Monday, December 31, 2012

Paperwork - ugh!

I am determined to get this pile of paperwork off my desk today.  Other than running to Plymouth for some supplies for the hog pen, I have a full day ahead of me with no "must do" projects other than this paperwork.

I'm digging in, starting . . . NOW!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slow Sunday on the farm

Clay takes care of the chickens - except on Sunday.  That is his day off.  It's my day off, too, except I have to take care of the chickens.

So my day started at sunup - really late at this time of year.  I opened up the Moop, cleaned out the worst of the poop and threw hay over the top of the rest.  The hay insulates the floor in the winter, so we let it build up.

Clay always fills both of the waterers so that I don't have to carry water.  My bad shoulder, you know.  I got out all of their feeders and filled them.  We chatted a bit - the chickens always have a lot to say - and then I went in and started some cottage cheese with some milk that someone ordered and then didn't pick up.  No problem - I'll have a couple of pints of cottage cheese by tomorrow night.  :) 

We had a pancake breakfast at church.  My contribution was butter.  What else?  A little shopping - I needed a couple of things for the boeuf bourguignon - and then home. I stopped at the barn to touch base with Steve on what we would need for building materials.  I'll get that tomorrow.  The pigs will arrive on Wednesday, and he is finishing up their pen and shed.

The Bears won.  Go Bears!  Unfortunately, Green Bay didn't, so the Bears don't get a wild card spot in the playoffs.  Maybe next year.

It was a good day.  My cough is much better.  Yup, boiled milk and ground black pepper - that is the ticket.  Who knew?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

As I wrote a couple of days ago, my DVR player is kaput.  I dug out a movie to play on my bedroom TV so that I have something to go to sleep to.  Yes, I need some background noise to fall asleep.  Julie & Julia - that's what I have been watching.  Tonight I didn't fall asleep while watching it.  I watched every minute of it.  I love the movie.  I saw it in the theater twice, then bought the DVD so I could watch it whenever.  I love to cook, so aside from being a charming story, I love to watch the cooking.  My all time favorite movie is Babette's Feast, also about cooking.  I think I am obsessed with food. 

After seeing Julie & Julia for the first time, I came home and decided to write a blog, so that is why this blog exists.  At first I was determined to write something every day, no matter how trivial.  Obviously that has fallen by the wayside.  However, after watching the movie all the way through this evening, I am determined to get back on track.

So what happened today that might be of interest to you?  What happened here at the farm that paints a picture of my life?   

Let's see.  Today on the farm, I talked to Steve after milking, and he said Buttercup is getting better.  That is a very good thing.  We have been throwing away her milk, since she has a bad case of mastitis.  In an organic herd, there are no medicinal cures.  It requires twice a day milking, much massaging of her udder, and keeping her out of wet areas of pasture.  The milkers use Pain Relief Cream on her udder to reduce swelling, and they must make sure that all of the milk is stripped out of her four quarters twice a day.  That is about all we can do.  If it doesn't clear up, she will be culled.  That will make me sad.  She is a good old girl.  She had her fifth calf a few months ago and is pregnant again.  I hope we can get her on the road to health and celebrate the birth of her sixth calf next summer.

Now I am heading to bed with my copy of Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I shall read until I fall asleep with that great book on my lap, and tomorrow I shall feast on one of Julia Child's great recipes.  I have a freezer full of beef, and I am taking out an arm roast.  I think it will be turned into Boeuf Bourguinon.  It's been a while since I have enjoyed that classic dish.

Cough, cough, cough . . .

I have had a cough for about a month now, and it just seems to be getting worse.  I'm not really sick, just sick and tired of coughing.  The doctor even wanted a chest x-ray, but all is well, lungs are clear.  My temperature is only 97.1, pulse is a little high for me, but still, only 75, blood pressure is surprisingly low, only 125/80.

Anyway, I won't have it much longer, because at market today, everyone had a story about what to do to cure a cough.  Here are a few of my favorites.
  1. This one is ayurvedic.  Put a cup of organic whole milk and a fourth cup of water in a saucepan.  Add 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground organic pepper into it.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and keep on the heat until it is reduced to one cup total.  Sip a little three times a day.
  2. This is cough syrup.  Into a saucepan, put a pint of water, a few tablespoons of honey, horehound drops (a whole bag of them), peppermint drops (a whole bag of them).  Bring to a boil, then simmer until the candies are all melted.  Then add a half cup of whiskey.  Drink a small cup of it while it is still very hot.  When you are ready for your next dose, be sure to heat it until it is steaming hot.
  3. Make a poultice of sliced onions.  Put them in a small cloth bag, then put the bag into a dry skillet and heat, being careful not to scorch the bag.  Put a towel on your chest, then the poultice, then another towel and keep on chest until cooled off.  In the meantime, start a second poultice so it is hot when the first one has cooled down.  Do this continuously for several hours.
  4. Fill a large bowl with chopped fresh onions.  Cover it completely with honey.  Let sit for 24 hours.  The honey will draw the juice out of the onions.  Take a spoon of the juice several times a day (don't eat the onions).  Repeat as needed.
  5. Make very hot and very strong peppermint tea.  Sip as needed.
Well, surely ONE of these things will work!  I'm going to start with the milk one, just because I have everything I need handy.  Kind of hard to believe that dairy will make congestion clear up, but the woman who told me about it swears by it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

What else can go wrong?

I have had a cough for nearly a month now.  Doc finally did a chest x-ray, but my lungs are clear.  He said there is no sign of infection, either bacterial or viral.  So I am taking OTC meds, Musinex to loosen things up and Benadryl to dry things up.  I'm just plain tired from coughing and I wish it would go away!

My water heater went out the day before Christmas.  Fortunately, I have two, and the one for my bathroom was still working.  And my dishwasher heats the water, so I could use it.  I guess that could have been worse.  The repairman put a new thermostat in it the day after Christmas, and it is working - at least for now.

I am an insomniac.  In the night, I turn on my DVR and watch recorded episodes of The Good Wife or The Daily Show and set my timer for 30 minutes.  I fall right back asleep.  Last night my DVR died, for good.  New one is on the way, but in the meantime, whatever will I do?  I woke up about 2:30 a.m. and haven't been back to sleep since. 

My modem is working intermittently.  The repairman has been here at least six times in the last six months.   I have called technical help at CenturyLink, and they have checked it from there, insisting it is fine.  Sometimes my speed is as low as 0.13, but I am paying for 8!!!  Well, every time I call and complain, they give me a $30 credit on my bill, but I would rather have a modem that works.  Now it has taken to bumping me off the internet - probably at least once every minute or two.  Try placing an order with Amazon under these circumstances!!  The repairman is on his way with a new modem.  The technician at the phone company insisted (AGAIN) it wasn't the modem, but the repairman said he is going to install it and see what happens.

What else can go wrong?  Am I tempting fate to even ask that question?  We will see.

Lettuce is ready

Finally, I am doing the first cutting of lettuce today and taking to the restaurant in LaPorte.  There is plenty of mizuna, and I'm clipping a bit of the specialty lettuces.  The mizuna grows the fastest, and it is what the restaurant specifically requested, so I'm thinking that most of our flats will be full of it as the winter season progresses.

Here are pictures of the lettuces before cutting.

Mizuna - this one will be the real cash crop!

Asian Red

Marveille de quatre saison

These will be next cutting

More for next cutting

Aren't they pretty?
New babies - always more trays need to be started