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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Get to Know Your Cows!

(CNN) – Here’s a tip for dairy farmers: If you want your cows to produce more milk, get to know them better.

So says a study out of Newcastle University in northeast England, published online Wednesday in the academic journal Anthrozoos.
The researchers found that farmers who named their cows Betsy or Gertrude or Daisy improved their overall milk yield by almost 500 pints (284 liters) annually.

“Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if they are given a bit more one-to-one attention,” Catherine Douglas of the university’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development said in a news release.

“By placing more importance on the individual, such as calling a cow by her name or interacting with the animal more as it grows up, we can not only improve the animal’s welfare and her perception of humans, but also increase milk production.”


Douglas and her colleagues questioned 516 dairy farmers in the United Kingdom. Almost half said they called the cows on their farms by name and reported a higher milk yield.
A press statement from the university, touting the study, quoted Dennis Gibb, who co-owns a dairy farm outside of Newcastle, called Eachwick Red House Farm.

“We love our cows here at Eachwick, and every one of them has a name,” Gibb said. “Collectively, we refer to them as ‘our ladies,’ but we know every one of them and each one has her own personality.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/01/29/happy.cows.milk/index.html


I am happy to say that here at our farm, every calf, heifer and cow are loved dearly. They each have a name and get plenty of scratches, hugs and kisses! In fact, I am not sure they realize they are cows! To me, they are part of the family!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sadie & Spencer on Ice

You Just Can't Beat Free Range Eggs!



But they sure taste good scrambled! We had scrambled eggs, ham and pancakes for supper last night! Yum!


Great article on the benefits of free range eggs from MOTHER EARTH NEWS:

RESULTS FROM OUR PREVIOUS STUDY: Eggs from hens allowed to peck on pasture are a heck of a lot better than those from chickens raised in cages! Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion we have reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

LATEST RESULTS: New test results show that pastured egg producers are kicking the commercial industry's derriere when it comes to vitamin D! Eggs from hens raised on pasture show 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs.

FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE AND MORE INFORMATION CHECK OUT THEIR LINK:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/eggs

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Clabber & Buttermilk

Diane brought to my attention that I did not explain myself thorougly on my recipe for Derby cheese and the use of clabber/buttermilk. I use these two terms interchangeably, and I will explain why.

When I first began using raw milk I read that I could make cultured buttermilk by purchasing cultured buttermilk at the store and using it as a starter for my homemade. I did this for quite a while until one day I began to wonder how people made cultured buttermilk before Food Lion was around the corner! I found out that they actually made buttermilk from clabbered milk. They simply took clabbered milk and added it to their fresh milk and started their buttermilk in that manner. I then realized that clabbered milk WAS cultured buttermilk! I began to use my clabber in the place of buttermilk for recipes calling for such.

(On a side note, if you have difficulty getting your milk to clabber, you can purchase buttermilk at the grocery store and get your clabbered milk started by adding a bit of the buttermilk to your raw milk. You can just save back a bit of the cultured milk each time to start you next batch. Fortunately, all the conditions with the raw milk that I have and the temperature and good bacteria that abounds seem to culture my raw milk quickly and easily and the clabber sets up within 24-72 hours without any assitance.)

Now, on to the cheese.................

Last winter when I made cheese I was buying cultures from cheese making shops and having them shipped in. It was cost prohibitive and besides, I am always trying to figure out how the "old timers" did things. After researching for a while, I found out that mesophilic starter can be substituted with cultured buttermilk and thermophilic starter yogurt! Now isn't that a handy tidbit do know! I no longer order those starters and instead use my my buttermilk and yogurt! The bonus has been that I have found the taste of the cheese to be much, much better in a shorter amount of time (less aging time).

If any of this does not make sense, please feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer them!

Misbehaving

Have you ever noticed how much cattle can act like children when they are doing something they know they are not suppose to do?

Evidently the gate between the two fields was not latched properly and when I glanced out my kitchen window, I knew instantly that things were amiss.

How could I not!

Have you ever observed a junior high school class when the teacher leaves the room? All heck breaks loose! Everyone jumps out of their desk and they are all competing for attention. Well. that's pretty much what it looked like outside my kitchen window.

Five calves were running.............wide open............excited with the adventure of being in the "forbidden field". Princess, the baby, thought the "older" calves were really cool and she just ran around trying to imitate them.

Scarlette was not amused at the bull who came up to sniff her (thank goodness she was not in heat). Sugar ran the other direction and peaked around the corner at the bull. I think she thought he was really cute, but knew she was just a little to young to show active interest in him.

Maya, Butter and Dixie looked like old school marms who can't stand to have a bunch of little kids running wild.

Edie, being wise and thinking only of her ever widening stomach, figured someone would go to the barn and get "treats" and reward the erring when they chose good behavior over bad (in other words, she knew Tammy would bribe them all with the best hay). She planted her fat butte right in the way at the gate knowing where we kept the good stuff.

And Nelly, being young and full of herself having recently most likey attained status as "bred", decided it was time to show everyone that she wished to achieve "boss cow" status. Since Mayfield was the sweetest, easiest target, she began a nice, all out girl fight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Recipe for Derby Cheese

The recipe comes from the book CHEESE MAKING AT HOME.

DERBY

Preparation time: 4 Hours
Pressing Time: 26 Hours
Aging Time: 1-2 Months
Makes 4 pounds

This cheese, pronounced "Darby" originated in the country of Derbyshire, England. It is similar to cheddar but has a higher moisture content and ages more quickly.

4 gallons of whole milk
2 cubes or 1/4 c mesophilic starter culture (I use buttermilk/clabber)
1/2 tablet rennet, dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
1/4 cup salt

1. Heat milk to 84 degrees F. Add starter culture, mising well. cover and let ripen 30 minutes.

2. Add dissolved rennet, stirring well. cover and let sit 45 minutes.

3. Cut the curd into 1/2" cubes.

4. Heat slowly to 94 degrees, stirring the curds by hand. This should take 30 minutes.

5. Let the curds settle for 30 minutes.

6. Drain the whye and allow curds to sit in colander for 30 minutes.

7. Cut into four slabs. Stack slabs on top of each other, reversing their order every 20 minutes for one hour.

8. Tear slabs into pea sized pieces. Sprinkle 1/4 cup salt over curds. Mix well.

9. Pack curds into a cheesecloth lined mold.

10. Apply 10 pounds pressure for one hour. Flip and repack. Apply 10 pounds pressure for one hour. Flip and repack. Apply 50 pounds pressure for 24 hours.

11. Air dry cheese on a mat for several days until dry to the touch. Turn twice a day.

12. Wax cheese and age it for 1-2 months at 50-55 degrees turning it twice a week.

From God’s Perspective

From God’s Perspective
by Max Lucado

“We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope” (Thessalonians 4:13 JB).

The Thessalonian church had buried her share of loved ones. And the apostle wanted the members who remained to be at peace regarding the ones who had gone ahead. Many of you have buried loved ones as well. And just as God spoke to them, he speaks to you.

If you’ll celebrate a marriage anniversary alone this year, he speaks to you.

If your child made it to heaven before making it to kindergarten, he speaks to you.

If you lost a loved one in violence, if you learned more than you want to know about disease, if your dreams were buried as they lowered the casket, God speaks to you.

He speaks to all of us who have stood or will stand in the soft dirt near an open grave. And to us he gives this confident word: “I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow, as those who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him all the Christians who have died” (1 Thess. 4:13–14 TLB).

God transforms our hopeless grief into hope-filled grief. How? By telling us that we will see our loved ones again.

Isn’t that what we want to believe? We long to know that our loved ones are safe in death. We long for the reassurance that the soul goes immediately to be with God. But dare we believe it? Can we believe it? According to the Bible we can.

Scripture is surprisingly quiet about this phase of our lives. When speaking about the period between the death of the body and the resurrection of the body, the Bible doesn’t shout; it just whispers. But at the confluence of these whispers, a firm voice is heard. This authoritative voice assures us that at death the Christian immediately enters into the presence of God and enjoys conscious fellowship with the Father and with those who have gone before.

Where do I get such ideas? Listen to some of the whispers:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
(Phil. 1:21–23 NIV)

We don’t like to say good-bye to those we love. But if what the Bible says about heaven is true, and I believe it is, then the ultimate prayer, the ultimate answered prayer, is heaven.

It is right for us to weep, but there is no need for us to despair. They had pain here. They have no pain there. They struggled here. They have no struggles there. You and I might wonder why God took them home. But they don’t. They understand. They are, at this very moment, at peace in the presence of God.

Friday, January 23, 2009

From Start to Finish

Some of you might remember that a few months back I got some peeps from the local FFA. Silly me, I did not ask them if they were layers or meat birds. As the cute little peeps began to morph into giant birds, I suddenly realized I had meat birds on my hands, not layers.

You have to understand that seven years of my formative, childhood years were spent living on a small farm in Misourri. In addition to cattle, horses and hogs, this farm was home to a commercial chicken house. If anything in this world will turn your stomach and make you swear off eating chicken, it's working in a commercial chicken house. It took me years after leaving the farm before I could eat chicken without it turning my stomach.

When I realized these birds from the FFA were meat birds, I began a compaign to find someone to take them off my hands. I had about 40-50 dollars worth of starter feed in them before I had switched over to raw milk, clabber and corn that we had grown. I put them on Craigslist and asked simply for what I had in them in feed. No takers. It was the wrong time of the year for folks wanting to raise their own meat birds. So, I duitifully fed and watered them every day. The poor little CornishX birds could hardly walk with their deep, wide breasts and thick legs. When they ran across the dirt, they sounded like ducks waddling. Finally, it came time. We had to butcher them.

My brother, Jim, and his wife, Kelly, came to visit us. They offered to help us butcher the birds last weekend. It was a terribly cold day here in Virginia and we really didn't want to butcher them in the cold. However, it was one of those "now or never" situations. We knew that if we wanted the expert help, we needed to do it. So, Mike and Jimmy braved the cold and butchered 13 birds. By the time they brought them inside to us, the birds no longer resembled the feathered creatures that had been waddling around the yard. Instead, they were the best looking meat I had ever seen! I was amazed! Kelly was great and cut up all but four of the birds, that we kept whole for roasting. The whole birds were so big, we could barely get them in one gallon freezer bags.

Tonight we are having some of that fabulous looking chicken for supper. I have it slowly cooking the crockpot right now and it smells delicious. It is such an awesome feeling raising up our food from start to finish and knowing exactly what was and was not put into it!

Jimmy has butchered a lot of chickens and he said it was the best meat he had seen. I attribute the success of these birds to all the good milk I raised them on!

Thanks, Jimmy & Kelly for all your help! We will be thinking of you tonight while we eat our chicken!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Farm Show Fun




Yesterday, Mike and I went to the farm show. It was pretty much a disappointment because it gets smaller and less attended every year. I did find a great source for Robert Duncan and other farm related prints. Mike bought me two prints with Jerseys in them! I just love them. They came matted and framed at what I thought was a great price! The gentleman had a booth at the farm show and also has web page where I can drool over more pictures and decide what I want to buy next year! The frames were made by the Amish in Pennsylvania.

To view the web site, click on "Farm Art" in my "links" column.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gone with the Wind

Gerald: Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara - that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land's the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts.

Scarlett: Oh, Pa. You talk like an Irishman.

Gerald: It's proud I am that I'm Irish, and don't you be forgetting, Missy, that you're half-Irish, too. And, to anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them - why, the land they live on is like their mother. Oh, but there, there. Now, you're just a child. It'll come to you, this love of the land. There's no getting away from it if you're Irish.

Thanks, Sam!!!!!!

Saint Theresa's Prayer


May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
Dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Say Cheese!




I have spent the last three days making cheese. I just wasn't able to get in the frame of mind to make it until a few days ago. I am on a roll now! I have two rolls of Derby (pronounced Darby) on the rack drying and one in the cheese press. I have also made several batches of Feta and Mozzarella.

Awe, Mom! That's Embarassing!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My new picture




After church this morning, Mike and I went out to eat and then stopped by an antique store. Dennis, Mike's cousin also went along with us. While we were there, I fell in love with this framed picture. Mike bought it for me and I think it looks lovely in our home.

Someone had written the following on the a piece of paper and stuck it to the picture:

Copyright Hayes Litho Co.
Buffalo, NY

Another piece of paper said the following:

Barker Moor Ad
Mein Medicine Company
Philedelphia, PA

If anyone knows anything about the picture or the information, I would love to hear!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Quote about losing a child.............

When a man looses his wife,
He is called a widower.
When a woman looses her husband,
She is called a widow.
When a child looses her parents,
She is an orphan.
But when a parent looses his child…
There is no name for this type of pain.
It is hard to live and has no name.

~Major Bloomberg

My Letter of Apology

Dear Ms. Brown,

Unfortunately, my "very bad" dog ate the corner off the check you had written for potatoes. The bank was unable to accept it without the routing number. I've enclosed the check so that you can void and destroy it.

My apologies,



Tammy Cupp



(True Story!!!!)