|Cowpooling – Auction Day!|
Tuesday, October 20th had been marked on my calendar for months – Auction Day! Dante and I left Redwood City at 8:00 am and headed to Camp Haze in Chowchilla. Paul really wanted to go with us, but he had to stay behind and teach at Fearless. Secretly, I think he was relieved that he wouldn't have to get up so early (8:00 am is the crack of dawn for him) to make the drive.
Dante and I arrived at Camp Haze and my dad immediately put us to work adding a few panels to widen the corral the steer was going into. I then cleaned out a bin for his hay and grain and scrubbed his water container. Confident, that we were ready to house him, we headed to Madera for a quick lunch and then to the auction yard.
My good friend Dreah, who is one of the steakholders, met us at the auction yard. My dad's cousin Bob Campbell, a man who has worked with cattle for just about all of his 70 years was also there.
We spent about 15 minutes perusing the cattle in their pens. I admit to being very surprised at the quality of the animals. I am not an expert, but I took livestock classes in high school and learned a lot from my grandfather and uncles who all spent a lifetime with cattle. The animals at the auction were almost all top quality.
We wrote down the ear-tag numbers of a few of the steers we were particularly interested in and went to the office to register and receive our bid number. We then took a seat inside where the auction was to take place.
We spent the wait time figuring out the process of how the cattle are auctioned and asked Bob Campell questions when we became stumped. Finally, one of the steers we were interested in was up. The opening bid was $.71 cents per pound. Bob told me to raise my hand and get the auctioneer's attention. I successfully made the first bid and was thrilled that no one bid against me. It was the first bid since we sat down that went uncontested.
I was ecstatic to pay $.09 a pound less than I was expecting. In addition, the steer we purchased weighed 935 pounds, 135 pounds more than what we had hoped to purchase. Because it costs an estimated $1.10 for every pound you want the steer to gain, purchasing him at a heavier weight put us ahead.
After having the steer loaded in our trailer, and a quick stop at Evan's Feed to purchase a few week's worth of feed, we headed back to Camp Haze.
With the help of Dreah and my Uncle Bill, we managed to give the steer a vaccine that was recommended by Bob Campbell and then released him into his new pen. I was pleased that he wasn't terribly upset by the process. He mooed to my uncle's cattle on the other side of Camp Haze and pretty much ignored Dad's horses.
The auction experience was fascinating. If our culinary adventure is successful, I look forward to going through the process again sometime in 2010.
I have opted not to post photos of the steer. I understand that our adventure is not for everyone and I don't want to upset anyone unnecessarily. I will however, continue to post updates as we hit certain milestones.
|We Interrupt this Cowpool Series to Bring You...|
...The New and Improved Budget Savvy!
For the past few months we have been quietly working on creating a fresh new look. Our goal was to make it easier to read and navigate. We want Budget Savvy to be a place that you visit on a daily basis as you look for new ideas for smart spending and rich living.
The biggest change you will find is on the Home Page. Since the Living the Budget Savvy Life section is our most popular, we have moved it to the Home Page so it is the first thing new visitors will see. In addition, we added a Twitter feed to the left side of the page. Scroll down to the bottom and you can see the latest entries in the Articles, World Report and Shopping pages.
I would love to hear your thoughts about our new look. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated! – Melissa
|Cowpooling - Part Two|
In this second part of the Cowpooling story, I will go into detail about the process of purchasing and raising the animal including our projected costs. The information below is pulled from the email that I sent to the steakholders:
Of course, all of the costs are estimated, but I erred on the "worst case scenario".
The steer is expected to yield approximately 600 pounds of meat. If the math pans out, that is $2.75 per pound. You can rarely find hamburger for that price let alone steak!
Please note that it may take longer than expected for the steer to gain weight or the purchase price per pound may be higher than anticipated, but it is our hope that our estimates are accurate. As my dad said, the purpose of this project is not to make money - it is an opportunity to be a part of a culinary adventure.
The Secret Budget Savvy Project that I have been working on for the last year is... Cowpooling! For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, cowpooling is when a group pools together to purchase an entire (or sometimes half) of a steer for beef. The purchase is made directly from the rancher so the meat is usually less expensive than what you can get at Costco or the grocery store.
|Secret Budget Savvy Project to be Unveiled|
On Thursday, I will be unveiling a Secret Budget Savvy Project that has been in the research and planning stage for the past year. That's all I will say for now. I'm afraid of giving it away.
|A Weekend in the Wine Country|
Ok, I have to admit. It's Budget Savvy to have in-laws that own a vacation home on the Russian River.