Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I use the following as a simple set up to seperate the butter from the milk after it has been churned. The strainer has a close weave, and I put it in the stainless steel bowl so that I can save the milk for cooking, to make cottage cheese, or to feed to the chickens. (Culture can be added to this milk to make cultured buttermilk, as well.)
After straining off the milk, you are left with the butter.
And here is the left-over milk with bits of butter that slipped through the strainer.
It is very important to rinse your butter very well to get out all the milk. If the milk is left in the butter, it will cause it to sour quickly.
After rinsing thoroughly, you salt the butter to taste. I then roll the butter into balls that are approximately 1/4 pound each.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
It's hard to believe that the spring babies have all gone and now it is almost time for the fall babies to be born. Dixie and Butter will have standard Jersey calves born in the next couple of months. I believe Butter will have hers in a couple of weeks by the way she looks. Maya is bred for a mid-October calf and her baby will be half miniature Jersey. It will be interesting to see how big (or small) her baby is! Keeping fingers crossed for heifer calves this time around!
(Note: Picture of Dudley at three months old. Dam is Mayfield. Sire is Breyer.)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
(Note: Picture of the Octagon ceiling in our home.)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The other day, I was at the produce stand and the lady visited us once again. She mentioned to me that she had painted a picture of the farm and gave me her web address so that we could view the painting. For those who have never visited the farm, the view is actually from the farm where Mike's parent's live, looking across to the neighbor's house. The following is a link to the painting:
Friday, August 15, 2008
Our animals play games. They play games with their own kind, but they even reach outside their comfort zone and play games with species other than their own. For instance, the rooster pictured above loves to play games with our Corgi, Sadie. The goal of the game is to be the one to finish off the dog food that is in the bowl. It goes like this on most days:
Rooster wakes up at the crack of dawn and begins crowing. Even though Sadie has an elaborate dog house, she usually sleeps right by the gate of her dog yard where she can keep close watch on her domain. I go out early morning and let Sadie out of her pen, and then I proceed to the chicken house to let the hens and rooster outside for the day. Rooster is one of three and the other two roosters don't really like him around. Rooster always leaves the chicken yard quickly and begins to scope out Sadie's house. If Sadie is not around her house, he will nonchalantly make his way to the designated spot, stopping to eat a bug or two along the way or scratch through a cow pie. These antics I am sure are designed to throw off the unsuspecting observor. Once he makes it to Sadie's house, he hops up on her porch (yes, Sadie has a porch) and begins to eat her food. At this point, I can't help myself, and the fun begins. I say, "Sadie, Rooster is eating you breakfast!" Sadie runs growling and barking and Rooster begins running and flapping his wings! They will go around the dog yard several times before Rooster makes his way through the gate and out into the field where she continues to chase him for a while just for good measure.
However, the game does not end there. On occasion I put Sadie in her pen and shut the gate. Rooster is smart and knows that Sadie can no longer reach him. So, Rooster will make his way nonchalantly to Sadie's place once again. This time, he begins to walk slowly around the perimeter of her fence, strutting and flapping and looking proud as only a rooster can do! Sadie remains by her gate and just watches him. Sometimes he will tease and torment her for hours. She does not bark at him, but watches him closely. When I release Sadie from her pen, she comes running out with all four feet practically off the ground, barking and growling and Rooster heads for the lower field!
There is not a day that goes by that Rooster and Sadie don't play games together.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
I have lost my kitchen. My kitchen is neat, clean and orderly, but I can't find it. I also can't remember when I lost it! Neither can I remember WHERE I lost it! Perhaps somewhere under the mountains of peaches that have found their way into my home. (Mike didn't want us to run out!) Or it could be beneath the corn, tomatoes and other produce that set on my counter waiting to be used. Maybe under the egg cartons and glass jars that I collect for storing my free range eggs and fresh Jersey milk? Or perhaps I can find it when I begin to put away the clean dishes in the drainer and dish washer? Did I lose it yesterday when I made four pounds of butter from the cream I had been collecting? The stainless bowls sitting on the counter with milk waiting to be turned to cottage cheese might hold a clue!
I have a feeling that when the weather turns cooler and the garden begins to fade that I MIGHT be able to find it again...............................but then again, maybe not. I think I remember misplacing my immaculate kitchen last fall when I began making cheese during the cooler weather! Perhaps, I will never find it again!
(Note: Smokey was the male puppy in the litter born to Hunter and Hope in May 2008. His new family was kind enough to share this cute photo with me.)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Start a week in advance by visiting orchards to see their peaches and ask about prices.
Two days in advance, decide on an orchard and call them to haggle about their prices.
One day in advance, spend half a day going to the orchard to purchase peaches. (Buy 12 bushels)
12 hours in advance, milk Jersey family cows, strain milk, pour into glass jars, clean milker and refrigerate milk.
30 minutes in advance, go through bushel of peaches and pick out the ripest ones.
Peel and slice peaches.
Take peelings down to chickens to eat.
Next, pour cream off top of milk that has been placed in refrigerator. Take small amount of milk and heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar to warm milk and mix until disolved.
Gather ice cream maker parts that are scattered from last time you made ice cream. Find some parts in the closet in a box, other parts in the kitchen dish drainer, and find the bucket outside from the last time you dumped the ice and salt on the cracks in the drive way.
Pour warm sugar milk and cream in stainless tube of ice cream maker. Add peaches that have been slight mashed. Add a few more just for good measure. Shake a bit of salt in the mix. Pour a tad of real Madagascar Vanilla in as well. Add more milk to fill line on stainless tube. Insert paddle and add lid. Put entire contraption into bucket and put motor on top. Plug ice cream maker into electrical outlet.
Remove ice bin from freezer and place ice in machine about 1/3 of the way up the bucket. Add a cup of salt. Add more ice. Realize you are out of salt and run to the barn to get stock salt to finish the job. Finish layering ice and salt. Allow ice cream maker to run for 20 minutes or so until ice cream becomes thick and motor stops. Motor stops and it has only been five minutes. Shake ice cream freezer vigorously to dislodge ice. Ice cream freezer begins running again and continues without any more delays.
When motor stops, unplug machine, remove tube from bucket, take lid off of tube, remove paddle, and dump ice cream into containers. Place containers in freezer. Lick all ice cream off paddle. Scrape all ice cream out of tube and eat that too. Wash all washable pieces of machine and leave in dish drainer. Set bucket outside door so that you can dump the salt and ice on the cracks in the side walk..............
Now it's time to milk again. After that, there are more peaches to peel.........
(It's almost 10 pm. I think I will have a bowl of that icecream now!)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
This afternoon the vet came out and I had him do a reproductive exam on the two heifers that I got a couple of months ago. I also had them Bangs vaccinated, and TB and Brucellosis tested. I had all of the cows TB and Brucellosis tested as well. It was a hot day to be handling the cows, but I sure am glad to have it done. They all did pretty well. Nelly is very strong and she gave me a little trouble, but after I got her into the stanchion, she was very content.
Monday, August 4, 2008
When we go to church on Sunday, after the service, all the farmer's stand around and talk.
"You dry at your place?" one asks.
"Burnt up" is the reply.
"Have you had any rain this week?"
"No" or "Not enough to measure" is the answer.
The conversation then proceeds to how there is not hay to cut and no grass to mow
The conversations continue during the week at the grocery store, gas station, produce stand, wherever one farmer meets another.
The dry weather saps our strength and our spirits.
My cows, although well fed, are restless. They are craving the green grass. They want to be able to graze, but there is nothing for them to graze on. When I feed them, they are irritable and push at each other.
But there is always something to refresh our spirits if we just look for it. Most of the time, for me, it is my animals.
I had brought my cows in to lock them up so that they could be vet checked today, but the vet had an emergency and was not able to make it to our house. So, I sat and watched the girls eating their hay with which I had enticed them. These are my new girls and only one of them was friendly when I got them. I sat on top of the gate, and as the cows finished eating, one by one, they came up and smelled me. (It's a cow thing.) I was able to rub them all and scratch their ears. And Butter Cupp, whom I could not even touch a few weeks ago gave me a cow kiss! Now for those of you who don't know what a cow kiss is, I will explain. Cow's in a herd will groom each other by using their tongues to lick the sides, ears, face, etc. of another cow. You see mother's doing this to their babies, as well as cattle in a herd grooming each other. When the cows begin accepting a human as one of them, they will often lick you. That is a "cow kiss"! So, Butter gave me the sweetest kiss and I was able to touch her sides and feel her baby moving inside of her. Dixie allowed me to do the same with her. I love to feel those babies moving around and I love cow kisses!
(Note: Picture of dry yard. It has been weeks since we have mowed grass.)
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008