Thursday, September 19, 2013

September Happenings

We are more than half way through September and quickly approaching the Autumn equinox.  This last month has been a whirlwind of back to school activity but some of us still find time to lounge on a haybale in the sunshine with a good book. (Quiet moments like these are what life is all about!)  It's almost time to slow everything down internally and externally. But not quite yet...

volunteers Kenji and Ayana planting potatoes
There are still so many seeds to be planted and starts to go in the ground.  Give thanks for generous volunteer helpers!  As we make room for fall vegetables the animals get some well loved treats, corn stalks being an absolute favorite.  

This week we met for our home-made food co-op which has been such a blessing.  What an inspiring group of women and the food is amazing.

This month's trade consisted of fermented dill pickles, beet kvass, pink sauerkraut, fresh raw mixed milk cheese, sprouted wasabi almonds, gluten free power cookies, dried peaches, apricots and strawberries, golden harvest season soup, chicken sage sausage patties, and chile sauce.  Whew, pretty great stuff.  

Some news on what's been going on in our kitchen...we recently borrowed a cream separator from a friend which has been fun to experiment with.  (In goes the warm raw milk, and out pours the cream on one side and skim milk on the other.)  

The extra fridge is full of milk and cream these days so after trying my hands at cheese making for several months now I am transitioning into the world of gelato.  Yes! gelato of all kinds, coffee, avocado, persimmon, whatever I can get my hands on.  

Balancing the busi-ness of life with a sparkle of creativity can be a challenge but we must always hold onto the beauty and stay grateful for it all.  There is no time of year I love more than autumn!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Raising Chicks On A Soured Milk Diet

Our new flock of twenty-five laying chicks (including an all white Leghorn rooster) arrived last week. This coming spring we are striving for higher egg production so we ordered mostly Black Star females with a few Red Stars, Leghorns and Buff Orphingtons added to the mix. We have been looking into raising the chicks on a soured milk diet which means feeding the chicks raw milk that has clabbered or soured, meaning fermented.  Clabbering raw milk is easy.  We just fill a quart jar or two with some of the fresh milk from the morning's milking (either goat or cow will do), screw on a lid and leave on the window sill for a couple of days until the curds separate from the whey.  

Raw milk is loaded with enzymes and probiotics.  When raw milk starts to sour, it simply means that beneficial bacteria called probiotics have started to use up all the lactose or milk sugar which casues the milk to no longer taste sweet.  Soured raw milk has a higher level of probiotics which have initiated the fermentation or clabbering of the milk.  (By the way, this only works with raw milk.  When store bought pasteurized milk goes bad it becomes a huge food borne illness risk to consume it and should be thrown out.)

All these probiotics can be used as a prophylactic against disease and illness, boosting the immune system and growing stronger, healthier birds.  We are looking forward to an abundance of eggs in the spring.   

p.s. It is still an amazing thing to think of how much the family cow adds to the homestead, everyone on the farm benefits from the by products!