Traditional vs Modern Medicine

traditional vs modern medicineTraditional vs Modern Medicine; where do I begin? Some of you are new and I want to welcome you to the show. I hope you enjoy the content and will share with others. For my regulars, you’re probably wondering where I have been. I’ve missed doing the podcast but it became impossible for me to continue because my health took a very bad turn. I just had a bout with a perforated appendix and associated abdominal infection. I’ll get to all of that. Today I’m going to contrast traditional medicine with modern medicine. Stay tuned.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Modern Medicine vs the Traditions in Pre-Modern Medicine
  • Home Made Yogurt Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

Life on the homestead has been chaotic at best. It is starting to settle down now that I am out of the danger zone and on a path back to health. But Scott has had to take up the slack. And then, there are some things that just didn’t get done.

Scott has been doing all of the milking without my assistance since about the first of August. That is nearly a month now. His morning chores have lengthened from a couple of hours to 3 plus. That takes a big bite out of his day but he is taking it in stride. You do what you gotta do as they say.

The Baby Quail

He built the “grow out” cage for the baby quail. I don’t think I’ve even mentioned them. I’m pretty sure that the last you heard was the eggs were still in the incubator, right? I became ill the very day they hatched out. It was also the day that I would normally record the podcast. The quail and I share that anniversary. Their birth date and the start of my appendicitis. Anyway, they were in the brooder for about two weeks. We kept them inside under a light the first week. The light keeps them warm as they have down but no feathers when they are born. Their growth is phenomenal. Within a week they more than double in size and become nearly fully feathered. By the end of the second week, they are tripled in size or more. The brooder space gets really small for them. And the shear amount of waste they create in that small space will stink up the place. At two weeks they are ready to be outside.

The Quail Condo

Scott built a second story onto the quail cage and put the new ones on top. There are two large sections up there and lots of space for them to roam around in. The laying hens and their roosters are below. There are three sections there with three sets of hens with a rooster. Some of the new babies will become laying hens and the rest will go to freezer camp. We don’t have chickens yet, so my plan is to raise up a batch of quail every couple of months. That will provide us with poultry. My freezer has been bare of poultry for a very long time. Occasionally I will buy one of those rotisserie chickens at the grocery store for a treat, but mostly we have been doing without. We have lots of lamb, beef, and goat for our protein source.

What about fish you say? Well, we have fish in the pond but no time to fish. That will come even later. At the moment, we rarely have fish. It’s a treat that I just might fix tomorrow night.

Cows, Sheep, Goats

I don’t have much to say about the animals because we haven’t talk much about them. As Scott has not reported any issues, I assume they are all in fine shape and doing their duty. Eating grass and making milk. Soon it will be time to breed the sheep for their spring lambing. Oh, we did separate the ram lambs. I say “we”. How funny. Scott did it. Ten lambs were born on the homestead this year. Five of them were boys. They are now happily grazing with the older boys from last year and the herd ram. They have lost most of their cuteness but are still a joy to watch as they live their lives out there in the pasture. Currently I can see them out my living room window.

The Garden

The garden is a giant weed bed. The tomatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, and eggplant were dying of thirst for the most part. They have survived the ordeal and Scott was able to give them more attention after I was released from the hospital. Even with the drought, we have lots of tomatoes. I think I might have been overwhelmed had I been able to keep them watered. We would have had lots of tomatoes and they would have been big tomatoes. The ones we have now are definitely stunted, maybe 2 ½ to 3” in diameter at best. Many are even smaller but tuning red anyway.

What am I doing with all of those tomatoes you ask? I’m making tomato sauce. It’s actually a fairly simple process if you have the right tools – which I just happen to have. I’ll give a very brief outline of the process. Perhaps I will make a whole podcast on making tomato sauce at a later time.

Making Tomato Sauce

The first two steps involve getting the skins and seeds out. I simply cut the tomatoes into quarters or sixths or eighths depending on their size. I throw them into a pot on low heat. The water comes out quickly so there is no need to add water. Once they come to a boil, I let them simmer for 20 minutes or so. Then I let that cool for at least a couple of hours. It makes it easier to work with for the second step.

Now I’m ready to do the separation. This is where the proper tools are required to make it easy. There are lots of ways to do it, but I prefer the least effort and smallest mess. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer and the food mill attachment. I put the pieces together, feed the tomatoes through the mill and voila, tomato juice and pulp are separated. I did some yesterday and it took about 20 minutes to mill nearly 4 gallons.

The next step will begin tomorrow. I need to cook out the liquid until it becomes the consistency that I want for my sauce. Again, an easy process. Put it on the stove on low heat and stir it occasionally. Once it reaches the proper consistency, I ladle it into the jars I have prepared for canning. The jars get sealed and placed in a hot water bath for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the jar. That’s it! Homemade tomato sauce. I’ll do a whole podcast on the details for those that want to try this for themselves.

I want to keep this podcast as short as possible as my energy level has a strong tendency to drop through the floor without a moment’s notice. I still have lots of healing to do. So what happened? And how did I deal with it?

Modern Medicine vs the Traditions in Pre-Modern Medicine

The dilemma between tradition vs modern medicine is a question I come across often. When I first became ill, I worked with what I had available to me at home that I could do without becoming involved in modern medicine. There were two reasons for this. Number one, I’ve always been able to do this without issue and number two, we have no insurance and modern medicine can be really expensive.

It started on a Saturday and I was in really bad shape on Sunday morning. My self-diagnosis said that I was trying to pass a kidney stone. After all, I had had the experience a few months earlier and I got through it without much trouble. Now I wonder if the earlier episode was really a kidney stone. I’ll never know now. The symptoms were so similar.

Kidney Stones?

Initially Scott thought it was a problem with my colon but I was adamant that it had to be another kidney stone and I just needed to get through it. When the fever started, we got out the antibiotics that we keep on hand for just such an emergency. That brought things somewhat under control quite quickly. However, I was still in a great deal of pain and quite weak and unable to do anything. This went on for a week. Then my fever spiked again. Of course, it was Sunday and I didn’t want the expense of the weekend emergency room. I did, however, decide that this was now outside of my realm of expertise. The infection and fever were overriding the antibiotics and I knew it was likely I was going to have to have stronger antibiotics at the very least and likely IV antibiotics.

Nope. Appendicitis.

Monday after Scott finished morning chores we went to a clinic in Mount Airy. I got blood tests and a chest x-ray. After getting the results it was off to the ER for further evaluation and treatment. My white blood cell count was extremely high. That led to lots of expensive tests and a very expensive CT along with a move to Winston-Salem and 3 days in the hospital. It was bad. I had a perforated appendix with an associated abscess. Lots of infection. Before modern medicine I likely would have died. It’s the old “burst appendix” scenario that has always scared people. There is good reason for that.


I am still very weak and have been told that it may last for 2 months. That is a long time for a farm girl and homesteader. Thankfully, we have wonderful friends and family who have prayed for us and offered real assistance as well. We will get through this difficult time. I’m sure most of you have had similar times. While it is going on I feel like it will never end. But it will end, I will recover and life will go on with many new lessons learned.

For a very long time I have been aware of the wonders of modern medicine. I have studied ancient healing techniques. During the early 2000s I even studied formally and received higher education degrees in Natural Health and Naturopathy. Herbs were my passion for much of that time. I developed my own herbal recipes for general hearth health, immune system support and a sleep aid that was a lifesaver for me for many years. I still use these products as well as others. They have their place in my health and wellbeing. But the awareness of my limitations has always been part of my knowledge base.

Modern Medicine

Many would say that I waited too long and should have sought medical attention earlier, and that may be true. But I can’t see that I would have done anything differently. It seemed harmless at the time. Who would have thought of appendicitis at my age? Well, it is true that it can happen at any age, but it’s usually something that happens before age 30. But you know statistical numbers group things into averages. With any “average” there is a high end and a low end, thus we know that, while it is more unusual, it is not unheard of to draw that appendicitis card at any age.

Some of you may frequent Facebook groups that are about one aspect of health or another. Perhaps a specific diet group like Keto. I belong to lots of those groups. I also belong to lots of farm animal groups and some farm business groups. With all of these, there will be a smattering of traditional medicine techniques that are put forth for consideration during appropriate questions and health discussions. And then there are the times when the group responds with “go see your doctor”. Or “contact the vet” in the case of animals. Sometimes we simply don’t have the skills, tools and experience necessary and must call on professional help.

When to Use Traditional Medicine

When and if to use traditional vs modern medicine can be a touchy subject in the homesteading community as most are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible. But I just can’t state it enough times, sometimes you need modern medicine to continue living. Your animals need it. All of the traditional home remedies in the world fail to meet the need at some point and embracing the best available technology is the only answer. Inevitably the result is mostly painful. Whether financially or physically.

Here’s an example. The fact that the treatment causes some injury is the price we sometimes have to pay to return to health. I thank God every day that I did not have to have emergency surgery. Talk about damage to the body in order to keep it alive. That’s the extreme. You are literally cutting flesh to get to the problem. That flesh now has to heal and is added to the original problem.

Re-Growing Gut Bacteria After Antibiotics

I got away with a small tube in my side for a couple of weeks and an enormous amount of antibiotics. Did I like the amount of antibiotics I just received and ingested? Heck no. My guts will need lots more healing that my traditional methods will be able to provide. I know about probiotic foods. Homemade yogurt is in my diet for the next few weeks to help my gut bacteria return to normal. We shall see. It may be a couple of months. Who knows? I didn’t like it. I was nauseated day after day because of the two strong antibiotics I was on for a full two weeks after the IV antibiotics were stopped. Thankfully, that is finally over. I’m going to go have some yogurt right after I finish this. I like yogurt, but I don’t “love” yogurt. I’m pretty sure it is going to get old quickly. But I will persevere and give my body the traditional support that is needed after modern medicine has kept me alive.

How about this week’s recipe on how to make your own yogurt? You don’t have to have our wonderful raw milk for this. You can make it with any milk from the store that is not ultra-pasteurized. Unfortunately, most organic milk is ultra-pasteurized and will not work. It’s still worth it to use conventional milk to have your own yogurt without artificial sweeteners and thickeners.

Home Made Yogurt

I make mine in my Corsori multi-function pressure cooker. It has a yogurt setting. I believe it would be similar with the Instant Pot or any other multi-function pressure cooker with a yogurt setting. You don’t have to have one. I also have a rather inexpensive yogurt maker. The reason I no longer use it has to do with how much yogurt I make in one batch. The small, inexpensive yogurt maker works for a quart or two. But I make a gallon and a half at a time now. Yogurt will last a very long time in the refrigerator.

So what do you need? Ultimately, what you need is a way to keep the temperature constant between 110 and 115 degrees for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. That’s why all the fancy equipment is sold. It makes it easy. You don’t have to baby sit it while it ferments. Just set it and walk away.

Your Oven

You can use the pilot light in your oven. Better still would be to preheat your oven to 120 or so, then turn it off. Wrap your milk with its yogurt culture in towels and use the oven’s retained heat to keep the temperature up. Placing a baking stone in there will also help hold the heat.

Using a Thermos

Another method is to use a thermos. Some of the best cost as much or more than a cheap yogurt maker but, of course, the thermos would have more uses. And you may already have one on hand. No need to purchase anything extra. Come to think of it, I have a thermal cup that I bought to keep my tea hot over long periods of time. It’s one of those that you can buy at your local gas/convenience store or truck stop. That cup holds nearly a quart of liquid and will keep it hot, and I mean hot, for hours. That’s modern technology for you. You might have one or two of those on hand and, again, no need to purchase anything extra.

A Warm Corner

The last method I will mention is trying to use a warm part of your kitchen or other place in your house during the summer. This would require experimentation and keeping a consistent temperature would be dicey at best.

Crock pots get too hot. Don’t try that. Even the lowest setting is over 150 degrees. That will kill the yogurt bacteria. I’ve seen people give recipes using a crock pot and maybe they have a special one, but all of mine even on warm are heating way too hot for yogurt culture to survive.

Let’s get on to the basics of making yogurt.

What You Need

  • Full fat milk
  • A small amount of yogurt with active cultures

What to Do

  • Heat the milk to 180 degrees. This destabilizes the proteins in the milk which makes the yogurt thicken nicely.
  • Quickly cool the milk to about 118 degrees.
  • Stir in the yogurt with active cultures with a small amount of the milk to make sure it is incorporated well.
  • Add the active culture yogurt and milk to the rest of the milk, stir well.
  • Set it in your chosen place to keep it warm for 6 to 8 hours.


  • If using the multi-function pressure cooker, use the slow cook setting to heat the milk. On my Corsori, I set it to 193 degrees for 1 hour. As soon as the hour is up, I check the temperature which is usually 180 something by then. I immediately take it to the kitchen sink and fill the sink with cold water. It only takes 5 minutes or less to cool it back down. Then once the cultures are stirred in it is a matter of putting the pot back in the device, closing and securing the lid and pressing the “yogurt” button. Mine is automatically set for 8 hours, though I could take it out sooner if desired. It’s so easy.
  • Using a saucepan on the stove is also an option for heating the milk. In this case, stay nearby to stir often so the milk does not scorch on the bottom of the pan. This requires a little more attention, but it still quick and easy. Once 180 or more degrees is reached, put in the pot in the kitchen sink with cold water to quickly cool it down. Add the yogurt with active cultures and mix well. Now use your desired device or method.
  • The longer your yogurt sits, the sharper it will be. It will also be thicker if it cultures longer.
  • For thicker, Greek-style, yogurt strain it through butter muslin. Line a colander with the butter muslin and pour in the yogurt. Tie the ends together and hang your makeshift bag somewhere to drain. This will allow some of the whey to be filtered out and will make a much thicker yogurt. The longer it drains, the thicker it will be.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for today’s podcast on traditional vs modern medicine. I’m so glad to be back. And I’m so glad you are traveling along with me. We all have great adventures in our lives. Please share your thoughts, your ideas, and your adventures in the comments. What are you doing on your homestead if you have one? What are your plans if you don’t have a homestead but want one? What are your plans for making friends with your local homestead community if you don’t want one but love that others do because they provide great food and recreation for you and your family?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you’re up to it, how about giving some homemade yogurt a try? Or if you’d prefer coming here to learn how, let me know that as well. I’d love to offer some classes in some of the homestead arts.

Lastly, if you’d like to help us out in our time of need, you can donate to this podcast via our website at The very best thing you can do is share this podcast with others that you think might enjoy it. That helps us with getting higher rankings in the podcast search algorithms. I appreciate you all so much.

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

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Home Made Yogurt

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Am I Allergic to Quail Eggs

quail eggsWe are raising quail for eggs – or are we? Maybe we are raising quail for meat. Or perhaps it is a combination of the two. That’s the topic of today’s podcast. Settle in and let’s get cracking on figuring this out.

But first, it is important for me to take some time to say welcome to each and every new listener and a heartfelt thank you and welcome back to veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I would not have a show without you. And I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Am I Allergic to Quail Eggs?
  • Instant Pot Quail

Homestead Life Updates

As many of you know, that “To Do” list for the homestead always seems to grow and never shrink. Every day stuff is checked off the list and every day something is likely added to the list. One is never bored here at Peaceful Heart Farm. And there are those wonderful moments of appreciation for this creation. Just this morning I walked outside on my way to drive and hour to the Farmer’s Market. I looked around and listened and smelled and felt the peace of our beautiful piece of God’s creation. Scott was standing beside me and we shared a moment of bliss as the day was dawning. Ummmm. Peace.

Wytheville Farmer’s Market

I had a great day at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market this morning. The crowd was small but the people were engaging. I had several lovely conversations with neighbors and visitors from across this great country. We had a small band playing and singing. It was fantastic. There is nothing like a small-town farmer’s market with lots of good people.

Scott on the Homestead

Back here on the homestead, Scott was handling the milking on his own. It takes him much longer to accomplish that morning chore without my help but he gets it done and he does it well. His cleaning skills are exemplary. I know it is trying sometimes with only one person bringing up the cows. Claire likes to plod along while Butter zooms ahead as if going to the races.

Changes to Our Milking Routine

I have talked a lot about how busy, busy, and busier we are here on the homestead and, in an effort to streamline the time spent with milking and gain time for other things, we have made a couple of changes. First, we changed the schedule to once-a-day milking. We have filled our capacity for aging cheese and the only reason for milking twice a day is making cheese. Once-a-day milking changes the quality of the milk in a small way but it is enough to change the cheese. So, milking twice a day is required when we are making cheese. The next change was combining two milking sessions.

Up to this point we were doing three. Butter by herself, then Claire and Buttercup together and finally Violet and Cloud together. However, Cloud never had a calf. So in essence, we ended up with Butter milked by herself and Violet milked by herself. Cloud will either not have a calf this year or it will be much later. We don’t really know yet. Anyway . . .

Re-Training Violet

We are re-training Violet so she can be milked at the same time with Butter and that is a major undertaking. There are two milking stanchions and that is what allows us to milk two cows at once. Since her indoctrination to the stanchion, Violet has occupied the one on the left. And Cloud has been to her right in the other stanchion. Now we are trying to train Violet to the stanchion on the right. She, like all cows, is quite distressed when anything changes in her routine. Eventually she will get the hang of it, but currently she still goes straight to the left-hand stanchion. The problem is Butter is always already in place there. She always wins the race to the shed. That means Scott has to urges Violet off to the right. At this point she complies with varying degrees of cooperation.

When we first made the change, she tried to exit the milking barn completely. Something was not right, someone was in her spot, and she was getting out of there until everything was back to normal. We chased her around in circles for a few days before she finally gave in and put her head in the stanchion on the right. But over time she has gotten better and better at the new routine. One day she will just start doing it and anything else asked of her will become the oddity. Once the routine is ingrained, cows do it nearly the same day after day after day. They are predictable in that way.

The Calves

So, the cows are being milked more quickly, only two sessions with the portable milker instead of three. The calves are getting more milk because we have more available for them since we are not saving it for cheese. They are growing quickly. Being bottle-fed calves, they are easy to touch and pet and hug. They constantly push and poke trying to find a bottle, but still, we can handle them and they don’t run away. That’s important. Even though the Normande breed is a very docile breed, they still need to be handled when young. They need to be taught to lead and so on.

Goats and Sheep

There is not much to say about the goats and sheep. They are out there eating grass and weeds and such. The lambs and kids are growing. Scott handles the pastures very well and there is plenty for all of the animals to graze on. There is a great deal of work that Scott will have to do to get the back fields prepared for them. That microburst storm from two or three weeks ago took down at least 3 dozen trees back there. Many of them are on fences. I think Scott’s plan is to clear and repair each fence line as they are needed. Eventually it will all get done as the animals rotate through all of the paddocks one by one.

Garden and Orchard

Is it hot where you are? It’s certainly hot here. Day after day after day of intense summer heat. July and August are the hottest months of summer and we are really getting hammered this year. Fortunately, there are also summer thunderstorms and occasionally we are the benefactor of that 50% chance of rain. We hit the jackpot one day where the chance of rain for us was about 10% and we got all 10% of that bit of storm cloud.

That heat and lack of consistent rain is hard on the garden and the orchard. Time is our biggest asset here on the homestead and to water the entire orchard takes quite a few hours. The garden usually takes at least two. We have drip irrigation systems that are non-functioning at this time. That would save time if taking the time to fix it were higher on the priority list.


I’m getting lots of tomatoes. In a couple of days I’m going to start my first batch of tomato sauce. I’m so excited. A lot of my veggies got overrun with weeds and bugs this year but my tomatoes are looking really good. I am picking them before they are completely ripe or I would lose most of them to the raccoons. They are eating them before they are ripe. My solution is to pick them every couple of days and I get anything that has the slightest bit of color change toward ripening. It’s not ideal but it works. I have shelves of tomatoes ripening in my beautiful wall of windows in the living room.

Crowder Peas

My favorite vegetable to grow is crowder peas or cow peas as they are sometimes called. The plants grow prolifically. The Mexican bean beetles don’t bother them. They require minimal amounts of fertilization and even the hot, dry weather hasn’t taken much of a toll. The only pests I have ever seen on them are the ants farming the aphids. The ants keep the aphid population under control – at least I’ve never had a problem with the little buggers. The problem is when picking the peas, ants are always crawling all over me and I’m slinging them around to get them off of my arms. Sometimes I look like a scarecrow flapping in the wind, waving my arms around and slinging ants. They are those big black ants and they only bite if they get trapped.

I’m getting so many peas and they are really good. I always pick a few of the small sprouts and snap them like green beans. Just a few. I pick the cow peas when the pod is full but before it dries out. In the end I will dry some to be planted next year, but during the summer, I pick them while still moist and a little green. Usually they get canned in pint jars, though sometimes I will have enough in one batch for quarts. Open a jar, add just a small amount of bacon grease, make sure to have some hot cornbread on the side and you have a little piece of heaven.

The last homestead topic is actually the topic of the day. What to do with the quail? Here is the story.

Am I Allergic to Quail Eggs?

The answer is likely “yes”. Or at the very least I was made very aware that they don’t sit well with me.

Raising Quail

As you know if you are a regular listener, we started raising quail so we could have the eggs. Coffee and eggs are just about the only thing we buy from the grocery store these days. I do buy other items like flour, sugar and salt but I get those in bulk. Those items last a long time in storage and I buy large quantities for a really good price. I store some coffee but that is only for a real emergency. Fresh ground is what Scott prefers that’s why it comes from the local grocery. And of course eggs need to be fairly fresh. Raising laying chickens was the original plan but the time needed to get that set up and maintained was more than we were willing to invest at the present time. That is not to say that it won’t happen in the future. I’m sure it will. In the meantime, raising quail seemed the next best option.

The plan was to have six breeding sets. Each breeding set would have 5 hens and a rooster. The required housing was reasonably small. Six small cages and one large cage for growing out new birds. We would also grow out regular batches of quail for the meat. It is a fantastic meat. And quail are just so easy to raise. Well, that was according to all of the information we looked at via YouTube. And in truth, we have found that to be the case. They are really easy to care for, they grow quickly and produce eggs and meat within 8 weeks. It is the ideal situation for us at this time.

The First Batch

We ordered eggs in the spring and received them a couple of months later. There is always a waiting list for quail eggs, so get on the list early. Anyway, we ordered three dozen and received 40 eggs. Twenty-four of those eggs hatched and we still have 23 birds. We lost one to a black snake a few weeks back. It was a small snake and got through the ½” hardware cloth cage sides. I have no idea how this snake killed the bird. It had to have gotten the head in its mouth and smothered it. I can see no other way. But the snake was less than ½” in diameter and the birds head had to be at least ¾” or more by that time. I don’t know how it happened, I just know I found the snake in the cage and the bird dead. The other birds are just running around and not defending themselves. It would have been comical if not so tragic.

Bottom line, we lost zero birds from the time they hatched. That is part of what I mean about how “easy” they are to raise. Some baby chicks seem to die within days no matter what you do but these quail are hardy. Make sure they have food and water. Get the snake out of the cage. That’s it.

The Second Batch is in the Incubator

We are getting 6 to 8 eggs a day at this point and we had two wonderful meals of quail from the extra roosters we raised. It took 6 days to save up the 47 eggs that are currently in the incubator.

The incubator is currently at day 10 of 18 with those 47 eggs nestled in there, rocking back and forth in the automatic egg turner every 2 hours. At day 15 I will open the incubator, take out the egg turner and close it back up. Then it does not get touched until 3 days after we hear the first bird chirping. They have enough energy to last 3 days after hatching. Some eggs will continue hatching during that three days. It is important not to disturb the hatching eggs. A sudden change in the humidity and temperature can seal in a baby quail that is trying to get free of the egg. The inner membrane collapses and suffocates it. So no opening the incubator until we are sure all the eggs have hatched that are going to. Last time I did close it back up and left it for three more days. We got one more to hatch but that was it. All in all it was a good hatch and I’m excited to see how our own eggs turn out.

I Love Quail Eggs

Now that the incubator is up and running, the quail eggs are collected each day and set aside for eating. It takes 4 quail eggs to equal one large chicken egg. Basically, 8 to 12 quail eggs for breakfast along with sausage or bacon and perhaps some grits. Well, I don’t eat grits, but Scott does. He needs a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast for all that hot sweaty work he is doing building the creamery.

I loved the eggs but it seems they didn’t love me. Or maybe I love them in my mind but my body said “no way”. When I first started eating them, I did feel a little queasy later in the day. I chalked it up to them being too rich and decided to eat less of them at one sitting. No problem, right? I can always get by on fewer calories.

They Don’t Love Me

Between the time that I first became queasy after eating quail eggs and the time I decided to eat fewer in a given meal was about a week. About half way through those days I was sick for about 12 hours. I mean really sick. It seemed obvious to me that it was something I ate. If it was a virus or something, I think it would have lasted at least 24 hours. At this time, I assumed it was something that I had eaten the day before, not suspecting the quail eggs I had eaten a few hours earlier. I threw out a whole salami because that was the only thing new that I had consumed the previous day. I used Scott as a guinea pig to test out some other foods. He didn’t get sick.

In the end, I missed my farmer’s market debut in Independence, VA as I was still recovering from the effects of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea from the day before. All of those issues stopped within 4 hours or so from their beginning, but it does leave you pretty weak for a period of time. I didn’t want my first day at the market to be a disaster so I postponed that market appearance for another week.

I had quail eggs again on Tuesday. Only six this time but the same thing happened again that had happened just five days earlier. I was sick as a dog. My experience was slightly milder but no less debilitating. Bummer, at this point I was sure it was the quail eggs. So now what?

Plan B

Well, if my body doesn’t like them, I’m giving them up. And not just quail eggs. All eggs. We will still raise quail for eggs but we won’t need so many because I’m not eating them. My mind right now is thinking that we will raise a lot more for meat. Chicken is a rarity in our household because we don’t raise any and I don’t shop much at the grocery. We have beef, lamb, and goat. The poultry is nice and I will sometimes pick up a rotisserie chicken while picking up eggs and coffee. But the future holds more quail for us.

And that leads me to today’s recipe.

Instant Pot Quail

The reason that I go for the Instant Pot rather than oven roasted is the heat. It is really hot outside and to roast quail requires a 500-degree oven. That’s right 500 degrees. It’s a short time but just the thought of preheating an oven to 500 degrees makes me sweat.

As with all Instant Pot recipes, this one is quite simple. (By the way, I actually have a Cosori but it works the same. Instant Pot is to multi-function pressure cookers as Xerox is to copy machines.) The prep time for this recipe is 12 minutes, cook time is 23 minutes. Another advantage to Instant Pot cooking. Quick and easy.

What You Need

  • 2 whole quails, 4 to 5 oz each
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon cooking oil of your choice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 3 ½ oz bacon, chopped
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

What To Do

  1. Season quail with salt and pepper
  2. Stuff cavity of quail with fresh thyme
  3. Place oil in Instant Pot and select “Sauté”. Add the bacon, onion, dried herbs, bay leaf, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Place quail in the pot, breast-side down and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until browned, then flip breast-side up.
  5. Select “Cancel” and add the broth to the pot.
  6. Secure the lid and cook using “Manual” and “High Pressure” for about 7-9 minutes.
  7. Select “Cancel” if needed and carefully do a “Quick Release”.
  8. Remove the lid, transfer quail onto a plate. Remove the herb sprigs from cavity.
  9. Strain liquid into a bowl.
  10. Return broth to Instant Pot and select “Sauté”. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes.
  11. Add the quail back to the broth for about 2 minutes, basting with the broth/sauce.
  12. Remove from Instant Pot and serve with the sauce.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for today’s podcast. I hope you enjoyed catching up with us on the homestead. Sometimes we plan and plan and then God steps in and alters our path. Oh well, I trust him and will roll with the punches. I’ll be having quail meat rather than quail eggs. Scott will continue to enjoy both.

I hope you are having fun with friends and family this summer as we continue on with the dog days. Kids will be back in school soon and the cycle will move on to fall. I’m already ahead of myself. Summer is not my favorite season. It has its beauty and advantages, but I really like moderation. But isn’t it the contrast that gives us appreciation of moderation? Something to think about.

And remember, don’t heat up that kitchen with the oven. Use your Instant Pot. You’ll be glad you did.

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

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

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


Recipe Link

Instant Pot Quail

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When and How to Use Activated Charcoal

activated charcoalToday at the farmer’s market speaking from one herbalist to another, I was reminded that activated charcoal is a simple treatment to use. That will be my topic for today. It has been years and years since I’ve been sick with anything and even longer since I’ve had any kind of stomach or gastrointestinal illness. Activated charcoal can help.

But first, welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back veteran homestead-loving regulars. That you so much for stopping by the FarmCast. I appreciate you all so much. First up on the agenda, I’m so excited to share with you all the great activity going on at the farm this week.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Stomach Virus – Traditional Remedy
  • Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon

Homestead Life Updates

The Quail

We have 47 quail eggs in the incubator. These little guys are a joy to raise. They are so hardy. We started with 24 hatchlings and still have 23. The only one we lost was due to a snake. With baby chicks, almost always you lose one or two – or more – due to failure to thrive or some early disease. Not so with quail. We had them outside before they were 2 weeks old. Almost fully feathered, they were fine with the temps in the 70s during the day and high 50s and low 60s at night. They are hardy birds.

In less than three weeks we will have new babies.

The Creamery

The concrete block walls to the milking parlor are complete. There is a video on Facebook with a short tour of that part of the building. Scott has spent quite a bit of time today moving the milking parlor equipment into the area. For the longest time it has been stored just waiting for this moment. Who knows when the actual installation will happen, but it is exciting to see the first portion of the creamery coming into being? In addition to the milking parlor equipment installation, it still needs a roof. There is still so much to do.

The Cows

The cows are moooving along nicely and munching down on all that grass. If you’ve never been around cows you are missing the perfect example of peace in action. One of the reasons that I wanted a milk cow in the first place is the sense of peace that comes from working with them and there is no closer relationship that when you are milking them. They are truly beautiful creatures. Smelly but beautiful.

We still have one more bull calf available. You can call us at 276-694-4369 to get more information on these guys. There are two to choose from, but we are only selling one. The last one we will keep for beef. He will take a couple of years to grow out, but these Normande cows make some great steaks and roasts.

Speaking of beef, we have a limited quantity of beef available. This will be the last for a while so get in touch with us now if you are interested in a quarter or a half.

The Lambs

The lambs and goat kids are frolicking in the grass and growing like weeds. It is amazing how fast they grow. The lambs and kids are nearly the height of their mothers already. Watching them get down on their knees to nurse is comical. Well, it doesn’t look like so much fun for mom, but they seem to patiently endure. They are all old enough to be weaned and we will separate them in the next couple of weeks. It is important to get the boys out for sure. Otherwise, we end up with unauthorized breeding and we can’t have that. No we can’t have that.

The Garden

Let’s talk about the garden. The tomatoes are coming on strong. I have lots of them sitting on shelves ripening. I would prefer to pick them when they are already ripe but the raccoons make that impossible. Every night they go out into the garden and pick a few and take a bite or two out of them. Then they get another one and take a bite or two out of that one and so on. These guys are grabbing them before they even get all the way red. I wonder if they would like fried green tomatoes. No matter. I’ve taken things into hand and am just circumventing their intrusiveness and picking the tomatoes as soon as they show any sign of ripening. The plan is to make lots and lots of tomato sauce. I made some last year for the first time. It was much easier than I thought and I look forward to making more this year. I use tomatoes in stews. I use a lot of tomatoes in stews. Up to four quarts in a 4-gallon batch. If I use tomato sauce instead, I think I can use 2 pints instead. Much less storage space for the tomatoes.

Last night we shelled Mississippi Silver Crowder peas. There is a large bowl ready to be cooked and eaten. There will also be some left over to be canned. I love growing these. The plants are resistant to everything and they put on lots and lots of pea pods. The pods are 7-8 inches long with about 20 peas per pod. They shell easily and they taste of good. They can be dried and cooked similar to black-eyed peas, but I prefer these to be green and I like to add a few snapped green pods. Again, these are very easy to grow and produce very well.

The Orchard

We had a neighbor come over and pick some blackberries a few days ago. I simply do not have time to pick them and process them. Blackberries are a lot of work. I don’t like the seeds and always take the extra steps necessary to get the seeds out. It’s not really hard, but it is time consuming. Besides the issue of time, I still have tons of blackberry jam and blackberry syrup from last year. Our blackberries are always prolific. We grow several varieties of thorn-less and the berries are large and juicy.

I’m probably leaving out a bunch of other stuff that is happening here, but I’m going to close off the farm updates for this time.

The Farmer’s Markets

Oops I almost forgot to mention the Farmer’s Market. Come see us at the Wytheville Farmer’s market on Saturday mornings 8 am to noon. Starting this Friday you will also find us at the Independence Farmer’s market from 9 am to 1 pm. I’ll have lamb, beef and goat as well as lots of information on herd shares. Who knows, maybe even some cheese samples.

I was going to start at the Independence Farmer’s market this past Friday, but I had an incident that has not happened in many, many, many moons. I had a stomach virus or perhaps it was that salami. I don’t know. It was one or the other. In any case, I was sick as a dog for a good 12 hours. Let me tell that story and provide some info on the perfect remedy.

Activated Charcoal – Traditional Remedy for Nausea and Vomiting

And as I mentioned earlier, while at the Wytheville Farmer’s market I spoke with another herbalist and she reminded me of activated charcoal when having issues with stomach upset. In the heat of the sickness I was trying to think of what to do and I was so sick I couldn’t remember what I had on hand to deal with it. When she promptly said “activated charcoal”, it was one of those face-palm moments. Of course, I have tons of it on hand for exactly that purpose. Number one, I’m almost never sick and number two, my head hurt so bad I couldn’t think straight.

I did act on the headache. My sinuses were inflamed and I don’t know why. I was sure that a massive head cold was about to take me out for days. Well, I took out my trusty echinacea and goldenseal formula and dripped some directly into my nasal passage. It burns. Only a couple of drops but POOF, gone. No more sinus issues. If I could only have thought so quickly about the activated charcoal. It’s a matter of what I use more often and what I have never had the occasion to use. Now I’ve had the occasion to use it but didn’t but it’s unlikely I will forget next time. Let me give you the goods on activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal

Charcoal isn’t just for your backyard grill. Even though charcoal makes most of us think of glowing embers and yummy barbecued kabobs or steak, it has stomach soothing medicinal properties too. The CDC reports that 19 to 21 million Americans will get the stomach flu, and charcoal might just help you get back on your feet faster.

What is the Stomach Flu?

What’s often referred to as stomach flu, stomach bugs, or even food poisoning can be caused by bacterial infections or viruses. This inflammation of your gastrointestinal tract might be referred to as gastroenteritis or norovirus, but in either case the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. The illness comes on quickly and can have you off your feet from one to three days. Common treatment recommendations include drinking fluids, getting rest, and following the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. None of those are on my eating list so an old Native American remedy would have been a much better option.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is made with a variety of burned materials including bamboo, wood, coal, or coconut shells. This treatment was used by Native Americans hundreds of years ago, and there’s even some record of it being used by Egyptians. Activated charcoal is processed at high temperatures and results in a black powder that is incredibly effective at absorbing a variety of substances. Charcoal is “activated” when a high temperature is used in combination with an activating agent that expand its surface area. This is what gives activated charcoal its incredible absorbing powers.

Why do people take activated charcoal?

Most commonly used to treat poisoning and drug overdoses, activated charcoal is now gaining attention as a remedy for stomach bugs that cause nausea and vomiting. The theory is that activated charcoal can absorb the bacteria responsible for causing stomach flu (the same way it is used to absorb poisons). You can also have a virus that can cause the same sort of tummy troubles, and activated charcoal may help with the symptoms.

How should I take charcoal?

You can buy activated charcoal online in capsules or powder. If you feel the nauseating symptoms of a stomach bug coming on, or if you are actively vomiting, you can put the powder in some applesauce, if you have capsules you can open them up. A common recommendation is 500 to 1,000 mg, two to three times per day. It is recommended that you take other supplements at different time as the charcoal can absorb good nutrients as well as the bad stuff. If you notice any worsening symptoms after taking the supplement stop taking and call your doctor.

It’s important to note that activated charcoal should be bought from pharmacies and health food stores, it is not the same as regular charcoal. Activated charcoal, unlike regular charcoal, is food grade and safe to take internally.

You can give it to children, but check with your pediatrician beforehand. If you get the okay, start with ¼ of a capsule (about 200 mg) in some applesauce and repeat no more than 2 times a day. If you or your child continue to have abdominal pain or persistent fever, you must see your doctor. Home remedies are great but they are not the be-all, end-all for medical treatment.

Side Effects & Safety

Activated charcoal is safe for most adults when used short-term. Side effects of activated charcoal include constipation and black stools. More serious, but rare, side effects are a slowing or blockage of the intestinal tract, regurgitation into the lungs, and dehydration.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Activated charcoal might be safe when used short-term if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, but consult with your healthcare professional before using if you are pregnant.

Don’t use activated charcoal if you have any kind of intestinal obstruction. Also, if you have a condition that slows the passage of food through your intestine (reduced peristalsis), don’t use activated charcoal, unless you are being monitored by your healthcare provider.

Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs) interact with Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal absorbs substances in the stomach and intestines. Taking activated charcoal along with medications taken by mouth can decrease how much medicine your body absorbs, and decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction, take activated charcoal at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.

Alcohol Interacts with Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is sometimes used to prevent poisons from being absorbed into the body. Taking alcohol with activated charcoal might decrease how well activated charcoal works to prevent poison absorption.

Syrup of Ipecac Interacts with Activated Charcoal

Ipecac is taken by mouth to cause vomiting after suspected poisoning. It is also used to treat bronchitis associated with croup in children, Amoebic dysentery (a severe diarrhea), and cancer. Ipecac is also used as an expectorant to thin mucous and make coughing easier. Small doses are used to improve appetite.

Activated charcoal can bind up syrup of ipecac in the stomach. This decreases the effectiveness of syrup of ipecac.

For lesser stomach issues there are lots of teas that can help.

Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon

Ginger tea has been used for thousands of years as a cure for nausea and digestive problems. It offers a variety of health benefits and healing compounds to alleviate upset stomach. Many people reach for the ginger ale when feeling symptoms of stomach pain or nausea, but ginger tea contains higher concentrations of the compounds that alleviate these digestive issues; making it the better choice for feeling better faster.

This tea is made using fresh ginger root and packs a punch when it comes to healing symptoms of upset stomach. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea and is often used to treat morning sickness in pregnant women and motion sickness caused by planes and boats.

In fact, a Thai study examined pregnant women with symptoms of morning sickness and found that 28 out of the 32 individuals saw an improvement in nausea when given a daily dose of 1 milligram of ginger root. As a rule of thumb, one cup of ginger tea contains about 250 milligrams of ginger so aim to drink two to four cups of this tea to alleviate feelings of nausea.

What You Need

  • 1” Fresh ginger root, grated
  • ½ Lemon
  • Honey, to taste
  • 2 cups water


  • Grater
  • Glass container or teapot
  • Strainer

What To Do

  1. Peel one-inch piece of fresh ginger root and grate into a glass container with a filter.
  2. Thinly slice lemon and add it to the container with the ginger.
  3. Add honey.
  4. Pour boiling hot water into the container and steep for five minutes.
  5. Strain and serve hot.

Final Thoughts

Are you keeping up with all the stuff going on at the homestead? It’s a lot to handle but we love it. The cows, sheep, goats, donkeys and quail are a barnyard variety that keeps us in a constant state of wonder and amusement. These guys are a hoot. We love sharing it all with you. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and come see us at the Farmer’s markets in Wytheville and Independence. Or heck, come see us on the farm. Tuesday mornings and Saturday afternoons. We’d love to share some of this more directly.

Get some activated charcoal and keep it on hand for that occasional stomach upset. It doesn’t to bad. There is no expiration date. It is the porous form that absorbs the toxins and that doesn’t change once created.

And remember that mild upsets can be alleviated with a little ginger tea.

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

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

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

Recipe Link

Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon

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The Traditional Family Cow

the Traditional Family CowThe Traditional Family Cow is the topic of today’s podcast. She has just about been pushed out of existence. Lots of us are trying to revive this wonderful, quality food source.

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

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Traditional Family Cow
  • Crab & Artichoke Dip Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

The cows are doing great. Every day, twice a day, I walk out there and find them grazing peacefully on the grass. I circle around behind them and start calling out, “let’s go, let’s go” and they all start toward the milking shed. They walk pretty slow. Sometimes inside I’m all raring to go and I want to push them a little faster—as if the milking machine would go any faster—and they never really cooperate. They move pretty much at their own pace no matter now anxious I might be. Scott has Butter already up in the shed hooked up to the portable milker. So these guys are just mozying along at a slow pace on their way to the lounging area. That’s where they will hang out until Scott gets done milking Butter. No need to hurry. I’ll take a lesson from them and endeavor to maintain my inner peace. It’s a nice daily ritual.

Lambert does not come running anymore. We weaned him off the bottle about a week ago. I still feel like I’m missing something when I go out to the field. Shouldn’t I be doing something else before bringing in the cows? Oh well, it will pass. And every once in a while, he still comes running up looking for a bottle and I can give him a little petting.

The donkeys sure love their petting. All four of them got their hooves trimmed a few days ago. Daisy and Sweet Pea just stand their placidly—for the most part. They do shimmy a little bit every now and then. But Johnny and Cocoa still dance around a lot. They try to lay over all of their weight on Scott while he is holding up one of their hooves. Or they jerk that hoof around while he is trying to hold it. Cocoa had a little mishap when she did that. The grinding tool that Scott uses to file their hooves nicked her. We put some pine tar on it to keep the flies out and it looked to be a small enough scrape to heal in a few days.

We weaned the one boy kid from his mom a couple of days ago. He’s merged in with the other boy goats. We have six in there now and four sheep. One ram and 3 lambs that will go to the processor soon. Let us know if you are interested. I know I always talk about Wytheville, but if you are in the Winston-Salem or Greensboro, NC area we can help you there too. Pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested.

I still haven’t got the onions out of the garden. Perhaps this week I can get to that. The tomatoes are looking really good as are the black, red, and white beans and the Mississippi Silver crowder peas. Yum, yum.

I wonder how the blueberries are doing. The birds are probably having a field day out there. It has been more than 4 or 5 days I think since I picked them last. I canned eight 24-oz jars of blueberry pie filling and froze two quarts of fresh blueberries that will go in pancakes and yogurt. More yum, yum.

Let’s get on to the topic of the day.

The Traditional Family Cow

In a previous podcast I talked about The Tradition of Dairying. I gave a brief history and finished up with the growth of the large dairies in the 20th century. Today I want to follow up on that and talk more specifically about small dairy farms and the family cow.

What was happening to the family cow while commercial dairying was being conformed to the 20th century model of food as commodity? Along with small farms of every sort, she was being priced out of existence. If you talk to old-timers you will hear the statement, “it doesn’t pay to keep a cow.” American food is cheap, or at least appears to be. Starting early in the 20th century, an elaborate system of subsidies has kept food prices artificially low, part of a cheap food policy that brands food as a commodity and the cheaper, the better. Quality is an afterthought if it comes up at all.

This policy has been continued by every administration. Perhaps you are familiar with farm subsidies, payments to farmers designed to assist them in producing their products at predictable levels. Among the less frequently recognize effects of subsidies is that by covering part of a farmer’s costs, he or she is then able to accept a lower price for the crops or milk, so you pay less for food. Pointed out even less frequently is the government assistance that goes to processors. Everything from special university research projects to tax-deferred production plants may be paid for wholly or in part by tax dollars. Highway costs are shared by all taxpayers but benefit truckers—and the food industry—disproportionately. This is sometimes referred to as corporate welfare. These are some of the hidden costs of cheap food. In reality, you are paying more for your food from the grocery store than you may have realized. It’s just harder to see it because it is in the form of taxes. It is you and I, the taxpayers, that are paying the money in the form of taxes that then goes to the farmer, the processor and the transportation industry all via subsidies.

With food costs comparatively low, even the formidable efficiency of the cow is hard put to offer an obvious fiscal advantage. Milk prices are low because dairy farmers, even taking rapidly diminishing subsidies into account, are paid at a rate that barely covers costs and they cannot market their milk freely. They must sell to consortiums under fixed contracts that are government regulated. And processors have certainly made milk conveniently available to markets. If a plot had been hatched to eliminate small farmers, place milk production and distribution in the hands of a few, and permit almost everybody to forget what milk was meant to taste like, a better plan could not have been devised. Consider also that in terms of buying power, American wages were high during the first 60 years of the 20th century and our dollars still buy more food than in any other westernized country. So keeping a cow does indeed cost more than buying milk at the store.

Most people considering getting a family cow are no longer motivated by the old-timer view that the object of a cow is to “pay”, reasonable as this may be. Quality dairy products and the desire for a more centered way of life are what people now want. Cost is secondary.

Treatment of commercial milk

Pasteurization has its detractors and I am among them, but there is no doubt that milk distribution as we know it today would otherwise be impossible. The creation of the current distribution network ensured the destruction of the small, local dairy farm.

Pasteurization destroys all bacteria including benign strains and it destroys enzymes, besides physically altering milk protein. In addition, by the 1950s virtually all milk was also homogenized. ‘Pasteurized and homogenized’, which appear on every container of milk, are not really related at all. They came about for different reasons. “Homogenized” means the milk is subjected to pressure and agitation which knocks apart the butterfat globule and stops it from doing what cream would naturally do: rise to the surface. This, too, was presented to you, the consumer, as a great advance but first and foremost it served the distributor. Back in those days everybody wanted cream, but after its pasteurization treatment with heat the cream was lumpy and unimpressive. Homogenization offer the advantage of distributing the cream evenly throughout the milk.

The advantage for distributors was less charming. Once pasteurization made it possible to sell milk two or even three weeks after it left the farm there emerged a problem with a sort of sludge settling to the bottom of the bottle. This sludge largely consisted of dead bacteria and the macrophages that consumed them, and the longer the bottled milk sat, the more evident the sludge. With homogenization it becomes invisible along with the cream. Don’t let me put you off store-bought milk all together. Worst things are in ketchup and peanut butter.

This might seem reason enough to get a cow herd share with us, but wait. There is more. Now we have BGH, bovine growth hormone, to consider. Consumers have expressed virtually unanimous objection to the fact that milk may now legally contain BGH which is passed into the milk as a result of the cow’s daily injection. The history of milk distribution does not offer much reassurance that your concerns will end the practice. Antibiotics, contrary to widespread belief, are never fed to dairy cattle; nonetheless, they sometimes do find their way into milk following teat treatment.

The cow as security

Does the future seem uncertain to you? One of the best ways to take charge of your own future that of your family is to raise and grow your own food. This is a life-affirming choice of action and one that may well offer better odds than going about armed to the teeth. Inasmuch as this is hardly a new idea, many schemes for self-sustaining food systems have been devised and revived from traditional methods. One method involves growing algae in vats on the roof. Another promotes earthworms and other insects as ideal basic food. There are systems for backyard fish ponds capable of growing many pounds of fish called tilapia by adding manure and other waste to their water. Some people advocate growing family size patches of soybeans along with other vegetables to provide food security. All of these approaches offer food security of a sort, along with major problems. Algae tastes awful, insects don’t appeal to the Western palette, tilapia are nourishing but boring. An all-vegetable diet is seriously boring and is extremely labor-intensive. I recommend the cow.

If the biggest animal you’ve ever known personally was a golden retriever, the cow may seem like a giant step into the unknown. We can help with that. With a herd share we will do all the work and you still get the benefit of raising your own food.

Amazing cow magic that most people don’t know about

An overarching truth about the traditional family cow is that she drives your small farm economy. By living on a constantly renewing resource, grass, she is able to support herself and her calf and still provide milk for you. And a cow does this on a free resource made of water and sunshine. Through her sovereign ability to convert grass, which otherwise has no value, to milk and meat, which does have value, the cow produces a wealth of nutrition.

Crab & Artichoke Dip Recipe

Dip into this rich and creamy snack and a favorite bottle of wine. Use your slow cooker to make this recipe—it’s a perfect fit for a relaxed “friends” night.

This recipe is keto-friendly if you leave off the crackers and dip your bacon in it.


Prep: 20 min. Cook: 2 hours     


3-1/2 cups.

What You Need

  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded Peaceful Heart Gold cheese (or substitute Harvarti)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Assorted crackers (or bacon if you go keto)

What to Do

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add spinach; cover and boil for 3-5 minutes or until wilted. Drain.
  2. In a 1-1/2-qt. slow cooker, combine the artichokes, cheeses, crabmeat, sour cream, salt, pepper and spinach. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until cheeses are melted. Serve with crackers—or BACON.

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup (calculated without crackers): 158 calories, 12g fat (8g saturated fat), 50mg cholesterol, 279mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 9g protein.


Peaceful Heart Gold matches well with sugary fruits like figs, raisins, walnuts, hearty, rustic bread, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and light-bodied Pinot Noir wine.

Just as it accommodates spices and other flavors, Peaceful Heart Gold’s creamy-smooth, tangy flavor complements a wide variety of foods. You can shred it on a pizza instead of—or in addition to—mozzarella. It melts beautifully over burgers and in casseroles, and is fabulous in a grilled cheese.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for today’s farm updates and thoughts on the family cow. If you’re interested in that herd share, get in touch with me via email (give email address). You can also contact me through the website. and go to the contact page. Call us at the farm at 276-694-4369. We’d love to talk with you in person. And give that recipe a try then go to the recipe page and provide your feedback in the comments. Let others know how you did with it and any modifications you made.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts and write a review. And don’t forget to subscribe. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

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

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

Recipe Link

Crab and Artichoke Dip

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Keto Diet and Dairy

Today’s topic is how the keto diet and dairy fit together. The keto diet is catching on more and more it seems to me. That might be because it works. Today I want to share some of my story and how I use dairy and still stay in ketosis. I’m even going to share a keto chocolate ice cream recipe with you.

But first, let me say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I want you to know how much I appreciate you. And I’m going to ask a favor.

Reviews on iTunes are important for this podcast to trigger their algorithm to feature it prominently in search results. I’d like for you to go to iTunes and enter your thoughts about the benefits you receive from listening to my show. Please share with friends and ask them to review it also. Thank you so much for joining me and thank you for assisting me in getting the word out so others can find the podcast also.

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

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Keto Diet and Dairy
  • Keto Chocolate Ice Cream

Homestead Life Updates

Things are getting back to normal at the homestead after our internet outage. It will take a while longer to get caught up again, but we will get there eventually.

It was Thursday afternoon before we got out internet back. Scott and I have discussed how to manage this issue. This is not the first time we have had to put business on hold due to lack of internet. This time we came up with a solution. It was simple. Purchase a spare modem and keep it on hand to be used as needed. When the modem blows out as it inevitably will, bring out the spare. Easy peasy. No waiting for days to find out if that’s all we needed in the first place. Once we get the replacement modem, the spare goes back into storage until needed again. I’ll let you know how that pans out.


Canned today: 13 qts whole milk, 6 pints peas, 16 pints goat broth, 5 quarts goat meat. Still to come is blueberry pie filling.

I have 36 quarts of cream canned and 26 quarts of ground beef canned. Those projects took lots and lots of time. I have skim milk to can also in the line up.

Storm Damage

Trees down all over. Scott estimated 3 dozen trees down. Yeah, 3 dozen. One fell on the orchard fence and still needs to be repaired.

Last week I think I forgot to mention that the beehive was blown over. Scott got dressed up in full protection and put the hive back together. Those bees were hopping mad. Even with all that coverage, he got stung four times.

It has been many days since then and the bees are doing well after their incident.


I have had little chance to set foot in the garden other than a quick walk through to see what might need attention. Here’s what I found.

The onions need to be harvested. The tops have fallen over and that means they are ready to be pulled and set out to dry. The green beans are doing well. The dried beans are doing even better. The Mississippi silver cow peas are doing the best. They always do. That’s why we like to grow them.

I have one tomato that is starting to turn. There are many, many tomatoes that are green. I have those conical cages around my tomato plants for support. Many were blown over during the storm. I set them all back up right and the plants are doing well.

I’m so excited. This year I’m going to can lots of tomato sauce. In the past I’ve canned whole tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes, or diced tomatoes. Last year, late in the season, I watched a YouTube video on how to make tomato sauce. The last batch of tomatoes I harvested from the garden were used to make a few jars of tomato sauce. It was much easier than I ever thought it would be, and again, I’m so excited to do an even better job this year.

Grass-Fed Beef

We took a steer to the butcher for processing. Almost all of that is sold. Let me know if you are looking for good grass-fed beef. We still have a steer or two that you can snag. A quarter is about 100 pounds of meat and would cost you around $600.00. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Breeding Season

It’s on. Breeding season is upon us. We wanted to do artificial insemination. That would allow us to have greater control over our genetics, and we could also get sexed semen which would allow us to dramatically increase the probability that our cows would have heifers, or girls. The timing for getting the semen that we desired did not work out. So, we will continue to pursue this option, getting the semen now for next year.


Buttercup was the first of our girls to show obvious signs of being in heat. I’ve noted the date in my spreadsheet that automatically calculates her projected delivery date. For cows, the gestation period is between 279 and 385 days. My spreadsheet calculates the 279 days as that would be the earliest time that she would have her calf.


Claire is Buttercup’s older sister. She may have been in heat a few days earlier, but I’m not sure. I recorded the date anyway. If she shows signs of heat in a month, I will simply change the date to reflect the new likely delivery date.

I’m not sure I’ve introduced all of our cows to you so I’ll take a moment to fill you in on them.


I know I’ve introduced Butter. She is our Jersey cow recently purchased from a nearby farm. She is a registered Jersey and produces A2A2 milk. If you’re not familiar with A2A2 milk, check out my podcast, “What is A2A2 milk?” Link in the show notes.

About 50% of Jersey cows in the United States have the A2A2 genetic trait. While we haven’t had our Normande cows tested, about 88% of the breed carries the A2A2 genetic trait. And since we will be using artificial insemination, we can breed for the trait. All of the sires that we have to choose from via our supplier are certified A2A2. Our goal is for our small herd of dairy cows to be 100% A2A2 certified.


Next up is Violet. She is a beautiful cow. And she is interesting. She only has one horn and she has a big round belly. Like all of our cows, she’s really friendly.


Lastly is Cloud. Cloud is only 75% Normande cow. She is one quarter black Angus. Her frame is tall—taller than all the rest.

The Wheel of Time and the Calves

Then there are the four calves. They are all named after fictional characters from a fantasy novel that both Scott and I enjoy listening to over and over. There are 14 books in the series, The Wheel of Time. I saw a Facebook post just this morning that Amazon is rapidly moving forward with a TV series that will be streamed to Prime members. Filming to begin later this year. If you like Game of Thrones, you might like The Wheel of Time as well. It is not nearly as dark and the central theme is more esoteric—a battle between good and evil.

Butter’s calf is Egwene, also a purebred Jersey with A2A2 genetics, and she looks like a little deer. Claire’s calf is Matrim. Buttercup’s calf is Perrin. And Dora’s calf is Rand. We lost Dora 3 days after Rand was born. Violet’s calf was named Galad. He now resides at a new home in Eastern Virginia.

The Donkeys

I want to take a moment to introduce our donkeys as well. They are all miniature donkeys, 36” tall or less. We keep them as livestock guardian animals. Well, they are also pets. Donkeys love human interaction.

We have Daisy, the matriarch. Her daughters, Sweet Pea and Cocoa. And then there is Johnny, sire of Cocoa. He can no longer sire and we keep him paired up with Sweet Pea and the boy sheep and goats. Daisy and Cocoa guard the girls.

Sheep and Goats

I’ll refrain from naming all of the goats. That would take a long time. The does all have names, but the 2 kids from this year and the 9 from last year do not. And only one of the sheep has a name. Remember Lambert? I suppose we will name them all at some point. We’ve just never gotten around to it. We identify them by number because we had around 70 and the numbers were the best way to keep up with who was who.

They are all healthy and happily eating grass is those green pastures. Now moving on to my eating habits.

Keto Diet and Dairy

There is a picture of me and Scott on our website. It’s on the “About” page. That picture is very out of date. I weigh 45 pounds less than that picture indicates. Ideally, in the next year or two, I will have dropped another 45 pounds. How did I do it? A variation of the keto diet.

In order to get to my topic of the keto diet and dairy, I’ll have to fill in the basics of the ketogenic diet. At least the one I use. Dr. Eric Westman’s Duke University Diet Clinic videos are my source. And “Go Keto with Casey” is my support resource. That’s Casey Durango from Greensboro, NC—right down the road from me about an hour and a half. I’ve met her in person.

Basics of Keto

I’ve tried many diets in my life. Until October last year, I had given up the idea that I would ever be able to be small again. The keto diet involves reducing carbohydrate intake to a minimal level. When I started in October last year, I reduced my carbohydrate intake to less than 10 g per day.

Let me briefly describe my current protocol. I consume fatty sources of meat and take in 20 g or less of carbohydrate daily. Ideally, I eat only when hungry and stop when I’m satiated. Those last two points I’m not really that good at. I still tend to eat at the same time every day because I always eat at that time. Or I eat dinner because I always had eaten dinner. Those are not reasons for eating.

That’s it. Eat fatty sources of meat. Keep your carbs under 20 g a day. Only eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re satiated. Four simple steps. There are many amazing things that have changed in my life over the past eight months.

Keto Results

The first thing was the reduction of inflammation. At my age I thought I would always wake up with sore joints in my hands. My back was stiff. That went away within a few days. Where before, I absolutely could not close my hand in the morning because of the inflammation, now, my hands close easily.

The best thing I have experienced is that I don’t think about food anymore. Anyone out there who has struggled with their weight will know what I’m talking about when I say that my day used to revolve around food. Before I would do anything, I would first evaluate whether I needed to eat first, or if I was going out, what was I going to eat, or would I wait to eat until I got back home. While eating, I might be evaluating what I was going to be eating at my next meal. I spent a lot of time planning meals, thinking about what food I was going to cook, when, and for which meals. I have a new problem. Very often, I haven’t planned at all. Dinner comes around, and Scott doesn’t have anything to eat. I can throw a burger in the pan and have a meal in 15 minutes.

I literally have to make myself think about food. Planning meals has become a task on my calendar. It is the most radical and bizarre change in thinking I have ever experienced in my life. It’s a great diet plan that fits very well with our traditional homestead. We raise animals and we have dairy. We also have quail now that are providing eggs. They will also provide protein. These are the basics of my diet at this point. Meat, dairy, eggs.

Keto Diet and Dairy

Dairy is where I have to be the most vigilant. It is not unlimited. Milk has a significant amount of carbohydrates. I actually poured a glass of milk today. About 8 ounces. If it was 3.5% milk from the store that would be 12 g of carbohydrates. Still under my goal of 20, but leaving only eight as wiggle room. That’s the first time in the last eight months that I’ve poured myself a glass of milk. I would have a sip here and there, but not a full glass.

Aged cheese on the other hand, has less than 1 g of carb. Still I must be vigilant. Cheese is a calorie dense food. Cream is great. Also, very calorie dense. While I only track carbohydrates, in the end, calories do matter.

Dairy products can fit very well into a ketogenic diet. What matters is keeping your body in ketosis. That means your body is burning fat for fuel. Your carbohydrate intake is so low that your body stops looking for carbohydrates and transforms itself into a fat burning machine.

Carb Cravings Gone

Carbohydrate cravings completely disappear. That part was not quite as easy as I would’ve liked. I went through a time where the carbohydrate cravings were quite cute. The way I made it through was to increase the fat and protein that I was eating. Every time I would want a cake or cookies or some other sweet, I would go and eat another hamburger. I was aware that I was over eating. But it got me through. I got to the point where I couldn’t stuff another mouthful in or I would burst. That overrode the carb craving.

And after a few days, they stopped. I could literally sit and watch Scott eat some sweet dessert and not feel compelled to reach over there with my fork and grab a bite of it. Those of you that are listening that have had issues with weight may find it hard to believe. I know I did and I was experiencing it.

So, on the keto protocol I have to be careful with dairy. But it is totally the greatest part of my diet. And I’m going to finish up here with the recipe for keto chocolate ice cream. As I said, cream is great and there are some great artificial sweeteners out there that keep this very low-carb.

Keto Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

This recipe does not use an ice cream maker. With heavy whipping cream whipped to soft peaks, the result is similar to a fluffy chocolate mousse.

What You Need

  • 5 oz 85% or 90% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 oz cocoa butter
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup powdered erythritol or Swerve
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream

What to Do

  1. Melt the chocolate and cocoa butter in a double boiler over medium heat then cool to room temperature.
  2. Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar. As the egg whites thicken, slowly add the powdered Erythritol. Beat until they create stiff peaks.
  3. In another bowl, beat or whisk the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
  4. In a third bowl, mix the egg yolks with the vanilla extract.
  5. After the chocolate has cooled, using a rubber spatula, add about a third of the fluffy egg whites and mix with the chocolate. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold in without deflating them.
  6. Slowly stir in the egg yolk and vanilla mixture.
  7. Finally, fold in the whipped cream using the spatula, creating fluffy chocolate mousse.
  8. Transfer chocolate mousse to a 9 X 9-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Freeze at least 4 – 6 hours, or until set.


You can use 1-cup, single-serving containers for portion control. If the ice cream is too hard, leave it at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Serving size:         ¾ cup            Calories:   267              Fat:    25g

Carbohydrates:    5.5g               Protein:     5 g

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed getting to know our animals a little better. We love them and hope you do to.

The keto diet is working for me and I am so glad that I can still use my dairy products. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot if I had found something that improved my health dramatically and it completed contradicted my life’s work. That didn’t happen. Meat and dairy are the center of our lives and the center of my diet.

You’ll have to measure that keto chocolate ice cream, but I think it will be well worth your time. A serving is ¾ of a cup and contributes 5.5 g of carbs.

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

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

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


What is A2A2 Milk? – Peaceful Heart FarmCast

Dr. Eric Westman – LCHF Treatment for Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Casey Durango – Go Keto with Casey

Recipe Link

Keto Chocolate Ice Cream

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After the Storm

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

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

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

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Storm
  • No Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

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

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

The Storm

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

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

Evening Milking Plan A

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

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

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

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

Plan B

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

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

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

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

Plan C and Success

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

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

After the Storm

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

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

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

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

The Internet

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

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

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

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

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

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

On to the normal farm updates.

Herd Shares

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

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

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

The Animals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Garden and Orchard

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

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

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

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

The Creamery

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

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

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

No Recipe This Week

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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