Archive for July, 2013

July 31, 2013

A review: Santa Cruz Animal Health

I am not normally one for reviews but was exceptionally happy with Santa Cruz Animal Health that I thought I’d do a brief write up.

http://www.scbt.com/animal_health.html

I received their catalog some time ago and have glanced through it a few times figuring their prices couldn’t be better than where I was already ordering from.

I’ve been buying Copasure from Jeffers Livestock for a long time and cutting down the cattle boluses into #00 gelcaps to dole out to the goats.  I was glancing over Santa Cruz’s boluses for adults and kids and didn’t do the math until recently but it comes out to .13 cents a gram through Santa Cruz where as the Copasure cattle boluses from Jeffers come out to .147 cents a gram. My math is based on SC’s twenty-five 4 gram boluses (100 grams total) vs. Jeffer’s regular size container of 12.5 gram (312.5 gram) boluses. With the cattle boluses, I open them up and portion them into equal portions to be put into the #00 gelcaps (re-portioned and re-packaged for the dosage and correct size for goats and not cows). It would be silly not to purchase the ones that are already pre-portioned into the correct dosage and save me time and $! I didn’t buy the kid boluses. If I need them, I’ll cut the adult boluses in two (because buying the kid boluses works out to .24 cents a gram, quite a substantial difference!).

Shipping was lickety-split! I ordered on Friday, received a tracking # by afternoon and while the boluses and Valbazen were shipped separately, the copper arrived on Monday and the Valbazen today (Wednesday). How’s that for quick? To top it off, $50 worth of merchandise gets you free shipping. Compare that to Jeffers $60 minimum order and while I have had nothing but positive business with Jeffers, Santa Cruz is definitely equally comparable!

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July 18, 2013

Farm and Garden Photos

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July 17, 2013

Vacation from the farm

Anyone who has animals knows how hard it can be to leave for any extended period of time. For those with dairy animals in particular it can be downright impossible. My family lives in California (northern and southern) and Jer’s family lives in Wv, Ky. and Ohio (mostly). Living half way in between (or close enough to) makes it extremely difficult to see them and boy do we miss them greatly.

We have the most awesome neighbors and friends ever and we are so blessed to have friends and neighbors who know how individual and needy animals can be. Last Christmas we drove to California and spent 10 wonderful days with family. Meanwhile our neighbors cared for the farm in our absence and this was NO easy task when the high temperature most days were around 22 degrees!!! It made for mighty cold mornings and evenings.

Wintertime is actually not the season I cringe leaving for though, despite the cold. Summer time is especially brutal as there is milking to be done. Let me just tell you, friends and neighbors of ours gladly took on the responsibility of morning and evening chores AND even made a special point mid-day to check on everyone the days we had very hot temperatures. AND AND, a second set of neighbors offered to pitch in too! I find this incredibly awesome because despite doing the chores day in and day out, writing out all of the chores makes me realize how much there truly is. We know each individual animal, their needs, their special quirks and it’s often important to make this known to caretakers. They did it all, happily.

The garden has doubled in size. The children are now on egg and garden collection duty. The goats all look wonderful and I am pleased to announce that Josephine, who had not so much as had a handful of days in the milk stand before kidding, was standing “like an angel” to be milked for a “stranger”. What a sweetie!

The meat birds have doubled in size while we were gone it seems. We butchered the first batch the Saturday before we left. This next batch should be ready in about 6 weeks and that will probably be the end of meat chickens for the year.

100_9541

I posted before I left on our piggy, Ann, and piggy pregnancy. You can read more about that here: https://marmaladehollow.com/2013/07/03/piggy-pregnancy/ . Just before we left I noticed that she was building an udder, much like a dog getting ready to whelp would. Upon returning home it’s quite clear she will farrow fairly soon. Our chore is to get her pen set up and get the boar separated, get her farrowing hut bedded down well and sit back and wait. If you’re looking for more information on swine farrowing check out the following links:

This is by no means a complete list of what I’ve read, just a few I found helpful. 100_9555

Jer and I spent a couple hours in the garden this morning weeding. I looks like we got about an inch of rain while we were gone and yesterday evening the sky opened up. I took shelter in the greenhouse for about 20 minutes until it passed. This morning was humid and I felt like I was back in Ky! I’m glad the weeding job is done, I really thought it would take us a couple of days! we’ll be planting more potatoes soon and before I left I planted more black oil sunflowers which have all popped out of the ground. We made it home in time to see the first of our sunflowers in full bloom. I love sunflowers =).

July 5, 2013

Chicken Stock

We love soup, even in the summer, but especially in the fall and winter! A good soup with crusty home made wheat bread, YUM!

chicken broth

It’s amazing how many meals you can get off of a single chicken if you plan it right. Granted, it all depends on how big your family is and how big your boys kids are.  With our family of 4, I can generally get 3-4 meals off of a single chicken. Even when you’re baking a chicken you can take the bones and make stock from them after it’s been cooked and the meat removed!  I’ve tried this with turkey carcasses numerous times but I’m not a big fan of turkey stock.

I used to add my whole chicken to a pot and simmer it for a long time. When we run our wood stove in the winter I still do this in a great big stock pot with some onions, celery, carrots and herbs and the house smells simply divine. But in the summer, running the kitchen stove any longer than necessary isn’t exactly my idea of a cool time, and you can forget about the wood stove =)!

Many years ago I bought a huge pressure cooker specifically for canning. My Grandma had a smaller pressure cooker she rarely used and so I decided to give it a try for meals. It was love! I immediately went out and bought myself an 8 quart (2 gallon) size for regular means and we never looked back. Making super tender roasts in a hurry, pulled pork, soups, beans, the list is endless as to its uses!

Using the pressure cooker is my absolute favorite way to make chicken stock! At 15 lbs. of pressure it takes about 45 minutes to make gorgeous stock with every ounce of goodness from the bones removed and I have meat that falls right off the bone! For chicken pot pie, I simmer my gravy and ingredients, add my cooked shredded chicken at the end and it tastes as if it had simmered for hours to develop deep complex flavors! Truth is, I use the chicken broth to make my gravy, it’s like a 30 minute meal!  I wish the photo above captured the pure beauty and true yellow color of the stock in real life but I honestly don’t think it comes close.

I have made stock in a crock pot and electric dutch oven and it does an OK job but for speed, outstanding chicken flavor and ultimate tenderness and quantity, I really feel the pressure cooker gives me the absolute best stock!

Generally my meal uses the chicken meat in the first meal then I will put strain the  broth through a new milk filter (I have tried coffee filters, it’s an absolute mess waiting to happen)  into 1/2 gallon canning jars (I usually get 1+ gallons from the size of my pressure cooker) and put it in the fridge for use in a day or two. The fat floats to the top, I skim it off and I have virtually fat free broth to use to make outstanding soups!

If you have not tried a pressure cooker to make broth, you might like to try.  For that matter, if you haven’t tried a pressure cooker, it’s a kitchen tool I couldn’t be without!

Happy stocking! =)

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July 3, 2013

Piggy Pregnancy

pig 435

Several months ago I came across a site on predicting pig pregnancy: http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/08/28/pregnancy-indicator/ . These porkers are a little hard to catch in heat, at least mine are. Then again, I am used to tail wagging, blubbering, noisy Nubians! The pigs, it seems, are a little more discrete, at least the female gender anyway. The boar is always in heat, ha ha! I can’t be running out to the pig pen several times a day to push on her back side to see if she’ll stand and if I didn’t know any better, I would say she was in and out within a few hours (or overnight) because I never did see her stand for any length of time for the boar though I did see remnants of breeding one morning a while back.

At any rate, I took a couple of photos today for comparison of our gilt, Ann Curry. I may be wrong, but according to Sugar Mountain Farm and the way we see it, it would seem she’s “in a piggy way” to us. Not to mention she’s looking rather rotund these days. We shall see, I do love baby pigs. I never thought the pigs were something I would enjoy as much as I do, not raising them growing up and all, but I really do like them very much…so personable and friendly!

pig clitoral hood

piggy rump

For now, Ann (Curry) and Earl (of Sandwich) are lovin’ the easy life!

Lazy summer days

Lazy summer days

 

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July 1, 2013

June soaps

Just two new =). June was BUSY! The lime shampoo bars in May’s soap line are sold out except for one last bar. I’ll be making more this month and adding to the shampoo bars stock.  All of last month’s soap was a real hit! New packaging arrived in the mail last week and I am nearly done cutesy-ing up a new soap cabinet I picked up several months ago.

lemongrass

Lift Me Up Lemon Grass (above). Did you know that lemon grass essential oil can be used to treat ring worm, scabies, lice, and athletes foot??? It can relieve conditions due to dandruff, overactive oil glands & eczema! It can help restore and rejuvenate the body after illness. It has antiseptic, anti-depressant, anti-bacterial, deodorizing, fungicidal, insecticidal, and good- mood stimulating properties!! Lemon grass soap is a must! (Makes a great shaving bar too!)

tangerine

Totally Tangerine with orange zest flecks! Tangy and sweet yet soothing and calming. Tangerine essential oil is said to occasionally help with nervous irritability and  is fabulous oil for uplifting spirits.

      *As always, the essential oils we use are are all organically cultivated, grown and produced and are free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers.They are not tested on animals and all are WHO GMP certified!  Fragrance oils are phthalate and paraben free!