Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hello!

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately!  It’s been so busy around the farm; I’ve had to remind myself to keep breathing!

The source of most of this busyness is from our exorbitant amount of milk.  We’re getting about 4 gallons a day, and as you can imagine, that really adds up!  I try to get rid of a few gallons a day by making cheese, custard, rice pudding, tapioca pudding, ice cream, yogurt, frozen yogurt, butter, buttermilk muffins, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, cream of vegetable soup, gravy….any other good ideas anyone???  Once we have a cheese press set up, we’ll be able to make some hard cheese, which hopefully will help make a dent in the milk!  

A few hours of my day is already sucked up with the milking and care taking of Rosie and all the sheep, not to mention running down to the neighbors for hay every few days.  :-)

Yesterday a good friend had double knee surgery, so we spent the day in Olympia with the couple.  I spent some to that time working on a new website for all of our farm business endeavors.  Richie came up with a wonderful name for it: Harmony Heritage Farm.  Awesome!!!  So, some of my time has been devoted to building this website now too.  Richie’s now working on getting us a P.O. box and a business license…hopefully we won’t have too much trouble dealing with the State. 

Here's our new website...it's under heavy construction at this time, but one day it will be fully functional and wonderful! www.harmonyheritagefarm.com 

 Oh, and by the way, Richie is doing GREAT!  Please pray that the upcoming appointment in a week will show good results...the Dr. will do a scan and blood tests.  Thanks!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Eeewww!

 Yes, they are what you think they are.  Creepy crawly spiders.  You just never know what you're going to find when cleaning out the barn. 

Don't worry Valerie, they're harmless, and at least they don't fly ;-)



Oh, and here's Richie with the sheep :-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

A busy day and a chocolate chip cookie recipe :)


Homemade Butter!

Mozzarella

This is what my day looked like yesterday:
  • Get up at 6:00…
  • Milked Rosie and Petunia. and clean up equipment.
  • Fed the lambs, sheep, and cow and finish in the barn.
  • Strained and put away the milk in fridge and freezer.
  • Skimmed off cream from last couple day's milk. 
  • Ate breakfast and fed Richie.
  • Made mozzarella cheese. (Didn't really turn out right, but made great pizza and tasted delicious!)
  • Feed the lambs.
  • Made butter!
  • Made cottage cheese (sort of...the curds turned out huge and much too rubbery.  Will try again!)
  • Sell the lambs and send them off to their new home in a dog crate in their new owner's fancy little car. 
  • Clean-up!
  • Made low-ish fat chocolate chip cookies!:-)
  • Made pizza with fresh mozzarella!
  • Milked Rosie and Petunia, cleaned up equipment.
  • Went to bed rather tired?
Anyway, that's my excuse for not blogging the last few days.  I haven't hardly had the time or energy to do anything but check my email!  It's so nice to be busy again.  Sitting still for hours is not an easy thing for me to do.   

As you can imagine, we have milk coming out our ears now.  It's pretty exciting for someone who's used to squeezing out maybe a few quarts of milk a day out of a sheep to get more than a gallon and a half at every milking . 

The lambs went to a really good home.  Sounds like they're going to be spoiled pets.  I like that :-)   Looks like my next ewe will have her lambs any day now.  Yay!


 
These cookies turned out really good! 
 
Lower fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lower Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, butter, and vanilla; stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes.   Makes 16-18 cookies

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bottle Feeding Day 1

It's going to take the lambs awhile to get the hang of it! 


I decided to name them Smith and Wesson.  I guess I'll lose gun-control supporting customers, but then again...I don't really want them anyway!


Wesson got castrated today.  Smith escaped because he's one of the nicest ram lambs ever born to any of my ewes.  He would be an excellent dairy herd sire. 



Homemade Crackers

 These are soo good!  They kind of remind me of the communion crackers we have at church, only better.  Course, it's a good thing they don't use this recipe for communion crackers, or there might suddenly be a bunch of false conversions. :-)

These are so much healthier than the store-bought version.  They're definitely not low fat...but I think they'll make a good snack to send in Richie's lunches once he's off the diet. 

Homemade Cheez Its

1 1/2 cups cheddar
4 T butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 t salt
In a food processor, pulse all of the ingredients together until it forms a ball (about 2 minutes).  Place the ball between two pieces of wax paper, and roll it out to about 1/8" thick.  Using pizza cutter or small cookie cutters, cut into shapes.  Place on a baking sheet about 1/2" apart from each other.  Poke each cracker with a fork or skewer so that they don't puff too much.  Bake at 350ºF for 8-12 minutes (depending on the size/shape of your crackers), until lightly browned on the edges.  Cool on the baking sheet, and store in an airtight container (if they last that long).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Lambs of the Season!

Petunia had a couple of beautiful healthy little ram lambs yesterday afternoon.  They sure are cute!  I'm already missing lambing season and it hasn't hardly even started!  There's nothing better than holding a warm soft little lamb and then having it follow you around when you set it down.     


Romulus wonders...what are those weird creatures? 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Question of the Second Ammendment ~By Richie

“Congress should act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation” Wayne LaPierre, CEO, National Rifle Assn. (NRA)

I have to agree with Wayne LaPierre. 
Richie read this article by Steven Strauss yesterday on The Blaze.  Richie has more than a slight disagreement with Steven Strauss about his "concerns" for having armed guards in schools. 

Richie writes:

Strauss argues that guns in schools will only compound  the school shooting problems.  He doesn't seem to understand that the only thing that's going to stop bad guys with guns is good guys that have them too.  Gun-free zones are killing grounds for innocent people. Law-abiding citizens and are not allowed to carry the tool necessary to defend themselves and others in gun-free zones.  The mass murderers are evil, and if not using a gun, they will make bombs, use knives, bows, or rocks.  To think that one more law (7-round magazine vs. 30-round magazine) is going to stop an evil-cold-blooded killer is pure insanity.

The author of this article makes some interesting points, most being purely foolish and directly from the Progressive-Marxist handbook.  His first point is about armed guards and not preventing mass shootings.  How about the incidents that didn't make national news, such as a security guard averting an incident, merely by his and more importantly, his gun's presence.  The author makes the point that they won't be able to prevent all attacks, but what will?  There is one answer, and it is a long but simple one, and will require at least another post.  I will give a hint though; it involves Jesus and the eradication of evil from the world.

His next point is about armed guards in schools and students taking their firearm away from them and using it for evil.  How many times do students take police officer's guns from them and kill people with them in the country today?  Police are at schools regularly, and we don't here about shootings in their presence.  Another argument is that armed guards will misread students playing with toy guns at school.  Come on folks, another pure example of making a point that is senseless.  For one, how often do kids play with toy guns at school?  Today = Never.  Kids can't even run around with their finger and thumb out yelling bang at one another playing cops and robbers today.  It would demean and be bullying to robbers.  Steven Strauss brings up the psychotic armed guard scenario.  Again, how many psychotic cop school mass killings have you heard of?  Along this same line of thinking, what about psychotic teachers roasting children in home-economic ovens?  These are the crazy kind of arguments that liberals-progressives-Marxists use to further their agenda by marginalizing common sense.

Point #3 is about the cost of armed guards.  Finally, a progressive discussing financial liabilities.  After hiring 16,500 new IRS agents to audit Obamacare ( The IRS promises that's not what they are going to be used for, just like they promised in 1913 that the Federal income tax was only for the top 1%), this author is concerned with wages and benefits for all these public employees.  I am forced to agree with him on this point, which brings me to his next point.

Point #4 is about arming janitors, teachers, volunteers, principals, etc.  The author of the article is scared silly that arming these folks would be far worse than children dying at the hands of evil-killers.  They don't have the vetting and training of the professional security force that is guarding the private school that President Obama's daughters and so many other elite politician's children attend.  What he doesn't understand, is the mere presence or possibility of presence of someone that could foil these evil killer's plans is enough to persuade these cowardly yet evil people to stay at home.  The people that commit these atrocities are psychotic, most on drugs, yet they demand control, because it is something that they don't and have never had.  That is why they attack gun-free zones.  They demand control of the situation.  That is why you don't see these evil people attack the Blue Pavilion Gun Show at the Lewis County, Washington Fairgrounds.  They know that any act of evil would be immediately derailed.  Same goes with school employees with Concealed Carry Weapons and training.  They may not be SWAT or SEAL Team Six, but they might cause the evil killer to lose control of the situation long enough to lower the amount of folks killed, and for police to arrive, and destroy the evil killer.  These school employees should be volunteers, and I would be willing to bet that they could receive as much free self-defense training as they wanted from as many sources as they desired. I could go on and on about this idea.  In my opinion it is the best solution, and allows for programs to be implemented locally, with local responsibility.

Point #5 is questioning whether armed guards should be a federal responsibility or not.  Again, a progressive saying this, merely to point the finger of hypocrisy towards the NRA.  He contends that the NRA, dominated by Conservative, TEA Party, right wing radicals is hypocritical to suggest a "big government program."  I hate to say this, but I agree with him on part of his statement.  This is not a federal responsibility.  But, I personally do not think this is the goal of the NRA.  The "public" has "demanded" a plan.  The NRA threw in their idea, which is reasonable.  President Obama has demanded input from stakeholders.  This is the NRA's contribution.  President Obama didn't demand a reasonable plan from the individual states, he is seeking a federal solution (un-Constitutional at that).  As an NRA member, I am not extremely happy with the idea of the NRA suggesting a Federal solution, but I have also watched American Pickers, and have been involved in some bargaining myself.  I know that you have a targetted value, and you ask more or offer less than that value, knowing that you are likely to end up closer to the target than your offer.  The NRA has offered this solution to VP Joe Biden's "conversation", knowing that their idea is merely to promote conversation, as Marxist President Obama is not going to entertain ideas of empowering Americans with the responsibility of their own safety.  If enough Americans hear the truth, understand the implications of more gun control and loss of liberties, and realize that is all about control, and not saving lives, than I think the NRA made a good move.  I have already seen headlines on the Internet of articles discussing this Armed Guard option, including the very one that I am refuting here.

Point #6

The author continues on in closing about gun violence in America. By his figures, 30,000 Americans die in firearm related incidents.  He admits that about 60% of these are suicides.  So roughly 12,000 Americans are killed by a gun at someone else's hand. In 2010 NHTSA figures show 32,885 people died in automobile related accidents, and 10,228 as the result of drunk driving.  According the the CDC, 25,692 people died in 2010 in alcohol related deaths, excluding accidents and homicides.  Any action done, including nothing, can eventually kill you.  I could spend three weeks scouring the Internet finding figures on how many people have died doing what.  But you get the picture.  He admits school shootings are a very small part of this problem.  Then comes the telling part. 

Steven Strauss urges his readers to join NYC Mayor Bloomberg, 800 Mayors Democrat and Republican (RINO), and 1 million "fellow" Americans in "Demanding a Plan" by Congress and President Obama to reduce gun deaths.  The same NYC Mayor Bloomberg that announced a plan a few days ago to reduce the amount of painkillers kept at hospitals to prevent them from being overused.  A few months ago, he proposed a law (and it passed) in New York City banning the sale of sodas over 16 ounces.  By the way, the Board that passed the law in a unanimous vote, was made up of "persons" appointed by Bloomberg.  

I have no desire to stand with Marxist NYC Mayor Bloomberg, the 800 Mayors, and 1 million "fellow" Americans "Demanding a Plan".  This group of Mayors (Mayors Against Illegal Guns) is one of those anti-freedom groups that I urge you to see who they are.  If the documents were ever turned over, I would guess that this group supported the little reported “Department of Justice Fast and Furious” operation led by Eric Holder that was a gun-running operation that put hundreds of firearms in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.  A U.S. Border Patrol Agent was murdered by one of the Cartels, and the gun recovered from the scene was traced back to this illegal operation, sponsored by Attorney General Eric Holder.  This media –attention grabbing story went awry when an agent admitted to wrongdoing, and thus threw the monkey wrench into the gun-control blitz dreamed up by the Marxist machine and President Obama. President Obama was under fire from his numerous anti-gun supporters who were disappointed that he hadn’t taken immediate action to disarm the citizenry of the United States of America.  These groups, such as the Brady group and MAIG, are dead set on taking away all guns, not just those that look scary.  I was somewhat surprised to see the mayor of the big city of Morton listed on the member rolls.  There were mayors from all around the state with names on their membership roll.  I urge you to look up your town and ask your mayor if he/she believes in the freedom granted to us by God, described in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, or prefers the tyranny that ensues when we choose "security" over liberty.  

Finally, this argument is not about lives, or health, or safety.  This is about control.  Gun control is about disarming the masses so an oppressive government can subject them to slavery and death.  If the politicians want to discuss saving lives, how about we start by saving 1 Million lives per year by making abortion illegal.  1 Million totally defenseless children are murdered every year in this country.  Since 1973, 50 Million Americans have been murdered by abortion.  The politicians make it a free choice to murder a child, to end his or her life, but are more than willing to make a law that I can't have a flash suppressor on the end of my rifle.  Our Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves.  Some spoke of this time in history, and they wrote an Amendment to the Constitution, the Second in the Bill of Rights:  "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."  This wasn't about hunting or target shooting, it is about the people stopping a tyrannical government and resetting the system to its God-ordained purpose, to reward good and punish evil.


Don' be silent on gun control issues.  Self protection is a God-given right, and failing to stand up for this right will lead to the loss of so many more.  If you don't own a gun, thank your neighbor that does, and ask him or her to take you shooting.  Learn to love liberty.  Speak out against evil.  Stand with those that defend freedom, for example; our active duty soldiers who are fighting for our rights, our veterans who have sacrificed everything so you can read a newspaper, own a gun, use a wood stove, read your Bible.  Get involved with like-minded people next door, or a street over, or in the next town.  Rally around the Truth, seek and demand answers and accountability, and love thy neighbor.   

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rosie's Calf

Well, Rosie had a beautiful heifer calf late last night.  But sadly, for reasons we don't understand the calf died as soon as she was born.  We're so disappointed...we've been looking forward to this little baby's birth for 6 months.  We know God has a plan...for some reason it just was not meant to be. :-(   It's so hard to see such a beautiful innocent little creature alive one second and dead the next.  She was alive and coughing and shaking when her head popped out, but by the time she was completely delivered (only a few minutes later) she was dead.   We tried everything...rubbing, patting, even whiskey...but never felt or saw any signs of life.  :-(   Sort of a sad way to start off the New Year, but that's life I guess.  We're looking at possibly buying a Jersey heifer calf to raise on Rosie's milk.  We'll see if we can find a good one that is for sale.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Calf?

Looks like Rosie will be having her calf in the next 24 hrs!  Very excited! 

I sure am glad to have Richie around. (Have I ever mentioned how handy it is to be married to a handyman? :-)
It's a good idea to give dairy cows a tube of cal-mag-co supplement before calving, it helps prevent milk fever.  We were prepared with a few tubes of this stuff, but as it turns out, the tubes don't work in a standard caulking gun.  Richie called Dell's to see if they had the right sized gun.  The clueless guy said he thought that maybe they did, but since they didn't have any more tubes left he couldn't test to see if the gun was really the right size.  Mason gave Richie a ride to Dell's Farm Store to see what they've got.  They did NOT have the right gadget. 

SO...they hop over to the hardware store and buy a caulking gun and some washers.  And what does Richie do?  Fashion a perfect gun for feeding the supplement.  Ha.  Who needs Dell's when you've got a Richie? 



Saturday, January 12, 2013

1-12-13

Like Richie's new beard?  He got tired of shaving :-)  Course I think he's also enjoying the simple pleasure of having hair after being bald for several months!  Janet and I told him we think his beard is really cute and he ought to at least keep it for tomorrow so the folks at church can see!  I sure love this handsome guy <3   

Today we had some visitors!  It was such an enjoyable afternoon with everyone all gathered together in Rich and Janet's cozy living room around the woodstove with snacks and coffee. 
There were plenty of stories and lots of laughs! 

This must be where Richie learned to "talk with his hands." :-)
Both Rich and Richie are great storytellers! 

Mrs. Jerke brought a beautiful and delicious cake that we all enjoyed immensely!

mmmm good!!!

Smile Ron! :-) 
It always makes Richie's day when this guy comes to visit!

Richie showed the Jerkes some family photos of what the farm looked like when they came to live on it.
Lots of laughs!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Low Fat Healthy Joes

SO easy and SO good! 
All you need is:
  • As many potatoes as you want to prepare
  • Oil spray (like PAM) I used olive oil in a Misto mister
  • Salt and chili powder
Slice your potatoes into wedges, throw in a bowl and mist with oil.  Toss to coat all wedges. 
Lay potatoes on a lined baking sheet, sprinkle both sides with salt and chili pepper to taste.
Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes...just until nice and fluffy on the inside! ;-)
I had read that potatoes are very rich in potassium.  Janet read that it's really the skins that have all the potassium in them, so this is a very good way to eat your potato skins. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Almost Fat Free Chocolate Cookies

They're pretty darn good! ;-)

Ingredients
  • 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate square
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Melt chocolate square. 
  3. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in both sugars and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the melted chocolate. Remove the beaters and stir in the flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt all at once just until moistened.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake until puffed, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a rack.

Snow Today!

We have a few inches of wet snow today. 

Sandy and Lefty wisely choose to hibernate in this type of weather.



"Richie has a firetruck?!" you say.
Yes, he has two of them, actually :-)


The sheep are staying nice and dry in their Costco canopy home

Such a lovely view from up here!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

1-8-13

Today was an eventful day!
It started early this mirning when I noticed that something wasn't quite right about one of my ewes.  She had  a pretty srious vaginal prolapse going on.  I've never had a ewe do that before, so quickly confirmed via google the proper thing to do. 
Fortunately...I married a very handy guy who can make just about anything you can imagine down in his shop.  Don't know what I'd do without him!  Janet and I ran around gathering materials and he was able to make a prolapse "harness."  If Elsie prolapses again, I think this gadget will do the trick.  I know, wonderful thing to blog about, but that;s the way it foes on a farm :-)
While down in the barn, we noticed that Rosie is looking really close to calving.  SO, Janet and I had some tearing down and re-building of walls to do.  That, of course is easier said than done.  But if feels good to be prepared...it's never fun to go running around like chickens with their heads cut off. 

Richie's doing better and better.  He did a lot of walking outside today, despite the cold wet weather.  He still gets that pain if he yawns or sneezes or coughs, and he's still sleeping in the chair.  But hopefully that will chage soon!

These cookies turned out delicious!  I loaded them with raisins because of the potassium found in them.  With all the sweating Richie's been doing, potassium is one of those thigns he should be getting a lot of.  Historically, his blood has been low in potassium and they've had to give him pills at the hospital.  He hates swallowing pills!  And I hate watching him do it! :-(

Super Good Low Fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/4 c. applesauce
1 egg

2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
                                                                                   1 tsp salt        
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 c. oatmeal
1 c. raisins

 Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix together.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. 
Complex instructions huh?!

Monday, January 7, 2013

1-7-13

Today has been a pretty good day.  Richie's back is getting a little better every day.  It still spasms occasionally, but not nearly as frequent as before.  We practically slept though the entire night last night.  Thank you Lord!!!  Richie's pretty weak and sore from sitting all day and night for a week, but at least he isn't in constant terrible pain.  He went off the narcotics on Friday, and for a couple nights has been dealing with the side effects of that...he has really bad night sweats again and bad dreams.  Poor thing!

  I had a good time today experimenting with a low-fat oatmeal cookie recipe from Allrecipes.  I'll be posting it here maybe tomorrow, as I think it turned out very good! 

Another thing I worked on today was folding an overflowing bag-full of of plastic grocery bags into little triangles.  It was a really nice idea on pinterest that greatly reduces the bulk when you're storing plastic bags.  You do have to have a bit of time to do the project though.     http://mousechirpy-polkadotpineapple.blogspot.com/2009/03/grandmothers-apron-carryall.html


Also received a really neat milking contraption in the mail today.  It's called a Henry Milker...Janet spotted it in a Farm Show magazine.  It's going to make milking the sheep a LOT easier.  And until we get the milking machine up and running for Rosie, it will be very helpful for milking her too.  Yipee!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yesterday

As far as good days go, it won't go down in history at the top of the list.  On the night before last Richie was really struggling with some bad back pain.  It got worse as the day went on, especially since riding in the truck aggravated the pain and we had to be in Seattle all day for "post-op" appointments.  It's been so bad that Richie had to go back on his full-strength narcotics in the afternoon and is still on them this morning.  Ugh!  Just when we thought we were done with those awful meds for awhile.  It was kind of a long night, back to waking every 4 hours for pain meds.  We were able to get some sleep though. 

The appointments went well, the first one was in the morning and the doctor was very informative and helpful.  Good news is Richie is healing very well.  Bad news is he's going to have to be on a low fat diet for another month. :-(   They say he'll start feeling more like himself in 5-6 weeks.  Until then they don't want him to do anything more strenuous than walking.  They say in 6 months he should feel completely back to normal.  We'll go back in another month for monitoring blood work. 

Richie also had his kidney-to-bladder stent taken out yesterday.  Obviously that was no fun and kind of terrifying for him, but he says as far as pain goes, his back still hurt a lot worse than the procedure did.  

The doctor said there are going to be good days and bad days during this long recovery time.  I guess this was just one of those bad days.  We're hoping the back pain will be a lot better by the end of the day today.