Boy, am I ready for March! This past month has felt like a rollercoaster ride. We have had some exciting moments and some tragic ones as well.
We have some new piggies! We have added some Hereford pigs to our family. Hereford pigs are a heritage breed that believe it or not originated right here in Nebraska. They are known for their gentle disposition and are excellent grazers. IF you are curious you can check out more on the breed by clicking HERE.
They are really fun little pigs... curious and very friendly. They love a good nose scratch so feel free to greet them when you are here... (mind the white fence - it bites).
These guys will be here close to the house for a few more weeks... we will be moving them out to pasture once we have grass. So, say hi while you can!
stole this off her facebook account! :-)
Ashley is home! She decided that she wants to attend college here at home rather than in Georgia so she came home this month. It was a difficult decision for her but she seems very settled and centered and at peace with her decision. Ashe is back at Lincoln High and will graduate from there this May. She only needed 17 credits to graduate so she only has to attend a half day at school.
I cannot begin to tell you all how absolutely wonderful it is to have her home. She is such an incredible, bright, alive, young woman... her spirit and exuberance fills our home! We are all so thrilled to have her back!
We added four new cows to our herd this month. Welcome Milly, Molly, Mandy, and Candy. Four beautiful jersey girls!
They are doing great.. they have adapted to our laid back milking style and are getting along with the other ladies just fine. We couldn't be happier with them.
We had a tragic accident this month. Weirdly enough it was actually the night that Milly, Molly, Mandy, and Candy arrived. The power lines on the road came apart at the insulator and fell on our fences. This caused quite the fireworks show which scared the cows and calves here next to the house. They ran. One hit the fence and was electrocuted and three others ran into her and were lost as well. The whole experience was horrific... we waited an hour for the power company to come shut down the lines and make our farm safe again... very nerve wracking. All in all... we are lucky... we could have lost many more cows than four, as bad as loosing four is.
We are blessed beyond words that this accident happened at night, that Andy did not touch the fences when he went out to check on everyone, and that our children slept through the whole event. We were able to tell them what happened in as gentle a manner as possible, they were spared from witnessing any of it.
The next week was one of waiting. Waiting on OPPD, waiting on the insurance folks, waiting to bury our four lost cows. The children mourned and the other cows mourned.. it was heartbreaking to watch. The children laid roses on the cows and we covered them with a tarp and waited. One of the adult cows lost her calf eight weeks early and we waiting and watched to see how many more would suffer the same fate. Electricity is such a funny thing.... one moment it's a necessity and the next it is devastatingly dangerous.
Miraculously we had a beautiful calf born last week! Her Mom is Tippy and one of our best cows. They were in the area with the accident so we did not expect the calf to survive. We named the little girl Tiffany and I have some incredible shots of her birth. Tiffany's birth leaves us with hope that maybe we have turned the corner and the rest of our cows will be well. btw... she is named after a friend of ours.. Tiffany Baker. This may seem a strange way to pay tribute to someone but she just reminded me to Tiffany... long, leggy and gorgeous!
All is well with Tiffany.. she is a gorgeous calf.. very tall and leggy and full of beans!
She is in the barn keeping warm right now but will join the other calves soon.
All of these new additions means one thing - MORE MILK! Our milk shortage is now a thing of the past! The past two weeks have been a blur of farm tours as we have opened up our waiting list and have been able to accept new customers. It also means the return of one of everyone's favorite things - CREAM!
Our cream separator has been chugging away and so has my food processor with butter! LOVE butter! LOVE CREAM!
We are bottling over 36 gallons of milk a day right now. Our family has been enjoying treats such as homemade raw cream top yogurt again! Last week I made flavors such as honey, maple syrup, and succanat vanilla which were all huge hits. I also tried molasses yogurt....( that one needs work).
Our new baby arrived today! His name is Shep. He is a Great Pyrenees puppy. He is such a big boy.. only eight weeks old but HUGE!
Shep will be a working dog... his job will be to guard the sheep. In a few weeks he will go to live with them and learn their ways. They will be his pack... not us. This is kind of sad since he is such a love... but our sheep need him.
Even though there is snow on the ground and it's 23 degrees outside.... spring is on it's way! The eggs are a sure sign! Look at what Hannah gathered tonight!
It's almost here... it's almost here! Before we know it we will have cows out on pasture, sheep shearing, and flowers everywhere... and milk will go back down in price! I could not be more excited!
Ya'll stay warm out tonight... its a cold one! I am off to make more yogurt.
A few reminder emails from some of you and here I am finally getting around to updating our blog. Thanks for the nudges.
Last weekend's snow was fun. Andy is quite the man with a shovel! It took him the better part of five hours but he made sure our customers could come get milk. I was super impressed with what a neat job he did... he even created pathways to the water and house so we didn't have to trudge through the snow. He never fails to impress me.
A slacker he is NOT!!
As is probably somewhat imaginable... winter is a rough time of year to be milking. Its rough on us and its rougher on the cows. To give our cows (and ourselves) somewhat of a rest we switched to once a day milking at the start of winter. We have certainly been enjoying the extra time together and have been finding ways to make the most of this time. I have been baking more.... the smell of fresh baked bread is just intoxicating and when combined with a pot of bubbling chicken broth in the works..it's just pure heaven. For me, snow days are spent playing with the kids and baking!
With February fast approaching and cabin fever setting in... I am finding myself focusing on spring. It's time to start planning our garden.... always an exciting venture. As usual we will stick with heirloom varieties of veggies and fruits. Last year we didn't get a garden in since we moved in July. I am super excited about this year's garden! We have some serious projects lined up for spring... one of which will be building a bridge! We are planning a couple of farm work weekends to get that project completed..... so for those of you itching to roll up your sleeves and pitch in we can put you to work! I will have more information on dates, etc much much closer to spring. For now... we are planning and budgeting.
Our first calves of the year are due in Feb! Keeping our fingers crossed everything goes according to schedule and without complications. Our milk supply is so tight right now... looking forward to some breathing room and cream! I really miss cream.
We had our first sheep shearing experience last week. We learned some things. First, I was surprised by how calm the sheep were. It was amazing how much wool you get from only one sheep! After each sheep was sheared we all ran our hands over their coats and our hands were covered with lanolin... we were rubbing it on our elbows and feet... so cool! One of our sheep had her lamb the next morning.. a sweet little ewe lamb.
Our friends, the Langford family, just left last night after a wonderful three week visit. With nine kids in the house it got a little chaotic and a whole lot messy but it sure was fun. Our days were spent riding bikes, exploring the quarry, swimming in the nearby pond, and generally goofing off..... can't remember when we have had such a wonderful time. I feel renewed and refreshed. We are missing them already.
We are still waiting on some of our cows to calve but the grass is in and milk is up! Spring is my favorite time of year. New life is all around the farm. The milk has changed colors.. revealing all the life-giving goodness that comes from the rapidly growing grass. Even the pigs are so busy chomping on fresh alfalfa and grass to visit their feed buckets. Turkey chicks and our first run of broiler chicks are here! Yes, it's finally spring! Yippee!
Artisan Cheesemaker. Lover of all foods dairy..