Friday, June 28, 2013

Mud, Muck, and More

I just can't take it anymore. I went to Savannah for a couple of days and it rained every day I was gone. Now Onyx has bottle jaw too. I wormed her with Ivomec after she kidded 4/27 and have had her on herbal weekly since. Magnum is sick again. He was better before I left and now we're back to square one.

I left a bag of potatoes I'd harvested on the floor in the kitchen. They decided to rot while I was gone and stain the wood floor. It's just lovely.

Oh and the Air Conditioner died. $4800.

Just shoot me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I finally made some feta from the recipe on Good Goats Blog. I barely got a picture in before I ate it all. I did do the second salting called for in the recipe since mine seemed salty enough.

Mild Feta Cheese

1 gallon milk
1/4 teaspoon Mesophilic-A direct-set culture
1/4 tsp. rennet dissolved in cool water
3-4 Tablespoons coarse salt (You can use table salt, but use less)

1) Warm milk in a pot to 86*F and stir in culture. Cover pot. Let sit one hour to ripen.

2) Stir dissolved rennet into milk. Cover pot and allow to sit one hour more to coagulate. Don't stir or disturb. The milk will become a solid mass.

3) Cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes. Allow to rest 5 minutes to expel the whey. Stir gently every few minutes for 15 minutes keeping.

4) Line a colander with cheesecloth or butter muslin (I use plyban cloth - a plastic, re-useable cheesecloth) and set inside a big bowl if you want to save the whey. Drain the curds. Tie the four corners of the cloth together and hang to drain for 4-6 hours. The curds will form a ball.

5) Slice the ball in half and lay the slabs of cheese in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle all the surfaces with 3-4 Tablespoons of coarse salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temp for 24 hours.

6) After 24 hours pour off the whey, salt all the surfaces and let sit 2 more hours. Remove cheese from dish and quickly rinse under cool water to remove all the salt. Place cheese in a covered dish and refrigerate. Use immediately or allow to age 5-7 days to sharpen the flavor. Use within two weeks or freeze for future use.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Yay! I just sold 3 Black Copper Marans hens, Mini Ringo the BCM rooster, a Barred Rock, 2 RSL pullets, and the EE rooster.

People won't get their eggs, but I'm so relieved! This is just too muck much work to break even. I have someone wanting to buy my Blue Orpington hen too!


It's been a whirlwind around here. I haven't sat long enough to update the blog.

I decided to go forward with my plan to downsize the flock. So far I've sold 1 roo and 3 hens. I would really like to sell some more. It's just too much work. Of course, I've sold out of eggs for the week and I'm hoping the girls lay enough for me to make ravioli!

How does chanterelle mushroom, goat cheese ravioli sound? We have had so much rain around here, the grass is squishy, the barn and coops are all mucky, I'm having a hard time keeping the Lamancha bucklings healthy, and the flies are a bit out of control. I was lamenting all this extra work as I was mucking out the barn (again) when my mom said "Um Kristin, you may want to come look at these orange mushrooms."

Sure enough, it was a patch of chanterelles. I was ecstatic. I have been searching for chanterelles here for 3 seasons! When I finished up my mucking, we took a walk around my land. There are Chanterelles everywhere. I feel so blessed.

The first night, I just sautéed them up in olive oil, garlic, butter, and lemon juice. Last night we got a little more creative and made stir fried noodles with chanterelles. I cut the butter and oil, used peanut instead of canola, and used some leftover fettuccine I had in the fridge. It was delicious. Especially with my favorite Korean eggplant side dish.

I mentioned in the beginning of this post that I'm trying to downsize birds.

Clay, our mallard, is sabotaging my efforts with 4 new ducklings. So cute- so need to go on Craigslist.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Downsizing the Flock?

I don't know how many laying hens I have anymore. That may be the first indication that I have too many. I have been debating thinning my flock just to give myself a little break. It is a lot of work to muck out chicken coops and clean all these eggs.

But on the flip side, I finally have enough hens to meet the demand of my customers and have eggs for my family.

On the other hand, I'm not making any money on eggs. Even at $3.50 a dozen and making the hens find their own food half the time, it just doesn't justify the cost of feed and my labor. Figure I get 5-6 dozen eggs a week to sell. That's only about $20. They eat about 1 bag of feed a week. That's $12. And they need a bale of shavings everyweek or so. That's $5. So I am doing all this work for $3? I spend at least an hour a week just cleaning eggs!

I won't even go into the details of keeping the coops clean with all the rain we've had!

I could raise my price to $4, but that still would only bring me about $5 a week. My egg customers may just have to get themselves some backyard chickens.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Here is the recipe I use for chevre:

1 gallon milk
1/4t Mesophilic MM100 culture
1 drop of rennet mixed in 1/4c water
1t kosher or sea salt

Heat the milk slowly to about 85 degrees. Sprinkle culture on the top and wait 5 minutes for it to hydrate. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the diluted rennet, stir for another 30 seconds. Put a lid on it and let it set at room temp for 18-24 hours.

Carefully remove the curds from the whey and place in a colander lined with damp cheese cloth.

Let it drain for an hour or two.

Then gently mix the salt in and place in molds. You can skip the molds and put it directly into a bowl once it has reached the desired consistency. I like to mold mine so I can roll it in herbs.

Let it drain in the mold for a few more hours. Unmold and refrigerate. Once it has cooled and set up, roll it in herbs or just enjoy it as it is.

I tried another Mozzarella. It acted very strange this time. I added a bit more rennet and let it set up while I checked on the bees. When I got back, I had a mass of stringy curds at the bottom of the pot. I collected them, heat them in the microwave for about 30 sec. Salted and stretched gently a couple of times and formed into a ball.

It still lost more whey I would have liked so it's not as soft as I like, but it's actually edible unlike my attempt earlier in the week.  This hunk of cheese is from an entire gallon of milk. I don't think I can afford to sell it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Letter to My Senator

I came across this news article: 6 Senate Republicans Who Could Vote for Immigration Reform and decided to send a letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss. Not that it will make a difference..... They're tracking everything about me anyway- might as well put it all out there.

Dear Senator Chambliss,
I am horrified by the myriad scandals and abuses of power pervading Washington. From Obamacare to PRISM, the IRS and State Department scandals to Benghazi, those who are supposed to be representing the citizens of this country are acting in direct opposition to our desires and the law, spying on us, lying to us, and trampling on the Constitution.
While all these scandals are blowing up, Congress has decided now is the time to push through an Immigration Bill that will give amnesty (yes, I am aware this word is has been banned from our lexicon along with the terms alien and terrorist) to millions of illegal aliens while failing to secure our borders- one of the only true jobs of the Federal Government!
The real unemployment is over 10%, a record number of people are on food stamps and disability, the true cost of insurance under Obamacare is coming to light, and the national debt is pushing $17 Trillion. Is this really the right time to add 10 million (formerly?) illegal  immigrants to an already buckling system? Is there a right time to add 10 million illegal immigrants?
I implore you to fight for what remains of America. Vote NO on "Immigration Reform" and encourage others in Congress to do the same.
I am not against true immigration reform. I have friends in other countries who want to come to America. Friends with education, a work ethic, and the kind of values that made America great. These are people who wouldn't dream of coming here illegally. While they keep slamming against road blocks on their journey to legal immigration, our the government is planning to give a free pass to people who broke the law to come here. It's just not right!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Using Up Goat Milk- Cheese and Ice Cream

I am getting a gallon and a half of milk a day now. That's from only milking in the mornings! So I have lots of glorious milk to find uses for.

Monday I tried my hand at Mozzarella again. I can make it with a jug of Walmart milk all day long, but have found goat milk to be a challenge. I had pretty good success last week by not cutting or cooking the curds, so I decided to try again.

I tend to lost a lot of the fat in the whey and read one post where they skim theirs first. So I got out the cream separator and skimmed about half the milk for the cheese. I got a quart of heavy cream off it!

This time, the curd set so well I decided to follow the directions for cutting and cooking the curd. That was a mistake! I lost so much whey from the curd that what I had left was a rubbery mess. I don't know why I didn't actually learn from what I'd learned the week before. Back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I put up another batch of chevre. I love it! I have been rolling it in Herbs de Provence. I'm going to roll part of this batch in culinary lavender and honey.

Then I had to do something with all this milk and cream. It's been close to 100 degrees out, so I thought ice cream! I had some fresh Georgia peaches hubby picked up from a farm he passed while working.

I pureed them and mixed all the goodies together.

I think next time, I'll use more cream and egg yolks to balance out the juice (ice crystals) you get using the fruit.

Here's the recipe:

  • 2 quarts goat milk
  • 2 cups goat cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1t salt
  • 1T vanilla
  • 4 cups pureed peaches

  • Heat 1 quart of the milk until it's steaming hot but not boiling. Add the sugar and salt, stir to dissolve and then chill. Add everything to your ice cream maker and follow the directions for your machine.

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    No Privacy

    Most of you reading here are the kind of people who enjoy your freedom and your privacy. You are decent, hardworking, honest folks who just want to be left alone to do your own thing. That's why it is so disturbing to learn that the NSA is tracking and recording your every phone call, email, text and IM.

    In case you haven't seen it, here is the interview with the whistleblower who exposed the extent to which the government is surveilling citizens. This is an outrage and is made even more so by the fact that politicians and media are trying to downplay it and are even calling for Edward Snowden's arrest- or worse.

    Please take the time to watch this, learn what's going on, and get others talking about it.

    Sunday, June 9, 2013


    Thanksgiving dinner has arrived. Well, not my Thanksgiving, but hopefully Thanksgiving for one more interested person. I have two of these babies sold. I hope that all three make it since I have no idea what to do with turkeys.

    Right now they're in one of my chicken tractors which means I'm going to have to make another chicken tractor. The friend I got them from says hers tried to fly away when she let them out. I'd hoped that they would hang out like the geese do.

    I guess we'll see. In the meantime, email me if you're interested in the third bird for your holiday. It will be cleaned and packaged just like the chickens. They may finish before November, in which case you may have to throw it in the freezer for a few weeks.

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    Coccidiosis Sucks

    Can I get every single goat issue there is? I sure feel like it. Miscarriage, mastitis, acidosis, toxemia, still-births.... It seems like God means for me to learn every last thing about goats in my first year with them.  Did I mention that our vet texted me while I was on vacation to ask what drenches I gave Trixie to keep her alive? Seems she had another case of a goat with toxemia. I got a kick out of giving the vet advice.

    I am still treating the boys for coccidia. They are improving everyday, but I'm so sick of scours. It's nasty. I'm tired of having to bathe them off each day. I'm sick of the smell. I'm tired of shoving syringes full if antibiotics and pepto down goats' throats. I'm tired of wearing half of what I'm trying to give them. I'm tired of going out to milk to find that one of my does has slept in a pile of nasty and having to bathe her before I can milk her.

    I have been treating all of the other kids as well even though they are asymptomatic. I know with as much poo as Magnum and Bogo are spreading around, there's plenty of this stuff in the environment.

    This afternoon they had stool with some form to it. I sure hope we are near the end of this.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Just Plugging Along

    That pretty much says it all. I'm just keeping up with the day-to-day.

    Magnum and Bogo have been sick. I am thinking coccidia. I have been treating them, and they seem to be recovering, but it's been a slow go. I feel like half my mornings are dedicated to their care. The other kids are fine. I put all the kids on medicated feed and ordered a coccidia treatment from Jeffers to use as a preventative on the rest of them.

    The meaty chicks are already getting ugly. Another week or so and I'll move them out to a tractor. I hate cleaning up after them. We got a new bin for a brooder, but I'm afraid it's still not big enough. I have GOT to do something better about our brooding situation.

    My BIL recommended a dog training book while we were at the beach. It's called How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend and it was written by some monks in NY who raise German Shepherds.

    Asher is almost 6 months old and I decided to start some serious obedience training with him. Don't get me wrong, he's a very sweet and good boy, I just know he's capable of even more. We have been working on Down and Heel for 4 days now. He's about got Down mastered and is really doing well with Heel.  Every once and a while, he tries to pull the mule routine and refuses to walk, but he's learning that that's not working for him.

    He's so smart! When he has these things nearly mastered, I'll introduce Stay and then the dreaded "Recall" aka Come. Pyrs are so independent, they have issues with that one. I know we'll get through it.

    We still have not quite finished up 3rd grade, close, but not quite. That's making me crazy. The kids are in this groove where every time I turn my back, they're off playing Legos or something else. I try to give them a list of requirements each day and honestly, if they finish them up or don't have a task, I expect them to be reading, drawing, helping out around the farm etc. I am finding it exhausting to play policeman and truancy officer as well as mom, teacher, farmer, dogtrainer, cook and maid.

    Do any of you homeschooling moms have any tips for that? My goal is to move them towards being more in charge of their own educations.

    Sunday, June 2, 2013

    They're Hee-re...

    52 Cornish Cross. There were 54 but I smooshed 2 with the drinker last night. I suck :(

    I am trying out this new EcoBrooder from Brinsea. The chicks really like it and it's nice not to have to worry about heat lamps and fire hazards. The only design flaw is they gave it a flat top that the chicks can get on and soil.