Monday, March 28, 2011

A Rat In the Hen House

When I went to gather the eggs this evening I discovered all of the turkey eggs were missing. I was totally ticked. At first I thought maybe the eggs had gotten broken and they had just cleaned them up, but under further investigation I found a large tunnel running under both coops. I had made a nest on the floor of the covered run in hopes that Mrs. T would hatch some eggs out this year. Last year she did get broody but broke all the eggs over the course of her nesting time. I had planned to give her one more chance. When she starts laying again I guess I will gather the eggs until Templeton is disposed of or I have enough to put in the incubator. Good grief! Always something.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Simple Sunday

Today was cloudy, cold and rainy. The early chores completed, I was able to spend most of the day in the house doing simple things. I made butter and Mozzarella cheese. A large pot of white chili simmered on the stove. I started the goat cheese that will be finished tomorrow and got our cereal for the week made. Lastly I tried my hand at making tortillas. My son loves wraps and I just can't bring myself to buy those that are loaded with a bunch of junk. So with his help we commenced to mixing and rolling. Such a simple process. Flour, butter, baking powder, salt and water. When we finished we had a dozen tortillas. The key to keeping them soft and pliable is to put them in a bag or container and close it to let them steam. The next ones I make I will use spelt flour for a little more added nutrition and flavor.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bringing in Hay

It is that time of year. I am scrambling and hoping we don't run out of hay. We felt sure last year that we would have plenty, but that was before my mom's goats came to live with us. With so many more mouths to feed we will surely run out before mowing time. It seems no one is baling round bales around here these days, so I was forced to purchase a large square bale. That in itself is not so bad, but being that all of our larger feeders are made for round bales makes things a little more interesting! The boys improvised though and pushed the square one into the feeder. We then cut the strings and the large flakes that fell off were then put in smaller hay racks around the different barns. It worked fairly well and the animals were enjoying it immensely!

Friday, March 25, 2011

An Ambitious Moment?

Always in a hurry and sometimes not checking behind myself, I did not realize how large this milking pail would be when I ordered it! My plan was to milk in my smaller stainless pail and pour to a larger one to take to the house. I am not so sure if I do fill it up that I will be able to carry it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Morning chores completed, my mom and I hit the road for a field trip. In exchange for her alpine does I had promised her that I would purchase a Nubian buck for her. She is going to just keep her Nubian's and stick with one breed. Smart lady, that one. So off we went and visited a lovely farm near in Cliffside, N.C. Many beautiful boys to choose from, but this handsome guy came home with us!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The First Full Day Of Spring

It's that time of year. I can't force myself to stay indoors and do household chores. And though there was laundry and house cleaning to be done, I kept loosing focus and finding myself outdoors once again. In my perfect world there would be one rainy day each week to catch up on those icky inside things we must do. I did force myself to bake a loaf of onion rye bread for the Reuben's (using left over corned beef from the St. Patty's day supper) that I plan to fix tonight.
So, I watered the mushrooms, fed the critters, milked and picked lots of greens. I wandered around just checking on this and that . Gathered eggs. Combed out some cashmere goats. Pulled some weeds.
And, I stenciled my bee hives! I kept thinking that I wanted to go with Key West colors for my boxes but then I was straightening up some things in the basement the other night and I found lots of stencils begging for a purpose. Plus I was receiving a few strange looks from my hubby about our bee hive color scheme. So... ta da!

I still have lots of supers left to go, but I think they will be pretty neat when all is done.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shiitake Mushrooms

I finished up the shiitakes today and got all the logs moved to their permanent home. All that is left to do is water and wait. I think I probably need to cover them with a shade cloth as well to conserve moisture as it is already looking like it will be a dry year. If all goes as planned we may possibly have mushrooms this fall!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cultivating Mushrooms

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day running errands. After delivering bread, milking and doing the morning round, I needed to pick up the rest of our bee supplies, pick up my coop order, hit the fresh fish store and make a bank run. My main goal, though, was to get home and start inoculating logs for the mushrooms I plan to grow. My husband had a few of his employees cut the logs I needed and they dropped them off for me here at the farm. When Luke arrived home from school, we started the process. It has been a long time dream to have my own fresh mushrooms and to be able to dry the ones we don't use for later use. I had ordered 500 plugs, 300 shiitaki and 200 oyster. We didn't get started until late afternoon and therefor came nowhere close to finishing. I got all the oysters finished and will finish the shiitakes on Sunday.

Today I was finally able to bake the new sourdough. The first recipe I tried was a dense, heavy whole wheat loaf and has a pleasant tangy taste. A wonderful accompaniment to soups or stews.

I also got our first cheese of the season made. YUM! I think it is the best I have made yet. It could possibly be that we have just missed having fresh cheese. I will definitely freeze extra this year to enjoy during our "dry" months. Today's flavors were Jalapeno, made from peppers canned out of the garden and my "Taste of Tuscany", a blend of herbs and drizzled with olive oil to finish.

To finish out the day, we got the garden cultivated, tore down an old fence and painted our bee hives. I also had to deworm all of the goats and the boys re screened the screen door and got it hung for the summer months. We collapsed on the porch to enjoy a quiet meal and a good day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Sourdough Starter

Out of the blue this morning, while getting chores done and baking for work, I decided I wanted to try my hand with a San Francisco sourdough starter! I already do a potato flake sourdough but wanted something a bit more hearty and substantial. After reading about several different kinds and styles I opted for a simple one to start. It will sit on the counter for two days. I will feed it on Friday, take out what I need Saturday morning and the rest will live in an old cheese pot in the fridge until I am ready to feed it again. My first attempt will be doing sourdough boules and if I have enough starter possibly pancakes. More later.....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Behind Before I Got Up!

I really do hate the time change. Not only was I behind from our quick trip, I lost another hour just by going to bed! Good grief, I wish the powers that be would just leave well enough alone.

The morning was spent cleaning and going through the bee equipment. Now all that is left to do is order a few parts and put foundation in before the bees arrive next month. From the morning milking, I was able to actually keep a gallon of goat milk today. Yeah! Cheese this week. Weeding has become a big chore. With all the rain and warm weather, they have jumped out of the ground. I got most of the blueberry bed finished. I hope to do the rest tomorrow and then get it fertilized with rabbit manure and mulched with pine needles. I finished the evening chores and had one thing left on my "outside" list. It was time to band the calves. We band because we think the meat is better tasting and much sweeter. (Banding is a form of castrating, using a rubber band.) I had asked for help on various occasions, but none ever seemed to appear. Knowing that the calves were not going to quietly stand by and let me do the deed required some deep thought. Maybe if they were busy eating grain? No way. Finally I was able to maneuver the calves one at a time in between a gate and the barn wall. I pulled the gate to me and hooked my leg through it and after a bit of a wrestling match was able to get it done. They were none too pleased, but will live to see another day. Finally, I headed to the house to start supper, make the soup for the week and get the granola for the breakfasts made. It seems that longer days make for longer days.... ;o)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back Home..A 28 hour Excursion

We made a flying trip to Wilmington to check out UNCW, one of the colleges my son is looking at for in the fall. It was a quick trip for sure and only because of a good friend that jumped in and milked yesterday evening and my mom that pulled today's morning chores, were we able to go. Back home this afternoon and the routine resumed...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chicks Are Here!

Yesterday we spent the morning building a new brooding area for the chickens and turkeys. We had to create an area that was off limits to the goats. Last year any escapee would run to the brooder and try and eat the chicken food. We hung a gate to block the area off and built a permanent rack for the brooders to sit on. One brooder is still in good shape. The other I will need to order some replacement parts for, but once that is done we will set both up. I will cover them with tarps when not in use.
Early this morning the first of our meat birds arrived. Only 25 this time. We have plans to raise another 75 or so in hopes of selling a few this year.

While milking and feeding the kids this morning I noticed several seemed to have developed a case of diarrhea. Yuk! I was concerned and gathered some evidence to have a fecal run at the vet's office. I wanted to make sure we weren't dealing with something serious but they were declared healthy, just guilty of over indulging. So home I came with some medicine to help with the upset tummy's.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Planting Potatoes

Today's main chore was to get the potatoes in before it rained. Last night we cut the seed potatoes up and let air dry over night. We got up before daylight. I baked and Doug prepared the garden for planting. While the bread cooled I headed to the garden and we planted 65 pounds of potatoes. We finished just as a light mist began to fall. We also managed to get a few broccoli and cabbage plants in as well.
After the morning milking chores were finished I got a few seeds sown in flats. I planted 4 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 3 kinds of eggplant and 1 pepper variety. I have several more to get started later this week.