Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We're in the News

Emily went to her first night at Vacation Bible School at our church last night. It is every night this week. She has talked non-stop about how much fun she had. She made a lion mask, and has been wearing it all morning. She's looking forward to tonight!
I had our table in our sales room at our cheese house all set up for a customer the other day, and Emily wanted to help set the table up too, so I posed her with some cheese and took a picture. Good advertising!
Our awards were mailed to us and we received them recently. We're excited about it! Our local newspapers have each run an aritcle on us and our awards. You can see them at:

We have finally had some good rains this past week. Thankfully our cistern is now just about filled. Making cheese starts back up on Monday and again on Friday. I will not be at the Cambridge farm market next week, so that we can take that day to make a batch. Our cooler is getting very low on inventory, demand has really been keeping us busy selling! Yesterday was a very busy day for us, several customers stopped in here at the farm to visit. We are very pleased with the wonderful job both the Monroe County Beacon and the Barnesville Enterprise did with the articles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mmm....Strawberry Jam

I came across a recipe in Prevention magazine the other day for making Freezer Jam. I have heard of doing freezer jam, but never have tried it. But it sounded so yummy! So, today we went to the store, and I saw the stuff I needed to make a batch. Very easy, and to my surprise very YUMMY! I was surprised because I had never done jam or jelly before, so didn't know if it would even taste good.

Here is the recipe that I followed from Ball Plastic Freezer Jar package:

No Cook Strawberry Jam

4 cups crushed strawberries
1-1/2 c. sugar or Splenda
1 (1.59 oz. pkg) Ball Simple Creations Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin

Stir sugar and contents of package of pectin in bowl until well blended.
Add 4 cups of crushed strawberries. Stir for 3 minutes.
Ladle jam into clean jars to fill line. Twist on lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes.

The Plastic Freezer Jars and the Freezer Jam Pectin can be found with other canning supplies at most stores. Very easy, and yummy! And I love that I can use Splenda (cup for cup) in this recipe.
Now I can't wait to go and get some blackberries and try out some blackberry jam! With this recipe you can use different fruit. Just as long as it measures out to 4 cups. One recipe I want to try also is strawberry and raspberries. YUM!
Tomorrow I'll have to make some homemade bread to go with this jam...can't wait!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2009 North American Jersey Cheese Awards

We shipped three wheels of cheese to Syracuse, NY last week for the 2009 North American Jersey Cheese Awards. We are very excited about how well they did! Especially since we've only been making cheese not quite 2 years, and this is our first competition we've entered.

Dixie Swiss, it won Silver in it's class!

Hill Folk Jersey won Bronze

And our Boeren Kaas Gouda won Bronze as well!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Milk Testing

Once a month, we do "milk testing". One morning milking and one evening milking we measure how much milk each cow produces for those milkings, and pull a sample of each cows milk. Most cows right now are averaging about 40-50 lbs. of milk each day. The milk sample is then tested, here at the farm, for the Protein %, Fat % and Solid Non-Fat % (SNF). We keep records on all of our tests for each of the cows. We have a large, green record book that I log all the information in. We multiply what the cows total milk weight for the 2 milkings by the number of days in the month. That gives us an approx. idea of how much milk she is giving us each month, and her record is kept from the date she calves, until she is dried off, approx. 60 days before her calving date. This helps us have a good idea of how her daughters will do, and we can keep track of any breeding problems by keeping records. We also use test results from the fat tests and lactometer tests that we run on the milk, and use a formula including that months milk weight. That will give us the F% and SNF%.

This is me pulling a milk sample from one of our girls.
The milk comes from the cow, runs through stainless steel pipes into
our milkhouse and into the glass receiving jar. When the jar is filled, it then pumps
the milk into the bulk tank where it is cooled.

Milk in the bulk tank. It is stirred every so often,
and cooled and kept here until our milk hauler
picks it up to take to United Dairy, a milk plant.

This is our cart that holds the sample cups.
Each cow has a number, and her number is wrote on top of the cups.
I also write down the milk weight in our notebook. Emily likes to "help" as well!

My job, after the samples are pulled is to run the lactometers.
My figure that I measure is added to the fat% that Al comes up with
when he runs the fat tests.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful July 4th! Happy Birthday America! I was watching fireworks with Al and Emily last night, and as I sat there watching, I thought about how blessed we have been to experience what some in other countries may never know, and that is freedom to basically live life! We can go here and there without worry for the most part. And that made me think of things that I am thankful for this weekend, and most of these are things that I am constantly thankful, but the thought crossed my mind last night.
*I am thankful for our country in which we live.
*I am thankful to be able to go and watch fireworks, with hundreds of other folks, and enjoy sharing the evening with those I don't even know.
*I am thankful we have our own farm, and I don't want to take a single day for granted, that we do something I enjoy everyday, because I know there are laws and organizations who in this coming year, may make it impossible for us to continue the life we know and love. Sad reality.
*I am thankful for holding my husbands hand while watching fireworks last night, with Emily laying across our legs, not comfortable for our legs, but well worth the cozy, family feeling!
*I am thankful for our furbabies. Princess, the hamster, Miss Kitty, Annie our dog and of course our newly adopted girl, Pinky, who I am loving the new attitude she brings to our already crazy, circus like life! lol
*I am thankful for my diabetic A1C test coming back at 7.5, 1 point lower than 6 months ago. Yay!
*I am thankful for the sight of lightning bugs flickering, the smell of our fresh baled hay and the sight of the beautiful sunset tonight.
I love the simple things of our everyday life. I am content with what God has blessed us with, and things that He has blessed us by not allowing us to have.
I am hoping and praying that we are able to face, and accept the challenges that we will be facing in the coming year.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pickin' Berries

The berries around our fields are just now getting ripe, and yummy! Looks like it will be a good berry year, even the blackberries are showing up, still very green, but in a few weeks we'll be getting those too. We took a walk yesterday to see what was ready, not too much, but it looks like in a couple of days or so, there will be a bunch! Now, if I can get to it before the wild turkeys eat them all!
Emily with a Blackeyed Susan, and ended
up licking the raspberry juice off of her lips!

Amber & Emily


Eating more than she put in the "take home" container!

A few berries, not many made it home!!

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