Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yak Presentation

A big "thank you" to the Rotary Club of Pincher Creek
for inviting us to speak about yaks and Springridge Ranch Yak-Cross Beef at their meeting today!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Yak Fest" in Edmonton!

We're really excited that our yak-cross beef was featured at the table of Edmonton Food Blogger Twyla Campbell this past weekend!

You can read all about it here:

Thanks Twyla for your enthusiastic support!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Salt Lick

Can you spot the similarities between these two....

... and Ben Crane's painting "Salt Lick" ?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Milking a Yak

Milking a yak is not as easy as it sounds...
or as easy as this lady makes it look, unless you have a very tame yak!

Female yaks have a much smaller udder than regular cattle, which can make it harder to get the milk out, depending on the size of your hands. Instead of using a full fist, a thumb, index and middle fingers are about all you can get around the smaller "equipment" in order to complete the milking process.

The only time we've stepped in to milk a yak is when a newborn has trouble latching on to its mother, which isn't very common. Yak calves are quite vigorous, stand up and generally start sucking sooner than our Angus/Galloway cross calves.

Yak milk is a deep yellow color and can even look slightly pink. The yak mamas don't produce a whole lot of milk, but then their little babies don't need much either. They eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
A lesson to be learned for us humans. 

Some yak owners milk their animals to make cheese, as it is available at select gourmet food stores. Yak cheese reportedly contains higher levels of heart healthy fats than cheese made from dairy cow milk.
See this article for details:

However, I can't see yak cheese being available on a large scale anytime soon. The North American yak herd numbers are low and it would take some time to build up to a level where this would be feasible.

On a lighter note, if you remember my posting on the children's book: 
"Go Track A Yak", even Papa milked a yak.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Ground Blizzard

This has been a brutal winter in our little corner of the world and we are definitely ready for spring to arrive. With La Nina in full force, we have had, what seems like, an endless cycle every couple of days of cold and snow, then warmer temperatures with strong winds. The latter part of the cycle can result in a ground blizzard and major drifting.

This past Saturday we woke up to strong winds with near whiteout conditions due to the most recent snowfall. This time, the problem was that it hadn’t warmed up to near freezing. It was minus 10 degrees Celsius, with an extremely cold windchill! Doing chores was, shall we say, less than pleasant. It would have been nice to have worn a yak coat!

I managed to pull my hands out of my gloves for a few seconds to take a couple of shots.

Thankfully it calmed down partway through the morning and by that time the critters were eagerly awaiting their breakfast.