This morning the girls gave a LOT of milk. I think it is the increased alfalfa I’m giving them. I’ve decided not to feed the grass hay with the seed heads in it, as we’ve had 2 abscesses. We got 4.5 gallons this morning and another 2 gallons this afternoon. WowWee.
So, a little background from the week before.
Tuesday- Molly stepped in the bucket while Jimmy was milking her, so I don’t know what she gave. Dante & I volunteered for Obama on Election Day. We canvassed a neighborhood and then phone-banked for about 2 hours. Then we came home to milk in a hurry and go to my parents’ for an election party/dinner. It was incredibly exciting to see the results coming in and to know that night that we had the new President Elect that we wanted! We came home from my parents before the results were totally in. At home, the boys and us watched Senator McCain’s concession speech. I was grateful that he ended his campaign with such dignity. Then we watched Obama’s acceptance speech. WOW. He is such a powerful speaker. So, needless to say, we stayed up too late.
Wednesday- The next morning we got the rest of my hay. It was a very windy cold day! My brother, Micheal, brought his semi-truck down and we (Andre, Dante, my dad, Michael, his friend, Gerald, Sweete & her husband, Kyle, and the people who sold the hay) loaded 325 bales. On the way home, we lost 6 bales due to the wind. They flipped over the truck, over the inside lane of the freeway and onto the median. Four of them disintegrated and 2 stayed intact. We put the 2 in the trunk of the car (we followed Micheal in our car). Several vehicles stopped immediately to pick up the hay, it was amazing. We got home by 3:30 and unloaded by 6:30. Again, we had to park the big truck a block away (it won’t fit down our street), and load the hay onto our diesel Cummings and the little farm truckand then unload it at the house. We ended up leaving the last two loads on the trucks to unload the next day, as it was dark, cold, the cows and goats needed to be milked, and we were very hungry. My mom made us dinner, which was a huge help. We went over there afterwards and had a great meal. I was so tired, as I had gotten up extra early so we could be on the road by 9:00. We did the morning chores and I made burritos for our lunch (for everyone) by 9:00.
Thursday, Molly was a Holy Terror. She was incredibly kicky and awful. Jimmy brought Hidalgo (Dante’s buck) home. Jimmy also put a bell on Coco. I don’t know if it was Hidalgo coming home or the bell or what, but she was terrible. She only gave 4.7 pounds, and Jimmy couldn’t empty her out. Sweete came around 3:00 pm to help make butter. We washed almost 5 pounds of butter and got 7 quarts of buttermilk. She also practiced milking more. Kyle, unloaded the last of the hay out of the trucks for me. What a sweetheart. Molly again was a complete idiot. She gave 9 pounds and started hopping up and down. She managed to hop over the bucket, so we didn’t lose any milk, but she landed on my inside thigh, so I have a huge bruise to show for it. I ended up breaking a pitchfork over her leg, as she kept kicking me. I was ready to put her in the freezer that night. Sweete , Kyle, and Rowan (their 1-y/o son) stayed for dinner. Two chickens, rice, cheesy broccoli, and apple pie with fresh whipped cream.
Friday, Sweete came again to help in the morning. Molly was still problematic, but not so bad as the day before. We stuck Sally’s abscess to see if it was ready to come out. Not yet. I took Sally for hoof trimming, and when I was unloading her, she stepped and pivoted on my foot! Of course, I was not wearing my steel toed boots, as Dante had gotten her for me, so I didn’t go through my normal routine of putting them on before I go out to the animals. OUCH!!! I got ice on it really fast, and that helped it. I didn’t end up having any bruising, or too much sorness, which is amazing. After we got back, I rototilled the garden for the last time. Now I need to bring in the manure to start the sheet mulching. With David’s help, I also got a bed of garlic planted. I still need to put a layer of compost on it and give it a good watering on a warm day. Sweete came back again, to milk in the afternoon. My parents came for dinner. I made left over chicken, rice, broccoli, cheesy casserole. My mom brought a salad and homemade ice cream and I made a blueberry pie.
Saturday, Sweete helped again the morning (she’s trying to build up her milking muscles). Molly still antsy, but getting bettery daily. We took the bell off of Coco, as it was drying me crazy, and I wanted to rule that out as a source of aggravation for Molly. After milking, I washed kombucha bottles and bottled kombucha. After evening milking, we went to my cousin’s for an Obama party. I took baked maccaroni and cheese. Very yummy. Dante went to our aunt’s house with our cousin, Kepren, for the night.
Sunday, I didn’t milk Dante’s goats, I let Pinto Bean do the milking for me. Then we (The Chicken Ladies) butchered turkeys and 2 of my roosters and 1 of Amy’s chickens. We butchered 10 turkeys (David and I decided to keep 2 and butcher them before Christmas). Sweete & Kyle helped and learned butchering. Linda brought 2 of her turkeys and we butchered them. David left for a week OOT around 10:30 in the morning. My parents brought Dante home as I was still butchering when it was time for him to come home. After milking, the boys and I went for a burger and to buy a tarp for the hay (it looked very much like snow or rain). We had bacon burgers at Chilis. After we got home around 7:30, Dante and I tarpped the hay. Finally, I skimmed 10.5 gallons of milk and set out 2.5 gallons of cream to culture for butter, and a bunch of milk to clabber, and I saved 7 pints of cream for shareholders. Finally, I was able to bathe and go to bed. I slept very well.
Now, for today, my Errand Monday. The tarp broke loose in the wind last night. While I milked Molly, Dante went and retied it down. We also put pallets on top of the stack to keep it from blowing up. After milking, we had to leave for art class. After I dropped Dante off, I went to Costco for groceries and then to the Co-op for more groceries. It is nice to have food in the house again. I also got a “compost” box from the co-op filled with Swiss Chard and bananas and cauliflower for the piggies. When we unloaded the car and put away the groceries, Dante and I went out to milk. After milking, I finished dinner. Andre had already gotten the beans started. I browned some ground beef and heated up some frozen red chile and tortillas. Now, I’m going to bathe, lay in bed and read a little and then go to sleep. Oh, I also ordered a paper journal that looks really neat. A friend read that I was looking for one, and so she recommended this one. Journal 10+. I think it will be perfect for me.
I could not sleep this morning, wondering how the election turn out is going on in the Eastern United States. Dante and I are going to volunteer today for Obama.
I also have been thinking of different ways of dealing with my chickens. Moving their coop is not as easy as I had anticipated it would be. I think I need to re-think my chicken set up. I am also going to try a different tactic with their food, mixing the clabber and more food with warm water. They seem to eat the food better if it is a little mushy. I just want to make sure they eat what I do. I’ll be experimenting on this.
Well, yesterday morning it sure seemed like Janie was in heat. She was mounting Fin, the bull, Molly, and Fin was interested in her. Molly was trying to do some mounting to, but I think she was just caught up in the hormone rage. I did not see Janie standing for Fin, so…I don’t really know for sure, but I bet that is it.
Yesterday Molly gave 20.4 pounds and Janie gave 22.5 pounds.
We discovered that Oreo had an abscess on her cheek. Dante and I decided to deal with it at the afternoon milking. We also discovered that Pinto will nurse on Coco if we have her in the stanchion. Dante is going to utilize him to milk her out until she is off antibiotics.
I started the beans fefore we left for Dante’s art class. While he was in art class, I went to get dog food and try to find a write in journal to keep records better. I was hoping to find one with a couple of months of 2008 and all of 2009, but those were already gone. I went back to the art class, parked, and read Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin.
After art class, we picked up some tortillas and came home.
***WARNING- GROSS OUT MATERIAL BELOW***
To deal with Oreo’s abscess, we took some hot water with Betadine in it, a syringe with a very large bore needle (16 gauge), alcohol, rags, and peroxide. The pus in the abscess was so thick, it would not come out the hole from the needle. I had to go inside and get our scalpel. I cut about a 1 cm slit in the abscess. The pus was like sticky caulking. ICK! After we got it all squeezed out, we flushed the abscess with peroxide once, and then with the warm betadine water. We will continue to flush it with betadine/salt water for a few days.
After milking, David started the ground beef to go with the beans while I bottled the milk. Neighbor Chicken Lady (Amy) came over so we could trim the turkeys’ wings, because they are getting into my garden area. We got them all trimmed, and then spotted one of my chickens in a tree. She is taller than me, so she grabbed the hen, and I trimmed this wing (for the turkeys, I had been holding the turkeys and she trimming the wings). Well, like an idiot, I managed to cut a huge wedge of my left index finger base knuckle. We took the chicken to the coop and discovered all the chickens were outside their coop. I had left the door closed when Sweete and I fed the chickens on Sunday. Poor chickens! By then, Other Chicken Lady (Dianne) arrived and we all put my chickens back into their coop.
On Friday, Coco, Dante’s goat went into labor. We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for her to go into labor. She did not progress at all. Her water broke at 9:15 and there was no progression after 2 hours. I decided to check her to see if I could tell if the baby was stuck or something. She was not dilated at all and I could not even feel the baby. We decided to take her into the vet. He ended up doing a Cesarean section and the baby was already dead. It was breech and not engaging, so her cervix would not dilate. He felt the baby had died the day before, as the placenta was already turning brown. It was very sad. The kid (a buckling) was perfectly formed and full term. Dante brought him home to bury here. Coco is doing well. Dante has been milking her and she seems to be feeling better. She will be on antibiotics for a total of 7 days. After we got home, it was time to milk and then get ready to go to a Halloween party for Dante.
Saturday had the normal routine chores. We got out a little late for some reason. For breakfast we had leftover blueberry oatmeal and ham. During milking, Mom-Mom (my mom) showed up to give Dante condolences. She also brought us Obama signs for our yard. After chores, I skimmed 14.25 gallons of milk. I got 3 large and 1 small butter churns full of cream, and I had 7 pints of cream for shareholders. I don’t know exactly how many quarts of clabber either. That was 29 bottles of milk in the fridge - no wonder it was getting very tight in there. Janie and Molly are each giving right around 2.5 gallons of milk a day. After I got the milk skimmed and the clabber and cream set out to culture, I got the roast in the oven. After evening milking chores, I got the potatoes going and rototilled the garden again. It still did not get wet enough, so I planned to set out the sprinkler again on Sunday. While dinner was being finished, The Bourne Identity came on, so David and I watched it while finishing dinner and then we (gasp) ate in front of the TV. The boys didn’t want to join us.
Today - Sunday, David (DH) got the sprinkler going in our garden before I started milking. Today my apprentice came to work. She is a shareholder who will be working one day a week and 2 weeks a year for her share but she is just apprenticing right now - working wtih me to learn all the routine and how to milk and things like that. She normally comes on Fridays, but she needed to switch days this week. She is getting better and better at milking, building up her stamina. After we milked, I showed her how to churn butter. Once of my butterchurns had a break in the wires, so it would only work if the cord was held in a certain position. It quit running, so I took it out of the churn, and of course, the wire connected right then and splattered the milk room and me with butter and buttermilk. David and I fixed it. We had to take the motor off of the lid and find the break. We used a butt connector to fix it and then put it all together again. That will make butter making easier. I do have 3 motorized butter churns now, and today I used them all at the same time, and still needed to use one again in another churn (all the cream cultured from the day before).
After the churn fix, David and I took down the elm and mullberry that were growing under the house in the front. We also trimmed up the lilac in front of the house (got all the dead wood out and shaped it a little). We got the boys to help us take all the branches with leaves to the goats and cows. After that, we tackled the apple trees. I’ve been wanting to cut out the dead branches in those trees since we moved in here. David decided he wanted to take down the dead pine tree in front of the house. At first he started to climb up it, and was going to top it and then we would cut down the rest. Well, after he started climbing, he didn’t feel that was a good idea. We decided on cutting it down about 4-5 feet up. That way, hopefully, it would not take out the wall separating our yard from our driveway. Actually, that part of it was my idea. It worked! The tree went down into the driveway. It was propped up on its branches, so it was fairly easy for David to cut up into logs. He would cut away the branches for a few feet, which I piled up as he cut them off. Then he would cut that section into logs, which I also piled up as they came off. He repeated this process until the top looked like a branch itself. After this was cleaned up for the most part, I departed for the ease of computer work. I did the shareholder billing today (2 days late). Then, of course, it was milking time again. After milking, the boys and David moved the pile of branches into the back yard. We will use some for kindling and some for a bonfire. While I was milking, David got dinner going (leftover roast, mashed potatoes, and gravy from last night). By the time I bottled the milk, washed the milking equipment, and rinsed the sprouts, dinner was on the table. Wow!
After dinner we decided to play Scrabble. It was a fun game. Dante trounced us with 128 points; I came in second with 123 points; third place we to Andre with 112 points; and David got 89 points.