Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday At Last - Milk Project

Much colder today at around 37° and very cloudy; slight chance of rain or snow.  We need rain.

Tuesday, at last because Monday was MIL's doctor appointment and the first time I went  with her and went into the exam room.  I doubt I will be  doing that  again.  Enough said.  I don't want you to think I am a mean person (but I am often!).

She got a good report with no more changes made in her medicines.

We (Max) has been milking Jewel every other day so we were getting a considerable accumulation of milk.  This morning I worked up 2 gallons.  First thing I did was skim most of the cream from all.  This gave me slightly over 1 quart of heavy cream.

This left me with a full gallon for making mozzarella and a quart plus for buttermilk.  It is a messy process as you can see.

I made another 12 oz. of beautiful dark yellow butter which I will freeze.  I used the mixer this time and it is not nearly as quick as using the food processor.  I was afraid I would overload the processor but it would have been faster to just split the amount and made two batches.
From 2016-02-23

The mozzarella is at the curds ripening stage and I will finish it off in the morning.

I combined the left over milk from the butter with the quart of whole milk and it is setting in the kitchen to curdle and ripen like grandma made clabber milk.  No additives of any kind.

Most of the mess is cleaned up and I am resting at the computer!

This is for Kris.

The texture of the Oatmeal bread.  Please note it is not the true recipe because of my using too much liquid and the 'sort of' correcting it.  It didn't hurt the flavor at all.  The whitish pieces are the bits of  steel cut oats I added plus the rolled  oats.
Note it is a little to holey in the center.  I think that is due to adding a little too much yeast on the correction.  I know that last rise was almost instantaneous and I had to be careful putting it into the oven so as not to deflate it.
Also I had to cut the loaf in half and then slice the halfs so it would fit a toaster and be easier for sandwiches.  This is actually half a slice.  See what I mean.....

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Warmer Week

We are having a pleasant period of warmer than normal weather.  I think we broke a record a couple of days.  We got up to 75° and the norm is 47.

We had a scare  with Max's 97 year old mother last Thursday and Friday and spent most of the day in the ER with her.  They removed a drug (a beta-blocker) and her heart rate came back up to normal and she is back home and doing well.  We will go with her  to the  doctor (8:15AM) Monday just to be sure.  That means leaving here around 7  AM.  Rush, rush!

I was all primed  to do  some outside work yesterday  but ran into some normal first of the season issues......needed new spark plugs for tillers, one needed pull rope replaced (a shop job), trimmer needed a new primer bubble. I needed some WD-40 for my Martin house pole.  So, we loaded up  the tiller, made a list and headed out.  It usually takes us a few days to get all the equipment going.  We left the tiller but found all the other parts.  I will  go out later and try to get the big slasher tine tiller going.  I need to till the west end of the garden and make a pass over the part I tilled earlier in the fall.

I find I am having to build up to do much working outside.  I am still having lots of PMR issues, if  that is what it is. I am not taking  prednisone any longer.  It certainly didn't help me this time like in the past.  I hope warmer weather and some activity  besides cooking and reading will help.

Speaking of cooking, I was out of bread but wanted a coarser, nuttier one for toasting and fell back on King Arthur's easy one bowl Oatmeal Toasting and  Sandwich Bread. I noticed the bread was wetter  than usual and realized I had used a cup too much milk....not quite a recipe double but went back and added almost double other ingredients.  Made a huge loaf in a casserole dish.  I think it was still a little light on flour but it makes wonderful crunchy toast.

I also added 1/2 cup of steel cut oats for a nutty taste.

If you have never made bread, this one is a good first recipe.  You dump every thing in the mixer and go.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a great week.  It will be cooler for us.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

First Jewel Milking and last Cold Weekend for a While

Up at 3 AM which is a 'sleep-in' time for me.  I do go to bed very early so it all evens out........sometimes.

It is very cold this morning and will be  tomorrow before our warm week begins....up to 70°  by next Friday.  I hope to dormant oil spray things during this  time.

I haven't been outside much this past week because of the cold  weather.  So pictures are few and the quality is not good.

My last walk was east of the house and I only took this picture of a remaining pool of water still standing in a low spot at a gate.

This is in part of what we call the East 20.  No cows here because it is a hay field and all cattle come off in January until hay is cut.

No other farm related news.  Just DH's daily checking and feeding. I did have him  move  all the hay feeders and the mineral feeder to a central location  off of another hay field.  We are a bit slow on this this year.  He does the work but I do a management control (in the background and very low key).  We work together well that way.  He is not a detail man.

We have weaned Willow from house milking but her calf is still nursing.  He will be taken away in May.  If she does as expected she will calve again in July this year.  I am  going  to try to manage the bulls better this time.

We milked Jewel for the  first time on Thursday. Their milk is good for use on day 3 after calving.  We will leave her calf on her 24/7 for a while.  She will still have enough when we do milk for us.  In fact we plan (we being Max)to milk her every other day for a while so she won't dry somewhat or her udder won't get too uncomfortable for her.  The calf won't drink more  then he needs which is about l gallon a day.

We got 2 gallons the  first milking.  I skimmed l  full pint of  cream  from the gallon Max brought to the house.  The milk is delicious but not too buttery tasting this way.

I apologize for the quality of the picture but here it is:

Note the new blue dish cloths:

This brings on another Sis story.  My sister lives in Iowa and  is two years older.  This has happened to us before.....doing the same thing or cooking the same  thing at nearly the same time.

When talking yesterday I mentioned that I had just ordered something that she would probably make fun of, dishcloths.
We were raised in a household where they were called dishrags and that is exactly what they were.  discarded old shirts cut to size.  She laughed and said she had been looking at them the day before.  She was gifted one that had the scrubbing back side and loved it so much she wondered if she could find any online.  I  told her if it was available Amazon would have it.....and they did. She ordered some that same day.

I told her  it was maybe  because we each spent so much time in the kitchen and loving to cook that our minds would naturally be interested in those kinds of things.  Her love  is cooking in general and mine leans more toward baking.

I feel I need to explain why Max now does the milking which used to be my chore exclusively.  When I had my first bout (and do mean bout) of polymyalgia rheumatica, it was in  my arms and especially hands.   I couldn't hold a pencil much less squeeze a cow's teats.  That is when we bought a portable electric milking machine.  Max was very familiar with that use from our dairy operation.  He did so well, he just kept on.  Another reason is that ornery Willow who doesn't like me at all,  likes him very much and just trots up the ramp into the barn.  Whereas if  she spots me she heads for the west field at a trot and Max has to go get her.  I am quite content to let him continue.  I do go out and clean the parlor now and then.

This will be another lazy day for me. I cooked a large pot of white beans yesterday and we will enjoy leftovers today in some fashion. I also had fried potatoes with onions and corn bread.  Mom never served beans with out those sides and often macaroni and  tomatoes.  Don't really know why but I love the combo and so does DH.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jewel Calved

Up at my usual 3 AM.  Read in chair until Max got up and turned on the coffee.  He sets it up the night before but I wait until he is up because I want it fresh for him. 

Today is sunny and will be warmer than yesterday.

We had MIL out for Max's birthday dinner.  He requested a fried chicken dinner and that is what he got.  Chicken and gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, cole slaw, deviled eggs, hot rolls and chocolate cake.  I will not be cooking today! or maybe all weekend. 

She was ready to leave by 2:30.  I think she is now more comfortable at the assisted living  place than anywhere else unless it is a trip to Branson or some restaurant.  Whenever their bus goes, she is ready.

Max told me Jewel, the Jersey milk cow, was starting to calve.  She is in the lot on the west side of the house. She was finished l0 minutes later with a dark red bull calf this time.  She had a heifer last year.  She must have bred back on her first heat.  I never see her in heat or bred so it is a guessing game.  Baby was up and nursing within minutes.

That large red head in the background is her last year's huge heifer calf looking on.  So far, she hasn't attempted to nurse but we will be watching her closely. 

This shot shows her last year's calf and the baby nursing on the far side.

We have two in that lot that need to be de-horned (thanks to the Jersey breeding).

I took my first walk since the Prednisone has worn off somewhat.  I walked west down to the pond near our west border.

Took some miscellaneous shots of the cows that are currently grazing some stockpiled grass by the pond and in the north field behind the pond area.

Tried to catch Max checking the cows in the truck but couldn't see with the sun on the camera so barely got him in the picture

 This is what cows always do when  they don't turn tail and run when someone new shows up.  They turn and stare at the strange new thing (me).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 2016 Doings So Far

I blinked and January was gone!

February has started out  very busy.  We are hoping that lets up now.

First we finally got the roof repaired.  The estimate was January 7.......after three phone  calls we finally got it done yesterday.
I am always amazed how they will  tell you anything to get the job....started out being l and half week behind to ended up being almost 4  weeks.  But the end result is what counts and they even found another place that was sunk in over the screen porch that was missed and added it (more $$$ of course but very reasonable) and did it.  It was pitch dark  when they  finished cleaning up.

This is the area above  the bathroom that was completely re-roofed.  You can't see it but I liked seeing the cows in the far background.  Don't know  what the bucket is doing in front of the AC....we aren't the neatest farmers in the area.......

I won't sing their praises too loudly until we get another very heavy rain........

I went to the eye center in Willard......new glasses were in order.  Should be here in 7-10 days.  Not much change but it made a big difference in reading to me!  Cataracts are still not operation worthy!   Was told my eyes are healthy and to come back in  a year.  They did not accept the new insurance but we have never had insurance for eyes before.  The only doctor who is covered it a very long way from here and the coverage isn't that great so I will choose to stay 15 minutes from the Willard doctor.  I could actually read all 5 lines on the chart.....will be corrected up to 20/20.  So that was very good news.

Dermatologist visited and we are good for another year.  I do plan to go annually.  Max is outside daily and he had l0 spots to be removed, non-cancerous.  I had a basal cell carcinoma removed. He assured me he got it all  and it is the non-threatening type.  So, all-in-all a good visit.  He is retiring early as did my rheumatologist.  Because of "politics, insurance, and Obama healthcare"  I am quoting.  He lost his partner 3 months ago.  This is what is happening to our health-care system.  Older doctors who can afford to are retiring early because things are so changed and they are so unhappy with the new things.  Sad times.

Farm News

I have been after (constantly reminding) Max that Jewel (the Jersey) should have her calf weaned because she calved in April last year.  Cows should have a 2-month rest period.   He failed to obey me  and came in a couple of days ago and said she had weaned her calf and was bagged up (for novices to farm  life this means her udder is enlarging with colostrum and milk for a new baby)  He predicted she will calve sometime this week.  We will still have to remove her large heifer calf but we need to find a place away from young bulls.  She shouldn't be bred until she is at least 15 months old.

Chickens are keeping us in plenty of eggs.  I need to bake an angle food cake to use up a dozen.

The beef cows are grazing on dried grasses but still go to the hay we keep out daily.


My kitchen window above the sink was so dirty from the birds hitting the window coming in to the feeder that we could hardly see out.  The last nice  day we washed it and then moved the feeder to the shepherd's hook in the flower bed.

Of course I miss seeing them while sitting in my easy chair but having a clean window may win out!

I took this shot through the said clean window:

That is the shepherd's hook on the left hand side.

 Miscellaneous Pics

I think the nandina bush berries are beginning  to darken.