Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oceans of Milk

Milk with cream at the top!
 One of the things about Mattie losing her calf is the fact that she is still producing milk as though she  has a calf nursing.

I had planned on an easy summer where both the cows would be nursing, and I would be milking very little, just enough for my family.

Well as the old expression goes, don't count your chicks til the eggs hatch. Here I am milking Mattie 2x a day, with no calf.

Now don't misunderstand me, I know how lucky I
 am to have this wonderful resource. The thing is I have been really busy finding uses for all this surplus milk..

Which brings me to the topic of Cheese.
Making cheese is actually letting milk go bad in a controlled way. There are all kinds of cheeses  most require  cultures, such as rennet or mesophillic, which I don't have at the moment. However, Cultured buttermilk is readily available...

so... I made plain old fromage blanc. Literally "white cheese".

I put 2 quarts of milk in the pot and heated
 It requires only the following ingredients,
cultured buttermilk
Lemon or lime juice
salt ( for flavor)
you also need a thermometer and a nice deep  heavy  pot
a colander
a cheesecloth or towel ( you can use old linens washed too)

Step 1:  Gather your ingredients

Step 2 :Measure one or 2 quarts of milk ( you will need 2 cups buttermilk to each quart of milk)

Step 3: .
I added 4 cups buttermilk
Step 3: Pour milk in pot and heat, gently stir while you heat milk to 175 degrees.

Step 4: When temp of milk is 175, add butter milk and about 1/4 cup lemon juice, or enough to cause
a reaction.
 I added the lemon juice after the buttermilk... I do it to sight
 Heres what I am talking about ....
Then curds will start to separate from the whey.

Let this sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes

lined colander all ready
 Get a colander and line it with a thin towel, place this in a bowl to drain your cheese.

curds and whey
Now it's time to gently spoon the curds into the lined colander, using a slated spoon
Cheese, wet.
The light looks a little harsh but this is what you get,


 It still needs to drain out.

I usually put it in the fridge to drain for a few hours
( have you ever noticed cheese from the store has
"gum" in it? that's because the makers are in too much of a hurry to let the whey drain, so they add gum to thicken it... Yumm!, Gross)

ready to be seasoned and refrigerated.
Add here it is! cheese, I add salt now, pepper and maybe garlic.
Or.. thyme, honey and pepper
or.. japs ...
what ever you want!

By the whey (ha), you can use the whey to make ricotta, which literally means "to cook again"
or just feed it to your plants or animals.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tomorrow my worms and I are going out on the town!
We have been invited to the Great Outdoors Nursery

Together we will be promoting vermicomposting, and Novellas Farms Worm Casting Tea Bags.

A few weeks ago 

I took some worm casting tea bags to 3 Austin Stores.
The Great Outdoors Nursery, It's About Thyme Nursery and Wheatsville Coop.

The two nurseries agreed to give them a try, Wheatsville
told me they did not have a garden area at this time, but in the Spring they are interested for the new store!

I am happy,  but the Great Outdoors said none had sold!
I feel sure it is because people are unfamiliar with how to use castings.

So..... I asked to come in and  tell people about how to use the castings. Turns out tomorrow the City is giving a talk about composting at the nursery so they thought
my worms would fit right in.

Very excited here, although I have no expectations...
Expectations can be a problem for me...but optimistically I am taking lots of bags to sell.

I figure at the very least more people will hear about Novellas which can only be a good thing, yes?

If you are in the area come by and say hello, I, and around 2,000 worms would love to see you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Losing a Tail

What the heck is that?
 So the other day my husband came in holding a white piece of fluff.

"Do you want to save this?" he asked,
I turned and looked at it, "No...what is it?"
 "Lana's tail"

I first of all accused him of doing something cruel  to the calf....obviously pulling her tail really hard.

I freaked out, cows are not supposed to lose their tails, and there was even a bit of bone in it!


I expected to go out and find other parts of her falling off.
I expected her to be at least concerned about this terrible thing that had happened to her.

When I ran out to see how the poor girl was, I found her jumping around and playing, there was a bit of blood... and most importantly there was still a tail!

This whole bizarre event led me to do a bit of research and it isn't all that unusual for cows to pull their tails off! One story I read was about a woman
who tied her cows tail while she milked her because the cow kept swatting her in the face.
Still a good tail
When the milking was over the cow just walked out of the stanchion and left her tail still tied to the post!
The cow was nonplussed the woman was understandably upset.

As far as Lana goes, I guess she just had "extra" tail.
Thankfully nothing else has fallen off... and by the way Jasmine snagged the fluffy treat.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

After Matties calf died, who by the way we named Dexter. We were all very sad. Some of more than others
but even the hardest of us around here was touched and showed Mattie a lot of tenderness in those days
Love all creatures
At one point I considered getting a newborn calf from another cow to let Mattie mother and adopt as her own. Of course the first place I went to begin my search was the internet.

I found all kinds of opinions about what animals feel. Do they understand death? Do they care about their young? You know what I'm talking about here.

Not what I was looking for, I wanted to find out where to get a new born calf for Mattie, because I knew she missed her calf. She looked for him and mooed for him and then would go and lay down where his body had been before we buried the little guy.

I asked my vet about where to get a calf. He told me to go the auction.  I almost did, but for the wise words of my daughter. She said, "you can't really replace him and what if she doesn't want the new calf?"

I decided she was right, and in the end Novella, Sunny and Lana Rose have helped Mattie to come around.
She is doing well, and I will probably breed her in about 6 months with the smallest bull I can find so she can have a calf of her own next year.

One of the things I read about when I was looking for a calf was about a dairy in New York , where the new born bulls are taken to the barn and shot at birth. When I read this I started crying , and I apologized to my daughter for being such a sap, then we remembered how I always cry when I read "Blossom Comes Home". Have any of you read it? It's a beautiful story, of course about Blossom, a dairy cow who has given her whole life to a farmer and .... well you have to read it.

A beautiful book
Then I pointed out that she always cries, ( me too) when we read "Charlottes Web" no matter how many times!

Of course there are songs that make her cry too.
Any way after a few tears and hugs and time every one is doing better, and by the way we have decided we would rather be one of the cryers than not.

Thank you to all of you who wrote to say how sorry they were about the calf. It really does help to have other think about you.