Brought to you from the last couple of days.
Brought to you from the last couple of days.
Summer Farkas Takács-Michaelson CH (aka Gertrude Snicklegrove) has, once again, put on an immensely power-packed workshop at Preserving the Harvest – a great kickoff to this years (hopefully full) line up of excellent learning opportunities and community gatherings. Teacher Summer packed this “Pantry Pickles” workshop with several potent ways of knocking out colds & flu’s like there’s no tomorrow. Which is great, because it’s been a doozy of a year for lingering coughs, eh?!
Everyone went home with a self-made jar of these fantastic ferment(ing) pantry pickles. And notebooks full of great information to research and expound on, and to use at home!
Watch for more events like this on our farm Facebook page!
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright
‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
Over a decade ago, we bought the first two dairy Jersey cows that made it to our old farm from a commercial dairy, excellent candidates for homestead milkers. Later a few more joined the herd in a cooperative dairy, owned and managed by several dozen families, operated by my folks. We were primarily a pseudo (unpaid) marketer, a financial investor, and consumers. We did assist on some veterinary services provided by our favorite vet (Jack), as well as milked Quince (jersey family cow) after the cow dairy ceased. Cow milk was the best.
Over the years that followed, several events changed the course of my folks’ dairy. When an opportunity presented itself, they bought a herd of dairy goats from a creamery in Battle Ground that was going out of business (thanks to the widening and imminent domain takings for highway 502).
The cows phased out, and goats reined triumphant. Their darling floppy ears and two-teated udders were so attractive. The fact that they consumed a fraction of what a cow does, produces milk that is more digestible to infants (and adults, if we’re being honest), and do not create the mud pit in the winter that cows do, it sounded like a dream.
In the springtime, I excitedly assisted births. Growing up, I always wanted to be a midwife. But liability kept me focusing on other great adventures revolving around birthing and beyond. The experience I gained helping Mama goats birth was invaluable.
But they ruled the land. Before I knew what happened, they lived my life – eating my food (garden), and leisured at my home (backyard, decks, etc). They were loud. They attracted flies. Armies of them. In every nook of our home. We couldn’t breathe. The boys smelled putrid. Goats were everywhere. They were taking over.
Despite setting some boundaries and putting up fences, there was still fresh goat manure surprises daily. I don’t miss that. I also don’t miss not being able to plant beautiful and edible landscaping in and around my house and yards unafraid. Or to garden and grow our own food again – now with the only risk being an act of nature, or my own error.
In 2012, my oldest youngest (ha!) sister started a small flock of 3 dairy sheep, expanding in numbers over time, hoping to provide milk to my folks’ creamery as her own agriculture entrepreneur development and investment into the future. It was fun having them around. They felt so much more… green. I see rolling pastures of vibrant grass. I hear a New Zealand accent. Ha! They were fluffy. The ram was definitely naughty, and the girls were particularly skiddish… AND their teats were shorter (than goats/cows, tho’ similar to Nigerian Dwarfs’). But they smelled fabulous, like lanolin. They were great to watch. Their milk was incredibly thick and scrumptious, not “goaty” or gamey at all. They almost met my cow milk fix. They far exceeded it in creaminess.
When we moved onto our new farm last Spring, we talked about getting a cow, but struggled with the commitment to the time, management, and land abuse a cow could incur. We didn’t want goats. So it was obvious what to do. We missed good milk.
Our main purpose to reincorporate sheep now was to have fresh milk again in the best homestead kind of way possible for our family. As much as we’d want a Jersey cow, the sheep made sense (vs. goats as well) for a LOT more reasons:
There is also something very warm about being a “shepherd” vs. a “herdsman” or “rancher”. With so many references and correlations to the Bible to shepherding, it constantly reminds me how much I need to keep responsible stewardship a priority with not only our animals, land, and resources, but our wee family.
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; – Acts 20:28-29
For He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice… – Ps. 95:7
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. – Lk. 12:32
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. – Is. 40:11
So that’s what we’re thinking! Sheep aren’t new to us, as they are actually very similar to goats in care – but are much more docile and smell & taste (milk and meat) excellent in comparison to goats IMO! Goats aren’t really my cuppa at all. I feel bad. Maybe it was just the experience. But I’m not sure I’m game for going down that road again. Especially because there are sheep in the world.
Sheep milk produces the highest yield of cheese, almost 2.5 times that of a cow or goat. That means if I’d get a cup of cheese from a quart of cow/goat milk, I’d get two and a half cups with sheep milk!
Making more cheese on the farm today with sweet, nutty sheep milk!
Today we took Marley’s two babies off of her. They are now residing in their own pen nearby, calling back and forth to a Mama who has found a new hill to pasture on, full of blackberry goodness. After the initial panic, they all seem to have settled nicely into their new places.
We pulled babes after 72 hours of nursing off Mama for life-enhancing colostrum. Now that they have a strong foundation, we have more flexibility. There are several “universal” milk replacers out there, but I don’t buy ‘em. Literally and figuratively. I’m sure that some scientist rigged them to work fine, but I’m not looking for fine. I’m looking for superb. Our mission is to raise these sheep with all of our homestead philosophies instead of cutting corners. And so we’re feeding them their Mama’s milk.* You can also find lamb-specific milk replacers at your local feed store, or try this homemade lamb milk replacer recipe here. I cannot vouch for it.
Since these sweet little ladies are 4 days old already (time flies!), we’re starting them out with 6 ounces (3/4 cup) each, 4 times a day. They will not eat this much at first, but we’ll offer it and let them figure out on their own that they will not be eating on demand, but rather be scheduled throughout the day and into the evening.
My words on the Pritchard nipples: start small. When you purchase them ($4/each at our local feed store, cheaper online), you’ll need to snip the tip oh so slightly. As they grow, you’ll snip them further down, allowing a larger milk flow. But for now, keep it pretty teeny weeny.
I literally had to go to a grocer today to buy carbonated water so I’d have the bottles of my choice (colored glass instead of typical clear plastic soda bottles used by most). We had the “job” of drinking up a few so we’d be prepared for our lambs afternoon meal.
Here’s our feeding schedule for our lambs, based on Paula Simmons book Raising Sheep the Modern Way:
Day 3-4, 3-5oz, six times a day, gradually changing to a lamb replacer, if you’re going to use one
Day 5-14, 4-6oz, four times a day, and start with leafy alfalfa
Day 15-21, 6-8oz, four times a day, along with hay
Day 22-35, Slowly change to 16 ounces (one pint), given three times a day
We’ve found that all lamb milk replacers have different feeding schedules (as far as ounces per day at which ages, etc), so refer to your package on that if you’re using one.
After the lambs are about a month old, we’ll wean them from milk, and start raising them on greens, or “Creep Feed”: a mix of alfalfa leaves or soaked alfalfa pellets, priobiotics, minerals. It is important for the kids to start eating grain, even if pasture is the end desire. “The grain promotes rumen development because of the high production of butyric acids which assist in the vital development of the digestive tract. The butryic acid is oxidized in tissue for energy production.” I’m still a little uneasy about this, but will go ahead with it as I don’t have a more solid alternative, and am comfortable with using our heirloom, organic grains.
We are considering keeping the boys for Autumn meat. Girls, however, will be sent along to new farms. That said, we already have committed to keeping the sweet black one that Marley produced for us. That way we’ll have one white, one brown, and one black. That means hand milking 3 sheep next spring. That means our double stanchion is less effective. That also means that I broke my word: Only two milking ewes.
I hope Willow has the ugliest lambs ever.
But I know she won’t.
*We may reserve it for our use and feed wee boy babes goat milk with a bit of lamb replacer added.
I had an early morning start to make it to the WSFB Women’s Committee meeting breakfast at 8 o’ clock Tuesday morning in Lacey.
This would kick off the 2015 Washington State Farm Bureau’s Legislative Days. The first day would be spent discussing key issues, updating each other on current happenings, meetings, etc… The second day is spent on the hill, talking face to face with our legislators in their offices.
Having missed the conference in November, I was glad to get up to speed on what the Women’s Committee has been up to, and what things they have in store for the coming year.
It wasn’t all business.
I am not a cake fan, and would choose just about any other dessert over it. But this marks a new dawning. This walnut cake won by our table during the WSFB PAC auction was the best cake I’ve ever had, excluding our wedding cake (bought and transported from Phoenix Arizona’s very own Cathy’s Rum Cake), of course!
“We are drowning in water bills this year.” – Judy Warmick
Update on export issues: From port slow downs thus far: loss of 40 million dollars in tree fruit. One farmer is up to seven million dollars in loss of hay. (Imagine total loss)
When asked if there was any good news to report, I responded with: “It’s not a party. We are here to discuss the real (and troubling) issues that agriculture faces so we can effectively communicate and find solutions for with our legislators today and tomorrow (and always!). Spending two whole days with farmers is uplifting and encouraging, whether or not we face problems in our field.”
63 Future Farmers of America joined WSFB for our Legislative Days.
I really appreciated one young lady holding the panel speakers feet to the fire asking them to support young folks’ ability to gain experience through continual CTE funding and labor opportunities.
Introducing themselves as both are somewhat new to their seats, we heard about both men’s backgrounds in agriculture, as well as what their focus was while in their positions. I wasn’t completely confident in their talk, but will leave that alone until I know them more.
We met in the WSFB’s Board Meeting room in Lacey. Again, having been fairly missing in action over the last almost year, it was excellent to get up to speed on what was going on. We also penned in several action plans for the coming year, kicking off several new and awesome projects. You’ll hear about them as we firm up details.
The food this year was out of this world. Dinner was catered by South Bay BBQ out of Lewis County, and included a smoked pulled pork or chicken (or both ;)), coleslaw, homemade baked beans and corn bread.
Dinner by <> included prime rib, a walnut & cherry amazing salad, a huge anti pasta with baby balls of motz and an extraordinary variety, and a russian cream (never had it – it was CRAZY good). For dessert… I can’t even say. One lemon, one chocolate, one cheesecake. The lemon is one I want to have again (I didn’t try the others).
Top notch. The legislators from Clark-Cowlitz counties that were busy with <youknowwho> instead of coming really missed a feast.
I loved that all of it gave such healthy option. Skipping out on the bread made good eats that were surprisingly fantastic for you.
You never leave a Farm Bureau get together hungry.
My favorite quote of the day:
“You’re either at the table or on the menu.” – Evan Sheffels
Posted in Politics & Law - Foodie Activism | Tagged activism, agriculture advocacy, ccfb, clark cowlitz farm bureau, food wars, legislation, politics, vote with your fork, washington state farm bureau, wsfb | 2 Comments »