Thursday, February 27, 2014

Daily Doings and Update on the Barn Babies

February 26, 2014

This was a long put off shopping day.  I am proud of us; I think we have gone almost a month without visiting Walmart!  That is my goal.  We also stopped  by our local market, Murfins, because I will not buy some  fresh things from Walmart (such as eggs).

February 27, 2014
Today is 'milk' day.  I am not out but since we will have company soon, I want to get some ahead.  .  All the grands, but especially our son's kids, absolutely love our whole, raw milk,  If they come when Willow is dry they  let me know  how disappointed  they are.  I have taught them a little farm animal biology about her having to be dry 60 days and then having to wait 3-5 days to use her milk.  They may start timing their visits accordingly!

I plan to be like the Administrator of the Family Cow Forum who is in her late 80's and still milks daily.  I don't even have to do that, only when we want and need milk.

Do you read food labels?  If not, please start doing it now!  I thought I was being very conscientious about that since becoming a nut about real  food (not processed, home cooked and grown if possible) but now and then something slips past me.  For instance since DH started eating a yogurt daily and I was too lazy to milk more often  to make  yogurt, I have just been buying him a week's worth with blueberries.  He likes Dannon's Orikos Greek brand. I finally read the label.....they use cornstarch to thicken it.  Now that is not horrible since cornstarch is a food product and not a chemical, but it annoys me  and seems  like cheating to thicken it that way.  It could possibly be even more nutritious since they aren't draining the whey to keep it thick.  I need to be open minded.  However, there are more things added.  Mine has only whole milk, and a  starter that is just a little natural yogurt.

Another product that jumped to my attention  was vanilla.  I have made my own for a couple of years now and even got my son and ex-DIL making it.  Gave my Sis l0 beans too.  She told me she thought it didn't have a vanilla taste!  Well she ordered two bottles of Mexican Vanilla and brought one to me the last time she was down.  It was a full quart so I thought I would just use mine up and then use hers.

Here are the ingredients:  Vanilla bean, Extract in Purified Water, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor), Alcohol, Corn Syrup, Natural Dark Color.

Mine would be:  Vanilla beans, alcohol.

You can't take pure, natural, or any of those other terms for granted.  You have to read the label!

BTW, the older my vanilla got, the sweeter it got.....and the smell was wonderful. 

These two are of  Willow's calf, a bull.  He will become a future herd sire in 2015 as a 2 year old.

This is the calf we  bought to put on Willow  so I wouldn't  have to milk daily,

That is Jewel's rear you can see.  This isn't a prime animal; he has too much Jersey in him and probably some Holstein. He comes from what is called a rainbow dairy herd. (I won't share my opinion of those dairies which are mostly grass based!)

and this is Jewel's first calf, a heifer.  I love her beautiful brown color


There would have been several more cats enjoying the morning sun but my 'assistant' decided to drive
 Willow past the door into the field and the cats scattered.


  1. Unless I'm seeing double, that 'random cat picture' looks just like a heifer. LOL Bitter cold here today - winds up to 40 and blowing snow. Wonderful to see some pics with sunshine!

  2. LOL...your Assistant...LOL!!! Willow's calf is beautiful...just a real beauty, Glenda and yes, I read labels and MAKE MY OWN VANILLA...:)JP

  3. Thank you! I have been fighting with pictures most of the morning....looks like I lost.

  4. Glenda,

    I read labels every time I'm in the store. People think I'm crazy because it takes me a while to get all of my shopping done. Oh I so understand not shopping at WalMart for certain things. I try to avoid this store as often as possible.

    I love the pictures of your cows, the colors are beautiful.

    Homemade vanilla all the way at my home too.

    1. Glad you read labels too; I am amazed that I didn't for so many years.

  5. Of course you know I read labels, too. I don't guess there's anything wrong with corn starch being in it. But then if you wanted to use that brand as a starter for homemade Greek yogurt, it might be a problem. Not sure.

    I make my vanilla in brandy. I like the flavor better than when made in vodka.

    Those are some good lookin' animals!

    1. I may try a small amount in brandy next time. I want to see the difference.

  6. I went to get my McCormick's Pure Vanilla to read the ingredients: Vanilla bean extractives in water and alcohol (41%) It doesn't smell as sweet as the homemade Vanilla Bean/Vodka that my neighbor made. It's in a plastic bottle, too.

    1. I was really surprised by the sweetness of mine. I will be making more soon. I tasted this Mexican one and the taste is not pleasant but with a strong sort of bitter vanilla taste.

  7. Reading labels is a must...but what do they not include on the label?

    Love that calf.

    I see great prospects with your young bull.

    Sunshine today and this ice is still not wanting to leave.

    When the tornado crossed here it was almost three weeks without power. The horrible ice storm kept us powerless for over a week. We are lucky we have water close and alternate heat.

  8. I thought I commented here before, but see that I didn't. I always enjoy reading about your life on the farm. It is interesting. I like that you make your own vanilla. I'm just about out of my storebought (from SAM's) and have never tried making my own. What is your recipe?

    Love your photos.

    I can't seem to find your email addy in my email program so will just write a short note here. I want to say thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind and encouraging comments you leave. They boost me up!

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady