Trixie and The Nooners
It has been suggested a few times (LOL) that we should make Farm Fest a yearly event! What a wonderful idea. But next time lets just make it a celebration.... cuz the barn will be all done.. right???
We had a farm full of activity, friends old and new, great food, fabulous music, and we actually got quite a bit of work done on the barn too!
I made 60lbs of pulled pork, and salad. Ty's Amazing Kitchen came along as well and made gumbo with our cajun sausage! YUMMY! He also helped us roast our corn! Corn was donated by Abie Vegetable People and from Schoolhouse Gardens.
Upstream Brewing Company donated two kegs of their amazing beer and Trader Joe's in Lincoln donated a case of yummy wines! Bands played all day and into the night.
A late night bonfire complete with marshmallows and campers ended our first day and we all woke up ragged and tired but happy and ready to get back to work.
Day 2 was all about the tin. We purchased some second hand tin for the interior of the cheese room but it has to be sanded so it can be repainted. Most of the morning we were roughing up the tin with scouring pads. Looks like fun... right?
We had a lot of fun! I was more exhausted than I thought possible afterwards but what a wonderful weekend!
Andy and I are so thankful to everyone who came out to help and for those who donated. Without you we would not be this far along.
Work party #2 planned for next weekend (Aug 17)! We still have an untapped keg of beer and wine left! Work still to be completed.... join us next weekend. More info to come as I get it. But I am so looking forward to it!
I needed to post today to properly thank everyone who has donated, volunteered, mentored, and supported us! It is hard believe we have come so far. As of yesterday, we are once again a Grade A Inspected Dairy! This absolutely would not have happened without your support and help. Getting our Grade "A" at the new farm is the first step in making cheese again!
I have been all aflutter looking at cheese moulds, forms, tools, and getting incredibly excited! So many choices! It is both fun and a little overwhelming.
My teeny tiny cheese vat!
Now, on to focusing on finishing up the cheese rooms! All that is really left is putting the tin on the walls, hooking up the sinks, an finishing the cave. Simple.. right? My cheese vat arrived a few weeks ago. I stop in and say hello to it daily.. cannot WAIT to get to using it! It is a 30 gallon cheese vat.. small enough to work with as little as four gallons of milk up to thirty gallons. Perfect size for me!
So, how do we finish? Well, a good friend made an awesome suggestion. Let's have a work party! Heck, let's take it one step further and have a work party / mini festival here at the farm! So.. August 3rd and 4th Farm Fest 2013!
We have bands offering to come play all day Saturday and some on Sunday too. We will provide a farm fresh dinner on Saturday (pulled pork anyone!!). Potluck lunch on Saturday.
Many hands make light work! With a little help from our friends we can finish this whole dang barn! Don't like the idea of working in the barn? We could also use help in the garden! A little work and a whole lotta fun is what we are planning. Come, bring the family, enjoy the music, help out on the farm, eat some fantabulous grub and if you are up to it... bring a tent and stay the night! We can have a bonfire and roast marshmallows, relax and enjoy the countryside.
What to bring? If you have a drill, bring it, if you have a ladder grab that too, gloves, a camp chair, dish to share for lunch, to save on trash bring a plate, bowl, utensils, and a cup, swimsuit for the kids.. they can play in the sprinkler, and anything else that springs to mind. Feel free to set up camp if you want to stay the night. We have plenty of room!
As bands confirm and we get a schedule together I will post on Facebook and our website. We also have a facebook event set up. This is a party in progress!
Can't come but want to help? Our online donation is still active, and there are still many supplies needed.
Again, we are so thankful for all the support everyone has shown!
Here we are mid February 2013 and the barn that was supposed to be built in November is still just a slab of concrete. Remember our grand opening celebration that was scheduled on December 8th? Obviously it has not happened.
To add insult to injury we discovered that what little work was done... was sabotaged by the contractor. I wish I had known what footings were when they were pouring that cement pad... because there are NONE there. We kept asking about the lack of floor drains in the cement and the contractor kept saying "Trust Me... I have been in construction for 15 years." He spoke of some magic roto-rooter device that would create floor drains after the building was placed on the slab... little did we know he was full of it. The picture above shows the cement pad and where we have begun to have the concrete cut for footings.
After missing yet another deadline of Christmas for construction completion, another long line of more excuses from Mr. Allen, and with the end of January fast approaching we decided to fire this contractor and requested a refund. We had discovered that the cement pad would require thousands of extra dollars to repair and bring to code. We learned that Mr. Allen had not paid the cement contractor, and the electrics that were done on the house were all wrong. We needed to basically start over.
Since then we have had nothing more than empty promises to refund the money paid Mr. Allen. We contacted the authorities and a Deputy came out to take a report, and things were beginning to feel pretty glum. Then yesterday my phone rang. It was Tonya Ward from Energy Rescue, a local non-profit. She is a dear friend and we had spoken about our situation a week or so ago. Tonya offered to orchestrate a giant fundraising and volunteer effort to raise the barn! Needless to say, I was blown away and brought to tears.
Tonya got right to work! She contacted news stations and Fox 42 was the first to jump at the opportunity to broadcast our story. For those that remember.... this is the same station that aired the story about the tornado that took the barn two years ago. In fact, they sent the same reporter, Curt Casper. I believe the story will air after American Idol tomorrow night (2/13).
Right now, we do know that the barn kit will be here Saturday. We need help with cement work, we need a septic tank, water needs to be run to the barn and electricity, materials for the inside of the barn and general man hours to get everything completed. We have been granted until the end of Feb to get off the Elmwood farm so timing is crucial... there is much to be done and little time.. and no funds left.
Tonya is working hard to secure financial and material donations and volunteers to help us get this creamery completed. Andy and I borrowed $10,000 from a friend last week and this will cover the cost of the new building I ordered. We are operating under the assumption that there will not be a refund in the foreseeable future but if there is we will use all funds to the rest of the project.
It is our sincere hope that his coverage will encourage Mr. Allen to refund Lowell the money he was paid.... nearly all of it since what little work was done is going to require significant expense to correct.
I will share more info as I have it....
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.
Artisan Cheesemaker. Lover of all foods dairy..