Korie was an extra special good girl this year and really racked up with Christmas gifts! On top of the antler chewies she also received some stuffed toys and a humongous rawhide chewie that lasted approximately 40 minutes before chewing the end off of it. She loved every second of those 40 minutes.
Here's hoping you all found peace, love, joy and toys for the holidays and the coming new year.
I'm known for wanting strange things for Christmas:
some 4x4x8 treated pine lumber, handmade soap, unique antique roses or rose cuttings, new saw blades, and the ability to make real butter are all right up there on the list.
Which leads us to this post, and the need for whole non-pasturized milk to make butter. I could be simple and go south of town where it is rumored that such milk is produced and sold quietly to those with the secret code word and $9/gallon. But alas that is just not me.
I'm difficult that way, and I want my own cow.
A cowopotamus for Christmas.
As it turns out, I'm not quite ready for such endeavor as more secure fencing is necessary to contain such a bovine delight.
But as it turns out, a friend in Pennsylvania recently bought and brought home a cow. And not just any ole cow. She bought a house cow, and she's an old Irish Heritage breed called a Dexter. Her name is Christmas,
"A house cow?" What the heck is a house cow?
Dexter cattle are a very old Irish breed, developed to thrive on scrubby pasture. Sometimes referred to as the Irish “house cow,” they have provided both milk and meat to single-family households since at least the mid-1700s. The first Dexters were brought to America between 1905 and 1915.
These gentle, hardy and easy to handle animals are one of the world's smallest bovines. They require less pasture and feed than other breeds. They thrive in hot as well as cold climates and do well outdoors year round, needing only a windbreak for shelter and fresh water. Fertility is high and calves are dropped in the field without difficulty. They are dual purpose, being raised for both milk and meat.
Although they are the smallest naturally occurring (non-dwarf) cattle, Dexters are not miniature cattle. Cows range from 36 to 42 inches in height and can weigh up to 750 pounds. Bulls range from 38 to 44 inches tall and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
Dexter cattle eat about 12 to 15 pounds of hay per day, which is about half the ration of a typical large breed, and they have a relatively high meat-to-bone ratio compared with some breeds.
When milked twice a day, a Dexter cow at the height of lactation can produce 1 1/2 to 3 gallons of milk to share between her calf and the homesteaders family.
What does all this mean to the modern homesteader? Plenty of milk for the family with less expense for feed, shelter, vet bills (when the cow has difficulty calving) as compared to a more modern "dairy" breed that produces 6-10 gallons of milk per day.
Ok, I know everybody else in the whole world is preparing for Christmas.
I even "almost" have lights on the Christmas tree. Most presents are bought, none wrapped...yadda, yadda.
But I finally felt true joy when coming home today and finding the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog waiting for me. It's another cabin fever kinda weekend with rain Friday night and Saturday and cool damp conditions on Sunday. What better way to spend a weekend than laundry, lights on a tree (maybe ribbons and bows and balls as well) and planning your spring and summer seed order?!!? If you aren't already on their mailing list, well, I highly recommend them. Great customer service and just an incredible variety of seeds you really can't find at the more traditional outlets. In a pinch, even their website will make you feel like it's almost time for a summer tomato sandwich or BLT with mayo!
We have so much planned for 2014. I hope you have enjoyed 2013 as much as we have. Thank you for spending it with us!
Back in the summer, I posted a recipe for homemade dog food.
This morning I modified it using none other than the leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, fresh broccoli from the garden, brown rice and a can of black beans.
Take your leftover turkey carcass, leg bones, etc. and boil down until meat is tender enough to pull easily from the bones. Giblets are ok here too. 20-25 minutes medium boil (don't go outside and feed geese at this time or your pot will boil over resulting in nasty mess on your cooktop.)
Let it cool (I cooled overnight but couple of hours should do fine) and separate meat from bones, discarding bones. Feed a little meat to the dogs all sitting in a row at your feet in the kitchen.
Add fresh broccoli (2 heads) and 1 bag brown rice to your turkey broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes until rice is reaching correct consistency and broth mostly evaporated. Add in 1 can black beans (rinsed thoroughly--no farting please) and the turkey meat.
Let cool and treat your dogs! Heck treat the chickens too. They loved the homemade food and extra protein does them good this time of year especially. Who knew chickens enjoyed turkey so much *lol*
This is a great way to use up some of your leftovers and smelled good enough to have for dinner. Enjoy!
Kelley Creek Farms is a small (micro really) hobby farm located in Central Alabama 30 minutes south of Birmingham. We raise heritage and rare waterfowl and poultry along with a myriad of other creatures that give the farm its life. In addition to the birds, we raise heirloom tomatoes and vegetables.
Each day is different and brings a new set of adventures. Some make you laugh and some make you cry. Some are just plain frustrating. But we persevere knowing that tomorrow's set of problems will be completely different than today. Still figuring all this out ....one day at a time and striving for a more sustainable way of life.