Thursday, February 28, 2013

Milk...and lots of it!

Milking and the importance of Cleanliness!

This is the most important part of the process along of course with making sure that Spirit is happy and healthy.  

We make sure that we follow the routine each and every time we milk...twice a day every day no exceptions!  Once at 6:30 in the morning and then again at around 5 in the afternoon.  Like I said...alot of milk.

We utilize this beautiful seamless stainless steel milk bucket.  Our friend was very generous with us and shared her bucket that she no longer needed the large size.  These buckets are unique because they are seamless which makes for a very sanitary surface to be cleaned and sterilized .  We use this to hold the milk from Spirit as we are milking her.  Before we start milking, we make sure that her udder is clean to minimize debris falling into the milk pail when milking.  We do this by filling a bucket with warm water and a bit of soap and wash her to make sure she is clean.  We then milk each teat and let the first few squirts out, not going into the bucket to again make sure free from debris.  We then bring home our fresh milk to continue the next steps.     

To get the milk from the bucket to our holding jars (sterilized pickle jars from a local diner) we use a stainless steel strainer that we line with disposable milk filtering disks.  The stainless strainer and the jars the milk is held in is also sterilized before using them.  This procedure of making sure everything is sterilized results in milk that stays fresh longer and tastes sweet.  It is well worth any amount of time and effort.

After the milk is transferred from the bucket to the jar, it is put in refrigeration immediately.  I let the milk settle for at least a day and then I utilize a sterilized scoop to skim the cream off the top and put into our butter churn to make wonderful homemade butter.  I wait until I have about 2 days of cream skimmed before I do the butter.  This gives me about a 1/2 pound.  It tastes soooo different and it bakes up wonderfully.

We are also sharing the milk with our cats and chickens and they LOVE it.  I have been able to keep up with the supply so far.  We also have the option of using it as fertilizer which is great for the garden and pasture.

Hope this gives a good idea of our process and what it is like to have a dairy cow.  We are enjoying the experience and challenges that it presents. 

**Sorry no photos today as we are having technical difficulties with our camera...I hope we can sort it out soon!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Garden Started!

Before...

After...
The green onions have been started!  Just over 300 little plants should be coming out in about a week or so, we will keep you posted.  This is our first batch with another bunch being planted over the next few weeks.  We hope to have them outside for mid April to early May. 
What you are looking at in the second photo is seedling trays for fir trees.  We found ALOT of them here as the previous owner used to be involved with producing seedlings for the Christmas tree association.  They work great for our seedlings

A new soap batch is also on the wood cook-stove heating up to be blended with some lavender and chamomile buds...looking forward to seeing how it will turn out! 

Yahoo can smell spring in the air.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sprouts, Seeds and Spring

Today I am giving a try to spouts...I have never done it before and have heard great things about it, so I am giving it a go.  It is a mix of alfalfa and chia and buckwheat.  I took a glass jar, soaked the seeds overnight and this morning, put cheesecloth with an elastic over the top part to let air in and the water out.  I let them it sit in a dark spot and at lunchtime, rinsed the seeds again and I will do the same later today.  I am excited to see what or how it will turn out. 

K and I also finalized the garden plan today and made sure that we have enough seed and quantities planned for this coming market season.  We have a couple of ideas of where we will be this year and will post something about it as the time comes closer and we have finalized details.  Doing the market  something I am really exicted and looking forward to and now that we have some experience under our belt, I think this year is going to go really well with a good selection of produce with an extended season.

Ok Ok...it is not really K and I...just liked the image

This morning made some butter, homemade chocolate pudding for a dinner gathering tonight and rice pudding for K's dessert this week.  Not a bad day and use of Spirits riches! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Thanks to Spirit

Just minding my own business and eating my hay...
Thanks to this girl, Spirit, we have had the luxury of enjoying some delicious homemade treats.  Here is just a bit of what we have been making...
  • mozzarella cheese
  • butter
  • ricotta cheese
  • cream cheese
  • yogurt
  • hot chocolate
YUM YUM YUM!  A very good friend of ours has helped us out a lot by contributing a butter churn that saves a lot of time and allows me to be doing something else at the same time...which is usually making cheese!  Thanks also to Glengarry Cheesemaking for their help and their great selection of product in cheese and yogurt production.

Last night was the second attempt at yogurt and have to say this one turned out quite good...it is rich and creamy and we have eaten eat with maple syrup on top and it is so creamy and sweet in your mouth.  I plan to make some fruit yogurt from a shared recipe and will let you know how it turns out.  My first attempt at the yogurt did NOT work at all!  It never set so that batch went to the chickens which they were quite happy about.  It is funny because all the recipes I read about tell me that yogurt is one of the easiest things to make although I found it one of the hardest....go figure.  Anyway, the batch last night turned out to our liking so hopefully the next time will be the same.

We have had a "real" winter this year...we have experienced temperatures of -30 and then crazy enough the next day have +15!  What the....over the last couple of days we have been blasted with a winter storm so I have been inside...making cheese...enjoying my days off of work. 

So far so good for February...planning the garden is going well and most of the seeds have been ordered and actually received.  Now I am excited and anxious to get them started...still a bit too early yet though!  We are also planning our options of Farmers Markets this season and we are excited for the market season to begin!

Keeping warm and cozy here on the East Coast!