Category Archives: News, etc.

Ugh, well problems

20131114-091706.jpg
So I got up yesterday and went through the normal routine of milking, feeding, rotating, etc. I’ve already shared the extra love we gave Spunky for being hard to get along with. Well after all that I went to wash down the milking parlor and the water didn’t work. Hmm, odd. Must have frozen since it was so cold.

I trundled back to the house and was met by my beautiful SWMBO who stepped out in a bathrobe and nothing else. Always a good sign….

Except today. Turns out the soap in her hair was what they call a clue. The water had died when she was in the shower. Which would be sort of funny except the last time the water died she was in the shower. And I believe the time before that. Either she showers a lot or she has a terrible effect on our plumbing. So off to the barn I go to see what is the matter. The well head is just outside the barn and the pressure tank is inside the barn. I go to the pressure tank and see that there is 0 pressure. Not a good sign. I check the pressure switch and then the voltage. All good. The well is dead.

Now understand, we have 24 cows and 4 families all relying on this well. You all know that I have been working to get the new well installed in our pasture, and its a pretty well. Of course it isn’t finished yet and is down there mocking me in its half finished state.

Besides the almost complete well, I also have an old well that works just fine. Due to circumstances in the past it’s just not hooked up. Yeah, I meant to get to that. So we break out the shovels and the phones for a two pronged attack. One, get the well company on the way. Two, hook up the old well so it works again. Sounds logical. Except, when we started checking pipes for hooking up the old well an existing pipe in the current system literally sprung a leak before our eyes. Oh well, may as well cut out that section too. And where does this pipe go? Dunno, better hook it back up though. And how did I cut through this irrigation line? Did you sharpen the shovel?

Needless to say there was a comedy of errors in hooking up the old well so we could use it again. Fortunately we were able to restore water by 7:45 that evening, temporarily, in the dark, standing in mud. Heroes! Bring forth the thankful women to honor our heroic deeds. The well company? What about them?

20131115-073720.jpg
They had the well pump replaced at 1:30 but don’t tell anyone.

Better get that vitamin C

20131112-201843.jpg
Its funny the things that different animals will and will not eat. You would think the pigs would love oranges however you would be wrong. The pigs won’t touch them, even if you cut them open so they get straight to the citrusy goodness. Maybe if I squeezed all the juice and added a bit of vodka and a paper umbrella, maybe. I’m not convinced.

So what to do when you have 75 pounds of oranges? Why give them to the cows of course. Cows LOVE oranges and eat them rind and all. I’ve yet to get orange milk from Spunky but there is always tomorrow.

Speaking of Spunky, it looks like she is in heat and Benjamin was already putting the moves on her this morning. I was wondering where the Barry a White music was coming from. Now I know. May as well start the countdown till the next calf because I have no doubt that Benjamin will be shooting straight. This will cost us some milk production of course but that’s ok. We aren’t in the production business when it comes to milk.

The canning gene passes on

IMAG2325

Mrs. Bar-B-Jew decided to get into the canning action and her first batch came out perfect. Canned apples just waiting to become an apple pie (hint, hint:) She was so into canning her first batch that she didn’t even have canning tongs and braved the boiling water and possible scalds with regular tongs. Luckily she made it through unscathed and is now properly equipped.

Whew what a day

20131109-194107.jpg
After milking this morning, Miguel and I went to remove a door from my work which needed to be seriously repaired. It was a very old metal door that was coming apart. We put in a bunch of work and about 5 hours later we had it as good as new.

We then left the farm to go to Carthage to pick up a tractor and a fuel tank, again for work. This was after unloading 17 round bales of hay from the trailer without the tractor which was in the shop. That was fun.

We loaded our wares in Carthage and trailered them back. Upon our return we swapped trucks and took of for three different pig food pickups. All in we probably picked up about 1000 pounds of food for the critters. We came back and unloaded it in the dark and fed the pigs a sample. Then it was off to dinner where I was already an hour late. This list skips about 40 other things that were done today. I think I will sleep good tonight.

The good news is Spunky did well today. She came to the barn easily and her yield was improved a bit. Her production should still be coming up so we should be on our way to 3 gallons in the next few months.

More apples

20131105-055352.jpg

Last night I came home to find the 42 quart stock pot overflowing with processed apples thanks to my darling SWMBO who worked hard all day on apples while so was at work. This is part way through her work. She doubled this amount.

20131105-055907.jpg
The old timey apple peeler and corer was a hit with the Mrs who used it for the first time yesterday. It has really good results.

20131105-055525.jpg

After another dinner that couldn’t be beat, I proceeded to can again.

Now it must be said that there was a bit of mocking the first night about “Did I have enough mason jars” because I have a huge quantity of mason jars but I ended up going to get another pack of pint jars.

20131105-054949.jpg
What you see here is 22 jars of applesauce, this time with no sugar added. It was also cooked quite a bit more hence the darker color. The extra cooking caramalized the natural sugars and made for a very nice taste, different from the first batch. What you will also notice is that the jars vary in size, because I scraped the bottom of the barrel getting enough jars. I ended up with 4 pints in the fridge for this weeks snacking.

Only 1 bushel left. SWMBO actually cautioned me not to use them all. Did we really use up 7 1/2 bushels?

Applepalooza. 7 1/2 bushels of apples turned into various products.

This weekend we finished the season with one of our farm vendors who was down to the last of his apples. A few negotiations back and forth and we agreed I would take the last of his stock, 7 1/2 bushels of apples, all varieties.

7 1/2 bushels of apples
7 1/2 bushels of apples

So what in the world do you do with 7 1/2 bushels? Why you open a bottle of wine and fire up the grill. Then you invite all of your friends and neighbors over and you have an apple peeling party complete with authentic ninja pig on the grill cooked by jet setting grill superstar Bar-B-Jew.

Panoramic shot of the kitchen in full on apple mode.
Panoramic shot of the kitchen in full on apple mode.

Here you can see the kitchen in full production. Wine glasses, apple peels, the football game on, the grill going just outside, and everybody working till bed time.
The results of about 3-4 hours of work. 21 quarts of apple sauce, plus another 14 gallons of wine in the fermenter. That left us with ONLY 3 bushels of apples (minus the bushel we made the Goldbergs take).

First few batches of canned apple sauce
First few batches of canned apple sauce

Today SWMBO worked diligently between school and laundry and got another bushel ready for apple sauce plus reduced another 6 quarts of apple sauce so it would be ready for me to can tonight. She has been a trooper with all these apples.
Btw, apples and grilled pork are a perfect match.

Pasture raised, non GMO pork chops, home made apple sauce, and broccoli.
Pasture raised, non GMO pork chops, home made apple sauce, and broccoli.