Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot & Dry Weather Woes

It is another hot week. Forecasting Rain- 30 percent chance.  Has not come to pass but hopeful as the skies get darker.
The pastures are spent. The sheep and goats still have good condition. They must really be foraging. We have a Belted Galloway heffer we need to sell. Trying to take  as much stress off the pastures as possible.

 Defintely couldn't of picked a worse year for putting in a hay field. We have been wanting to put one in for years and finally managed to do it. Weather has NOT cooperated at all. Not sure how it is all going to work out in the end.

Postive Note: We have someone buying some of our Toggenburg yearlings along with their kids. Excited about that.  Looks like they are going to a 4-H home and you can't find a better home than that. I love when it works out that way.
As I sit here and write I hear thunder. 

And there is rain....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

No power=No water

Lost power on Thursday. I find it interesting that the first night you do not have power it is almost fun. Slumber Party in the Living Room. No one seems to mind that the electronic devices are not available...you spend the night talking or playing games by lamplight. Many games of  Monopoly have been played in a power outage.
Second Day not so fun. If it wasn't for not having water it might last a a little longer.
One of the few  things I do not like about country life...We lose water when the power goes out. The city girl that I was,  the first time we lost power I remember turning on the faucet expecting water. "Water isn't working" (me)
"Its not going to work" (country boy husband)
"What"???? (me)
" Well  Pump doesn't work without electricity" (country boy husband)
"What"???? (me)

Surprising how many times you turn your faucet on a day without even thinking about it.
I can do no lights without much of a problem. I can do no electronic devices. No water, well that is another story.

The worst we have had to endure was losing power for three days. Having to haul water from neighbors to water the livestock. We packed up and went to town. Came home just long enough to do chores.
Lucky for us when we lose power our neighbor across the road never seems to. Glad that we have that resource.

We talk about generators whenever we have one of those experiences. Shortly it is forgotten until the next time...

Happy to say the Consumers had us back to normal in less than 24 hours time.
Long enough to remind me how grateful I am for modern conveniences. I know, I would never survive living off the grid.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednsday Ramblings

Mid week. Haven't got much done! It has been very hot. Managed to keep the garden watered but not much else. Grateful the berries have the irrigation system that Mike put in earlier makes watering a breeze.

Getting worried about the pasture. It is not going to hold out much longer if we do not get some rain.
I remember only one other time we had to feed hay in July. Hoping that is not going to be the case this year.  Right now we have a low stock rate per acre so that has helped.
The livestock have been spending most of their time under the row of mulberry trees. The coolest spot to be found. 

It is suppose to cool down a bit and rain tomorrow. Praying they predicted correctly.


Beating the Heat


Puppies favorite place in the warmer weather.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Frozen Yogurt Treats

Suppose to be 97 degrees today! Perfect day for Fruity Yogurt Pops.

My girls favorite use for yogurt.

I have used all different kinds of fruit; bananas, pineapple, and strawberries seem to be the favorite.
I can post a recipe that we use, but sugar can be adjusted to taste as well as what fruits are used. Definitely not an exact science, I don't think I ever make it the same way twice

2 cups yogurt (goats milk yogurt)
3-4 cups Fruit (strawberries & banana)
2 cups crushed pineapple (I used this with the strawberries and banana mixture)
1/2 cup sugar or honey
Combine ingredients and blend until smooth.
Pour into molds- leave some headspace.
Freeze!
I have used fresh, frozen and freeze dried fruit (reconstituted)
I have used blueberries and bananas, tropical fruit mix, cherries, etc..

Sugar or Honey can be used and adjusted to taste preference. I always taste the mixture before adding it to the molds. It can vary depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit being used.

Enjoy!




Monday, June 18, 2012

Mozzarella

I finally made Mozzarella Cheese. That has been on my to do list for years.
It always seemed so intimidating. It ended up being pretty easy.
I did use the "quick and easy" recipe.
Just need to keep an eye on temperatures.
Definately will be making it more often!

If it wasn't so hot I would use it to  top some homemade pizza.
Decided on Mozzarella Bites.
Easy to make.
All you need are cubes of Mozarella Cheese and Egg roll Wrappers.

Cut the egg roll wrappers into fourths.
Place small cube of cheese in middle of egg roll wrapper.
Wrap the cheese with the egg roll wrapper. Pinch to seal (use a little water to make it stick)
Fry in hot oil. Browing all sides.
Serve with favorite dipping sauce.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lost Kid!

We were leaving town- graduation party.
My daughter announced she found a new doe kid out in the pasture, she said things looked good, she was up and nursing. Okay, good -we will be sure to check on her when we get home.

Later -made it home. Everyone was up at the water tanks. I can see new mom, but no kid with her. Scanned over field, didn't see her.  Out comes 4 wheeler, drove around twenty minutes. No baby, listened for some bleating...nothing!
This is a first. We finally gave up looking after about 45 minutes. I felt sick, all we could think of was fox? Coyote? Never a good thought. We have been blessed  that has not ever happened. Scared that this may be a first.
Today after church we came home there was baby and mom!?
WHAT?
We are ecstatic, but puzzled. Not quite sure what happened. A pleasant surprise to say the least.
Happy to say they are both doing great!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Escape Artist

Went out to milk goats this morning and noticed the pen where the kids were SUPPOSE to be was empty and the gate opened!
I couldn't find them anywhere.

We called the does, they came up but no kids following behind...a little worried...
I put the does in the milk stand, it was obvious someone had an early breakfast...a little less worried.
We put the does back, still no sign of the kids. Not normal.
Looked over the pasture, no sight of the little critters.
We finally found them all laying low in the rock pile/tree cover.

Not much milk,  so much for trying out the mozzarella recipe that was up for today.

Today's to do list:
Fortify the kids overnight pen
They look so innocent...

Monday, June 11, 2012

We call them Ober-Toggs

We have had several breeds of meat and dairy goats. We have had many mix breeds. When you mix  two different breeds you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes it doesn't turn out very well in the looks department.
We have Toggenburg and Oberhasli goats, but only an Oberhasli buck So we bred our Toggs to the Oberhasli and wondered what we would get.
We call them our Ober-Toggs and we think they are gorgeous!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sad Day

What a sad day for the girls. 
They have been checking on Ce-Ce, our Oberhasli Doe who was expecting. Well she decided to have her baby while we were at Church.  When we got home they found her in labor. Unfortunately, she was carrying a very large kid and it was too late. We assisted but the kid was already gone. We are grateful that Ce-Ce is okay.

I had mentioned that new life never gets old, well the same is true about losing a life ...it is HARD and it never becomes routine.
I am thankful that it does not happen very often, but unfortunately, it does happen. One of the many hard lessons learned on a farm.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Update: Say Cheese

Well I am happy to say that the cheese turned out great!

We seasoned it up Taco Style for me and the girls. Horseradish for the man of the house (the only one who will eat it)

This is a great recipe for those times when you have extra milk.
You can freeze the cheese for up to six months. Just do NOT season it if you are going to freeze it.  You can add the seasoning after you thaw it out.
 
Here is the link for the post on making the Cheese:
 

Got Yogurt

Today I am  making yogurt. Homemade yogurt is not hard to make if  you have a good starter and you keep an eye on the temperature.
I have read a lot of different ways to make yogurt at home. They all work. We have a big family so I make  large batches so most of the yogurt makers I came across were not big enough. I use a crock from an old crock pot I had and a heating pad.

Slowly heat  4 quarts goats milk to 110 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Remove from heat
Add 1/4 cup  starter (plain yogurt with live cultures)
Mix well.
Pour in bowl (crock)
Put on lid.

Turn heating pad on low (placed under the bowl)
Incubate  6-8 hours
Keep temperature at 90-100 degrees


Sometimes I will add 1 cup powdered  milk to make a thicker yogurt.
A lot of people use mason jars to incubate in. The important thing is make sure the temperature stays within range. Yogurt makers are nice if you have one, but not necessary.

There are a lot of things you can do with the plain yogurt. After it is done you can add fruit or other flavors. Make frozen yogurt or Popsicles. Use it in place of sour cream.
Best thing about homemade yogurt is no added preservatives or sugar. Only what you decide to put in it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Say Cheese

I started some Chevre Cheese today.
It is a soft cheese that I have made a few times. It is simple and  I like simple!
I also like how versatile it is. You can use it in place of cream cheese, but you can also dress it up and make seasoned cheeses with it, which is the way we like it best.

You only need three ingredients: Goats milk, cultured buttermilk, and rennet. The recipe I use is

-5 quarts Goats Milk
-1/2 cup Buttermilk (cultured)
-2 Tablespoons diluted rennet (3 drops rennet in 1/3 cup cool water)

Warm milk up to 80 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Add Buttermilk, and rennet mixture, stir well.
Cover and let sit 8-12 hours at room temperature
(You know it is ready when it has a  yogurt like consistency)

Line a bowl with cheesecloth (some use a pillowcase)
Pour curds in the center.
Enclose the cheesecloth and hang it over a large bowl or sink to drain.
6-8 hours.
When it has stopped draining, cheese is ready.
Should be consistency of cream cheese.

Add seasoning

It takes some "waiting" time but not much preparation time at all.

If all goes well, we will have cheese sometime tommorow!

For some great recipes using goat's milk I would recommend

"Goats Produce Too! The Udder Real Thing Volume 11" by Mary Jane Toth

It's a great book with a LOT of recipes!







Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On the Bookshelf

I love to read. When we were contemplating moving to the country I read everything I could find about homesteading.  I decided very quickly that I liked sheep and that if I had a farm I just had to have some. Since I knew absolutely nothing about raising sheep, or any livestock for that matter,  I read  as many books and periodicals  as I could.

Shepherdess: Notes from the Field  by Joan Jarvis Ellison

First book I read about raising sheep. Very fun informative book that I read several times.

Raising Sheep the Modern Way  by Paula Simmons was the first book I found at our small, local library that was dedicated to raising sheep. The only book they had.
Reading Paula Simmons heightened my interest.  I knew that sheep had wool, but after reading Paula Simmons I discovered that wool was a lot more interesting that I had ever realized.  With that in mind I read many other books from Paula Simmons. Among my favorites,
Turning Wool into a Cottage Industry.

After moving to our farm I continued to read. One of the books that changed my outlook on raising livestock was  Quality Pasture  by Allan Nation. I am so glad that I found this book. It changed the direction that we decided to go with farming. Encouraged us to put up good quality fence before buying livestock as well as  raising our livestock on pasture and not the barn.

Other favorites...

More Sheep, More Grass, More Money by Peter Schroedter

Small-Scale Livestock Farming A Grass-Based Approach for Health, Sustainability and Profit  by Carol Ekarius

Teach Yourself Visual Handspinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin

Goats Produce Too! The Udder Real Thing Volume 11  by Mary Jane Toth

Milk Soap Making: The Smart and Simple Guide to Making Lovely Milk Soap From Cow Milk, Goat Milk, Buttermilk, Cream, Coconut Milk or Any Other Animal by Anne L. Watson

Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

Starting and Running Your Own Small Farm Business by Sarah Beth Aubrey

Spinning Wool Beyond the Basics by Anne Field














 





Maids a Milking

Today was the first day that we officially started milking goats!

We had been milking one or two a day just taking their extras for Frankie, the bummer lamb.

But last night we separated Mom from their kids so we could milk this morning. We will start doing this daily so we can have milk for yogurt and cheese.

I know a lot of dairy people take the kids away at birth and bottle feed them and milk their does twice a day. That was one of the reasons we did NOT get dairy goats. We have a busy schedule and milking goats twice a day, no matter what, was not something I wanted to take on.
BUT after talking to a few dairy people I discovered that you can still have milk goats and NOT milk twice a day.

We leave the kids with their moms after birth and we let does take care of them.
After about two weeks we take the kids away at night, get them introduced to grain, and we milk the does in the morning. After we milk, we put the kids back in pasture and they graze and get the milk they need.

This system works well for us:
- I only milk once a day
- I do not have to bottle feed kids.
- If for some reason I cannot be here I do not have to worry about them not getting milked.

If we were a full fledge Dairy this system would not work, but since we just have a few  milk goats for our own use (milk, cheese, yogurt) it works out perfectly!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Life Never Gets Old

We are done lambing! And I thought we would be done kidding by now...but we are still waiting on a few goats.
We have an Oberhasli  yearling,  Ce-Ce.    This will be her first year having babies. She has been waddling around the pasture for the last two weeks looking like she is going to kid any minute.

The girls check on her several times a day hoping that each time they go out that there will be a surprise waiting for them. But so far nothing. 

 It seems no matter how many years we have been doing this, no matter how many lambs or kids we have had, each one is so exciting!  One of the more positive aspects of Farming. New life NEVER gets old.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Home Sweet Basket

We found a little surprise when we watered the hanging flower basket. A little Finch had made it it's home sweet home.
The girls are anxiously awaiting for the egg to hatch.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Introducing Scout & Flynn

Scout (aka Chub Scout)
Flynn

Ant Control

I am happy to say the ants are GONE!
The last couple of years we have had problems with ants.  I noticed them around the trees, when we were landscaping around the house and when they made their way into my kitchen.
We have  sprayed around the house and they would dissapear, but in a short time they would be back.

This spring when I noticed they were back I decided to try something else. Did some research online and found a easy home remedy to try.  I am glad to report that in about 4 days the ants are gone!
Secret: Borax
Mix one cup water, two cups sugar add 2 Tablespoons Borax.
We put this in bottle caps and left it where we seen ants. We noticed them eating it right away. It was hard to resist killing them on the spot, but you want them to take the food back to the nest so it can be shared with the other ants.
If you have pets/children make sure you leave where it cannot be reached.
Make sure that when you no longer see the ants you remove the mix, you don't want to attract other ants.

Hoping that will be the last we see of the ants for the summer.

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