Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Farm Babies!

Little muddy piggies taking a nap!
Okay, when I see five little piggies lying in a row I can't help but think of that classic nursery rhyme "This little piggy went to market".  Come on, admit it, you just recited it in you head didn't you? By the way, little piggies actually do go "Wee, Wee, Wee" as they run around frantically on their tiny little legs, and boy are they fast!  I must say that little baby piggies are some of the most amusing and cutest baby animals we have on the farm.

Baby chicks under the heat lamp

We have also added 28 baby chicks to the farm! Besides our Buff Orpingtons we now have Red Hampshires, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Black Australorps, and last but not least some Leghorns.  Yup, Leghorns, as in Foghorn Leghorn. I can almost hear that wise cracking rooster, " Now what, I say now what's that skinny old hen doin up on the barn".  It's amusing what come back to you from your childhood isn't it.

I love you mom!

Our Nubian kids are now 7 weeks and 6 weeks old and they are so much fun to watch and play with. They are more curious than a cat and smarter than a dog, which makes for a difficult photo shoot when you are by yourself! In the picture above our little buck gives his momma some love.  The little girl below loves to play "king of the mountain", and since she is so much like her momma (pushy) she usually wins!

Sweet little doe baby

Life is so cool and if you take the time to really experience God's awesome creations you will be blessed.  Martin Buber, a German Jewish biblical translator, philosopher, and interpreter once said, "An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language".  I believe him.

Blessings,
Michelle




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pickled Turnips or Kabees El Lift For Dad....Delish!

All you need to make pickled turnips full of flavor!
The humble turnip root, it's low in fat and high in vitamin C. Turnip greens are a wonderful source of vitamin A, C, K, Calcium and folate and yet this lowly root is often overlooked.  I bought 2 pounds of turnips at our local farmer's market because I had a hankering (yes, I said hankering) for pickled turnips otherwise known as lift.  My Tayta (grandmother) taught my mom to make these simple pickled turnips and I have fond memories of seeing those glass jars filled with those beautiful purple, beet-stained turnips lined up on the shelves of our refrigerator.  They are zippy, crunchy and full of zesty flavor and they work wonderfully in salads, alongside sandwiches, with hummus or a babaganouj plate, or eaten just out of the jar!

Gather your ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of turnips, peeled, tips and tails removed
  • 1/2 pound of beets, peeled, tips and tails removed
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced or sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups of white or apple cider vinegar (I used white)
  • 8 teaspoons of sea salt 
  • a few celery leaves (optional, I used)
  • a hot pepper (optional, I did not use)
  • 2 quart sized glass jars (you can also use spaghetti, jelly or any type of used glass jars)
Isn't that beautiful!
Cut up your turnips and beets into wedges, slices or "french fried" like in the picture above. Add the garlic and the celery or pepper if using.  I give it a good toss in a bowl with my hands. Just a quick note here, the beets will stain your hands, your clothes and your dish towels.  Pack tightly into your clean glass jars and set aside.

Almost done!
Now mix your vinegar and water; add your salt and stir with a whisk until dissolved. Pour this mixture over your lovely veggies using a funnel, and place the lids on the jars. 


Gently shake your jars to get the "color" flowing and store them in the refrigerator for about 1 week. You may give the jars a little "shake" every couple of days. Then they will be ready to enjoy, be careful because you can't eat just one!

Pretty aren't they!  Now if  I can just wait 7 days!
These will last a few weeks in the refrigerator or you can use a water bath canner for 15 minutes for longer storage.

Blessings,
Michelle







Monday, May 14, 2012

Oh Nuts!

Pecan trees!

Two tall stalwart figures, garbed in brown and green
quietly standing vigil, nothing goes unseen.
Generations served, humbly and composed
I'll pause beneath thy shadows and be in calm repose.
by
Michelle Threewits

We are blessed with two beautiful pecan trees that must be close to 100 years old.  They were probably witnesses to the building of our 80+ year old farmhouse and have been standing guard over generations of families ever since.  Each year we receive a bumper crop of pecans and every year I struggle to find space to store them!


9 gallons in the chest freezer!

I currently have 9 gallons in the freezer and an 18 gallon storage container for the rest....this does not include the gallons we have given away!  Oh, what to do, what to do?  I love pecans as much as the next person but I needed to come up with some ways to use these lovely nuts.  I figured with the price of peanut butter sky high that I'd try my hand at making pecan butter.  As it turns out, not only is it delicious and healthy for you, it is really easy to make!

For a basic pecan butter you will need:
  • 2 cups pecans (whole or pieces) Be sure to use the highest quality, freshest pecans you can find, organic would be best.
  • sea salt/Kosher salt to taste
First, place your pecans in a single layer on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and then lightly toast the pecans in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes or until aromatic. You can also use a skillet and stove top over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Watch carefully so they do not burn.

Mmmmm, they smell wonderful
Allow the pecans to cool and then place in a food processor and blend, using a spatula to scrape down the sides every so often.  It will become crumbly and then after 5 to 8 minutes (depending on your processor) it should have a smooth and creamy consistency. At this point you can add your salt to taste and give it a couple of spins to blend.

Crumbly stage
Wallah! Pecan butter! Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. Yields about 1 cup (this recipe can be doubled or tripled).

You can stop earlier for a thicker consistency.
Use your pulse button until you get the desired smoothness,
this is a little thinner that I usually make it, but it's still great!
To make it interesting you can try these different versions.

Coconut Pecan Butter

Add 4-6 Tbsp of coconut oil (organic), 14 oz of coconut flakes, 2 Tbsp of raw honey and 2 tsp vanilla extract (I like Madagascar vanilla).  Pulse the coconut flakes first until creamy.  Add the pecans and then pulse them until they are completely down.  While your processor is still running, slowly add the coconut oil until it is the consistency you want (chunky, creamy, oily). Last, while the processor is still running add the honey, vanilla and salt, blend. Enjoy! 

Or...Chocolate Pecan Butter

You can also try adding 2 heaping Tbsp of organic cocoa powder to the pulsed down pecans and then slowly adding 3 Tbsp of maple syrup while the processor is running. Easy peasie chocolate pecan butter...divine! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Blessings,
Michelle



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eden Was A Garden

Gardening requires lots of water...most of it in the form of perspiration.  Lou Erickson
Finally, after many days of hard work the garden has been expanded and the seeds are in the ground!  Although we smell like dirt and our bodies are sore there is something about gardening that feeds the soul and renews the spirit. It's an intimate relationship between the earth we tend to and care for which brings forth such wonderful healthy food to nourish and sustain us.  From the beginning of creation it was meant to be this way.

Earth here is so kind, just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.  Douglas William Jerrold


I truly have come to love gardening despite the hard work and the hours that must be spent to attend to such an undertaking.  Have you ever seen a beautiful garden and admired it in all it's glory?  Did you ever wonder who owned it? A well tended spot of land says something about the character of the person caring for it. I can tell you this, it didn't get that way because the person sat down the shade of a tree and fancied to himself, "What a nice place for a garden" and then continued to sip on his glass of southern sweet tea, garnished with mint, daydreaming about beautiful gardens. It is work but it is rewarding.

Witness to a miracle, sweet corn reaching for the sun
Every year I strive to create a larger garden with more diversity, a garden which more closely resembles nature than the artificial system of growing one type of plant year after year. Nature isn't a monoculture why should our gardens be. Interchanging crops and companion planting is healthier for the soil and helps the plants protect themselves against pests and disease.  I've planted my pumpkins with my corn (they will help keep the corns roots moist and weed free) and I'll plant pole beans along side the corn (the corn acts as a supportive trellis and the beans will return nitrogen to the soil that the corn uses).  This is just one example of companion planting practices that have been used for centuries, and contrary to popular belief, this style of planting produces more abundantly than modern methods without all the deadly chemicals that are polluting our world and our bodies. It's less expensive and healthier too!


I finally found a use for all those used canning lids...garden markers!

All my seeds are non-hybrid, non-GMO, open-pollinated seeds that have not been treated with fungicides or chemicals.  I know at the end of the season I will be able to harvest my own seeds from my best plants to grow next year.  Seed saving is an ancient, but somewhat forgotten, practice that is beginning to find it's way back into our modern culture by plant and nature enthusiasts who recognize the benefits of such resourceful and wise practices.  If we want to protect our Earth and ourselves we would be well warned to go back to the past before modern technology destroyed farming as we know it.

Beautiful tiny grapes to be! 

The one thing that I am still learning to do is "share" my garden with the birds. I must be selfish because I don't want to! I work too hard to let my garden become a buffet for the numerous birds that await eagerly for an easy meal. Before anyone gets upset about my unfair treatment of our feathered friends know that I leave PLENTY of pecans on the ground for them, I don't kill the weeds in our lawn for them, and I give them plenty of seed. They can stay out of my garden! 

mean "garden snake" and silver flags on cucumber trellis
So, to facilitate this I am trying different things to keep them away.  I placed black hoses in the garden to resemble snakes, taped fluttery silver "flags" to various parts of the garden and created a "scarecrow" of sorts out of my PPE gown and gloves and an old straw hat. 

My girls nicknamed her "Betsy"
I don't know how effective these will be but it is worth a try to protect my precious seedlings. I find it so amazing that a tiny seed becomes a large plant that will provide for my family if only I will take loving care of it.  Thomas Jefferson once said "Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God".  I pondered that quote for quite some time trying to discern the meaning.  Were farmers special to God? If so why? I understand from Genesis we were meant to be good and wise stewards of the land and the creatures He created, so farming brings us back to the beginning when it "was good".  

A pumpkin seed pushing through the soil, another miracle!

I grasp just the tiniest measure of understanding when I witness the miracles of birth or the sprouting of a tiny seed. Each one is a whisper of a promise to come, a hope and a future, a message of love. In this way I know my God loves me. I know He cares for me and will sustain me.  In tending my small little "Eden" I will worship Him, I will glorify Him and I will sing His praises.  Everyday becomes a gift and a miracle and I am thankful for each one.

The "Garden Angel" tending the grapes!
"One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth."  Dorothy Frances Gurney

Blessings,
Michelle





Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Never A Dull Moment

Have you ever had one of those days where the universe seems to be conspiring against you?  Well, today is one of those days for me. I know, I know, why should I write another post and bombard my readers with yet more prattle to interrupt their day? Well, to quote Agatha Christie "It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting."

So, here is what I found when I went out to give my goats their dose of weekly herbal wormer.

This poor buck kid has an injury to his ear

I don't know exactly what happened but my first guess was that my LGD went postal on him for some reason. After I looked more closely, however, I couldn't find any puncture wounds or bite marks so then I thought maybe he got his head stuck somewhere and when he pulled it out it tore his skin. It is a mystery. There are no holes or tear marks from teeth or wire or nails so I can't imagine how this happened. So, I put those CNA skills to work and cleaned him up good with some iodine and then smeared a triple antibiotic onto the wound. 

2 cc of CDT vaccine
As luck would have it (if you could call such a thing luck), the buck kids were 3 weeks old and were due to have their CDT shot today. So, needle and syringes in hand we set to work! 


Hey, why are you picking on me?
I'll need to keep an eye on the wound and make sure it doesn't get infected and hopefully I can puzzle out what happened to his little guy.

Now, if the world would just settle down and let me finish my work without interruptions I would really appreciate it!

Blessings,
Michelle

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

1 1/2 quarts of sweet and creamy fresh goat milk

Okay, so we've all heard the old saying "Don't cry over spilled milk"...well, now I know where that expression comes from!  I've been milking my first year fresheners (does who have had kids for the first time) and I must say, somehow I pictured it differently.  I dreamt of milking out gallons of wonderful and nutritious goat milk for my family while my sweet natured does munched happily on their grain and alfalfa. Not.

While my doe Ruth is gentle and doesn't seem to mind my inexperience, my other doe, Shiloh is, well...not so gentle. Bill likes to say Ruth is a bit "slow" but sweet and Shiloh is smart and stubborn.  I'll take slow and sweet over smart and stubborn anytime! If it wasn't so frustrating I'd find it hilarious that Shiloh kicks, jumps, hops and practically tap dances all over my milk stand in her (successful) attempts at keeping me from milking her. I've tried everything I can think of to win her over to no avail, from hobbling her , holding one back leg up , singing Amazing Grace to her (I find the acoustics in my milk room to be really good btw), and talking gently (and not so gently) to her. Nothing. I get no respect, and apparently very little milk. 

After 35 minutes of stress, tears and pleas for mercy I managed to get 1/2 a quart from her. Sigh. I can only hope it will get better.  I did fair better with Ruth who gave me a full quart of milk (actually I didn't milk her out completely as she is still nursing her twin bucks).  Then it was to the house to prepare my milk.

This little hand pump is perfect for first fresheners with smaller teats
After milking out a doe I put the milk in either an ice bath or the bottom of my deep freeze before I milk out the other. The faster you chill the milk the better it tastes.  Then, when the milking is done, I will filter it and either continue to chill it or freeze it for later use.  Because I use an Udderly EZ hand milker, I have very little to nothing to filter out of my milk but I do this none the less.

Bill filtering the milk so I can get this picture...what a guy!

I really love my milk filter, actually it is a jam funnel with a fine mesh filter and it works wonderfully for the small amounts of milk I process.  I may need to go to a larger filter made for this purpose when my quantities go up but that may be a while. Since I am freezing this milk I will filter it directly into quart size freezer bags.

It's a little tricky to hold and pour, but with only a quart it's not too bad.

When I've filtered all the milk I then date any bags I'm freezing or, if I'm going to use it immediately I'll place the milk back into an ice bath in my refrigerator or if it's a small quantity I'll put it back into my deep freeze until it chills down, about 20 minutes.

milk ready to be put in the freezer

When I need milk I just thaw it in the refrigerator, and it's wonderful.  This is a perfect way to store my extra milk and to save enough for making cheese or butter. So far, that hasn't been an issue. Well, there's always tomorrow, right?

Blessing,
Michelle

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Own A Dairy Buck For Little To No Money!

Very dairy, young buck, nice and level
beautiful roman nose

This flashy guy is a bit smaller than his brother but he is very  level
with nice pendulous ears
Since Flumgummerie Farm is fairly new to the field of dairy goats and we are so busy on the home front we have decided to offer a couple of amazing deals on our Nubian buck kids.  These young bucks are from very dairy lines and characteristics and have the potential to improve your current milking lines.

Although we are new we had the forethought to purchase our foundation Nubians from experienced breeders and competitors in the dairy goat show world.  We purchased our herd sire, Sunrising HIA Malachi, from Sunrise Farm and he is the son out of Sunrising Tristan Montague, who earned her Superior Genetics title as a yearling milker and earned an 86 VVV+ in 1-03 and is herself a Mountain Top daughter. Mountain Top has also earned her Superior Genetics title and milked over 3500 pounds in 2011. She finished her championship at the 2011 SC State Fair and earned an 88 VEE+ in 4-00.

Our buck's sire is Hoanbu ATL Here I Am and he was born in 2010 to the 5th Place 4 Year Old Nubian at the 2010 Nationals. He is owned by Sunrise Farm.

The buck kids dam is J & M Hideaway Farm Ruth and she is out of Champion Royal Blue Nevada Joe out of Kastdemur lines and J & M Hideaway Farm Ruby .


Just look how he carries those ears!

Beautiful markings and face
We would like these guys to go to a breeder that is on DHIR and/or LA and is willing to show them. We are willing to offer them at a deep discount or, to the right breeder, as a co-owner with the option to purchase at said discount, at a later date.  This will help us to establish our farms reputation, as well as provide the right breeder with a very dairy young buck, with little to no cash layout on your part.  If you are seriously interested please contact me and we can write up a contract that will benefit everyone.

I may consider a beginning competitor if they are serious about showing and willing to help get our name out there.

Nice level topline

This guy is going to have nice bone structure
These picture were taken at 3 weeks of age.  For more information, pictures or video please contact me.


Blessings,
Michelle

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