After the Storm

After the Storm

after the stormIt has been a wild and crazy few days and there are more to come. Today’s podcast will be short. We do not have internet and won’t have it for 5 more days for a total of 8 days.

If you are new, welcome. Thank you so much for tuning in and I hope you’ll engage and comment as we go along. And as always, welcome back to the veteran traditional homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I have so much to share about the farm this week that it is the topic of the day.

Today’s recipe is MIA, missing in action for reasons I will detail later.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Storm
  • No Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

I’m wanted to start out with the ordinary, the usual. The animals, the garden, the orchard, the creamery, the cheesemaking. I wanted to speak in general terms and fill in details later in the main body of this podcast. However, I can’t really cover it even in general terms without the overlay of the wake of the storm we had three days ago. It is coloring everything at the moment and will continue to do so for quite a while into the future.

I’ll start with describing the storm and the initial damage and the move into how it affects the animals, the orchard, the creamery, and the cheesemaking.

The Storm

It was late afternoon on Tuesday. The second day of several days of predicted storms was upon us a couple of hours before evening milking. The wind picked up and the trees were whipped about like twigs. It was strong. It was sudden. The rain began to pelt down in sheets. I don’t know if I have ever seen it rain so hard. Well perhaps some of the rains in Florida could match it. Anyone driving would have had to pull over. There was no way to see even a few feet in front of you.

The torrent of rain and small hail went on for quite a while. We were late getting started with evening milking and even so, it was still raining steadily as we proceeded with the evening. We didn’t get far.

Evening Milking Plan A

There are two directions to bring the cows up to the milking shed. Scott created what he calls a “travel lane” in several places around the farm. It runs along the edge of the front fields to a wooded area. From there we can get the animals across the driveway with the nifty gate set up that makes a path across. The lane proceeds down the side of the two fields on the other side, past the creamery in progress to the milking shed. That lane also continues past the orchard and across the creek bottom to the fields in the back. So the cows can get to the milking shed (and later the milking barn when it is finished) from either direction.

Scott’s first task is to get the milking shed set up for the cows. Then he comes down the travel lane and ideally meets me in the middle. Ideally means, I’ve finished my first task of feeding Lambert (he’s just over two months old and gets a bottle in the morning and in the evening) and gotten the cows to the driveway crossing. At the very least, I would have them moving in the right direction. Scott joins me, takes Butter with a lead rope and I bring along the rest of the motley crew.

For my task, I head straight up the driveway to where the gates can be opened across the driveway. It is the quickest route to the front pastures where they are all currenting residing. This particular evening, I ran into the first problem. A very large tree was directly in front of me across the driveway. I’d say it was nearly a foot in diameter in front of me and larger at the base. The top branches were laying on top of the tool shed just to my left. I checked briefly but could not tell if the roof was damaged. (Later, Scott said it wasn’t.) My biggest concern at this point was that, not only could I not get to the gates to open them across the driveway, that tree was laying directly across the travel lane to my right. I would get the cows across the driveway, but not very far up the lane. I yelled for Scott.

He came up to assess the situation and immediately went for the chainsaw. I circled around behind the shed, went out to the pasture to feed Lambert and bring the cows up. I was hoping that Scott would have a path cleared by then. But realistically, it was going to take a little while to get that tree cut up enough to get the cows through. Chin up, let’s get ready anyway. That was my thought.

Plan B

It was still raining. Not heavily at this point, but steadily. As I brought the cows up, I could hear Scott with the chainsaw. I could see he was working on the upper part of the tree first. The part that was across the driveway. That made sense. However, the chain saw was giving him issues. It wouldn’t stay running. He persevered, got the tree cut up into 3 or 4 pieces on the driveway side, left them laying there and moved into the travel lane. The plan was to cut the part in the travel lane into a few pieces and roll them to the side, just enough out of the way to get the cows through. All of the debris could be removed later. Tomorrow. But the chainsaw really started acting up. The tree originated in the field to the left and was pushed over with the roots sticking up in the air. The part of the tree trunk in the travel lane was the larger diameter portion of the tree nearer the base, more than a foot wide.

Plan B gets set into motion. Let’s take them across the driveway and into the field instead of the travel lane. Hopefully we could move them all the way down the field to a gate that came out into the travel lane coming up from the other end, at the corner of the orchard. We would then drive them up the travel lane from that direction. I hurried into the field to open the gate.

As I approached the gate, low and behold, another tree lay across the travel lane smashing the orchard fence. These were big trees. They were living trees. It was hit and miss with which ones toppled over. I have no idea why these two trees fell and the others didn’t. The entire travel lane is lined with many trees of the same size and relative condition.

I immediately turn around and head back to the way I came, heading off Scott and the cows. Back into the travel lane they went. Maybe a half hour or 45 minutes has passed and now it is pouring rain. We are drenched, the chainsaw is faulty and we are stuck. We decide to take a break. We left the cows in the travel lane, closed in where they couldn’t go back across the road or into the next field. Then we trudge back to the house to wait a little bit for the rain to subside at least a little.

Plan C and Success

On the second try, Scott chose to work on the smaller diameter tree that had crushed the orchard fence on the lower end of the travel lane. He was able to keep the chainsaw running enough to get a section cut out of the middle wide enough for the cows to pass, maybe 6 feet or so. Whew. We finally got the cows to the milking shed and things proceeded nicely from there. Only a couple of hours later than usual. Scott finished up with cleaning the equipment shortly after 10:00 pm.

Dinner was really late and we got right up again at 6:00 for the morning chores and milking – and to assess the extent of the damage. 

After the Storm

There are still trees down everywhere. We will have plenty of firewood this winter. The tree with the bat house came down. The bat house is smashed.

There are a bunch of trees across the path from Field 10 to Field 14. The boys have been hanging out back there. The rams and bucks were in Field #10, but the Steers and bulls were trapped in #14. Either the chainsaw gets repaired and the trees cut apart and moved – OR the fence has to be cut.

On Wednesday Scott took the chainsaw into town to be repaired. On Saturday he finds out it is going to be a week or more because they had to order a part. Big sigh. That means the fence will have to be cut. We need to get the boys out of there. One of them has an appointment at the meat processing plant on Tuesday. And another has an appointment with Butter and Cloud.

Being creative, Scott cut the fence between two trees, moved the steers and bulls out to field #11 and temporarily repaired the fence with some old downed branches and small trees. That should hold them for the moment. Well perhaps not the goats. We shall see. However, they may get through but they can also get back by the same path.

The Internet 

Those were Scott’s most pressing issues. Mine was the internet. At the start of the storm there was a lightning strike that took out the DSL modem, my monitors, and later my network card. I’m sitting there minding my own business when the first peals of thunder can be heard. A mere five minutes or so later, a flash and an immediate boom outside produced a pop and the smell of burning circuits just to the right of me. This is not the first time we have lost a modem to lightning. That brief light and sound show let me know I should have stopped at the first sound of thunder and unplugged the phoneline from the modem.

I have a spare modem and wireless router from the last incident, so I hooked them up. No luck with the DSL. I have the home network working via the router, but the modem for the DSL and the internet do not connect.

I opened a ticket with our internet provider late Tuesday afternoon and was assured it would be resolved by 2:00 or so on Thursday. Around five pm on Thursday, I called and received a new automated message. That’s when I learned there was an issue in the area that would be resolved by Friday 7:00 am. Great, I could live with that. I even got a call at 8:00 on Friday morning that the issue was resolved. Wrong! At least for us it was not resolved. We are three days without internet at this point.

I call again and find out that my original appointment for resolution had been moved to a different date and time. Wednesday next week. I spent another hour on the phone trying to get it escalated. I need my internet connection to publish my newsletter and this podcast. The agent was polite and helpful but no luck. The repair schedulers wouldn’t budge. And they wouldn’t give me the contact information for the local office so I could try and plead my case to the actual repairman. In the end, I’m still stuck with no internet for another 4 or 5 days.

I’m recording this and have no idea how I am going to get it published. It requires hours and hours of online time to get the audio post created, the recipe created, and to connect all of the details to the various podcast distribution sites. I have contacted a neighbor that has offered assistance with internet, but I need to save that favor for uploading the podcast after getting all of the background work done at a public Wi-Fi location.

It has been a rough week on the homestead. Around here we like to be prepared for just about anything. One saying we repeat often is two is one and one is none. We only have one source for internet and when it is out, we have none. There is no decent cell phone signal here, so that cannot be a backup. Maybe you guys have some ideas on how we can come up with a backup internet system. Let me know.

On to the normal farm updates.

Herd Shares

Please let your friends and loved ones know about our herd share program. Raw milk, yogurt, raw milk cream and butter, and raw milk cheese. These are all available via our herd share program. If you are near Winston-Salem or Greensboro, North Carolina, we can serve your needs as well. Contact me and I’ll get you started on the path to healthy dairy consumption.

Go to www.peacefulheartfarm.com and select “Herd Shares” from the menu. You can also call us at 276-694-4369 or send an email to melanie at peacefulheartfarm . com.

The cows are providing A2A2 milk. Check out my previous podcasts on A2A2 milk and Why We Drink Raw Milk. Click on the links in the show notes or go to our website and select “podcast” from the menu to find and listen to those podcasts.

The Animals

The breeding schedule for the cows is starting. We are still working out the details of learning how to do artificial insemination. That project is currently delayed because we want to get “sexed” semen. I have no idea how they do it, but they have narrowed the likelihood of having bulls with “sexed” semen. It worked with Butter. We bought her just 11 days before she calved and she had been artificially inseminated with “sexed” semen. It worked. She had a lovely heifer.

We really need some Normande heifers. The problem is the supplier for the Normande semen tells us it may be several weeks before we can get what we are looking for, hence, Butter is going to be bred with the Normande bull that we have on hand. It is important that we have calves in late March to early April so milk for herd shares and cheesemaking is available well before the first week of May. Who knows, maybe she will have another lovely little heifer. With the others we will take no chances.

The sheep and goats are all healthy and lively. With the storm I was worried about trees falling on them and injuring them, but all are safe and sound.

The quail, born just 7 weeks ago have started laying eggs. We tried some yesterday. They were delicious. It takes 4 quail eggs to make one chicken egg sized portion. Additionally, we have scheduled thinning out the roosters. There are three cages full of quail. About half in each cage are male. We will thin that down to one rooster to five hens. At least that is the end goal. We shall see how close we get to that number.

In a few weeks I will begin gathering their eggs over a weeks’ time in preparation for incubating the second batch. Likely the second batch will fill out our breeding stock. Six sets of six birds. Again, one rooster and five hens in each of six cages. So far it has been easy.

We lost one bird to a snake a week or so ago. I think I forgot to mention that. It was necessary for me to enlist Scott’s excellent help to get that snake out of the cage. A small black snake was in one of the cages and one of the birds was dead. I have no idea how it killed the bird. There was no way it was going to be able to eat it. Anyway, Scott grabbed it with some pruning shears, pulled it out of the cage and – snip – that was the end of that snake. Normally we would leave a black snake alone as they eat mice and a relatively harmless. However, this one was small enough to get in the cage. He had to go. Earlier, a much larger one was perched on one of the braces at the back of the cage. He got relocated and we haven’t seen him since. His head and body were far too wide to get through the ½” hardware cloth cage.

I’m excited to see how this quail project progresses. It’s a new adventure and so far has been a really fun one. They didn’t seem to be affected at all by that storm. Scott did a great job on their shelters.

The Garden and Orchard

The garden is producing peas. The potatoes have been dug. The early onions are ready. The tomato plants are loading up. We are going to do very well there, I think.

The dried beans are blooming and producing lots of bean pods. Those we will let grow and grow and then leave them on the plant until they dry out. That comes much later.

The Mississippi Silver cow peas are coming along nicely. We eat those before they are dry. If you are not familiar, they are like black eyed peas without the eye – an little more rounded. Black eyed peas are somewhat oval. Anyway, we pick those after the peas have formed in the pod but before they dry out. We also pick a few that do not have the peas filled in. Those get snapped and put in with the shelled peas. It’s a wonderful dish.

We are getting blueberries out of the orchard and the blackberries will be ready in a week or so. Yum, yum. I’m going to can both the blueberries and blackberries. I’m going to try my hand at making pie filling. It will be so handy to be able to pull out a jar and pour it into the pie shell and toss it into the oven. Your mouth is probably watering right now. I know mine is.

The Creamery

Finally, the update on the creamery. With all of this craziness going on, Scott has been hard pressed to make any progress there. But he is persistent and the walls are rising.

He also makes cheese once a week, as do I. It’s a lot to fit into our days and weeks, but we make it happen.

It’s as great life. Busy, busy, busy all the time. No time for boredom. No time for getting caught up in social media scandals or endless watching of television. It took us three days to watch the movie Sherlock – the one with Robert Downy Jr and Jude Law. An hour – sometimes less – and we are off to sleep.

No Recipe This Week

I apologize for not providing a recipe this week. Due to the issues we are currently having with internet access, I have opted to leave that part out of this week’s episode. It requires an additional hour and a half of internet time when our high-speed connection is functioning. As I mentioned earlier, my plan is to only impose a little on my neighbor for uploading the completed project. The hours and hours of prework will be done at a public Wi-Fi location. Wish me luck.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for this week’s adventures on the homestead. Next week all will return to normal, right? Not likely. I’m sure there will be some new adventure that will arise. As I’ve said many times, we never get bored here. Life comes at us fast and furious sometimes as we kayak this river. We just move along with the current and try not to get too battered by the rocks in the rapids.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

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Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind

Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind

peaceful heart peaceful mindIs a peaceful heart and peaceful mind possible in this wacky world? I’m waxing philosophical today. I hope you find this podcast educational and entertaining at the very least.

As always, I want to take a minute and say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I truly appreciate you all so much.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind
  • Parmesan Peas

Homestead Life Updates

Herd Shares – When you purchase part of our herd you will benefit from fresh milk and yogurt in the summer with cheese and butter available year-round. Your cows graze each and every day on lush green pasture and freshly baled hay in the winter. They live a life a peace and tranquility in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Plan a trip to the farm to visit them and see how we care for and manage them. Go to www.peacefulheartfarm.com/virginia-herd-shares for more information.

We have only three lambs this year. Speak up now and claim a half or a whole or forever hold your peace. Well at least until next year.  

Same with the beef. This may be your last chance for beef raise on our homestead. We are streamlining our cattle operation to be strictly dairy. In the future, you’ll have to purchase a young calf and raise it up for beef on your own.

Choices, choices, choices. We are constantly faced with hard choices these days.

Should we get more Jersey cows or stick with the Normandes? New opportunities seem to continually present themselves. I’m leaning more towards sticking with the Normandes. Sure, Butter, the Jersey, is giving more milk, but we can breed for higher milk production. It is the temperament of the Normande that is so compelling. And the dual milk/beef characteristics. We have the option of selling every single calf we birth on the farm. But we can also keep one as needed for our own use as beef. Normande beef is superb. Yeah, I’m leaning toward keeping the Normandes central and the two Jersey girls will be the cream on top. (That’s a dairy pun.) Corny, I know.

Choices again. As we move forward at the farmer’s market, the interest in lamb is increasing. That’s another dilemma. I only have so much time in a day. At this point, my days are consumed with milking, making cheese and marketing milk and cheese. Scott and I have discussed significantly reducing the other animal populations. Specifically, the goats and sheep. It’s another task in my already overcrowded schedule to market those specialty meats. Who knew we would be faced with these kinds of choices? We love all of our animals. However, I have 10 lambs to sell next year. Will I have the time to do it effectively? Or will we fall into the trap that so many other small farmers do? Will we end up selling them at a loss just to make room for more that get sold at a loss again? Not likely. We are aware of the dilemma and are addressing it. But there it is. The choice is always before us of what we do with our time.

How much garden is the right amount of garden? If I don’t have a garden at all, then I must spend money at the market to make up the difference. Part of the choice of living the homestead life is the simplicity and living on less. It becomes like drinking water, a necessary part of your life. Else you go back to the rat race of spending the hours you currently use to garden with working for someone else. Nah, I think I’ll pass on that. Yeah, the garden will likely endure.

Not much in the way of updates there. We continually have choices to make, but for right now we have Normande cows, goats, sheep, donkey’s and quail – and a very large garden and orchard. Those will remain as they are and we will power through. Oh yeah, we can’t forget the bees. But we do. They are going fine on their own. One day we will rob some honey. But not today.

I’ll bet you guys have similar choices. Should you move to the country and build a homestead or create peace in your life right where you are and visit us every chance you get? Either will bring peace to your life. It’s always your choice is it not?

Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind

How does one get a peaceful heart? That’s a deep subject. I’ve worked on it for years and I continue to work on it. Maintaining peace, both inner and outer, is a full-time job – a lifetime job. There are techniques that help. Different choices can be made that will help. Self-discipline with your thoughts and mind helps. There are lots of things that can be done.

Here at Peaceful Heart Farm, we are constantly reminded of the desire for peace because of our name. What you think about becomes your life. We think about peace a lot. Living in the environment we do helps also. But it is not required. Not everyone can live the life we do – or even desires to live as we do. Having peaceful surroundings is not a prerequisite for experiencing peace. I must say, for us, it certainly helps. Whenever you get tired of the rat race and just want to escape to the country, you might have to make plans, drive a certain distance, hope that it is as you remembered, and so on. For Scott and me it is a matter of waking up in the morning and going outside to do morning chores and we are immersed in it – for the most part. We have awakened to disasters – animals we love may be ill and die. We lost Dora earlier this year. That was not pleasant and it disturbed my peace. But we move on.

Technique and Practice

One technique that I believe helps more than any other is maintaining a positive attitude. Looking on the bright side is another way to put it. I know it sounds trite and it is. The reason it is trite is it is ancient wisdom that works remarkably well. The idea has been passed down through the ages. Maintaining a positive attitude has endured because it works.

With practice, it becomes more and more a daily routine. Something happens, you choose to the see the positive. I know, I know, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative. And truly there are some experiences that have no easily identifiable up-side. The loss of a loved one comes to mind. Sure, you can intellectually tell yourself over and over that they are in a better place. They are no longer in pain. The suffering is over and so on. But that does not take away the deep grief that grips your heart for quite a long time. But these are the exception to the rule. Most of our negative ideas about anything in our daily life are interpretations that we put on events. These interpretations are based on our beliefs, perception of the facts and past experiences. Yes. They are choices we are making. And you can get out of it.

A key phrase I put in there is “perception of the facts”. Likely you believe that facts are facts. (And there is truth in that.) Yet there is so much that we accept as fact that in reality is based in false perceptions. Our senses can fool us but we believe them anyway. It can become a kind of mind-reading that we believe to be fact. We make our belief that something is true into absolute knowledge that something is true. Confirmation bias is the common way of identifying the resulting misinformation.

Let’s say you are sure someone frowned at you because they don’t like you. Or you assume they are judging your weight, or your appearance, or your whatever. It is an illusion. One hundred percent of the time, it is an illusion. Truly, you have no idea what they think of you. In fact, they may not have even be truly aware of their surroundings and therefore are not thinking of you at all. Here’s an example.

Many years ago, I was standing in line at a grocery store. At the young age of 20 something, I had very little self-awareness. My thoughts ran wild and I lived in my own little world, often completely unaware of those around me. Surrounded by people, I would be in my own bubble of thoughts, floating along like a bit of flotsam on a river. Rolling along merrily without a care in the world – or at least completely unaware of what I cared about.

So, I’m in the grocery store checkout line and behind me a lady accidentally bumped into me. As a natural reaction, you would turn around, right? Just to see who it was. I turned around to look at her. I will never forget her reaction. She apologized profusely. Over and over she apologized. I frightened the bejesus out of her because of the look on my face. She said I looked so angry that she thought I was about to hit her. I apologized to her. To this day, I have no idea what I was thinking but it had absolutely nothing to do with her. Who knows what negative idea was roaming around in my head that day?

Two things came to my awareness from that experience. Number one, I saw that I needed to pay attention to my thoughts and how I displayed them on my face. Open anger at the world displayed in an unconscious manner was not how I wanted to live my life. It was not how I wanted others to know me. And number two, I began to wonder how many times I had assumed I knew what someone was thinking based on the expression on their face as they looked at me – or looked in my direction. What if they were not even looking at me but at someone else, or simply staring blindly in my direction. What if I was the farthest thing from their thoughts? How many times had I judged myself based on an inaccurate perception? And today, I recognize how self-centered that idea actually is. In reality, the most normal thing in the world is for every person to be spending so much thought energy on worrying about what someone else thinks of them to even consider making a judgement about what to think of the person in their field of vision.

One positive effect of that experience was that I purposefully trained myself to automatically smile at everyone I meet. It made an amazing difference in my life. I wanted to reflect to others that they are loved. No matter what they are thinking inside their very busy head. I wanted them to know that they are loved and that life is worth smiling about. Not everyone responds positively, but most do. Perhaps I made a small difference in their life. I can hope.

Personal Responsibility and Judgement

To make the transition to living a peaceful life, you have to stop thinking it’s somebody else’s fault. You have to stop thinking it is anyone else’s fault. There is no fault. Your life is a continuously playing video in your head. Whatever you think and believe shapes your reality. Think on something long enough and believe it hard enough and it becomes your reality. The good, the bad and the ugly. Take a care. The risks you take, the actions you perform, and your everyday experience of reality shape your life.

If you spend your time judging everything negatively, your life will continually reflect that negativity back to you. Here’s an example. A small one. Let’s say you are having a wonderful day. You are optimistic. Life is going along as you planned and you are content and peaceful. Now you stub your toe. Not enough to break anything, but hard enough to make you yelp. Perhaps you will take a moment to sit down and examine the damage. No blood, but perhaps a bruise will arise later. In this circumstance, the pain will dissipate fairly rapidly.

Now imagine you have that angry face that I just described. You are not even aware of the negativity that is boiling just under the surface. And you stub your toe in the same way. What is the result? Perhaps you start cursing to high heavens. Perhaps you scream loudly. You sit down and cradle your foot and begin to examine your toe. You howl and moan and curse because of the pain, your stupidity for not watching where you were going. Maybe someone left something in your path, you weren’t paying attention, and it caused you pain. But in your mind, it is the fault of the person who left it in your path. The pain, the wrath, the unhappiness, the negativity, the lack of peace can last a long time. Perhaps you feel a momentary jolt of happiness. Someone else did you wrong and that makes you right or righteous. But this is a very, very short-lived and fleeting experience. You may not even be aware of it, yet it is there. That brief experience – that split second of feeling good about yourself because you are better than someone else or they were wrong and you were right. Petty, egoic ideas that so often run wild in our minds.

That guy is fat. Her dress is rumpled. This other person is really stupid and slow and so on. He or she is a loser. Who left that tricycle in the walkway right where someone might trip on it? The more you make these kinds of judgements, the more you are going to separate yourself, the less peace you will have. And yes. You will feel good for an instant, a split second, because you’ll feel good about yourself. You will think, “I’m better than that” or “I’m better than them.” But later you are going to feel lonely. Later you are going to continue to see negativity everywhere. Your world is constantly reflecting your own negativity about yourself back at you. It is a never-ending cycle until YOU change. Not the other person. YOU.

Reality is neutral. Reality has no judgements. Reality simply is. To a tree or a chair or that door you stubbed your toe on, there is no concept of right or wrong. There is no good or bad. You are born. You embark on a journey of sensory experiences. There are lights, colors and sounds. And how you choose to interpret that is up to you. How you interpret them IS your life. You have that choice.

Happiness is a Choice

Peace and happiness are choices. Love is a choice. If you believe it’s a choice, then you can start working on it. You can affect your life. Life is peace because you choose to remain peaceful. Because reality is neutral, I can’t tell you how to find peace. It is your own conditionings, judgements and out of control thoughts that create the experience of unhappiness. You have to fix it for yourself.

Start with believing it is possible. Just because you are miserable today, does not mean that you must be miserable for the rest of your life. Perhaps you have dreams that seem out of reach. You may believe you will never get what you want in life. Sure enough. You will never get what you want in life. Your life will continually reflect that negativity back to you. “See, I knew I would never get that job,” you say. While all the while you unconsciously presented yourself as a loser to the interviewer. After all, in order for you to fulfill your vision of negativity, the pieces must be in place. On the other hand, if you went to the interview with confidence (even if you were faking it), your chances of landing the job just improved 10-fold or a 100-fold.

Let’s say you are looking for your dream property to live your idyllic life in the country. You have a specific budget in mind. There are specific activities you want to do on your homestead so infrastructure to support that ideal need to be in place. And then there are the optional things that you would like to have but they are not absolutely required. Once you have that idea in place, you set out on your journey to find the perfect place. You may look at fifty or a hundred or more properties. It’s easy to become discouraged. This one is the right price but no buildings. This one has buildings but they are not usable. The perfect one comes up and someone underbids you and steals it right out from under your nose. These things can lead to greater negativity and more feelings of “I’ll never get what I want.” The cards are stacked against me. And so on.

But you have to believe it’s possible. For much of my life, I was miserable and now I’m happy. I’m content. For the most part, I’m peaceful. And it’s not just the homestead. I got most of the way there before moving here permanently. I think that on the outside, it didn’t look like it. There were so many challenges. Listen to my podcast “Our Virginia Life” where I talk about the crazy path we took to get here.

Effecting Change

How did I develop greater peace before the homestead? One thing was getting older. I just realized that life is short the time to live is now. Each step toward my ideal is where peace and happiness exist and nowhere else. I can see the future when I reflect, but I don’t focus there exclusively else I miss the wonder of today.

Confucius has a great saying. “Every man has two lives and the second starts when he realizes he has just one.” It’s your unlimited desires that are clouding your peace and happiness. Have desires, of course. But be mindful of your life as it exists today. Marvel at it. Fill your mind with the wonder of this moment. Isn’t it truly amazing that you even made it this far?

Change is gradual. It’s ongoing. It’s very personal. You have to decide it’s a priority. In everything that happens you can look at the bright side of things. Literally train yourself to think positively. There are always at least two ways you can see everything. As I mentioned earlier, there are some things that create acute suffering. Let’s put those aside for the moment and focus on every day experiences.  You have the ability to slowly work through every negative judgement that you have until you see the positive in it. As you practice, it becomes second nature to you.

A Clear Mind. What’s That?

What you want to have is a clear mind. You want to let go of thoughts. Here’s an idea that you may not have noticed. Happy thoughts disappear out of your head automatically. It’s very easy to let go of them. On the other hand, negative thoughts linger. They play themselves out over and over and over. Normal daily experiences will trigger them and the record starts playing again. Over and over and over. We don’t let go.

When you develop the skill to interpret the positive in everything – and you learn to do it quickly, you let it go. You let it go quickly and easily and you are on to the next joyful and positive thought. How do you do that? The usual stuff you have likely heard throughout your life. Get out in the sun. Spend more time in nature. Learn to smile more. Learn to hug more. Create outward representations of happiness. These actions are feedback loops. You are literally choosing to experience happiness and your world reflects it. Reality still contains every single aspect of negativity also. All you have to do is look for it. Reality contains it all, but it is your mind that is judging it all.

Watch your mind. Watch your mind all day long as often as you think of it. Do not judge it. Do not try to control it. This is literally what it means to meditate 24/7. Watch your own thoughts like you would watch anything else in the outside world. Ask yourself, “why am I having that thought?” “Does that serve me anymore?” “Is that conditioning from when I was 10 years old?”

Beware of “why am I having that thought? Is there something wrong with me? Should I be thinking something else?” And so on. That’s not the same thing. That kind of thinking is a disease that keeps you from being happy. Let’s say your mind is just running and running, imagining what you are going to say to this person or that person when next you Meet. Perhaps you start rehearsing what you will say to that person – you may even rehearse speaking to them about how your mind is running on and on imagining what you are going to say to them. This is kind of thinking indicates a habitual thought pattern. You may think it is out of your control. It is not.

This line of thinking comes from the desire to sound smart. Not the desire to be smart. The desire to sound smart whether you know what you are talking about or not. It is a skill that was perfected at an earlier time in your life. That practiced skill hardwires you to always rehearse things to ensure you always sound smart. Literally, it’s a disease that keeps you from being happy. When you can see it – when you can realize that truth, when you understand it, your mind will naturally calm down. When you get there, you will stop rehearsing as much, though it will still be a trained habit. It will still clutter your mind from time to time. Keep at it. Note it. Be happy you noted it and it disappears.  

You don’t have to live out in the country on a lovely homestead to be peaceful and happy. I won’t deny it makes it much easier for me. It makes it much easier to maintain, though there are still many things that can disturb my peace. Scott and I chasing escaped goats comes to mind. We often disagree on the best approach to getting those guys back inside a fence. Afterwards, I choose to love him and he choose to love me – even though we both may have treated the other poorly during the crisis. Peace in our hearts is regained – re-established.

Maybe someday peace will never elude us. I don’t know. Would we be bored then?

Parmesan Peas

Peas are not exactly peace but close. Especially peas straight out of the garden. And don’t forget that wonderful cheese. You can use frozen peas if you need to. However, this time of year, fresh peas make all the difference in the world. Here’s what you need.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 small shallots, sliced 
  • 1-pound fresh peas, (14 oz bag of frozen, thawed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper to taste

What to Do:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of the salt and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the peas and remaining salt and cook until the peas are soft but still bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice and toss.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and black pepper. Serve hot.

That’s it. Let that flavor of fresh peas bring peace to your tongue and tummy.

Final Thoughts

Life is about choice. We choose happiness. We choose peace. We choose love. I hope my words helped you gained some insight into how you can add just a little more peace to your life. And you’ll certainly want to add those lovely fresh peas to your life. Visit us at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market. We have dairy not peas, but others will be there with their lovingly grown products. Visit us and visit them. We look forward to meeting you.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Parmesan Peas

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The Tradition of Father’s Day

The Tradition of Father’s Day

fathers dayThe Tradition of Father’s Day is the topic for today. It’s two weeks away for those of us here in the US.

But first, let me take a minute to say welcome to every new listener and welcome back to the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by to listen to the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week. And a fantastic recipe for grilling on Father’s Day.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Tradition of Father’s Day
  • Gourmet Chevon Burgers

Homestead Life Updates

Our homestead life is humming along. Yes, I’m still way behind on taming the weeds in the garden, the beans still need to be planted. And to top it off, harvesting is beginning. I’ve already picked green peas for shelling and snow peas. I froze four packages and had plenty left over for several meals. Now the shelling peas need to be picked again. This time there will be lots and lots and lots of them. I may freeze some and can some. We’ll see. Freezer space is at a premium right now. The potatoes are ready to be dug up and dried and I have plenty of spring onions available to add fresh to any dish.

Happy and good lamb news. We had a late arrival a few days ago. That brings our total to 10 lambs this year and zero loses. We’ve never had that kind of success rate. Mother nature usually has her way with at least one or two. We have been truly blessed this year.

The herd shares are going gangbusters. Only a couple of slots left there. And so many are interested in the cheese. During the summer we offer milk, yogurt, butter and cream, while winter will provide lots of cheese and butter. My schedule may change in that area due to the requests of the herd share owners. Many want the cheese now in lieu of the milk. Next month their wishes will become reality.

The quail are growing like crazy. Scott devised a way to alter their feeding trays so they don’t waste so much. That’s working out fine. The roosters are beginning to crow. It’s not a like a chicken at all. When I go and visit them and care for them, they are all standing in a row in front of the door looking out. They are so cute and funny.

Scott is moving along with the creamery walls. And that’s about it for the homestead updates. Let’s get to the topic of the day.

The Tradition of Father’s Day

Last month we looked at the tradition of Mother’s Day. Today we look at the tradition of Father’s Day. And more importantly, why children need fathers (or at the very least father-figures) in their lives. Today retailers and marketers, in an effort to make a quick buck, have completely changed the original meaning of Father’s Day. A holiday that was created to honor dad and enumerate his special qualities is now used as a marketing tool. Such is the way of life in our very affluent country.

Let’s take a look at the roots and history of Father’s Day.

The Religious Roots and Tradition

A customary day for the celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe is known to date back to at least the Middle Ages, and it is observed on March 19, as the feast day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini (“Nourisher of the Lord”) in Catholicism and “the putative father of Jesus” in southern European traditions. This celebration was brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese, and in many countries Father’s Day is still celebrated on March 19. The Catholic Church actively supported the custom of a celebration of fatherhood on St. Joseph’s day from either the last years of the 14th century or from the early 15th century.

The History of Father’s Day in the United States

Father’s Day was not celebrated in the US, outside Catholic traditions, until the 20th century. As a civic celebration in the US, it was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting.

There are two stories of when the first Father’s Day was celebrated in the United States. According to some accounts, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington state on June 19, 1910. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of honoring and celebrating her father while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church in 1909. She felt as though mothers were getting all the acclaim while fathers were equally deserving of a day of praise (Likely she would be displeased that Mother’s Day still gets the lion’s share of attention).

Sonora’s dad was quite a man. William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War, was left a widower when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He went on to raise the six children by himself on their small farm in Washington. To show her appreciation for all the hard work and love William gave to her and her siblings, Sonora thought there should be a day to pay homage to him and other dads like him. She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day, but due to some bad planning, the celebration in Spokane, Washington was deferred to the third Sunday in June.

The other story of the first Father’s Day in America happened all the way on the other side of the country in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the minister of the local Methodist church that they hold services to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.

While Father’s Day was celebrated locally in several communities across the country, unofficial support to make the celebration a national holiday began almost immediately. William Jennings Bryant was one of its staunchest proponents. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. But no official action was taken.

In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson, through an executive order, designated the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.

It took a while, but we got there. Fathers are celebrated in our country every year on the 3rd Sunday in June.

Father’s Day Around the World

Other countries also picked up on the idea of Father’s Day. It is, after all, quite profitable. While many followed suit by celebrating it on the third Sunday in June, some decided to honor dad on different dates. So, to make sure you know when to pay your respects to dear old dad wherever you may be, here’s a list of the two most prominent dates and associated countries where Father’s Day is celebrated around the world.

  • March 19– The religious celebration, is observed in Angola, Belgium, Bolivia, Croatia, Honduras, Italy, Lichtenstein, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.
  • Third Sunday in June– The US version, is also observed in Antigua, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

A few made the list twice. Once for the religious celebration and the second for the secular celebration.

Why Fathers are Important in a Child’s Life

This is a topic I’m very interested in these days. In a time where men are often demonized at every turn for the smallest infraction, I feel the need to reiterate the facts and truth of the importance of men and father’s in the family. It is my opinion that way too many children are born today without a father’s loving presence. It has become common place for modern feminists to think they can “do it all” and they don’t need a man. It may be the biggest lie being perpetrated out there. I’ve spoken of this before and likely will again. It is detrimental to the health of women, their children and their relationships with the loving fathers of their children.

It’s simply ridiculous to think that the full-time job of parenting and a full-time job providing financial income can be done at the same time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do both simultaneously and do them well. The reason there was a separation of a wife and husband’s duties was not to somehow suppress the intelligence and creativity of women. Nope. It was simply the best arrangement for the best outcome of family cohesion and stability. There was never anything stopping women from having careers. In fact, many did have careers. It was a choice then and is still a choice now to be a wife and mother. And in today’s environment, having a career is still quite feasible after the little ones reach their teens and begin experimenting with adulthood. Moms will sometimes have lots more time to pursue whatever they desire.

The children are raised by someone else and jobs often become drudgery for working mothers today. According to an article a few years ago in the Huffington Post, woman are unhappier today than ever before. It’s no wonder. We have to make choices. No one can “do it all”. We all make choices. And sometimes the choice is simply a matter of timing. Kids now, career later. Do it all in a linear fashion as opposed to lumping it all into a limited 24-hour day.

The traditional family evolved over time and has sustained itself over time because it works. It works to ensure that society moves forward in an orderly fashion. Sure, there are all kinds of fancy family configurations in our world today and all have value. All families have value. Having said that, it does not change the scientifically proven fact that children do best in a stable household with both a father and a mother. The special family configurations seem to be getting all the attention these days, which is great. I’m just bringing a bit of attention back to our traditional family structure. It’s what this podcast is all about.

It is my opinion that the traditional family structure is being neglected and pushed aside. There are many reasons, but my current pet peeve is for the welfare state that encourages single motherhood and discourages fathers from being part of their children’s lives. Money and other resources are severely cut back if a man is present in the household. As I said, it encourages single motherhood. This makes the life of mother and children much more difficult than it would be with a man in the picture. But for many growing up in the second and third generation of welfare, they know no other life. They know no other way to survive. My heart goes out to them.

Anyone can father a child, but being a dad takes a lifetime. Fathers play a role in every child’s life that cannot be filled by others or state provided financial benefits. The role of the father can have a large impact on a child and help shape him or her into the person they become.

Fathers and Emotional Development

Fathers, just like mothers, are integral in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Traditionally, children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of physical and emotional security. Children naturally want to make their fathers proud. An involved father can promote inner strength and personal growth. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self-confidence. Fathers are important to your children’s emotional development.

Fathers Set the Bar for Relationships with Others

Fathers not only influence who we are inside, but how we have relationships with people as we grow. The way a father treats his child will influence what that child looks for in other people. Friends, lovers, and spouses will all be chosen based on how he or she perceived the meaning of the relationship with his or her father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how they relate to and interact with other people.

Fathers and Their Daughters

Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like. If a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to begin dating. If a father is strong and valiant, she will relate closely to men of the same character.

Fathers and Their Sons

Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys will model themselves after their father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up and mature by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same. When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world.

Enter social media and online father-figure personalities. Enter the gangs. Enter the unsavory characters that can lead naïve youngsters astray. Again, mothers need to be at home with their children and they need to have stable relationships with the father of their children. A two-parent household consisting of a man and a woman is the ideal situation. Fathers are just as important as mothers. The online community is filled with great people that can be role models. But why have a substitute? Why not continue the tradition that has worked for as long as there have been humans? Have we thought deeply about what we are leaving behind?

That online community is also filled with evil people who wish to do harm to others – often targeting children and young adults. The primary job of a parent, I would argue, is to protect our children – to keep them safe from harm. We need to be there for them. Fathers need to be there for them.

As you celebrate your father on the third Sunday of June, ask him to show you how to grill a delicious, grass-fed burger. Tell him you love him and how much you appreciate him.

Gourmet Grilled Chevon Burgers

This recipe calls for ground goat. It’s a great alternative to the same old hamburger. Goat, or chevon as it is widely known, is a staple red meat for much of the world outside the US. However, you can use whatever ground meat you prefer. The instructions call for using a cast iron skillet with lots of butter or oil. However, the grill works just as well.

What you Need

  • 1-pound goat burger, grass-fed is preferable
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, dried
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, dried
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter, divided

Instructions

  1. Place the goat-burger in a mixing bowl, add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and cumin. Mix well.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium to high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat, and sauté for about 2 minutes until nicely browned and caramelized.
  3. Add onions to burger mixture. Mix well. Shape into 4 patties.  In a cast iron skillet heat the remaining olive oil or butter over medium-to-high heat.
  4. Cook the patties in oil or butter until medium to medium-well, about 8 – 10 minutes on each side.

Notes

NOTE 1: Don’t skimp on the oil when using goat. Grass-fed chevon burger is very lean and needs the fat to help retain moisture and to prevent sticking.

NOTE 2: As an alternative, you can use your gas grill.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for today’s Peaceful Heart FarmCast. If you are keeping up with the activities on the homestead, let me know what questions you have about what we do and why.

As you move closer to the celebration of Father’s Day in a couple of weeks, why not contemplate why this structural tradition has been in place for as long as it has? And there is nothing better than smiling across the table at your dad while chomping on a delicious gourmet, grilled, grass-fed burger with all the trimmings.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Gourmet Grilled Chevon Burgers

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Why We Drink Raw Milk

Why We Drink Raw Milk

why we drink raw milkThe consumption of dairy products has been a mainstay for as long as mankind has been able to capture and milk animals of all kinds. Sheep, goats, cows, bison, water buffalo, donkeys and horses. All are still milked to this day. There may be others. These are the ones of which I am aware. I want to talk about this tradition that has helped our species thrive and develop over the centuries and millennia. 

But first, I want to take that blessed moment to say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to you veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the homestead every week. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on in our neck of the woods this week.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Why We Drink Raw Milk
  • Traditional Kefir Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

Oh my gosh, is it hot where you are? Whew!! We’ve been experiencing a real heat wave here. Temperatures that are normal for late July and August. Thank goodness that we will be back to normal for next week. Highs in the high 70’s and low 80’s. Today is great. The 90-degree days drained the energy right out of me. I expect that in the middle of summer. But come on, it’s still 3 weeks until the summer solstice.

Garden and Orchard

Speaking of draining energy. The garden is burning up. Well is would be if we weren’t diligently watering every day. The orchard too. And the weeds are still progressively taking over. This time of year I’m really pressed for time. Milking twice a day. Making cheese. Going to the Farmer’s Market and on and on. As I’ve said before, the garden gets pushed down the list of priorities.

This too shall change in the future. It takes a lot to get a business off the ground. Once we are more established, we can let up a little bit, I think.

Creamery

A little progress has been made on the creamery. It is still creeping along compared to the plan that Scott originally made, but it is what it is and we persevere. It’s the journey that is important. It’s the system that we are setting in place that is important. Goals come and go, but the system remains.

Animals

We still have a couple of baby bulls for sale. If you are looking to improve the beef and dairy genetics of your herd, the Normande cow is a good bet. Visit our website at www.peacefulheartfarm.com and go to the contact page and let us know of your interest. We also have a 1-year-old and a proven 2-year-old bull that are available. As we move to AI for our very small herd, we no longer need bulls. One less thing to keep up with.

We have our ground beef on sale $6.00 for one pound, $250 for 50 pounds and $500 for 100 pounds. We also have a few – very few – lambs available. Again, go to the website and let us know of your interest in a whole or half lamb. $380 for a whole lamb and $200 for a half. www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Alright that’s it for homestead updates. Let’s get on to the topic at hand.

Why We Drink Raw Milk

I’m going to talk about why we consume dairy products; the benefits. Our dairy products come straight from our grass-fed cows with no alteration from their live state. It’s all about the nutrition. Traditional foods raised using traditional methods produces that traditional robust health of days gone by. I’ll get to the specific health benefits in a moment.

If you’ve been told that drinking raw milk is dangerous, you’ll be surprised to know that you’ve been misled.  The truth about raw milk? An extensive look into research and claims made by the FDA and CDC related to raw milk being dangerous have been found to be completely unwarranted. It actually benefits your body in many ways, and although it might have earned a reputation among some for being dangerous, you shouldn’t miss out on all this amazing superfood has to offer because raw milk benefits are truly impressive.

What is “raw milk” exactly? It’s milk that comes from grass-fed cows, is unpasteurized and unhomogenized. This means raw milk contains all of its natural enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals — making it what many refer to as a “complete food.” Eggs fall into the “complete food” category also. Everything needed for growth and health is contained in the package. No need for sterilization or added sugar.

But can’t raw milk cause problems due to the risk of consuming bacteria? The risk of this happening is very, very low. In fact, according to medical researcher Dr. Ted Beals, M.D., you are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk. Reference in the show notes. You can get sick from consuming any food. Your risk of illness from raw milk is quite small. The CDC reports that there are an estimated 48 million foodborne illnesses diagnosed each year. Yes, your heard that right. 48 million. Of these 48 million illnesses, only about 42 (about 0.0005 percent!) each year are due to consumption of fresh, unprocessed (raw) milk.

Dr. Chris Kesser did a thorough investigation to get the true impact of raw milk illness and death (as the CDC makes it sound inevitable). He found that your chances of becoming hospitalized from a bacterial illness caused by raw milk is three times less than your chance of dying in a plane crash.

The statistics indicate that most accusations and concerns over raw milk have been overstated, and because of that its health benefits remain underrated. Raw milk benefits are numerous and can help address a large number of nutritional deficiencies that millions of people, especially those eating the standard American diet, are currently experiencing. For instance, raw milk benefits allergies and skin, all while containing beneficial nutrients available in a living product.

Five Benefits of Raw Milk

1. Reduces Allergies

Studies now suggest that children who drink raw milk are 50 percent less likely to develop allergies and 41 percent less likely to develop asthma compared to children who don’t. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology involved 8,000 children with various diets, and one of the conclusions that researchers made was that by drinking raw milk, children experienced “naturally immunizing” effects.

As documented on the Real Milk.com website, many other studies carried out over the past century have shown that raw milk benefits and supports children’s growth and development in other ways too. Examples are: increased immunity against infections, dental health boosted and support for skeletal growth. Again, reference in the show notes.

You might be wondering: How can raw milk reduce allergies, and isn’t dairy tied to high rates of intolerance or sensitivities? Nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D and immunoglobulins (antibodies) found in raw milk naturally boost the immune system and reduce the risk of allergies in both children and adults. Enzymes found in raw milk help with digestion but are often reduced or destroyed during pasteurization. Without those enzymes, lactose intolerance is much more likely.

2. Helps Improve Skin Health

Dairy might have a bad reputation when it comes to causing or worsening acne and skin inflammation, but this is far from the case with raw milk. As I’ve said, the benefits of raw milk are numerous, but surprisingly one of the most common reasons that people consume it is to benefit their skin. The success stories of people consuming raw milk to improve conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne are very widely reported.

Raw milk benefits the skin for the following reasons:

  • It contains healthy fats: Because raw milk contains large amounts of healthy saturated fats and omega-3 fats, it supports skin hydration. 
  • It supplies probiotics: Probiotics in raw milk can kill off or balance bad bacteria in your gut, which can dramatically affect the health of your skin. Research shows that inflammation and unbalanced gut flora contribute to skin issues such as acne and eczema.

3. Helps Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies 

According to the USDA, nearly 300 calories a day in the average American’s diet (out of a total 2,076 calories) can be attributed to added sugars or sweeteners. In comparison, nutrient-rich foods like raw dairy, fruits and vegetables only contribute about 424 calories.

One serving of raw milk contains about 400 milligrams of calcium, 50 milligrams of magnesium and 500 milligrams of potassium. These minerals are vitally important for cellular function, hydration, building bone density, blood circulation, detoxification, muscle health and metabolism.

4. Can Be Used to Make Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are microorganisms that line your gut and support nutrient absorption. They also help protect you from foreign invaders like E. coli and parasites. The best way to include probiotics in your diet is to get them in their most natural state, which includes raw milk products, such as cheese, kefir and yogurt. Real, raw and organic probiotic yogurt, cheeses and kefir have been consumed by some of the healthiest populations living around the world for thousands of years. Some disorders probiotic foods are known to help with include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Skin infections
  • Weakened immune system
  • Urinary track infections
  • Vaginal yeast infection

5. Doesn’t Contain Added Sugar or Synthetic Ingredients

In addition to pasteurization, conventional milk also usually undergoes a homogenization process. Homogenization is a high-pressure process that breaks down fat into tiny particles — however, fat subjected to high heat and pressure becomes oxidized and rancid. Many low-fat dairy products also have thickening agents added to make up for lost texture. Raw milk needs no added thickeners or shelf-stabilizers and also doesn’t contain added sugar or flavors.

Most foods have some levels of natural sugar, including raw dairy, which has the type called lactose. The natural sugar in dairy is balanced with other nutrients and therefore not a concern (even healthy for you in moderation).

Raw Milk Nutrition Facts

Raw milk is truly one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world and has a nutritional profile unlike any other food. I understand if you’ve been cautious in the past about drinking raw milk because of all the negative media it might have earned. Let me help ease your mind. As a species we have been drinking this luscious, delectable beverage for thousands upon thousands of years. Today more and more people are drinking raw milk. We are slowly getting back to wholesome, unadulterated food that has served us for millennia. Over 10 million Americans now drink raw milk on a regular basis. They do so because of the benefits which include:

  • Healthier skin, hair and nails
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Stronger immune system
  • Reduced allergies
  • Increased bone density
  • Neurological support
  • Weight loss
  • Help building lean muscle mass
  • Better digestion

What exactly makes raw milk such an incredible superfood? Let’s take a look at its unique nutritional profile, and it will become clear.

Raw Milk Benefits: Nutritional Profile of Raw Milk

Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D and K2

Because raw milk comes from cows or goats grazing on grass, research studies have shown that it contains a higher level of heart-healthy, fat-soluble vitamins than milk that comes from factory-farm cows. These vitamins support the brain and nervous system and are crucial for development, focus and brain function. Fat-soluble vitamins also support bone density and help naturally balance hormones.

Short Chain Fatty Acids, CLA and Omega-3s

In addition to being high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, raw milk from grass-fed animals is a rich source of butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that’s widely known to control health issues related to inflammation, slow metabolism and stress resistance. Additionally, raw, grass-fed milk is packed with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has been tied to cancer prevention, healthier cholesterol levels and can even help reduce body fat.

Essential Minerals and Electrolytes: Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium

Raw milk is one of the highest sources of minerals and electrolytes, of which many people need more.

Whey Protein and Immunoglobulins

By far, the best-tasting curds and whey protein come from our raw milk. CHEESE. Also, whey protein is fantastic for anyone who’s looking to burn fat and build or retain lean muscle. Whey is high in the following enzymes: alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin and immunoglobulin.

Probiotics: Kefir, Cheese and Yogurt

Probiotics are only found in small amounts in raw milk, but when you ferment raw milk to make foods like kefir, yogurt or cheese, the good bacteria dramatically increase. In fact, there are no other foods in the world as naturally high in probiotics as cultured dairy products.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to raw milk benefits.

Raw Milk Benefits vs. Conventional Milk

Let’s compare. Dairy products have gotten a bad rap over the years, but this is actually mostly due to the pasteurization process. When milk is pasteurized, it destroys many of the nutrients that make raw milk beneficial. Why is pasteurization even performed in the first place then? Because it exposes milk to very high temperatures, it can also kill harmful bacteria that are possibly able to make their way into the milk. However, as I mentioned before, it’s very rare for these types of bacteria to be found in milk to begin with. There are other options to ensure the bad bacteria doesn’t get into the milk in the first place.

Key nutrients and enzymes are greatly reduced during the pasteurization process. If you consider the fact that many of these nutrients are not only reduced, but altered from their original states, you can understand that some of these nutrients are completely unavailable for your body to use and can be very difficult to digest for many people.

Allergies and lactose intolerance are higher with pasteurization as well. Another major negative of pasteurization is that it destroys the digestive enzymes needed to break down and absorb certain nutrients. In the previously mentioned study, researchers found lactase (the enzyme in dairy) levels are greatly reduced with pasteurization, which is one explanation as to why so many people are lactose-intolerant. A survey conducted by the Weston A. Price Foundation found that of 700 families interviewed, amazingly about 80 percent of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance stopped having symptoms when they switched to raw milk.

Raw Milk Nutrients

To put things into perspective, according to medical studies, the following nutrients in raw milk are 100% fully active and during pasteurization they are altered or destroyed:

Vitamin A, 35% reduction; Vitamin C, 25-77% reduction; Vitamin E, 14% reduction; Iron 66% reduction; Zinc, 70% reduction; B-Complex Vitamins, 38% reduction; Calcium, 21% reduction; Enzymes, 100% destroyed; Immunoglobulins, damaged; Whey Protein, denatured.

Again, all of these nutrients are 100% active in raw, unpasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk is a lesser product. As I mentioned earlier, they end up adding stuff to a product that was perfect before pasteurization – unless contaminated by careless practices.

Our Herd Share Program

Want to have the freedom to consume raw milk? Join our herd share program. Own part of our cow herd and enjoy the benefits that we do every day. During the summer we have fresh milk, yogurt, butter and sometimes a bit of cream, while in the winter we have aged cheese and more butter.

The way it works is that you buy into our herd of dairy cows. We will care for them for you and we will gather the milk benefits for you. We will even process those benefits into fermented products such as yogurt and cheese. For a full share in the herd it is $60.00. A half share is $30.00 and you can also choose multiple shares. One and a half is $90. Two is $120.00 and so on. Once you own part of the herd, you simply pay us a maintenance and service/processing fee on a monthly basis. A full share is $44.00 per month, a half is $22.00 per month, 1 and a half is $66.00 per month, 2 shares is $88.00 per month and so on.

What you can expect to receive from your cows is milk, yogurt, cheese, and sometimes butter and cream. Every week I will let you know what is available and you choose how you want to receive it. Choose 1 item from the full share list or two items from the half share list.

We milk the cows seasonally which means your cows will provide you with milk and yogurt from the first week of May through the last week of October on a weekly basis. For the other six months we will continue to store and manage your cheese and butter. You can pick up your share twice monthly at the Farmer’s Market in Wytheville or from the farm.

That’s it. For more information, go to www.peacefulheartfarm.com/virginia-herd-shares. And feel free to call or email me with your questions.

How to Make Traditional Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt that is made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. The drink originated in the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Russia, where it is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains. These instructions will be for cow’s milk kefir.

Milk kefir is not only easy to make, it is a delicious, probiotic-rich, versatile beverage your whole family can enjoy. This recipe uses the direct starter culture. You will not have to maintain kefir grains. Perhaps you can learn that a little later.

What You Need

Equipment:

  • Glass or plastic container
  • Plastic, wood, or stainless-steel stirring utensil
  • Coffee filter or cloth
  • Rubber band to secure the cover

Ingredients:

  • 1-quart raw cow milk (Needs to be very fresh. Don’t wait as the competition between beneficial bacteria is quite fierce. 😊)
  • 1-packet of Direct-Set Kefir Starter Culture (Google it to find a source you like. Remember “starter” culture, not kefir grains.)

What To Do

  1. Pour 1-quart milk into a glass or plastic container
  2. If milk is refrigerated liquid, heat to room temperature or 70º-75ºF
  3. Add 1 packet kefir starter culture and stir gently until the culture is fully dissolved.
  4. Cover the container with a coffee filter or cloth, secured with a rubber band, and place in a warm spot, 72º-74ºF, for 12-16 hours.
  5. Cover finished kefir with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator.
  6. The culturing process is complete when the milk thickens to the consistency of buttermilk or heavy cream.

Notes:

RECULTURING THE KEFIR

Kefir made with a direct-set style starter culture can often be re-cultured anywhere from 2 to 7 times. The exact number of successive batches will depend on the freshness of the kefir and hygienic practices employed. Be sure to re-culture within 7 days. Longer periods between batches may not result in successful batches.

  1. Pour 1-quart milk into a glass or plastic container
  2. If using a refrigerated kefir, heat to room temperature or 70º-75ºF
  3. Add ¼ cup prepared kefir from the previous batch and stir gently.
  4. Cover the container with a coffee filter or cloth, secured with a rubber band, and place in a warm spot, 72º-74ºF, for 12-16 hours.
  5. Cover finished kefir with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator.

You now have a healthy probiotic drink. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

The homestead keeps on keeping on. Things are moving so quickly these days. There are not enough hours in the day to do all the tasks that need doing. Every once in a while, we stop and “smell the roses” so-to-speak. It’s up to us to make that happen. When you have your own homestead, you are fully in charge of your life. It’s a wonderful thing.

We love our milk. It is produced from cows that have been grass-fed and raised in humane conditions. We drink our milk unpasteurized and it retains all of its natural nutrients and benefits.

Raw milk benefits include improved immunity, healthier skin, reduced allergies, healthier growth and development, lower risk for nutrient deficiencies, and much more. Your mileage may vary.

Real milk has been consumed safely for many centuries. We have a limited number of herd shares available. If you want the benefits I’ve described here, see me at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market or come to the farm during our store hours and talk with me about your needs and the needs of your family. 

You can use your wonderful milk to make that kefir and provide even more healthy benefits to your family.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

References

Recipe Link

Traditional Kefir

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What is A2A2 Milk

What is A2A2 Milk

what is a2a2 milkYou have heard me talk about A2A2 milk. Some of you may not know what that means. You may wonder if it really matters to you and your family. I’m going to fill you in on some of that information today.

First let me say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to you veteran homestead loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week, a little bit about A2A2 milk and a great and tasty recipe. Let’s just jump right in.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • What is A2A2 Milk?
  • Ice Cream Base Recipe – with downloadable document with flavoring ideas

Homestead Life Updates

Cows

The cows are doing great. We have a new calf and the last one for a while. There is likely one more, but that cow is way behind the others. In fact, we are getting ready to breed some of them again in a few weeks. Cloud will deliver so late that she likely will not get bred back this year.

We are selling all of our bulls. We have six. Yes six. There is 2-year-old Sam. He is 95% Normande genetics and the sire of this year’s crop of calves. Then we have 1-year-old Ray’s Rocket – mostly we call him Rocket Man. Lastly is the group of newlings born this year. All four are for sale. Some are currently being negotiated for but I’ll put a link in the show notes to the Facebook page where all of their information can be found. If you are looking to improve the genetics of your herd, this is the bull for you.

Sheep/Goats

Lambert is so fat right now. He will be receiving his bottle twice daily until nearly all of the milk replacer is gone. Then I will switch him to once a day for a week or maybe two before weaning him completely off.

If you want to get a whole or half lamb, speak up now. It will be months yet before these are ready for your freezer. We have one lamb and/or 2 half lambs currently available.  A whole lamb yields 30 to 35 pounds, sometimes more of meat. Half lambs, half that. You can see the cuts that come on a whole or half lamb on our website. www.peacefulheartfarm.com/shop/lamb-package.

Orchard and Garden

There is always so much going on around here that a lot of stuff gets pushed back. Thinks like birthing, gathering and storing milk, making cheese, taking care of animals all have the highest priority. The garden and the orchard, not so much. My garden is still overrun with weeds, though I was able to dig out my carrots and surprisingly there are lots that beat the grass. Watering the garden does have a priority or it would all simply die. Other stuff slows down or stunts growth. The bottom line is we will still get a crop, but perhaps not as large as if we had gotten the weeds out and fertilized more often.

The peas are just such a crop. They are producing like mad and I will be picking them within the week, I think. Then they will have to be processed in some way. I’m scaring myself with all of that. There are just not enough hours in the week.

I still don’t even have everything planted. The green beans need to be put in the ground. The peanuts need to be replanted; I have no idea why not a single one sprouted. And the eggplant is going to wither away to nothing if I don’t get it out there in the garden.

Everything needs to be weeded. Everything needs to be fertilized.

Scott is diligently digging out the orchard from the waist high grass. It would be great if we could graze some of the animals in there, but they all eat the trees. We are still investigating how to get the sheep in their without having them raise up on their back legs as high as they can and eating all of the leaves off the branches they can reach. The goats are a complete disaster anywhere near the orchard or the berries. They will eat the bark off of the trees, killing them. And because they like to eat woody stemmed plants, they will decimate blackberry vines and blueberry bushes. No, we don’t want them anywhere near the orchard.

On the upside, they did a really great job of clearing out the wild blackberries on the island in the big pond. It is now quite pleasant to sit out there and enjoy being surrounded by water and nature.

Quail

We are newbies with the quail. It is unbelievable how quickly those quail grew. They outgrew their brooder box a good week before we had planned. Outside they went as we were having a warm spell. There were a couple of cool nights but these are wild birds and they faired very well. They are only barely over 2 weeks old and are fully feathered. The tiny birds that were barely the size of a gold ball are now the size of a baseball – perhaps even a softball. It’s amazing. They will begin laying eggs in as little as six weeks from now. Yum, yum, we look forward to it.

Four eggs are required to equal one chicken egg. Our plan is to have about 30 laying hens and 6 roosters for breeding. We will need to continually hatch out new ones as their lives are actually quite short and they only lay for a year or two.

Creamery

The creamery – ah the creamery. So much still to do there and Scott has so little time to do it. We really need that building completed. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are priorities. First the animals, then the perishable milk and cheese, then the garden and orchard. The creamery, as an inanimate object comes in last place. There are even maintenance projects that take precedence. Fences, driveways, pathways, other infrastructure – all has to be kept up to ensure the safety of our animals.

It’s a lot but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We work long hours every day – very long hours every day. Alarm goes off at 6:00 am and though 10:00 pm is bedtime, more often it is 11 or 11:30 before that happens. And every bit of it is worth it. There is never any lack of meaning in our lives. Boredom is something very distant in the past. The constant attention to the next task makes us know that we are alive in God’s wonderful creation.

One thing that evolved through nature is the composition of milk in cows. Recently, some of the genetic content and protein structure of milk has changed.

What is A2A2 Milk?

There is a great deal of scientific gobbledygook about the proteins and how they are broken down or not. I’ll try to keep this layman friendly and skip most of the mumbo-jumbo lingo. By the way, did you know that gobbledygook is an actual word that my spell-checker knew? Who knew? Well, my spellchecker knew.

A2 milk is cow’s milk that mostly lacks a form of beta-casein proteins called A1 and instead has mostly the A2 form.

A1 and A2 beta-casein are genetic variants of the beta-casein milk protein that differ by one amino acid. Casein is a family of related phosphoproteins. These proteins are commonly found in the milk of mammals, comprising about 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk and between 20% and 45% of the proteins in human milk. Sheep and buffalo milk have a higher casein content than other types of milk with human milk having a particularly low casein content. Casein has a wide variety of uses one of which is being a major component of cheese. We respect our casein.

A genetic test, developed by the a2 Milk Company, determines whether a cow produces A2 or A1 type protein in its milk. The test allows the company to certify milk producers as producing milk that does not metabolize to beta-casomorphin which is an opioid peptide or protein fragment derived from the digestion of the milk protein casein.

I know, I’m getting too scientific with the lingo there. All that means is that the chemical composition of A2A2 milk may benefit our health because it is digested without inflammation that might arise from BCM-7 produced by A1 beta-casein. Consequently, A1 proteins may be detrimental to our health. That causes great push back from the gigantic dairy industry as A2A2 genetics is rare in Europe (except France) and the US. That would really disrupt their operation if their milk was found to be harmful – while others had milk that was beneficial.

As with so many health-related topics, the science is divided on whether or not there is reason for concern regarding the A1 protein in milk – whether there are adverse health effects from its consumption. Personally, I’m erring on the side of caution, as I do with so many other foods. I’ll go with tradition as opposed to modern fads in nutrition. We are breeding our cows for the A2A2 genetic conformation.

And when I say modern fads in nutrition, I mean everything that came pouring out of the 20th century and that continues to pour out in the 21st century. I’m talking about three square meals a day, the food pyramid, and the modified food pyramid. I’m talking about low fat diets, vegan and vegetarian diets, the Mediterranean diet, the South Beach diet and so on. All of these so-called nutrition experts are literally experimenting with our health as human beings. We evolved over thousands and thousands and thousands of years eating locally grown food, whatever it was. Historically, in the tropics the diet was heavy in fruits, nuts and greens, in Alaska fat predominated. In other regions protein was the main source of dietary sustenance. You must find what works for you.

Which brings me back to A2A2 milk.

History

In the 1980s, some medical researchers began to explore whether some peptides (including peptides from casein) that are created during digestion might have negative or positive health effects.

Interest in the distinction between A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins in milk began in the early 1990s via epidemiological research and animal studies initially conducted by scientists in New Zealand. The scientists found correlations between the prevalence of milk with A1 beta-casein proteins in some countries and the prevalence of various chronic diseases. The research generated interest in the media, as well as among the scientific community and entrepreneurs. If it were indeed true that BCM-7 created by A1 beta-casein is harming humans, this would be an important public health issue.

Scientists believe the difference in genetics originated as a mutation that occurred between 5000 and 10,000 years ago—as cattle were being taken north into Europe with the mutation subsequently spreading widely throughout herds in the Western world through breeding.

The percentage of the A1 and A2 beta-casein protein varies between herds of cattle, and also between countries and provinces. While African and Asian cattle continue to produce only A2 beta-casein, the A1 version of the protein is common among cattle in the western world. The A1 beta-casein type is the most common type found in cow’s milk in Europe (excluding France where our Normandes with predominantly A2A2 genetics originate). It is also the most common type found in cow’s milk in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Let’s talk about the possible health benefits.

Health Benefits

Symptoms of stomach discomfort, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea that occur after consuming dairy products, are typically attributed to lactose intolerance. However, some researchers believe that it is BCM-7, not lactose, that affects digestion and produces symptoms similar to lactose intolerance, in some people.

A study on Chinese adults with self-reported milk intolerance compared the effects of drinking regular milk that contained A1 and A2 proteins with A2-only milk on intestinal function, stomach discomfort, and inflammation.

The participants consumed 8 oz of milk twice a day for 2 weeks. They reported worse stomach pain after they consumed the regular milk but no change in symptoms after they drank the A2 milk.

Participants also reported more frequent and looser-consistency stools while they drank the regular milk. These symptoms did not occur after they consumed the A2 milk.

So, what MIGHT be happening on the other side of the coin?

Potentially Harmful Effects of non A2A2 Milk

Notice the words “might and “potentially” there. I’m not making any claims here. Some of the effects can include:

Inflammation

In the same study mentioned above, researchers also looked at markers of inflammation in the blood. They found the participants had higher levels of inflammatory markers after they drank the regular milk.

Brain function

The research showed that milk could impact brain function. Study participants took longer to process information and made more errors on a test after drinking regular milk compared to A2 milk.

Type 1 diabetes

The potential risks associated with milk containing A1 proteins include an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Some studies have shown that children who drink cow’s milk protein at an earlier age than others have a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes. However, other studies have not shown the same association.

The research also suggests that the amount of milk a child consumes could influence their risk of developing type 1 diabetes, with higher milk consumption observed in children who develop the condition.

At least one study showed a link between the consumption of A1 protein and incidence of type 1 diabetes, although this kind of study fails to prove that it is a direct cause.

Some animal studies have shown associations between cow’s milk consumption and a higher incidence of type 1 diabetes. One study in mice found that 47 percent of the mice that had A1 protein added to their diet developed diabetes, while none that had A2 protein added did so.

However, other research does not support the hypothesis that there is any association between milk consumption and a higher incidence of type 1 diabetes. There are links in the show notes for both sides of this discussion. Debate about the potential health effects of A1 and A2 milk is ongoing.

Research suggests that A1 beta-casein causes adverse digestive symptoms in certain individuals. But the evidence is still too weak for any solid conclusions to be made about the supposed links between A1 beta-casein and other conditions, such as type 1 diabetes and autism.

That said, A2 milk could be worth a try if you struggle to digest regular milk.

There you have it. The basics to the why of A2A2 milk. I’ll let you decide. Again, we like to err on the side of caution. We have two A2A2 certified cows and will be testing the rest of the herd as we move forward with our dairy operation. Go to the show notes for the links to the research I referenced.

Speaking of milk, how about an ice cream recipe for your A2A2 milk and cream.

Ice Cream Base Recipe (Download Flavorings)

When it’s warm outside, a cold refreshing dish of ice cream can really hit the spot. This is a basic ice cream recipe that can be used as a base for many different flavors. I’ve included a download link to the flavorings.

This silky, luscious and very classic custard can be used as the base for any ice cream flavor you can dream up. These particular proportions of milk and cream to egg yolk will give you a thick but not sticky ice cream that feels decadent but not heavy. For something a little lighter, use more milk and less cream, as long as the dairy adds up to 3 cups. You can also cut down on egg yolks for a thinner base, but don’t go below three.

Time: 20 minutes plus several hours’ cooling, chilling and freezing

Yield: about 1 ½ pints

What You Need

  • 2cups heavy cream
  • 1cup whole milk
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Your choice of flavoring (download here)

What To Do

  1. In a small pot, simmer cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
  2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until needed.

Final Thoughts

I hope your days are filled with as much love and joy as you can stand. We love our lives here. Yes, we are busy beyond belief. Yes, it’s a little stressful sometimes. I just find it so fulfilling. From the time I was a child I was told to work hard for what I wanted. I was also told that I was too smart to not be college educated and have a career. So, no physical work. That was for those not smart enough to get out of that poor and decrepit existence. Funny isn’t it? In the end, educated to the max, I prefer the hard work. And indeed, some of it is smart brain work. But the best and most enjoyable part involves sweat.

Particularly, I love our cows and our dairy operation. Check out the references I provided for the research around A2 beta-casein. Then sign on to our herd share program with our A2A2 milk and value added products, go to www.peacefulheartfarm.com/virginia-herdshare. Read, ask questions, download the documents. We’d love to do business with you.

And as this Memorial Day weekend stretches into Monday, I hope you’ll try that ice cream recipe. There is nothing more traditional than everyone taking turns operating that crank on the ice cream machine. Well, we use the electric method. Likely you do too, but the principle is still the same. Enjoy your time with your family and friends.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, Subscribe and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

References

Recipe Link

Ice Cream Base

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a comment on our Facebook Page
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

To help the show:

Website

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Our Virginia Life

Our Virginia Life

Our Virginia LifeThis week I want to share our dream with all of you. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming the dream as well and just don’t think you can get there. Sometimes it takes time—a lot of time. But it is so worth it. I encourage you to start today.

Welcome new listeners. It’s so good to have you. And welcome back veteran homestead-loving regulars. Thank you for stopping by the farmcast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I’m super excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week and I’m super existed to share the history of our homestead dream with you.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Our Virginia Life
  • Greek Spiced Ground Meat with (optional) Yogurt or Sour Cream

Homestead Life Updates

Garden

Starting with the garden which seems to be at the end of our list of priorities at the moment. The strawberries are overwhelmed with wheat grass. I believe I mentioned that the straw we bought for mulch was full of seeds. I’ve never seen so much waste of wheat. Scott is working on that project today. The carrots are overrun with grass and weeds. I just looked at them. They seem to be holding their own for the moment. It will have to do until Tuesday. That is 3 days from now. Market is tomorrow. Church on Sunday and much needed rest in the afternoon. Cheesemaking on Monday. Hang in there, guys. I’ll save you. And the rest of the garden needs to be weeded and fertilized as well. I still need to get the green beans planted. The peanuts did not sprout and will need to be replanted. And the first harvests will be happening next week as well. I use flowers as pest control but I’m so far behind on my flower starts that the bugs may take over in June. Oh well, we do what we can and don’t sweat it. That’s not quite true is it? We will be sweating a lot come next week.

Cows

Cows are finally getting back into a routine. They really, really don’t like change. We added a new cow. We split up our girls and put one with Butter as a companion. Butter had a calf. All changes. The big one was we changed their feed. Once we changed their feed, all of a sudden the entire herd of Normandes no longer wanted to come into the milking shed and stick their head in the stanchion. I don’t mind so much the ones that we are not milking. But Claire and Buttercup are in milk and have to be milked twice a day. Anyway, we fooled them by putting a bit of sweet feed on top of their nutritional supplement and they are now eating it and getting better about coming into the shed without a lot of hassle. Still some work to do there, but we are making progress. We changed their dairy supplement from a garden variety from Southern States to a non-GMO, non-soy dairy supplement. It’s like a kid that is used to eating McDonald’s and then being switched to organic salad greens. They were pretty petulant. Butter is a different story. She will eat anything you put in front of her and beg for more.

Lambs and Goats

The lambs and goats are doing great. We couldn’t be more pleased with how this group of lambs is progressing. And the goats just keep on keeping on eating weeds and brush that the others won’t touch. They have cleaned up so much around here in the way of small trees that were sprouting, briars, wild blackberry bushes and so on. Good job!!

Creamery

The creamery project has been sitting idle for nearly two weeks. Scott had to fix the bush hog and then mow everything. He built the quail cages for when the little guys get out of the brooder and into their permanent digs. A load of gravel was delivered and he spent quite a bit of time spreading that in the places where erosion and mud was making our lives miserable. A day of digging a trench for drainage out of the milking shed took another day of his time. The days seems to slip by one after another. There is always so much to do and not enough hours in the day.

That update was pretty intense with listing our setbacks on timing. But you know what? We love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Our lives are filled with purpose and meaning. The geese are strutting around with their gaggles of goslings. The trees are leafing out. The garden is full of all kinds of plants. The calves are a joy to watch as they bask in the sun or galivant around their pasture. We have taken the moment to look at the stars at night in a while. But they are there, waiting for us to enjoy their magnificence.

Our Virginia Life

That brings me to today’s topic. Have you dreamed of living the homestead life? Do you think it is impossible? I want to give you inspiration and share a bit of our journey. It all started in the last century.

The Beginning . . .

Scott and I met in 1999 in western North Carolina. We were two people following similar paths who met and become life-long friends. We apprenticed together at a spiritual training center learning how to teach a meditation technique. This is where we reconnected to our hearts and desire to be close to the land. The dream of our homestead life was born.

During our training we dreamed of a sustainable farm and communal living. We wanted to raise good food as close to nature’s intended way as possible. We knew that experiencing loving relationships with others and soaking up nourishing nature would ultimately help us remember our kinship with God and creation. Two souls had found each other.

Our dream has changed and evolved over time. It continues to evolve. We just took a step and then another and another. Each step clarified our vision. Each step led to the next and sometimes our direction needed to change. So we changed. We continue to take steps and we continue to change.

The first step began 16 years ago and we still don’t have that creamery built. But we love our homestead life and all it brings us.

Buying Land Was the First Step

In the summer of 2003, we bought our first piece of land in southwest Virginia. We rented a mobile home nearby. At this point in our lives we had a great deal of debt: credit cards, school loans, taxes, and now a mortgage. We set out to pay everything off in full. We would have our farm — but we would have it debt-free. We both took on lucrative jobs in Information Technology as the electronic medical records industry kicked off.

Our jobs required extensive travel. We traveled all over the US and to a couple of European countries as well. Every other week we flew home to Virginia to visit our beautiful piece of land.

In 2005 we bought our own mobile home and moved it onto our land. And in the fall, our wedding ceremony took place at the homestead. It was so beautiful. Even though it was November the weather had permitted the leaves to change very slowly. And with very little wind this particular fall, there were many leaves still on the trees. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect time.

Learning to Produce Food

Our first experience with livestock was raising chickens in the summer of 2006.

The contract we had been working for a couple of years was done. I moved on to a different contract and continued traveling. Scott was done with traveling. He remained on the homestead and built a couple of chicken tractors ala Joel Salatin. He raised, and we processed, around 100 chickens. We ate a lot of them ourselves and gave a lot away to relatives and neighbors. This part of the journey was just a taste to get our feet wet.

Twists and Turns and . . . Texas?

Somewhere along that two-year time period we paid all of our debts in full. The next step along the path was making the money needed for infrastructure.

February 2007 Scott went back to work . . .  in Texas.

I was now traveling to various places around the country every week instead of every other week. I lived in hotels and airports with a too quick Saturday and Sunday at home with Scott. What a far cry from the peaceful life we envisioned. We persevered and dreamed on.

In 2008 we bought an additional 40 acres adjoining our property. We were in debt again. This time for more money than ever before. It’s a good thing that I got to walk around that property occasionally or I might have forgotten exactly why we went into debt again. The “why” had to do with dreaming bigger. We were learning about raising sheep. Still very much a dream at this point . . . we’re still living in Texas. The timeline to move permanently to the homestead kept getting longer. That can happen when you’re dreaming while making good coin.

The constant travel and living out of a suitcase got really old, really fast for me. It was fine when I was traveling with my best friend and awesome life partner. Doing it alone was torture. Within a year I was insisting that Scott get a job closer to home. If I was going to fly home every weekend, I wanted it to be Virginia — not Texas. Scott made it happen.

South Carolina is Closer Than Texas

From the fall of 2008 until December 31, 2016 Scott traveled 6 hours every Sunday evening to Beaufort, South Carolina. A guy by himself doesn’t need much and a travel trailer we purchased for the task was sufficient housing. Every Friday evening, he returned to the homestead in Virginia. Six hours again. He did it alone for the first year and a half. Then I got a job offer . . . just outside of Savannah, Georgia.

We moved the travel trailer to a park halfway between Savannah and Beaufort. It was an hour drive for me and 45 minutes for him. We were completely back together again as a couple.

Then in 2010 I got a job offer at the same hospital where Scott had been working for over two years. I jumped on that like a duck on a June bug. We moved the travel trailer to Beaufort and cut our work commute down to 20 minutes. As we were still driving 6 hours each way, we were actually able to leave a little earlier on Friday as Scott no longer drive backwards 45 minutes to pick me up. We only buying gas for one vehicle. These were small but important steps on our journey.

All of this unconventional living circumstance was worth the huge amount of stress that came with it. After all, we were now back together as a couple. That was great. We were at the homestead every single weekend. That was great. And it was only going to be for a couple of years . . .

Five years later and nearly 12 years into the process, I was stressed beyond my capacity to remain sane. I needed a nest. For the final two years of working in Beaufort, we rented an apartment. Moving from 100 square feet to over 1,000 square feet of living space was just enough nesting happiness to get me through it.

In the end, even that wasn’t enough and we decided to make the leap to full-time homesteaders. That was December 31, 2016. Over 13 years of tiny steps and a couple of giant steps.

Getting that creamery built is the focus of our lives right now. We are over 2 years into that process. The dream keeps going. The dream keeps moving forward.

From Chicken Tractors to Raw Milk Artisan Cheese

Let me back up a little bit and fill in some details of how we grew the farm during this period of time. How did we go from pasture raised chickens to artisan cheese? What the heck happened there? Well, we tried a few different things over the years. In order to succeed as a small homestead farmer, diversity is important. You don’t want to have all of your eggs in one basket. However, having a central core enterprise is also important. So one big basket and lots of smaller baskets was our ideal. This also supports our ideal of living a traditional life where every farming family raised much of their own food in addition to their main crop or livestock enterprise.

The weekend life allowed us to dabble a bit in a lot of areas. And we read a lot and studied a lot about many areas of interest. We did a lot of trial and error experiments on a small scale. There is so much that can be done on a homestead. Which was going to be the best fit for us? Like a lot of folks, we tried to do too many things at once. Having that central enterprise is the only way to make it.

Early on we were clear that raising the chickens in 2006 was a great learning exercise but not where our hearts were. Having them for eggs and meat for personal use, yes. But not as our central farm enterprise. In 2009 we put in fruit trees. That’s a long-term project that continues to stretch over many years. Also, for personal use at this point, though the orchard will provide a small income at a later date. You know. The date we actually have time to give it attention. 😊

In 2010 we bought a flock of sheep and a donkey as a guardian animal for them. Twelve pregnant ewes and a pregnant donkey. We proceeded along the lines of raising sheep and selling lamb as our centerpiece. We learned a lot over several years. At one point we had over 70 sheep. However, two things happened that prompted us to change our course yet again. An issue arose around raising and marketing lamb. One, we simply didn’t have the land to raise enough livestock to make it profitable – and two, in 2011 something big changed on the homestead. Love crept in, awakened and rapidly altered the farm dream.

I wanted to make my own butter and cheese and I loved drinking raw milk. I still can’t stand the taste of cooked milk. In 2011 we bought cows. With working toward homestead sustainability as part of our mission, we also wanted beef (and pork and chicken and rabbit). And after researching every cow breed under the sun, we settled on the Normande. It’s a dual breed cow. A prolific milk producer as well as producing well-marbled muscle perfectly suited for beef. For more details on these cows, give a listen to the Peaceful Heart FarmCast episode I dedicated to them.

Suffice it to say, I fell in love with these cows. We knew the lamb was not going to produce the income we desired without adding a lot more pasture. Another alternative arose out of the dream. We could build a creamery and make artisan and farmstead cheese. It just happened to coincide with my desire to have more of these cows in my life. To pay for it, how much longer are we going to have to work for someone else? Yes, that’s the decision that drove the planned two years of living in a travel trailer to a full seven years of craziness.

It was so worth it.

Peaceful Heart Farm Creamery is Born

Finally, I’ve gotten to the part of the story where the creamery comes in. It has been a wild and varied journey getting here. But this is the one. We are investing all of our time and energy into becoming a local cheese resource for our community. We will use traditional cheese making techniques to develop our local cheeses. I have two recipes that meet my expectations regarding the product I want to sell . . .  and I have two others that are currently in development. One is failing miserably. Fear not! I will prevail. We are going to produce the best cheddar cheese that Virginia has ever seen! With a slight tweak on the salt, I’m expecting my alpine-style cheese to be a winner this year as well.

The creamery still has a long way to go before passing state inspection. I’ve got a little time to get the cheese right. In the meantime, I’m getting to know you and getting some really good traditional cooking information together for you. If you are buying local food, it pays to know how to prepare it well.

The latest change is the addition of the herdshare program. We became aware of this need some time ago for offering herdshares to our fellow Virginians. Not everyone wants to live this life but they want the benefit of the great food that it produces. One of those great foods is milk from pasture-raised cows. If you’ve been following me, you’ve heard me talk about this before. You can own a piece of a grassfed dairy herd. We provide the land, animals and labor so you don’t have to do that part.

We purchased a lovely Jersey cow from a fellow Farmer’s Market vendor. She has had her calf and is now producing wonderful A2A2 milk. We are offering milk and/or yogurt (full fat or low fat with honey) during the summer months, May through October. November through April cheese and butter will come out of the herdshare. During times of abundance in the summer you may find yourself with a little extra product. Your herd sometimes produces a LOT of milk. And at other times not so much.

What Else?

At some point we added cashmere goats to our livestock. I’m a big knitter and dream of using only 100% cashmere. More and more my skepticism that I will ever reach that goal increases. You can only do so much! For now, they keep our pastures clear of brambles and provide us with some really great nutrition. But their days are numbered. You remember what I talked about earlier? There are only so many hours in a day. So, dream big but keep in mind that at some point, likely you will have to trim it back a little.

At the present time on the homestead, the only food we don’t produce is eggs (and coffee). That situation will be rectified in the next few months. I believe I’ve mentioned before that Scott doesn’t have the time to invest in building elaborate chicken housing and protection. His priority is getting that creamery functional. Instead, we’ve opted for quail. This is 99% my project. Scott will build a couple of cages that will likely take no more than a day or two to complete. The rest is all on me.

With the addition of the quail, all of our food will now be produced on the homestead. We spend hours and hours working, sweating and loving every minute of our life.

We are meeting new people just like you at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market. Come see us on Saturdays 8am to 12 noon. Taste our grass-fed beef, lamb, and goat. Talk to us about your interest in a herdshare and taste our yogurt. There are lots of other great vendors there as well. And remember, you can come directly to the farm on Tuesday mornings 10am to 12 noon or Saturday afternoons from 3pm to 5pm. Call for directions. We’d love to help you get here.

Greek Seasoned Ground Meat Medley with (optional) Yogurt or Sour Cream

This recipe is for my Keto and carnivore friends and listeners. If you have a traditional, diversified farm with all kinds of ruminant animals, this recipe is for you. Or if you are shopping at your local farmer’s market for a variety of grass-fed meats, this recipe is for you. It calls for one pound each of beef, lamb and chev or goat, but you can use any combination of these meats. Or you could divide the ingredients by three and only use 1 lb.

What You Need

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground chev (goat)
  • 3 tablespoon butter

Spice Mix

  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons salt (less is fine)
  • 3 teaspoons ground pepper
  • ¾ cup water

What To Do

  1. Brown ground meats until fully cooked
  2. Drain pan drippings and add butter (this is actually optional but worth it)
  3. Mix in spices and water
  4. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes
  5. Serve with yogurt or sour cream

Final Thoughts

I hope you found some inspiration to follow your dreams whatever they may be. By continually putting one foot in front of the other, you will get there. Keep the vision in front of you and keep plugging away. Start as small as you need to and build a little each day. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or what route you follow. It really doesn’t. It is all about the journey. You will never reach your destination because there is always another dream in the making. It’s all about the journey and living each day to the fullest. Go for it!

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, we’d really love it if you shared it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Greek Seasoned Ground Meat Medley with (optional) Yogurt or Sour Cream

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