Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

What a week this has been! 5.9 earthquake complete with felt aftershocks followed by hurricane Irene. We are thankful to report that all is well on the farm - no harm done to any animals or structures (just a few rattled nerves). And we have added, the much needed rain, to our thankful list! It seems to all happen at once around here.

Ziggy the very smart goat, found a dry spot to enjoy the sunshine!
We are delighted with this week's forecast...sunshine, sunshine, sunshine! And the cooler evenings remind me that Fall is in the air. Our bucks are starting their rut and the girls are laying it on for them - the breeding season is just around the corner again. We have a couple of lovely French Alpine bucks for sale, they'll be ready to be herd sires soon. You can check them out on our For Sale page if you're in need of a sweet boy for your girls.

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting 
and autumn a mosaic of them all."
-   Stanley Horowitz

Monday, August 8, 2011

Of course you can make your own buttermilk..

 One question I'm asked so often...can I make buttermilk from milk? Absolutely! Here's my easy peasy process...ENJOY!

REAL Buttermilk:
Take your cream jar out of the frig. Stir in 2 or 3 large spoonfuls of clabbered milk (see below). Stir well. Let sit out for the day on your counter - uncovered - either cover with a towel or leave the lid VERY loose. Check periodically to see if it has thickened. You may have to leave it overnight. Use this thick cream to make butter. The resulting "buttermilk" will be thick and yummy and excellent for baking or culturing cheese.

Clabbered milk is a staple in my kitchen. I have a jar of it sitting out all the time. Whenever I use any, I just add a bit of milk back into it.
Clabber is naturally soured milk. Take a 1/2 quart of fresh milk and leave it out (cover with a towel or cheese cloth, but it must be able to breathe). Wait for it to clabber. Depending on the temperature in your house this could take one to three days. You are looking for it to be thick like pudding. It will smell very sour and while you can use it at this point, it's probably too sour. Dump half the jar out and replace with fresh milk and mix. Let that sit a day till it "clabbers" again. It won't be so sour now. You could even dump half of this and make a 3rd generation if it's too sour. I leave mine out, but it can be refrigerated. When I need some, I scrape the clabbered cream off the top and toss that, then spoon out whatever clabbered milk I need and refill the jar with fresh milk. Just keep the little clabber garden going. What do you use it for?

  • Starter for cottage cheese
  • Starter for sour cream
  • Starter for cultured butter
  • Add texture to baked goods such as pancakes, bread, muffins.

Cheaters Buttermilk:
Simply add vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid to your Raw milk and let sit for 10 min until thickened. You can't use it for a starter, but it works great as a substitute for the real thing, when you're baking!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

From feral to farm

Meet Hunter & Trigger, once city roamers and now true country boys! Our farm may have been the only farm on the planet that didn't house a feline until now. So with the mouse population growing by the hour, we took the opportunity to transplant these ferals into barn help. After a couple of weeks of settling in, it seems as if they were meant to be farmers..bouncing right into their duties, taking advantage of anything that resembles a napping hammock, cleaning up after a messy milker, rubbing a weary leg or giving a satisfied purr every time someone enters their quarters... it's hard to imagine life in the barn without them now. It appears even the mice have taken a liking to them..hoping that changes soon!

A few reasons why farm life seems to suit these tabbies:
The naps

The company (& their massages)
The action

(Joan Brocklehurst)
When in the barn, on nights of storm
As icy draughts pierce every nook
The farm cats sleep the hours away
Snug and warm in their nests of hay.

When moonlight paints a tranquil scene
Abroad they prowl on hunting bent
In search of rabbit, bird or rat -
A welcome meal for a hungry cat.

In meadow warmed by summer's sun
They roam at ease by hedge and stream
To seek a fledgling or a vole
Or track a field mouse to his hole.

The vixen screams from copse afar
Her cries ring shrill on the wintry air
The farm cats raise their listening heads
They sink once more to their strawy beds.
Why chase mice when you can nap...the end