Sunday, May 25, 2014

Doings on the Farm...

This blog was supposed to be about the farm...  ...but I think the other health topics are a worthwhile diversion.

Today was a big day for the farm.  We had our first lamb!  She is not to be part of our long term breeding program, but I expect she'll produce her share of market lambs while our purebred flock is growing large enough to fill our farm.  (Although I better pick her up and double-check gender again before I make too many plans for her future.)

We also got the tractor working again yesterday, and this weekend so far I've planted an herb garden, two rows of onions, and four rows of fodder beets (sheep feed).  The potatoes are going in soon too.  Two days working in the hot sun, and so far no sunburn (although I did get a little dehydrated yesterday, and I threw on long sleeves as a precaution near the end of today because I was feeling a touch warm.)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Recomendation: Keeping a Family Cow

Keeping a Family Cow: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers

This is a great read for anyone, even if you live in an apartment in a big city, you will find out a lot of interesting things about the history of the dairy industry, food safety, and raising a healthy family.  You'll find recipes for various milk products you can make in your kitchen at home.  Not all the claims are substantiated, but there is a lot of research referenced and a fairly impressive bibliography in the back.  This is not the blind dogma I see in some other pro raw milk propaganda.

For the cow-curious, the book further details a lot about how to care for a cow on as little as one acre with just a family garage for a barn, and details many other benefits of having a family cow besides fresh milk and homemade milk products for the family table.  (High quality feed for chickens and pigs from waste milk, beef, and garden fertilizer...)

I still think large raw milk dairies and bottling plants are stupid.  One mistake with one cow can contaminate the whole batch.  Much better to work with a single cow.  Even with a single cow, mastitis usually only affects one quarter at a time, and is easily detected.  The affected quarter could be milked separately and fed to chickens.  Fecal contamination is harder to detect, but the book outlines a strict protocol for barn cleanliness, cow cleanliness, and preventing the cow from kicking and getting her feet near the milk.  I'm satisfied that fresh milk from my own cow could potentially be cleaner than any of the vegetative foods I eagerly pluck raw and devour right in the garden.

I'm cow-curious, but don't see how having a dairy animal is compatible with my current schedule...  Speaking of, time to go, I'm late bringing the sheep in for the night.

Sleep and Emotional Stability

Just a very brief contemplation tonight.  Does my improved health, and decreased need for sleep have anything to do with increased anxiety?  I have fewer prone hours to work out my stresses each night...

On the other hand, a lot has changed, I've got the farm to manage, not letting myself let chores slide as much now that I don't have the tired and sore excuse.  I'm constantly counting pennies and wondering when the farm will become a profit center rather than an expense...  (Latest investment is 9k, expected to pay for itself over 10 years.)  My job is interesting, but I'm a one man show, no teammates to rely on and chat about my work with...

Either way, I should stock up on more dark chocolate (aka flavored magnesium supplements), and I'm trying to start getting to bed early enough to go back to sleep for a bit before my morning alarm.