Monday, April 26, 2010

Showers of Blessings!

Today it was a rainy day. But we've needed the rain very much, so the song Showers of Blessings always comes to mind when we've been worried about our water situation, and along comes a good rain. As much as I love sunny days, those rainy days are comforting too. My first thought on a rainy day is to snuggle up and nap all day...but the reality is there is work to be done, even on days like this.

We pulled milk samples this morning, and took milk weights this morning and evening. Al is doing the evening milking, and I ran the lactometers on the milk samples from this morning. That took a good hour and a half. But it's done for April. Everything is washed up for May. Next step is to run the fat tests and put all the info into the cattle records. 

Wednesday will be our cheese make day for this week. Was going to be today, but the weather is so cool and rainy we felt we should hold off. Plus, I ordered some supplies on Friday, and they will most likely be here tomorrow. 

Had a wonderful day in church yesterday. And we had food and fellowship last night. Seems that food is always a enjoyable thing to share with everyone. Emily had a great time seeing her friends.

That will be my ramblings for the day...I'm not very creative lately. Will have to work on that. And get out and take some pictures.

Our article will be coming out this week in our local paper. We're looking forward to that. If I'm able to find it online, I'll put a link to it on here.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beef Barley Soup

I made some soup for dinner yesterday, put it all together in the slow cooker around noon, and by 4:30 the house was smelling very yummy! Put some drop biscuits in the oven so that they would be ready when the soup was. I posted what I made for dinner on my Facebook page, and felt that I should post the recipes on here to share! So here are the recipes for my dinner last night....

Beef Barley Soup

2 c. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c. celery, thinly sliced
3/4 c. green pepper, diced
1 c. onion, diced
1 lb. stew beef, cubed
1/2 c. pearl barley, uncooked
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
3 cubes beef bouillon
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried basil
5 c. water

Layer vegetables, beef and barley in a slow cooker, add seasonings. Pour water over all; do not stir. Cover and cook on low setting for 9-11 hours. Makes 4-6 servings.

*I adjusted this recipe a little....I always do this to recipes. I added a can of cream of celery soup and a little less water.  I also cooked it on high for about 5 hours.

Chive Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits
from TOH Diabetic Cookbook 2004

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. toasted wheat germ, divided
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp.chopped fresh chives or 1 tsp. dried chives
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. cold margarine
1 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese ( I used cheddar)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp. wheat germ, baking powder, chives and sugar in a bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and cheese, stir until just combined.
Drop by rounded tsp. onto baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with remaining wheat germ. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from baking sheet. Makes 12 servings.

I should add that both of these recipes do very well with my glucose numbers. I'm always happy to find yummy new recipes that I can eat without worry!

I would have posted pictures of this soup, didn't last long! Even Emily dug into it and finished her bowl almost before I was finished with it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Setting Up Fence

In the spring, one of our jobs that has to be done is getting the paddocks all set up for the cows to rotate. We do what is called "intensive rotational grazing". The girls go to a different pasture almost daily, depending how quickly they eat the grass down. By having several paddocks set up, this ensures that we will be able to have fresh grass all summer into the fall, instead of letting the girls tramp down their fields and run out of grass.

My job is to carry the "reel". It's a reel that is attached to a heavy metal post and I unreel the electric wire as my husband, Al carries the plastic step in posts and sets them where he needs them, and hitches the wire onto them.  After that is done, we check to make sure that the water lines are in good shape, no leaks, etc. And we make sure that the water tank fills up with water, and doesn't overflow or quit working.

When doing the fence and water line work,I'm pretty sure we get at least a mile of walking in.  It feels good too, this time of year isn't too hot or cold. Now if we had to do this in the heat of the summer, forget it!

We make sure we enjoy our work as we walk along. Nothing like being back away from everything, cars, telephone, tv, etc. It is so quiet back at our pond, except for the birds, frogs and wind.  That is my kind of day! Emily thinks its great to stop by the stream and look for tadpoles and snails.  She took a container this time, but wasn't able to catch the tadpoles.  They are really big, and fast. 

Cheese make day I need to scoot and get some stuff done. Before we make cheese tomorrow, I have to run a few boxes of cheese to the UPS drop off and get them shipped out, and we have a customer stopping by around noon.  I'll be getting her order cut and ready for tomorrow.

Enjoy the week! Looks to be sunny around here! Glad for the dry weather, we'll get a lot of outside stuff done before it's time to head to the hayfields.

our fancy buckets of fence supplies

walking the water lines, looking for leaks

Al and Emily working on a leak that they found. And yes
she's wearing a hair net! lol We just got an order of hairnets in
for the cheese house, and she wanted to wear one.

hitching up the water so that will fill
up the water tank

Al and Emily, making sure the water is filling up the tank

I was done with my job, and took a breather at the top of
the hill, Al was still putting fence posts in the ground and
Emily was having fun playing with dandelion poofs

We're below our pond, heading home. That's our buildings
in the distance

Our pond, facing our buildings

Annie goes for a swim

Daddy & Emily looking for stuff in the stream.

A tadpole

Emily trying to scoop up some water snails

Friday, April 16, 2010

We've Been Busy!

I have been missing for awhile! Once spring comes, and the ground dries up, we don't stop until we go to bed at night, and sometimes that is around 10-11 p.m.

We made our first batch of cheese for the  year on Monday. The milk was so yellow that the cheese looks orange! It's so yummy looking! Cheese make went well enough. Only a few things that slowed us up and we got a late start. We had a cow calve that morning, and now that the cows are coming up on milk and we're milking more cows, milking time takes a lot longer! The cheese stayed in the press overnight to allow the PH to drop to the correct number. Tuesday morning I went up and placed the cheese into the brine tanks. They stayed in there for 50 hours.

We had several orders come in this past week. Mr. Riesbeck picked up cheese for his wife's store, Buttonwood Market and I shipped out an order to a small wine shop called Meza, in Westerville, OH. Jungle Jim's placed an order, and Lola's, they will be packaged up this weekend and shipped out on Monday.

Wednesday we also had our local newspaper stop in again to take some pictures for the article coming out on the 29th. She came last week and did the interview, but it was raining and cold, and that didn't allow for pictures.

Yesterday we went back to our fields and set up the electric fence for a new paddock for our milking cows. After that was set up, we had to walk to our pond and turn the valve on for the water to fill the water tanks with water so the girls will have plenty of water. After the water is turned on and hitched up to the lines, we walk the water line to check for leaks. When and if we find leaks, we fix them. Emily thought the leaks were a lot of fun, since they sprayed water everywhere. We make our jobs "family time". Walking our fields and fences gives us time together, we chat as we walk, Emily is able to look for "treasure", and we monitor how our pastures are growing and what needs to be done to continue our grazing system. And the walking is awesome exercise!

Today's schedule looks like we'll be working in the milk house. The motor for our receiving jar is not working right, and Al is having to manually work it and that makes milking very slow going! We have some parts to repair it already here, but may need to head to the hardware this afternoon to find the odd and end stuff.

I'm also going to be packaging some cheese this afternoon for the farm market tomorrow. Since the sun has been out, business has been wonderful at the market. I'm really happy that there are many new folks coming into the market!

That's pretty much my ramblings for this week.  I will make sure I have a much better post next time with some pictures! I've got plenty of pictures on my camera that just need to be loaded into the computer. But, for now, I need to go see about lunch that is in the oven, Chicken Penne Alfredo...mmmm..... After that, typing up some minutes from last Saturday's market meeting along with a reminder for folks about our Farm Market Customer Appreciation Breakfast on the 24th! I'll post more info about that, also!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Resurrection Sunday

What a beautiful day!

Emily was given her basket of goodies this morning. We keep it toned down a bit on the candy and toy part. I don't feel right about the bunnies and eggs, etc. We try to keep our focus on what makes the day special to us.

Emily and I went to church this morning. It's so hard for Al to make it, milking and morning chores are usually going on all morning. Emily enjoys going to junior church and it's so cute seeing her march out of the church with the other kids, she's so independent.

After church they had the "Empty Tomb" hunt in the neighboring field. I was handed a camera and sent out to snap some pictures of the kids. It was divided into two groups, the little ones and the bigger kids. Little or big, kids are just hard to photograph. Especially when hunting "Empty Tombs". They would turn around, just as I was about to snap the picture. I think I got a few decent shots. Kids also move quick. I've always said that kids and animals are difficult to photograph. Could be why I enjoy taking pictures of sunsets or scenery. It does't move.  I've also made a mental note for next year...wear comfy shoes for this, high heels do not work in a field.

Emily & her friend, Kassie. They are so cute together!

I went to my Endo appt. on Friday. Still not sure yet...
She took me off of the insulin that I have been doing since January. I should note, with the insulin I have been keeping my glucose #'s in check, very good too. But, she feels that I should lose some weight, and that is important right now. The insulin actually causes weight gain.  So, she put me on something else, that helps promote weight loss, but has side affects of being sick and icky. I think I get how it controls the weight thing...of course you'll lose weight if you're too sick to eat.  Hmm....we'll give it a try. Sometimes I do feel like I'm used for experiments!!

Farm market yesterday was great! A lot of new faces, and I love meeting them! Several of our usual customers that didn't make it in over the winter are now coming in with the nice weather arriving. We're all looking forward to the upcoming Wednesday markets starting in May. 

Now, I'm off to get something fixed for dinner. We're going to be a little later than usual. I don't like that, but that's our schedule today. Thanks to me eating a little too much of a not so good thing, made me feel horrible and I fell asleep for about 3 hours. Time to make up for my nap time! :)

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