Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Cow For Christmas

After gifts were exchanged this morning I was handed one more gift in the form of an envelope. Inside several pictures of Jersey cows fell into my lap. I just looked at my husband and he proceeded to tell me that the card was good for "1 cow" and these were 5 he had managed to find. All are bred and due to calve the end of January. Of course I started to sob! Jeez Dad, was the comment from my youngest son, you made her cry!
Soon afterwards the family started arriving and the rest of the day was spent with loved ones. I cooked a breakfast bread for the early arrivals and then we had a large dinner around 4 for the others. Just as we closed the door on the last to leave and collapsed on the couch, it started to snow. It was absolutely lovely and the ground was covered in no time at all. We went for a late night walk. It did not go in the record books as a true white Christmas, because it did not measure an inch at the airport by midnight, but we got 4 inches and it was truly magical. How incredibly blessed can a girl be? A cow for Christmas and a white one at that!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Turkey Cookin' Day

The morning started early~ 4 a.m. It was a cold day and the winds were blowing, making it hard to keep the heat up in the cookers. Finally, we stretched tarps to help block the wind and were able to get things rolling. People started wandering in around 1 and continued throughout the day. The smokers were full of yummy things to eat including the 16 turkeys that were for Doug's employees and some of our close friends. In addition we cooked ribs, chicken, beef roast, deer chili and squirrel. Beans and slaw too. That was just outside! Inside were platters of cookies and a huge array of appetizers. By days' end we had fed somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or so guests. It was so much fun and a good time was had by all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter Has Arrived

Oh yes, it is here. Our temps have been in the low teens and low 30's for the last few days. That means a lot of extra time is needed to be spent taking care of the animals and the garden.
The first thing on our agenda was to try and save the lettuce. I was not willing to let go just yet. We built small hoop houses out of 3 mil plastic and wooden stakes and crossed our fingers. I did not hold out much hope when it dipped to 13*, but to my great surprise this morning it seemed to be fine. We have two more nights before it levels off for a bit and rains. The temps are expected to drop again next week. I picked about a bushel and a half of spinach and lettuce to hold us for the next few days. I have found if I wash and spin the greens really well and place them in a heavy bread bag they will keep at least 2 weeks.
Next was to get the water pipes ready. Heat tapes were plugged up and all buckets were filled. The hoses have to be drained every night.
Every hay trough is filled daily to over flowing, the rabbit cages are stuffed with hay and shallow water dishes put in the cages for ease of dumping ice daily. None of the gravity fed water buckets work in weather like this. Through it all the critters are doing well~ just eating a lot.
The only bright spot in all of this is that I can now draw an easy breath and put parasite patrol on the back burner for the next few months.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making Soap

It was cold again today. Heavy rains came during the night, so it was wet as well. After early chores were done and a quick farm tour completed. I scurried indoors to find something constructive to do that did not require me to be outside!

Soap supplies are getting a bit low and with the holidays coming up it seemed to be a good day to make soap. So, I turned on some Christmas music and got to work; 3 hours later, I had turned out 7 batches of goat milk soap. Some were old favorites~ rosemary/tea tree and a cucumber/ melon. I did a trial run on a sweet orange/ lavender combo and a special order for a young girl with skin issues. That one contained patchouli, myrrh and tea tree oils along with dead sea salts. Fingers crossed it will turn out well for her.

Once done, I cleaned up the mess and headed out to finish afternoon chores. I discovered one of the lambs had a run in with something that peeled his side open. It looked like a tear from wire, though I could not find where it happened. A very nasty gash that could probably use some stitches but being that he is most likely freezer bound I decided to do the vetting myself. He is in a stall with dry hay and his wound dressed.( It really seemed to bother me more than him.) I also had to free a goat that decided the grass was greener, and had her head stuck in the fence. My last chore on the list was to get a stinky goat smelling rag. Okay, let me explain. I had a sweet little girl bring her Nigerian goat over to be bred. Not sure if the little goat is pregnant, having keep her through 2 cycles and being that the little girl was distraught about leaving her goat any longer, I told her I would supply a stinky goat rag in a jar for her to let her little goat sniff when she is due to cycle again. Now I am not sure how this will work, though I have been told it does. I'll let you know...