't big fans, but we'll either figure it out or feed it to the dogs).  For the quality of beef we are buying I think it is a good price.  There is no way we'd get the same price on average buying by the piece, even at the grocery store it seems these days and I don't really care to eat the meat sold there.

Thank you Meyers for raising grass fed beef and thank you Hoesly's for processing for small farmers.  We are grateful to them and glad we can afford to buy beef this way. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Whole Hog Processing Cost Analysis

I thought I had written out our beef and pork breakdowns for the last couple of years, but obviously I haven't as I can't find them on the blog!  I want to have them to compare from year to year so I'm going to type this one up today and add the others when I find the box they are buried in....  Lots of unpacking left to do here!

This pig was processed at Country Pride Meats in Clinton, WI.  The owners also raise the hogs and we ordered during a March special when it was $1.75/pound based on hanging weight and that included the slaughter charge, smoking and all other fees.  We didn't have them do any other special brats or things that would have caused there to be additional fees. 

Hanging weight 166 pounds

Processed meat
4 ham (they were cut in half) 19 pounds
4 ham steak (cut to 1/2") 4 pounds
4 hock 7.5 pounds
2 spare rib 6 pounds
2 country rib 8 pounds
4 shoulder roast 14 pounds
8 pork steak 8 pounds
2 loin roast 8.5 pounds
14 pork chop 12.5 pounds
7 bacon 7 pounds
1 ends 2 pounds
14 breakfast sausage 14 pounds
1 jowl 1 pound
1 fat 5 pounds

Total weight (without fat) 111.5 pounds  67% conversion from hanging weight  $2.61/pound
Total weight (with fat)  116.5 pounds  70% conversion from hanging weight  $2.49/pound

I believe these numbers are similar to what we saw with our pig from Cedar Road Meats.  However I did not have them include liver, which would have added weight and lowered the price/pound.  We also have enjoyed the bacon from Country Pride more than we did from Cedar Road Meat.  We haven't tried the ham yet, but are hopeful we'll like it more too.  The pigs were raised by local (to them) farms, were not pastured, but the feed was raised on the farm and they do no hormones or antibiotics unless treating a sick animal.  Since we now live right by Country Pride we'll be doing pork from them from here on out.  The beef will depend as the grass fed beef farmer that we order from takes the animals to Cedar Road.  We LOVE the meat and it is processed really well, so we may be doing the very, very long trek if we don't find a local grass fed beef farmer.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Give Me a Break, Give Me a Break...

Please God,  can you just give us a break?

I know I shouldn't complain because there are so many people dealing with much bigger issues, but our little family could really use a break.  We've been sick for more than a month now and we really would love to have a break from the coughing, congestion, fevers and other illnesses that have invaded our house.  And our little one could use a break from the teething for a night or two.  He needs to sleep and even giving him pain killers has barely made a dent.  Five big teeth at once is a bit much for our little 15 month old to take, especially when dealing with a cough too.  And really Mommy and Daddy would be healing better if we could catch a good night's sleep too!  We don't really like the hours of 10:30-2:30...we'd prefer to be sleeping.

And as long as I'm whining we could really use a buyer to come along quick so that things could get wrapped up and we could just focus on settling into our house.  And really if you wanted to send an angel to unpack and organize and decorate our house that would be great!  And fix all the things that need to be dealt with in the house.  And make the snow and cloudy days stop so we can get on with spring!  And, And, And...

But just so you don't think I'm a totally self indulgent complainer we want you to know that we love our new church!  And are so grateful for the awesome library system!  And meeting the local butcher who raises the pig we'll be ordering this week and also goes to our awesome church!  And for all the friendly people who've done so much to make us feel welcome!  Really we are grateful and very optimistic that this will be everything we had hoped for in a new home in the country.

We just kind of need a break from the sickness and the dreariness and the snow....we can't wait to for SPRING!

Thanks God,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Home Turtle Home

We've closed (on Feb 1st) and we've moved (on Feb 5th) and we are so overwhelmed!  Things went fine at closing and we moved a load of things that day.  Then I went back another day and painted two rooms and took a van load of stuff again.  And then we took down our smaller chest freezer and a ton of frozen food the day before the movers came.  We have a HUGE chest freezer as well and were worried about trying to move all the frozen food in both freezers at the same time.  This made it a lot easier.

The 5th was a crazy day. The movers took longer than expected to load the van and we had tired, cranky, cold kids by the time we could hit the road to the new house.  And about an hour before they finished loading the snow fell and fell and fell.  So we were trying to get to the house before them (they were going to stop for lunch) with enough time to clear the driveway for them.  Turns out it would have been good to move the snow blower before moving day!  But we shoveled like crazy while the kids watched a movie in the new house and we got a good chunk done before they got there.  And they didn't even stop for lunch!

Mike and I had done a lot of the running at the old house, bringing boxes and totes and such to the main level in order to save time since we were paying by the 15 minutes. And at the new house we had them just drop everything in the garage (the benefit of having 2 two car garages attached) and only take in the heavy furniture.  Even so it was a long 10 1/2 hour day with the movers and we were so relieved to have them gone!

The day after we moved my parents arrived and spent the next four days helping us.  We moved a million boxes (give or take) into the house and unpacked a bunch of them.  We worked like maniacs up in Milwaukee at the old house.  We painted, cleaned, moved more loads of stuff and fixed things up.  Their help was amazing and got us so much further ahead and yet I know they feel like they didn't get much done.  Sometimes I think they are superhuman!

Of course the day after they left I got sick.  I don't get sick often, but when I do it is big.  Really big.  And although a day of rest, rest and rest seemed to have me back on the right path towards being better last night I woke up feeling like it is starting over. And the kids all have it too,so the little one has had some rough nights.  Fun!  It is a cold with sinus issues, cough, etc and we just are all praying for recovery and for Daddy to stay healthy.

We need one more big work day in Milwaukee and wanted it to be tomorrow, but now we are thinking it will have to wait.  The house needs to get on the market, but our health is more important and we can't get much done when we are all sick.  We keep sending prayers up that the right buyer will find the house once it is on the market.  Someone who will be reasonable to deal with, will appreciate the house and will love the neighbors like we have!

So for now, signing off from Turtle!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let's Get Popping!

I heard that today is National Popcorn Day and just had to put it out there so I remember in future years!  We love popcorn at this house and for dinner tonight we'll be doing popcorn and smoothies with a movie to celebrate...the kids can't wait!  We will even have a very special (and not very good for us) treat of dessert popcorn.  For Christmas we were gifted the Chocolate Lover's collection of Boy Scout popcorn and there is a bag of white chocolate popcorn and one of chocolate popcorn.  They'll be enjoyed by our little family tonight! 

We've enjoyed popcorn a lot more around here since I found a source for bulk popcorn that is raised without a lot of chemicals and such.  We bought 100 pounds (half yellow, half white) and are enjoying a lot more cornbread (grinding it in the nutrimill) and movie nights with popcorn and smoothies.  We've even gifted a large container of it to my dad who is the ultimate popcorn lover!  I've even been collecting recipes for different spice combinations and ways of making it to enjoy some variety.  I love having a whole grain snack that my kids love and is so reasonable in cost. 

Happy Popping!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Our little family will soon escape the city for the freedom of the country!  We've wanted to find a home with more space and to get into a more rural setting for a while and yet, it seems like it happened so fast.  A couple of years ago Mike and I made a list of steps to get where we wanted to be and set a timeline for when we wanted to have it happen.  So far, so good!  And really, way quicker than the timeline so far...here's hoping that continues.  We still need to close and move, clean up our current home and get it on the market and then sell it!  Once it sells we'll dump all of the proceeds into our current home and pay it off as quickly as possible. After we are debt free we'll be saving up for a big dream vacation for our entire family...we're going to Disney!  Mike can't wait to take us and the kids are very excited as well.  Of course we won't go until we hit our goals and everyone is potty trained :)

Our new home is more than double the square footage of our current home and yet it only has three bedrooms.  It has an office for Mike in the basement, far away from the craziness of our 4, 2 and 1 year olds.  We'll have an acre and half with some young fruit trees, mulberry trees, some hazelnut trees, a raspberry patch, wild asparagus, and two garden areas.  We plan to expand the gardens in a big way, add more fruit trees, get chickens and maybe even ask around about the acre lot next to our home. It is the only other area that could even possibly be developed and we may try and buy it to ensure we have the space to do what we want in the future.  The home is on a dead end road with only a few other houses, but it is very easy to access the interstate which makes things much easier for Mike as he travels.  We have met one neighbor and they have a HUGE garden, bees, chickens and I'm really hoping they will help me learn a lot about all of those things!

I'll post pictures once the home is officially ours, which happens on Feb 1st.  We'll be moving in on Feb 5th and appreciate any and all prayers during those first two weeks of Feb.  We know they'll be crazy as we try and get things done and get our home ready to go on the market.  It is going to be especially challenging because of the travel time between the two homes, as well as juggling the kids and projects.  But we know that once we have the house on the market and get unpacked and settled it will be worth it.   I'm so grateful that my kids will get to grow up as country kids!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Summer 2012 Canning/Freezing

So haven't done so well on the whole 'I'm going to post more' have I?  Ah, well, such is life.

Here is a mostly complete rundown of what I froze and canned in 2012.  I'm hoping these lists help me see what we need more of and what we have a glut of from year to year.  Most of the produce was purchased by the bushel and such at a local farmer's market, but a few things were grown in our little city lot.  (The good news, the exciting news, the unbelievable news is that next year...this year...I'll be growing things in my own huge garden!  Yes, we are moving the country...in less than a month!)

Mustard Greens: 3 bags
Green Beans:  19 frozen bags, 12 pints of dilly beans   (these were crazy expensive this year because of the drought, but we love them so I bit the bullet!)
Dill pickles:  26 quarts
Garlic pickles:  5 quarts
Zucchini: lots and lots chopped and shredded
Salsa: 26 quarts, 8 pints
Cranberry sauce:  about 20 pints
Corn:  22 bags
Tomatoes:  Done with freecycle tomatoes early in the spring, not sure of numbers
Banana Butter: 4 pints, 2 half pints  must do more!!!
Zucchini relish:  6 pints (still had many left from 2011)
Bread and Butter pickles:  4 quarts, 1 pint
Broccoli: 16 bags, 1 bag of leaves
Beets: 11 bags
Cauliflower:  2 bags (still had many left)

So this isn't complete, but I also bought 4 bushels of squash, almost all butternut and about 150 pounds of potatoes, as well as multiple cabbage.

We didn't get any beef this year as the half (bought fall of 2011) will last us for 2 years.  The pig we got in March 2011 was much larger than the previous and we still have a fair amount left.  We are debating ordering another as the butcher is going to be 2 hours from our new home...however we also get our maple syrup there and we don't have enough for another year.  We'll see how the move goes and then take it from there.