Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Healthier Summer Sausage

We promised last year to try to come up with a summer sausage that had better ingredients than the stock seasoning mix we were getting from Alaska Butcher supply.

Here is the recipe we are using and all the ingredients are available in the bulk spices bins at Fred Meyers.  We sold out our first batch and are going to do another 100 pounds this Saturday at the end of the hamburger run.

Mustard Seed
Black Pepper
Garlic Salt
Liquid Smoke
Brown Sugar
Celery Salt
Hot Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce

This is not as strong as our old mix but it has no MSG or preservatives.  This is available to folks picking  up a side of beef for $5.50 a pound.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Progress on 2014 Meat Cycle

Its hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago we were putting in the water and sewer system for our future slaughter and processing facility.  Now the concrete floors are in and we have completed the first round of 20 sides of beef.  Tomorrow the next 20 will be slaughtered at the State plant and we will be doing the next processing the middle of November.  Our next scheduled slaughter dates are Nov 3 and Nov 24.  So far I think we can accommodate all of our orders.

Several folks had trouble finding our  explanation of our "standard" cutting package so I will include that here.

The "standard" package is what we have found to be the most common preference of our customers for how to process their side of beef.  It is a three way split between steaks, roasts, and hamburger.  The cuts include rib eye, T bone, sirloin, round, and flank steaks cut to 3/4 inch thickness.  The roasts include prime chuck, sirloin tip, rump, bottom round, brisket, eye of round, and knuckle roast.  We shoot for 3-5 pound roasts that will fit in the crock pot.  We include some stew meat, and short ribs and soup bones.  We do the hamburger as lean as possible- aiming for 90% and package them in 2 pound packages.  We cut up the large bones so you can render them down if you wish.  We find homes with mushers for those who want to leave their bones.   A standard cutting package on a 250 pound side of beef will also produce about 40 pounds of bones and fat or "trim".  You can vary the cuts any way you want.  The thickness of the steaks and the size of the hamburger packages can change at your request.  Since the hanging weight does not include organ meat it is not included in the pricing but is available as is extra hamburger and sausage if you request.

Payment is by check or cash at the time you pick up the meat.

Sitkinak Cattle Company Visit

 Last week I enjoyed visiting the custom mobile slaughter and processing facility on Sitkinak Island.  It was very instructive to learn how they handle these wild cattle that go back to the days of the Russians.  There were a lot of techniques we can apply directly to our own slaughter facility that will hopefully speed things up if we get it going for next year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Two Thousand Fourteen Meat Season

I recently realized that the puzzle pieces were in place for this fall's meat season.  The cattle have been luxuriating in lots of grass.  The calving season is over and the breeding season for next year is nearly over for that matter.  We have slaughter dates which will again be getting our first orders to customers in the middle of October.  Unfortunately because of the full schedule of the State slaughter house we will not be able to finish processing until late into November.  Since we go from the top of the list to the bottom the timing of filling orders will depend where you are on the list.

Another issue finalized recently was the price.  If you remember last year we raised our price for the first time in seven years when we realized that the national markets had jumped over thirty percent in that same time frame.  We could have justified jumping a full dollar a pound last year but decided to raise the price 25 cents a pound and re evaluate again this year.  Well,  since last year the national prices have gone up another twenty five percent so we are going to set our price for this fall at $4.50 a pound on the hanging weight and hold the processing fee at $1 a pound.  Please remember that we are trying to sustain not only our own cattle business but other ranchers that are also growing into the business of local, clean, grass fed beef.  Those farmers that grow to our specifications get one hundred percent of the $4.50 that you pay for your meat.

We are in the process of building our own custom slaughter floor on the farm in hopes that we can start and finish our meat cycle in a compact period of time of our choosing instead of fitting around the State's schedule.  In early October I will be spending a few days on Sitkinak Island with the Mudd family to learn how their relatively new slaughter facility works.  We will no doubt be posting pictures about that.

Rather than rehearse the slaughter routine I am going to refer you to last year's post in September on this blog.  What I am going to mention is some features that will be different.  A new cut in our "standard" cutting package will be a knuckle roast.  This is a large bone that is difficult to bone out cleanly and is served in Italian restaurants in South America.

We are still waiting on a request to Alaska Butcher Supply to provide us with organic summer sausage ingredients.  The long delay in their response suggests that this may not be possible but we are trying.  In any event you will know when you order if it can be organic or not.

I hope you enjoy your meat again this year.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

August 1 Cleanup Begins

To their delight, the Canadian bull and the steers were released to the main pasture to make sure everyone is bred.  Judging by the quiet state of things our little red bull did his job.

Noticed that most of the swallows are gone.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#11 Completes Delivery Season- 7/22/14

#11 was last to calve last year and is even later this year.  She had another bull- this time black and must have been born yesterday 7/22/14 because he wasn't going to stand still to be tagged. He will be #46 first time he goes through the squeeze chute.   She picked the same spot as last year also.  According to Grandaughter Remedy the calf's name will be "Boy".

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rot proof fence Posts

A side benefit of the oil industry in this State is the abundance of drill stem around.  We got 130 lengths to start replacing rotted wooden posts.

Breeding begins 7/4/14

I decided to do the first thirty days of breeding with a yearling cross.  Hopefully he will get the heifers.  The big bull calves were far too big for heifers this year.  #16 was the first I noticed bred on the 10th.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#10 finally delivers #45 girl 6/18/14

I've been watching closely for two weeks and finally #10 delivers a white/dun point heifer- #45.  She was already ready for a foot race  By tomorrow she would have won.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pippy Longstocking's Day 6/5/14

Pippy had large black bull #44 Judah about 1 PM this afternoon.  She needed no assistance this time.  Went to the very spot where Liberty was born last year.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

6/5/14- #26 Has Twin Bulls #40, #41

I couldn't find #26 yesterday 6/5/14  and finally found her this morning off in a corner with two healthy little bull calves.  Both white with black trim but one is only dark on the inside of the ears.  Was barely able to catch and tag them.  Mom is very protective of both of them.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Swallows Arrive just a few hours early 5/14/14

My unofficial benchmark date for arrival of the swallows  of the 15th of May was only off by a few hours this year.  Saw the first pairs of swallows yesterday in the high winds that were forcing us into a red flag alert as far as starting outside fires.

No signs of nesting yet but two days ago I heard the first Robin fledglings so they have produced the next generation in less than two weeks.

6/2/14  I had seen two of my 24 unit swallow condo being entered and had hopes that they were nesting.  Apparently they were just stealing hay.  At least 50 actives nests are buzzing with activity in the banks but there is no interest in the manufactured nests.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The One that Got Away 5/10/14 #27 - an All White Heifer

This little heifer was a few hours too old to catch.  She should be #39.  Mom is a red pointed #27 heifer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5/6/14 #5 has all White Bull #38

One of our older more independent large white cows #5, went to the far corner of the alder patch to deliver a large white bull #38.  Probably happened yesterday because if it hadn't been for the brush I would not have caught him.  He bellered and mom got right in my face and stomped and threw dirt around and did everything but run over me.  Good start to a light rainy day.
5/30/15 #5 Died with a breach presentation.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Miss Efficiency delivers hefty heifer #37 5/5/14

#7- my smallest cow delivered a large white heifer (#37) about 3 pm this afternoon.  

Robins arrived yesterday the fourth of May, about 3 days behind schedule.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Evening feed scene

Today I put some three year old bales out away from the manger just to get the cows away from some of the mosquitoes.  I had questioned if they would even eat them and behold they were a big hit.  These were high moisture bales that had been wrapped.  This time last year they were sitting in a low spot under three feet of water.  Talk about high moisture!

#6 adds #36- 5/1/14

#6 (the White cow) had a healthy white heifer (#36) about 3 PM this afternoon right in with the rest of the herd.  Calf was still confused about who mom was.

Long Night for #9- 4/30/14

I knew yesterday that #9 was about to calve.  She had sequestered herself.  Sad scene in the morning was to find a rare set of twins- a white heifer and a red bull - apparently still born.  I have the extension department researching to see if our heavy diet of carrots might not be part of the problem.  Evidently diabetic mothers have large babies because of the extra sugar.  We also are seeing the first calf crop from an imported bull who is also suspect.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Skeeter Control

In an effort to maximize the bank swallow population which decimates the mosquito population, we have tried a home made facsimile.  You can see the bank in the background where hundreds of them nest but experience the tragedies of bank collapse and even foxes and coyotes clawing up and digging them out.  This boarding house should be safer but I'm told that bank swallows will not buy in to such contrivances.  Hopes are that if they habituate we will be able to move them to other parts of the farm.

#18 has Black Bull #35 4/27/14

#18 had a healthy black bull #35.  Froze pretty hard this morning but still not enough to freeze down to the frost line.  Will be in the 50s this afternoon.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

13/44 has very hard delivery 4/26/14

13/44  had a more than 24 hour labor that ended in pulling a large 105 lb bull that didn't make it.  Hard work!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Priscila delivers bull #34

Priscilla had her second calf- a normal black bull #34.  Priscilla bears tag #1 which she inherited from her mother who was the herd matriarch.

Note that so far if its white its a heifer and if its black its a bull.  So far 4 heifers and two bulls.  We'll see how long that statistic lasts!

#8 delivers Heifer #33 4/25/14

Number 8 delivers another large heifer #33 in the same vicinity where she had her first calf.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

12 has large black Bull

#12 was cleaning up a robust large black bull as the sun came up 4/22/14.  He is #32.  He is lucky because that tag had fallen out of my pocket somewhere in the pasture yesterday.  I found it but later found I had misplaced the applicator!

4/21/14 #25 delivers Stillborn

#25 evidently delivered during the night and appears the calf never lifted her head- a large heifer.  Either coyotes or wolves had already started eating.  Mom was crying around there for a couple of days.  Evidently there is a grizzly around too.  No worry about the leftovers.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Matriarch Tierra delivers orange Easter Baby 4/20/14

Tierra #2 delivered large heifer #31 that looks like she must have been swimming in carrot juice for amnionic fluid.  First time that has happened even though they are all eating about 100 pounds of carrots every other day.  I'm assuming this will turn white with the first rain?  Was about 30 degrees this morning.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

First Galloway Mom for 2014 # 19 delivers #30

#19 dropped our first calf for the Galloway genetics.  She hit the ground at 3 PM and by 3:30 was walking around.   A large white heifer  with black points that got tag #30.  Today was also the first day the  Canadian geese were in the fields looking for those first sprouts of grass.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adelaide delivers first calf of the year 4/7/14

Adelaide the family milk cow delivered the first calf of the year- a strapping bull named Gideon.  Added to the family was orphan Simeon 4/15/14.  He is half dexter from the Havemeister herd.  On June 6 Gideon was tagged #42 and Simeon # 43.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ear Tags

Yesterday Billy and I singlehandedly tagged all the cows and heifers.  This is a first they have had anything to do with ear tags.  Most of them promptly went  out to the pasture and are on a hunger strike.  I imagine the next snow will bring back to the feed trough.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014 Call for Early Orders

Just a reminder in early 2014 to get your name on the list for a side of beef in the fall.  If you have not received a confirmation by e mail you are probably not on the list.  We prioritize orders by rank on the list and last year a few at the bottom of the list did not get meat.  Thanks to each and every one that invested on local, natural, homegrown beef.  To get your name on the list just e mail me at  If I do not confirm your order within a couple of days then call me at 907 355 0733.

A couple of changes are coming to the "standard" cutting package.  This year we are going to include a new cut- the knuckle roast.  This is one of the largest bones in the trim box and one of the most difficult to get completely clean.  Rather than boning it out, we will leave all the meat on it and make a roast out of it.  I had one served in a fancy Italian restaurant in Colombia so I know it works.  Here you see a knuckle out of a trim box (without the meat) after a day in the crock pot.

Another innovation for this fall is to try to get a sausage mix that is organic.  We have been using the standard summer sausage mix from Alaska Butcher Supply but it has some pretty awful ingredients.  Hopefully you will be able to buy a more wholesome sausage to add to your side of beef.

We have a couple of customers that are consolidating orders to accommodate those who can't handle a full side of beef which is our minimum order.  If that suites your situation feel free to ask for a partial side and I will connect you to others that can complete your order.

Those of you that picked up your orders at the farm have noticed several changes to our processing infrastructure.  We have moved and oriented the refer vans so we have more working space between them.  We are working toward upgrading to a full service custom meat shop.  We are investing in another band saw and planning to install a rail system for hanging the meat.  Cement floors with drainage will contribute to a more efficient, cleaner working environment.
2013 Orders ready to go

Also of note, we now have three other Alaskan producers that are committed to producing beef animals to the same grass fed, nearly organic standard that we have proven for more than two decades now.  If we can keep growing we might even consider tapping some of the cattle on the Aleutian Islands.  Some of those even have Galloway genetics.

We are also training a new generation of local younger meat cutters that can carry on after this homesteader has gone to greener pastures.

I mention these things just so you will be aware that when you buy Wolverine Farm meat you are not just buying food- you are buying a future.  You are investing in present, local infrastructure that reflects the values that are important to you and that will be here when the rest of the world's highly processed, genetically engineered food chain has become so polluted as to be disgusting.  Because I am in the beef business I regularly learn of new chemicals and genetic practices that are repulsive to the order of nature.  We are committed to staying out of  those commercial trends and providing you full disclosure in the process.  Every animal that is born into our herd is documented on our blog as well as the unfortunate failures along the way.  I don't think you will find that kind of accountability anywhere else.  We are probably not far from the day when we can graduate to a live web cam in real time for your pleasure!  Follow our blog at

I thank you and so do my cows.  Without you they would not exist.  They enjoy having an existence and a meaningful destiny.  Please feel free to let us know how we can serve you better.  Have a great year.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beef Cow Wall of Fame

The cows are daily reminded of their meaning and destiny.  Cow hides are tangible reminders of relatives and useful protection for the fences.  Someday we hope to be able to find a better use for them.