Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 7-21-2021

Hello beautiful peeps,

The green beans are coming in right now. I’ll have some at the farmer’s markets. Stop by and see me.

Advanced warning, farm updates are a bit of a bummer this week.  

Sheep and Goats

The goats are all gone now. We decided to go ahead and process all of them and move more swiftly toward building a new herd of Kiko goats.

The Kiko is a lovely goat were developed in New Zealand. They are very hardy, have parasite resistance (that’s a big deal for all ovine species) and require very little hoof maintenance (that’s a big deal for me.)

We made an appointment at the butcher for our last five cashmere goats but ended with only four. We really, really need a good experienced livestock guardian dog. They are really hard to find. Sometime on Saturday we lost four sheep and one goat to a dog attack. We lost a fifth sheep who was injured so badly we sent her to the processor in lieu of the goat. Please come and see me and let me know of any dogs that may be available.

I was literally stunned by this latest attack on our livestock. We have been raising these animals for 10 years and have never suffered these kinds of losses. In March of this year we had 21 sheep and lambs. Today we have four. It’s devastating for us financially. And it is devastating to my emotions. It has invoked a strong anxiety in me that we will never be able to safely keep these animals and we love them so much. Additionally, we calculated sheep and goats to be 25% of our business income. Will we have to completely rethink our business plan? NO! We need a dog or two or three.

We think it may be a neighbor’s dog that is attacking our livestock but we don’t really know. We are certain that it is a couple of dogs and not coyotes this time. We have the last four sheep in the front pasture and hope that will keep them safe until we can get a dog to protect them. Enough of that downer stuff.

Cows 

The cows are all doing very well. Virginia and Perrin are completely healed from their bout with pink eye. The flies appear to be under control and we will be staying on top of that situation for the rest of the summer.

I am so excited that there are still no signs of any of the cowgirls coming into heat again after their initial AI experience. We have been watching closely and everything looks good right now. That would mean 100% success on the first try. It also means we will have six calves born within days of each other. That could be tricky. 

Violet is nearing her time to come back into heat after giving birth. It should happen in the next few days. The AI tech is on standby to rush out here to administer her AI. She won’t have her calf with the rest of the girls, but we want her delivery date to be much closer next year than it was this year. Fingers crossed she takes on the first try. 

Quail

The incubator is humming along. Another 10 days and the next batch will begin to hatch. It’s always an exciting time as that day approaches.

The penthouse grow-out cage is getting a little tight. There are 22 birds in there that are nearly six weeks old. Only two more weeks before they reach full maturity.

I had one cage of birds in the breeding level that was contributing to raising my level of anxiety. Two different roosters had been attacked in that cage. The second one was pecked so badly that he died. I thought there must be another rooster in there and we had misgendered one of the birds. But I checked and checked and rechecked. They all look to be hens. That’s when I tried the second rooster. In less than a week he was dead.

Scott processed the last batch and moved birds around while I was at the market a couple of weeks ago. He put a new rooster into that cage. I checked every day and it looked like all was going to be well with that group of birds. Then two days ago that third rooster was bloodied. Again, he was so bad I thought he might die. So far it looks like he will make it and come back to full health. 

These birds can be so vicious. I removed him immediately and set him up in a private room to heal. When I went back to the cage to see if I could identify the culprit, I found one of the hens with blood all over her breast. She also got a private room — and an appointment for processing in the next batch. Birds are vicious creatures. The lady was lethal in her attacks and we can’t have that in our flock. We also don’t want to breed that trait into the flock. She will have to go. 

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

The creamery is still on hold. Scott is mowing fields, clearing out and cleaning up the blackberry vines and tying up the tomato plants. He still has some other landscape clean up tasks on his agenda. At some point he will sit down and figure out the electrical wiring for the creamery. You know . . . in his spare time

Garden

The onions are laid out and drying. They look really good. I’ve decided to leave them as they are for a while and keep using them fresh. At some point I will still need to freeze some. But for right now, they are in a cool and relatively dark location. I think they will keep just fine for two or three months.

As I mentioned above, the green beans are ready. I picked two 5-gallon buckets full over a three-day period of time. One of us will be picking green beans every few days. It is actually a fun activity. Reaping the benefits of hard work is always fun. Picking can also be hard work but so worth it.

The crowder peas continue to do well, but still no blooms. I have lots of small tomatoes. The green bell peppers are starting to get big. I can’t wait for them to be big enough to pick. I’m enjoying fresh banana peppers just about every day — Mixed in with beef or added to a salad. Tomorrow perhaps I’ll have some chopped up in scrambled eggs. I have quite a few and they are so tasty.

That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

Independence and Wytheville Farmer’s Markets

I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9 – 1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12.

I’ll have GREEN BEANS and blueberry and blackberry jam at both markets. I’m out of strawberry jam

I have quail eggs and quail meat in 1 lb packages.

We have ground goat again. And we have grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb). I also have a very limited amount of lamb cuts. Loin chops, rib chops, stew/kabob meat and two lovely petit legs.

Herd Shares

Herd Share Peeps, I’ve set up a delivery point at the Independence market. Let me know if you want to switch your pick up to Independence.

I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

You can pickup at the Independence Market on Fridays between 9 am and 1pm, the Wytheville Market on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know if you want anything extra this time. 

I still have new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Let’s Get Together

As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm. Masks are no longer required at the Farmers Markets. 

As always, you may visit us at our dairy farm in Claudville, Virginia Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 noon and Saturday afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm. Find out how we raise our animals and why you will love the taste of tradition that is inherent in all of our products. Herd share holders will be able to see up close how their cows are cared for and the cheese operation and where it is stored. 


Peaceful Heart FarmCast

In this week’s podcast, “A Day in the Life on Our Homestead” is the topic. Do you ever wonder what it is like to live the homestead lifestyle? I’m sure you all have your own ideas about what that must be like. In this episode I give you a peek into a day here on our homestead. This particular day is very, very busy. Every day is not this full of activity, though I do enjoy challenging myself. I always want to see just how much I can accomplish in any given day.  


Free Downloads

I want to follow up on my previous FarmCast, The Taste of Cheese where I talked about developing your expertise with using descriptive words. The FREE downloads of Classifying Cheese by Type and Category and Expand Your Cheese Vocabulary are still available at our website. Please stop by and get your FREE resources. 

You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 7/15/2021

Hello beautiful peeps,

It is such a beautiful day today. I hope you are enjoying yours. I still have “make blackberry jam” on my to-do list. I’m not sure I will get that done today — but perhaps I will. Come see me at the Independence Farmer’s Market or the Wytheville Farmer’s Market and check out my display. I just may have some gorgeous jars of blackberry jam.

More on the jam in the Market section of this newsletter. Also, if you are a herd share owner, check out that section below for a new delivery location option.

How about some farm updates? 

Sheep and Goats

The goats led the way to the next pasture as usual. They have a complete disregard for the fences between various paddocks. Originally they were in the paddock with the sheep, Virginia and baby Newton. Scott moved the sheep but the goats had already moved on without him. This is just so typical with these goats. We love them anyway. Even if we can’t make them stay in a designated pasture. At least they stay within the outside perimeter. There was a time when they were escaping out into the world outside the perimeter fence. Thank goodness those days are over. Or are they?

Cows 

Virginia and Perrin are improving with their treatment. It will take some time to completely heal, but everything looks good so far.

I am so excited that there are still no signs of any of the cowgirls coming into heat again after their initial AI experience. We have been watching closely and everything looks good right now.

Violet was late in giving birth so she has not been bred yet. Her first heat after birth should be coming up in the next week or 10 days. We will try to catch her in heat and get the AI tech out here. Hopefully, she will take the first time and that will bring her back into a closer cycle with the rest of the herd. 

Quail

I can hear the incubator running in the other room. I put in 84 eggs this time. I’m not confident of the fertility of some of the eggs. That is why I am incubating so many. In less than three weeks we will see whether I was right in making that call.

The 22 little ones were moved into the penthouse. They all seem to be doing well. The first few days I kept their watering containers in the cage. Yesterday I did not. They will need to learn to reach into the automatic watering cups. We keep them anchored up a few inches from the bottom of the cage. That is so they don’t make too much of a mess in them. They must stand up to their full height and reach into the cups. The new ones are always too short on their first day  in the penthouse. Usually with a few days they are tall enough to reach the automatic waterers. I saw one reach in there and I knew they were, indeed, tall enough. 

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

The creamery is on hold. Scott is fixing more fence. A tree fell on a section. He is bush hogging the various paddocks. I really like the look of the pasture a day or two after he trims that grass. It gets so green in each section. It’s just beautiful to see

Garden

The onions are done. I pulled all of them yesterday. They still need to be washed off and dried. I’m probably going to freeze them all. I chop them up and pack them into pint sized freezer bags. Whenever I need chopped onion, I just reach into the freezer, grab a bag and break off the amount I need for the recipe. Sometimes I use the whole bag. There is about a cup in each bag. I also do this with green peppers. It is almost like having fresh onions and peppers year round.

I have baby green beans and look for those to mature in the next couple of weeks. There are small green tomatoes and green peppers. I picked about a gallon of pepperoncini peppers a day or so ago. I’ll pickle those and bring them to the market. .

The crowder peas continue to do well but still no blooms.

How are your gardens doing? Let me know when you see me.

That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

Independence and Wytheville Farmer’s Markets

I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9 – 1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12.

I’ll have blueberry and strawberry jam at both markets. I may have blackberry jam. The jury is still out on that one

I have quail eggs and quail meat in 1 lb packages.

We are out of ground goat but have grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb).

Herd Shares

Herd Share Peeps, I’ve set up a delivery point at the Independence market. Let me know if you want to switch your pick up to Independence.

I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

You can pickup at the Independence Market on Fridays between 9 am and 1pm, the Wytheville Market on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know if you want anything extra this time. 

I still have new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Let’s Get Together

As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm. Masks are no longer required at the Farmers Markets. 

As always, you may visit us at our dairy farm in Claudville, Virginia Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 noon and Saturday afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm. Find out how we raise our animals and why you will love the taste of tradition that is inherent in all of our products. Herd share holders will be able to see up close how their cows are cared for and the cheese operation and where it is stored. 


Peaceful Heart FarmCast

In this week’s podcast, “A Day in the Life on Our Homestead” is the topic. Do you ever wonder what it is like to live the homestead lifestyle? I’m sure you all have your own ideas about what that must be like. In this episode I give you a peek into a day here on our homestead. This particular day is very, very busy. Every day is not this full of activity, though I do enjoy challenging myself. I always want to see just how much I can accomplish in any given day.  


Free Downloads

I want to follow up on my previous FarmCast, The Taste of Cheese where I talked about developing your expertise with using descriptive words. The FREE downloads of Classifying Cheese by Type and Category and Expand Your Cheese Vocabulary are still available at our website. Please stop by and get your FREE resources. 

You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


A Day in the Life on Our Homestead

A day in the life on our homestead. My brother-in-law says we are always working. He is so right. And we love it. There is never a dull moment around here. For sure, sometimes it seems like just too much and wouldn’t a life of leisure be preferable. No, not really. As I imagine that life, I can only see boredom and always searching for something new and interesting. Here we don’t have to search for it as it comes to us every single day. Today I’ll give you an overview of a whirlwind day I recently experienced.

I want to take a minute and say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast for every episode. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week.

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

I’m going to skip most of the updates on the animals as they will show up in my rendition of a day in the life on our homestead. I will just briefly mention that Sweet Pea and Johnny are still looking for a new “forever home”. We love them but we simply do not need four donkeys. We intentionally reduced our sheep population and now the coyotes have reduced it even further. It will take time to rebuild what we have lost. In the end, we will still have only a small number of sheep, perhaps a dozen or so, compared to our high of 70 animals in the flock.

We are winding down our cashmere goat herd this fall. Next up will be bringing in a few Kiko goats. Perhaps I will do a whole podcast on this breed of goat. They were bred in New Zealand. The wild goats were bred with domestic stock to create a breed that is disease and parasite resistant. And my favorite attribute they bred for was little to no hoof maintenance. Most domestic goats in the US have a really hard time with their hooves. I look forward to raising goats that can be comfortable on their feet without constant attention.

That’s it for now. I want to get on to the topic of a day in the life on the homestead. I hope you enjoy this brief glimpse of the story of our life.

A Day in the Life

Our day begins the same every morning. Scott and I pray the rosary together. It’s a great meditation and starts our day off in the right frame of mind. God first.

Morning Milking

Now we get ready for morning milking. There isn’t much for me to as Scott handles most of the milking tasks. I handle some of the cleanup at the end. The only thing I have for this morning is to tend to the baby quail chicks. I make sure they have food and fresh water. The little ones get checked on twice a day. The grownups, only in the evening. Everyone looks good this morning and they are happy to have food and water.

Morning Gardening

Scott is still working on the milking so I take the opportunity for a brief walk through the garden. I decide to harvest some fresh herbs for the farmer’s markets. It’s a spur of the moment decision just because I have some time and it’s a beautiful morning to be in the garden. I sprint back to the house, pick up some scissors and a bucket and I’m back out in the garden in a flash. I love cutting fresh herbs. This morning it’s basil leaves, oregano sprigs and bunches of thyme. The smell is heavenly. The herbs are quickly stored in the cooler. I will package them later – probably tomorrow.

Making a Snack

I need to have protein snacks quickly available. Hard boiled eggs are one of my favorites. My Corsori, an Instapot lookalike, can handle 18 eggs at a time. Six minutes under pressure, six minutes cool down and natural pressure release, followed by a quick pressure release and open the lid. Six minutes in a cold-water bath, then peel. I like using my pressure cooker because the shells always just fall off when I am peeling them.

We generally eat just two meals a day. Scott makes us brunch somewhere between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. It is usually in that 11:00 to 12:00 range. If I plan well, dinner will be around 5:00 pm for me. Scott’s dinner is always much later. Well, not always, but usually his preference is to work outside right up until milking time in the evening. He will eat after all of that is done and he has had a shower. That’s an Italian evening meal time around 9:00 or 10:00 in the evening. Sometimes he even gets the Italian siesta in the afternoon. Most times not though.  

Starting Strawberry Jam

I’ve got four quarts of strawberries that need to be attended to today. I’ll be making jam. I love strawberry jam. It’s a quick job to cut out the stems and dice them up. Two quarts of cut berries and six cups of sugar. I’ll add a dash of lemon to help maintain the bright red color.

Well, the strawberries are mixed with the sugar in the pot on the stove, but I’ve got to interrupt that process and forego the cooking and canning part. I’ll cover the pot with a clean towel and get back to it in a little while. This is a day in the life on the homestead. We need to take care of some animals. I have cream warming up in the butter churn. There is still about an hour before it will be warm enough to churn into butter. It should be possible to get it all done in time.

Cattle Husbandry

The flies have been horrendous. We have two suffering from pink eye. In humans we call it conjunctivitis. It is a bacterial infection of the eye. The flies irritate the eye and make it susceptible to the bacteria. The flies are also spreading it from one to another. Anyway, we put antibiotic cream directly in the eye and then followed up with injectable antibiotic. We are as natural as possible in raising and caring for our livestock. However, I’m sure you have heard me say this before, if they need medical treatment, they get it. In this case, blindness is a real possibility if the condition is left untreated.

We spent quite some time checking on each and every cow to make sure there were only two affected. I even treated Newton, the youngest calf at three weeks of age. This was prophylactic just in case. The younger calves are often the most susceptible. He looked fine but we treated him anyway. Just the cream, not the injection.

Time Trials

The whole process took more time than I had planned. There were four different groups of animals. There are the milking girls. Then there is the group we call the nursery girls. We do not milk them, but they are nursing calves three calves between the two of them. We also have Luna in that group. She is a heifer and has no calf. And Buttercup is also in that group. She did not have a calf this year. The boys are always in a group by themselves because two of them are bulls. They can’t just run with the girls. That would be a breeding disaster. And then there was Virginia and baby Newton. All in all, it took longer than the hour I had set aside but the cream was still in good shape for making butter.

Making Butter

I’m back inside now running the electric butter churn while the strawberries are heating up and cooking for the jam. It’s a little risky to do both of these things at once as they both have a break point that must be met. I gambled anyway. I figured the butter would get done long before the strawberries and sugar reached the gel point. It didn’t.

I don’t use pectin in my jams. I just cook it to gel point. That usually takes about 40 minutes or so. The butter got done just a few minutes before the jam reached the gel point. So, what do I do now? Well, I just turn the churn off and let the butter sit in the churn until I can get to it. I still had to be quick. The problem there is that the warmer the butter gets, the harder it is to work with. It is literally melting in my hands if it gets too warm.

Finishing the Strawberry Jam

The jam is ready. I quickly fill the jars, clean the rims, secure the lids and put them in the water-bath canner. Now I have time for the butter. It will take a while for the water to heat up to a rolling boil for the jam. Once it reaches that point, it is just a matter of setting a timer for how long to process the jam. That’s 20 minutes at my altitude.

I clean up the butter by rinsing it over and over with cold water. Then squish it firmly into 4 oz silicon soap molds and put the mold tray into the freezer. Tomorrow I will remove it from the freezer and pop out and wrap each 4 oz block of butter in paper. Now that the butter is in the freezer and the jam is processing in the canner, all of the clean-up for these two tasks is happening. I’m pretty messy when filling jars. There are bits of jam all over. And the butter? That requires lots of soap to get all that greasy mess in the churn, the bowls and utensils cleaned up. Whew, it feels good to get all that done. What’s next? Yes, there is more.

Making Blueberry Jam

Now I’m ready to make blueberry jam. I smashed them, added the sugar and got started heating them up. That takes a while. I have time to get more jars ready for the blueberry jam. The jars of strawberry jam are finished and need to come out of the water-bath canner. I’ll keep the water in it near boiling waiting for the blueberry jam. That makes the second batch quicker as the time to reach boil after adding the jars will be shorter. As the blueberry jam nears the gel point, I’m stirring constantly to keep it from sticking. Make sure to have my clothes covered. It begins to spit out blueberry goo all over the place. Stir more to keep that under control. That’s another mess to be cleaned up later.

Now it’s reached gel point, repeat the filling of jars, adding lids and put them in the canner. I’m a little tired but there is still so much to do. I think I’ll take a much-needed short break while this second batch of jam is processing. I have about 45 minutes or so to relax.

Weekly Newsletter

It’s now late afternoon and I need to create the weekly newsletter for all who are following what we are up to on the homestead. I like communicating with all of my customers and those who just follow us because they like hearing about our progress on the homestead.

It’s important to get the information out weekly. There are always updates and changes to what is happening at the farmer’s markets. I’ve done this so many times, that I have made the process quick and efficient. The newsletter is done and out in the email ethers. Now it’s probably time for evening milking and other chores.

Evening Chores

We start each milking event by warming up Newton’s milk. He gets two half-gallon calf milk bottles morning and evening. That’s two gallons per day. As a side note, tomorrow, I’ll spend quite a bit of time filling up gallon jars for just this purpose. We store his milk in one-gallon jars. Twice a day we put a gallon jar in a bucket of hot water. After about a half hour, we pour out the now cold water and refill it with hot water again. In another half hour it is warm enough for him to drink ready to be poured into the calf bottles.

All of this minutia becomes second nature as we do it twice a day. Go get the cows, get them prepped for milking, turn on the machine and put the milking inflations on their teats. Wait for about six minutes and they are done. Two at a time so there is a second round for Violet. The milk gets filtered and poured into five-gallon cans which are stored in the bulk cooling tank. The milk must be cooled to below 40 degrees in less than two hours. Then the clean-up procedures begin.

While Scott is doing those milking tasks, I’m taking care of the quail. The babies get food and water again. I collect eggs from the big girls, give them feed, and check their automatic watering system. I refill the 5-gallon bucket that automatically feeds into little cups in their cages as needed. Not a lot to do here, but a daily tasks nonetheless.

Clean Up Time

At the end is lots of clean up. Calf bottles, milk filter, milking machine – all have to be meticulously cleaned and sanitized. Then dinner, a shower and it’s time to wind down for the evening. For me that is usually around 8:00 or 8:30. Scott is sometimes just eating dinner at 9:00 or 9:30 – he may or may not have had that wonderful shower.

Tomorrow’s To-Do List

There is a lot more to do tomorrow. It will be Thursday. I need to get ready for the farmer’s markets on Friday and Saturday. That means making labels for those two new jams. And do you remember those herbs I cut early this morning? Yeah, those have to be packaged. I have three more half-gallons of cream and need to make another butter. I’m not sure how I got behind on that, but it will be good to catch up.

The Milk

All milk cans need to be emptied and cleaned. I’ll pour milk into 14 one-gallon jars for feeding Newton for the next week. And I will pour up milk for Friday and Saturday herd share pickups. I’ll need a gallon and a half of milk put back to make yogurt on Monday or Tuesday next week. I may even pour up some drinking milk for us. Any remaining milk gets the cream skimmed off the top. I store the cream in half gallon jars.

The Cream

The remaining cans usually have enough cream to skim to make one batch of butter. That will also happen next week on Tuesday or Wednesday. I make three pounds of butter at a time, usually once a week. I’ll have some extra cream to add back into the skim milk to make Scott’s half and half. He loves his coffee. In the end, there will be leftover skim milk and that gets poured on the garden. The green beans and tomatoes are loving that milk fertilizer. They look amazing.

Not a Typical Day in the Life

The day I just described is not every day, but it is very often the life that I live. It is wonderful. Actually, on most days, I laze around and would only make one batch of jam and maybe no butter. Some days, Scott takes a nap in the middle of the day or comes in and just vegges out on Facebook or YouTube. Sometimes he is doing more than vegging out. Sometimes he is sharing his day in the life on our Facebook page. If you are not following us there, please do. You get my perspective here, and Scott’s perspective can be found on the Facebook page with pictures and videos. Just search for Peaceful Heart Farm and it should come right up. Like us and share our content.

Well, I got tired just talking about all of that. I think I’ll end early today. We have that luxury any time we want – within limits. The cows still need to be milked twice daily and the quail need daily care. But other than that, we set our schedule. 

Final Thoughts

So, my brother-in-law says we seem to always be working and when is age going to slow us down? We hope that’s a long way in the future. I’m 66 and Scott will be 66 next month. This lifestyle keeps us fit. We get to eat healthy food that we have produced ourselves. Or at the very least, we know the farmer from which we purchased those eggs and hydroponic lettuce. And the blueberries and strawberries that went into the jams came from local farmers as well. We all grow good food and support each other.

I hope you enjoyed that walk through a day in my life. As I said, every day is not that busy, but I really enjoy the challenge in finding out how much I can accomplish in a day. I’m not crazy enough to do it every day though. I also need to spend time sitting at my computer making podcasts for you guys. I love you so much. Thank you so much for listening and sharing our joy.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts or whatever podcasting service you use, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. If you like this content and want to help out the show, again, the absolute best way you can do that is to share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content. Let them know about the Peaceful Heart Farmcast.

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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Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market info: 7/07/2021

Hello beautiful peeps,

I got so much done today. Besides the unexpected need to care for a couple of our cows that have contracted pink eye due to the massive amount of flies, I made three pounds of butter and two batches of jam, one blueberry and one strawberry. Before all of that, early this morning I went out and harvested some fresh herbs.

More on the fresh herbs and the jam in the Market section of this newsletter. Also, if you are a herd share owner, check out that section below for a new delivery location option

Sheep and Goats

Treating the cows and calves gave us the opportunity to check up on the sheep and goats more closely. I checked famacha scores. Looking at the color of the mucosa just below the eye tells us whether they are being affected by a parasite load that could potentially kill them. Due to our great pasture management, no issues yet again. It has been a very long time since we had to use any kind of chemical worm medicine on the sheep or the goats. They are all so healthy. Lambert is really fat. I hope he can still do his job. He has 4 or 5 girls to which he must attend so that we can have lambs in the fall.

We found that one of the goats (the one that escapes and goes wherever she wants, whenever she wants) had a big gash on her shoulder. Probably the result of scooting under a fence somewhere to get into another pasture. We treated that as well.

Cows 

Newton is doing well. No signs of pink eye there. Virginia needed treatment. We caught it early and it looks like she will be fine. Antibiotic directly on the eye and an injection. Perrin had it in both eyes. Poor guy was having lots of trouble seeing. He is a two-year-old bull, but we were able to restrain him for treatment. Surprisingly, he held still for most of it. He is much larger than Virginia and had to have four injections. She only had two. Not fun but he stood still for the most part. We treated Wendell prophylactically, just in case. It seems to happen most often in the younger cows. Last year we treated Luna and she made a full recovery. With pink eye there is always a danger that they will not fully regain their eyesight. I believe Virginia and Perrin will be fine. We will check on them regularly to make sure.

No signs of any of the milking girls coming into heat again after their initial AI experience. It will be a couple more days before we can be certain they are not going to come into heat indicating a likely pregnancy. Fingers crossed. 

Quail

This evening I started collecting quail eggs for hatching. The next cycle is about to begin. I will be loading up the incubator on Wednesday.

There are still 22 little ones out in the brooder. They are really starting to crowd that space. They grow so fast. It is likely that they will move to the penthouse on Friday. Because there are only 22 of them, they will only occupy one side of the penthouse. We will keep the extra egg layers on the other side for six more weeks. 

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

Still nothing happening with the creamery this week. Scott repaired the deer fence around the orchard and garden. He replaced several fence posts that have needed his attention for a couple of years. Today he is mowing the orchard, the garden and a little bit around the house. He has spent lots of time moving the cows, training them, treating them for flies, etc.

We have had such a time with the flies this year. Unfortunately, we were forced to resort to a stronger pesticide. We try to be as organic as possible. Sometimes you have to do what is necessary, such as the antibiotics I mentioned earlier. The animals’ health is our responsibility.

I did find out that the next step with the creamery is the electrical system. Scott said he has a lot of work to do just figuring out on paper how it will all work. 

Garden

I finally finished canning the peas. In the end, I canned 28 quarts and 18 pints of green peas. They are really yummy. Just to keep you updated on our “movie watching while shelling”, after finishing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we moved on to a re-watch of Sherlock Holmes – the Benedict Cumberbach version. We were most of the way through the second episode before completing the pea shelling. Still more to go on that series.

As a side note, did you notice Perrin’s name? Perhaps you wondered how we came up with that name. If you watch Amazon Originals, you will find out in the fall (at least I hope that is still the time frame). My favorite fantasy book series, The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, is being released on Amazon video. Perrin will be a prominent character. The book series is a prequel and 14 volumes. Tune in and see why we love this story so much.

Ok, so that has nothing at all to do with the garden, but I’m going to leave it in this section anyway.

The green beans get a weekly milk fertilization and they are loving it. I have a podcast coming up next week that will explain that in detail, so tune in for that one. The beans are just beginning to bloom and we should have green beans in a week to 10 days. The crowder peas are doing well but no blooms yet.

There are a couple of tomatoes already on the vines and lots of blooms starting up. Same with the peppers. The banana peppers are nearly ready for picking. The green bell peppers will take quite a bit longer. The pepperoncini will be ready in a week or so. I’m so excited to try pickling these great little peppers. Look for them at the farmer’s market soon.

The yellow onions are winding down. The red and white onions may go another week. Once the tops fall over and begin to dry out, it is time to dig up those beautiful onions and get them ready for storage.

That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

Wytheville and Independence Farmer’s Markets

I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9-1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12

Are you ready for that blueberry jam? I’ll have that and the strawberry jam at both markets.

I’ll also have fresh basil, in packages designed for making pesto. I’ll have some smaller packages as well. Fresh oregano and thyme will also be available. 

I have quail eggs and quail meat in 1 lb packages.

We are out of ground goat but have grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb).

Herd Shares

Herd Share Peeps, I’ve set up a delivery point at the Independence market. Let me know if you want to switch your pick up to Independence.

I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

You can pickup at the Independence Market on Fridays between 9 am and 1pm, the Wytheville Market on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know if you want anything extra this time. 

I still have new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Let’s Get Together

As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm. Masks are no longer required at the Farmers Markets. 

As always, you may visit us at our dairy farm in Claudville, Virginia Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 noon and Saturday afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm. Find out how we raise our animals and why you will love the taste of tradition that is inherent in all of our products. Herd share holders will be able to see up close how their cows are cared for and the cheese operation and where it is stored. 


Peaceful Heart FarmCast

In this week’s podcast, “Canning Peas” is the topic. What else would I talk about other than peas, peas and more peas? I go over the steps needed to can vegetables focusing on peas. My method is to break it down into five easy groups of tasks. Starting with preparing the equipment and finishing off with getting the jars out of the canner. I hope you enjoy this yummy podcast.  


Free Downloads

I want to follow up on my previous FarmCast, The Taste of Cheese where I talked about developing your expertise with using descriptive words. The FREE downloads of Classifying Cheese by Type and Category and Expand Your Cheese Vocabulary are still available at our website. Please stop by and get your FREE resources. 

You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 6/30/2021

Hello beautiful peeps,

Sorry for not getting a newsletter out last week. Life happens. I’m back on it this week.

We have been really, really busy shelling peas. I canned 14 quarts of green peas today.   

Sheep and Goats

The sheep are contentedly grazing on grass each and every day. I wonder if the girls are pregnant. We have never tried to have lambs in the fall. I checked the calendar today and, if all goes well, we will have lambs the last week of October or the first week of November. Some sheep will not breed except in the fall for spring lambs. Our katahdins are supposed to breed any time of the year. We shall see.

Cows 

We named Violet’s calf Newton. At first he was “new guy” but that just wasn’t a good name so Newton evolved from that first cute name.

The twins have moved on to another home. Every day, while giving them their bottles, I would wonder, “What are we going to do with these guys?” Out of the blue, we were blessed with a phone call from someone in need. A farmer less than an hour away was desperate for a calf to nurse his cow. She had just lost her calf that morning. By nightfall, Hansel and Gretel were on their way to a new home. We suggested he take both of the calves as the cow was a Holstein and they can produce lots and lots and lots of milk. This was a win-win for all concerned. Hansel and Gretel are always looking for more milk to drink. Now they will have their fill and more.

The artificial insemination was completed a couple of weeks ago. We are standing by to see if any of the cows come into heat. I don’t know what the odds are of having all seven impregnated the first time. Less than 100% I’m sure. Let’s see if we can beat the odds.

Quail

We had a pretty good hatch from the incubated quail eggs. Unfortunately we made a large error in keeping them warm. Putting the brooder boxes on the concrete floor was a huge mistake. Even with heat from a light we lost half of them. We think that too much cold came up from the floor. Anyway, we have 22 right now. They all look to be quite healthy. We live and learn. 

Creamery

Still nothing much happening with the creamery this week. Scott is still really tied up getting other things done. The hay is in but the deer fence around the orchard needed to be mended. The game cameras indicate there are two deer consistently munching on the blueberries every night. Scott is also helping me with shelling peas and he trimmed donkey hooves. The donkeys are all getting spruced up for the sale barn. We will miss them but they will be out of a job once we have a dog for livestock protection. Let us know quickly if you are interested in any of these great animals. Anyway, not much happening with the creamery. It may be another week or two before he gets back to it. 

Garden

I ended up pulling up all the peas and laying them on the floor in the living room. We spent days getting the pods off the greenery. In the end, we filled five 5-gallon buckets with pea pods. The last three or four nights we have been shelling peas in front of the TV re-watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy – extended version. Over 9 hours at this point. We are going to have to pick something else later tonight as we will have finished LOTR.

The resident deer that I mentioned above ate some of the green beans. Yet another reason to get that deer fence mended. The crowder peas are doing well as are the tomatoes and peppers. All need to be fertilized. Perhaps I will get to that tomorrow. We shall see.

That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

Wytheville and Independence Farmer’s Markets

I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9-1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12. 

I have quail eggs and quail meat in 1 lb packages.

We are out of ground goat but have grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb).

Herd Shares

Herd Share Peeps, I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market. Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

You can pickup at the Wytheville Market between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon or at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know want anything extra this time. 

I still have new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Let’s Get Together

As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm. Masks are no longer required at the Farmers Markets. 

As always, you may visit us at our dairy farm in Claudville, Virginia Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 noon and Saturday afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm. Find out how we raise our animals and why you will love the taste of tradition that is inherent in all of our products. Herd share holders will be able to see up close how their cows are cared for and the cheese operation and where it is stored. 


Peaceful Heart FarmCast

In this week’s podcast, “Canning Peas” is the topic. What else would I talk about other than peas, peas and more peas? I go over the steps needed to can vegetables focusing on peas. My method is to break it down into five easy groups of tasks. Starting with preparing the equipment and finishing off with getting the jars out of the canner. I hope you enjoy this yummy podcast.  


Free Downloads

I want to follow up on my previous FarmCast, The Taste of Cheese where I talked about developing your expertise with using descriptive words. The FREE downloads of Classifying Cheese by Type and Category and Expand Your Cheese Vocabulary are still available at our website. Please stop by and get your FREE resources. 

You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


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FARM STORE Hours:

Tuesday:  10am – 12pm
Saturdays:  3 – 5pm

Peaceful Heart Farm

224 Cox Ridge Road, Claudville, VA 24076

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FARM STORE Hours:

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Saturdays:  3 – 5pm

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