Spring Birth on the Homestead

So much going on with spring birth on the homestead. And abandoned lamb was the immediate task to take care of today. A quick trip to town to get supplies and now I’m late getting to this podcast. That’s what it’s all about on the homestead. I have so much to share with you today and most of it is so much fun!!

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 homestead this week. As I said there is a lot of it and all relates to spring births.

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

Before getting to that abandoned lamb, let’s start with the garden and the birthing of new plants.

Spring Garden

If you are new to gardening perhaps you are not familiar with the terms spring garden, summer garden, and fall garden. Spring is the time of year to plant crops that thrive in cool weather. Some can thrive in the heat, like maybe potatoes. But most spring garden plants require cool temperatures. Things like lettuce and spinach will simply give up and go to seed if it gets too hot. Other things like root crops will just not grow in the heat. Their growth stalls and there is nothing to do for it but try again in the fall when the weather cools off again.

This spring we are planting two kinds of peas, snap peas and shelling peas. Shelling peas are those green peas that you buy frozen or canned. Snap peas are best for salads and such. They are eaten pod and all, though they can be shelled as well. But the pods are sweet and crisp.

I’m not going to plant potatoes this spring although Scott did dig up the potatoes that we had left in the ground over the winter. They were just starting to sprout and grow again. Really, we should have had them out of the ground a week or so ago before they sprouted. Fortunately, there are not tons of them. We will be able to eat them before they get soft. In the normal course of planting, I would have planted some of them for a new crop. I have enough potatoes and will forgo them this spring. Perhaps in the fall.

I have yellow, red and white onion sets to plant. Onions make bulbs according to the amount of light they need. There are short season, mid-season and long season varieties. Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other northern states can grow those long season varieties. During the height of summer, the hours of daylight are significantly higher than we get in Southern Virginia. And farther south from us, only the short season varieties will grow. The farther south you get, the more equal the day and night hours become. While far in the northern States like Alaska, they have sunlight nearly 24 hours at the height of summer. Of course, it is dark for nearly 24 hours in the winter also.

Strange place, Alaska. I was there twice. Once near the spring equinox and the days and nights were fairly equal. But the second time I was there in July, just past the summer solstice. The sun was still up at midnight. It dipped below the horizon for about 3 hours and then daylight began to show once again. It happened in Germany also. I was there in August and it was daylight past 11:00 pm and the sun was back up long before I got up in the morning.

So that’s the story of onions. The rest of the garden will get planted in May. That will be the green beans, herbs and crowder peas.

The 500 strawberry roots are all planted and looking great. Leaves are visible on almost all of them. The beds look fantastic. Scott did a great job there. That bank of strawberries will also have four sections of culinary herbs. I already have a good stand of thyme and oregano. Inside I have started more rosemary as it didn’t do so well last year and I just let it go over the winter. It can survive the winter but needs protection. It did so poorly that I just decided to start over this year. And just today I got some garden sage seeds to fill in that fourth section in between the strawberries.

The blueberries and blackberries are leafing out. The blueberries will bloom soon and we will have berries around the first or second week of June. The blackberries will be ready in mid-July.

On to the cows.

Cows and Calves

Last time I talked with you, we had one calf. Now we have three. Rosie, our new Jersey heifer gave birth to Princess. Then Cloud gave birth to Winston. And finally, Claire gave to birth to a, yet unnamed, bull calf. No one has had any trouble so far, knock on wood. Butter and Violet have a bit of time to go before giving birth, Late May and early June respectively.

Now to the fun part of the cow story. Rosie, though she is her first calf, was giving about 2 ½ gallons of milk per day. We were estimating in the beginning because Princess was getting her share so we guessed about how much she was drinking. We were getting about a gallon and a half in the beginning and guessed Princess was getting about a gallon a day. Well, it didn’t take long and we were getting a gallon a day – and then a few days later, a half-gallon or even less. Princess was getting it all.

At this point, we would normally separate momma and baby and control the amount of milk baby is getting. Calves need about a gallon or so of milk to grow strongly. Certainly not two gallons. But they will drink everything they can if you let them. Take a beef cow for instance. Those calves are never going to get more than a gallon or so a day because that is all momma is going to make. But the dairy cows make lots and lots of milk and the calves simply don’t need that much. So what were we to do.

We came up with a very good plan. During this time when the milk volume we were getting was diminishing rapidly, Cloud had given birth. We cannot milk Cloud anymore. About mid-season last year, something spooked her and she began kicking the milking inflations off. Then she began kicking more and Scott got quite a few bruises and even a really badly sprained thumb from her kicks. We had to stop milking her. We thought we might try again this year if she perhaps had calmed down a bit. No luck there. We had her walking into the stanchion before she even gave birth, just getting her used to coming in and getting a little treat. They all get this training. It makes it easy to work with them for just about any vet treatment. Anyway, she got startled again by something and started kicking and we weren’t even trying to touch her udders. That answered that question. Cloud would not be milked this year either.

This is also a dilemma on a homestead. Every animal needs to have a purpose. Her purpose was to have a calf every year and to be milked. Now half of her purpose was eliminated. That means she has become more of a cost than a benefit. And even though we love all of our milk cows, we simply cannot afford to have any of them as pets. They must cover their own expenses at the very least. And of course, we really need them to provide some income. Otherwise, we are using our precious time to maintain a cow that is not giving much in return.

This year, she got a reprieve. We figured out how she could pull her own weight. She could become a nurse cow. Separating a calf from mom is normally a loud experience for three days. However, we separated Princess from Rosie and began grafting her onto Cloud. Princess was happy with the arrangement. Rosie was not. She still moos at Princess all the time. Princess ignores her and has since the second day.

A cow will sometimes easily take on another calf. In fact, we have had issues in the past with calves nursing on any cow in the area. Our Normande cows are pretty willing to let anyone nurse. Cloud was not quite so willing as Claire and Buttercup, but we were confident she would eventually accept Princess as her own.

We put Princess in with Cloud and Winston. And we had them separate from the rest of the crew for the exact reason I just described. We didn’t want Winston browsing around and finding milk beyond Cloud. Anyway, each day we bring all three up to the milking shed. Cloud goes in the stanchion and her head is locked in. She can still see who is back there nursing and the first day, she kicked Princess off repeatedly. Princess is quite resourceful and persistent. She was hungry after all. It didn’t take long for her to figure out how to position herself so that Cloud could not reach her with her kicking. She would get almost right up underneath Cloud with her butt close up next to Cloud’s front legs and her body nearly underneath Cloud’s belly. Cloud is locked in the stanchion and can’t walk away. The first two days, Princess was voracious in nursing. We were relieved and confident that she would be fine. She was filling her belly at least once a day. The third day or fourth day, Princess did not persistently try to nurse. In fact, she was rather disinterested in nursing at all. That told us that she was getting at least some nursing in earlier in the day.

As of yesterday, I did not see Cloud even push her away. At all. Princess was getting some milk with persistence in previous days. Now she is nursing whenever she wants. It’s a done deal. Cloud now has two calves. And we now have that full two and a half gallons of milk.

A yesterday and today’s bonus is that Rosie all of a sudden started producing even more milk. We believe it is the warmer weather. She now gives us over three gallons every day. That is fantastic for a first year Jersey cow of her size. Remember, she is still quite small in stature.

I can’t wait to see how Butter does this year. We are expecting in excess of five gallons a day from her as she is now a seasoned Jersey cow. Butter is as tall as any of the Normandes. She looked like a mini cow when we first got her, but she is definitely full grown now.

That’s it for the cow stories. Now on to the quail.

Quail Babies

Just a brief tale here. We had 68 eggs in the incubator. There were 40 of those eggs that hatched. We lost three babies in the first day or so and now have 37 quail babies in the brooder. They are about 10 days old now and have nearly all of their feathers. In about 8 days, they will be fully feathered and strong enough to go out on their own.

We will do our semi-annual deep cleaning of all of the quail cages just before we turn them out into the grow out cages. The breeder cages also get a deep cleaning during this time. We will sterilize and treat the cages for mites. They will all get fresh new sand in which to take baths and the automatic watering system will be started up again. The automatic waterers don’t work well in winter as the lines and water cups freeze over. Instead, I take fresh water out to the birds every day from late fall to late spring.

So, the cycle of birds is in motion. I’ll keep you updated on each new batch of cute quail chicks.

Sheep and Lambs

The biggest spring birth story is the lambs. It would have been nice to have a 100% success rate like we achieved last year, but alas, we knew it was not likely. Lambs are delicate animals in the beginning.

The first ewe’s lamb was born without a hitch. He is strong and healthy. The second ewe, not so much. She had a big beautiful boy and a very, very tiny girl. The girl was born an hour or so later and we suspect that she was in the birth canal too long and was oxygen deprived. She passed within a couple of hours. She was never able to get up.

We only have four ewes giving birth this year and I thought perhaps that would be the only issue. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This story has a better ending. I had to rush into town to get colostrum for an abandoned lamb. In all of our 11 years of raising sheep and lambs, this was the first abandoned lamb that we had. Well, Lambert was close to being abandoned. That was two years ago. He was small and one of three. The other two were getting all the milk and we ended up bottle feeding him.

Today’s spring birth of lambs was, again, twins. But the ewe never touched the second lamb. Right after milking this morning I went out to check on the ewe because I could tell she had given birth. I had looked out the window and I could see the one up and running around. He was already dry. But she was laying down and straining again, so I thought another was on the way. And perhaps she was having an issue as the other was already standing up quite strongly and dried off. I feared a repeat of the previous situation where the lamb was damaged in the long birthing process. Nope, not this time. When I got out there the lamb was born and was actually standing up. She was significantly smaller than her brother, but still quite strong. She was as wet as she could be and still standing strong. I could tell that mom had not licked her at all. Who knows why it happens? But it does happen. Mom just rejects one of the lambs, usually the second or third one. As I said, we have had lots of issues with lambing but this was first time we had experienced the complete abandoning of a lamb. I tried rubbing the birthing fluid that was still on the new one onto the older one. Perhaps I could fool mom into accepting both as hers. No luck. She simply ignored the other lamb.

What to do? What to do? We quickly put all three in a smaller enclosure. We tied up mom and put baby girl underneath her and showed her where to nurse. While this little girl was strong, she seemed to have no clue as to how to nurse. Finding the correct location was no issue, but latching on was not going well. We fiddled with her for about an hour before giving up and deciding that we were just not going to be able to get her to nurse. And even if we did, mom was going to push her away, or walk away and leave her behind. She had already done that. When I first arrived, she took her boy and moved away from me. I brought the girl up to the boy and laid them together. Mom approached as a I walked away. She sniffed and licked the boy and completely ignored the girl. Then she walked away again with her boy in tow, abandoning the girl.

So, what happens when a lamb is abandoned? Well, we have to get colostrum into her within 24 hours. If you ladies out there have children you know what I mean when I say colostrum. Or if you have your own homestead you will know what I’m talking about here. For those of you still considering and learning, colostrum, not milk, is created for about three days or so. In sheep it contains lots of protein and a higher amount of fat than other species. The fat is important for lambs. The other really, really important part of colostrum is it contains the antibodies for common ruminant diseases. Lambs, kids, and calves can survive without it, but their chances of getting sick and dying due to lack of the antibodies to fight the infection is very, very high. All newly birthed ruminant animals need that colostrum for survival. On top of that, the ability to absorb the antibodies declines quickly after 24 hours. Therefore, it is imperative that the newborns get that colostrum immediately.

Once we made the decision to bottle feed the new lamb, we now needed the supplies. We have never really kept lamb colostrum on hand since we reduced our flock to a half dozen ewes. We picked the best moms and we’ve never had an abandoned lamb, as I said. I was aware that this stuff can be hard to come by for lambs. All kinds of calf colostrum which will do in a pinch. But the lambs really need the extra fat. That means I had to get on the phone and find some ASAP. The closest Tractor Supply that had some was an hour away. No problem, put everything else on hold, get in the car and make the trip.

I got back with the goods, fixed up a bottle for her and she drank it down in a couple of minutes. She is a really strong lamb and I think she will do fine. The other thing I needed to find was lamb milk replacer. Again, this formula needs to be made for lambs. The fat content of ewe’s milk is very high compared to cows or even goats. Fortunately, the Tractor Supply store that had the colostrum also had the lamb milk replacer. Phew. I got it all done. I feel pretty good about this little girl’s chances of survival. It was as flurry of activity, but that’s pretty normal for homestead life in the spring.

There is one more ewe still to give birth. Praying all goes well for her.

Final Thoughts

That’s about all I have time for in this podcast. It’s time to go bring up Cloud and make sure once again that Princess is being fed properly and we need to give Cloud some calorie treats daily as she needs to supply milk for two calves. I’ll feed and water the baby quail and get another bottle of colostrum ready for the ewe lamb. She will get fed at least three times a day for a few days. Then it will drop to twice a day for at least two months.

It’s all in a days work on the homestead.

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, 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.

To learn about herd shares:

To share your thoughts:

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

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Instagram

www.instagram.com/peacefulheartfarm

Locals

Peacefulheartfarm.locals.com

We’ve Learned a Lot About Homesteading

We’ve learned a lot about homesteading and living the homestead life over the past 16 years. Today I want to share some of that with you. If you are looking at moving to a rural setting, dreaming of it or simply respect those who do make that choice, there is always so much to learn. One of the benefits of the lifestyle is that everything changes on a daily basis.

Let me 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. It makes my podcasting life worth it. Thank you so much!  

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

I’m not going to say much about the animals this time, except in the context of the rest of the podcast.

I will say that we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of lots of babies on the homestead. I’ll have much more to say about that in the next episode. Cloud and Claire are “bagging up”. That means their udders are toning up and filling with milk and birth is imminent. Cloud’s due date is only three days away and it is seven days for Claire.

We could be seeing baby lambs in just two days. We shall see. They are pasture-bred and the first possible date is in two days. Of course, their actual delivery date is determined by when they actually came into heat and were bred. Was anyone bred on the first day? Who knows. The next two weeks will be fun for lambs.

The 68 quail eggs in the incubator go into “lock down” tomorrow and within two to three days we will hear the peeping of the first hatching babies. Lots and lots of new babies from all sorts of species in the upcoming week.

Garden and Orchard

I’ll briefly mention that the garden is getting cleaned up as I speak and we are nearly ready to plant peas. The 500 strawberry plants have arrived and those will be planted in the next couple of days. It’s the usual spring rush. Babies born and gardens planted.

I have lots of tomato plants growing strong that will be ready for the market in a few weeks. The California Wonder peppers had to be replanted. I also have some hot peppers that are doing well. The herbs are moving along slowly and that is normal. All will be ready for your gardens in May and June.

Creamery

Work on the creamery is paused as we get the garden going. The dairy inspectors came by today and approved all we have done so far. They also provided new resources for getting the milking parlor up and running. We have a good relationship with these two people and they always provide us with great information.

I want to move on now to my topic of the day. There is much to say and I’m trying to keep this to ½ hour or less.

We’ve Learned a Lot About Homesteading and Operating a Small Business

Every step we take seems to correct some other step that we made previously. Our journey started way back in 2003 when we bought our first piece of property and moved onto that property in 2005. Well, let me back up a little bit. It really started the idea back in 1999 and 2000 when Scott and I first met. We spent hours talking about living the sustainable, homesteading lifestyle. It was a mutual passion to learn to provide as much of our sustenance as possible on our own. And that dream leads to the final point that I will cover today. More on that later.

We Read and Read and Read

There is so much to learn. It’s not like you just put a seed in the ground and it grows. That doesn’t happen. We took a step-by-step approach, learning about one thing, then another, then another. Some people just jump right in and do everything at once. We continued to work outside jobs so that just wasn’t the right move for us. Our method was to learn a lot about one aspect, give it a try, and make other choices based on what we discovered.

We learned about gardening. Raising animals was also a central study. We went from chickens to sheep to milk cows. Other animals were added along the way. Each one involves a learning curve.

First, We Thought About a CSA

While still in the talking and reading stages way back in the early 2000’s we thought about starting a CSA. After we bought our property, we even started a few raised beds just to get our feet wet. In the end, we decided vegetable gardening and CSAs were not for us. Part of that decision was based on the fact that all of our land was on rolling hills. There were no flat places to make gardens large enough to grow the amount of produce needed to sustain a business. Changing the landscape was visually undesirable as well as financially impractical. The work was excessive and not conducive to our aging bodies. We wanted exercise as part of living into our twilight years, but we didn’t want hard labor. Of course, the hard labor can be reduced with equipment. But again, we are talking financial investment. The idea of a CSA just did not make our hearts flutter with anticipation. Growing for ourselves, yes. Growing for profit for others . . . not so much. 

For those unfamiliar with the term “CSA”, it is simply an agreement between the farmer and his customers that they will invest in the farm for the year or season and the farmer will produce food for those customers. Each week they pick up the results of what has been farmed. I’m giving a very bare bones view of this process. The farmer has to calculate what they believe they will grow, communicate that to the CSA members so they know what to expect, and then there is the actual growing of the food. Many unfortunate things can happen along the way with a CSA. We participated in one for quite a while when we were commuting from VA to SC every week. We supported a local farm in Beaufort, SC until they went out of business. It was a sad thing. The farm had been in the family for a very long time. The owner and his son were making a last stand with the farm with this CSA. They produced lots of great food. And I believe they were profitable. At least they were profitable enough to stay in business . . . and then the rains came. The floods came.

Disaster Strikes and Ruins a Small Farm

This was back around 2012, 13 or 14. I can’t remember exactly. Some of you may remember when much of South Carolina and North Carolina were under water. It wasn’t a hurricane – at least not directly. No, it was simply rain, rain, rain and the rivers were flooded. The low lands were flooded. Eventually, much of these two states were flooded. Many crops were lost. Many animals were lost as rivers overflowed farms were flooded. Horses, cows, pigs – and many other animals were lost. To be fair, lots of people joined in and saved many. In the end, the losses were too much for our family farm CSA. The farm survived, but many customers were lost.

Non-farmers do not understand or change their mind when they find that a CSA means sharing the risk. You are investing in the farm just as the farmer does. In the end, whatever the farm produces is what you get for your money. And the weather or disease or some other disaster can devastate plants and animals that form the basis of a farmer’s income. Disaster happens. The farm produces nothing or nearly nothing. The farmer takes his losses and keeps going. Many times, CSA members just move on and go back to buying from the grocery store where they can be guaranteed of receiving product for their money. We understood and continued to support our farmer. But too many others did not. The farm continued for another year or so, but ultimately succumbed to the losses from the floods.

The Upside of CSAs

I don’t mean to turn anyone away from this idea. CSAs are great and we have many in our area that are doing very, very well. The resent pandemic has been a boon for many of them. There were times when food shortages were prevalent in the super markets. CSA farms got lots and lots of new customers. Suddenly, the produce from a local farm was more accessible than food from the grocery store. It does work both ways.

I’ll wager that many of you are interested in this lifestyle simply because the food supply chain seems a bit unstable. You want more control over your food supply for you and your family. The pandemic has been quite the motivator for many of you who have been sitting on the fence for quite a few years, putting off fulfilling your dream of self-sufficiency.

You will definitely want to stay tuned and pick up a few more tips and benefit from some of our learning experiences.

Reusable Canning Lids Work

The pandemic also brought shortages for those of us already in the thick of growing our own food. It came in the way of not being able to find the seeds we needed. Canning supplies were, and still are, in short supply or completely unavailable. I’ve picked up extra jars as they became available. Those jars come with lids. But the jars I already have need lids and those are still unavailable. Fortunately for me, I have a large supply of reusable lids. If you haven’t tried, these I say give them a try. I don’t use them for things that I can for the farmers market, but I use them successfully for our own food stores.

The brand I use is Tattler. I bought literally hundreds of these quite a few years back and wasn’t really using them because I had plenty of metal lids. I had used them enough to know that they worked really well. Even though there are lots of reviews out there that say they don’t seal well, I have found them to seal just fine. Sometimes you just go for it and give it a try. I treat them differently than the metal lids.

With the metal lids, you tighten them finger-tight and then don’t tighten them again. Lots of times they come out of the canner quite loose. With the Tattler lids, I tighten them finger tight before putting them in the canner. But I immediately crank the metal ring down tight when I bring them out of the canner. Using this method, I have a 99% seal rate. I will occasionally have one jar that doesn’t seal properly and we eat that veggie with a meal within a few days. But most jars seal just fine.

You will know the jar isn’t sealed by testing the lid about 24 hours after it comes out of the canner. Take off the metal ring and pull up slightly on the edge of the lid. If it comes free, refrigerate that product and use it within the week. You can also try again with that jar if you have another batch ready to go in the canner. Make sure the rim of the jar and the lid and seal are very clean, then give it another go. I don’t usually do that. I’d rather just chalk it up as the occasional failure and just eat it. 

The Homestead Garden and/or CSA

Even though a market garden is not the center of our life, gardening is still a part of our homestead. It really does take a lot of veggies to provide for your needs year-round. . . more than you think. What you grow depends on what you and your family want to eat. For instance, I gave up growing lots of lettuce. Scott has always said that he really likes vegetables – and he does. However, he is not a big salad eater. Green beans, asparagus, peas, carrots and so on. Basically, cooked vegetables are the ones he wants. Now I only grow these kinds of vegetables. If I want lettuce – and I do especially this time of year, I buy it from one of the growers at the farmer’s market.

Animals on the Farm

There are lots of things to learn about having animals on the farm. Start with your comfort level. Chickens are a great entry into raising your own animals. And prepare yourself ahead of time for the ultimate end. Those chickens or rabbits or whatever are there for you and your family to eat. Homesteading really gets you in touch with what it takes for humans to survive. There are lots of animal rights activists out there that do not want you to eat meat because an animal has to die. Unfortunately, our evolution as a species has been, and continues to be, dependent upon eating meat and fish. Civilizations evolved by living near the water. Seafood was available. Salt was available. Green things grew near the water. And animals would come to the water to drink and could be harvested for food for our tribal families.

I’ll admit that I have yet to actually kill any of the animals on our homestead. Scott has always done that for us. Or we take the animals to a USDA inspected facility for processing and someone else does all of that part for us. Having said that, I have no doubt that if I was the only one available to do the deed, I would do it. I would say a prayer to God and do it. This is a hard one for many people. Becoming vegetarian is an option I suppose. And perhaps many of you have already made that choice. It’s a valid choice. I don’t believe the entire world will ever be vegetarian. It’s just not sustainable for those living in northern climates. Homesteaders there may have to come to a peaceful place with knowing that animals die so that they can live there. Not everyone can live in the tropics and grow vegetables year-round. And the need for protein still exists. I’m not educated enough to know what it would require for a vegetarian to grow enough beans or grains to fill their needs for protein.

Not Everyone Will Agree with Your Choices

There are those in your circles who will continually ask you “why are you doing this?” Sure, we could have kept on working our very lucrative jobs and buying good quality food from local farmers. We didn’t need to do it ourselves. There are lots of other things we could be doing. Making lots of money, traveling, and so on. I think about that sometimes. But on the other hand, I’ve already done a lot of that. I’ve traveled all over the US and a few places in Europe. I loved it. But then the airline industry went down hill and traveling all the time became more of a hassle and less of an adventure. The biggest driver I think is the inner urge to provide for oneself. To feel the confidence in being able to support your family no matter the circumstances.

In the end, not everyone feels it and they never will. The bottom line is whether it is worth it to you and your family. It’s a lot of work. We all know that. And maybe you get into it and find that it really is more work than you are willing to do. Maybe that call to take several cruises and travel to Europe (or America if you are already in Europe), or travel to some other destination different than your home country – maybe that urges you on. Go with that. You can always live vicariously through and support your homesteading friends by buying their products.

Producing an Income

And that brings up another point. Products. Even the most self-sufficient homestead will need to sell some sort of product to buy things that cannot be produced on the farm. Clothes, paper, books, certain cleaning products, gasoline and so on. We chose to create a small business within our homestead. We don’t really need that much money, but one thing led to another and here we are. We love making cheese. And it has been worth it to us to take even longer to complete the homestead part of our dream while we build the creamery. It was only four years ago that we quit working for others and jumped in full time to live our dream. Up to that point, we were building a little bit at a time.

We built fencing, added animals, learned that growing our own hay was more than we wanted to do, added more animals. And finally, fell in love with our cows. We hit our sweet spot. If we had to do it all again, I think we would still do it in steps before making our final decision on the central theme of our homestead. Deciding to make cheese was huge of course. The cost of the infrastructure is why not many people do it. But that barrier to entry also keeps the competition to a minimum. There are always pros and cons to every choice.

Trust your instincts. Know that you can do far more than you ever thought you could. There are ups and downs. And there are joys and sorrows. I can’t tell you the sorrows of losing lots of animals. Or the sorrow of the farmer I mentioned above that was wiped out by mother nature. But we must try. We must give it our best shot. All of life is a risk. Homesteading is a risk but the inner joy is so worth it for us. Perhaps it will be worth it for you as well.

You Just Can’t Do It All

The last thing I want to mention is what I talked about way back in the beginning. The passion to produce as much of what sustains you as possible. The bottom line is that you simply cannot do it all. You will start in a direction and add lots of stuff only to find out in a very real way that there are only 24 hours in a day. And if you stretch yourself too far, the joy of that homesteading life can turn into drudgery and a chore.

Here are some of the ideas we have either tried or at least talked about but have now fallen by the wayside.

The cashmere goats were brought onto the homestead to provide fiber to make yarn and knitted things. I wanted to make our clothes. Way back in the past I even had flax seeds ready to grow flax for fiber. Both of those things are full time operations. You would grow a small garden and have a few animals for yourself and the rest of your time would be spent on those projects. Would it be worth it? Perhaps it is a long-held dream for some of you. Go for it. For us, it was just another task that needed to be completed that never got done.

One project that has fallen by the wayside but may make a comeback in the future is cutting and stacking wood for the wood stove. For the past two winters, we have simply paid higher prices for electricity in the winter. Scott needed to work on the creamery. We have a wonderful wood stove that can heat our entire house in the winter and save lots on electricity. We shall see how that progresses in the future. It may be that we find someone else who is making wood cutting the center of their homestead operation and we just buy a few cords of wood from them. It will still be much cheaper than electricity.

Let’s see what else have we scrapped. My herbal tincture business. That was a fairly well-defined business. I studied for years, earned my degrees, and practiced my craft. But in the end, marketing more than one business is simply not practical. I still provide the needed herbal medicines for our family, but I no longer try to make it cost efficient. Making my own medicine from natural herbs still fulfills me. It’s great to know that I can take care of some of my medical needs. But in the end, becoming an herbalist that helps the community had to be put aside. It’s a full-time job in and of itself.

Follow Your Dream

I’m sure there are other things but you get the picture. We all start out wanting to do everything. Then reality sets in and we have to pick and choose. Once the creamery is built and our cheese business is in full swing, there are other things that we still want to do that we have not yet done. So as some things fall off, others come into greater focus. We love pork and chicken but have not had the time to master these two animals. Before the creamery we did not have them because they require daily care and we were not here every day. After we came to live here every day, the creamery became the focus of our efforts.

By next year, we will be ready to start these other new adventures that compliment our cheese operation. Both the pigs and chickens will benefit from the spoilage and waste generated by the cheesemaking business.

One really great thing I have learned about the homesteading lifestyle is that there is always something new just around the corner. And more often than not, it is a joyful thing. 

Final Thoughts

That’s about all I have time for today. Next time I’ll have great updates on the wonderful new animal babies on the homestead. We love spring time and new life.

I hope you’ve gotten some ideas to think about as you make your journey. Whether you are already in the process or still thinking about it, keep going, keep dreaming. It’s so worth it. And if it’s not your cup of tea, come visit us and benefit from the great food that we grow for you. We’d love to chat and show you around. Not everyone will be a homesteader. You just be the best YOU that you can imagine. Keep going. Keep dreaming.

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, 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.

To learn about herd shares:

To share your thoughts:

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

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Instagram

www.instagram.com/peacefulheartfarm

Locals

Peacefulheartfarm.locals.com

Flavored Cheese

Have you considered flavored cheese in your home cheesemaking operation? Likely most of you are not making your own cheese. You’ll want to seek out some flavored cheeses from your local markets for a real treat. There are so many possibilities here that I couldn’t possibly cover them all in this short podcast. Today, I’ll give you just a brief overview of what you might consider in tasting and in creating with your cheeses.

Welcome 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 going to start off with what’s going on at the homestead and then I’ll get right into talking about some tasty flavored cheese.  

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

I want to start off with talking about our herd share program. We are opening up our raw milk cheese herd shares to more people. One full share will provide you and your family with about two pounds of our hand-made, aged, raw milk cheese per month. A half share will provide about one pound of cheese per month. We have four varieties from which to choose.

Our Peaceful Heart Gold is a danish Havarti-style cheese. It is a washed curd cheese that is soft, buttery and the sweetest cheese we make. Moving from the mildest to the sharpest, the next in line is our Ararat Legend. This is also a washed rind cheese made in the Dutch gouda tradition. It is a firmer cheese than the Gold with nearly as much butter flavor. This cheese ages well and the flavor deepens with each passing month. The next two kind of tie for sharpest, depending on how long they have aged. We have a wonderful aged cheddar and an alpine-style cheese we call Pinnacle. The flavor complexities of these two cheeses are amazing as neither is even ready to taste until 9 months or more of aging. Well, we do offer the milder cheddar at three and six months, but you will definitely want to wait for the good stuff.

Details and costs can be found on our website at Peaceful Heart Farm dot com. Product pickup is available at the Wytheville Farmer’s market, the Independence Farmer’s market and from our homestead. Support us or some other local farm. Keep good food alive. Give us a call and we can get you set up.

Cows

We are on calf watch with Rosie. This event is happening far ahead of our expectations. Her udder is developing and filling with milk. It may be only a matter of days. You never really know, any more than you know for humans, when the exact date will be for the event. She is looking good and Scott and I are feeling pretty good about Rosie and her calf. We are still cautious and watching her very closely, but again, she looks really good right now. Buttercup is doing a good job of keeping Rosie company. She is our only cow that is not going to have a calf this year.

After Rosie, next up for giving birth is Cloud followed closely by Claire. Butter and Violet are much further down the line, due in May and June respectively. And as I said, Buttercup is not having a calf this year. If all goes well, we will end up with five calves this year. Praying for some heifers.

Goats and Sheep

The sheep are doing well. Their expected delivery date is the 27th of March, so about a month more for them. We are likely to have six to eight lambs this year.

The goats have been reduced to five. Yes, finally I got moving on reducing our goat population. We are moving more rapidly toward changing over to meat goats. If you are new, we currently have cashmere goats. I had this grandiose idea that I was going to have time to gather their cashmere, have it made into yarn, and knit up some wonderful cashmere items. It took a few years for me to realize that I was not going to have time to include yet another enterprise into our business model. By that time, we had well over twenty goats.

Now these wonderful animals are great at keeping the pastures cleared of brush, briars and small pine trees. So, we definitely want to keep a few of them around. However, it makes much more sense for our homestead to have meat goats. That way they can keep the pastures pristine and also provide more nourishment for our family. Later this fall we will process the final five goats. At that point we will be in the market for a small herd of meat goats. Right now, I am focused on Kiko goats but would probably consider Spanish goats.

Quail

A few days ago, Scott and I went over the costs of raising these great birds. It’s pretty expensive according to my year-end profit and loss statement. My first, knee-jerk reaction was to just stop raising quail. However, after waiting a couple of days, I decided to break down the actual cost and how much we are benefiting from the eggs and meat.

Back in 2006, Scott raised just short of 150 chickens in the Joel Salatin-type chicken tractors. He calculated that it cost a little over $1 per pound to raise those chickens. Our cost to raise quail is somewhere between $5.50 and $6.50 per pound of bird. However, there are also the eggs to consider. Scott and I sat down and tried to come up with a better comparison. If we had to buy eggs, what would be our cost? Subtract that from the total costs, based on four quail eggs per one chicken egg, and the rest of the cost divided by the approximate weight of the birds raised for meat. The bottom line is that we decided to give the quail one more season to prove their worth. I also decided to feed them a little bit less. They did seem to be putting on quite a bit of unnecessary fat so this seemed the first place to cut a little cost. We shall see what happens this year. I’m going to keep better records.

I’m still anticipating when we will be able to build our chicken facilities. It won’t be this year. The quail get a well-deserved reprieve.  

Garden

I just received a couple of rolls of woven fabric ground cloth. Yes, we are about to get started on the garden. The biggest change this year will be the strawberry bed. I’ve order 500 bare-root strawberry plants. Yes, you heard that right. I ordered 500 plants. We are pretty much starting from scratch with our strawberries. I’m excited about this new opportunity.

I’m also going to start some plants for sale at the farmer’s market. If you are in my neighborhood, I should have some herbs, tomatoes and perhaps some green pepper starts ready for your garden. I’m not going to grow very many tomatoes or peppers this year but I really love growing plants. Growing for you guys seemed to be the best way to fulfil that desire to grow stuff. And I chose to grow some culinary herbs, because they are sometimes harder to find. I’ll keep you posted on which herbs I was successful in sprouting.

Flavored Cheese

Today want to talk a little bit about flavored cheese. If you’re making your own cheese at home, this could be a great adventure for you. On the other hand, if you’re just a real cheese head and love to try new cheeses, you might take a look at some of the cheeses available that have had either spices and seeds added or maybe they have herbs added, and some have been created using ale wine and/or spirits. You may even be able to find a cheese wrapped in leaves. These are just a few of the methods used to add various flavors to cheese. In this short podcast, I’ll be briefly touching on those flavorings that I just mentioned. There are others, but I’ll stick with these for today.

Seeds and Spices

The first flavoring I want to mention is seeds and spices. Your first thought when considering what seeds and spices to add should be the quality. You don’t want to use three-year-old dried herbs from your cabinet. Next, think of what you like. Now temper that with the thought that sometimes there’s a good reason that you haven’t seen that kind of cheese made. However, don’t let that thought stop you from experimenting. Sometimes it could be as simple as it not being economical to produce such a cheese on a commercial basis. If you’re making it in your own kitchen, the costs are much less of a factor. If you’re concerned at all, simply start with a combination that you’ve seen or tasted.

There are two things that you want to consider when preparing your experiment. Getting the right distribution and the size of the seed. I’ve seen lots of cheeses use whole peppercorns. Those are pretty big seeds so you would use less. On the other hand, if you have a small seed such as Caraway, you don’t want to put so many in there that you ruin the texture of the cheese. For a cheese maybe 2 gallons of milk, you are likely going to choose one to 3 teaspoons of your chosen seed or spice.

When you’re preparing your seeds and spices for addition to the cheese curd, you might consider boiling them for 5 to 10 minutes. There are couple reasons you might want to try that. If you suspect any kind of contamination or you want to soften a seed so that the flavors are more readily incorporated into the cheese.

Adding your seeds or spices can happen in a couple of different ways. Almost universally, the whey needs to have been drained. You don’t want to lose your spice with the whey. One of the easiest methods is to simply stir your seeds and/or spices into the drained cards. Another fun way would be to layer it in the mold. Put little curd in, add your spices, put more curd, add spices again and so on. You want to be careful with that method. There is always a chance that you will bunch your spices up too closely together and over spice one area while another would be under served. You may even have trouble getting the cheese to get together properly. The trade-off is the visual effect of layers.

Here are some of the most popular seeds and spices used in this method flavoring your cheese. I’ve already mentioned caraway seed and peppercorns. Other seeds might be mustard, fennel, fenugreek, or cumin. Some useful spices include cloves and red pepper flakes. Generally, you want to stay away from using herbs for aged varieties of flavored cheese. They will be prone to breakdown and change the color of your cheese. That’s not a good look. Herbs are most often used either mixed into a soft cheese or spread.  Or lots of times you’ll see them used as a coating on the outside of a fresh, soft cheese.

Ale, Wine, and Spirits

This is a great way to create a flavored cheese. And ale or beer can be incorporated directly into the cheese curd in the same way that the seeds and spices were added. Wine and spirits on the other hand, work better on the outside. This is most commonly done in washed rind cheeses. I briefly mentioned wrapping a cheese in leaves. Using alcohol to macerate the leaves, that is to soak them for a period of time, prior to wrapping the cheese is a favored practice.

Adding beer or ale, similar to adding seeds, happens after the whey has been drained. When making cheddar, it can be added after the cheddaring process has been completed and the curds have been milled. Otherwise, simply stir into the curds after they have been drained. You don’t need much. I also think it would be hard to use too much. Whether you pour the whole bottle into the curds made from your 2 gallons of milk, or you use only a half cup for your cheese and save the rest for yourself, that’s up to you. I’ll use a whole bottle for 15 or 20 gallons of milk. But again, I don’t think you can use too much.

There are several things to consider when deciding to use wine or spirits on your washed rind cheese. Because you’re adding wetness to the outside of your cheese, you can be prepared for softening. Sometimes, for a softer cheese, you might let your cheese dry for 2 to 3 days. Then begin the wash. Or, for a harder, drier cheese such as an alpine style, you can begin the wash right away. Something else to consider would be experimenting with the frequency of washing and the humidity in your aging room. The hardness of the rind and the texture of the cheese will also influence what your final results are going to be with the washing. Obviously, the softer rind is going to absorb more of the flavors.

Wrapping Your Cheese with Leaves

Many flavored cheeses utilize some type of leaf wrapping. Sometimes the leaves are dry, but more often they have been macerated in a strong alcohol, such as brandy or bourbon. This is a wide-open field. Choose your favorite spirit, and parent with your favorite leaf. Some leaves to consider are chestnut, maple, or grape.

Not all leaf-wrapped cheeses use spirits. Nettle, sycamore, or walnut are good choices here. Like with the herbs, you don’t want them to break down and become mush.

I hope you enjoy your experiments whether in making the cheese or trying out a new cheese from your local market.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ll give some thought to becoming part of our herd share program. We’d love to be of service to you. Come on out to the homestead and see where it all happens. Say hello to Claire and the rest of the girls. Pet the donkeys. Be sure to wear rugged shoes and/or boots. Animals are messy creatures and if it has rained, omg, the mud.

I hope I’ve titillated your senses a little and you’re on your way to trying some new flavored cheese. Whether you’re making it from scratch or buying from your local market, your enjoyment is sure to be mooua, superb.  

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, 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.

To learn about herd shares:

To share your thoughts:

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

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Instagram

www.instagram.com/peacefulheartfarm

Locals

Peacefulheartfarm.locals.com

What is Flocculation in Cheesemaking?

What is flocculation when making cheese? And how does it affect my cheese? Today I’m going to revisit home cheesemaking and talk a little bit about each of the steps to creating any cheese. I’ll pause in the middle and talk in more detail about flocculation. It can take your home cheesemaking to the next level.

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.

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

I’m starting off, as I always do, with our homestead life updates. I’ll try to put a time stamp in the notes for those of you that want to skip the homestead updates and get straight to the unique topic of the podcast. I’m not sure I know enough to make that happen, but I’m making the effort. We’ll see how it goes.  

Cows

A couple of the cow matrons are showing their pregnancies. Claire will be 11 years old shortly after having her calf this year. That’s getting up there in cow years. They can live 15 or 20 years, but she is definitely old enough to start showing her age. I was out there checking on everyone a few days ago and caught Claire in the act of trying to get up from her afternoon laydown and chewing of cud. In order to make this happen, she rocked and rocked and rocked for nearly a minute before giving herself a big push, getting her up on her rear legs and then finally getting her front legs under her. She looked a little stiff but after moving around a bit she seemed pretty normal. Last year she did the same thing, but this year it seems like it’s taking her a bit longer than usual to get up. I’m going to put in a call to the vet to get some guidance just to be safe.

Same for Rosie. I need to ask the vet more details about what to look for as she nears her delivery date. Rosie is about 6 to 8 weeks away from giving birth to her first calf. We are watching her closely. Her udder is starting to form. Again, if you are just tuning in, we purchased Rosie in the fall even though we suspected she was bred and was quite young to be having a calf. Sure enough, when we got the cows preg checked, she was pregnant and due to deliver in mid-March – or so we estimated. Her age of conception would be similar to a 9 year old girl who just had her first period. Sure she was old enough to conceive, but not fully grown to an age where pregnancy is considered safe. We’ll keep you updated on that progress.

Donkeys, Goats and Sheep

The donkeys are still coming up every day for a treat and a pet.

The sheep are doing well, both flocks. There is a breeding flock out in the front pasture. Those girls, four of them, are due to start having lambs at the end of March. So they are starting to show their pregnancies also. Lambert is taking good care of his ewes. There are twelve in the back. Nine are last year’s lambs and three are ewes that we did not want to breed.

We had to make a quick change with the goats. Goats and sheep are prone to what is called hoof scald that can lead to hoof rot. We’ve never had a problem with our sheep but the goats are a never-ending disaster with these problems. This year we moved them to their own pasture away from the other animals. What happens is that as the animals stand around the hay bale and eat, they inevitably do their business. When it rains all of that becomes a thick muddy mess. This is a problem for our goats. After a good bit of rain or snow combined with cold temperatures, we will often see the goats begin to limp. We got them out of there and gave them their own space so they are not standing in that wet, poopy, muddy mess. Their hooves just don’t do well in that environment. Cold, wet, and the proper bacteria will take them down. Of course, after we moved them to their own pasture, they decided they wanted to be in another pasture. That one was also vacant so we let it pass. Everyone looks to be doing well at this point.

Quail

The quail are still being amazing and acting like winter is no big deal. Most days they are all laying eggs. If it gets too cold, they will not lay eggs. So the fact that the eggs keep coming tells me they are doing just fine in the cold.

Garden

This time of year gets me starting to twitch and itch to start growing some plants. I had not planned to grow any tomatoes this year. I’m planning on focusing on beans and peas. But just today I started thinking about, “what if I grow some tomato plant starts for folks at the farmer’s market?” I mean just because I’m not going to grow them for us doesn’t mean that other people won’t want them. And so many of you do not have the space and equipment to grow them from seed. It’s quite the operation. What do you think? Tomatoes, maybe some peppers. And what about herbs? You all likely want some basil, parsley, cilantro and so on. The jury is still out on that one. But I will say I’m leaning heavily toward growing some stuff and those sound like really good plants to make it happen.

Creamery

We have opened up new Raw Milk Cheese herd shares if you are interested in regularly obtaining some fabulous raw milk cheese. A half share will provide about 1 pound of cheese per month and a full share will provide about 2 pounds of raw milk cheese per month.

The outside of the creamery is nearly complete. Walls, roof, soffit, knee walls, dormer walls and whatever else Scott did to make it work. It’s so exciting. I’m waiting for that scaffolding to come down. The scaffolding makes it look like a building under construction – and it is – but I look forward to the day when I can look at the building without it. This is the most beautiful building. Follow us on Facebook at Peaceful Heart Farm to see Scott’s updates and the pictures of the progress of the creamery.

As we talked over how the interior building was going to progress, I tried to work out if I was going to be able to make cheese in the cheese make room this year. Looks like no. At least not at the beginning. There is a small possibility that I would be able to get in there about the time we stop milking. Maybe just one cheese before the end? It will be whatever it is and I will love it no matter what. Speaking of making cheese.

What is Flocculation When Making Cheese?

I want to walk through the basic steps of cheesemaking once again. It is not as hard as you might think. If you get these steps down in your head, when you finally get the courage to give it a try, you will have the basics already in mind. Often the instructions look intimidating. But when you break it down into steps that you are trying to accomplish, it makes it much easier. If you are already making your own cheese, I hope the additional information about what is flocculation will make your cheesemaking even better. And if you don’t make cheese at all, but love eating it, these are the steps that make it happen for you.

These steps are going to be very rudimentary. And if you are at the stage of just wondering what you need to get started, I have a two-part podcast on You Can Make Your Own Cheese. These two podcasts go over the basics of space, equipment, and supplies to get you started.

Steps in Cheesemaking

Step 1 – sanitize everything.

No explanation needed here. Cheese is the result of bacteria, molds, and yeasts interacting with milk. You want to make sure you have all the right ones and none of the wrong ones. You control this by sterilizing everything and then adding in what you desire.

Step 2 – heat the milk to the proper temperature for ripening.

That means you are going to raise the temperature of the milk to a temperature where the cultures you have chosen to use in your cheese will flourish. Too cold and not enough happens. Too hot and they die.  

Step 3 – add the cultures and let the cheese ripen.

Ripening happens for a specific amount of time noted in the recipe. This can be as short as five minutes or so up to an hour or even more, depending on the cheese. The cultures and ripening time are central to creating the type of cheese you desire.

Step 4 – add rennet or other acid to set the curd

This is where I’m going to elaborate a little bit. And I will be focusing on using rennet to set the curd. Rennet originally was produced solely from the stomach lining of a calf. Today, there are many kinds of rennet. In all cases, what happens is the rennet forms a chemical bond with the milk and causes it to coagulate into one giant curd. Or one giant blob of solidified milk.

The length of time it takes to get to the point where the curd is completely formed and ready to cut into cubes varies according to the cheese you are making. Once that time is reached the curd is ready to be cut. More on that in the next step.

Flocculation refers to the time when the casein matrix has begun to form, the curd has just begun to set. That flocculation time is then multiplied it by a factor. The factor is different depending on the type of cheese. Examples are to multiply by a factor of 2 – 2.5 for hard cheese like parmesan all the way up to multiplying by 4, 5 or 6 for moister cheeses like gouda, camembert, or stilton.

The curd at the time of cutting will have a different strength. The longer is sets up, the stronger the curd. A young curd, let’s say only 30 minutes of time has passed, will release more whey. Lower multipliers are used for harder, dryer cheeses. A soft brie or camembert will have a high multiplier and the curd is going to retain more whey. The time for setting the curd is going to be substantially longer.

With this method, instead of following a specific time based on the recipe, you can determine when is the best time to cut the curd with the milk you are using. There are other methods of determining the point flocculation has occurred but this one is really simple. I can’t wait to give it a try. By the way, I got this information from a YouTube channel that I love. It is Gavin Webber (spell it out). He is a master at making cheese at home. Check out his channel. Just go to YouTube and search for Gavin Webber and his channel will pop right up.

His method was so simple I just had to share it. This will truly take your cheesemaking to the next level. Simply take a plastic lid the size of small-mouth mason jar. Just about any pint-sized jar with a plastic lid will be the right size. After adding the rennet, Gavin starts a timer and waits about 8 minutes into the process. Then he takes that lid, lays the flat top of the lid on the surface of the milk and spins it. It is light and will easily float. As long as it continues to spin, you need more time. As soon as it stops spinning, note that time on your timer and multiply by the appropriate factor for the cheese you are making. That is the perfect time to cut the curd. I’ll leave a link to his video in the show notes. Now on to next steps.

Step 5 – cutting the curd.

Cutting the curd can be tricky at home. I use a variety of utensils. Ideally you have some kind of device specifically made for cutting the curd, but usually we do not have that. I use a 14” long spatula. I cut straight down into the curd in ½” increments. First one direction and then rotate ninety degrees and cut again. This forms ½” tubes. To make them into cubes requires some way to cut vertically. This is where having a tool uniquely designed for this process. A small wire curd harp is blessing I cannot describe. However, without that, we do the best we can to cut at a 45-degree angle. Again, cutting one way, rotating the pot 90 degrees and cutting again. Sometimes I will rotate two more times so that I have used the 45-degree angle cut in all four directions. This method creates curds that are not exactly cubes, but it does work. The curds need to be pretty close to the same size.

Step 6 – cooking the curds

This process involves raising the temperature of the curds and whey to the appropriate temperature for the cheese you are making. The recipe will tell you the desired end temperature, how long it should take to get there and how long to hold at that temperature. This will further develop your cultures. There may even be steps involved such as washing the curd or adding salt. I won’t get into that now. That will have to be another podcast.

Step – 7 draining and molding the curds

Once your cheese has reached the proper temperature and has cooked for the proper amount of time, you drain the whey. In a pot in a sink or on a stove, this involves dipping the whey off the top or simply pouring the curds and whey into a colander lined with a cheesecloth to catch the curds.

Transfer the curds to your cheese mold or form.

Step 8 – salt the curd

This may happen prior to getting the curds into the mold, but most cheeses are salted after being formed in the mold or immediately after coming out the mold. After the cheese comes out of the mold it might be put in a salt water brine or simply sprinkled with salt as with camembert.

Step 9 – pressing the curds

There are various presses out there to accomplish this task. The idea here is to get more of the whey out of the curds. Some pressing only requires the weight of the cheese itself. Others require the use of some kind of press or a setup where you can add weight on top of your mold. Making cheddar requires a really, really good press. The cheddaring process makes pressing a bit of a unique issue.

Step 10 – aging the cheese

Depending on the type of cheese will determine what kind of rind your cheese will have. Some cheeses offer various types of rinds. You might even use a wax or cream cheese coating. In any event, the moisture needs to be maintained for the amount of time the cheese will age. The time the cheese ages increases and deepens the flavor profile.

Those the steps.

  1. Sanitize everything
  2. Heat the milk
  3. add cultures and ripen
  4. add rennet to create a solid curd
  5. cut the curd
  6. cook the curd
  7. drain the curd and put the curds in a mold
  8. salt the curd
  9. press the cheese into the form
  10. age the cheese for the desired amount of time
  11. Enjoy Your Cheese

Once you understand that these are the steps and they are simply altered in one way or another depending on the cheese you are making, it all starts to make sense. You will be amazed at how a simple change in temperature, size of cut curds, amount of time and temperature to cook will change your milk from one cheese to another.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed the updates on the homestead. I truly enjoy sharing our beautiful life with all of you. And I look forward to meeting many of you in the future if I have not already. Your support is amazing.

I hope this episode helped you understand the steps of cheesemaking a bit more clearly. Again, once you get those steps in mind, you can make just about any cheese you want. The method I described for determining flocculation is an easy addition for those of you already making great cheeses at home.

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, the absolute best way you can do that is to share it on all of your social media 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.

References:

You Can Make Your Own Cheese Part 1

You Can Make Your Own Cheese Part 2

Gavin Webber – The Curd Nerd – Flocculation Method for a Better Curd Set

To learn about herd shares:

To share your thoughts:

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

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Instagram

www.instagram.com/peacefulheartfarm

Locals

Peacefulheartfarm.locals.com

Prepare for Disaster

Prepare for disaster is a motto I grew up with living in rural Michigan. Back in the day, when the power went off due to a winter storm, it could be off for several weeks. Today we have much better electrical systems and our current provider has kept us in good shape. We have never been without power for more than a few days. But even that can be disastrous if we are not prepared. Today I want to talk about how we prepare for disasters that may or may not happen.

First, let me take a moment to say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast for every episode. Thank you so much for your time and attention. I appreciate you all so much and I couldn’t do it without you. It’s midwinter and life goes on here at the homestead.

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

The cold weather has been consistent for weeks. Not too cold, getting just below freezing at night and 40s and sometimes 50s during the day. This is a typical Southwestern Virginia winter. I look for a few days of freezing weather sometime in the near future. A typical winter will have at least four or five days when the temperatures drop all the way to the teens and occasionally single digits overnight. That four or five day stretch usually happens at least once and sometimes twice, usually in January. It hasn’t happened yet. Still waiting for that shoe to drop. We did have some unseasonably cold weather in December, but January is proceeding right long the normal line.

Cows

The cows are handling the cold weather as they always do. It amazes me that these animals can go through the winter without seeming to notice it too much. I go out there and the cows are moseying around, eating grass and/or hay looking like they don’t have a care in the world. If they are eating, they are laying down, relaxing and chewing their cud, again, like they haven’t got a care in the world. Personally, I don’t handle cold very well, but I’m so glad they do.

Donkeys

The donkeys handle the cold very well also. Their coats are full and thick. Just about everyday they come up to the milking shed looking for a treat. Scott or I will give them a small handful of sweet feed and a petting. When they are finished, they head on down to the creek and out to pasture with everybody else. Our donkeys are the friendliest animals on the homestead.

Sheep and Goats

The sheep and goats always prepare for disaster in winter. They have really thick coats. Our goats are cashmere goats. They have a really thick undercoat of cashmere that they shed in the spring. Our sheep are hair sheep which means they also grow a thick coat of wool and shed it in the spring. No shearing for these sheep. I was watching the ewes graze in the front pasture. Just like the cows, not a care in the world.

Quail

The quail are even more amazing to me. They have feathers and I can’t see that they have any extra feathers for winter. Whatever they have is what they have and that’s it. My ladies and gents have it better than they would out in the wild. There is a box shelter where they can get completely out of the wind. They can huddle together for added warmth. Sometimes I go out there and they are kind of fluffed up, but other than that, not a shiver. Nature is amazing.

Garden

This time of year is the time to plan for the spring garden. What plants will we grow? How many? What will be rotated to another location? And so on. I’m a bit behind on getting started with that but I just can’t seem to drum up the energy. It’s too cold and I don’t want to think about going out in the garden when it is cold. Anyway, I’ll get to it in the next couple of weeks.

Creamery

The creamery roof is nearly complete. Scott is putting the finishing touches on the peaks. He spent much of the day yesterday rigging up a way to safely move around up there. Today he is full steam ahead getting those ridge caps completed.

Still to come is all of the ends of the building above the ground floor. I think they are called dormer walls or something like that. It’s basically the area from the top of the block building to the peak of the roof. All of that will be covered in the same metal as with the roof.

It’s cold out there every day. And every day Scott is out there working in it. He doesn’t mind the cold and he prepares for it with layers of clothes.

Preparing for Disaster

Speaking of being prepared, let me get into how we prepare for disaster. Some of it anyway. I could probably talk all day long about how we created and executed our plan. Some of it is still in progress.

No matter where you are in the world, there is always something you can do to prepare for disaster. You simply never know when power is going to be out or something disrupts the flow of goods. For instance, I got caught short this summer because there was a shortage of canning jars and lids. In the end, I did have enough for what I needed to save our harvests, but it was touch and go sometimes. Recently I came across canning jars while in town and I purchased just about everything they had on the shelf. Still no lids but I got a better stock of jars than I have had in the past. We learn from our mistakes.

Let’s start at the beginning. The first thing to stock up on is water.

Water

You should always have water on hand or access to clean water. Making this happen doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Today, we have a hand pump connected to our well so we can always get water when needed whether we have power to the well pump or not. Still, we keep water on hand in the house. While it’s easy to go out there and hand pump some water, it is still easier to reach back in a closet or go into the spare bathroom and get some water for cooking, cleaning and flushing.

The recommended amount of water you will want to store is 7.5 gallons of water per person per month. A family of four would have 15 gallons of water stored if preparing for a short-term disaster lasting a few days or weeks. That’s where you always start. How much do I need for 2 to 4 weeks? Then get it done. You have the blue 5-gallon containers at Lowe’s, Home Depot, the grocery, and so on. Invest in a few of those and you are good to go. Strapped for cash? Buy one a week or even one a month. Your stored water will need to be refreshed regularly. Either use it or pour it out, but replaced what you have stored in the containers every 6 months or so. You don’t have to get there all at once. But you do want to get your water situated first.

Food

The second item is food. This one is a little trickier and takes quite a bit more time. So, start now. There are many methods for building up your food stores. Set several goals with this one.

How Many Days to Prepare for Disaster?

First, how many days of food do you need to store? That depends. Start with a week, then go to a month, then three months and so on. Ideally, you get to a place where you have a full year’s worth of food stored for your entire family. That may seem like a lot and it actually is a lot. But for my peace of mind, I wanted a full year of food. You may make your cutoff date sooner – and some even plan for longer.

What Food Should Be Stored?

Second, don’t store anything your family won’t eat. What are you eating right now? That’s what you want to stock up on. Forget the MRE’s and whatever else might sound great or someone might try to sell to prepare for disaster. What you want is food that your family regularly eats. Most foods have a shelf life of at least a year. If you rotate what you have saved, using the oldest stuff first and adding back what you have used in the back of the shelf, you can come up with a system that keeps you stocked up at all times. This is the first in, first out method. Instead of having one box of cereal, you have 12, or whatever you determine is the right number. Buy an extra box or two whenever you shop, or whatever you can afford. Build up slowly. You’ll be there before you know it.

Bulk Foods

One of the best ideas for food is to store some products in bulk containers. I’m talking about beans, rice, sugar and wheat or flour. You can live a long time on beans and rice. And if you are into making your own bread, having wheat or flour on hand at all times is a great idea. This is another place to build slowly.

The pieces you need to do this part effectively are: 5-to-6-gallon food-grade plastic buckets, mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and a standard household iron. The mylar bag goes in the bucket. The beans, rice, wheat, or flour go in the bag. Toss in a couple of oxygen absorbers and seal the bag with your iron. The oxygen absorber will suck out all the oxygen in the bag, And the sealed bag without oxygen will keep the food fresh for up to 30 years. I said 5 or 6-gallon buckets, but you can use smaller buckets. I like the larger buckets because I can buy 40 or 50 pounds of beans or rice and it fits in the larger bucket.

Canned Goods

Let’s talk about canned goods. These can also last for a very long time – not so much as the beans and rice, but still a long while. Those “use-by” dates on the can are not expiration dates. They are CYA dates for the manufacturers. As long as the can is not damaged and the seal is in place, canned food in jars and metal cans will last for years. Food in jars needs to be kept out of the light. And all canned foods need to be kept at room temperature or lower. Keep that in mind when you are planning where to store your stuff. Strapped for space? Under the bed works pretty well. Use that cabinet space up high that is empty because you can’t reach it easily. Find used shelving at yard sales and put it up in your garage. Lots of ways to make the space you need.

And don’t forget the can opener. Not one of those electric ones. No! a hand-operated can opener is needed.

Self-Protection

I’m not going to talk about this one because I’m not educated enough to know what to say. We do have weapons and ammo and such but Scott handles all of that. I’ll just mention it here and say find someone who knows what they are talking about with this and follow their podcasts or YouTube videos. It’s definitely important. And don’t forget to get the proper training. It’s no good to have weapons you don’t know how to use safely and care for properly.

Energy Needs

This is the last piece I’m going to touch on today. There is so much to cover on this topic I couldn’t possibly do it justice. So, I’m just going to give you a bit of information to get you started. Every person’s situation is different and your energy needs are going to be different.

Gasoline

Keep extra gasoline on hand. That’s an easy one. We try to keep 12 containers at all times. I must say, we are not as efficient at this as could be desired. If you have 12 containers of gasoline labeled one each month, rotate through that stock at a particular date in the month. In other words, in January, you empty the container labeled “January” into one of your car gas tanks. Pick a day of the month that you do this. The first, 15th or last day of the month are good choices. Take the empty container and refill it. That newly filled container won’t be emptied for a year and it will require a fuel stabilizer to keep it fresh and usable.

Generator

Having a generator that has enough power to run your refrigerator and freezer is a great tool. Again, add these things as you can afford them. Get your food stores up to a couple of weeks at least before moving on to a generator. Your generator will need to be started once a month to keep it in tip-top shape and so you know it is in good working order. You don’t want to be without power and find out that your generator is no longer working.

Living off the Grid

You may decide to go completely off the grid – or at least be prepared to go completely off the grid. That takes a great deal of planning and the choices are endless so I’m not going to go into that topic. But I will say keep in mind that, while solar sounds really good, if you don’t live in a really, really sunny place it may not be the option for you. There are other options.

Having a wood burning stove is always good. At the very least you can use your gas grill to cook meals – if you have planned ahead and have an extra propane tank or two. We took out our electric stove and put in a gas stove. The oven won’t work but the surface burners can be lit with a match. Keep some of those on hand. I like using what I’m used to using for cooking, so this works for me. We have the wood burning stove as well – complete with an oven. I really should learn how to cook on that thing in the event we run out of propane.

Communication

This is the toughest one to get prepared for in my opinion. How do we communicate? As long as the cell towers are up and running and your phone battery is charged, we can communicate. Well, we would have to climb way up to the top of our property and then maybe, just maybe, we would get a cell signal.

Right now, we have all sorts of social media where we can find out what is going on with family, friends and co-workers. But what if you didn’t have that? How would you get in touch with people? Could you get in touch with people? This topic requires some deep thought, lots of planning, and practice sessions to make sure your plans work. You don’t want to be isolated.

There is a significant amount of banning of communication going on in the large tech communities. They have a great deal of power. Indeed, more power than the US government. They can turn off anyone with the push of a button. They can make you disappear. You might want to consider broadening your reach to smaller platforms if you can find one that works for you and your family.

I have created a page on a site called Locals. You can find me on locals by searching for peaceful heart farm. Once you’ve joined my community, you can post whatever you’d like on my page. We can have a conversation and share insights.

I think I’m going to end there.

Final Thoughts

The animals go on and on and don’t give a thought to whether there is power to heat the house. And as long as the grass and hay keep coming, they are good to go. For us, it’s more complicated. As I said, I don’t like being cold. I’m grateful for our wood burning stove. It saves on electricity in the winter and is quite useful in a pinch for cooking.

I’ve spent years gathering food, both for ourselves and now saving up in case our neighbors are not prepared or not financially able to make it happen. And our water supply will also help out – and indeed has – helped out our neighbors. There is so much more to prepare for disaster but these two pieces are key. Water and food. Start today. You just have no idea when the power lines are going to go down with a winter storm, a hurricane, tornado and so on. It may be only a couple of days but it very well could be weeks. Remember hurricane Sandy and what a disaster that was and not so long ago.

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, 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. And please give locals.com a try.

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

To learn about herd shares:

To share your thoughts:

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

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Instagram

www.instagram.com/peacefulheartfarm/

Pickled Quail Eggs

Let’s get back to the quail and pickled quail eggs. So much has happened. Many changes since the last time I talked about them. Ten jars of pickled quail eggs that have been completed. And so much more to talk about, especially the creamery roof.

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 and I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week.

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

It’s getting close to Christmas. Hope you all are ready. Scott and I have been watching the YouTube series called “The Chosen”. I highly recommend it. The story so far is about Jesus’ adult life, not his birth. It’s still great watching for Christmas time IMO. A second season is currently in the works. I believe filming is scheduled to be completed in February 2021. I don’t know a release date, but I’m eagerly anticipating its release.

Quail

On to the quail updates on the homestead.

Last time I talked about our beautiful Japanese Coturnix quail we were having issues with hens getting beat up really bad. We rescued a bunch of them and put them in quarantine away from the others. One rooster was also in quarantine. Each and every one of them healed up just fine. The only problem is that we couldn’t put them back in their various cages lest the same thing happen all over again. So, they were slated for culling.

An additional blessing and/or problem was we were getting 29 or 30 eggs every day. That’s a bit too many. Who knew that we would be so successful in getting them to lay throughout the winter? Last year we had zero, zip, nada for eggs throughout the entire winter. Then one day in late March, they all started laying again as if on cue. Getting 30 eggs at a time was a giant blessing. The more eggs we get from our quail, the less eggs we have to purchase elsewhere.

Culling Hens

Before I get on to the pickled quail eggs, I need to talk a little bit more about culling the hens. When you live the homestead life, there are certain choices that need to be made that are not always easy. I love our quail. The eggs they lay are so cute and beautifully colored. However, we have to face facts and only keep what we need. And we need to give them the best life. We ended up reducing our quail population by 12 birds – well actually 13 but I will get to the additional bird in a moment. We had 6 in quarantine. Originally, there were five hens and one rooster in the bottom cages. In the lower cage on the right, we were missing a hen, the white one. All of the groups have 1 rooster to 5 hens. With my new experience, I realized I could not add another hen to the cage because she would just get beat up by the others as they vied for dominance and so we simply took all of the remaining hens out of there. That was four more. The cage on the bottom left had only one hen and a rooster in it. The other four hens from that cage were in quarantine. We took that last hen and added her to the group to be culled. Now we have 11. The end result is two cages on the bottom, one left and one right, that have a rooster and no hens.

In the penthouse was an interesting situation in that there were originally 10 hens and 2 roosters on each side – or so we thought. On the right side is where the rooster in quarantine came from so there was only one rooster there now and 10 hens. We took the five extra hens without a rooster buddy from the penthouse right side and put them in the lower cage with the lone rooster on the right. It made sense that these hens had been raised together and would therefore live in relative harmony together with their new rooster friend. They did to a point. More on that in a minute.

Miscalculations

In the penthouse on the left side was supposed to be 2 roosters and 10 hens. The only problem was that I kept getting 11 eggs from there. That’s right. I got 11 eggs from 10 hens. After closer inspection it became clear that I had misidentified one of the hens as a rooster. No problem. I needed five hens to be moved to the lower cage on the left. That left six hens and a rooster in the left penthouse. I snagged one of the hens at random and added her to the cull group. Now there were 12 in the cull group and each cage had 1 rooster and 5 hens. It seemed perfect.

More Rearranging

We processed all of the culled birds immediately and I had them in cold water overnight. There are enzymes produced in that first 24 hours or so that help tenderize the meat. Once that process is complete, I usually package them and then freeze them in packages of four birds. However, these 12 were slated for dinner and leftovers and they got an extra day in the frig. The very next day after doing all this culling and rearranging of hens, I went out to feed and water them and found another hen with a slightly bloody head. It wasn’t bad but she had definitely been abused. This time I grabbed the rooster and immediately quarantined him. It had to be him. The girls were getting along fine before and now the bloody head again. The only change was putting them in with the rooster. Sure enough, the next day, her head was much better and there were no other injuries. She healed up within three days and still no other injuries. As soon as I saw that she was going to heal up without the rooster in there, he got added to the dinner pot. And that is how it ended up being 13 instead of 12. We still have a few leftovers in the frig. Maybe dinner tonight.

Not Perfect But It Will Work

So now, one cage has five hens with no rooster. All five still lay eggs like clockwork. I just won’t be able to use those infertile eggs in the incubator.

The final note with the quail is that yesterday, I went out to feed them and found one of the hens in the penthouse on the right had died. There were five eggs in there, so she laid her daily egg before expiring. This happens sometimes. There was no mark on her externally, but she had blood just inside her beak. Something internal went wrong. I have no idea what. One cage has a rooster and four hens instead of five. That reduces our total hens to 24. That’s two dozen eggs each day. Hope the rest of them fair well through the rest of the winter. We will have to cull a few more to make room for new babies in the spring. But until then, lots of eggs. And some of them will be made into pickled eggs.

Pickled Quail Eggs

I boiled 100 quail eggs and made 10 jars (1/2 pint) of pickled quail eggs. The boiled eggs were submerged in vinegar. This did two things. First, the spots lifted off and floated to the surface of the liquid. Second, the shells, now white, became soft and rubbery overnight. Peeling them was a matter of pinching the soft shell and peeling the rubber-like shell. It was so easy. Who knew peeling eggs could be so easy.

I used three different pickling recipes. The basic pickling solution was similar in all of them. Two cups vinegar and one cup water and two to four tablespoons of sugar depending on the recipe. The salt varied a little too. This solution was enough for three jars plus a little. I made three jars of pickled quail eggs with this solution and added curry seasoning. There were three jars of pickled quail eggs with the vinegar solution, a pickling spice mix and ½ a beet. Those are a beautiful pink egg now. Then I did four jars of pickled quail eggs using apple cider vinegar in the mix instead of white vinegar and I added some minced garlic. I used the same pickling spice mix as the previous one. Unfortunately, none of them have been tasted yet. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

In the end, I have canned 10 jars of pickled quail eggs with plans for quite a few more over the winter. It will be a fine snack throughout the next year.

Apple Pie Jam

Speaking of canning, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my apple pie jam. It’s pretty simple and out of this world delicious. The other day while out picking up some quail feed I ordered from a local supplier, I bought another bushel of apples. The previous bushel made lots of apple pie filling and a bit of apple pie jam. And there they were apples galore right out there for me to pick up. This year was the first time I had made the apple pie jam and it was a hit. Basically, it’s an apple jam recipe with pie spices added. It is unbelievably good. It has ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice. A bushel of apples ended up making another 40 pint jars of apple pie jam.

Perhaps I went a little overboard with making this jam, but it was really fun. I have some ½ pints that I’m selling at the farmer’s market, and will likely sell some of the pint jars as well. There will still be plenty for ourselves and as gifts for family and friends. It’s just one of those things that was so fun I just had to do it over and over. Two days straight with canning two batches of 10 pints each. Now you know what to expect out of a bushel of apples. Plan accordingly.

Cows

On to the animals. Most of the cows are still grazing on grass. It’s amazing. No hay for the main herd yet. We are near the end of December. The plan is progressing nicely. Most of the year there will be no hay expenses for these girls. It’s a giant step forward in our homestead plan. Everyone is doing well.

Just last night a new possibility arose to add another new bred heifer or young cow to our herd. This time if it works out, we will be adding another purebred Normande to our homestead. We’re excited. It will be a very, very long trip, but so worth it. These young ladies are hard to come by and we hope to remedy that in the future by having lots and lots of heifers for ourselves as well as having some to sell to others. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me if we have any heifers for sale. It seems lots of people are looking for these beautiful cows and there just aren’t that many heifers available. Especially that have the milking genetics. I’ll keep you posted on how this new development progresses. And if you are one of those looking for a Normande, drop me an email and I’ll let you know who to contact.

Donkeys

All of the donkeys got their hooves trimmed. Johnny was really, really difficult. I think more difficult than he has ever been. He was constantly kicking, jerking, moving around. And when Scott got to the last hoof, he just layed down. It was a very trying experience for all concerned. On the other hand, Cocoa is getting used to it. She did really well. And as always, Daisy and Sweet Pea just stand there. It’s old hat for them. Glad to get that accomplished.

All of the donkeys have their winter coats. They are like little fuzz balls.

Sheep

I was going out the driveway yesterday and noticed the sheep are looking nice and fat. I’m talking about the breeding group in the front pastures. They look really round but it is too early for that to be pregnancy showing. Sheep gestation is only five months. They are not even two months along. It is that last month that they get really big and round. No these girls are just really healthy and strong. It’s good to see them doing so well.

Creamery

The roof is in progress. What a job it was to get the material here and unloaded. It was not without issue. Plus, the wind contributed to some additional damage to the materials. Scott is out there right now finishing one run of metal on the lower end of the loafing shed.

This morning it was quite the ordeal to get the last pieces delivered and transported from the road back to the building site. Scott had quite the elaborate setup in place and it would have worked beautifully if his tractor had had a little more toughness. Unfortunately, it was just a little bit too small for the task. The metal was bundled all in one piece and was delivered on a tow truck. Because the pieces are so long, this was the only way to get it to us. Department of transportation rules for how much can hang off of a trailer made this job much harder to accomplish.

Bent Roofing Material – Oops

Anyway, the tow truck arrived this morning with the roof metal. Scott had our hay trailer rigged up so the bundle could be lifted up off the truck, the tow truck would drive out from under the bundle, Scott would back his hay trailer under it and then lower the bundle onto our hay trailer. He had already tested his ability to drive it back to the building site. All should work well. We had a neighbor friend bring his tractor over to help lift the load. All actually did go well for a brief moment. Then the load shifted, Scott’s smaller tractor was just not able to hold up the load and it slipped off the forks. Lots of bent metal sheets. A few more gyrations and they got it onto the trailer and the rest of the plan went smoothly. It’s all there next to the building ready for Scott and I to unload it one sheet at a time. That’s for tomorrow.

More Bent Roofing Material

Last week Scott picked up a different load of metal. These were shorter pieces that fit on the hay trailer. He and I unloaded that without issue. Yesterday, Scott laid out quite a few sheets of these metal sheets onto some sawhorses. Even before going out to the road to meet the tow truck driver, he discovered that the thunder I thought I heard last night was actually the wind blowing those large pieces of metal all over the place. More bent metal roof panels. You can’t have everything go right every day. That just would not be real homestead living. In the end, the roof will be completed and all will be well. I have a long day tomorrow helping with the heavy lifting and moving those 27-foot sheets of metal off of the trailer and under the barn. Some of them will get moved to the roof as well. I expect my biceps and wrists to be sore again. But hey, that’s one of the reasons we do what we do. No need to go to the gym. They are closed anyway. Daily life on the homestead is a workout that is never boring.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for this podcast. Trials and tribulations galore. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. All in all, things are going well for us on the homestead at the present time. We say our prayers and thank God for our blessings. The animals are healthy (well except for that one quail) and we are healthy.

I can’t get enough of those quail. It looks like we finally have all the issues worked out. We are back to normal operations with everybody happy and content in their little homes. I just put a jar of pickled quail eggs out on the counter as an appetizer for tonight’s dinner.

The creamery is moving along at a good clip. It won’t be long and we will have finally realized that dream. Just another one of those blessings I’m always talking about.

In the near future I’m going to be updating the website to highlight our raw milk cheese herd shares. Look for updates on that next time. This year’s cheeses are superb. If you regularly eat a pound or two of cheese per month, you might want to think about joining our herd share program. You can own a piece of the herd and dine on locally produced cheese.

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, 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.

To learn about herd shares:

To share your thoughts:

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

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Instagram

www.instagram.com/peacefulheartfarm/

You found our farm!

}

FARM STORE Hours:

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

Peaceful Heart Farm

224 Cox Ridge Road, Claudville, VA 24076

Can you find our products?

We'd like to make sure we have cheese available where you can get it. Whether it be at the Farmers Market or a specialty food store.

Let us know where you'd like to see us and we'll try to make it happen. We'll notify you via email when we get our products to your favorite shopping destination.

12 + 1 =

}

FARM STORE Hours:

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

}

Wytheville Farmers Market:

Saturdays:  8am – 12pm

Never Miss an Update:

We're crafting cheese. Just for YOU!

farm news and market updates

I Want To Know More About Peaceful Heart Farm and Raw Milk CHEESE Herd Shares

Thank you so much for subscribing to Peaceful Heart Farm. Look for a newsletter with updates on our activities every 2 to 4 weeks.

0

Your Cart