Sunday, October 24, 2010

October's nearly gone

Here we are moving into the last week of October, and I have only written four pieces for the month!  With Roy here, a lot more is getting done, but it seems that for every job that gets done, two pop up in its place.

Kayla is working with me in the soap room one day a week, only last week it was two days!  We are nearly caught up with soap, and this week I plan on trying her out on some office help.  That is now where I am the farthest behind.  The tags on the soap board nearly covered it - one goes up every time I see that I need to make more of a particular soap.  It takes five weeks to cure, so staying on top of it is important.  We are down to only four batches needing to be made this week, and Roy wants to learn how it's done.  So hopefully we will get them all onto the curing racks by Wednesday.  Then there are a few lotions to do, and some herbal remedies.

We are butchering one of our cows that failed to settle (that means get pregnant).  If they can't have calves, then they don't give milk, and they are not salable.  Our shareholders appreciate getting meat from animals that have been treated humanely, are strictly grass fed, and are organic.  So we will sell the meat to the shareholders for considerably under the value for organic grass-fed beef.

At auction, most of the animals will sell for less than they would if you are shopping for just one cow, so I set out to see if I could purchase at least one cow for replacement, and maybe even two.  These were registered Guernseys, the breed I want to increase in our herd, and would probably have had to pay at least what we will get for our meat for just one cow.   I was fortunate enough to be sitting next to a guy who raised and milked Guernsey cows for 50 years, and so he pointed me to some good values - cows a little older, maybe not such high, perfect udders, but good milking records and very high butterfat.  The two cows cost what we will get for the meat from our one cow.  They arrived last night and are getting to know the other cows already. 

I was going over the records of the two I bought last night and discovered that I bought grandma and granddaughter.  One of the girls freshened in July, and we are already milking her.  The other was due to freshen yesterday, so very soon we will have copious amounts of milk from her as well - and all that butterfat!  Guernseys give this lovely golden milk with very high butterfat, and are the breed with the highest A2 content.  You can read more about A2 milk here if you are interested: 
A1 - A2 Milk information   And some of the science stuff here:  Science behind A1 A2 milk

Pictures of new cows later.  I need to get on with my day.  I'm going to bake some braided oatmeal and whole wheat bread today.  Sean and Roy are getting spoiled for the good stuff - no more day-old bread store bread for them!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Peace, evening peace

 The weather is beautiful, it was sunny all day, crisp temperature and light breeze.  Now it is still as it settles into twilight, the breeze gone, the sun setting.  The chickens are about to go to roost.  Cows are milked, back in pasture waiting for their evening feed of beautiful green alfalfa hay.

There is a big pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove.  Roy and Sean are finishing bottling milk and cleaning up.  They will be in for supper soon.  Roy said the cows milked well.  They are getting used to him, are much better behaved than they were the first few nights he milked.

I snapped a few pictures.  I hope they capture a bit of the peace that exists around here - all the time, but especially at twilight.

"Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh, shadows of the evening steal across the sky . . .  "

Sabine Baring-Gould, pub.1865

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eggs of many colors!

The new chickens roaming around here are finally laying a few eggs.  My old Campines lay white eggs; the new ones lay blue and brown eggs.  So I always know the source - colors mean the new girls are finally feeling at home.  I get at least one colored egg most days now.  A few days ago, I found one of each in the nest, and I wanted to share with you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New friends

I've been very busy, picking and preserving last of garden produce before the hard frost.  We got the predicted frost last night, and I was glad that there were baskets of tomatoes, peppers and kaprao holy basil for tulsi tea in the garage.  The greens will do just fine in this weather, and I expect to be picking cabbage, kale and collards for at least another six weeks.

Roy and his son Sean are here visiting from Maine.  Roy wants to help out here on the farm, wants Sean to experience farm life.  They are both enjoying themselves, and Sean is taking to this place like a duck to water.  Yesterday while I was canning tomatoes, Roy built a new gate for the chicken run.  It is a work of art.  I was going to get some lumber to frame the gate, and then Roy said, "You have a lot of saplings around here.  Would you mind if we cut some of them down for the frame?"  Would I mind?  Hardly!  Off we went in search of some long, narrow and straight saplings for the frame.

I was canning tomatoes while they worked on the gate.  Sean came inside to ask if I wanted to go along on a walk to find a final sapling, one with a hitch in it, that could be used for the handle.  I was at a point where I could take a break from the tubs of tomatoes, so off we went for a second walk into the cottonwood stand down by the pond.  We found several candidates for the handle, and Roy cut the two best possibilities.

By suppertime, the gate was complete.  It is a work of art! 

The finished product, handle and all!

Friday, October 1, 2010


My Baby Bear, who came into my life on December 21, 1994, left this plane this afternoon.  She was just a few weeks old when she was found in a ditch near my workplace, and she came with puppy breath and lots of fur.  When someone brought her inside to our Christmas party, I was instantly in love, and she came home with me that afternoon.

She has been failing for the past year or two, but still happy and doing okay. Finally, I could no longer deny that it was time. She slipped away at 3:30 this afternoon, in my arms, after bringing me nearly 16 years of joy.