Ugghhhh! Sometimes my brains with all of its plans and aspirations works much faster than my body. I have all of these projects to do and what did I do? Started another huge project. Well, ok this time I will admit, I didn't have much choice. Not too long ago we got 3 solid weeks of rain. I didn't think about running the aircondition because it wasn't really hot. I did have the few ceiling fans that we have going, but it certainly did not help our closet. Mine and my husbands closet has always been an issue in this house. In the summer time when the humidity is waaayyy up we have to leave the door open so that the air can dry out in there. Dummy me didn't even think of the closet during those weeks of rain. Our closet sits right over the basement, which is very damp and since that dampness rises it rises right into our closet. Since I don't often go into our closet or spend much time in there I didn't know realize that I had a serious invasion of.......mildew. So now everything is coming out, being cleaned and washed and the carpet torn out(1960s shag carpet so it's about time). I am still trying to get the house and barns ready for winter and all needed feed stuffs and supplies in. I am still canning. In fact I will be canning eye of round(beef) and tangerines and pumpkins this coming week. Oh, wait. I forgot I will also be canning turnip greens, collard greens, and mustard greens. My bedroom looks like world war three and four happened in there simultaneously. I have clean laundry spread all over the house and I think I might have some more firewood to bring home from a friend's house who is cutting more trees. Fortunately, I will be giving away some of the greens for the pumpkins and the firewood so I will only have half a days work to can what is left. I put the spring harvest of greens in the freezer and so this harvest will be canned. We are still waiting to see what will be harvested out of the fall garden so little by little I am working and pulling spent plants while nursing other vegetables along. I really did not need to take on such a huge project as cleaning out my closet. Of course, it really doesn't help that my spring cleaning of the closet consisted of very little. Organizing the clothes and getting rid of about a dozen pieces. I have tons of clothes. So many people give me clothes and then I never throw out any good clothes and then there are so many outfits that I really like just never wear. Oh my! And here I sit writing this blog. I suppose I had better get back to work. I keep telling myself that I am not going to do this anymore and yet.....I always do. Maybe one day I will actually get one project totally completed before I start another one!! Have a blessed day and a fabulous weekend. I am now off to immerse myself in the war zone!
Whisper Wind Country Store
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I apologize in advance as this may be a loooonnnnggg (really long) post. I will try to stick to the point so as not to make it any longer than necessary. Parasites such as worms are a fact of life on a farm. It is how they are managed (yes you must manage your parasites also) that can mean the difference between healthy, thriving animals and not so healthy or dead animals. Livestock are an investment and they are costly to replace, not to mention that our breeding animals are like part of the family. My grandfather always said that if you cannot properly take care of animals then you shouldn't have them. With that being said even though we think we are properly taking care of our animals we might not be because of bad advice. It is best to research on your own and thoroughly understand what you are getting into. So let's get on to worms. Worms exist everywhere and just about every animal on the farm has some. They can be transmitted in all sorts of ways. Some lie dormant in the ground and only cause significant issues when that ground is disturbed by rain or snow (freezing, thawing, spring melt). Slugs and snails are great transporters of worm eggs to plants that normally would not have egg populations on them. It is this reason that I do fecal samples on my caged rabbits. They eat fresh greens that I harvest from around the farm and I have no way of knowing whether the slugs have been crawling on those greens. With that being said, let's go into fecal testing. Every farmer should know how to do a fecal test. A fecal test allows you to properly "manage" your parasite population and its effect on your livestock. You should not worm your animals until they are showing signs of parasite stress and you have done a fecal. It also helps to do a fecal when they are not showing any signs of parasite stress so you can see the normal worm load that does not cause them any problems. This gives you a control to compare too. If you randomly worm, when you don't necessarily need to then you are allowing the parasite population to build up a resistance and this will mean your wormer will stop working when you need it to and you will have to find another one if you can. Some areas of the country are more prone to parasite resistance and problems due to the fact that many worm eggs are killed by cold winters and some areas of the country just don't have cold enough winters to kill off the eggs. I won't go into the process of how to perform a fecal test, but it is really easy and Fias Co. Farm has a good detailed explanation. Or if you are like me and have a very good relationship with your vet you can do like I do. Gather all the samples and run to his office to use his lab and microscope. I do the work myself just using his equipment. Now on to vets. There are very few vets that understand goats and goat problems. Most large animal vets deal with cows and horses. When it comes to goats they have to try to remember that paragraph that they read in vet school umpteen years ago that dealt with goats. Then there are not many vets that have to deal with goats. Let me explain something about veterinary medicine that most people don't know and don't understand. First some background. My major in college was Biology with Zoology as my minor. Why? Because I thought I wanted to become a vet. So every summer from the time I graduated high school all through college every summer I interned with a group of 4 vets. In that group I have seen the very worst and the very best that vet schools can turn out onto the general animal population. One thing that I learned is that there is not much hands on practical training in vet school. In fact, one of the vets that I interned with was a brilliant surgeon, another one was not and was downright deadly in surgery. Yep, I said deadly. I asked one of the other vets how the deadly vet ever graduated vet school when he couldn't even intubate an animal properly. Guess what, a vet doesn't know what kind of surgeon they will be until after they graduate and are in practice. They don't get surgical experience until that point. They go through a rotation in vet school usually after they have decided whether or not they will be a small, large or exotic vet. Every vet goes through the rotation in which they will work in the small animal clinic for a little while, then move to the barn for awhile and then those that want to do exotics kinda have to hope that there are exotic animals around or that the school has an exotic specialist. So in the large animal rotation those students might or might not see a goat. More likely they won't. The reason being is that most goat owners are not going to spend that kind of money taking their animals to the vet school for treatment. Most vet schools concentrate on cows and horses because that is mostly what they see. So vets get very little training for goats and pretty much have to gain the knowledge for themselves. I am lucky in that I have a vet who is an exotics specialist and because of him wanting to specialize in all sorts of animals (he is also the zoo vet) his knowledge base is broader than most. he truly is a brilliant man, but is terrified of horses! Go figure. he doesn't mind elephants, but my stallion scares the daylights out of him. So that is the scoop on why your vet might not really have the knowledge that you think he does or should. Doesn't necessarily mean he is bad vet, just that he might not have experience with that particular animal. Ok, back to worms. While goats are ruminants and use many of the same meds and wormers as cows they are different critters than cows. There are no wormers designed with perfect instructions for goats. Usually we use cattle wormers off label with the dosage adjusted if need be for goats. Usually we have to find that information on our own by talking to breeders who are much more experienced than we are and of course researching online for ourselves. So the bottom line is to educate yourself so that you can second opinion your vet or anyone else that tells you what wormer you need to use. They might be telling you to worm with something that is not a wormer. Know your medications. A farmer and livestock owner has many roles to play, that is why this life is never ever boring. A livestock owner is a caretaker, groom, nutrition specialist, chemist,parasitologist, botanist, vet, midwife, etc. etc. Ok, let's move onto symptoms of a worm infestation. The main symptoms are: dull coat, pale gums, diarrhea, drop in milk production, lack of appetite, listlessness, clumpy stools or chronic coughing (lung worms). There are others but these are the main ones to look for. Of course, if you don't see these and your goat seems off or not quite right it would be a good idea to check a fecal sample to rule out worm infestation. Now, deciding which wormer to use? Check with your vet and a local long time breeder and talk with them about what they use or suggest. Some wormers are better for some worms than others, this is where your fecal test will come in. using a wormer that really only is affective again lungworms does you no good if you have a problem with H.contortus (coccidia). I won't go into all of the different wormers here. Fias Co. Farm has a really great description of chemical and herbal wormers, dosages, withholding times and whether or not it is safe for pregnant does. She has been raising goats a lot longer than I have and defer to her judgement and knowledge. So I think that is a really good chunk of information and that I did really good not rambling. I hope everyone finds it helpful. Blessings from the farm.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I don't like my apples and pears to be canned in a heavy syrup. The fruit to me is sweet enough and doesn't need any added sugar. However, using plain water will sap some of the goodness from the fruit and they just don't taste very good if canned in plain water. So, I use apple juice to can both of them. It also gives me a good way to preserve some juice for later. Once we open the jar, then we can drink the juice when the fruit is eaten. I do add a minimal amount of lemon juice to preserve the color of the apples and pears, but it is so minimal you really can't taste it. Trust me on that. So with one canning day I have preserved two items that are important to my family...food and juice. Now any apples or pears that are being canned for pies or tarts are canned in a syrup, but the juice is saved for those to be eaten right from the jar. Enjoy!
As I said in my last post I love citrus...oranges, tangerines, grapefruit doesn't matter because I simply love it. So do my children and were it not for thinking ahead we would go through some serious citrus withdrawals here until the Florida season got underway. So I have already mentioned that I can tangerines/mandarin oranges. I also can oranges and grapefruit. I prefer to can navel oranges with Ruby red grapefruit as those are our favorite and the navel oranges section better than the Valencia's. But those Valencia's will never be left out in our home. We eat Valencia's all winter long until we are about to turn into a Valencia. And then well what is the best use of a Valencia? Juice....homesqueezed fresh off the tree sunshiny taste. However, if you can this fresh homesqueezed juice you change the taste. So, I save up my plastic mayonnaise jars and freeze it. Then, during the off season I simply pull out a jar and voila....I have that wonderful homesqueezed Valencia goodness. So just thought I would share these few tips with you folks so that you too can enjoy the deliciousness and many health benefits of citrus fruit all year. Enjoy!
I was born in Florida and although I did not reside there in my youth my grandparents had a home there that they spent the summer. Yes, I know this is opposite of what most people do. My parents were divorced and my dad lived in the home all year. I have a loyalty to Florida citrus farmers for this reason I guess. I won't buy California citrus products, sorry California. So I patiently wait until about this time of year when the Florida citrus starts coming in. I am getting to the tangerines, just in my roundabout kind of way. My kids love mandarin oranges, but they are quite costly for those tiny little cans. However, do you know something? Guess what tangerines are? That is right.....tangerines are mandarin oranges, but they are called "tangerines" because that is the type of mandarin orange they are. So, instead of buying mandarin oranges in the can at such a costly price. Especially when my kids can eat 1 to 2 cans per day each. I can my own tangerines when they start coming in. It is really easy to can up a bunch of pint or in our case quart jars and then you have them for the year until the next fall. We do the same with oranges and grapefruit, which I can together because for some odd reason the grapefruit preserves the fresh taste of the orange. I know strange, but I don't question it...I just know it works. So if your family is like mine then consider getting some of those wonderful Florida tangerines (ok, if you have no choice California will work) and canning them up so that your family can enjoy them at low cost all year round.
I have a few bead recipes that I make on a regular basis, they are my family's favorites. At the request of one of my readers I have decided to post them for all to enjoy. Have a blessed day and I pray that you all enjoy.
Amish White Bread
2 c. warm water
2/3 c. white sugar
1 1/2 T. active dry yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. vegetable oil
6 c. bread flour*
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5" loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 min., or until dough has risen 1" above pans.
Bake at 350 for 30 min. (I bake mine between 30-45 min. because of my oven being older.)
* I very often substitute whole wheat for half of the flour called for in this recipe. It makes for a healthier heartier bread with all the flavor of the original recipe.
Dark Pumpernickel Rye Bread
3 pk Dry yeast
1 1/2 c Warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 c Molasses
1 tb Caraway seeds
2 ts Salt
2 tb Shortening
2 1/2 c Rye flour
1/4 c Cornmeal
1/4 c Cocoa
2 c All-purpose flour; 2 to 2
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir
in molasses, caraway seeds, salt, shortening, rye flour,
1/4 cup cornmeal, and cocoa. Beat at medium speed of an
electric mixer until smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose
flour to make a stiff dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly
floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
Knead until smooth and elastic (5 to 10 minutes). Shape
dough into a ball, and place in a well-greased bowl,
turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place
(85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in
bulk. Punch dough down; shape into a ball. Cover and let
rise in a warm place, free from drafts, about 40 minutes or
until doubled in bulk.
Grease a baking sheet, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Punch
dough down, and divide in half. Shape each half into a
round, slightly flat loaf. Place loaves on opposite
corners of baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm
place, free from drafts, 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 25
to 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped.
Remove from baking sheet, and let cool on wire racks.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
6 3/4 to 7 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 pkg. active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/4 c. sugar or honey
1/4 c. butter
2 tsp salt
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Cream Cheese spread
4 oz. cream cheese
2 tbls. powdered sugar
In a large bowl combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat the milk, sugar, butter and salt until just warm. Add to the flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat at low speed for about 30 seconds then switch to high speed for another 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can working the final flour in with your hand to make a good solid dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining flour until you have a stiff and elastic dough. Shape into a ball and place into a greased bowl, cover, let rise until double in size. Punch down the dough and then divide in half. Again cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half of the dough into a rectangle then brush the entire surface with water. sprinkle half of the sugar mixture on each rectangle then roll the bread like you would a jelly roll. place with the sealed edges down into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.
Cream Cheese spread
Mix the 2 ingredients together until smooth. Can add more or less powdered sugar according to taste.
I use this recipe instead of making cinnamon rolls. It makes a wonderful Sunday morning treat before going to Church and saves me from having a huge mess in the kitchen to clean up. Sundays are kind of hectic around here.
1 C. warm water
2 1/2 C. bread flour
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. yeast
1 egg yolk (save white for wash)
1 T warm water
1/2 t. sugar or honey
Place yeast, 1 T warm water and sugar or honey into a small glass (to proof yeast)
Put flour, salt in bowl and combine. Add egg yolk and work in (I use my hands), then add the proofed yeast mixture, blend. Add water and blend. Add a little more water if needed to make a fairly sticky dough. Knead for a good 15 minutes. Allow to rise in a dry, warm spot (cover with damp towel) until doubled in size. Punch down and knead for another 10 minutes, allow to rise again. Punch down and then divide dough in half. Shape into long loaves, make cut marks in top of loaves. Brush with egg white. Place into preheated 350* oven for about 20 minutes.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Baking bread can be a chore. It takes up space on your counter, uses loads of electricity running your oven and just when you are cruising along on another project it is time to punch the dough and knead the bread. I know a bread machine would save me time. However, I don't like bread machine bread. It just doesn't have the same taste and flavor of handmade bread. I have a breadmachine and will use it in a pinch, but most of the time I prefer to make my bread by hand. However, there are a couple of things I don't like about handmaking my bread. One is running back and forth to the kitchen to knead the bread, two is cleaning up because I am really messy, and three is using the whole oven for just one or two loaves of bread. So I have solved that issue by just baking bread twice a month. I make batches and batches of bread at one time using my wonderful old pyrex bowls. I have quite a lot of these bowls thanks to my mother-in-law who collected them. I line them up on the counter and get started. Usually each recipe makes two loaves and I will usually make about 6 batches. Then i will also usually make some type of breakfast bread like zuchinni, cinnamon, banana, pumpkin etc. I set aside two days a month to make my bread and that is all that I do on those two days. My oven bakes with a full load of bread so I don't feel like I am wasting energy (and my money), I only make one really huge mess to clean up, and I have the convenience of bread being ready even when I am in a pinch. When all my bread is baked and cool I then wrap it well, label it and place it in the freezer. I then have bread when I need it. Then when I get down to about 2 loaves of bread I get ready for the next bread day. Doing this saves me tons of time. Believe me we go thru a lot of bread because it is eaten at every single meal. I can't imagine going back to the old way of just baking a couple loaves at a time and having to spend that much time in the kitchen when there are other things to do. However, we love our homemade bread. Another advantage to having bread already baked and in the freezer is that if you need a quick gift, trade item, or thank you all you have to do is pull a loaf of bread out of the freezer. How much easier can it get.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I have wormed my horses with ivermectin for quite a while with absolutely fabulous results. Fecal tests always showed a very low worm count, which meant they were also being controlled in the environment. When I purchased goats I also used ivermectin to worm them. I chose ivermectin for the goats because it is a wormer also used for humans (yes humans get parasites also)and there is a short milk witholding time. There have also been no known adverse affects on pregnant does. Guess what? Parasites are now showing a strong resistance to ivermectin. A couple of weeks ago two of my does were showing signs of being wormy. I did fecals on them and sure enough they were infested. So I wormed the whole herd with ivermectin. A couple of days ago one of the does developed diarrhea. Since she showed no sign of fever or drop in appetite I decided to give her body support with electrolytes, B-complex, and probios. I figured she had probably eaten something out in the pasture that did not agree with her and she needed to flush it out of her system. We saw no improvement the next day and again she seemed fine despite the diarrhea. Yesterday morning, she wouldn't eat. So I did another fecal and she was loaded with parasites. I do mean loaded folks! So I called my vet, who also happens to be the vet for the local zoo. He said that they had this problem at the zoo in the spring. Apparently our area is showing tremendous parasitic resistance to ivermectin and he recommended Cydectin. So I wormed the whole herd with Cydectin. I have done some research on cydectin and it is not recommended for pregnant animals, according to other breeders that have used it with ill results. I am not real sure that I like it as I am not sure what the adjuvant is in it as it smells like Kerosene. However, without it I won't have my goats very long. So you might want to keep a close eye on fecals in your area if you are using ivermectin and make sure that the parasites in your area are not building up a resistance. The good thing about cydectin is that there is no milk with holding time. So start watching fecal samples especially if your animals are showing signs of being "off". God bless
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Earlier this spring I told ya'll about some great deals from Tomato Bob on heirloom veggie seeds. Well, remember the old saying? If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I have put off writing this post because I really hoped that I was wrong, but I am not. Tomato Bob's seeds are a ripoff. Even with the special seed sale prices I spent a lot of money with Bob and have had a lot of heartache for my trouble. I mentioned in an earlier post about my broccoli and cauliflower. 100 seeds of each planted and only 3 plants for my trouble. That is 2 broccoli and 1 cauliflower germinating. I did have one packet of seeds of each from another company (only 25 seeds in each packet), but it looks like all of them have germinated. I ordered a lot of varieties of tomatoes from Bob and out of 36 tomato plants I got one tomato worth eating. Most of the plants developed verticillium wilt and did not produce anything. I did lose some tomatoes to the squirrels. All of the varieties were stunted in there growth and frankly I think I got a bunch of seeds from unhealthy plants. Every packet of seeds planted from Tomato Bob had some problems. Some of them did produce, but did not produce much. Many didn't even germinate. I made the mistake of buying most of my seeds from Bob so I didn't have a good start to the season to begin with. I did have seeds from another company and those have done pretty well. Weather played havoc with my garden, but if it had not been for my other seeds then all I would have gleaned from the gardens this year would have been some jalapeno peppers. I have had to replant and replant after suffering time and again with lack of germination and stunted unthrifty plants. I am on my 4th packet of carrots and have not harvested a single carrot yet. The seeds came from Tomato Bob. I am terribly dissapointed with this company. I absolutely hate writing blog post such as this, but I feel like I owe my readers the truth since I recommended this company back in the spring. Hopefully, I can save some of you the frustration and loss of money that I suffered. I highly recommend Heirloom Acres for seeds. All seeds that I have ordered from them I have been very happy with. I just wish I had ordered more. Needles to say, I will have to buy more seeds. I didn't expect to have to do that since I was planning on harvesting more seeds than I have harvested. You can't harvest seeds when the plants done even germinate or produce. So I am going through my seed inventory and will be placing an order with Heirloom Acres to make up for the lost seeds. Tomato Bob will not get anymore of my business. A bad garden year has been made even worse by a bad seed supplier. Sure glad my survival didn't depend on those seeds. Shame on you Bob. Oh by the way, yes I have tried to contact the company and they don't answer the phone nor do they return phone calls or emails.
Ugghhh! We have had rain here almost everyday for 3 weeks and the days that it has not rained have been pretty cloudy. I think in the past 3 weeks we have had maybe 3 days that actually had some sunshine. It is extraordinarily frustrating, especially in the garden area. My summer garden was hit by a super high heat wave and extremely dry conditions which led to a poor harvest. We got some things out of the garden but not nearly what I expected or needed. The fall garden looked like it was going to be much better with the exceptions of getting the broccoli and cauliflower to germinate (more about that in another post). The pumpkins and butternut squash have been going to town and are both loaded with little squash. Now with all of the extra moisture the little squash are beginning to rot...on the vine. Yesterday after the rain finally stopped I picked off 3 mushy butternut and one mushy pumpkin. I pray that I get a few off of each plant as there is simply not enough time to replant and there is more rain in the forecast. I guess our 3 year drought is definitely over and for that I am grateful, but couldn't it have ended a little more quietly and in a more subtle way. Do we have to make up for 3 years of no rain in a month's time span? I keep thinking about times past and those of our ancestors that depended on their gardens as their only source of food. We fortunately have the grocery store, but what if we didn't? What would I feed my family through the winter. We certainly did not get enough out of the garden this summer to get to next summer and it looks like the fall garden will also be sparse. If it weren't for the grocery and farmer's markets then my family would go hungry quite a bit this winter. Much more incentive to harvest when there is plenty and figure out what can be eaten instead. Foraging is something that comes to mind when I think about these things. We have been harvesting the bumper crop of acorns and pecans this fall, and simply cannot gather and process them fast enough. The dandelions are doing extremely well. While we do forage a little, we are certainly far from hard core foragers. Maybe that is a skill that needs to be sharpened and practiced? You never know what the future holds and the grocery might eventually not be so reliable. With the rumors flying about the oil trading countries moving to a basket of currencies outside of the dollar oil prices will skyrocket in this country and everything dependant on those prices. I noticed this past summer that grocers were slimming down there shelves and offering fewer choices. That means that they could slim those shelves down even further and hunger will wind its way into every American town. Preparation is the key and those unprepared will be faced with wide eyed stare of hungry children. So, this year's garden season has taught me one very valuable lesson....survival is not as easy as we think it is.