Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lost Civilizations - Apocalypto - Lost Cattle Breeds

The past days have been busy and filled with much of the typical demands of a cattle ranch, with some llama (the one in front in the pic) and cat crisis added in. I lost a cat to a snake bite yesterday, and it was the second snake bite suffered by a cat in the past couple of weeks, the first one, Leopold, did survive -- it's got me wondering if some odd, insidious, northern snake that kind of likes moving around in the fall weather may have made the trip from up North with a load of alfalfa. One of my llamas is just acting puny, I can't see any obvious wound, but then she's covered in several inches of hair over the majority of her body. She waits for me to bring her food and water a few times each day, and seems to be getting a bit better. I haven't ruled out snake bite for the cause of her decline, it's a good possibility under the circumstances.

Tonight, I got around to watching Primetime from a few days back, the main story was on Mel Gibson's newest movie, Apocalypto. It looks to be a very good movie, and the premise I find fascinating, the rise and fall of a powerful culture perhaps via their own inadvertent self-destruction due to greed and wish to control, to have, to be, more and more. Ultimately, this led to a quite lost and destitute Mayan culture in the modern day. Of course, the point was made that perhaps the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq is reflective of the waste of human life and other natural resources that led to the apocalyptic end of the Mayan culture.

While to some extent I can understand Gibson's wish to correlate current USA events and attitudes with the historical rise and fall of powerful cultures and nations, there's ample bloody fingerprints from prior administrations throughout US history that have had less basis and more loss of life than current events -- what struck me as most important from this Primetime coverage of the movie Apocalypto was the footage of Mayan descendants in Mexico and Guatemala today who live in poverty. An ancient and mighty people who when covered by Primetime reporters find their best stories in a young Mayan boy who sniffs glue and lives in a garbage dump; and a 'single' Mom who prepares meals over a fire and weeps and tells them her life is striving to somehow make a better future for her children.

How will those children ever have a shot at a better future? Education is the key to better futures in the USA, and certainly a lot of hard work is vital as well. But the modern Mayan culture presented as the norm during the filming of this movie was distinctly lacking in any indication of options such as education or industry that would provide a way out, a way up, for one person, much less the modern day Mayan culture as a whole.

We also learn via this Primetime coverage that Mel Gibson's last movie has made over a BILLION dollars -- that's pretty awesome. The Apocalypto may well make more, they certainly made use of lots of native 'actors' and so there isn't a big budget for greedy USA actors. So, given the horrid conditions Mel Gibson described very well himself, and Primetime covered so colorfully -- why wouldn't Mr. Gibson himself already have a University being built in either Guatemala or Mexico for the modern day Mayan descendants? A BILLION dollars from his last movie and more to come ----- I think that would build a University (I doubt they'd object to cinder block walls or lack of 'really cool' stuff necessary in the USA) and pay some profs for a couple of years, and truly change some lives in this lost, but once mighty, culture. A failing of Hollywood Democrats is their own lack of example. They make more money than any average American can ever conceive, even some governmental bodies, use their popularity as a political tool, but be assured they don't put themselves at risk financially, they most assuredly have the best of CPA's or Financial Planners to assist them in using every conceivable avenue of tax savings.

So what's the point of this on a Cattle Blog? :) Well, the British White cattle breed is somewhat of a lost culture if you will. It is up to the breeders of this special bovine to continue to fight to bring it back to the revered status it held in ancient days. We will never know what events occurred that brought this special breed from immortalization in ancient oral tales to the small population to be found in the 19th century, any more than we can really know what caused the destruction of the Mayan culture. But we can work hard to educate those around us about the British White breed. And we can make better efforts to record their growth traits, their ultrasound carcass data, their DNA, and their many other desirable traits that aren't perhaps as easily quantifiable.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Happy Thanksgiving and a Photo Memory To Share

This is an old photo from my first year raising British White Cattle -- it's my Desktop background. My niece spent such a wonderful visit with me and she'd never been on a picnic before! We spread our blanket close to the fence, and of course that first set of curious British White heifers of mine gathered to watch and interact with us........always a good memory, and one to be very Thankful For this Day........and that fairly large, quite old cow you see in the background, she was from my first 5 British White cows purchased, and remains my oldest cow here at the ranch, and she's been dubbed long since as 'Mama'

Happy Thanksgiving! from J. West Cattle Company

There's not much left in this pasture to browse for, but they're doing a good job of acting content. A short while later they were mobbing the fresh hay they were served for their Thanksgiving Dinner....Hope everyone has a really nice day with family and friends

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

GrassFed Beef - It's What Your Wise Ancestors Enjoyed, How About Your Children's Diet Now?". . . the brain is 60 percent fatty acids. " Dr. Shalin

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA's) - We've all heard some discussion, whether on television, in the newspapers, or at the gym about the importance of these Essential nutrients in our diets. We can either take our Omega 3's and CLA's in a pill from the health food store or in the foods we eat.

The word "Essential" prefacing the fatty acids we as humans need to live in optimum health is not an advertising gimmick, but rather a formal designation of their importance and the fact that our bodies cannot manufacture these essential nutrients - we must get them from our diet.

Why do we need Omega 3 Fatty Acids and CLA's? The cells of our bodies are geared to want them and to use them in the maintenance of our heart muscle and our blood vessels and our immune systems and more. . .


"With all those benefits coming, we even developed particular genes to fend off the higher levels of fat and cholesterol in red meat. "There is a set of genes that allows us to eat a lot more meat without toxic effect and at the same time have longer life spans, which are unprecedented among other primates," says Caleb Finch, Ph.D., a gerontologist at the University of Southern California, who coauthored a report on how human beings became omnivorous, published in the prestigious Quarterly Review of Biology earlier this year.

But the most important evolutionary leap beef brought was the development of bigger brains. Your ability to outwit that guy in the next cubicle can be traced directly back to the switch from bananas to brisket in ancient man's diet. "Fats are essential for brain growth," Dr. Shlain explains. "Excluding water, the brain is 60 percent fatty acids." The primary source of these fatty acids in early man's diet? You guessed it: red meat. Humans are unable to easily manufacture the fatty acids our brains need; diet provides the sole source. "The more meat they ate, the smarter they became. The smarter they became, the more meat they ate," Dr. Shlain says. Which accounts for that magnetic pull you feel when you see red at the grocery store..."

Source: MensHealth.com Right On, Red - You already knew beef builds muscle. But did you know that it makes you smarter? By: Phillip Rhodes & Alex Salkever


{"The medical profession now recognizes that some mono-unsaturated fatty acids, (i.e. fatty acids with one double bond in the chain of carbon atoms), are protective against heart disease; that longer chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, in particular those with the first double bond at the omega-3 position, such as those found in oily fish, are anti-thrombogenic (helps prevents clotting); and that conjugated linoleic acid, an isomer of linoleic acid, is protective against cancer, obesity and heart disease. These compounds are found in beef fat in varying amounts." R&H Hall Technical Bulletin Issue No. 4 ~1999 (Ireland) THE QUALITY OF MEAT FROM BEEF CATTLE. Is it influenced by diet?}

Purdue - 1997 Research - Omega 3's and Your Bones

Where do we get Omega 3 Fatty Acids? In this modern day, we have limited choices from our diet. We can turn to fish - salmon and tuna are good choices. But, we are constantly warned of the potential presence of mercury in our fish. The risk is so great that pregnant women are urged to refrain from the consumption of fish. We can turn to beef - IF it is beef raised and finished on grass. We can no longer turn to beef produced through modern feedlots.

Feedlot beef is grain fed and most of us have become accustomed to it's taste and texture. There is nothing better than a high end cut of beef prepare impeccably on your grill or in an exceptional steak house - that taste and texture is what beef connoisseur's over the decades have become accustomed to expect of the ultimate beef eating experience. Most of the flavor in that steak comes from the fat - but also much of the important nutrients that nature intended that steak to provide is contained in the fat, or would be if it were not a grain finished cut of meat.

Because it is a grain finished product, enjoying that beautiful steak is compromising your health by giving you high levels of Omega 6 Fatty acids, which are provided to the slaughter animal via the grain in their diet. Grains are high in Omega 6, while grass provides the animal and you with Omega 3. The gross imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 Fatty acids compromises the optimal functioning of your heart and arteries. The optimal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is firmly established. The consumption of grain fed beef raises the level of Omega 6 fatty acids well above that optimal ratio and compromises your health.

Wild game such as venison is heart healthy and lean. Deer forage on natural 'green stuff' that is high in Omega 3's and Vitamin E among other highly valuable nutrients to the human body. A steer that is raised on grass likewise provides the human consumer a lean meat product high in Omega 3's and Vitamin E. It seems pretty simple, but the traditional feedlot beef producer doesn't want you to realize that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

An Arabian Horse and a Jaguar Sharing Shelter!

This isn't necessarily a normal moment here at the ranch, but with Donny, my Arabian Horse, anything is possible. I'm thinking he anticipates some rain perhaps and wants a roof over his head close to humans! But, in trying to capture this picture, I realized he was both enjoying the carport and the massive amount of live oak acorns blown in by the wind for his enjoyment in a nice 'parking' spot. I scooted him out the gate in short order where he's got ample grass still to graze, it really wouldn't do for him to get a belly full of acorns, he might founder on them.....I swear he can founder on most anything - except grass and alfalfa hay!

Donny came to the ranch a few years back, he foundered immediately his first spring on the fresh grass! Turns out it's A&M's opinion that he was an old founder horse.........so that explains the really good deal I got when I bought him. The years since then have been difficult and draining and at times had me at what I thought was the end of my endurance, much less his. Regardless, we both weathered it through (his farrier says he's the example he tells others about of a phenomenal horse and owner that has successfully survived the most severe of rotations from laminitis) and he's a fixture here at the ranch, and in many ways is responsible for my complete embracement of a natural, grassfed approach to raising my British White cattle.

It would kill him if he found his way to a pasture with grain in a feed bin, or a lick tub with weird protein sources added, or just snuck into the barn and found a feed bag that smelled good and looked like a good candidate for ripping into! I new I had to make it safe for Donny to live with some ease, for me to live with some ease from worry about him. A Grassfed approach to raising my cattle satisfied, resolved the situation. Alfalfa suits him fine, he never has any problems hanging with the cows and sharing their alfalfa, and of course I always watch my grass hay quality for anything that may hurt him.

The only problems I encounter with Donny running with the cows.........he becomes their authority figure! So he's by himself for the next few weeks, my heifers are in my Northwest Middle pasture and it has lots of pot holes towards a natural ravine and I don't like the risk of having him there. He can't run with the fall calvers because he might try to start directing my new baby calves around, and that won't do. So for now he's by himself for a bit and I leave the gate open to the grounds of the house off and on, he's a really good lawn mower! But the massive acorns that have dropped from the live oak tress around the house the past couple of weeks create some limits to how often he can come in and browse around the shrubs and hang out in the carport! He particularly likes to do a good trimming to the purple pampas grass -- it's surely good for it! Right?

British White Cattle - They REALLY are more GENTLE than Other Breeds!

Too often some visitors to my ranch comment that their calm character is surely due to the "time I must spend with them".

As Breeders of this very special, uniquely beautiful, ancient breed we all know different. Their gentleness begins before birth, it's inherent in their genetic makep-up. Wanda Mae, the curious cow checking out what Mike's up to, isn't the norm in any cow herd, and she's been human-friendly since the day she arrived, as are her calves. It's a very HERITABLE trait.

Every scientific research report that one comes upon points to the fact that the calmer the feeder calf the better the carcass. One day it will be realized that when a commerical cattleman puts a British White Bull on his herd his calves are calmer, their growth is superior, and their carcass brings to them a premium over Black Angus, a highly volatile breed.

The DNA testing accomplished to date indicates the British White breed tests as well as as the much more aggressive and temperamental black Angus breed in terms of marbling and tenderness.
As DNA testing via GeneStar and/or Igenity progresses and is reported to and compiled by the BWCAA and members, I fully expect the results to continue to be superior and to further establish British White cattle as THE Beef Breed of the Future for genetic Tenderness combined with genetic Docility -- a combination no other breed can match -- and a combination that the Commercial Feedlot operator will not ignore and will demand from commerical cattlemen. Numerous articles are to be found on the positive impact on carcass quality from docile feeder calves in the chute and the feedlot.

Buddy the Dog Has a Comfy Spot on a Cold November Morning

I've not been spending enough time relaxing with a good book out on the porch for some time now......so my dog has been making good use of the chaise lounges lately. This is Buddy pictured here. Before the past few months, he would have jumped and run if I'd found him lounging on the chaise! But I haven't been staying on top of that lately, haven't been taking that leisure time myself so have begun to enjoy watching them through the window having a nice time on the porch enjoying the view. This was probably the frostiest morning we've had this fall, the pond in the picture has that eery, misty look that comes with the new cold weather. You can't quite see the mist, but you can get the idea.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The End of an Aggravating Blog Setting Up Day!

Well, I didn't snap any new photos today, didn't even take nearly enough time to enjoy the pretty day outside. This new blog thing captured all my time, the HTML somehow got skewed up in and it wasn't posting with proper alignment or column width.

I've been working with these blog pages for a few weeks now and trying to get things worked out and workable before making them public. I've kept this blog available for open comments, but today I got one of those SPAM posts with quite undesirable language and links.

So, if you'd like to comment, for now just make your comment and it will come to my email and I'll permission it to post. I don't plan to edit or refuse any legit posts of opinions, questions, etc.. in regard to the British White Cattle breed. And feel free to use the Anymous post option until you're comfortable doing this!

I've also had to rework the General British White Cattle Blog page in the LINK box to the right, lots of cutting and pasting to recover and consolidate posts and transition it from it's old blogspot location and also overcome alignment issues. I hope it's all in a permanent workable mode, even that atom.xml thingy is working now! The only thing left is the Home Page link on both pages, but I just dont' know if I'm going to worry with that any time soon.

I'd really love to see our BWCAA members sign up to be CONTRIBUTORS to that forum and share their stories and photos with others and hopefully reach a more satsisfying level of communication and sharing amongst us all.

Signing up as a Contributor is pretty painless, really very easy. Just send me your email address and I'll have an invitation to Contribute sent out to you. I may put together an email list of you all and get them sent out - but in the meantime, just ask me!

(This aggravating thing is making me do the word verification again! I hope it doesn't make this comment post Twice. Geez.....

British White Calves in the Summer of 2006

I really like this shot from this past summer, we were very fortunate here in Deep East Texas to get ample rainfall until about September. In my memory, September is supposed to always be a month for rains in East Texas, but I think it's just significant events I recall in many Septembers that had rain in the background. Maybe I'll get a good shot of these same calves this morning, it's a crisp and clear day.

British White Bulls - Excellent Choice for Grassfed Programs

Consider this.....with the price of beef skyrocketing at the market these days, and the healthful quality of that beef very questionable.....isn't it time to seek out healthy natural grassfed beef straight from the producer? Buying a whole beef is maybe too much too handle, but you can find a friend to take a side of beef and you the other, about 300 or so pounds of beef you'd need to find space in the freezer for.

If you buy straight from a Grassfed producer you would pay from $1 to $1.50 a pound live weight of the steer, you'd then pay the processor about .40 cents a pound for actual carcass weight to cut and wrap it the way you want them to. Average cost per pound of beef for your family just dropped tremendously, and you're providing yourself and your children with the best of nutrition..........you won't worry so much if their diet is nothing but hamburgers.....it will be hamburgers providing optimal Fatty Acids, CLA's, Vitamin E, Vitamin A......and more.

Put fresh beef in the freezer and you'll never shop for grocery store beef again. Guaranteed. Put Grassfed beef in the freezer and you won't have to worry so much about the fat in that delicious ribeye, it will be heart healthy fat you can enjoy.

Consider the economics of buying a Grassfed steer straight from a producer. Too many people don't realize that it is still done today, and not just in rural America. Many grassfed beef producers will arrange to ship your beef to you in the city. These days, buying just a few cuts or packages from Grassfed Beef Suppliers can cost a bundle over what beef costs at the grocery store or supermarket. You can avoid all that by contacting a beef producer direct and they'll have a beef animal transported to a harvest facility nearby and then you tell the harvest facility how long you want it aged and how you want it processed. If you want 2 inch ribeyes, they will cut you two inch ribeyes. If you don't want a lot of roasts, well they'll just make those cuts into your ground beef instead. The price is the same per pound no matter what you decide. And the cost of processing is on the actual beef carcass poundage processed and packaged for you. If you are on a budget, it's worth saving to pay for the steer and the processing. It really puts money in the bank in the long run. Not to mention the better eating quality of the beef and the superior nutrition of the beef that will be in your freezer.....and not at an overpriced Walmart that injects their meat with.......wierd stuff.
Ask for British White Grassfed Beef, ask for true Grassfed Fed, no corn and no emergency byproducts to get through the winter. A steer with superior grassfed genetics will thrive on grass hay and high quality Alfalfa Hay as a supplement. Always ask what they're eating, and don't presume they haven't received antibiotics or hormone implants or long periods of grain supplement, you need to ask and if possible visit the farm or ranch that you're considering buying from direct.

Also to keep in mind......look for grassfed beef producers who focus their breeding programs on moderate sized animals -- you'll never have an optimum grassfed eating experience from a steer whose sire is over 1600 pounds and his dam who weighs more than 1200 pounds......the little guy just can't reach finish condition on grass until he's pushing 30 months old, and you won't realize the optimal healthy...and TASTY... finish of grassfed beef.

Why do Fairy Cows Have Red Ears? Follow the link in the Link Box to the Right for Jessica Hemmings' Unbiased Research

Be sure and take a look at the Hemmings' article! . . . . look for it in the link box to the right. I have a particular interest in one day seeing clarity and consistency and most of all accuracy in the presentation of the history of the British White breed. For much too long, too many people have looked the other way out of perhaps deference, or fear or distaste of confrontation. Upsetting the status quo in Britain that the Park Cattle Society attempts to preserve in regards to ancient horned White Park cattle -- a status quo maintained through rhetoric long disproved as false, seems a real no-no. Most anyone can do a good Google search and find out just how far back in history the polled bovines of the world are found via archeological records. And most anyone can look at a Chillingham White Park photo and realize those ugly horned beasts are the product of years of inbreeding.

Inbreeding begins to intensify recessive genes, whether in animals or man. The red points in British White cattle are a recessive gene, you can breed for it, or you can breed around it. Myself, I keep hoping to have a red pointed calf born on my ranch, I find them fascinating. Note in the old image above the presence of both a red point cow and a black point. Keep that in mind when you read the Hemmings article.

It's my opinion that the British White breed is 'British' only in the sense that it roamed the British Isles well before the character of Britain was changed through invasions of a motley assortment of cultures. It is thanks to the ancient Celtic culture of Britain (Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) that we find our much beloved cows magified and revered in old myths and laws.

As a British White breeder, know that you are caring for the single most immortalized breed of cattle in the world. And should the time ever come when there is a movement to simply call them White Cattle.....OBJECT, and do so mightily. If we are forced to grace them with yet another name to satisfy those Chillingham Park Cattle Society folk and other breeder associations who can't get happy, then let's think of a name that truly fits their heritage......

How about......Celtic White Park, or Celtic Whites, or British Parks, or .....Fairy Whites! I can't say I comprehend why their breed name of old was ever changed. Many breeds have both polled and horned varieties. I wonder at times what it is we simply aren't told about the decision back so long ago in the 40's that resulted in the breed name British White. To presume it's because other carefully selected breeds were brought in to assist in breeding up and thus preserving the polled White Park, is to realize a level of competitive strife existing in the 40's that was succumbed to by the polled White Park breeders of that generation. To presume that the horned White Park wasn't subjected to/assisted by the same machinations to preserve and increase their numbers is pure stupidity, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn that both polled and horned White Park cattle were in mixed herds in the early 20th century as well as in the thousands of years prior. Certainly, there was no distinction made of the small herd shipped to the USA prior to the onset of WWII that became the forebears of British White cattle today in the USA.

Further, despite that "wild" claim, one only has to look at the photos of horned White Park cattle in Britain today and see their gentle contentment.....so what gives? Why the BS from the Park Cattle folks that their is no genetic connection between the horned White Park and the British White? We have Jessica Hemmings to thank for laying their cited genetic testing to bed, permanently.

Is it only the Americans who delve into and analyze the rhetoric of the Park Cattle Society? Are we just terribly gauche? Won't let things just lye (or lie)? Or is there some critical bit of non-public information that is kept in the UK fold? I just don't know.

Regardless, we British White breeders in the USA and Australia are proud of our cattle, work hard to promote our cattle, and are sick and tired of seeing them referred to as those 'Whites' in misguided articles. In America we constantly have to correct and attempt to educate interested folks about our cattle. Countless times we have to say "No, they aren't Charolais?sp" crosses!" In my part of the USA, and in most others, Charolais cattle are considered white, and they are a very popular and dominant breed. To my eye they are quite a dirty white color, but that doesn't matter much. We have to think about the general public opinion, attitude, and education level.

Despite, or perhaps because of, this background and confusion, our cattle also provide to us and to the consumer, an excellent beef product. It is not without reason that the 'Sirloin' is said to have been deemed thus whilst a King dined on a loin of British White beef. I forget where I ran across that bit of information, and it could well be trivia, perhaps someone reading this can comment on that.

A Pretty November Morning with Gazing Grassfed British White Beef Cows

We've had some very nice cool days here in Southeast Texas, a lot earlier than last year, or at least as best I can recall. This morning the sky is clear and the sun is very bright. The trees began changing their leaves a couple of weeks back. The hickory trees change first around here and they seem to be a much stronger orange than ever before - you can see one in the tree line sort of shouting out it's color!

The Magical Milk White Milch Cow - Mother of all Cows

Here's a quite wonderful old reference to British White cattle (a matter of opinion, but what other breed was milk white then or is now?) to start off this blog:

'The milk-white milch cow gave enough of milk to every one who desired it; and however frequently milked, or by whatever number of persons, she was never found deficient. All persons who drank of her milk were healed of every illness ; from fools they became wise ; and from being wicked, became happy. This cow went round the world; and wherever she appeared, she filled with milk all the vessels that could be found, leaving calves behind her for all the wise and happy. It was from her that all the milch cows in the world were obtained. After traversing through the island of Britain, for the benefit and blessing of country and kindred, she reached the Vale of Towy; where, tempted by her fine appearance and superior condition, the natives sought to kill and eat her; but just as they were proceeding to effect their purpose, she vanished from between their hands, and was never seen again. A house still remains in the locality, called Y Fuwch Laethwen Lefrith (The Milk-white Milch Cow.)' " http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/wfl/wfl03.htm

Monday, November 6, 2006

British White Bulls - Gentle Genetics with Excellent Carcass Traits

Research proves again and again that feeder calves that are calmer in the feedlot and in the chute will likewise produce a more tender carcass. The British White breed is inherently docile -- the calves exhibit their unique nature at birth and onward. This docility is very heritable and is distinctively present in most first cross calves.