Butter?

I remember as a kid, eating “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.  I guess because it was smooth and creamy and probably cheaper, we had IT rather than butter.  Maybe Mom was hearing that butter was unhealthy.  This jar is NOT filled with butter but it is the color of butter!  It’s colostrum!  For several days after the calf is born,  the cow produces colostrum and it’s as yellow as butter, if not more so.  It’s unbelievable how much she produces.  We figure that by milking her, she immediately loses 30 pounds or more!  Ouch.  It hurts to think about it!

Baby is doing well.  She is gaining coordination.  The funniest thing is to see a new born calf try to run on legs that inevitably collapse under them the first time or two.  She, being 2 1/2 weeks overdue has been stronger and a little quicker to catch on to things like feeding and playing.  Still no name for her.  It will come.  I typically take a few days to come up with something different.

Preemie granddaughter and Mom are still doing well.  Baby is up to 3lbs. 9oz!  What a blessing.  She continues to progress, grow, develop and gain weight at a steady pace which isn’t always the case in these little ones.

Thanks for the nice comments and new visitors to this blog.  Hope you stick around!

 

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And We Have a Girl!!

Finally!!  We knew yesterday that our Jersey girl was getting close.  She began to have a mucus show and this morning she finally had a very large udder.  Nothing was happening until this afternoon she began to lose some water.  With that she was acting more uncomfortable.  I brought her into her stall area at 1:30 and closed her in.  She continued to lie down for awhile, then get up, appearing to not be uncomfortable.  Finally by 3:30 we had seen two little hooves three times, and then they would retract.  Ahhh!  Finally, she birthed the hooves, the legs and the little nose.  Just like with humans, once that head was born, things were a breeze from there.  And how exciting to see another heifer!  That’s three for three since we have owned our cow.  This one has a little more white on her.  Not only the little crown on her head but some on her hip and tail.

We are tossing around a couple names.  I’m not one to name them quickly so I will take a little bit and think about it.  I shall return soon.

 

Still No Calf!!

It’s almost as bad as waiting for a grandchild to be born!  Well, maybe not.  In the meantime the parlor waits all clean and ready.  As you can see, this is no ordinary parlor.  When the vet comes or the A.I. guy, they look around at it like they aren’t sure  if they are supposed to be in it!  That’s ok.  I’m sure my Jersey girl likes it.  We women like to decorate, right?

There is much activity around and the days are still beautiful.  Tonight at 5:30 it was still 74 degrees out!  We ate outside at our 2nd daughter’s new house before helping them for a couple hours. This coming weekend will be move in weekend so we are trying to get things wrapped up.

This weekend I tried to make a dent in the basement.  The pantry is much cleaner and won’t take much to finish.  The laundry room will take some work to organize sewing and craft things but will feel really good to accomplish.  I will enlist a couple of granddaughters to help clean up and put away the yard for winter preparation.  We will need to trim back perennials and button things up.  If the weather keeps up we will be able to put that off though and maybe get some other things done.  I am wanting to purge and donate some items to the local resale store.  Then before long it will be time to start making holiday plans.

We will also need to extract our honey.  It is a job that is not my favorite only because of the mess but fortunately honey wipes up easily.  I will try to take a picture when we do extract it to show the set up.  I was hoping to have my honey house set up outside but not this year.  Maybe I can be ready next year.

Be back soon.

Raw Milk

I find reading about Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk very fascinating.  It is so very interesting to learn about it’s value as a real food; one that is so valuable in nutrients that we could live on it and for the most part be more healthy than living on the contaminated products generally consumed by most of the population.  I am fascinated with the way the probiotics in unprocessed milk actually attack and kill unhealthy bacteria that might attempt to live in it.  In all of my reading, I was skeptical when I read that a jar of fresh unprocessed whole milk can last for up to three weeks if left undisturbed and is refrigerated properly.  I wouldn’t have believed it until I experienced it myself after forgetting about some milk that had been put in a extra refrigerator and forgotten for three weeks!  I couldn’t get over the fact that it was not soured, nor was it molding.  That however, is not the story I am so amazed to tell you in this post.  I have a different experience to tell you.  First of all, raw milk may begin to sour when it is left unrefrigerated long enough but unlike the highly processed milk in most grocery stores, it will not hurt you.  Today’s processed milk however, begins to actually rot!  There is a huge difference and for that reason it should NOT be consumed.  That being said, by August 1st, we had stopped milking or Jersey girl to give her the needed break before calving.  The last of the milk was kept in the parlor refrigerator as usual until needed.  I must mention, any older milk that does not get used up and begins to clabber or collect in the frig is given to the chickens.  We had a few jars that were being saved for the chickens. These jars were from July.  As I was cleaning out the refrigerator, I noticed one jar in particular.  There was no signs whatsoever of any discoloration, no signs of mold or even chunky soured cream on the top of the milk, seriously!  I couldn’t believe it!  Get this.  The date was July 15th!  That means it was 11 1/2 weeks old!!  I brought the jar in the house and examined it.  The cream was as normal looking as any cream.  There was nothing that looked like it was showing signs of aging.  I am still shocked.  I opened the jar and expected to smell something foul.  Nope, it had a slight “barn” smell but I’m not sure now that I wasn’t smelling the outside of the jar.  I decided to taste a drop (still not believing it) of the cream.  There was a slight sour taste.  I skimmed the cream off and poured the milk through a sieve to remove the remaining cream.  Then I tasted the milk.  Surprisingly there was no offensive taste!  The picture is of the milk after letting it sit out to clabber.  You can see there is still more cream that has risen to the top and separated from the milk.  No, I didn’t use the milk but I could have.  Baking with it would have killed any undetectable bacteria.  The real problem is not the milk but the fact that I would have eaten anything I made!  I’m sure many people think it is too dangerous to even try the little taste that I tried.  Unfortunately we have been lied to about unprocessed milk and we have been scared into believing it is dangerous but once you do your research and learn the facts about it, you begin to appreciate it and many of the real foods that were created to be safe and healthy for us.  Of course cleanliness is key, especially when you want milk to taste good.  I have to chuckle though.  Things have taken a huge shift in the idea of healthy foods.  It was only a few years ago, that if someone would have told me to eat “fermented” foods, I would have thought they were crazy.  I would have seen it as “spoiled” rather than “fermented”.   Truth is, it’s all in learning the facts about it and not being mislead.  I continue to learn and it is so fascinating.  It is however, angering to learn of the lies we’ve been told, only so more of the almighty dollar can be made by some, at the cost of our health and well-being.  (I won’t get on that soapbox!)

If you care to know more, just go to your search engine,  type in “Real Milk” and read up on it.  The Weston A. Price Foundation is a great place to start finding out the facts.  I do hope you will enjoy learning about it too.

Amazed again!

5 Weeks Old!

Here she is!  Our little preemie grandbaby is now five weeks old and weighing in at a whopping 2lbs 13oz!  So very tiny but a pound more than what she weighed when she was born.  It is amazing how exciting those little ounces are.  When you are at the grocery store and one package has an ounce more than the next package, depending on what it is, we don’t get too excited about it.  On a little body that you are watching develop right before your very eyes, an ounce is a milestone.  Every ounce she gains is fabulous and gets her that much closer to being a strong and healthy little girl.  It will only be a few more days and she will be three pounds!  I know the next time we see her we will really see a change in her size.

I keep having to remind myself that this is October.  I don’t ever remember having 80 degree weather in October and still having most of the trees green.  I’m afraid it will make me feel like we are back in August for so long that soon we will wake up and it will be Christmas!  Yikes!  How do people do it without the four seasons, where snow flurries usher in the mood of the coming winter holidays?  There are some definite things that I need to do for the holidays and with it being such a late fall I’m not seeing the rush to get started.  I could be in trouble!  I’m really not complaining.  I remember years ago as a kid, marching at football games in freezing snowy weather.   Somehow we survived and had a great time.  Today you would be concerned about the players passing out from heat exhaustion.  I am enjoying the warmth because I do know that it won’t last forever and soon we will see the leaves falling and smell the cool brisk air.  I love Fall.  There’s something about it.  As a homemaker, it is the best time for making the comforts of home very special.

I shall return!

Desarae

No Calf Yet!

Typically, our Jersey girl has always calved exactly one week past her due date so this year I took that in to account and came up with Oct. 1, as her date of delivery.  Today has come and gone and she still does not have a full udder so unless she surprises us I think it will be another day or two.  I’m guessing that the hot weather we have had in the last week or so may have thrown her system off a little and now that the weather is cooling some, she will calve soon.  I did manage to get the milk parlor cleaned and ready.  As I was cleaning it, I couldn’t help but be very thankful that we went to the trouble of painting the walls with a moisture barrier paint and planned for scrubbing it down.  It makes it so much easier to clean when it is painted and able to have the hose sprayed on it.   Im also glad that with everything that has been happening for the last couple of months, we didn’t have to be in the middle of milking out a freshly lactating cow.  It has been a nice break but I am looking forward to the milk, the fresh cream in my coffee and the health benefits.  I have four granddaughters that are hoping to enjoy some fresh homemade ice cream too!

As you can see in this picture, Genny Cow is looking quite ripe.  It’s funny; with Jerseys, even when they are at their biggest, they have the bones that make them look like they’re under nourished.

Little Preemie grandbaby continues to gain weight and get good reports from the doctors.  Mom is doing well too.  She is learning much about all of the findings as to how important it is for preemies to be held by the Moms.  Statistics show how much more quickly they develop and improve through the process when they are held skin to skin.  Could it be that this is how nature would have it?  (No sarcasm in that comment 🙂

Stay tuned for hopefully a four legged birth announcement!

Desarae

 

Baby Time!

Ok, this time it’s for the four legged queen that lives in the barn!  Our Jersey girl is due any day but we don’t expect her to calve until the 1st of October.  So far, she has always calved one week past her due date.  Cows are pregnant nine months just like humans.  We were really disappointed that she didn’t take last fall when we had her bred the first time.  We almost decided to wait and not breed her right back, fearing that it would be too cold out to have a calf the first of October.  After talking to a couple people that know more than us, we decided to go ahead.  I am very thankful now because even the timing of the calf has been great.  If she had calved a month earlier I’m not sure we would have felt as though we could get away to the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania and with all that has been going on in our daughter’s family with the birth of their little preemie, it would possibly have made it more difficult to be flexible in leaving to take four siblings to see their new little sister.  On top of that the weather is amazing for September and although it is supposed to be cooler now, it will be warm enough for a calf.  At least we are not seeing snow in the air which is not unheard of in October!  So,,,,,today is the day to clean the milk parlor and get ready!  I remember as a kid, seeing electric floor scrubbers that had two little circular brushes on the bottom.  They would spin around and scrub the floor.  I’m old enough that I figured the only place I’d ever find one for scrubbing the cement floor in the parlor, would be at an estate sale where someone quite old would have had one years ago.  Tah dah!  My stepmother had one at her old house and had never gotten rid of it!  I am really anxious to use it.  We have been using a stiff bristle brush on a mop handle which has worked fine but this will do a better job with less effort.  I will get the granddaughters involved and make the anticipation of the calf fun for them.

Since we have much to do today with schooling, parlor cleaning and painting rocks for a little project with their aunt, I will try to write again later today to show our progress and give a report on our little tiny 2lb 9oz bundle!

Be back later

And We’re Back!

And it’s Summer again!  Can’t believe it!  It got down to 38 degrees one morning and the days were only in the 60’s.  I figured that this September was going to be like many others, cool and clear blue skies ushering in Autumn.  Well, now we are in the high 80’s and the humidity makes me wish it were indeed cooler, even though I’m not really complaining.  We have to take the nice days when we can get them; but is the high 80s and low 90s really nice?  It’s really messing me up; besides that, I haven’t really known what month we are in, let alone the week or day of the week!  Our lives have been so busy with new babies being born, grandchildren staying with us, traveling to see the preemie baby and traveling to the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania.  If you told me this is still August I’d believe it for a day or two till I figured it out.

This little girl in the picture is our newest grandbaby.  She was born at 26 weeks, four days gestation and weighed 1lb, 12oz.  She is doing remarkably well and is now up to 2lbs. 4oz.  It is absolutely amazing what they can do for these little ones now a days.  Just her size alone is impossible to convey unless you see her with your own eyes.  She is smaller than the little dolls you can buy that are supposed to be “lifesize” preemies.  I chose this picture to share because of her little hand. Her little arms are smaller than her Mom’s fingers.  Everything is just miniature!  What a miracle to see.

We attended the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA.  What a beautiful place.  We camped at a nearby park.  The event was nice, the weather was great and it was so nice to be camping.  We have never experienced being in a park where the animals were so unafraid.  We had a doe and her fawns walk through the campsite several times.  We had a little skunk visit us at night.  It didn’t smell and acted like we weren’t even there.  Not sure but we think maybe it wasn’t there!  We were close to feeding it out of our hands but couldn’t quite get that brave.  It is amazing how intimidating they are!

I have missed blogging.  Somehow I thought I would have this relaxing little hobby that would be my end of the day project.  It has changed from intending to give information on simple living tips to, how to survive when life is going way too fast and you are slowing down to boot!  Either way, it is nice to get back at it.  I would have kept up while in the hills of PA but those hills are not great at getting any kind of signal from anywhere.  So, camping old style was kind of nice.

I shall attempt to get back to things here at Four Sisters Farm.  It won’t be long and we will be harvesting honey, watching for a newly born calf, milking again, making butter, cheeses, putting summer away and getting ready for fall.

Be back with more

And It’s Fall!

I remember as a kid I never wanted summer to end and school to start.  Because I always enjoyed school, I never wanted to leave the grade I was in and move onto the next.  When it was time to graduate, I cried because the good times we had were over and I was hesitant about the future.  To this day, I struggle to see seasons come to an end (except for winter) and the next season start even though I love each season.  I am never done enjoying the season we are in, wishing the next season would come.  Winter is the only exception, even though I do enjoy it for a while.  This summer is a blur with all that has gone on and continues to go on so I am not excited to know that it is most likely gone.  I must say though that because Fall is one of my favorites, I’m okay with it.  This past weekend we drove to see our new little preemie granddaughter and take her sisters to see her.   Some of the trees are beginning to show the leaves turning and was a reminder that September is here, Fall is in the air.

It was a good weekend and Baby is doing remarkably well.  By the end of the weekend she had been taken off the ventilator and put on a Cpap.  She is tolerating Mommy’s milk very well and Mommy is able to hold her!  We are so thankful and excited at how well she is doing.  It’s a situation where we are aware of the seriousness and in one sense we know that she could have a bad day where she doesn’t do well, but as it stands now the doctors are very pleased with her progress and are encouraging.  There are no pictures that show accurately what the eye sees when we look at her.  Her little head is the size of a baseball.  Her little toes, well, I haven’t found a discription for them.  She can’t open her eyes yet but that should happen within the next week or so.  It is amazing to stand by her mechanical womb and watch her;  most of all touch her.  I found that because she is so tiny there is not much to touch!  Also, touching her wasn’t as satisfying as you would hope.  I wanted more than anything to kiss her little head.  That will be a happy day when my lips can feel her warm silky skin.  For now, only Mommy can hold her and kiss her and that’s what’s important.

There is much happening in the next few weeks.  I hope to be able to write but I can’t begin to know how often.  With a house full of little bodies, camping to prepare for, pregnant cow to keep an eye on and bits of normal life darting in and out, I know that time will pass all too quickly.  We will however appreciate it when we finally get that word that Mommy and baby get to come home!

Enjoy the day!

Its a Girl!! Again!

Four Sisters Farm was known for girls for many years and seems to be continuing along those lines! This morning we were blessed with Granddaughter number 10.  We have six grandsons too.  Number 10 decided she didn’t want to wait any longer.  Because she was breech, Mom was rushed into surgery.  At a little after three in the morning our little baby girl was born.  She weighs in at 1lb. 12oz.  She made it to 26 weeks gestation.  It is an amazing thing to see a little one so small.  She would fit in the size of her Daddy’s hand if he could hold her.  Even as small as she is the nurses are saying she is feisty and doesn’t like a wet diaper on her!  She sucks on her hands and wiggles a lot.  They are called Micro-Preemies and that they are.  It is very hard to comprehend what you are seeing until you put something alongside her to compare her to.  Baby is doing ok as well as Mom even though we expect there will be some rougher days than others.  Hopefully she won’t have too rough a start but it’s best to be prepared.

I remember 2009 was a year where something fairly major happened every month.  This year seems to be looking similar.  At least this summer has been that way.  It is such a blessing though to have peace and know that God is in control; we don’t have to fret or worry because he knows all and will be with us through it all.  I can hear the calm voice of baby’s mother now;  “hi Baby!  Momma loves you!”,  that familiar voice she heard for weeks as she was developing.  What a miracle it is that life begins the way it does.

I’m sure this blog will contain all kinds of updates for a while.  In the meantime, all is well.  The cow will be in her last month here before calving.  We go to get hay tomorrow night.  The new chickens are growing like weeds.  The weather is teasing us with temperatures like Fall.

I shall write again.

One Blessed Grandma