A big farm decision…

We have decided that we DON’T want a cow.

Nope.

It was a very hard decision for us… mostly for me.  I have been interested in a small “homestead” breed milk cow for years.  Have read a lot about them, was ready to welcome a lady into our fold.

But then reality hit.

Twice a day milkings…  yearly breeding…  calving…  what to do with 2 to 4 gallons of milk a day… care and upkeep…  hand issues from milking…  pastuerization…. the whole raw milk discussion….

And then there was the fact that we are not big milk drinkers.  We use about a half gallon a week.  Now, we love to make butter and cheese… or at least butter.  Haven’t actually made cheese yet…

Well, I was really ready to consider purchasing a young heifer this year with some of our holiday windfall cash.  I was getting ready for the big jump.  But then something just said…. are you sure?  And it was not just the cost.  It was a lot of things.  Common sense is a good thing sometimes.  It’s that little roadblock in your ambition that makes you pause on the road and think about the route to take.  I pride myself on realizing that life is NOT all or nothing.  There are many many shades of gray in this supposed black and white world.  We may think it’s a cut and dry sort of place, but it’s not.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.

So I thought.  Okay…  I’ve been reading, I’ve been dreaming, and what is the next step?  Well, I bought a cheese making kit!  Haha… yep… $30 on eBay.  Makes 6 kinds of cheese… cheddar, gouda, jack, ricotta, cottage and ah, feta.  Not a huge fan of feta, but hey, that’s okay.  And it comes with everything you need including the rennet and stuff, and the butter muslin and the little form and all that.  Just add heat and milk.  Pretty cool.  We’ll give it a spin and try making cheese and see if we like it.  Seems like a good first step.

And I am going to see if I can’t find a local family that has a milk cow and see if we can work out a little arrangement so that I might be able to buy a day’s milk once a week.  It would help them, a little cash for their labor and feed, and might even give them a little break in the constant milk stream.  It will be plenty for us to make butter, have some buttermilk for the week’s baking, and some for a batch of cheese once a week. I think that would be plenty for the three of us.

And who knows… perhaps we will embrace this half-way point of effort and at some day decide we DO want a cow…  can’t be sure.  But right now, I am thinking that the cost, effort and management of a cow is hugely more than just having a pound of two of butter and some cheese for the week.  I mean, even if we just bought those things, we’re looking at less than $20 max.  But the time investment of twice a day milkings alone is nearly 14 hours…  and then add feed, and the management of the lady, moving her from pasture to stall, and just daily water and care…  wow…  I just am not that motivated at the moment. And neither are the girls.

We have so many other plans that will generate income and enjoyment and will not require such a huge investment of daily chore time.  We are lazy farmers!!!   We enjoy a much more lax sort of schedule and I’m just a little leery of taking on something that is going to really wreck havoc with our routines!

So there you have it.  No cow for us.  At least not now.  And probably not for some time for sure!  In fact, I’m going to take the idea outta my head and see what other thing might creep in and take up the space.  You just never know!

And I hope this might give others permission to pause, consider and even change your mind before embarking on a huge huge project.  Sometimes you just have to tell yourself, not now.  Wait a bit.  It’s okay.

Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Much better today!

Unlike yesterday, I actually got to make us breakfast!  We were so busy with the storm and the flood and getting animals safe, we forgot to have breakfast and didn’t get anything till lunch time!  Which was okay, because the critters come first at the homestead, especially when they are in  rough spot.  Just the way we are.

But it was nice to get up and see that the water was receding and that it was nice and bright and sunny outside!  We had about an inch of snow on the ground, instead of the 3 to 5 that was predicted and the waters were draining…  I love my new birthday griddle!  We are mastering pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for sure!  I think I need to learn a few other things to make on it…  going to try sausage patties for breakfast tomorrow and of course… eggs!  Our girls are finally starting to lay a lot more and we actually are starting to have a little stockpile so it’s eggs for breakfast again!  Yeah!

After we got a little fuel and our chores done, the girls went out to play!  Haha.. yeah, teenagers on a snow day!  Jessy took her camera out and Maggie went out with her new boots and explored all the flooded areas with Ratchet.  I went out for a little while, but my feet were TOO cold in just two pairs of socks and rubber boots!  Here are some of the shots of the day!  I think we doing just fine now!  Hopefully by this weekend we will be painting our living room and going carpet shopping!!!

One of the funny things was the lambs and their first snow!  At first we weren’t sure what was up with them.. we brought them out and the babies started to walk funny and bleat like something was really wrong.  And then we realized that they had never seen snow!  Fergus tried to lick it and was all silly at it and Molly and Angus were walking like they thought they would get frostbite or something!  But after a few minutes they got over it and started to frolic and play in the new white stuff!  It was fun to watch!

Can’t wait for the weekend!  Hopefully the land will be dried up and we’ll have a painted room and maybe even carpet in the horizon!

 

 

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Can’t Sleep…

Funny…  when you are watching flood waters and snow fall, and listening for the sump to come on over and over and hoping that the power doesn’t go out…  it’s a little hard to sleep.

So I found this folder of a few “missing” shots that I had wanted to share with everyone from the weekend projects.  So… here goes!

 

This is a composite shot of the courtyard…  hoping to show all the stacked concrete walls that we created before the flood!  Pretty keen…

The pretty drywall all done!  Yeah Jr.!  It’s lovely and bright!  Can’t wait to primer and paint this baby up soon!

Sad, sad Ratchet.  He wants to be a daddy really bad.  But we don’t need no little puppies here at the farm.  Little kitties are bad enough.  Thank goodness that Evee is nearly done with her heat cycle and things are getting back to normal!  I don’t think we could have standed Ratchy’s poor poor pitiful whiney self much longer!

When kittens attack!!!!

Film at 11.

We are enjoying all the little kitties and their crazy little kitty antics.  However, we still are trying to find homes for a few of them!  Anyone in the area looking for lovely little socialized kitties????  haha… just give me a shout!

It’s been a weird time for egg production for sure!  We have this odd collection from the lil’ coop…  One is a nice big Marans egg… probably from Lady Amanda, or perhaps one from Martha or Mabel…  not totally sure since Martha and Mabel are in the middle of a terriable molt and look pretty awful.  It might be Lady Amanda’s… she should be laying by now, she’s old enough and beautifully feathered out.  But I love the little weird blue green one from Irene!  She’s the only Amerucana in the coop!  I’m just glad that we’re finally getting eggs again… we are getting about 6 to 10 now a day, so that is good.  Maggie’s egg sales have all but dried up for the last 4 or 5 weeks!  We actually had a buy a dozen from Miss Julia!!!  (No way are we gonna buy store eggs… nope… never again…)

Just for you Cody pony fans out there…  my friend Buffy is his number one admirer!  (hee hee hee)  He just is so darn cute.  He’s enjoying the nice clean area that I raked over the weekend.  By the firepit and nearish to our pallet fence.  I can’t wait to paint the pallet fence in the spring.  I love the pallet fence.  It works great, and it was pretty much free. And I don’t think it looks bad at all.  We took aims to orient all the pallets in the same direction and I think once it gets a nice coat of paint and the trees leaf out, it will look just dandy.

Looks a little rough, but we still need to get more of the leftovers from the poultry barn demo out, but it looks like a great start to me!  Originally, my plan was to build cages along the outside walls, but now that the whole place is under water, I think the middle shelf area would be much better.  I got to thinking… if I put my breeding pairs up there, it would be safer for any flooding, and easier to build for sure…  and I could make it so the cages open up and I can scrap the used bedding right into a wheelbarrow!  That would be great.  Easy too.  And I can easily make little chicken tunnels to go to the outside yards!!!  It would be fun to watch them do through the tunnels…  I could use the side areas for storage, perhaps build some pallet shelves that hay or feed can be up on and out of any possible damage.  I think that we are going to be doing a little rearranging anyway…

Cody’s barn is likely to be under water for awhile, and until we get a pond dug, it’s likely to be wet in the spring as well!  Since we want to get piggies in the spring…  I think that we might have to make a new stable for the Codymaster….  We have this lovely little space right off the back of the garage… right now, unfortunately, it just has trash in it.  However, I think if we cleaned it out, and did a little insulation work on it, and a decent new door… it would be perfect for Cody.  And he would love it, since he would be right up near the house and all the goings on.  And dry.  That is a nice thing.  The old pony barn could become the hay storage barn, since there is a nice loft in there.  And the pig barn in the spring through fall season!

I guess that is why you need to be in a place a good year and learn the lay of the land and how things happen.  I suspect that the sheep shack being flooded is just a fluke of this storm…  it’s on higher ground and should be okay for the most part.  We’ll keep an eye on it… the sheepies might be moving permanently to the feed room.  That would be okay, we really don’t use the feed room as a real feed room.  It’s only housing one big can of feed at the moment.  We could very easily move that into the main section of the big barn and  that would be just fine and give us the use the pretty large space as a sheep fold.  The flock is very comfy in there at the moment… I think it’s warmer really, even though they laugh at the cold with their thick Shetland wool coats!

Can’t wait for the morning light so I can get some better pictures of everyone!  We were a little afraid to take the nice cameras out in the yard for fear of slipping and falling in the waters and ruining them.  Perhaps in the morning, the waters will be a little less high in places and it won’t be raining and all.

Cody is supervising the whole poultry barn redo.  He’s very picky about work done on his farm.

I’m thinking some of those old old boards would make SUPER fun direction signs… haha… like Toledo 35 miles…  Chicago  350 miles…  haha….  they are over 40 years old and not really good for anything structural.  I thought they might make a neat fence but Maggie said they are crumbly and just not really good for anything like that.  Just seeing them, I thought.. they would be good as signs for the various buildings!  And just fun painted with slogans or something…  if they last a year or so outside, great.  It’s either that or just burn them.  I might steal a couple and experiment with them!!!

See?  Late night blog posts can be inspiring!  I never thought of using them for something creative!

I love this fun shot of Cody.  I was just fooling around a bit, and it was dark enough that the flash came on and made the sky a little weird and the colors of the grass and the grain spill and the pony so vivid!  I was moving a bucket of grain and Cody bumped me and I spilled a bit… haha… he is one sneaky little stud pony.  He was just about to claim his ill gotten gain when I snapped this shot.  Doesn’t he look guilty???

Maggie stuck the Holy Family and friends in this little nook by the side of the house.  We fear Baby Jesus snatcher hooligans  so we wanted to protect them a bit.  She says she is going to try and make a little stable out of that old wood for them all.  I think that would be adorable.  We have a couple little pallets that would make nice stable walls for the back of it.

Boy, do we need to scrub that siding there.  Shesh.  We thought it was just oxidizing but then we took a stiff brush and some suds to the courtyard siding and it worked great.  I guess we sort of forgot to get out here since we don’t spend much time in this little area!  Time to add it as a to do card for the spring!  Actually, it’s one of those justification things for getting a little power washer!!!  Yep…  put that on the Craigs List search…

I don’t exactly remember garden gnomes at the nativity…  hmmm…..  Mary doesn’t seem to mind.  But then again, who could really say no to a cute little dude like a gnome?  He seems to be pretty admiring of the little babe in the manger.

That one wise guy seems a little tippy.  He’s taking it easy apparently.  Long trip and all.

I’m glad to see that Joseph is man enough to wear pink well.

Baby Jesus looks a little chilly to me.  I think he needs a snuggie or something.  I might make him something cute to wrap up in.  I’m not sure that leaves are enough to keep him okay at night.

Okay, folks, I guess this is a sign that I need to go back to bed.  Worrying about your plastic nativity people is a sign of the sleep dork syndrome sneaking in.  Maybe I can get a few hours in before it’s really light enough to see what havoc Mother Nature has brought to our doorstep!  Night!

 

 

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