On this simple 10 acres, we have one simple cow that is due to calve the end of September or first of October. In order for her to continue to produce that wonderful raw food called liquid gold, (better known as milk) Genny cow has to have a calf. In order for her to have a healthy calf, we have to stop milking her so that in the last two months of her pregnancy all of her body’s energy can be concentrated on the health of the calf. We stopped milking her last week. Since we only milk her once a day when we are milking her, she does not produce as much milk as she could if we milked her twice a day. Drying her up therefore is not difficult; infact, it is quite interesting. Once her udder has not been milked, the glands stop producing more milk. We have been checking her every day to make sure she is not getting too full, hard to the touch or feverish. If you stop to think about it, a cow in the wild would eventually wean the calf herself by moving away from the calf and even raising a hoof to shoo the calf away if necessary. There are different views on how to dry up a cow. Sometimes it’s rather frustrating to sort out the different opinions on the best way to do it. We have personally tried it two ways now and so far it doesn’t seem to matter either way. We have gradually milked less and less until a stopping date and we have stopped milking all at once like this time and kept an eye on her to see that she has stopped producing. This coming weekend we will empty her udder one last time, rub a homemade coconut oil based salve on her teats and then spray them with iodine. We had been cutting back on her little bit of grain that she got every morning during milking so as not to encourage milk production.
In order to breed her to produce another calf after this coming calf is born we either have to let her run with a bull or have her artificially bred. Since we do not have a bull (nor do we want one) and want to breed her to only an A2 bull, we choose to artificially inseminate. Typically we have purchased the straws through the technician who does the procedure. Through him we are able to purchase through the American Jersey Cattle Association and get what we are wanting for characteristics and quality in a bull. This time however, we are ordering seaman straws from Misty Morning Farm in Virginia where they have the highest standards for their grass fed Jerseys. They raise A2 Jerseys for family milk cows and have a very strict guideline for testing to insure that their cows are free of disease. We have teamed up with friends who are also wanting to breed to a miniature Jersey bull and have ordered straws together to save on shipping since it is very pricey. We will be anxious to see what this bull will produce from our small standard Genny. For now, we await this years calf to be born in October and hope that once again we have a heifer! October is not my choice time for having a new little calf born here but this year Genny didn’t take when she was bred the first time so we had a window of time to try again before it was just too late in the season. We will have to be more careful to keep the calf warm when the temperatures are cool. It’s an exciting time when Four Sisters Farm has a new arrival. Although the break from milking is nice for the two months that we are not milking, we already look forward to getting back to having the wonderful supply of fresh whole real food, clean and pure milk loaded with probiotics and real nutrition.
Back again soon
Four Sisters Farm daughter number two, pregnant and due the middle of August, decided to follow in her younger sister’s footsteps and have an emergency Appendectomy! It has been and interesting and busy week and summer to say the least. As Mom, there is nothing more important than the well being of four daughters, their husbands and all the grandkids. We are thankful for lots of friends and family that have been praying for Mom and baby this week. Baby is fine and doesn’t seem to know anything is going on outside of the ordinary! “She” is as active as ever and has no clue that she is sometimes making Mom very uncomfortable. Mothers often wish they could take their kids’ pain away and make everything all better but we can’t. I remember when one of the girls would be sick and I felt sorry for them, I often said I wished I could take their place. In all the years that have gone by nothing has changed that feeling. The only thing that has changed is- now there are 24 people instead of 4 that I feel that way about! All things considered, things are going well and recovery is taking place. She was released from the hospital today and is very thankful to be home and in her own bed. There are three other people in particular who are glad she’s home too.
I may not get to post as often in the next couple of weeks but I will try.
One blessed Mom of Four Sisters
Quite some time ago I told about planting my Ginger root because it was showing signs of sprouting with at least two knobs. Well, this is the progress so far. I have the one that is coming along quite well and another knob poking up through the soil closer to the edge of the pot, towards the bottom of the picture. Not sure you can tell but its there. I moved the pot to hopefully get more sun than what it was getting. I will have to watch that it doesn’t get too hot and burn or dry out. It was getting too tall for the shelf I had it on; however, Ginger root doesn’t need full sun to do well so I may have to move it back in time.
Four Sisters Farm had an interesting conversation tonight about Tetanus and when to get a Tetanus shot when dealing with a cut or wound. There is a very good and reputable site that is helpful when it comes to knowing what shots to get and when. It is my go to site for information and I don’t know that there are many sites like this out there. The site is: the National Vaccine Information Center. It’s nice to have the resources right at our fingertips these days with the convenience of the internet.
It was a busy day with lots to do. I watched three grandchildren for a short time so we stayed outside. I was able to get some watering done, weed a little and try my hand at flying a kite in little wind. I had also started a batch of fresh cheese curds which are one of our favorite things to eat. I also had cream saved up that needed to be made into butter, so after cleaning the cupboards at daughter number two’s house they will be moving to, I came home, poored the cream into the mixer, turned it on and went to shower. The mixer is rather noisy so it was nice to be out of the kitchen for a portion of the mixing time. Somehow I managed to get the curds done, make the small bit of butter and do my dishes up. I guess the day was quite fruitful! This week it is supposed to get hot so I may end up spending some time inside on things. I’m sure I won’t lack for things to do!
Day is done, gone the sun.
As I look at my kitchen cabinet with the glass doors, I see little sticky hand prints. They look to be the size of a three year old. Thirty years ago (which sounds like forever but flys by) I would have quickly grabbed the Windex and shined the glass, removing the grease and grinning with the satisfaction of perfectly shiny glass. Today, I hope no one grabs the Windex and removes those precious little hand prints from my glass because there’s only so much time left before they will be the last prints to be so little. I remember as a young Mom, having realities hit me now and again like: when was the last diaper I changed? When was the last time I got her the drink she asked for before she began getting her own? When was the last time I helped her tie her shoes? When was the last time I picked her up and hugged her when she had gotten hurt, rather then bending down to make it all better? When was the last time I carried her to her bed as she slept. These things happen without any warning and without any way of stopping them. While we were in the midst of those years there were so many changes happening and exciting things taking place that there was never any mind paid to them; until the realization hit that there was no going back and holding that baby just one more time. Actually, it’s good that we Moms didn’t know when those “last” times were happening because we might have been a basket case for other reasons. I remember being tired of washing bedding after a night time accident had happened again and the thought hitting me, “this too shall pass”. I was suddenly able to realize that these years would not last forever and at some point it would stop. And so it did.
I have always believed that being a wife and mother was one of the most demanding jobs a woman could do in life. Not only are you on call 24/7 but there are no manuals or handbooks that come with the job. You jump in with both feet only to find that most of the learning comes after you’ve already taken the class! Your grades don’t come in until the kids are grown and anything good that comes from your years of experience, you can’t take credit for. Yet it is a job of endless rewards. It comes with unconditional love, hugs and “slobby kisses”, and the innocent things they say and do keep you laughing. Then you wake up one day to watch your babies raising babies and the thought hits you, “when was the last time I held by baby?”
There’s an old poem that has a line in it that says, “settle down cob webs; dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep”.
Enjoy the moments!
There are certain things that to me define a summer. It seems to be many little things that we can take for granted. Summer to me is waking in the morning to a peace and quiet that you don’t want to disturb until you have taken that first cup of coffee to the porch and watched the world wake up. The birds sing their thrills, the sun lights up the dew on the leaves and the chipmunk steals my little strawberries that have decided to grow in the front flower bed. On any given hot summer day you can hear the birds, smell the pine pitch, see the white stripes of the airplanes high in the sky and bask in the warmth that the long days bring. This summer has been one of all of these things. It has been one to pass along too quickly for sure. We that live in the Northern hemisphere savor every opportunity to slow down and enjoy these moments.
Today was one of those hot summer days. Being Monday, it was a day of picking up, doing laundry, feeding Kefir, making calls, watering plants, planning the next couple of weeks that we dry up the cow and go without our liquid gold, calling about getting hay for the coming winter and anything else that came along. I was actually not feeling bad about being in the house where it was cooler since it was quite warm and muggy out.
The cow is producing a little less milk lately. She is naturally starting to make less as her body prepares to give birth. She needs to be dry for two months before the calf is born so that all her energy and nutrition can be focused on the calf. We are looking at breeding Genny to a miniature Jersey next time but we will wait for a while to breed her back since this calf is not going to be born till the end of September or the first week of October. It will prove to be an exciting fall as we have a new grandbaby in August, a calf born in Sept/Oct, and a new grandbaby the first of December! Something tells me they will all be girls but we shall wait and see.
The day cools, the evening sneaks in, the sky paints a perfect back drop for a full moon and all is well. Once again, another day has come and gone. And yes, the color of this flower is for real!
I’m finally getting back with a little report on my homemade Lemon Cleaner. I had used my lemon peels a while ago to make a lemon cleaner by putting the peels in a pint jar, pouring rubbing alcohol over them, just enough to cover them and letting them set for a week or so. I strained the liquid off, added water and mopped my floor. Not my favorite for the floors because it seemed to need to be rinsed as there was too much left on the floor. A residue was left which took some time to be buffed off by walking on it. This is a different batch however and I infused white vinegar rather than the rubbing alcohol. I thought it would smell like lemon vinegar but there was no vinegar smell to my surprise. I poored it in this little spray bottle and filled the remaining space with water. I was surprised also to find that it had a little suds. It appears as though it wipes up cleaner but I haven’t actually mopped with it so I am anxious to see if there is a difference. I have wiped up some spots on the kitchen floor using the cleaner and paper towel. It seems to be fine. I suppose a couple of drops of dish soap could be added to it if you want to make a kitchen cleaner. I use it on the meat block island as well.
Yesterday I harvested some Lavendar to infuse Vodka for a simple essential oil. I’m wanting to make a room spray. There are several things that Lavendar can be used in. There are recipes for Lavendar Lemonade that sound good. I’ve even seen Lavendar added to scones and shortbread cookies. I will have to give a report later on the Lavendar spray after the Vodka has been infused for at least a week.
That’s it for now. Back before long!
Can you believe it? It sure doesn’t feel like we should be in July yet but I guess I had better get used to it because no amount of pondering or talking about it will change the fact. It is absolutely beautiful out. The tourists should be very happy with the perfect weather for all the festivities. We appreciate it too; we just don’t appreciate that it becomes nearly impossible to go anywhere or do anything without fighting crowds of people. The highways are a constant stream of traffic. It is however, very important for the economy of the surrounding communities so we try not to complain too much. Besides, all will be quieter on the 5th.
We have so much to be thankful for. I have often said, it should be a requirement for all U.S. citizens to travel to less fortunate countries at some time during their educational years. It is a wonderful way to find out just how fortunate we are to live in this land with the freedoms we have.
I do hope everyone has a safe and happy celebration. I shall return and get back on track with everyday life on Four Sisters Farm after the holiday.