April 2022 Newsletter

The Cattle Are Out!

Those dreaded words strike terror into the heart of any livestock farmer.  This announcement greeted me as I was beginning my work of putting together orders in the packing room.  My nephew Joe, stuck his head in the door;  “We have a problem.  The gate was wide open and I can’t find the cattle anywhere.”  (Continued below)

Patties anyone?


As announced last month, we are now stocking, in addition to our popular half beef-half pork patty, an all-pork, mild Italian breakfast patty.  At our Easter Monday family celebration, we barbecued both and the new variety was a big hit.  Now is the time to stock up for the barbecue season! The beef and pork burgers are 6 oz. each, 3 per package.  The Mild Italian come in a pack of 4 – 4oz patties.

April/ May Specials

What’s been happening on the farm?

Spring is beginning to ramp up, and so is the activity on the farm!

Big News in the Zettel Family!

On April 15th, Drew and Olivia Roberts welcomed their firstborn son into the world.  Dominic Edward Roberts is the first Great-Grandchild for Ted and Christine.  Along with the new parents, the entire clan rejoices at this milestone.  Drew and Olivia reside on the farm in the “Tiny House” originally built for Mark and Emily.  Great-Gran Christine had organized a “Guess the weight of the new baby” pool.  10 year old uncle, Connor Brooks took home the prize – a 2 litre jug of maple syrup – with a successful prediction of 10 lbs. 1 oz.

Christine has 3 American Cocker Spaniel puppies for sale

“Tips” is a real rascal, likes to wrestle hard but settles when picked up. Her name comes from the white tips on all four paws.

Her best friend is “Ringo”–her wrestling buddy—who won’t back down when challenged by her sister! Ringo is so named because of the ring of white around her nose. (But it could also be because she’s a “ring of fire” in a wrestling match).

“Jack” is a sweet little guy. He LOVES lots of attention and is the first one to come for pets and holding. But don’t overestimate his sweetness! He is also an instigator of trouble and often looks like a mighty steed in battle with his infamous “charge” into the fray!

Please contact Christine for pricing and other details at 519-881-8968.

“Big Beef” Tomato Plants for Sale

Do you enjoy growing your own tomatoes in your garden or in a pot on your deck? We have about 60 plants available. The net revenue from the sale will go to the Hanover St. Vincent de Paul society, which provides food, clothing and basic necessities to those in need in our are.

The plants are $5 each or 5 for $20.

Plants can be picked up on Saturday, May 21, or earlier by appointment. To reserve some, email Sam directly at sam@zettelfamilyfarms.ca or text 519-372-5313.

The Cattle are Out

(Continued from above)

It is a beautiful, sunny morning in early April.  Struggling not to panic, I suggested that we check down by the creek where they drink.  I am grasping at the longshot that they didn’t notice the open gate and are still contained.  Negative.  No sign of the 25 young adult steers.  Nobody visible in the adjacent hayfields where they would normally investigate for a possible blade of new grass.  The snow is gone, but the ground is frozen, making tracking difficult, so we hopped on “Porky”, Sam’s all terrain dune buggy, and headed back toward the bush. No sign of passage on the lane leading into the bush, but as we crossed the line fence into our neighbour’s property, we spotted them, on the other side of the bush, running, obviously elated at the unexpected liberation from captivity.

There is a science to getting cattle back in.  These animals cannot be chased.  The moment you confront them, their instinct as prey animals is activated and they look for an opening to get past the perceived predator to safety.  If you move slowly, have lots of people, and gradually enter their proximity bubble without setting off the flight or fight response, it is possible to herd them back, but in this case, with only Joe and I, in an open field with no fences, the odds of this strategy succeeding were not good.  The fact is that when cattle are out, it can go well or it can go very badly.  It can be all over in a few minutes, with the cattle back in  or it can be an all day adventure involving neighbours, possible property damage or even injury to man or beast.  So the best thing to do is pray…

On this day our prayers were answered.  I had the sense that they had been out for a while, running to their heart’s content, and not finding anything to eat out there, were ready to come back to the barn and be fed.  We shut off Porky, and I approached them on foot, slowly, calling with the ancient call inherited from our forefathers;  “Co boss. Co, co, co boss”.  Slowly, one by one, they started to take notice and then come toward me. As the herd moved I kept moving toward home, continually calling, stopping when they stopped.  At one point, after we had made it into our own field, somebody turned and headed back into the bush, and I thought all was lost.  But the will of the majority was to follow, and the renegade, with his few willing disciples, gave up and came along too. We progressed this way until we got within a stones throw of the barn, then, it seemed, indecision was upon them.  Hay to eat, or freedom?  A tough choice.  Sam and his oldest son, Jesse, were on the scene now, and Sam took up a position behind the cattle, skillfully nudging them toward me.  Finally, the collective consciousness shifted, and they came with deliberate purpose, following me through the offending gate, back into the yard.

Thanks be to God!  Now… who left that gate open?

Posted in Newsletters.