Omnivores, relax with real food!  This was the take home message we found in last evenings PBS documentary “IN DEFENSE OF FOOD”, featuring well known food journalist Michael Pollan.

We thought the documentary was well done and echo the main point of the film, when it comes to eating, just relax and eat food, that is – real food.  The stuff you find in the middle of the grocery store is what Pollan calls “edible food like substances”.  Focus on the “edges” during your grocery store visits to find real food.  Refer to our blog post on this topic from January 2014 “How to shop for a healthy diet”.

Other points from “IN DEFENSE OF FOOD“:

  • Eat Traditional Foods, these are time tested (2013 blog post)
  • Watch your portion size
    • If you don’t know your current daily food intake levels, I encourage you to find out.  I was surprised to learn what my daily calorie intake was compared to what was suggested for my height and weight (June 2015 blog post).
  • East mostly plants (Eat the rainbow blog post)
    • That does NOT mean eliminate meat
    • The documentary points out the health benefits of meat from pasture grazed animals
    • You have heard, you are what you eat!
      • “We are what what we eat eats too.”  Michael Pollan.
        • In other words, we can’t eat the nutritional diversity of a prairie… but we can eat something that is capable of eating and the nutrition of a prairie!
        • A bite of our pasture raised and grazed beef allows us to eat the prairie.
dotted gayfeather

We can’t eat the prairie and we certainly do not want this destroyed to raise something like corn!

I basically started on the above described Omnivores path several years ago.  I took it to the next level by incorporating the portion size advise (including fasting) this past year (described in June 2015).  Six months later I am happy to report my weight and health has been maintained.

As you look forward to the new year are you considering another “Diet Resolution”?  If you find yourself stuck somewhere trying to get on what our friend Danna calls the “Health-Nut Highway”, we urge you to watch this documentary.

Remember, “We are all on a diet. Be on a healthy one.” Dr. Mercola




Head ’em up, Move ’em on – RAWHIDE!  I have to admit this brings back memories of the Blues Brothers more than it does of Clint Eastwood (Rowdy Yates).  To be clear, we are not much for Head ’em up around here.  No whips, yelling or any other commotion near our herd.  Low stress = high quality beef.  (music provided at end of post)

Move ’em ON!

Fresh grass – MOVE – fresh grass – MOVE, is the name of the game at DS Family Farm.  The way nature made the prairies is the method we use to restore and improve our pastures.  Cows have legs and we believe they aren’t made for standing in lots.  So what does Move ’em on look like?  Here is a recent example:

Overview of daily moves. During the growing season a back fence would remain in place after about 3 days (dashed line).

Overview of daily moves. During the growing season a back fence would stay in place after about 3 days (dashed line).  Tap photo for larger view.

In the above photo we start with the herd on November 26th near a water tank.  Temporary wire fences are put up moving away from the tank.  This photo on November 30th, shows the first 4 paddocks have been grazed, cattle have moved into the 5th paddock (most of the cows are just over the hill out of view).  ATV tracks are visible along the future paddock lines, smashed down grass so we can install the fences.  Small square bales are also visible in future paddocks.  This is our non-growing season and we are supplementing the stockpiled grass with hay.  If these moves were during the growing season we would prevent the herd from grazing previous paddocks after the third move (it takes grass about 3 days to start re-growing after being bitten off and we don’t want cows biting off new grass).

Sounds like work?

Paddock setup does take some time but in a few hours we are done with 3 days of moves.  Here’s how automatic Batt Latch gate openers and electric poly wire technology allows the cows to do most of the work:


This setup allows us three days off from herd moves.

In the example shown above the cows have just moved into the 11/30 paddock (as you can see they are busy working).  On November 30th we will setup two Batt Latch gate openers on the next two fence lines and a third fence line will stop the cattle from proceeding any further.  We don’t need to show up to work again until December 3rd!

Cows doing the work they love

Don’t get us wrong, we love working with the cows, but this technology gives us flexibility in our schedule.  This setup allows us to do a quick drive by to see if the cows have moved.  Fresh grass and move, fresh grass and move, this is the key to soil health, grassland health, cattle health and ultimately your health.

Cows moved through automatic gate.

Cows moved through automatic gate.

Cows grazing behind Batt Latch gate.

Cows grazing behind Batt Latch gate.

We hope you have enjoyed this post and we invite you to stop by sometime to see our herd in MOTION.  Always pasture grazed, never in lots for your health and ours.  We leave you with some Move ’em on entertainment:


Would you know what to look for when choosing a Farmer?  That is, choosing a farmer to buy your family’s food from?  Looking for clean food?  Especially locally produced food, that can be a challenge.

grass-fed beef

Pasture raised 100% grass-fed beef from our farm near Malcolm, NE, sales to begin soon!

We have been members of the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) for several years.  About the time I was dealing with acid reflux, we were also investigating the startup of our farm.  While researching problem gut issues and sustainable farming, it didn’t take long for both topics to mesh and lead us to WAPF.

A diet of low processed whole foods provides the “medicine” your body needs to heal and support itself.  Where does one turn to source low processed whole foods?  When available, your local farmer! Does the management carried out on the local farm affect the food produced?  Absolutely. When it comes to meat, pasture grazed & grassfed is the preferred choice.

We recently completed and returned the WAPF Local Chapter Farm Visit Checklist.  Please take a moment to see how we responded to the checklist questions.

Feel free to contact us and stop by for a visit anytime to personally verify our answers.  We are happy to connect you with other local farms to visit and research.

Good luck on your search for clean food, here are some other Local Food sources we use:

Nebraska Food Coop (many producers listed, we have tried most)

Pawnee Pride Meats

Range West Beef

Open Sky Farm

Branched Oak Farm

Darby Springs Farm

Other Local Food sources we are aware of, let us know who we have missed:

Lincoln Natural Food Connection (Facebook)

lone tree Foods (Eastern NE Western IA)

Ficke Cattle Company

West Blue Farm

Our cattle arrived as yearlings in July 2011, ten heifers and one bull.  May 9, 2013 our first calf was born.  This firstborn calf was a true miracle, a gift from God, which has now been repeated a number of times over the past three calving seasons.

Our firstborn calf at mom's side on 5/9/13, a gift from God.

Our firstborn calf at mom’s side on 5/9/13, a gift from God.

In the Old Testament the firstborn refers to animals and belong to the Lord.  Firstfruits refers to what comes from the soil.  Both the firstborn and firstfruits are a gift from God, we cannot create livestock or crops, only God.  To claim a calf or a grape is the result of evolution is not observable science.  It has been observed over the past 100 years, billions of chicken eggs have hatched in the USA and every time a chicken comes out, no evolution into a different “being”.

Sure we work to be good stewards of this cow herd.  We plan daily access to water, mineral and forages but beyond that, God and the cows do the rest.  When we have intervened, with good intentions, the results have been mixed.  What looked like benefits of our intervention at the time, long term has resulted in handicaps.   For one explanation of this reality see “Antifragile” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  We are always trying to move toward the natural order that God has designed.  This is difficult, we humans like to get involved and think we are doing some good when we just cannot anticipate all the variables.

grassfed beef

Firstborn calf grazing with mom at his side as a grown steer 10/10/15. Our herd is mainly polled. This firstborn calf is the only animal to express horns to date.

Back to our Old Testament discussion.  This claim by God for the firstborn was to point people toward the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Prior to Jesus death and resurrection, people had God’s promise of a Savior to look forward to for their salvation.  Today we have the historical truth (evidence based on manuscript, archeological, prophecy and statistics) to look back that the promise has been fulfilled for our salvation.

On October 13, 2015 our firstborn calf will be butchered as a 29 month old steer.  We thank God for the opportunity he gave us to raise these animals and pray that the harvest will reach those who are in need of the nourishment provided.  All glory to God, Amen.

Sunday October 4, 2015, from 3 PM to 5 PM.  Doug and Sheila Garrison invite you to a walk in our pasture.  Meet in pasture located one-quarter mile North of US HWY 34 and NW 140th Street, Lancaster County Nebraska (east side of road).  NW 140th Street is the Lancaster – Seward County line, about ~12 miles West of Lincoln or ~10 miles East of Seward on US HWY 34.  Street Address: 7650 NW 140th Street, Malcolm, NE.

Pasture Walk Topics:

Dress for walking in a tall grass prairie.  Bring your ideas and questions.  Let’s learn together.  Share our successes and mistakes.

If questionable weather comes to our area on October 4th, check this blog post for latest updates or call 402-796-2208.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.  For more information about our pasture walk, feel free to drop us an email.

(PDF Pasture Walk Flyer Link)