Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cattle Health

     Today I would like to discuss cattle health and our strategies for maintaining a healthy herd.   Our dairy and beef herd provide our family with home-grown and thoughtfully sourced milk and beef so we place high standards on bovine health.  We study research to ensure current understanding of bovine diseases, especially diseases that are known to be zoonotic.

     My journey began 15 years ago when we bought a dairy cow.  Thank goodness we had a knowledgeable vet who educated and guided us through testing for diseases we most definitely did not want in our raw milk.   As time marched on beef cattle were added to our farm and I realized that they are carriers of many diseases we really didn't want in our family's beef supply.  We decided to close both dairy and beef herds and raise all replacement females.  Our decision to quarantine our herd has come with many challenges such as wearing plastic gloves, covering shoes with plastic covers, and endless expensive testing.  We believe this has been a worthwhile endeavor and we are grateful to have a clean dairy and beef herd.

    A few weeks ago Mr. Rueffer decided we would have the whole herd tested at one time and to verify where we were on bovine health.  The above pictures is from that very long day for both man and bovine but the results were worth it.  The beautiful girls and a few boys above are not only vibrant with health but have lab-work papers to prove it.  THE RESULTS WERE 100% NEGATIVE FOR BVD, BLV(BOVINE LEUKOSIS VIRUS-I added some links for you to read about this disease, JOHNE'S; (, AND NEOSPORA.  We are so happy and feel so blessed to be care-takers of these cattle.  Most disease transmission occurs maternally to offspring.  I think most of us are unaware of disease in cattle because many diseases are sub-clinical and it is often hard to detect with out lab work.  

     Dairy cattle have more incidence of disease due to confined living conditions.  We will talk about raw milk and disease another time.  In both dairy and beef herds, disease is spreading rapidly due to our current conventional systems for milk and beef.  I hope we can change our system into a system free from confinement eating of commodity crops and shipping cattle long distances for harvest.  I believe the model we are striving for here at Rueffer Ranch aids in mending our broken food system in America.

 Benefits of our model:

*Mother and calf roam freely grazing until the natural weaning time for a calf.

*Calves are born in sync with nature giving them lots of green grass and favorable conditions.  

*Calves are not shipped long distances which is stressful for the newly weaned calf. 

*Calves are milk-fed from their mothers and graze with her for supplementation.  

*Since they are born in the spring the grass conditions are prime for great beef nutrition.

*Our ancestors always harvested "the fatted calf" which provided them with tender meat, bones, and organs.  They did not have refrigeration and a calf was the right size for harvest.

*The smaller animal has smaller cuts which are just right for a healthy meal.  

*There is no use of commodity crops or factory farming.  

*Calves are from a closed tested herd which speaks volumes.

*Calves are harvested locally.


Our cattle are gentle and we handle them very gently.

We had a Christmas picture made with our Jersey cow "Rainey".

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Star of the Hill Country

For up-to-date information go to or or Star of the Hill Country on Instagram for daily updates.

Thank you for stopping by,
Happy Milking,

Monday, August 7, 2017


We are offering our 16 month-old bull for sale, his dam is an amazing cow Rainey and his sire is Mary Jane Farm's bull Samson.  He is tested for BLV, Neospora, Johne's, and is from a closed annually tested herd.  His grand-dam is registered with the American Jersey Association and his Dam is registered with Heritage Jersey Organization.  His grand-sire is Bruno from Holt Creek Jerseys in Nebraska that specializes in grass-fed genetics.  Please contact me at:  Caren-325-347-7261

Happy Milking!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meet the Girls

Presenting Our Milk Cows

Life is kinda funny how we never know where we will go and what passions we will pursue.  I find it extraordinary that a person can live in the city and by chance move to the country and find a passion that grows daily!
I have found my passion MILK COWS!
The learning curve has been steep but I hope to share all that I have learned with others and strive to breed the perfect family Jersey cow.  Perhaps a cow that existed around the early 1900's.
A family milk cow does and has always played a vital role in providing nutrient dense food to her homestead.
Due to the amazing impact a milk cows brings to your homestead, I want to share the qualities I find important in finding your perfect family milk cow.
I Can't stress this enough.  It is so important to test your dairy cows yearly and know their background.  
Chances are you will drink raw milk and it is very important to know the status of your cows health BEFORE  you drink her raw milk.  Our herd is tested every May for the following dairy diseases:
TB (tubercolosis)
BVD (bovine viral diarrhea)
Q Fever
BLV (bovine leukosis virus)
She must be free from mastitis.
On this subject I don't necessarily mean the most popular American dairy genetics.
Remember if you want to a grass-fed cow you must choose grass-fed genetics.  If you want to feed grain then choose accordingly.  We follow holistic management and strive to follow a Weston A. Price influenced diet, so for us our milk cow's level of nutrition is directly linked with our level of nutrition and health.
   Our herd sire is "The Balladeer of Branched Oak Bruno" purchased from Ben Gotschall of Holt Creek Jerseys in Nebraska in 2012 and we have been very pleased with Bruno and his offspring.
To read more about grass-fed genetics and information about Bruno go
We believe an "easy keeper type cow" is desirable for a family milk cow. Maintaining body condition  while lactating on a grass-fed diet is very important to us.

We want to introduce you to the girls!
I will be adding more cows and information, but to start with here is:

RAINEY Born July 14, 2013
Her mother is a registered Jersey named Dolly and Bruno is the sire.  She has a super sweet disposition and is absolutely gorgeous.  Grass only body condition.  Her mother was one of the friendliest cows I have owned and Rainey has the exact personally of her mom.

Dolly x Bruno


Nickel is from one of our favorite cows named
Penny (funny name).  Penny is one of our
cows milked for Cole's Creamery raw milk.
She is consistent, small statured, very agreeable
and enjoys being milked.
We have high hopes for Nickel!

NICKEL born September 10, 2013

Penny x Bruno


Meet Belinda the daughter of Blackie (Jersey x Holstein).  Blackie is used to provide milk for Cole's Creamery and is very reliable.
Belinda was born October 2014 and is sired by Bruno.  She will have an ample supply of milk.





Bruno remains in great condition despite our dry and very hot temperatures.
We have owned him almost 3 years and he maintains great body condition in all seasons.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015



We have been making chocolate and have been so sweetly surprised how easy and delicious making your own chocolate can be.   We mold the chocolate for bite size pieces in a chocolate mold (link is below), pour nut clusters onto wax paper  and make peanut butter cups in mini muffin liners. This recipe is so easy and fabulous tasting you will never go back to main-stream chocolate.
A good place to start......
Chocolate 101
Coconut Oil (I use Tropical Traditions or Premier, but your choice)
Maple Syrup (I use organic)
Cacao powder (cocoa powder), I use Valrhona 
Vanilla Extract (I use homemade)
Sea Salt


Very Gently melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil (crucial). I barely warm the pan then move it on and off heat.  

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and whisk into oil

Add add 2-4 tablespoons of maple syrup or your preference.

At this stage you may add.

A dash of sea salt
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla.
Roasted nuts, fillings, essential oil such as peppermint, coffee, toasted coconut; then pour onto parchment paper, mini muffin liners, or in the silicone mold shown above.

Put into the refrigerator until set, enjoy and store inside the refrigerator.

Point to stress:
Do not allow even a drop of water in your recipe.
This is why I do not use a double boiler.
If chocolate thickens you may for a second at a time apply heat. CAUTION
If you overheat it will separate (seize) and be unattractive (we want beautiful).

So many wonderful things to do with this recipe such as put chocolate in a mug and add steamed milk for hot chocolate.

You can double this recipe.
This recipe fills about half of the chocolate mold.  I try to make smaller amount at time because I will eat the whole thing. ;)

Recipe for Healthy Chocolate
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2-4 tablespoons of maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla or more to taste

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bruno's Daughters

Bruno's Daughters

                                    (Our future milk cows)

  Two years ago we made Bruno our herd sire in our quest for grass-fed genetics, excellent body condition on grass, and healthy udders.  We believe Bruno has brought these characteristics to our herd.  These expectations with added calm demeanor from his offspring have greatly added to our farm's holistic goals.  Here are a few pictures of  our future milk cows.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to make kefir.




Kefir is a super resource for probiotics and is very delicious to drink plain or add to smoothies.
I bought dehydrated grains from Cultures for Health and developed stable grains that I have been reusing for almost two years.

Here is my quick and super easy method to make kefir using Cole's Creamery raw milk.

1.  I designate a glass pourable measuring cup, wooden spoon and plastic strainer specially used only       for kefir.

2.  I have a clean quart jar with an unbleached coffee filter held with a metal ring or rubber band to put strained kefir grains inside.

3.  I put a small amount of kefir into the strainer and stir the grains causing kefir to strain into the measuring cup.

4.  I put the grains I have worked in the strainer into the clean glass as I strain the kefir little by little.


5.  When all of the kefir is strained, I pour the kefir back into the jar that held the unstrained kefir.  I put a lid on the jar and refrigerate.

6.  Back to the clean jar holding the grains:  I pour milk right out of the refrigerator over the grains and put the coffee filter held by a ring on the jar.  No heating. No stirring.

7.  I leave the jar for 24 hours then strain again.

The jar needs to sit in a warm draft free area away from anything that could contaminate the culture.