Friday, December 31, 2010

Sittin' on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere

This was not what I thought I'd be writing for my final post on this blog.... but it is what it is.

Yesterday we loaded up Hazel, Whitey and Will - milk cow, beef cow, and our Dexter bull. Packed a gilt in a crate. Packed sheep and Peaches the LGD into very large dog kennels. Loaded up watering troughs, pig panels, cattle panels and some chicken wire. Filled the cooler with farm raised poultry and pork and set off for Stamping Ground KY.

Why? you may ask. Well, we were helping Anders and Emily move all their new livestock to their new farm.

Mile marker 22.8 on I64, the truck died.

Many calls later Brian finds a very kind wrecker service to tow the truck. NOT the trailer. More phone calls to Anders, who enlists Emily's Dad in this adventure. Thank God for Jim! He found a truck to borrow with the right hitch in the bed.

More waiting. ... The wrecker shows up and I go off with the wrecker/truck to the garage leaving Brian standing by the side of the road with a trailer load of critters.

Jim picked Brian and the trailer up and came in to the garage to meet me. Mean time the nice folks at the garage checked the thermostat on the engine. That's what we all thought was wrong. Brian jumped in the truck when he got there, fired her up and she ran. .... Then she stopped. .... Then he tried to start her again and antifreeze shot clear up to the ceiling. Now I don't know much about engines, but I do know that's bad. :^(

To make a long story at least a little bit shorter- the engine is blown. The truck is dead. I called my DSIL for a ride home. My daughter married well. Travis just said ok and could we meet him and my daughter, Lydia at the on ramp for 64 in two hours.

So with our taxi on it's way, we leave the truck at the garage and head out to the kids' farm. By now it is pitch black dark out. We drop the trailer and the critters in the field. Anders will let them out in the morning when he can see to keep an eye on them. Emily gave us a quick tour of the house.  It's going to be wonderful when they get it all cleaned and spruced up.

Than Jim ran us out to the interstate to meet our ride, treated us to burgers at the DQ. (No it's not farm raised grass fed beef but we were starving!) Two hours of good conversation and leg cramps in the car and we were home. We both fell into bed and slept hard for a few hours.

Right now Brian and his dad are headed to KY to bring the truck home on the car hauler. And I'm gettin' ready to go in to the hospital for a 12 hour shift.

By the way. . .

Anybody want to buy a truck cheap? It just needs an engine. :^)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mass Migration

Today the sheep, Pyrennees, piglet and cows go south to Anders' and Emily's new Kentucky homestead. We are really excited for them in their farming adventure!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Count down to the new year...

Well folks this is it. Christmas is over and the New Year is around the corner.

So begins the count down to closing down this blog  and Kiss My Grass Farm. On New Year's eve we close this chapter of our lives and open a new one.
We've turned over our Red Wattle preservation program to our DSIL - the bacon fanatic. We're sure he will do just great with the RW's.
The Buckeye chickens, the ducks and the cattle will be moving south to Anders & Emily's new farm in Kentucky. The guineas will stay - nobody could catch them anyway.
Brian will be concentrating on school. He is doing very well and has just been notified that we will be able to do an independent study in biology this semester. We'll keep downsizing our cache of accumulated stuff until we move to Crawfordsville in May.
So here we go to our next great adventure!!
I'm already counting down the days until Brian graduates and we can get back on a farm!!!

Wish us luck!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter butter

Dear old Hazel the milk cow is dried up. So this week when we went over to take a couple of piglets to our friends Donna & Keith, we came home with 8 gallons of their yummy raw milk.
So this morning I skimmed all the cream off before I froze the excess milk to use later. 

 I make butter using my blender. I find that the food processor doesn't work well at all. It heats the cream up too much and it seems to break up the butter fat instead of encouraging it to clump together.

My blender has a High/Low switch at the bottom. I set it to low for butter. Then I only used the 2 slowest settings- Blend when I start the cream. Grate when it gets to the almost butter stage. The cream looks like this when your first whir it in the blender.
When the butter fat begins to gather it looks like this. Now it's time to strain the butter milk away.
We feed the buttermilk to the piglets. They love it!!

After the butter milk is strained away the butter has to be worked to remove more of the milk. The milk hides in little pockets in the butter so I use a wide bamboo spoon to work the butter against the side of my big crockery bowl.
Then rinse with cold water and repeat working the butter until all of the milk has been worked out and the water is clear.

Then add sea salt to taste. Mix it in well and form the butter into balls. My hands are small and I've been doing this for a long time so I know my butter balls are about 1cup each. There are butter molds or the butter could be put in plastic wear. Butter will keep for about 6 months in the freezer.
Because this is winter butter it is pale yellow. The cows don't have fresh green grass in winter so there is less carotine.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Magic Mushrooms

I went back to work on Friday evening. Several things have changed along my route to the hospital. The construction zones have moved south on SR135. There is a new detour around the "Drainage Improvement Project" ( That's what the signe said.) on Bluff road. But the strangest new thing on the way to work is the magic mushrooms... ok the sign doesn't say that. In fact there isn't any sign explaining why almost a dozen technicolor mushrooms or are they toadstools have sprung up next to the I70 underpass just before you get to Lucas Oil Stadium.

You can't miss them. They are really quite large and unusual. They sort of look like they've been sculpted by small children using a large amount of taffy instead of clay. Some of them look as though the "cap" is melting. You gotta love public art!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sunny Day

The sun is shining the birds are singing and it's a balmy 10 degrees out this morning! I think the birds are singing to stay warm.
Our Corgi, Miss Honey Shortlegs, loves this weather. She comes out of her dog house and rolls and rolls in the snow on mornings like this. Silly dog. She even likes to tunnel in the snow using her nose as a shovel... hmmm you don't think she's been taking lessons from the RW's, do you?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow Kitty

I swear she looks like she's trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue!!

Hazels winter wonderland

Hazel never misses a meal she's always the first one to the hay when Brian puts out a new bale. She is nice an and fuzzy right now with her winter coat.

I think she's really starting to show that she is going to calf this spring. I'm hoping it's a heifer. If it is the new little girl will be going to Kentucky to become the future family cow for my son and his growing family.

Oh Goodness Look!!


Guinea Roost

 The four surviving Guinea fowl have decided that the peak of the barn is the place for them.

You see Brian was almost done with the roof on the barn when his shoulder got so bad he just couldn't finish it. It short 6 sheets of metal.

The Guinea girls have decided he left this nice open space for their roosting enjoyment!

 Even when it snowed they insisted on roosting up there.
 Barn Alarm system! They set up a horrible racket when anyone or any thing comes close to the barn.
 There they are in the snow and wind.

I swear if they could talk that pearl gray would be saying, " What do you think you're lookin' at?, HUH!"

Silly birds. But they do keep the weed seeds eaten up so they don't sprout new weeds and they do eat ticks and other creepy crawlers in the summer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter is here at last

 It finally snowed and I stuck my nose outside to snap a couple of pictures. It's so pretty!!
 The persimmon trees in the back yard
This is our magnolia tree in the south yard just outside the picture window. See the buds waiting patiently for spring?