Monday, December 28, 2009

First Seed Catalogs are Here !

I can't believe it! Fedco seeds , and Johnny's Selected Seeds arrived today. These are both Maine companies, but certainly both at least nationally renowned for their good quality and organic seeds and supplies. We're getting a little snow tonight, major drop in temps tommorrow and I am dreaming of starting seeds and planning next year's garden! I also want to expand on all the perennial flower gardens I started last year, and hopefully start a cut flower garden to take to farmer's market next year as well.

What are some of your favorite sources for organic/ heirloom/ rare seeds? Any cool varieties, or favorites? Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

She Finally Asked Me The Question I've Been Dreading....

" Mommy, can you please make my diabetes go away?" 3 year old Ayla pleaded with me. I've been waiting for the day, when Ayla realizes that she is stuck with this horrid disease for life. A life sentence. I could tell her blood sugar was high, and needed to check her and give more insulin, and all she wanted was an apple.
" I don't want to be checked!! " " I HATE my stupid diabetes!" " Mommy, can you please make it go away? I don't want diabetes anymore. I'll be really good."
Let me tell you, I was speechless. I wanted so much to say, " Come on, grab your coat. We're gonna go get rid of your diabetes!" I could picture everyone getting dressed and giving each other " high fives " and then driving to the cliff's edge at Quoddy Head, and throwing Ayla's diabetes off into the Atlantic Ocean and setting it free. Freeing ourselves from the hold it has on our lives. On Ayla's Life.
Darn it. I'm crying and I can't even eat my yummy turkey sandwich, or enjoy the fact that I'm home all alone and could take a bath or something.
We received so much kindness and generosity this Christmas that I can't digest it, I feel guilty to have received so much. We are so Blessed. I sincerely Thank You, all of You!
I'm just having a moment.
There's a song that says something like, " How many times can I break till I shattter ".
Well, I'm an eternal optimist, so I won't stay down long but sometimes its just too much.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Omnivore's Dilemma * Young Readers Edition *

This young readers edition of the famous The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is brilliant in my opinion. What a great idea to make such an important message available to younger generations. I think my kids, and probably other kids raised on farms and families that frequently purchase food directly from farmers, have a better understanding and grasp of environmental issues and where our food comes, but it is even a wonderful teaching tool for us as well. The librarian at our Lubec Memorial Library pointed it out to me on a recent trip there, so I checked it out, thinking I'd probably be the one to read it and share some parts out loud, but before I even realized it, Zoie ( 10 years old ), had spotted it, ( the purple cover and cute food face may have helped )and was curled up on the couch reading it. She then got up, of her own volition, and went out in the kitchen to check for hidden sources of corn in the house and even told Jude ( 8 years old ) that there is corn in cover of that National Geographic Magazine. It's true. Then we talked about how there is corn in Ayla's glucose tablets as well. I think this book would make an excellent gift to the young reader (s ) in your life and would make an excellent addition to your homeschooling curriculum. I can think of so many projects that we can do just from this book alone.

Now, just for the cuteness factor, here's a gratuitous pic of 4 month old " Henrietta The Naughty Heifer ". She is sporting her new blue halter. That halter FREAKED out the rest of the cattle for some reason and they seemed to scorn her for a day. Do you see that cow's mouth " laughing " at her in the left hand corner of the pic?

And finally a pic of Dear Ayla, caught in a sweet moment. I tell you, those are few and far between these days! The terrible twos are nothing. I firmly believe three year olds are about as trying as you can get! She has been quite the precocious little tyrant lately, and I'm pretty sure all four of her siblings currently carry " the mark of Ayla's wrath " as we speak. It is tough. She has a serious health issue, gets a lot of attention as a result, there is a certain amount of guilt related to having to inflict things like multiple finger pricks daily, site changes every 2-3 days, more attention drawn to every last thing she eats. This is a whole new can of worms for this seasoned Mother of five. Every single decision we make has an impact doesn't it? There's a reason they call it " Mindful Parenting ". At the end of the day, when she falls asleep, I do a quick finger check, making sure she is safe for the moment--and sit back and stare and count her breaths. I'm so intensely thankful for all my children. In good times and even bad, I've never loved like this.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Things that Make You Go--Hmmmmm...........

Like why does this cat, " Gooseberry ", choose to hunker up in a strawberry pot on a nice balmy day of oh---8 degrees---when she could be snuggled up with her five pals in a recliner in her cat house ?( yes, we have an 8 x 10 ft cat house, and yes---we have a recliner in there that we snagged from the side of the road for free this summer. )

Or why, as I backed the van up, loaded with 3 milk machines and all my milking paraphenalia, --because it was exactly 0.5 degrees out when I went out to milk--- did I see a whole pineapple frozen and perfectly preserved, perched on a snowbank. It isn't every day, one sees TROPICAL FRUIT strewn about when its only a 1/2 degree above zero in Maine.

Why, oh, why-- do my dear children derive so much grand enjoyment out of flushing the toilet when they know its plugged with too much toilet paper, and causing it to overflow all over the bathroom floor and then leak through the floor and spill into the cellar basement? I was out in the creamery when they rushed, in group formation, out to tell me it was overflowing. Their cheeks were rosy red with glee, flushed with excitement, as they tore back and forth giving me updates and claiming they couldn't find any towels and that they had NO IDEA that would happen. Yeah, right.

Why do babies , specifically Ida May, seemingly survive, unscathed, after numerous nasty experiences that prove she is our fifth child after all. Like getting into the coffee can filled with rancid, greasy, pan drippings, lard, drained hamburger grease etc. and sampling it while smearing it here and there. Or fishing in our trusty OLD toilet, at every given opportunity. Once again, her siblings whooped and hollered and feigned mock disqust and horror, with their eyes all a glow! Having the time of their lives!

One last one. I peaked my head out of the milk parlor in the barn this morning, and what did I see? Henrietta the cow, Cinder our giant 150 lb dog, and 2 lowly chickens all gathered around a pan of grain, sharing it in perfect harmony. Why was the dog eating dairy cow grain? I don't even wanna think about what THAT might produce!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Milk Test Results 11/30/09

Here's the results from our latest milk test, sampled by Maine Department of Agriculture Milk Quality Laboratory.

Test -Our Results
Antibiotics- NF ( none found )
Butter Fat 6.3%
Coliform <1epcc ( this is the lowest you can get )
Solids Non-Fat 9.2 ( this is high and very good for cheese!)
Standard Plate Count <2500epac ( this is the lowest you can get )

For some reason they didn't do the SCC. That's a shame I like seeing how their somatic cells are.
Overall the cows are producing very high fat milk that is also high in solids for cheesemaking and yields more cheese per gallon of milk than lower component milk. The standard plate count is an overview of all bacteria and reflects the health of our cows udders and also how clean our equipment is. Seeing as how it was as low as it can go, we're doing a good job! I'm very happy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We have a New Baby !

Meet " Angus ". He was born in the snow behind the barn on Sunday morning. Angus is a bull calf out of " Ellie " and is 3/4 Jersey 1/4 Angus. Such a stinkin cutie, it's a shame he's not a she. If you look closely he has a white tail switch just like his Mom.

Going for the " good stuff "! They are so blissfully HAPPY, I could never take a calf away from its Mama. Even though they eventually become a handful, it's worth it to let our cows raise their own calves.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When will Ellie Calve?

Anyone care to guess? Three words to describe Ellie--- Beefy, Furry, and OPINIONATED!
Love her anyway!