Friday, October 1, 2010

Some Pics

Ayla Faye and her " kitten " Mulberry. He looks absolutely massive doesn't he? If you scroll down to the post I made in June, there's a pic of them on Ayla's Birthday. You can see how much he's grown in a few short months
"Henrietta" our oldest heifer 14 months old. She'll be bred before we move the cows up to the barn in December. She is so tame, she's almost a pain! We adore her.......

"Teeny" just exiting the milk parlor, trying to get past the barn cats that are eagerly awaiting their share. Teeny is a lovely cow, milks like crazy and has a really great attitude. I so hope I get a heifer from her!

"Happy" cow and her daughter "Henrietta". Can you see the resemblance, LOL! They are the calmest, friendliest cows I've ever had! I hope they continue to pass that along to all their future calves.

Finished with milking, Zoie is walking them across the bridge and back to pasture. I hope these times will be remembered as sweetly for Zoie as they are for me. Zoie actually took all these pics, except this last one, while I milked tonight.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Cheese Nun

I finally watched this most interesting documentary yesterday. I think I may have to own this one.
I ordered it through Netflix. Here is the brief description that came with it:

Explore the world of artisanal cheese with Sister Noella Marcellino, a Benedictine nun who visits France to probe the mysteries that make every cheese unique. Marcellino ventures from farmstead to aging room to laborotory, reveling in the fungi and microorganisms that are as essential to cheese as terroir is to wine. This homage to fromage is an unabashed celebration of the science, craft and humanity of cheesemaking.

I absolutely loved the footage of the French countryside and the remote cheesemakers. The cows were gorgeous! They looked like fat Herefords but with nice dairy udders. The sister herself milked and made cheese from their own herd of Dutch Belted cows back at the Abbey. Hand milked, I might add.

Going to the local builders supply tommorrow and ordering all the windows and lumber etc. for the farm store. I will document the process. We also went to see the midwives on Tuesday. Baby is big and healthy, active, and we were all blown away when we heard that strong steady heartbeat! I can honestly say it is no less thrilling with the sixth baby, than it was with the first. I almost cried. Speaking of crying, poor Ida May has had a harrowing week. Monday she somehow fell while dragging a large metal chair, pulling it over on top of her and smaking herself right across the bridge of the nose! It swelled up and bruised most impressively, now on day four it has gone from purple/blue to a green/yellow color so I think that's a good sign? Then yesterday, ironically, just as we were on our way out the door to a Dr. appt, she slipped and hit her head on the door jam. There was some blood, and some drama but by the time we drove 20 minutes to the doctor it was looking much more benign and they told us nothing further needed to be done. Man, it's hard to be a two year old. So many diabolical plans, but those short stubby legs keep failing! Right now as I type she is prancing around in a Fancy Nancy dress and mismatched high heel shoes.
I'm so happy that today, the cows are already milked early and we have nowhere we need to be or anything we have to do. Perfect.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Birthday Pic

For some reason blogger wouldn't let me put a pic with my previous post. So here's a pic, read the next post!

Happy Belated Birthday Jude!

It was Jude's 9th birthday yesterday. We celebrated with family last night and then he had some friends over tonight. It was intense......there were several injuries, no blood shed though! A total of only 4 boys, and 6 girls ( 4 of those were Jude's sisters!) but the mayhem was substantial and I only had to be a meanie once. Maybe twice. I cannot tolerate damage to our measley possessions, or theft of Jude's piggy bank. Other than that I had a great time sharing stories about the skunk that we blasted, after it blasted our dog with spray under the porch---or the time I ran over that mean rooster with the truck. ( I didn't even intend to but he hesitated just a TAD too long crossing the road....)
Now I'm planning to do some cheese research (my favorite kind!), the kids are all watching Diary of a Wimpy kid , and I'm hoping for a nice dull, uneventful night.

Monday, September 20, 2010


A lot has changed since I've last written! In fact I couldn't even remember how to log in. There are some exciting plans in the making, the most important being a new baby for us in March! I may have managed to actually pull it off, so that the majority of the cows will be dry in March too. That remains to be seen, I'll have to send in some cow pregnancy tests here in a couple weeks.
We are also finally going to build that little farm/dairy store I've been needing for so long. Construction should begin in a couple weeks. Hopefully we'll also be able to carry a nice complement of local foods to round out the selection. I've been needing a good option to offer my goods, while still maintaining the privacy of our home.
I simply can't be housewife extradinaire right now while trying to juggle everything else. I'm also the only cow milker, cheesemaker, so I can't travel around peddling my cheese. There aren't enough hours in the day!
Had an epiphany yesterday too, about exactly what to do with my milk--as it is limited supply,temporarily, and I'm also of the opinion that it's probably best to really focus on one area of cheesemaking and do it REALLY well. Perhaps the best use of my limited time? I think its time I finally take that intensive 3 day cheesemaking course in Vermont, I've been wanting to do for years--but it's never a good time. Well, it's never a good time is it? I think I'll just try to make it happen.
I will really try to get some pics, now that we have faster internet. I gave up on posting pics with the dial up, LOL! Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Been Awhile

Miss Ida May smelling the flowers as I plant them.

Ayla on her birthday with her " wittle " kitten Mulberry.

More of Ayla and Mulberry. Best friends. He even goes down the slide with her apparently of his own free will!

Haven't had much too say! I'll try to briefly update as best I can. I've been busy with the creamery. Beretta had the last calf of the season in May. That makes 4 heifers and 2 bulls. How I love looking at all those sleek shiny little babies grazing with their Moms and hurtling themselves back and forth at twilight! After a major struggle where I was sure our 2 year old Jersey bull was gonna kill Dante, we managed to get the assumably pregnant ewes out of the bull pasture and in with the milk cows. I've now bartered milk for their shearing fee with friends, but can't get the ewes out of this new field and the 1/2 mile to the barn for the actual shearing! I need a Border Collie.
The garden is doing great! I spend a lot of time out there and am trying to keep ahead of the weeds. I made an amazing Swiss Chard Gratin with things from the garden and the creamery. Our diet is consisting mostly of garden produce and relying on the cows for protein. By that I mean their dairy products and the eggs we barter milk for as well. We have a HUGE sow that we are fattening up for slaughter, and that scary Jersey bull too. I can't even really get the cows into him, it's ridiculous!
We are getting rid of the TV and I can't wait! It's a move I'VE wanted for years. We'll still be able to rent movies as needed. Lately I've been thinking a lot about why I homeschool. Mainly because I keep getting asked that, and it seems people are constantly challenging me about it. My top three reasons that I now tell people are:
1.) I want to teach my kids how to think. Memorization is not proof of higher intelligence, just proof of memorization. I want them to REALLY be able to think. Be able to competently make decisions and find soloutions that will actually apply to them.
2.)I want my kids to be GOOD people. This is super important to me. I cannot believe how bad Jude was bullied trying to play sports this year. I'm completely blown away by these rude kids. Jude is smart, sweet, and diplomatic. He even got bullied in boy scouts! Sadly it doesn't go well with those other boys. What a shame those qualities make him a target. Even little Ayla got picked on at her last day of gym class. This is a class of 3 and 4 year olds. Ayla is short and a bit cuddly, if you know what I mean. She is not fat. 2 girls in that class said she was big and that she broke a tire swing because of it. Totally not true, but shows how young it starts.
3.)I love to learn with my kids.
Veda had her 6th birthday on May 14th, and Ayla had her 4th birthday on June 14th. I can't believe I'm the Mom of an 11 year old, soon to be 9 year old, a 6 year old, 4 year old, and an almost 2 year old " baby "! Time is flying!
Emotionally, it's still a roller coaster. Many ups and downs. Many decisions still to be made. Many ambivalent feelings. Just taking it a day at a time and trying to be smart about it and see the whole picture. It's tough--but this is really living. I'm grateful for that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

White Water Rafting

We went this last weekend! I didn't want to post anything until after we got back and everyone survived. We have found a wonderful babysitter and she and my Mom joined forces and managed to keep the kids alive and happy! This is the first weekend away I've had since becoming a Mom 11 years ago.
The friends we went with are wonderful and I feel like we all got to know each other even better.
My stomach hurt from laughing so much. I was afraid of falling out, not because I was afraid of dying but I was worried about some poor soul having to haul me back in again. Let's just say the wet suit didn't look quite as flattering on me as it does on those girls at Sea World. Oh well.
The cows were all a dither with the change in routine and it has been rough getting them sorted out again, but it was worth it. I am refreshed and ready for lots of summer fun! Took the kids swimming the last 2 days, and then got caught in a downpour walking the cows to the barn for milking. Zoie was with me and I said, " I really don't what to do if we get caught in bad lightning!"
Thankfully I didn't have to make a decision. There are so many bonus points to getting in shape, and outrunning the cows and lightning are just a few of them!