Skip to main content

Eating with the seasons

I know I'm not the first to say that we only appreciate what we have when its gone, but it certainly applies to us with produce.  When we first got Bella our house cow we had so much milk we didn't know what to do with it all, the dogs even had some with their breakfast and we got to experiment with cheese-making.  We had Bella artificially inseminated (remember Kaptain Nightcrawler?) in early December and she hasn't come back on heat, so we expect that she will have a calf in mid September (279 days gestation for a Jersey cow).  Its best to dry her up (stop her from producing milk) about 3 months before she calves, so that is mid June.  We were a bit worried about how Molly would feel about being weaned, but I should have worried more about how WE felt about being weaned!  After having fresh raw Jersey cow milk for a year, to suddenly go without is pretty distressing!  

In order to dry Bella, we have to separate Molly and continue milking Bella every morning, taking not quite all the milk, until she stops producing, it should take about a week as her body starts to realise that she doesn't need to make milk, so we were still getting a couple of litres of milk a day and freezing anything that we didn't use.  It won't be enough to last us through 12 weeks without milk, but it will keep the kefir going at least.  Anyway, as usual these two animals had minds of their own and Molly decided to start weaning herself when she came on heat in late May and was totally distracted by walking around the paddock bawling to the neighbour's cattle.  We separated Bella and started the drying up process, Molly didn't seem to mind at all, even after her heat finished and we put her in the paddock with the steers.

milk ready for the freezer

To my add to my distress we are now entering the annual egg-draught.  Some days we get one or two eggs (from nine hens) and some days we get none.  Even though this happens every year, we still find it very difficult to deal with and feel lost without our daily egg for breakfast, particularly on a cold morning when you want something hearty to get you through the day.  Unfortunately Plan B is porridge or weetbix, which requires milk, oh the pain!  But I have also whipped up some homemade baked beans to get us through.

two lonely eggs :(
Come spring, we will again have more milk than we know what do to with and probably more eggs too, considering all the pullets we hatched this season our laying flock should at least double.  Soon we will have a steer killed and have more beef than we can fit in our freezers, and it will be time to kill some roosters too.  As I've said before, eating with the seasons produces feasts and famines, and learning to preserve can even out the humps to some extent, but accepting that some things are seasonal does take some effort when its so easy to just buy it all from the supermarket whenever we want it.  I think part of the learning process is finding foods that are nutritious and satisfying and most importantly AVAILABLE in each season, and for us this is still a challenge, although my winter garden is looking more promising this year!

(By the way, I am (mostly) joking, I know I'm very lucky to have the farm fresh milk and eggs when we have them, so I will manage to go a few months without!)

How do you get through the seasons?  More importantly how do you cope without a daily egg fix?

Comments

  1. So far so good on my eggs. Must have got the feed rations right as I have been getting up to four eggs a day. Got to admit though I feel a bit sad when James tells me (last night) there were three eggs but he broke one...sigh. Never mind. There are plenty in the fridge still.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am feeding my girls alot of household meal scraps, and they are still laying....we are really lucky, I have about close to 5 dozen eggs in my fridge at the moment, and not sure what to do with them all! Id be loving all that fresh milk...I havnt had fresh milk since I was a child...and the memory of the cream ...wow....

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's devastating when the hens go off the lay!!! And I could cry when the tomatoes finish! I know just where you are coming from.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's great that you're trying to rely on what you can produce instead of the supermarket.

    I know what you mean about breakfast though. We were out of bread, milk and eggs a couple of weeks back and I was stumped as to what I could make for breakfast. Finally settled on popcorn. That was a hit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Feast or famine and eating with the seasons. That's how we're trying to do it too.
    I envy you your real milk.

    Barb.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting to read about how you deal with these 'shortages'...

    ReplyDelete
  7. thanks everyone, glad I'm not the only one sooking over the lack of eggs! We should have some younger hens next winter, so will see if they do any better. Farmer Pete wants to buy some laying hens, which I have a approved as long as I get to keep the pure breds as well. And it amazing how much I miss the milk, and just grabbing a glass out of the fridge when we had so much milk it didn't matter (instead of paying $2.50 a litre for organic milk!). It will come again soon...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

Chicken tractor guest post

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about chickens, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Tanya from Lovely Greens invited me to write a guest post on chicken tractors for her blog.  I can't believe how many page views I get for chicken tractors, they seem to be a real area of interest and I hope that the information on my blog has helped people.  I find that when I use something everyday, I forget the details that other people may not be aware of, so in this post for Tanya, I tried to just write everything I could think of that I haven't covered in previous posts.  I tried to explain everything we do and why, so that people in other locations and situations can figure out how best to use chicken tractors with their own chickens.


If you want to read more about chicken tractors, head over the Tanya's blog and read my post, then come back here to leave a comment.  Tanya lives…

Getting started with beekeeping: how to harvest honey

While honey is not the only product from a beehive, its the one that most beekeepers are interested in and it usually takes a year or so to let the bees build up numbers and store enough honey before there is enough to harvest.  There are a few different ways to extract honey from frames.  We have a manual turn 2-frame certifugal extractor.  A lot of people with only a few hives will just crush and strain the comb.  This post is about how we've been extracting honey so far (four times now), and there are links at the end to other bloggers who use different methods so you can compare.


Choose your frames
Effectively the honey is emergency food stores for the bees, so you have to be very careful not to take too much from the hive.  You need to be aware of what is flowering and going to flower next and the climate.  Particularly in areas with cold winters, where the bees cannot forage for some time.  We are lucky to have something flowering most of the year and can take honey in Sprin…

Getting started with homestead dairy - Ohio Farmgirl

Here's another interview in my series about homestead dairy.  This time another (reluctant) goat lady, Ohio Farmgirl, shares her experience with milking goats.  OFG also joined me for the getting started with growing your own and getting started with chickens series, but in case you missed those interviews, she lives in Ohio (obviously) on a few acres and is very passionate about growing her own food, and German Shepherds.  She has a great blog called Adventures in the Good Land with lots of wise words about gardening, poultry, dogs, pigs and of course, goats.


FL: Tell us about how you came to own a milking goat.

OFG: Ah... goats. The 'poor man's cow.' Some people love goats. I do not. I'm more of a 'goat liker' and not a goat lover. We usually have between three and “a small herd” of dairy goats. To be sure the only reasons I have diary goats are because:

1. I can't afford a cow (no pasture for them to graze)

2. Poison ivy.

When we arrived at this new …