"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!
Friday, October 1, 2010
"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!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
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
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
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
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
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!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Raw Jersey Cream $4 per pint
Whole Milk Yogurt, Plain $3.25 per 16 oz glass jarOR$5.50 per glass quart
Flavored Yogurt $ 2.50 per 8 oz glass jar, $4 per 16 oz glass jar,OR$6 per glass quart
Flavors: Red Raspberry, Strawberry Fields, or Ginger Peach
Fromage Blanc, Plain $4 per 8 oz
Lemon Thyme Cheese Spread $5 per 8 oz
Basil and Purple Onion Cheese Spread $5 per 8 oz
Garlicky Chive Cheese Spread $5 per 8 oz
Fig and Honey Cheese Spread $6 per 8 oz
Thanks!Jessika, Family and Cows
I am now like a crazy catatonic cheesemaking fool! Today I spent the day being a good little homemaker, but will pay for that tonight. Good things are happening around the farm. Fields are looking good, calves are growing and surprisingly well-behaved. Garden is doing well, need to cover some plants there may be a frost tonight. I hope not! I'm thinking about raising some meat chickens again, and have an interesting proposition for a certain person in regards to that. Other than that I'm reading a stack of good books.
Fast Food Nation
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Four Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman
Untold Story of Milk
Actually I've read all of them except House Rules SEVERAL TIMES. They are classics! I've also been invited to present at Career Day at the local school. If anyone has any ideas about what content and articles to display please give me ideas! I guess if all else fails I'll take some pics of the cows, maybe some cheese samples and just talk about what I do. Right? I'm rather distracted these days and can barely write let alone speak!
The kittens are almost 7 weeks old and I really dread trying to home some of them, we all love them so much! I really wish we could just promise to spay/neuter EVERYONE and keep all four.
Berretta is the last cow to calve. I had her due on 5/21 but I don't think she'll go that far. Wow, is her udder even bigger than last year! She is 6, and I'd say hitting prime production. She is one of the most trouble free cows I own. Such a pleasure to work with. I'm nervous because of Brie, but I need to have a good experience to put that last horrific one to rest. I think she's having a bull, that's okay. She gave me a heifer last year.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Queso Jalapeno $5 per 8 oz
A smooth, soft cheese with bits of real Jalapeno pepper in it. Ideal for making quesadillas with a little extra zesty flavor or for anytime snacking.
Oaxaca $5 per 8 oz
A white, semi-hard cheese from Mexico, similar to unaged Monterey Jack but with a mozzarella-like string cheese texture.It is named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it was first made
Queso blanco $4 per 8 oz
A Latin American cheese. The name means white cheese.There are many variations of this cheese throughout Latin America. It is hard and rubbery, with a bland, sweet flavor. It is excellent for cooking, and has the unique property of not melting even if deep-fried.
Crema Agria ( Sour Cream ) $3 per 8 oz
A Mexican-style tangy sour cream.
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Oaxaca cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) Queso Blanco cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
10 6-inch flour tortillas
1-1/2 cups enchilada sauce
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup minced green onion
Simple but oh, how delicious!
Raw Creamline Milk$5 per gallon, $3 per half gallon (Plastic)
$2.50 per 1/2 gallon in a Glass Ball Jar
Raw Jersey Cream $4 per pint
Creamtop Whole Milk Yogurt Plain,$3.25 per 16 oz glass jar,OR$5.50 per quart
Flavored Yogurt - Mexican Vanilla Bean!$2.50 per 8 oz, $4 per 16 oz, or $6 per quart
The cows are now on grass 24/7 have you noticed the vitamin rich yellow hue to the milk and cream? That's because Jersey cows don't use all the beta-carotene they consume in the green grass, a lot of it is passed along to you in their milk. Not all breeds of cows have this ability so enjoy your milk with an extra helping of vitamins!
Jessika and Family and Cows of Course!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Teeny. A fabulous cow, giving 5+gallons a year into lactation.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Zoie and I are taking the cows out to pasture. The milk cows are still really excited, and even though we don't urge them on at all, most are trotting pretty steady the 1/2 mile down the road.
They are kinda ungainly, what with that big udder swinging. Zoie is keeping strides with Gale, a very " endowed " cow, when all of a sudden SOMETHING white and milky squirts out and hits her right in the eye! It was milk of course! As her udder was swinging milk was squirting out and somehow flew right into my 11 yr old daughters eye. I laughed and laughed, and laughed some more. Don't you all find that really funny? Even Zoie giggled. We all know not to walk directly BEHIND a very excited cow on spring grass ( a hazard of a much worse sort there! ) but who would of guessed there was a distinct possibility you might get milk squirted in your eye!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Called 911. They whisked Ayla and I off to the hospital, sirens blaring. I was afraid she was gonna go into DKA any minute. Somehow we remembered to give her an injection, in addition to the insulin her pump was giving and this is what turned it around. Finally her BG was back down to 132 and ketones all but gone. We believe her pump was malfunctioning and not delivering the insulin it said it was. I need to call them, and probably demand a replacement. It could have killed her. That's how fast type 1 diabetes kills. That's why I have to believe in a cure. I don't think people are aware of the differences between the 2 types and exactly how serious this disease really is. Then as I had a feeling it would, her BG took a big drop in the night. I noticed her twitching and as soon as it entered my unconscious mind--I checked her and sure enough she was only 43. Very dangerous too, but in the opposite direction.
We got home at 1:00am. As soon as I got her settled in I started working on some of my orders because I can't afford to miss any sales and Dante just headed off to work too. I have an hour and 45 minutes to complete as much as I can and meet the distribution truck.
Some exciting news:
5 of the milk cows spent the night out to pasture! They were so happy and such good girls. Walked the 1/2 mile to the gate---unfortunately the wrong gate---but they just stood and waited for us to catch up and let them in another one. The babies stayed with 2 babysitters in the barn. I need to finish their fence. If I put the mother/babe pairs in with the bulls I won't be able to go in and get them if I need to, so I need the babies in a different field with easy access.
We are still feeding hay, but those days are quickly coming to an end!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I cheerfully launched into a good barncleaning and leisurely milking when Jude runs out and says,
"Papa is coming with the hay and wants a 1/2 gallon of milk." Well it's the least I can do for my Dad bringing me some hay and all. So the milking seriously picked up the pace, with me running in place tugging on cow collars. They can't be hurried you know, just plodding along. I did get him his VERY fresh 1/2 gallon of milk.
Then we needed to load some manure for a friend. I had to threaten Dante within an inch of his life to leave MY 3 year old aged and composted manure pile ALONE and take from a different pile. C'mon girls, you all have a prized manure pile right?
While making feta cheese, I decide to try this workout from Self magazine that claims I'll be "bikini ready" by June. I somehow manage to pull a muscle in my left butt cheek. You don't realize how much you use that left butt cheek until it is in agony! I don't know if I'll be bikini ready by June----but I'll probably be martini ready LOL!
Looking for even MORE punishment, I escape with only Zoie and Ayla and a jogging stroller to go for a power walk/run on the trails. It was good---except for that pulled muscle I mentioned. I kinda had to do an improvised power limp.
We almost made it home in the car when suddenly Ayla just explodes and starts going ballistic screaming and crying! I didn't know what the heck was going on but I stupidly tell Zoie to unbuckle and get back there while I'm swerving around and screaming myself. Then Zoie says,"Mom I see flashing blue lights!" I now have been admittedly driving erratically with 2 unbuckled children in a beat up minivan going 10 miles over the speed limit. But when I look in the rear view mirror the flashing blue lights look strange and the vehicle is pulling a boat. Huh??
I pull over, swearing like a sailor, and know my goose is probably cooked with good reason--but I really thought we were having a medical emergency! In my side view mirror I see a uniformed officer, but he's wearing shorts and a fisherman hat. Okay.....
He asks if I know why he pulled me over. I tell him I was probably all over the road, but I thought my 3 year old diabetic was having a seizure and then I did a brief synopsis of her history of seizures and my PTSD reaction to a certain scream she does. I got a stern talking-to, a slap on the wrist and he was on his way. Buckled the kids back in, and then Zoie says, " Did we just get pulled over by a GAME WARDEN?" " Yeah....it looks that way" As a green game warden truck pulling a boat roars off down the highway. That was a first.
The afternoon sun was shining in my room and my bed was looking so gooooood....before I knew it I had hopped in and pulled the covers over my head. In the distance I hear a pounding on the door and then Dante yelling, " Jess! I need you and Zoie the bulls are over at the neighbors!"
You HAVE to be kidding me! We jump in the van and race next door to see our biggest bull scratching his neck on the corner of the neighbors house. Sweet, really sweet. I leap out and wave my arms and clap my hands. Nothing. He stares at me and lowers his head. Okay. I fly back to our house grab a nice big stick and go back, by now Dante is there and we give chase. Did I mention that one side of my butt is in serious distress? Try hopping through tall grass with the fear of a bull smashing you in front of your kids and the neighbor kids with a pulled butt-cheek muscle! We got them back in and now I'm gonna make some homemade pizza.
Overall, not too shabby. Quite entertaining actually. A good day!
Friday, April 9, 2010
This week I haven't exercised as much, I think the stress of last week finally caught up to me. I've had a stiff neck and then my back really was messed up, probably no doubt from the whole cow episode.
I hesitate to do anything other than ride it out. Dante and the kids get WAY too much enjoyment out of recalling the last time I went to the doctor for my back. Dante and I had been rolling round bales of hay onto a pickup every 2 days while I was pregnant, because at the time our tractor couldn't move them, but the cows still needed to be fed. ( No wonder my back was messed up! )
So I went to our family doctor, thinking he'd refer me to a chiropractor. Nope---right there with all the kids watching in horror and amusement---he folded me up like a pretzel and then pounced on me four or five times. It probably looked like some fake wrestling move. I'm glad I was able to provide a quality lasting memory for the kids. They'll probably NEVER seek medical attention for an ailing back in their lifetime!
Anyway, I'm looking for some ideas to ramp up the weightloss again. I think I probably need to switch it up. I usually eat similar foods, and have been pretty much running 3-5 times a week.
So I switched to yogurt for breakfast ( I usually don't eat breakfast ) and I think I'll start lifting weights. I wanted to wait until I reached my goal before doing strength training, ( I lift PLENTY of weight on a daily basis on the farm--but my body is SO used to it ) but I think I'll try it and see what happens. Anything thats working for you?
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
I found Brie down, uterus partially prolapsed but no calf in it. Obviously she was dying. Called Dante home, and a neighbor came to help. They put her down and performed a c-section. I worked really hard on that little baby but he died.
For some reason her cervix barely dilated. I've never had any major calving issues, nothing like this. It was so dramatic and horrible and it makes me not wannna do this anymore.
I'll be fine though. Just another test, for what ---I don't know-- but I'm really sad and plain old wore out. To make matters worse Maddy's calf was looking off this morning. She is still nursing and I have them snugged in now, but I don't know where I'm gonna muster the energy to give that the proper diligence.
That's the thing about it, I keep getting blow after blow but I still have to keep going. I can't even just hide out and cry for a few days because I need to make meals for the kids, check Ayla's blood sugar frequently, milk the cows, dishes, laundry. It's probably good, I guess, but all I want to do right now is go to bed but I should probably go check on Margo. Veda didn't understand and threw a fit about gym class so I got her there. Now I gotta go pick her up and make lunch.
I haven't even gotten to mourn the loss of a sweet cow, too many details to settle.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Ida May still sounds pretty wheezy, her lungs aren't as clear but she isn't on oxygen anymore and is just receiving breathing treatments periodically. I can tell she is feeling better too because she is starting to get into EVERYTHING!
How could this have happened? We generally have pretty healthy kids and I just cannot believe any of this was happening. Last night was SOOOOOOOOO hard. I didn't sleep at all the last 2 nights at the hospital and last night was even worse than the first because I had 2 kids in 2 seperate beds who both needed me, and lots of monitoring and checks and alarms going off. All day yesterday was insane because Ayla was in ICU and Ida May was in the ER and we just ran ourselves ragged trying to go back and forth between them.
We were still trying to keep in contact with our other 3 kids and make arrangements for the cows and milking, and our wood furnace was out and the house was cold and did I mention we were gettting TORRENTIAL rain and wind. My first worry was of course our sick kids but I was also concerned for the cows especially our 3 day old heifer Margo.
I just came home, milked the cows, filled the water troughs and cleaned the barn and took my first shower in 3 days. God knows what kind of germs I picked up at the hospital, it felt nice to have a hot shower! I'm heading back now, keep your fingers and hooves crossed that we'll be home tonight sometime!
Monday, March 29, 2010
This Morning we took IDA to the hospital, she took a turn for the worst last nite, and we brought her in this am. Same diagnosis as Ayla, pneumonia and SVR, and her oxygen levels would not come up so she as well was admitted and is on oxygen, they both share a room in the ICU, and Jessika and her mother are both there. Im home with Zoie Jude, and Veda(8pm, e.s.t.) If Any of you want to call to wish the best to Jessika, the phone number is 1-207-255-0456(direct line to her room). So far so good. Keep our children in you prayers and thank you so much for the support. Dante(the father).
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Getting an I.V. in took over an hour of jabbing and Ayla and I were both crying, Dante had to leave. I hate needing to rely on the hospital to save her and yet needing to advocate on her behalf as well, when they kinda forget she isn't just a patient but a little sick 3 year old girl.
It is a very delicate balance, with so many variables and if anyone of these things starts to decline then we are transferred to a bigger hospital. Dante and I are working just as hard as they are checking her blood and ketones hourly while they draw blood for potassium and acid levels. All this amounts to Ayla being sick and tired of being messed with and now just getting really terrified whene anyone walks in the room.
I only ran home to milk the cows and now I'm going back to spend the night with her. It looks like she is in there for at least 48 hours on I.Vs anyway. Please continue the prayers, we need them. I'll update when I can.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
I've recieved so many compliments and can't thank you all enough. It is so wonderful to hear good things. Many thanks to all my faithful customers! It helps me keep going even after a week like Jules just put me through!
The kids were just wonderful today. I always love them, and am very proud of this family of ours but I won't lie--sometimes when you have 5 kids and a farm, and a business and deadlines, and basketball games, speech therapy, medical issues---screaming and fighting kids ( and don't kid yourself ALL siblings fight ) just quickly escalates the situation. Today, it was like time slowed down a bit and I felt like I was watching our lives from a distance.
Ida May ( 1) was toddling around in my pink heels and I thought, "Man, she really looks like a little me. I wonder if she'll grow up to feel as connected to growing food as her Momma does."
Ayla (3) and Veda (5) were in the backseat of the van. We stopped and bought some grain for the cows and every time the man brought out another bag, one of them would say, " Hi ! " and he'd say Hi back to them and they'd just burst into peels of laughter. It was so infectious, we were all laughing even the poor man carrying the grain bags! There is nothing so sweet as joyful children.
Jude (8) is such a gentleman, and likes to surprise me by making my bed. I can't tell you how much it means, when I'm exhausted--finishing up whatever cheese I'm currently making-- to go in and see my bed made and ready for me to just crawl in. Heavenly, it is.
Zoie (11) is growing like a weed. I see bits and pieces of Dante and I, but mostly she is herself. It is endlessly fascinating. Watching and being a part of her life. Of all their lives.
The greatest story unfolding, and I switch between just muddling through the day to day, surviving the really heavy stuff we've been going through, and then seeing it all almost outside of my body, good and bad. It's real, and I LOVE it all. I wouldn't change anything. Not even the bad.
I milked at 8:30p.m. A couple hours late, but sometimes this is the sweetest time. I know that the little kids will be sleeping when I come in, and the cows are very restful at this time. Their bellies are full, they exude contentment and it helps me unwind. The night is dark and misty. Gentle rain was falling and felt good on my face. I went about my routine, and the cows watched me fill their mangers and then ambled over to their own spots. Gale watched me, and nodded as I left. I said, " Night, Girl."
Now I'm gonna go collapse into bed and dream sweet dreams.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
A major plus for me, NO MORE MANURE cleaning as soon as they move out. I spend a lot of time right now just cleaning up poop......I'm sure I could find something else to do! Oh, 2 of my crocus bloomed today and I saw a whole flock of robins! Spring has sprung, yahoo!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We got it done.
I was able to go on and take some cute pics of Juliette. She's so shiny and sweet! It's a gorgeous day, and things are looking up!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I was scanning the crowd at the basketball game tonight and thinking which random guy can I convince to come over and help me get her fully milked out for a couple nights in a row.
I'm not joking, I'm bruised and battered.
I've definitely earned every dime I made this week!
Hopefully I can get a pic of Juliette up tommorrow. I am happy to announce she is doing wonderful now.
I'm making lots of fromage blanc for the pesto &walnut cheese spread this week. It is so good, the kids almost staged a riot when I said that batch was all sold! I'm making more right now.
I am using the tie stalls now, ready or not. The ground is quite thawed out and I need to keep the cows clean and comfortable. They get out for 3 or 4 hours twice a day and stretch their legs, eat at the round bale, nurse their babies and hang out. It was a disaster at first, but they have pretty much learned their exact spot and I can let them in and they just about go to the right spot each time. I keep forgetting to get 2 more wingnuts so Maddy and Brie can join them.
I think, if I get a moment--I'll start some no knead bread tommorrow. I haven't made that in a while. Homemade bread and cheese, it doesn't get much better than that!
Monday, March 15, 2010
When I go out, I notice first off that Juliette hasn't stood yet, and even worse--her legs are
"frogged" out behind her. Hmmm, that doesn't look good. When I try to help her stand, Jules is getting pretty defensive. Let's not forget she has one horn left, and brandishes it very well.
So, I coax Jules out and put her in the milk stanchion. I figured I'd milk out some colostrum and just feed it to the calf, so I can be assured she has gotten it. First off, she poops, and swishes her long tail in it, repeatedly. I'm thinking ,where are my scissors. Let's give that tail a haircut.
Then, I got my nice warm wash rag in hand and reached out to wash each teat. WHAMMM! First kick. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but in times like this you have got to move in even closer. I snugged right into her side, and just started blindly washing in the direction of her udder! I was washing legs and a belly, udder, teats, my jeans, whatever I could reach while be buffeting by a constant barage of kicks ! I was NOT gonna stop because that was what she wanted, and this isn't a cow spa. Yes, I adore my cows--but I still have a business to run and part of the agreement is that I need the milk! Now, I am a softy, I always let the cows raise their own calf, and I share with them for 3-4 months sometimes longer if they are generous!
I'm thinking Jules, being a heifer, is a bit confused with all her hormones raging and thinks I'm stealing milk from her own calf.
Somehow, I deflected her kicks and actually got the milk machine on and off her last night and the calf fed. I thought that would be the worst of it......Boy was I wrong.
This morning I go out to milk. The kids are all sleeping, Dante's off to work. It's a busy day, and I was looking forward to seeing the new baby. I peak into the stall, and there's Juliette at the opposite end of where I left her, but still with her legs splayed out. This time I immediately got Jules out, lifted the calf, and she took some rocky steps. Well, at least she can walk a little. That's better. I'm gonna put her on the deep bedding pack where she can get better traction.
Then, I call Jules out, and get ready to milk. It's the same old poopy attitude as last night. Maybe worse. So I reach down and start handmilking a teat, I lean right into her. She keeps kicking me off and I keep grabbing that teat and squirting milk all over my pants. I know that she has to learn, that nothing is gonna shake me off--- and then we'll be fine.
I have no idea how, but after about 6 attempts that she kicked off, I get the machine on and she is seemingly settled down, munching grain and getting milked. Then I don't even really know what happened.
I walked over, squatted next to her, and I think I was either gonna check to see if milk was still flowing or release the vacuum, but without even shifting her weight, she cocked her leg up and kicked HARD, missing my face by maybe an inch. Somehow I got my arm in front of my face and she kicked me in the wrist. Oh, that hurt so bad. That's the most painful kick I've ever gotten. It rendered my left arm and hand completely useless. I really thought she broke it. The machine is hanging under her, and she's stepping on it. It's an expensive and crucial piece of my equipment. I fished it out from under with my one good hand, and then let her go. What else could I do?
I couldn't even use my hand for an hour. Bad thing is, she won that round.
I thought I might have to drive myself to the hospital, but the feeling came back. I still have some shooting pains, and it's hard to make a fist but otherwise it's still usable.
I am use to fresh cows and heifers, I'm not afraid of getting kicked. This is nothing new. But she has me kinda shook up. I'm actually nervous to try again tonight. I won't say scared, because I don't want to admit that. But I need a new game plan before tonight.
I also have a cut and large bruise on my thigh from last night, and I got kicked in the knee this morning too. What if I had gotten kicked in the face?The kids were all sleeping in the house, and no one else was home. I work primarily alone with the cows and usually don't give it much thought, until I almost got really hurt. It was really close, I tell you. Too close.
So, I need a little encouragement to get back in there tonight.
Dante would try to help me, but he is seriously allergic. The kind that triggers asthma, so I feel bad about asking him to come help me wrestle with her tonight. Even if he did, he'd need to probably repeat that twice a day for a couple days anyway.
I'm gonna try the old, " glove on a stick " trick, and maybe Dante can screw an eyebolt into a stud in the milk parlor wall, and I can try to tie off one leg. I don't own a kickstop because usually, I can just move slowly and hang on, and when they can't shake me off they just quit it.
Plus, the hormones settle down after a few days.
You know, she was born in the summer and ran with her mother and was just a very skittish but sweet cow. I do think she'll come around, but for now I need to feel safe enough to milk her again.
It might be a rough few days........
Friday, March 12, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The power went out last night. Apparently a scheduled outage but I knew nothing about it. What really stinks, is that I had a bunch of yogurt incubating. The power goes out, shuts off the incubators, the space heater, AND the alarm set for 2 a.m., for me to get up and cap and refrigerate the yogurt. It's ruined. I apologize, in advance, to those who won't get their orders. I started another batch, but I don't think it will be done in time.
Ayla and Ida May were panicking because the night light was out. How do you notice the light is out when you are asleep with your eyes closed? I had to keep find my way to the bathroom by the light of my cell phone!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
It's a beautiful day, the cows are waiting for me. Jules looks REALLY close. She has been hanging around this dead tree that fell in their paddock during our last storm. I'm almost willing to bet, that's where she plans to drop that calf. She stands behind the small fallen tree and thinks I can't see her. It's like an elephant standing behind a telephone pole. She has one horn, and has been using it. The humane dehorning I started last March, was so humane in fact, that it only took off one horn! If she doesn't calve soon, I'm gonna have to take it off anyway. Either she has to be tied up, or her favorite victim does. Gale is the same story, one horn. I hate it.
I think I'm gonna make a Caerphilly cheese today, it'll culture while we are at church.
You can read about Caerphilly here:
The cream cheese is already started. It is a 2 day process, but I love that recipe best.
I'm gonna start some seeds too! We hung our towels out on the line yesterday, I stood, mesmerized, just looking at those towels waving on the line with the woods in the backdrop, I could hear Ellie softly mooing to her calf, Angus, --who is getting braver than she likes-- and slipping under the fence. Life is good.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
It is at times like this, that I really get amused by the strangest things.
I was just pondering some of my favorite words and I think I see a theme developing.
Oddly enough I use these words on a daily basis. Go figure.
Then Zoie, poor thing, is wiped out by basketball and some cruddy cold that Ida May has given us all twice. She just tried to make herself some cinnamon toast but accidentally put CHILLI POWDER on her toast. I'm still chuckling over that one! I fear the kids may be doomed to inherit some of my dementia.
The janitor at the school asked how we got the dent in the van, and all I could say was, " Which one. " Let's see first I was in a hurry, Happy was calving out in the field and I backed into the lawnmower cart. Then I somehow managed to back up at a fairly good pace right into a 10 ft by 20 ft stack of cement pillars. I was preoccupied, the sheep had just been moved into a new pasture and what can I say, I was excited to see them in that idyllic pasture. Took out the passenger side view mirror and the door with that one. Can I borrow your car? Or better yet, your nice 4-wheel drive truck. THAT would be really fun.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Upon receiving an invite, one of the other pee-wee basketball parents said, " What's gonna be the entertainment? " I said, " Hopefully not me! " I'm gonna need a few drinks to cope with Ayla being babysat, and I do LOVE to sing and dance. I wouldn't recommend getting frisky while washing your milk machine with dairy detergent and vinegar. I managed to splash this concoction past my new glasses and right in my eye a couple nights ago. This was followed by even more frantic movements and hollering. Honestly, Dante didn't even bat an eye. I think he thought I was just enjoying the music with a little interpretive dance.
Seriously, this is long overdue, and she and I both need this experience. I have to let go a little, and she needs to have that fun sleepover experience. All I can say about Ida May's night away is---Have fun, Mom! You remember what having 1 1/2 yr olds was like right? I would say I'm gonna unplug the phone after 8:00 p.m., but I won't. You might want to! I'm sure I'll be making more than a few obsessive phone calls. Just joking, don't unplug it or you'll get an impropmptu visit as well!
All this chatter, to say--I need your homemade cracker recipes! I'm gonna make a cheese plate with some of my cheeses and want to do homemade crackers to go with it.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Do you ever feel the need to do and be everything for everyone even at the expense of yourself? A couple of weeks ago, there were two comments made in the same day that kinda made me pause. The first was one I've heard many times, " I don't know how you do it all---the kids, the farm. " I gave my usual response. " Does that seem like a lot?" To me it is simply what I do. Then a couple hours later someone else said, " Jessika is a strong woman." I thought, " Really?" I sure don't feel that way. I feel a bit like I'm always secretly on the verge of " cracking up " or failing, or falling apart, or letting everyone else down.
I really have this sense that if I let my guard down for one minute, it's gonna all spiral out of control and our lives are gonna fall apart.
Just so you know, I'm not talking about daily " good " stress either. I wish all I had to worry about was getting the kids to basketball practice, dinner on the table, the cows milked, the house cleaned.
I'm talking about really " heavy " things like serious financial strain, marital " issues " that make me feel like I'm the one with the responsibility for which way our family continues on, and one child with an incurable disease, and another with a rare speech disability that requires intense therapy. I'm also self-employed and a farmer. My house is also a mess and I haven't been doing very good getting nutritious meals on the table.
I am tired. Tired in a way that a few extra hours of sleep at night or a nap here or there aren't going to help. Tired in a way that makes it hard to get up in the morning but yet, nearly impossible to unwind at night and sleep. I feel like my body just won't move fast enough anymore, and sometimes I can barely think.
My poor cows. It is usually out in the barn that I finally let down my guard and have a good cry. I mean the really ugly ones that come from deep down inside your soul. They are loud and painful, and I wouldn't want anyone but the cows to have to witness emotion like that. The word " raw " is what comes to mind. I'm not writing this to scare off my customers, or get sympathy or attention. I've figured out that I have to spill out some of this " stuff " that builds inside me, every once and again, or it'll be toxic.
I really do feel better already. I just thought maybe someone could relate. Maybe someone has come through times like this and has some sage advice. For now I just has to BELIEVE and have FAITH that it really is gonna be okay someday. That is what I cling to.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Jules and Maddy are definitely making udders, then I tried to bump them and almost jumped when I felt BIG calves kicking and pushing back against my hands! What? So it seems to me, the calves usually feel like that about a month before calving. Berretta, for reference, is due in May and about to be dried off. I can't bump her calf nearly as easily.
Brie, the 3rd heifer, isn't really building an udder yet. I couldn't bump a calf either. Hopefully she's in fact bred, just due in early May like I thought the others were.
The heifers behaved wonderful in the stanchion. I felt all around their cute little udders. Not a flinch, let alone a kick. I can't belive we might have 3 more little calves in the next 2 months. Yipeeeeeeeeeee!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
To begin with, it was Zoie's REAL birthday. For some reason more often than not we seem to have a thing with dramatic animal escapes occuring on her birthday. Five years ago it was the famous " Pig on The Highway " incident that got me my " Crazy lady with all those kids and animals " status in the neighborhood. I think at that time I actually ONLY had 3 out of the 5 kids, and ONLY 3 pigs and no cows as well. Anyway, " Ginger " a large black sow had escaped her fence, in a snowstorm , on Zoie's 6th B-Day, and could not be coerced to cross the ice and go back in through the gate to her pen.
I called Dante at work and told him. I specifically remember him saying, " She'll be fine. Where's she gonna go?" Well, she went 5 miles down the highway in what became apparently a really fun day for everyone involved but US! And I mean right down the middle of the road. There were about 20 vehicles involved in this slow speed chase. Good samaritans were throwing their lunches out the window to her, one kindly neighbor lured her into his pristine white garage, and shut the door. Only to throw it open again when she started to do some damage. The police were involved, and told us if she crossed into the next town they were gonna have to shoot her. Finally she made her way to a cemetary, where some old time pig farmers on 4-wheelers caught her with a noose around the snout, and put her in their barn. We thought that was the end of it, until she jumped the 5 foot wall of the stall they had her in, and was on the loose again. They quickly rounded her up AGAIN, and this time nailed the doors of their barn shut. A friend of ours, went and retreived her the next day for us. And THAT"S how I became famous.........
So last night we get home about 8:00 pm. The answering machine is blinking, we have 1 new message. A quick listen, it was our neighbor calling while we were gone to tell us we had a few cows out. I was thinking, " That's odd. It was probably the calves " Henrietta " and " Angus ", out for a little Tour De Farm. Boy what a pain in the butt those two are."
I somehow convince Dante to go spread some straw out for the milk cows in the barn, because--" I'm so tired, there's no way I can do it!"
He returns, and peaks in our bedroom and says, " We got everybody all mixed in together. The bulls are up here milling around with the milk cows."
Oh, no. Remember-- I'm simply too tired to go on--- I can't possibly go sort out BULLS in the dark. But then I get this horrid picture in my mind, of the cows thundering around the barnyard in the muck and mud, driven on by the bulls, and my darling Althea getting trampled in the process.
Zoie, Ayla, and I get dressed and head over to the barn to join Dante, who is just leaving on the tractor. He figured he better put a new hay bale in their feeder, as incentive to get them the 1/2 mile back down the road to THEIR fence and barn. While he was gone, I get an idea. We should gather all eight milk cows and three calves, up onto their 12x32 ft bedded " sleeping platform " and lock the door. Then it would be easier to drive the bulls out of the fence and barn.
As we were working, my eyes catch sight of something white whizzing by. The sheep! Of course, they were in with the bulls and came up to the barn too. SWEET. Now we have killer bulls AND bouncing sheep to drive back down the hill. I was actually happy to see the sheep, just not in this context. My ewe and her lamb, came right up for some treats and scratches. Their beau, " Black Beard " ( the borrowed Scottich Black face ram ) was all about panicking and hurtling himself from one length of the barn to the other. Like sooty popcorn actually.
The trap is set, Zoie is secure--I'm sprung and ready to flee, screaming for my life if they run in my direction.( Very helpful in times like this ) It's a dark night, and as is typical of most Jersey bulls, they are very dark colored and can move surprisingly cat-like, when they need to. Dante disappears into the night, armed with a trusty fence post, listening to the hoof beats sloshing around outside, every hair is standing up on my head. I wait.
The bulls whiz by the opening of the barn, but the sheep take the bait and come eat grain from the pan I set out. Next time around, the bulls tear straight down the middle if the barn-- and I scramble out the front doors and pull them closed. Did I mention Ayla is hysterical in the minivan this whole time? Even though I went out to reassure her every couple of minutes, she's wigging out. I keep hearing the doors locking, everytime I walk away. She is NOT the one you want around, while working difficult animals. She likes baby " Moo cows" and to look at cows through the fence but that's pretty much the extent of it.
So now, the bulls and sheep are in the barn. Zoie and Dante are taking FOREVER to come out. Ayla's crying, and I'm pacing outside the van. Somehow Dante and Zoie appear around the side of the barn. Zoie hops in, Dante releases the bulls...and sheep, and we're off! The sheep lead the way in a tight little bunch, bounding down the dark, wooded lane. " Wolfie " the almost 2 year old bull is next, followed by " Brody " our runty little yearling, with an attitude, and we bring up the rear in the minvan. I would have loved to have been on the other end and seen this odd nighttime procession coming down the driveway. In fact, I tried to shoot a quick video, but Dante conveyed in a not so subtle manner, ( insert choice expletives here )that this was not the time nor place for it.A trio of sheep, a couple knot-headed bulls thundering along, all in the glow of our 1 headlight van. Yes, we've got a headlight out again, thank you. Bought a bulb for it yesterday.
They all trotted right in the open gate to the paddock and commenced to munch their hay. The girls and I headed back up to the barn, to release the girls, who were all in a dither, by now. What do I find? Maddy is down again. There is something going on with her. I think she hurt her back during that near- death episode she had. She was cast again, a few weeks ago, and then couldn't get up last night. We ushered all the other cows out, gave her some time and encouragement, and she finally got up. It's like she can rise to a certain height and then it hurts, and she drops again. This has me very worried. I'll probably consult with the vet today over the phone. Phew, and now I need to finish up an order and deliver it by the new, earlier deadline.
Never, and I mean NEVER a dull moment around here. I could use a little boredom, a little of the mundane, dull, lackluster. You know what I mean!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Voila! Spirit Flip-Flops!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Five minutes later, Ayla informs me Ida May pooped in her diaper, and says, " It looks just like a cow poop! I looked!
Humility is a good thing too. We need not get big heads over our sucesses! I'm glad God has imposed a system of checks and balances over our lives. Makes you a good person!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I still can't believe she actually had a heifer! Pics and more tommorrow, I'm heading back out to the barn.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The Milking Ewe as a Therapy for the Maladjusted and Lonely
Need I say more? I think this is exactly what Zoie was hinting I might be portraying while reading this wonderful book and simultaneously riding 20 miles on a stationary bike, and meeting her new friend's very " normal " mother.
I have not heard a more apt description of yours truly, in quite some time! This has made me laugh so hard, I was doubled over and fell on the ice outside just thinking about it. Every time I pass by a mirror or catch sight of my reflection, I think, " Yup. Maladjusted and Lonely."
Seriously though, she makes a good point about the role animals play in our lives and how valuable that relationship is particularly to children. Animals are commonly used for therapy for a good reason. They know how to LISTEN and comfort just by being near you. Something that is so hard for many of us to master.
How about you? Are you gonna join the ranks of the " maladjusted " with me?
Sunday, February 14, 2010
It said that I deliver " Holstein Milk ". Where in the world did that come from! I'm trying not to be too offended, but I take pride in our high-fat milk from JERSEY cows, and in fact the majority of my products are based around CREAM. Sour cream, cream cheese, creme fraiche, pints of cream, cream top yogurt, and raw creamline milk.
Taking a breath and then heading out to milk my tiny, 700-800lb FAWN COLORED, 8.75% butterfat producing HOLSTEINS! LOL!
I really am trying not to panic, but without causing offense to Holstein cow owners, PERSONALLY I wouldn't buy milk if it was touted as being from Holsteins. But that's just a matter of personal taste, it's clear we like our coffee with lot's of Jersey cream in it.