For some time we have been searching for a suitable bull to breed with our cows and heifers. We are keen to maintain the traditional characteristics of the Dexter breed by ensuring we breed smaller animals which are closer to the original stature of their forebears. In Australia some breeders have bred larger and larger Dexters, for a variety of reasons, but we want to keep this special heritage breed true to its ancestry where we can. We had made a number of contacts with people who had bulls, but for one reason or another they didn’t turn out to be suitable. Wrong colour, too genetically similar, already busy somewhere else …
And so we have been looking for several months for a bull to help us begin our breeding program and recently while we were purchasing some more heifers and cows, as well as a steer calf, we mentioned that we were looking for a black bull to breed with our girls. Turns out the son of the seller knows someone who has a bull… And as I am discovering when someone knows someone who knows someone, things turn up!
And so Benson the bull has come to visit the farm and spend some time with our girls.
Benson is very docile and within a few days was eating Lucerne from our hand! He is also long legged, which was what we wanted – we had heard that short legged bulls can produce unhealthy offspring or even foetuses which abort late in pregnancy if crossed with short legged heifers, so didn’t want to take any risks as we have one short legged heifer. Yes I know he looks short in the photo, but that is the angle of the photo!
He seems to fit in very well with the rest of our herd but time will tell if he is doing his job! Meanwhile we are happy to have him at Jagged Crow Farm and look forward to seeing how our first Dexter breeding attempt turns out.
I had the pleasure of going to one of my favourite farmers’ markets last weekend and aside from spending time with some good friends, I picked up 5 kgs of fresh ripe tomatoes. I always love a random bulk buy from the market because I love the challenge of finding something delicious to do with all that lovely produce.
So I returned home and started to go through my tried and true recipes, tomato chutney, tomato soup, semi-dried tomatoes. In the end, it was local author and cook, Maggie Beer that won my heart for the day.
Ans so I chopped and chopped and chopped all those lovely ripe tomatoes until they, along with a few other basic ingredients, were ready to cook.
And I boiled them and kept boiling them until they had reduced down into a beautiful, simple, yet Maggie Beer style pasta sauce.
And now it is frozen in small batches in the freezer just waiting for a cold night after work when I don’t have time or energy to cook. The hard work is done – well not so much hard work, as sheer culinary pleasure on a Sunday afternoon and now I can look forward to enjoying it on another day. It is such a beautiful sauce it can be served alone or I could add meat or mushrooms and cheese to enhance it further. But I do think it needs to be served with home made pasta rather than shop bought pasta, but that I’ll leave for another afternoon!