Monthly Archives: July 2012

6 calves for sale…

These 6 calves (5 heifers + 1 bull) are now available for sale:  heifer-Bondini heifer-Macadamia, bull-Romeo, heifer-Snickers, heifer-Peekaboo, and heifer-Butternut.  Click on their names, and you can read about when they were born. 🙂

**CLICK HERE FOR OUR CRAIG’S LIST AD**

We weren’t planning on selling any of our calves this year, but with the drought, and a very real possibility that our cows will be dropping in milk production much sooner as a result, it seems as though we should at least investigate the possibility of selling some….  Mike posted the ad this morning and we already have someone coming out tonight to see them!  🙂

They are fed 1-1/2 gallons of fresh, raw milk each/day.  They run in a large fenced in pasture with trees for shade, and we’ve also begun giving them some hay as well.  They have not been fed any grain.

THIS WOULD BE A PERFECT “MINI-HERD” FOR SOMEONE TO GROW THEIR OWN GRASS-BASED DAIRY WITH…  LIKE PERHAPS SOMEONE MOVING TO A NEW FARM IN MAINE, LIKE CHIOT’S RUN, LOL ??!! (wink, wink)  🙂

A homerun’s coming, Mom…

It’s been kind of an overwhelming week here – still trying to handle this drought, this phone’s been dying after only minimal use, and a TON of tasks have been started, but nothing completed… 😦 Ever feel like you are going backwards??

As I was trying to get breakfast this morning, it seemed like I just kept hitting road blocks – no clean counterspace to work on, pot I wanted to use was dirty, favorite spatula was missing – I let out a big SIGH & Michael heard me. “What’s wrong, Mom?” he asked. “Well, Michael – it just feels like I keep ‘striking out’ with everything today!” He didn’t “bat” an eye – looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, Mom, a homerun’s coming!!!” Lol, lol 🙂

Wasn’t that a nice thing to say?

Thank You, Lord, for sending me encouragement from my son – a quick & fun pick-me-up! 🙂

Still was a rough day, but I had that moment to reflect on, and it made me smile. 🙂

Oh – and my “homerun”? It DID come: An evening walk alongside my best friend. Mike & I admired the beautiful sky, the cooler temp, cleared fencelines, & spent time lovin’ some calves + my favorite old cat, Blake.

Beautiful. 🙂

I think it was more like a “grand slam”!
AMEN

Grass-fed Beef 2012

The 12th of July, we had 2 large freezers go from empty to full!!!! 🙂

In all, we took 8 beef in to get butchered the 2 weeks before. The 12th was the day we picked our 2 up from the butcher shop. Ohhhh were we excited! 🙂

Our FAVORITE is ground beef…in fact, we’ve been known to grind up our steaks when we run out of burger, lol! 🙂

Eventually, I hope to get a bunch of our recipes blogged that we use our ground beef in – like “salami”, “pepperoni”, “bacon”, jerky, “breakfast & italian sausage“, & meatloaf – just to name a few…  I’ll add the links to this post as I get them up. 🙂

This year, we have enough to “budget” four pounds of ground beef each week for one year.  And because I’m a control freak perpetual organizer/planner, I created a chart so we can keep track & HOPEFULLY not run out 3 months before we butcher next, (like we did this year), lol… 🙂

So what did we make that very first night??  MEATLOAF! Mmmmmm

Homemade cottage cheese with freshly ground sea salt & pepper, tall glass of raw milk, steamed dragon tongue yellow beans from last year’s garden with LOTS of our butter, and meatloaf…it was a WONDERFUL meal! 🙂

Homemade Lye Soap from Alander’s Acres

We LOVE homemade lye soap from Alander’s Acres! 🙂

Here’s a link to their page on Local Harvest: http://www.localharvest.org/alanders-acres-M29791

They are gracious enough to bring us large batches of soap so we can offer them to our customers as well.

In our effort to discontinue using toxic cleaners, this soap has become our “base” for so many things…bathing, shampoo, dish soap, laundry soap, general purpose cleaner – just to name a few! 🙂

We have been using it exclusively for over 2 years now. 🙂

As the concept of “our skin being our largest organ” has begun sinking in, we are thinking twice about what we lather on it.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this soap! 🙂

For laundry & dish soap, I shred the bars of plain lye soap. (The other soaps work fine, too, if I’m out of the plain…)  I fill up an old egg carton with 10g of shredded soap in each “egg hole”. Then I dissolve each one in 8 oz. of hot water as I need it.  I keep it next to my washing machine, so I’m good for a dozen loads, lol… 🙂

For laundry stains, like grass/mud stains on jeans & baseball pants, I keep a container of the small pieces of soap left from a full bar.  I place the pieces in a lidded container with a little bit of water in it.  I dampen the clothing that has the stain, get a small & wet piece of soap, rub it well into the stain, spray it with some white vinegar, let it sit a bit, and throw it in with the next load.  Works wonderful! 🙂

For dishes, Mike helped me make a soap dispenser from parts of old ones I saved… Click here to read the link on Jill’s post – it helped me with directions. 🙂

I have crocheted small, thick, square cloths from remnants of yarn leftover from past projects.  I made enough so I can use a new one each day.  I just squirt a few drops of soap on the wet cloth & wash – reapplying as necessary.  I have no complaints – this soap works GREAT!  It’s especially wonderful for removing “greasiness” from things like broth or butter – along with nice, hot water. 🙂

Beef broth yield 2012

This post will be a record of quarts of beef broth canned this year + our recipe.

Since we just took some beef to the butcher shop, we are using up the beef bones in our freezers before we get more from this batch. Been trying to wait for some cooler days for this, but they seem to be few & far between this season…

We usually do 4 roasters full of broth stretched over 2 days. Here’s our recipe per roaster:

12# meaty bones
4 Onions
6 Carrots
12 Celery stalks

We brown the bones by lining the roaster with them, & placing the next 3 items on top. Place lid on roaster & roast for 1 hour at 450 degrees – flipping bones halfway through.

[UPDATED 2-5-19: I NO LONGER FLIP THE BONES…MAINLY BECAUSE IT IS MESSY, AND IT TURNS OUT FINE WITHOUT FLIPPING.😉]

Turn off heat.

Add:
9 unpeeled & crushed garlic cloves
1T coarse sea salt
1T peppercorns
1c raw apple cider vinegar
Cold water to fill roaster to top

Let sit for 30 minutes (no lid).

Add lid and bring to boil on high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to keep it at a low simmer. We let it simmer 18 hours or so. (May need to add more water periodically to keep it full.)

Allow it to cool for a bit. Strain it. What’s left is a beautiful, healthy, broth! 🙂

We place the broth in large bowls with lids & let them sit a day or two in the fridge. By then, the fat has solidified on top, and it’s easy to remove the fat layer & begin pressure canning the broth.

Our yield is about 9 quarts per roaster.

[UPDATED 2-5-19: MY 18Q ROASTER FINALLY DIED THIS YEAR, AND WE UPGRADED TO A 22Q ROASTER. BROTH IS STILL GELATENOUS KEEPING THE RECIPE THE SAME, AND YIELD INCREASED TO 11Q]

6-30-12 canned 41 quarts

Blueberry yield 2012

Mike’s Mom & I picked 16 pounds of blueberries today. I finally have some to freeze – we ate all of the first round already, lol! 🙂

7-19-12 picked again today with Mom & Paul; picked 20 pounds 🙂

WELCOME – 11th (and final) Calf 2012

FINALLY – our last bred cow, Suezy, had her calf yesterday…a girl! As we suspected she might, she waited until Mike had moved the herd to one of the furthest field’s from the barn, lol! Her calf was quite the trooper, and walked all the way down with the milking herd. 🙂

We weren’t sure on a name for her, so we deferred that decision to our family in Nebraska. They decided on Fiskars! 🙂 (Her mama’s name category was “school supplies”…)

This is a good feeling to be done with calving now. Our final tally was 3 boys + 8 girls. 🙂