Maybe I should say "Life with the Lamb". This past month has been consumed with much to do and a new lamb... in the house. Let me introduce Kiss. She got her name because her markings on her face reminded me of KISS. silly... I know. When we found Kiss she had just been born... the smallest of triplets.
Kiss is the one laying down in the middle
She was so tiny. She did not seem to have much energy and her Mom was occupied with her other two babies and did not seem very interested in helping Kiss.
We tried to help Kiss nurse but she wasn't able to figure it out and she would just give up and go lay down. I wondered if she might be blind because she would walk under her mom and keep walking and would end up nuzzling the straw bales. The morning was a cold one and she was shivering so we decided to take her inside briefly and warm her up. When we took her back she still could not seem to figure out nursing and her Mom did not seem at all inclined to help her. It had been hours since she had been born so we decided to feed her and then take her back. Long story short... Mom would not accept her so we took her in and thus began our life with the diaper wearing lamb.
Yes, Diet Coke was purchased for the bottle
Here she is on her first day... quiet and still. Yeah.. that didnt last long. A day or two of feedings every 30 minutes to an hour and she had more than enough energy to begin exploring her surroundings. We almost named her Bambi because she kept skating on our wood floors and ending up looking much like Bambi did.. all four legs spread out and sitting on her belly. It was hard not to laugh at her.
She has such a passive personality. In hindsight it was clear we made the right choice for her... a lamb must keep up with its Mom and triplets have to fight for their position nursing. My guess is she would have spent most of her time sleeping and would not have lasted long. Hannah assumed the role of Mommy to Kiss and wanted to be the one to feed her...even in the middle of the night.
So for six weeks she has grown and grown. She has also wormed her way into everyone's hearts. Taking care of her became a family affair. Gradually we spread out her feedings and things became more manageable and sleep returned to our home. Kiss has been fun to have around but as she has grown we knew it would be time to take her back out to the sheep where she could learn to be a sheep. So... how does one know when it's time to send the "house lamb" back to the barn?
On with other farmy news... spring has come a bit early for us. February was our month for babies! We expected it a bit more spread out into March... but the animals had other plans. We have had ten calves born and all but one of our sheep has already had her babies. The barn is alive with cuteness! Luckily it has been a very mild winter and everyone has done well. Last year we had a problem with the beef cows from next door hopping the fence... and this year most of our heifer calves appear to be half-beef cow. Not great news.
Our conversion to highline milking is almost complete! Hopefully by the end of the week we will be using our pipeline rather than buckets and our milking and cleaning time should be greatly reduced. Once Andy gets accustomed to the changes it should shave a couple of hours off his day! A welcomed and much needed break. He will be able to fill the sinks and the system will wash itself while he attends to other chores. How exciting is that!!!
While accumulating dairy equipment we also made the decision to invest in a new form of pulsation. We first heard of Co-Pulsation two years ago and it has been a goal of ours to make the change and now it's a reality! Co-Pulsation in a nutshell is a new way of looking at pulsation. We learned about it through Weston A. Price. It is much more gentle on the cows resulting in increased butterfat and reduced stomatic cell counts.
Boex family and Jamie
We participated in the Omaha Home and Garden Expo last month. Four days of exhibiting. Exhausting and fun! Several of our customers showed up to help and it really made a difference. I was able to take a break, eat a meal and sit down for a few minutes. I would like to publicly thank everyone who came to help: Shawna, Tom, Sue, Mallory, and especially Andrew who has become my right hand market man - He was there every day all day. Also, a special thanks to the whole Uhing family who watched all of my kids while I worked! That takes courage.
One of the reasons we do these type of shows is the opportunity to share with others the benefits of eating traditional foods. It has become a passion of mine. When I look at Andy and how much his health has improved it reaffirms why we do what we do. Twelve years ago he had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Today, he is leaner and healthier his blood pressure is normal, and he no longer snores! How many 50 year old men today can make that kind of health changes and remain medication free? My weight continues to slowly go down. I have come to the realization that I am going to have to give up grains to loose this weight... something I have battled with and against but am finally ready to do. My health is fine... I had my heart checked a year ago and I was told I had the heart of a 24 year old, my blood pressure is fine and for someone that carries weight I am quite healthy... I certainly have more energy and stamina than I did 15 years ago. But... I really want to drop the last of this weight. I have battled emotional eating for as long as I can remember which will make this transition all the more difficult. It boils down to my children. I want to do this for them. So, if anyone reading this is considering taking similar steps... let me know... we can all support each other!
In kid related news... Hannah turned eleven and Alex turned six! Hannah is now sporting a new haircut that she loves and Alexander lost his bottom tooth! His first tooth he has lost naturally. ( He lost his front four teeth thanks to a fall on the tub spout at 2 1/2.) He was so excited!
Jamie has taken up knitting. Ciara started her when she was here and the bug really seems to have caught. She is currently knitting a scarf.... she saved her money and purchased everything she needed herself. <<proud mom moment>>
Unfortunately I don't know how to knit, can't answer her questions and the books read like Greek to my mind... so she often looks like this.... poor kid.
Alexander is starting to read! Relaxed homeschooling is the only way to go for our family. I absolutely love watching my kids help each other... the girls have been helping Alexander and it is just heartwarming to watch. They are so stinking awesome! << yes... another proud mom moment>>
OK... I apologize for such a long entry today. There is so much more to tell. We have some other exciting changes around the corner but I will leave that for another day.
Summer is here! And so is our CHEESE! Our journey to farmers markets has finally arrived. WHEW!
Just the process of choosing a market felt overwhelming at first. So many choices! We are so blessed here in the Lincoln/Omaha markets with so many wonderful markets to choose from! I have been a frequent visitor/purchaser at the Lincoln markets but had no idea where to start with the Omaha ones. So, we started checking them out. Fun... all in itself! A new market was opening in Lincoln so it seemed natural to start with that market as it would be smaller and we only had a two cheeses to choose from. Also, I could bake bread.. one of my greatest loves!
So, sporting my new haircut (thanks Linda!), armed with 14 loaves of my whole wheat cinnamon roll bread off we went. I was thinking the bread would be a fun addition and I could talk to folks about healthy fats and introduce them to our cheeses. I spent the better part of a week (or two) carousing Lincoln's thrift shops for everything I thought I needed. I assembled all my goods, brought eggs, meats, cheese, and that bread. All anyone was interested in was the bread. I came home so bummed. I couldn't figure out what went wrong. Back to the drawing board! The market uploaded some pictures of my table on their FB page and boy was that helpful! Something stuck out at me when looking at my set up from that viewpoint. NOTHING! My signs were hidden, all that really stood out was the bread. No wonder that's all anyone wanted! I also realized how bland my color set up was. I thought I was being really nifty ... my whole set up matched my cheese labels... sunflower yellow table cloth with a cute little red and greed plate.. . just like my labels. Boy.. did I have a lot to learn. All this great cheese and it was hardly noticeable. Two things I did do right was to make a big white board poster with pictures of the animals and I was handing out Weston A Price brochures.
Sooo.... week 2! Lost the yellow tablecloth... used Grandma's red and white checked ones. Added another table so we had an L shape. Didn't snap any pictures though.. it was the Grand opening of the market and we were occupied talking to people and listening to the radio station blaring next to us. OK.. so singing along and goofing off a bit. Hannah came with me to this one.. I hate that I dont have a picture of her. I only baked six loaves of bread and set them to the side. Cheese more front and center in a groovy red basket and plate. We sold a bit more cheese and a few meats. Not brillant but better. Learning, learning. I spent a lot of time creating these cute little signs for Ground beef on sale, signs with colors and framing in clear plastic stands... and spent the whole evening picking them up off the ground or table! Pretty frustrating! Looking at my table that night I realized that as much as I love my Grandma's red and white tablecloths I really needed ones that fit my tables and matched each other better... bummer. As usual... my MOM saved the day! In the mail I received some gorgeous bright busy country checked tablecloths! With a matching plastic mat upon which to showcase that cheese! Woo Hoo!
So, week 3 approaches an I think I have it all figured out! (silly woman) I made these great signs to hang from the beams of my tent... got my gorgeous eye catching tablecloths.. what can go wrong?? I should learn not to ask. It was 105 degrees AND windy! My signs flew off their hooks... so I taped a few to the poles. My big picture board kept flying off it's stand and finally broke my big easel ... :-( And we needed table cloth clamps- stuff flying everywhere! It was so stinking hot... after setting up I just wanted to pass out! Very few people at the market... (can't imagine why!). But Jamie was WORKING IT!. She had her little cute self standing outside of the tent catching folks as they walked by giving them brochures on the farm. She even brought in a few folks... one guy said he was just buying those lamb chops because she was so cute! I came home so incredibly exhausted.. it's just too hot in the evenings! So... starting to think about weekend early morning markets. And.. we have more cheese coming ready.
Last weekend we went to Village Pointe market in Omaha. I couldn't believe the difference! People were there to shop! They came prepared to buy groceries! We actually sold meat and cheese! It was awesome! We had our jack cheeses and our cheddar bites (which sold out!). The heat didn't set in till the last hour and it was much more manageable. And.. no bread... as much as I love baking... it was taking up all my extra time and energy.. I was spending two days solidly baking. A week of not baking was certainly welcomed. I was able to spend a little time in my garden... I found baby cabbages in all the grass! How fun! Andy made me this awesome big wood sign for the markets that works great to catch attention and DOESNT FALL OVER!! I have taken to taping my picture board to the tent poles.. still need to work on a better plan for for that. But, we are starting to feel like pros... set up is much easier and we are learning more and more every day! Why just last weekend I learned my tent goes up much higher! Today we attended an indoor one day market at OPPD District offices in Omaha. We premiered our Raw Milk English Cheddar and our Fresh Feta. Both girls came with me and they had a blast. Quite the little sales girls they are making! I figure its a great learning experience for them... talk about real socialization!
On a non-farm note: Ashley Graduated! :-) Not that we ever had any concerns... she is so stinking smart! Nonetheless it was a wonderful thing to celebrate.
We took a day off this month to celebrate our July birthdays. Michael turned 3 and Jamie is turning 9! This is just all going by too fast. It seems like just the other day when asked how old Michael was I said 2... (actually it WAS just the other day!) Then it dawned on me.. my baby is 3. How did that happen? It seems too fast. Anyhoo.. we took a day off from the farm.. Andy milked in the morning and we went swimming all day! Such fun! Andy was smart and left his shirt on.. me.. not so much! I have quite the burn on my back and right now am often imitating the pigs scratching myself on posts and walls. Totally worth it though! We have decided to stick with morning milking... it has opened up all kinds of avenues for family fun! Andy gets more sleep too... which he desperately needed.
my hot cheese date!
Feeling thankful these days for our wonderful friends here in Nebraska. We couldn't do this without your support. Thankful for all the times friends just show up to help or are willing to be my hot cheese date and help me cut up and package cheese late at night.
I still miss my Georgia friends but is is just so great that I have developed some dear friends here. On my birthday my closest friends here surprised us by just showing up with food, cake, and weeding gloves! They went to work on my garden and uncovered so much goodness in there! Plants that were being choked out by grass and weeds were given new life! I can't even tell you how much that meant to me. And if not enough, the next night they took me out for dinner! We had big fun goofing off, walking around the Haymarket and making Facebook mischief by posting we were getting tattoos. Been too long since I have had so much fun!
Artisan Cheesemaker. Lover of all foods dairy..