Thursday, December 9, 2010

A rainbow of eggs

My little blue (she's gray, but for some reason they call gray chickens "blue") Easter Egger chicken finally laid her first egg today, a lovely light greenish blue one! Here it is with the rest of today's eggs:

In other news, still hauling water to the cows. At least we have 2 frost-free hydrants out in the yard, and I'm not having to bring water out of the house!

Made scalloped cabbage with supper tonight. I haven't made it in ages, and I forgot just how good it is!


Scalloped Cabbage


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup crushed salted Premium Plus crackers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x12 inch casserole dish.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and onion and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender, stirring often. Add milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Gently pour in eggs, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 of the cracker crumbs, and the salt and pepper; mix well. Pour into casserole dish and top with remaining cracker crumbs. Dot with butter.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.
Originally from AllRecipes. I've altered the amount of crackers to suit my personal taste.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So much for not hauling water all winter

Seems like we tripped a breaker last night - the one running all the heated waterers. So the buckets in with the donkeys/sheep/goats, the geese, and the highlands all froze. At least they should all thaw now that the breaker's back on

Worse than that, the automatic cattle waterer is dry, and hasn't refilled yet after several hours of being back on power. Really really hoping it'll start up again on its own once the heat tape catches up... or that Roy can fix it if not. It'll be a looooong winter if I have to go out and water the cows manually until spring!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sad day

Allie lost her calf.

I found a little black heifer calf dead in the corral today. She must have had it either late last night, or very early this morning.

I'm not sure if the little one froze, or had some other trouble. It looked like Allie only cleaned off one side of the calf, and there were no signs the calf had ever nursed. She may have been born dead, or simply very weak.

I wish I'd been more vigilant! We just weren't really expecting her to calve so soon, and she hadn't been showing any new signs of being close to calving.

At least Allie seems to be okay. She kept going over and licking the dead calf, but once I removed it she settled right down and started eating. She's wandering the corral a bit and checking all the corners, but she hasn't been calling. I think she's less bothered than I am.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The warm spot

Went out to refill the dogs heated water bucket today, and this is what I found.

Leave it to cats to find the warm spot!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's a yak! It's a bison!

No, it's a Scottish Highland cow!

We brought our newest additions home today: Whitehill Stardust, a registered dun Scottish Highland cow, and her little red bull calf (who's destined to be a steer very soon).

We stopped for gas on the way home, and the gas station attendants were rather enthralled with them. Well, after they asked "What is it?!" and were informed that they were, indeed, cows. I do wish I'd remembered to take a photo of them in the trailer. All you could see through the window was eyes, and horns, and hair.

Dusty (as we'll be calling her - Stardust just seems a bit... grandiose for a hairy cow!) is also re-bred to the previous owner's registered bull. Fingers crossed for a lovely little Highland heifer this spring!

The new beasts have been made comfortable in the temporary quarantine pen, which will be their home for the next 3 weeks. Hard to really tell what cows think, but Dusty seems to approve of the hay.

It was around 5pm or so when we got the cattle put away. We spent the remainder of the evening crawling around under the trailer, replacing panels that had holes and putting in some new insulation. Whoever designed the flooring in mobile homes is an idiot. Who thought flimsy wooden panels just -resting- on metal edging is all that's needed between the outside world and the insulation/pipes/vents? It's no wonder we've had mice. Anyway, the current repairs should at least keep Oz the cat from coming into the house through the vent under the kitchen table!

Went for a shower afterward, since it's absolutely filthy under the trailer. My shower was uneventful. Roy, however, had the fun of one of the valves on the shower column breaking and spraying water at force across the tub. We're without a shower (or bath) now until Roy comes home again next weekend.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I wonder if cows would be jealous....

... if they knew human pregnancy tests just entailed peeing on a stick?

Vet came out to the farm today. We had him check out a bunch of stuff, but most importantly we had him pregnancy check Alvitr(Allie). Allie is indeed pregnant! He figures she should give us a calf before the New Year. I'm kind of hoping for a bull calf - this calf's grandmother was 1/2 lowline angus, which would make the calf 1/8th lowline angus, I believe. If it's a boy, then there's no hard questions of "should we keep it or eat it?" XD

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A fridge full of bones

I find I appreciate my food so much more when it's something I've raised myself. I never made chicken stock before we raised our own chickens. Now, I have a very hard time just throwing the bones away! I had a LOT of chicken bones in my fridge... now, I have the bones from 3 chickens roasting in the oven (the 4th carcass did end up in the garbage - bones should not be fuzzy and green! I swear it wasn't in the fridge that long...) I discovered a lovely recipe for brown chicken stock about a year ago: Brown Chicken Stock. It's a little more work than just hucking the bones into a stock pot, but it makes such a lovely stock. One set of bones this time are from a chicken that I tried soaking in brine - I'm curious to see if it will effect the flavor of the stock!

Got the donkey/goat/sheep/goose shelter cleaned out today, and broke apart one of our brand new square barley straw bales into it for bedding. One square bales seems to be the perfect amount to bed that shelter (technically it's a small calf shelter). I'm hoping I can pick the shelter clean for awhile, and the straw will last for a reasonable amount of time!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Food and bed, hay and straw

Got out of our bed early today, to pick up bedding for the critters. 40 square bales of barley straw, to be exact, plus 60 square alfalfa/brome hay bales. We've got enough round bales for the winter, the square hay is more for emergency feeding if the skid steer won't start. It's also a little better quality than the round bales we got, so I'll likely alternate between round and square for the donkeys/sheep/goats.

Loading 100 bales onto the trailer, then re-stacking them isn't exactly how I'd choose to start the day! I do have to say though, it sure does wake a person up. Pretty sure my hands are going to be stiff for a couple of days after this.

After we got the livestock food unloaded, it was time for breakfast for us - today we had brunch at the Heritage Inn with my parents. They have a really nice Sunday brunch there. I ate waaay too much. Luckily all I really had to do for the rest of the day was feed and water the stock, and switch the bottom hot wire on the small animal paddock over to a ground wire - bottom wire's been burried in snow for a couple days.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Clearly I fail at blogging....

... but I'm just going to ignore that, and continue on like I haven't missed posting for over a year.

Roy and I went into town early today to try and get a garage door opener for his new machine shop. Not like early early; we made it to Home Depot by about 9:30am. They had one of their "one day only, no rain checks" sales on openers, so it was rather surprising that they still had most of a pallet full of them left. Guess not many people are thinking of installing a garage door at -15C?

Breakfast at Denney's (and the first coffee of the day: sweet, sweet coffee), then various shopping to kill time until our massage appointments at 1:45pm. Most useful purchase of the day: I got insulated coveralls from Peavey Mart. They should (hopefully!) make doing the outside chores rather more bearable this winter.

We got home just before the farrier arrived to trim Frejya the mini donkey's hooves. Scrambled around a bit to get suited up, then held Frejya while he trimmed. Those coveralls I bought? Best $99 I've spent in ages! Freja still needs another session to get her feet back to a reasonable length, but she looks SO much better already. Hopefully she won't develop ice balls in her hooves quite so badly now, either. He'll be back in 8 weeks to trim again, and to do Poppy's hooves as well. It's possible this will get me off my butt and working with Poppy to lead/tie and pick up her feet!

Today seemed to be a cow day. Got a couple e-mails regarding Sage, the Dexter heifer we have up for sale/trade, and a couple of messages on the phone about a Dexter we bought a couple months ago, and a Scottish Highland cow/calf pair I'm hoping to buy (I'm not sure why, but I'm just craving a Highland or two to meander about the pasture with my Dexters). Lots of phone tag this evening!

Oxo the frosty Dexter steer, and his half sister Sage hiding behind him.