Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Temporary housing

Milly’s brother Rico bought a small house in our little hometown and offered us a place to stay until our house is ready for us to move in. It’s around 1100 square feet and really what we imagined when we started building our house. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that somehow we more than doubled the size in the building process.

Here are a few pictures of the place the first night we got into the place.

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Molly seems to be falling out of the bed heading for Polly.

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Still have lots of boxes and stuff all over. We unloaded our storage unit and found we still have a heap of stuff we need to get rid of.ned's house 004

Milly is so happy she is dancing in the kitchen.dancing

We are missing screws to attach the legs to our table. I guess after a year and two moves we should just break down and buy some dang screws.ned's house 018

This place is like 70 years old but is in super good condition. The same guy has pretty well lived in this place for the past 70 years. There’s something to be said about the older generation and the way they did/still do things. I doubt many houses built now a days will be around for 70 years.ned's house 017

Now we need to get fencing in place and move the farm animals down to the place. I’ve always wanted to be involved with a cattle drive. Does shooing three cows down the middle of the street count as a cattle drive?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making cottage cheese from cows milk

We are in high milk production now so are finding a bunch of great ways to use Rosebud’s contributions. I can’t

We have been playing around with cheese making and have made yogurt cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella, and just recently cottage cheese.

The cottage cheese has turned out wonderful. Here is what we did.

Step 1. Heat 2 gallons of skimmed milk up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit's and add in a cup of cultured buttermilk. Let sit for an hour. (We used fresh raw milk that I squeezed from our cow with my own two hands. Not sure how we’ve gotten to this point but none the less I am a cow milker by morning and night).

Step 2. If the milk hasn’t curdled yet (sometimes it has for us) add a rennet tablet to a quarter cup of milk and when dissolved stir in with milk and buttermilk culture for a good half minute or there about.

Step 3. Let sit for 45 mins keeping the temperature at around 90 degrees F. The magic heat retention bag is great for this.

Step 4. When the substance is at a clean break stage, cut the white substance in half inch cubes. Then cut the good at a 45 degree angle to chop up the cubes into nice size pieces. Ours looked like the below after cutting the cubes to pieces.

Step 5. Let sit for a bit. I saw 5 mins as one suggestion. We just waited until we couldn’t wait any longer.IMG_1446

Step 6. Raise temperature to 99 degrees F

Step 7. Decrease temperature to 85 degrees F. We did this by adding cold water but I think we’ll just put the pot in cold water next time so we don’t waste the whey.

Oh, the yellow liquid stuff is whey. Keep this stuff. You can make ricotta out of it we hear. We’ve been cooking rice and spaghetti in it. The rice and spaghetti is delicious. It’s tastes kind of like cheese and anything that tastes like cheese is great in my books.

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We poured out about half of the way then added cold water to decrease the temperature. Then we poured out the contents through a colander.

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As you see Milly is the one pouring the big pot. She’s pretty tough. She was in charge this time around and I was just in the way mostly. We find that whoever starts the process is best to finish as it will end in an argument otherwise.

For example, if I start doing it my way I’d rather fail miserably and have Milly tell me “told you so”, then to have her step in and do it the right way. And she’d rather do it the right way than my nonchalant way that usually ends in misery and pain. Go figure.

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You can see the curds below. We poured them all into the colander and let them drain.

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We added salt. We didn’t add that much, just enough for it to taste wonderful and then let the curds drain over night.

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Here’s the bottle of whey we saved to cook rice and stuff in.    IMG_1449   This is a dry curd. We covered and stored in the fridge over night. Fias Co Farms says to do it for a couple of days as the culture is supposed to keep working its magic and get nice and tasty. But we ate it before the couple of days was over. We did add cream after the cheese sat overnight so it was more moist when we served to Grey beard, Dancing Queen and the kids.

Not too surprising but Ringo didn’t like the cottage cheese all that much. He’s not that big of a cheese fan which I don’t really mind. Milly and I often say to each other “I sure hope the kids don’t like this food so we can eat more of it.” I wouldn’t call us greedy, just really compassionate when it comes to our kids not liking the wonderful food we make.

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I love cottage cheese and this wasn’t that hard to do. This made about 2 lbs of cottage cheese. Too bad it was gone in less than 2 days.

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I also volunteered to get rid of the last remnants of a gallon container of milk. It’s only acceptable if it’s the last bit of milk in the container and the kids are in bed (so says Milly).

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There’s a bunch of good recipes out on the internet. I’ve listed some sources below.

They mostly say cheese making is tough and takes a great craftsman to get it right. I haven’t found that at all. I mean if I can do it surely it’s not that tough. I don’t really even follow the recipe all that close. Of course there is a slight difference in my cheese and Milly’s cheese but hey, who’s keeping score.

Cheese making links

Fias Co Farms – Cottage cheese

Heavenly Homemakers - Mozarella cheese

David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D. -  Beginning cheese making

Simple Green Frugal Co-Op - How to wax cheese

5 Acre’s and a dream – Lot’s of cheese links under real food links on the right hand side

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Loft floor

We started working on the loft floor. We had a local producer saw up a bunch of 2” planks and had another local outfit plane, tongue and groove the material. It’s hopefully going to be strong enough to span the 5’ spacing between the logs that will hold up the loft.

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Ringo took all these photo’s. OK for a seven year old.

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I’m hanging out on one of the logs trying to chisel out the old looking wood before the floor is on.

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We ran out of useable material. A lot of the material had loose knots and pretty bad cracking. We are taking it back and getting better stuff done up. The local saw mill guy was good to tell us to bring it back. He has a good reputation around the area and has been really good to work with. Too bad we have to get the material planed again. At least we won’t have to live with empty knot holes into our loft.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Who rules the house?

I think this picture below says it all.

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You wouldn’t think this little army would have all that much force. I’m not sure how they have so much power but for some reason it seems like they run the house. That’s not how it’s supposed to be is it?

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I went to get into bed last night and almost squashed this little lady. I ended up squished against the wall while Milly was almost kicked off the other side of the bed.

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Not all that nice of a way to spend Valentines day evening. Please tell me we are not the only ones that have kids sneak into bed at night?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dancing with the girls

Molly and Polly claimed me for an evening last week to spend some time doing something they find natural and easy, dancing and prancing all night long.

With not too much cajoling I put on my dancing shoes and took Molly and Polly to a  local daddy/daughter dance.

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Quite a fun night and it was fun to have two girls fighting for the dancing space around me. Usually I have to chase my dancing partner around the room to get her out on the floor.

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By the sight of the picture above you can’t really tell just 30 minutes earlier I was knee deep in manure and straw while I took care of the cows and chickens.

I must admit I’d rather be in dancing shoes than gum boots. I guess that’s just the girly city slicker still coming out in me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What a Jersey/Dexter calf looks like

Ferdinand was born January 25th so he is just shy of two weeks old. He’s frisky, friendly and energetic. He does about 15 laps around the cow shed after he’s had his meal time fill. calf 018 We have been letting him suck while we milk out the other side. We are doing so against most advice from all the cow men around. Most people we have talked to separate the calf at birth. One friend suggested we let him suck the same side every milking and milk out what’s left. That way the calf feeds itself without any added time on our part. I’m all for less time so we opted for this strategy. It’s been working out great so far.calf 006 calf 007

Dexter’s come in three colours. Black, brown, and red. Red being the most rare. We thought Ferdinand was red but he looks more brown.

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Dexter’s only get around 4 feet tall so they are a lot smaller of an animal than Jersey’s.

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Rosebud has an incredibly active tongue. Ferdinand is the cleanest beast this side of the Mississippi.

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While I was milking Rosebud tonight she expelled manure four times in the course of ten minutes. She also made it rain once. I’m not sure what I did to her to deserve such ill treatment tonight but I was ducking for cover in the midst of trying to perform my milking duties. They say a full grown Jersey gets rid of 65 to 80 lbs of manure a day. I think that’s on the low side for our beauty.

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Ferdinand has blue eyes. Fits in quite well with our family.

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Moo. Rosebud’s nose is looking quite moist. It’s nice to see. When she had the fever her nose was really dry.

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Ferdinand galloping around the pens.

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My niece was asking about the calf, thus the dedicated post on the calf. There you go Tulip. Hope you like the photo’s of the calf.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Windows in the log house

For the longest time I’ve felt like we were building a fort. No ones really commented on the fact that there are no windows in our place.

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It’s no longer Fort Steele around our place. We got all our windows placed in this week.

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The West side has a door and a window more than this picture shows.

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The front room window is shown below getting cut out.window 004window 001

Here is the West window getting cut out by the log master.

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Here’s the view out our front room window. window 009

Kitchen from the inside.

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Views out the kitchen window. It’s pretty dry here this year.window 008window 007

Working late trying to get the windows in.

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Things are progressing but we still have a long way to go.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Simple Farm is pretty cool

I keep trying to convince Milly that I’m pretty cool and if she wanted to be cool she’d write a post or two for the blog. Even with the allure of instant fame and fortune she still resists.

But none the less this blog continues to be cooler and cooler as time goes by. Today we hit this milestone on The Simple Farm blog.

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Thanks to all who frequent this blog. I continue to be amazed that our efforts and happenings are of interest to anyone.

Thanks again.