Monday, December 30, 2013

Jewel's Baby

It was really cold here this morning at 4 AM, 10°.  I think we  will be at normal temperatures for the rest of the week which is 40's and  20's.

I milked yesterday morning, both cows.  Getting  them both started up the ramp was the hardest part.  Once on the ramp they moved up into the barn easily.  We  had so much excitement getting them  up to the ramp that Jewel didn't give quite as much.  It is not good to excite a dairy cow before pay.

I did go out afterward and got a couple of pictures of the baby.  The color isn't as  good  with the Panasonic as it  is with the Canon.  The baby has slightly more red in her coat.  I think she will end up being black.

Our granddaughter and her  friend got in about 7 pm last night.  I had a pot of hamburger soup waiting.  I wasn't supposed to do dessert because her friend is dieting....but I had made  a new  recipe for a large sour cream coffee cake early in the  day.  So be it.   The dark  is a layer of streusel filling  around the middle of the cake. 

This was a recipe  from Martha called Sara's Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake. 

This is errand day.  I need  to grocery shop (lots of fruit and veggies! no fat), pick up a library book  and get a license for the trailer.  DH and I may leave before the girls get up.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Red Calves on a Black Angus Farm - Jersey Milk

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I still haven't  taken down the tree but will do it soon.  We had half the family here and I did the requested fried chicken dinner.  I made my SIL a traditional tres leches cake.  I couldn't believe it would be pour a quart of mixed condensed, evaporated, and cream (three milks) over the cake and let it soak in overnight.  It is topped with whipped cream.  I was very surprised at how good it was and not nearly as sweet as I thought it would be.  He was very surprised that I made it for him.  He is from Honduras.

I may have more guests by January l.................................

Today was a very nice sunny day, a change from what we have been having. 


I have now milked Jewel (Jersey heifer) twice.  She lets me milk her without even lifting a leg, but she is very leery of the barn.  It takes longer to get her in and out than it does to milk both cows.  When I got to the barn this morning DH already had her up the ramp but she wouldn't take that step up into the barn.  After about 20 minutes of that nonsense I decided push Willow up behind her thinking that would shove her on.  Didn't work.  Next I decided to back them both down and make Willow the lead cow since she comes into the barn readily and I thought if I followed (loudly) that Jewel would follow her up and she did!  So now we have a new routine.  I hope it works next time.  If she once gets over that fear of the step up, I won't have to use Willow.  We have three bypass stanchions in the milk parlor so I just let Willow in No.1 and Jewel moved down to No.2.

So, I milked both cows and kept the milk separate.  I am letting Jewel's sit overnight in a container I can skim easily.  Her milk is delicious but we don't want to drink all that rich, golden cream.

After DH came in from checking the cows he said he wanted to take the camera out later and take a picture for me to see the all red calf.  I couldn't figure how we could get a red calf from black  cows and bulls.  We knew the neighbor's bull hadn't visited.  He came back  with about 50 pictures....he gets carried away but I love seeing all of them.  While  we were looking at  them it came to me:  These were from Willow's (she is a red Milking Shorthorn with very little white)bull calf Ferdinand we saved back from over two years ago in August.  He is finally breeding the girls.  We are delighted.

and here he/she (don't know yet) is with Mama,

I  spotted two more reddish ones in the photos,

I kept blaming the neighbor's Hereford bull but couldn't figure why the  calves didn't have white faces which is the normal coloration with a Hereford.  I have been noticing reddish color for a year now....

The other nice surprise for me (I don't travel over the farm much) was the lush stockpiled grass on the old farm.  I bet the cows were pleased once that snow melted. 

I still haven't got another shot of Jewel's reddish brown baby but will get one maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ice Storm Arrived

But it could have been worse.  It drizzled all day two days ago but the temperature hovered around the freezing mark so we just got about 1/4 inch accumulation on things and the ground never froze.

This is the front yard.  The poor river birch is bent to the ground.

 This is the view out my kitchen window

Looking from the back patio toward the garden,

This is taken from the driveway looking northwest

The ground never froze so walking wasn't impacted.

I did get three bales of  straw  over the strawberry bed the evening before the ice storm came.  The berry plants look very good. 


This is the group of calves we will be selling in January.  They have finally settled down and quit bawling.

(This is Willow's rear in the photo on the right).

They were standing right there looking at me so I took their picture too.  These are Willow's babies,

We notice these two geese acting strangely the other day.  They seemed  to be nesting in the middle of the snow.  They stayed there all day.

From december blog


I caught these two right outside the milk parlor after  milking.  I think since we have had another litter ......

Thursday, December 19, 2013

At Last! Jewel Did Her Thing

This post will be dedicated to   Jewel, my Jersey heifer,  calving and on a very warm evening on clean pasture.

 DH came in about 4 pm and told me she had started so I went out to check.  She was in the pasture just  west of the house and very close in.  Everything looked correct; front feet out and pointed down.  I waited just a few minutes and then calledDH to bring the equipment.  I decided to help her get the baby out and safe before it got any darker.  Heifers are notoriously prone to 'giving up' when they get too tired and then you are in trouble.  Once  that head is in the birth canal, it needs to come out quickly.

We used the puller and OB chains (gift from my BIL and they work so much better than the straps) and the baby came easily.  It was a very nice sized calf and was a heifer.  I drug the baby around to Jewel's nose so she could begin cleaning it and they could bond. Once that happened, Jewel got up and the baby started trying to get up, I left  them alone.  Help at this point is futile.

I took  a few pictures.  I hope no one is squeamish but here they are:

and the baby trying to get up; they go end over end the first few attempts,

I was going to show her very nice udder, but from the back  end she was very messy so will spare you all that one!

I can now relax.  I will begin to milk her in a couple of days and see how that goes.......

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tuesday, December 10

It is still very cold here and we got another l inch of snow last night. We are north of I—44 and were in the lighter snowfall zone.

I should have milked but DH talked me into waiting until tomorrow when it will be slightly warmer.

He didn't have to talk too hard.....

I was not happy with my last recipe of oatmeal bread so tried a 7-grain recipe that I found online. I didn't do a King Arthur because their recipes always call for several of their products that I don't keep on hand. This bread is a winner; it is almost too soft and is hard to slice. Of course I made several changes to the recipe which might have given me the softness but that is never a bad thing for us. DH likes his bendable!

I also boiled down the turkey carcass with celery, a couple of carrots and a few black pepper corns and ended up with a quart of thick stock and about 2 cups of shredded turkey meat. I want to try (again) egg noodles. I have never been happy with mine.

Wednesday, December 11

Another cold morning, 10°. No melting yet but the roads seem to be clear and the school bus was running.

I milked this morning. I just took l gallon. I think her babies need a warm breakfast.

We were going to do errands but after DH did the feeding chores, he was tired so we put it off another day.

I finally made a successful batch of egg noodles. At least I was happy with them. I used the recipes in my Joy of Cooking book but used the food processor. I rolled them very, very thin and used my pizza cutting wheel. I cooked half in the turkey broth then lifted them and let them drain. The last half I cooked in the remaining broth with the cup of turkey bits and pieces. We had that for lunch. 
with the remaining half I made a small amount of fettuccine
Alfredo substituting whole milk in place of cream and it worked perfectly well. I thought it was very will be another meal. (Actually, it was my evening meal; DH had a bowl of cereal).

Tonight will be another near zero night. This is extreme cold and very early in the season.....not liking it at all!

Thursday December12

No milking this morning.  We decided to run errands  which we cut short because we were both ready to stop after Walmart!  We did return library books but skipped our local market that butter on sale.

Friday December 13

Another winter storm is on us.  This is freezing precipitation which can get critical in this part of the country.
The temperature is hovering just around freezing so nothing is accumulating so far.....but wait until the evening when the temps drop!  

I milked  this morning and DH called from the barn and told me to put Trax on my boots; it was treacherous on the barn lot which is concrete.  It was colder then and the light rain was  freezing.  

Jewel still hasn't calved; she has me wondering if I am a month off....time will tell.

I came in a made peanut butter cookies for DH and am pretty much done for the day.  

Note: New header picture I took when the snow first  fell; it looks the same today except the sky is a  dreary gray.  It isn't winter yet but it  sure looks and feels like it.  All area schools are canceled  in anticipation of freezing rain later today.

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Day of Winter Storm

DH and I were both up very early.  The cold has arrived and with it 3-4 inches of very fine snow.  It is made worse with the wind.  Tonight will be ever colder....down around zero.  I know this must set a record for this early in the year.  It is currently 17°, snowing with 8mph wind.

I didn't milk yesterday but did this morning.  Willow was down a half gallon which is expected with the cold and wind. 

DH took all the clean canning jars out to the barn yesterday after noon.  We unloaded some attached  shelving that had leftover  things  from the  dairy that we just pitched.  I have shelf space left.  I will need to attach a plastic curtain over them to keep feed from filtering down from the attic where we store the bulk cattle feed.  We need to do some more cleaning and elimination of old paint and dairy things from another set of shelves and  then I will have even more space.

I am still  working on re-organizing the kitchen.  DH said he has already gotten used to the new setup for coffee (he is the coffee chef in my kitchen).  I did get the food pantry cleaned and organized.  Next I will do the center section  where I keep cooking things like cake and pie pans and small appliances.


I took  time in between the cleaning to make a loaf of banana bread a small blackberry cobbler.   I have to eat to keep up my strength ........

I was not happy with my last bread.  I made two loaves of oatmeal using a Quaker Oatmeal recipe.....bad choice. I didn't even like it as French Toast this morning.  It wasn't  awful just not what I like, too heavy and dense and not sweet enough. It occurs to me I don't really need a recipe anymore....will give that a try next.

I need to put out birdseed today!  I see Cardinals and even a house wren flitting around the feeding area.  I know I still have seeds in the smokehouse.  They will need it tonight.

The Cat and the Mouse (and Thanksgiving and catchup .... again

The cold front arrived last night but so far is showing 28° on my thermometer. We are north of I-44 so could miss the entire precipitation thing....time will tell.

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and I have been in a resting up mode since the last left on Sunday.
All the family was here which was wonderful; it is rare that both can come at the same time. Our granddaughter stayed with us the whole week (her BF lives nearby.......) She may join us over winter break (for the same reason).

DH has been busy getting ready for the possible storm by putting out bales of hay and moving the cows to the field with the in ground waterer that doesn't freeze. He also put a bale of straw in the hen house and filled the nest boxes (I have still been inside in rest mode). I did make oatmeal bread yesterday. I was not happy with the recipe so will keep experimenting until I find one I do like...may go back to some original Hogsdon Mills ones that I began with.

I had a mini disaster in the kitchen yesterday. I was getting something off a pantry shelf when the overloaded shelf slipped off one of the little shelf brackets and dropped down on one side to the shelf below! Nothing broke but some oil spilled. DH came to my rescue and we unloaded everything from that shelving section.

I took advantage of this to get rid of some very old jars of pickles that had gone bad. Now I have the counter top covered with clean canning jars that need to be transported out to the Milk Parlor (I knew I should have bought another shelf!). I had three dishwasher loads of jars.

This clean-up led to redoing the entire wall of cabinets...I have more to do this morning. I also redid a section of the cabinets where we keep coffee, tea and cereals. Be interesting to see how we like this new arrangement.

Next is organizing the freezer portion of the new refrigerator which is already a mess. Having all the company didn't help. I found a bowl I use daily at the top of the my nice son-in-law did that. He was in the kitchen helping a lot. He and our daughter were both a tremendous help in after-dinner cleanup. The grands were attached to their phones................except the older one and she was studying almost the entire time here. I couldn't believe the amount of homework assigned over the break.

I made DH a half-gallon batch of yogurt. He has now become addicted to a dish a day with fruit, mostly blueberries. This is a man who a year ago wouldn't even taste it! I am guessing he saw or read something about the health benefits. I had been buying it for him when I finally decided I could save tons of money doing it myself. I have made yogurt before. I think my last batches haven't been as thick as I would like. I need to research that. He is happy with it though. I will also make my own fruit for it. I bought a jar of Duncan Hines blueberry topping and it is 80% thickened juice with just a bit of whole fruit. I can do better.

What did I learn from my cleaning pantry project? I will never can pickles again....just tomatoes and . maybe salsa and ketchup. DH has been telling me for a few years that I should stop. I will be working on my garden plans accordingly this winter. I am the only one to eat pickles; Vlasic can surely work for me.

I will be milking this morning. My steady girl, Willow (the milk cow) returned to a very vocal heat yesterday and we turned her to the field and saw her bred by one of the senior Angus bulls. The Jersey heifer, Jewel, still hasn't calved. I am sure she is waiting for the zero night due in a few days.

Random Cat Picture

 Prince come down with our granddaughter.  It was time for his surgery.  He paid his way while here!