Shades of Ireland

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Something Has Happened To Winter

It has been marvelously warm for the last few days. That is expected to change on Thursday when a big front is expected to move through. We are alljoping for some form of precipitaion--- snow or rain--- we don't care as long as we get it!

There is a guy on Homesteading Today forum that is offering an apple orchard package. The catch is that it is a kit teaching you how to graft trees. I am going to do it! The kit included 20 rootstocks so I took a little tour of the farm to dream about possible locations---- if they survive. While I was checking out the existing fruit trees, I was shocked to find that they are budding. At least I know that they are alive and made it through the hot dry summer but I hope they slow down a bit because I am sure we will get a few more killing frosts and cold weather.

The best news of the day is------ drum roll please!------ Ellie May kidded first thing this morning. I found her before the kid had stood up so I was able to snatch it out of reach so that it did not get the diseased milk.

                                                         It's a GIRL at long last!!

I haven't decided on a name for her yet but she is just beautiful. From the looks of things over at the barn, the rest of the herd will not be too far behind.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Change of Pace

In case you have wondered why I haven't blogged-- I have been a busy Mama. My girl turned 21 so Adam and I went down to Stillwater to have a birthday dinner with her. That just blew our schedule and rearranged the whole week. On top of that, I have literally been a dairy queen! I've been making cheese, butter, and yogurt every day.
This past weekend, I just had a cheese making overload. By Sunday, I was very tired and could not bear the sight of any more milk. Seth handled milking chores for me.

Somehow, one of the kids got down some of my old craft boxes and began using the knitting looms. I found my crochet hooks and decided to make myslef some new house slippers since mine are almost completely worn out.

This is what I am working on:

Mine aren't nearly as pretty since it has been about 7 years or longer since I did any serious crocheting. I chose hot pink yarn so that maybe I won't lose them in the chaos.

Neil and I took a long hard look at the goats yesterday and it is very obvious that I need to get a move on getting the kidding pens fixed up. I have it all written down--- somewhere......

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Garden Planning

Anybody else getting spring fever? We have had a very mild winter---especially compared to last year. So far, no snow to speak of and only a day or so of very frigid temperatures. We still are way behind for rain and very dry.

There are a few people in the neighborhood who have homemade green houses. I have dreamed of having one for years. I have saved all the DIY magazines that have "easy plans" for building one. I even have the place picked out to build one but..... no funds or time to jump on that project just yet.

I really do enjoy starting my own garden plants from seed but.... after they sprout, I tend to kill them. I just don't have a place to reliably keep them warm enough, get enough light or just plain keep them safely out of the way of our daily activities.

I do have those really nice terraced raised beds on the south end of our house. I have been meaning to make some cold frames to fit over them so that I could try growing a few things early--- like lettuce. I even have some of the clear fiberglass sheets left over from another project-- that I didn't get done--- I saw plans for a passive solar stock tank heater...... two years ago. I am pretty sure that project is dead for at least another year so I can rob those materials to make the cold frames. 

This morning, the fog is as thick as pea soup. I guess that is what made me think of spring today......

In the meantime, every dish in the kitchen is dirty and Holly and Noelle are waiting.......

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Remember Ellie?

Ellie May is the very old goat that has to live in quaranteen bcause she has CAE and CL. I bought her back from a commercial dairy that decided to quit milking. Last year, when I brought her home, she was bred to a mystery buck and blessed me with triplet bucks. I decided to give her one more try to get a doe kid.

She has spent most of the winter hanging out in the garden. As you can see, she is getting pretty big. Last year it was a terrible waiting game because I did not know when she was bred. Since the kids have to removed at birth to protect them from those diseases, I had to keep a very close eye on her.
Guess what??? I know the breeding date for every doe on this farm--- except Ellie May!! Somehow, I did not get it written down.

I am on baby watch again this year!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Butter Making --- my way

Since we are milking 2 Jersey cows ( really more like 1 1/2), we have plenty of cream. Merciful heavens, do we have cream..... I have poured enough milk out at the barn that the cats turn their nose up at it.

Making butter is not very hard but..... it can be a little tricky. I see posts and magazine articles all over touting how easy it is to make butter. They are right but..... not unless you have been around the butter churn a few times.

Speaking of butter churns..... I have one of the old fashioned jars with the spinning paddles in it----- and I hate it. I have used the blender--- and I hate it. Mostly what I hate about them is the clean up! I will state again--- I would rather skin a live cat than do housework and dish washing is the WORST in my opinion.

I use a jar with a tight lid. How big of a jar depends on how much cream I have to churn. That's right--- a plain old jar.

First step is to let the cream rise. I will go ahead and tell you right now that I do not even try to make butter from goat milk. Too much trouble-- especially when I have Holly milk. Goat milk is naturally homogenized so to get enough cream you have to give it lots of surface area. That means large flat pans of milk stored on the counter tops or taking up all the room in the fridge. Nothing is safe on my counter tops for any length of time and I already have three refrigerators--- and that is not enough room for the projects I already have going on.

I usually do not attempt to skim off the cream until after we have had it at least 12 hours. Then, I leave it out on the counter to warm up for another 8-12 hours..... depending on how my day goes and how warm the house is. Room temperature is a relative thing at our house since I am stingy and will not pay any more than I have to for heating or cooling. Trying to make butter with cold cream is pretty darn time consuming and frustrating.

Let me go ahead and fuel the fire on the raw vs pasteurized debate. I do both. If I am making yogurt, I pasteurize because it makes better yogurt. Otherwise, we use all of our milk raw. For 25 years, we have been just fine. I am not changing my ways now. My animals are healthy, my milk is clean and filtered. Good enough.
The bottom line is pasteurized milk and milk products will last longer.

Anyway--- back to butter making. You need at least 1/2 of the jar to be empty to have room for it to slosh around. I wrap it in a dish towel just in case it leaks. I then sit in the recliner, walk around, check the computer or what ever while I slosh it back and forth.

Here is where the controversy about butter making first appears. I cannot tell you why but sometimes I will just be sloshing along and suddenly the sound in the jar changes and magically, we have a large chunk of butter floating around in that jar. Other times, it just will not separate.

This is what it looks like when that happens.

Here is a shot of the inside of the jar.

It is very thick and will not shake or slosh around much any more. Not quite whipped cream but very much like it. At this point, I add cold water. I don't measure how much and in the summer time, I add a cube of ice. In the reading I have done, this is called "breaking water".....

After a bit more sloshing around, the sound of the sloshing will change again and often times, there is a solid "thunk" from the butter.

I let it sit a for a few minutes so that all the little chunks of butter can float up and make one hunk.

Now it is ready to be dipped out of the jar and "washed'. I just put it in a bowl with cold water. I use a fork to press the butter around in the water so that any remaining milk is rinsed out. I change the water several times. If you do not get most of the milk washed out, the butter will turn rancid.

After I get it washed enough to suit me, I add a little salt while it is still pretty soft. The more liquid that you press out, the firmer the butter will get. Adding the salt will help to drive out some of the liquid. Again, I do not have a set amount and just add a dash.

I honestly admit that I have not mastered the art of pressing butter in a mold. I've tried a few times but I just don't have the magic touch there and beside--- it just gives me one more thing to have to wash. I plop it out on a dish and shape it up a bit and call it good.

It generally takes about 15-20 minutes to get butter and another 10 minutes or so to get it washed and salted. This batch is almost half gone because I used the left over milk from the butter churning to make 2 loaves of bread and then spread a lot of it on the dough to finish off all that darn cinnamon roll batch......


Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday?? I think.....

My days and weeks just all flow together. It is not unusual for me to totally lose track of what day of the week it is.
I have been known to make the kids do school on Saturday--- and they did it with out complaining because they were just as clueless as I was.
Since Charlie and Seth are both employed off the farm, we are better at keeping track these days. Adam is keenly aware of what day it is because he is waiting for Fridays--- because Salena is coming home.

This morning, our first puppy left to go to his new home in Nebraska. Nine cutie pie/monsters left in the box. They LOVE for us to let them out of that box. Even though they have a strip of deer hide, an old shoe, and a spare work glove to play with, it just isn't the same as the freedom to roam the garage. We are hoping that it warms up enough today to let them out in the yard to wander and pillage. Someone will have to stay out with them because they are just the right size for the hawks to carry off for a snack. Even worse, there are a couple of coyotes who are brave enough to hang out around Adam's tree house in the edge of the yard. 

Lots to do but not much inclination to do any of it.........

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Madness

I began my morning in the kitchen trying to get all the cheese pots all cleaned up and ready to start processing all this milk. Seth went to the barn to handle milking for me so I could get a head start. It didn't work out the way......

Adam has been trying his hand at cooking for the last month or so and I certainly am not about to discourage that. He has been asking for the last two days to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I explained to him that this was not a quick process. Usually home bakers start making them the day before and finish them up in the morning in time for breakfast.

He was so set on making them, I agreed as long as we froze most of them for later meals. I was just going to supervise while washing and tidying up......... what a  plan that turned out to be.

I was concentrating so hard on getting him to read the directions correctly and follow them in the correct order, that I did not double check his measurements. Some how, he doubled the amount of milk....... this was a big recipe already---- using 9 cups of flour. After it had risen for an hour, I took a look at it and realized that something was very, very wrong. The dough was not dough at all. It had risen beautifully but it was a wet, spongy mess. After reviewing the process with him and realizing the problem, we began trying to work in more flour, sugar, salt and yeast. It took FOREVER!

I decided that it would probably be best to let it rise again. I don't have a bowl big enough for this hunk of dough so I just covered it and left it on the counter. I needed a break.......badly.

Less than an hour later, Seth ambled by and asked me if I knew that the kitchen had been invaded by an alien blob. It had certainly doubled in size so I rounded up the Jr. Chef and we started making the rolls.

We made rolls and made rolls and made rolls.......

I found a few foil pans in the pantry and bagged up three dozen and put them in the freezer.

This was a project that we started at about 9:00 am and did not finish up until right at lunch time.

Guess what we had for lunch??!!! They were delicious.

The sad part is that we still aren't finished. The largest mixing bowl I own is in the refrigerator full of dough. I have to remember to punch it down before I go to bed or the alien will take over the fridge before morning.......

Guess I'll take a stab at getting the cheese stuff done tomorrow

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dueling Bread Machines

I gave the new recipe a trial run last night and after a little tweaking, it turned out marvelous. I tried making the smaller loaf -- following the recipe--- and it was obviously too wet.

This morning, I am using the recipe for the larger 2lbs loaf and it looks like it is just right. I have both machines churning away on the work station counter top.

Both of these machines were given to me. The one on the left is a Hitachi and it takes just over 4 hours to make a loaf of bread. The one on the right is a Toastmaster and takes just under 3 hours to make a loaf. Even with the longer cycle, I am thinking that I like the Hitachi better. The Toastmaster is a noisy beast and rattles the counter top. It just sounds like it is going to fly all to pieces at any moment--- and it may after the hard use it will get in this household. I have had the Hitachi for about 6 years. The Toastmaster arrived just before Christmas.

When we moved, I got out of the habit of making bread. Just too busy. Now that we are on a strict budget and this crowd inhales almost two loaves of bread a day, time to get back in the habit.

Salena headed back to school this morning so I am back on puppy duty. It was nice to have a break and she is planning on coming back next weekend. I am sure that I will be ready for her to take over again.The little monsters are getting bigger and a few of them can already get out of the box

It has warmed up considerably so we have opened the garage door so that they can get some sun and fresh air. Elsa, the German Shepherd, thought they needed something to play with. When we went out to check on them, she had dragged a piece of her deer hide up and put it in the box for the pups to play with and chew on. She is so sweet to them but in a week or so, I am sure they will be out and harassing her unmercifully.

I love to watch them wrestle. They are so ferocious....

Meanwhile over at the barn, those roosters are still crowing, eating and generally in the way. Still haven't finished butchering them but I know that I HAVE to get started on that job very soon. I just keep procrastinating!

Noelle is looking better every day and getting more attitude with each pound. Holly's udder is healing and she is milking wonderfully. The goats are looking more pregnant every day. The hay supply is holding out very well since the weather has not been nearly as cold as last year. We still need rain or snow for moisture. The wheat is just a slight green dusting over the field. It is waiting on moisture before putting out much new growth. 

It is a beautiful sunny day--- and my head is pounding. The sinus infection is back....... I am getting things done today but at a much more leisurely pace than normal.

Time to give the pups their lunch!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cooking Ahead

I am trying my best to get a bit more organized so that I don't get so frustrated by all the things that I DON"T get done. Neil has been lecturing me on putting too much pressure on myself. I used to keep a To-Do list. I have gotten out of the habit so I am feeling a bit like I am running in circles.

Today, I began working on menu plans and cooking some things ahead. Salena cooked and froze 3 dozen waffles. I tried a new recipe for biscuits and they turned out pretty darn good.

I got seven dozen of them frozen up and ready to make quick breakfasts.

While I was at it, I fried up 2 pounds of bacon.

While is was cold, we hauled the milk to the house and I flash cooled it on the back porch. That gave us plenty of milk for cereal in the mornings.

My plans are to start yogurt production this week. While I am at it, might as well get some buttermilk cultured, too. I use alot of buttermilk in our baking as well as inoculant for soft cheese.

I am hoping that between the bicuits, scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal and yogurt with fruit, we should have breakfast covered and make the mornings run smoother.

I let the boys go to shotgun practice and the 4-H meetings on their own. They made it home with out any blood shed and no phone calls from the leaders to report bad behavior----yet!

This evening,I milked Holly for the first time this whole weekend. Sis and Seth did a good job and both milk cows are alive and well. I brought the milk to the house and have a big batch of cheese started. Should be ready to hang up by morning.

On Charlie's "days" off, he still has to stay up most of the night so that going back to work is not so difficult. Normally, he does laundry, tidies up the kitchen, and does alot of reading. He has agreed to take on bread making duties for me. I am going to make up a big batch of bread mix for him to use in the bread makers. We will see how this little experiment works out.......

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One of those Days....

I have not even SEEN Holly today--- that should give you some idea of what a strange day it has been.
Salena made it home last night to give me relief from puppy care. Not only that, but she even milked Holly and Noelle for me this morning.

Our 4-H club runs the recycling center one Saturday each month. Each family in the club rotates out working that Saturday. When it is all said and done, each family will have worked two Saturdays a year at the recycling center. Today was our second and last day handling this. So, Seth, Adam and I had to head off the farm pretty early this morning leaving Neil and Salena to cover for us.

I am not sure exactly what happened to me. It was busy but not unbearably so. After working our 3 hours, I was cold to the bone, hungry and totally exhausted. I think alot of it had to do with climbing up and down the stairs to load up the semi truck. Hefting myself up and down wore me out. When I got home, I just crashed for the next 3 hours. Seth did the evening milking chores and I just got to stay in the house.

This is just turning into a 4-H weekend. Tomorrow the boys have a shotgun meeting, a record book work shop and the actual 4-H meeting.

I think that I am going to make an early night of it just to prepare myself.........   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Incredible Cuteness

I just love their little bitty feet....

This pretty much convinces me that they are doing well.......

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fierce Wind

Now that it is dark, our famous Kansas wind is shrieking in from the north and the snow is blowing. Not expecting any accumulation of snow.

We just made it through with chores and were headed back to the house when the snow started to fall. The wind has been getting steadily stronger and sharper all afternoon. It was enough to urge us hurry to get everything ready for what was coming--- and we did!

Firewood stacked in the garage. Puppy box fixed and in the garage. Chicken house window covered with plexiglass. Dairy cow stall north wall finished. Cows and horses have hay. Ellie May hayed and bedded down. Grass hay bought and unloaded at the barn..... with a little help......

This is a much better picture of Noelle than the one from yesterday. In fact, the other one is so bad that I am going to go back and delete it and add another better one.

I am hoping that getting the puppies into the garage will make my life easier. It is cool out there but warmer than sitting outside the garden shed to feed them.

I am not sure how long this shallow box will keep them in. They are not little blobs anymore. They are growling, yapping, waddling, little dogs now.  

Elsa is not sure if she likes these puppies or not. She is very interested in them but not enough to get too close.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cold Weather Coming.....

Weather man is telling us that it is going to get pretty darn chilly by Thursday. That gives me a couple of days to try toget a bit more prepared. Lows down in to the teens at night with a slight chance of snow on Thursday or Friday.

Preparing to go pick up a few more square bales of grass hay for the goats. When it is cold, I like to fill up their hay feeder in the barn so that they can snack all night. That helps them generate heat to stay warm. During the day, as long as it is not storming, they can go out to the big bale in the sun to eat.

We will top off all of the water tanks tomorrow and try to get as many heated floats as we can rigged up. If the temps stay in the low 30's, the water won't thaw at all with out a float. Then we need to find the ax and shovel in case we need to break ice on the pond for the cows and horses.

I'll rig a heat lamp for the hens just to knock the worst of the chill out of the henhouse. I still haven't gotten their window covered in plastic so I will put that on the list for tomorrow. 

Guess we will be moving that whole mob of puppies into the garage. They are really wearing me out but they are soooooo cute. Most of these black pups are going to have at least one blue eye and several will have both blue eyes--- very dramatic looking! We are bottle feeding them at least 4 times a day. In between feedings, I am putting "mush" in their feed pan and they are cleaning it up. "Mush" is a can of puppy food diluted until it is very soft and runny with milk. Today, I tried something a little different.
When I butchered and stewed that last bunch of roosters, I froze the broth/fat. I thawed some of that out and I have decided to make at least one mush feeding a day with it. It is amazing how fast they are growing and today is their 3 week birthday. Salena is planning on coming home on Friday afternoon and I can't wait for her to give me a break from these adorable little monsters......

I try to start their morning feeding pretty close to 6:00am. Since it is still pretty nippy and the sun is not quite up, I haul them in to the kitchen to feed them. I am going to need a bigger basket in the very near future.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Noelle Update for the New Year --with another update!

I got a better picture of her on 1-11 and deleted the unglamorous one. As you can see-- she is gaining weight! She even managed to get one of her orange leg bands off all by herself! She has had her head stuck in a big bale of hay and is now making her way over to get a drink of water. Still milking her once a day but she goes into the barn twice a day for feeding. Full access to a big bale of prairie hay and an alfalfa flake treat each afternoon. Slowly but surely...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Holidays are Officially OVER

Salena went back to school today so I guess the New Year has really started and we have to get back to business.

It has been a full weekend for us.

Salena and I got all three of the deer processed and in the freezer. We ended up with somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 lbs of meat. She and I were both sore and tired from all the cutting, grinding, and wrapping.

On Friday, Salena took the camera out just before lunch to take some puppy pictures and got a really nice one of our sweet Lizzy.

Little did we know that it would be our last.

We left for a brief trip to town right after lunch. When we got back, Lizzy had gotten on the porch, laid down in her favorite spot on the mat in front of the door and died.

Having and raising all these pups even with our help was just too much for her at her age.

Now raising them is a family affair.

Since Salena has been supplement feeding them all along, they already know and love her. They mob her and as you can see they are squeezed under her leg to snuggle up. What you can't see very well is the ones that are crawling UP her pant leg.....

Even Charlie gave us a hand with the early morning feeding when he came home from work.

Now that Sis has gone, Seth, Adam and I will have to handle it.

On Saturday morning, Seth baited up the cows into the catch pen with some feed. Since Neil was home for the weekend, we decided to work them.

The guys sorted and ran them up to the chute. Salena worked the headgate and chute while I palpated the girls to check for pregnancy. There were a few girls that we knew were not very pregnant and they are the reason we sold the bull. They were not far enough along for me to feel a pregnancy so we "put a patch on them". This is a sticky patch that goes on their rump and the color gets rubbed off if they come in heat. Just helps us to watch for them returning to heat so that I can breed them artificially if needed.  There was only one cow that should have been bred who was not. Also got a few surprises because a couple of them are closer to calving than we thought. I think that we are going to get a few calves in March after all.

We also managed to get my friend/enemy, Brindle, caught up in the bunch. I know that she is not bred because we sold the bull too soon for her to be back in heat after calving. Our plan was to sell her after weaning this calf. I had almost talked myself into giving her another chance-- even after she treed Adam and me while hunting. When we ran her thru the chute, I had them put a patch on her so I could watch for her to come into heat. I was thinking that if we could get her up to the chute then, I would breed her and try to get one more calf. We also managed to get her new calf castrated with out any drama.

When we were all finished and ready to put the girls back out in their pasture, everybody behaved and went right through the gate--- except Brindle. She ran all over acting crazy. Blowing and bellowing, wild eyed and threatening to jump the fence. She blew her last chance! Neil laid down the law and she is GONE as soon as her calf is old enough to wean.

And finally-- Holly's udder issues seem to have resolved themselves and we are getting plenty of milk.

I made the first batch of cheese for 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crow is Best Served Hot

So--- I took my little guy hunting. After about an hour, he began to beg me to take him home. I refused and broke out the reading book. While he did his first reading to himself, I was on my eReader. After he read the whole book aloud-- quietly--- to me, he began to make noises about going home again. When I told him it would be almost dark before we packed it in, he began to frantically worry about doing his chores in the dark. I assured him that I knew where a flashlight was that actually worked. I have never heard such tall tales about why he simply could not stress his hens out by gathering eggs in the dark...... All to no avail. We were not leaving until I was done hunting.

After listening to him tell me for about the 25th time that there were NO DEER COMING, I glanced out the right window and saw a young doe easing out of the tall grass. He watched with stunned amazement as nine does and two bucks made their way out of the woods and tall grass out on to the wheat field. Unfortunately, they were between us and the road. There is no way that we are taking such an unsafe shot.

 By this time he is hyperventilating and trembling. I explain to him that we are just going to have to wait until they move around in front of us and give us a safer shot. After a few minutes of pep talk to get him to calm down, he started shushing me and begging ME not to talk so loud.

The deer stayed too far out. i kept telling him that it was too long of a shot for him to take. I am sure that it was over 200 yard. He argued that he could do it since we were braced in the window of the hut. During practice, he was hitting dead center at 100 yards so I finally relented. He took his shot.

I will never hear the end of this..... here he is calling his Dad to share the good news. Dead square in the heart at over 200 yards.

International Goat Lady

This morning while I was cleaning up from the cow milking chores, I got an interesting phone call from an old friend.
My friend Pam DeMott is a missionary that runs a home for girls in Honduras. It has been many years since I went down to work there but I remember my adventure fondly. Before she and her hubby took off to Honduras, we were freinds and goat lady buddies in south Georgia.

This morning, she had a mild crisis and needed my advice. A young doe kidded with no milk and no colostrum. The province of Honduras where she lives is not known for it's progessive attitudes so there is not much hope of finding any one with frozen colostrum on the frontier. The kid's chances of survival are not good but now we know that she needs to add powdered colostrum to her shopping list for her next trip stateside. She is still going to try to get as much as she can from the new mama and at least give it a good hard try.

If you would like to see more about her adventures, she does have a blog.

My goats are all looking marvelous. I will begin to supplement them with a small amount of grain in the next couple of weeks. Our neighbor dropped off a big bale of hay that his cows would not eat. My does all jumped right on it and wiped it out in about 4 days. It was a wheat straw/ lespedeza mixture. They wasted much of it because I didn't have a hay ring to put around it but they had a marvelous time playing "Queen of the Mountain" on it. Even the heifer calves in that pasture nibbled on it some. I told him that I wasn't sure what the problem was with his cows but he was welcome to dispose of anymore bales like that at our place....

I have been keeping both bread makers going pretty regularly in the kitchen. My boys LOVE homemade bread and we are really pinching pennies these days.

Holly is improving daily and is giving somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 gallons a day. Not alot by dairy standard but enough for our needs and it still works out cheaper than buying milk.

Speaking of dairies, I have not heard anything else about filling in for the folks with the big dairy. I am hoping that means that her father has improved and they don't need me. If I haven't heard anything in a day or two, I'll give them a call. Maybe, they found somebody else..... that would not offend me at all.

Noel is getting prettier by the day. We only milk her in the mornings and I didn't plan on that. She gets very full if we skip milking and is uncomfortable. We are not pushing her for milk production but I think we will just keep thing as they are for now. She is getting more personality and begining to act as if she owns the place. If we are not fast enough opeing the door at milking time, she will bang on it until we do. She used to rush right out as soon as we finished up milking but now she stays until her pan is licked clean and will even try to con us into giving her a little more. I pet her and brush her while she is in the barn. She is settling down but still not entirely comfortable at the close contact. We keep saying that we HAVE to get her halter broke while she is still on the small side.

I have enough milk this morning that I am going to start some soft cheese.

The roosters are still waiting for me over at the barn. I am going to seperate off about 5 of them tonight and butcher them tomorrow

This is what I have to look forward to this afternoon:

This boy insists on going hunting but he has the attention span of a gnat. The good thing about this hunting place is we get to use this really fancy blind. When you pull up the plexiglass shooting flaps, it really muffles the sound. They are also tinted so the deer can not see the movement in there either. Not only does this help because he is squirmy and not quiet but---- unfortunately for him---- it allows us to do school work while we are "hunting". He is in for a really big surprise this afternoon.

Right after lunch, he and I are going to do some more target shooting. I am not good with a scoped gun but I am going to broaden my horizons and use Salena's cannon. Yesterday, I missed a nice doe because I was not used to the amount of "jump" from this rifle.

Not only are we butchering a few chickens tomorrow,but we are going to start processing Salena's does too.

Freezers are filling up! Butcher steer expected in late Febuary.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Doe Season

Salena poked her head in to my room at 6:00am this morning to see if I was up to going deer hunting with her. I was a wake but being lazy. I told her to just hang on a minute--- if I could get out of bed on my own, then I was probably able to go hunting. It wasn't a pretty sight but I managed!!

Our neighbor is allowing us to hunt in Kansas Deer Mecca. Salena got a BIG doe yesterday afternoon after hunting less than 30 minutes. This morning we got to the stand just before 7:00am and she shot another nice doe at 7:20.

Salena is not afraid to take those very long 150-200 yard shots and she rarely misses. I am using an open sight rifle so I am a more cautious hunter. Now that she has filled her tags, Adam and I will hunt. We will have to let them get alot closer. He has not developed his hunter patience so I am not counting on any more deer but.... you never know what a day will bring...... LOL!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Developement

You just never know what a new day will bring......

Just got a text from some folks that run a dairy about 8 miles away. Her father is very ill and in ICU. I am not sure exactly where, but her family is asking her to come. For some reason, I am thinking that he lives inWyoming. She asked me to fill in and do the milking for her while she is gone. They milk around 160 cows. I have mentioned in the past that I have a severe cow milking phobia--- specifically a cow KICKING phobia.

Of course, I said yes.

Salena will milk with me until she has to go back to school. That is if it happens at all...... the dairy people are still deciding about going and will let us know...... I put in a call to my other dairy friend to ask for help if I get in a bind. He is willing to bail me out if I get in over my head. My back is better but I am not well yet.

Meanwhile, back in our kitchen, both bread makers are going full tilt on the new work center. So far, it appears that they both work but I guess we will have to wait to taste the end result before we know for sure. Black-eyed peas are simmering on the stove for supper. 

Holly's milk production is coming up and I am starting to think about setting up and making cheese...... thinking is the key word here......