Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Gluten and Dairy free chicken fried steak

April 23, 2010

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade. Check out the other links for recipes, news, and thoughts on real food, slow food, organic and/or local food!

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Can you say YUM? These were really, really yummy. Of course, I did some research and found some recipes* that inspired me and then tweaked them to make them gluten and dairy free. I made my own gluten-free flour blend, as well. First, the recipe I based mine on is Gluten Free Chicken Fried Steak from Mom Cooks Gluten Free. I barely had to tweak this because it was already gluten-free. The major changes I made were that I used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch (making it corn free). Also, I used Spectrum Organic vegetable shortening. If I had some lard from pastured pork, I would probably have used that. I also used Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – Soy Free. I doubled this recipe (there are 3 adults and 2 kids to feed in our house) and we had leftovers for breakfast/lunch the next day. This is the recipe from the website, with my changes in bold after each ingredient. Honestly, it’s a really good recipe, so I hardly changed a thing. I just used what I had on hand and also made it dairy-free. You could quite easily stick to the original recipe and it would be delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cube steaks (4 to 6 oz each) I used grass-fed cubed steak and tenderized it.
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used the Authentic Foods Gluten Free Multi-Grain, but you can use any flour blend. See note below.) I made my own blend, see link below.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt I used sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder I had dehydrated onion slices, so ground them into a powder
  • 1/2 cup of shortening I used Spectrum Organic Vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tbsp butter I used Earth Balance Soy Free
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk (cow, rice or soy…I used cow) I used goat’s milk
  • 2-3 tsp corn starch or potato starch I used arrowroot starch and I think it took a little bit more, but my gravy was lumpy as I am inexperienced at making gravy!
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pound the steaks with a mallet to tenderize them (not too thin).
  2. Whisk eggs and place in a bowl big enough to dip the steaks in.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Divide the flour mixture between two large plastic bags. I just poured the stuff in the ziploc bags and shook them up good!
  4. Mix the steaks in the first flour mixture, one by one.
  5. Then dip them in the eggs.
  6. Then shake in the second flour mixture until fully coated. (repeat if necessary)
  7. In a large skillet (cast iron or non-stick because you want the drippings/brown bits for gravy), heat the 1/2 cup of shortening over medium heat (350 deg F). I added more as I went along and seemed to need more.
  8. Brown the steaks on both sides for approximately 2-4 minutes each side until steaks are cooked through.
  9. Set steaks aside and cover/tent to keep warm.
  10. In the same pan, pour off the shortening and add 4 Tbsp of butter and melt over medium heat. (you want to use the browned bits from the steaks to help flavor the gravy) I didn’t pour off the shortening as there wasn’t much left at this point.
  11. Slowly add the corn starch, stirring while doing so. Again, I used arrowroot starch.
  12. Add the 1 1/2 cup of milk slowly, continuing to stir. Heat through and stir to eliminate any lumps.
  13. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve with mashed potatoes. I served with green beans and corn because we didn’t have potatoes.

As far as the gluten-free flour blend goes, I used this blend, which is a blend of brown rice f lour, tapioca starch, and bean flour or sorghum. I used sorghum and sifted them together thoroughly.

*It’s so important to give credit to recipes. Simply cutting and pasting someone else’s recipe is not OK. Always, always give credit, a trackback, or whatever. I try to do this, no matter how much, or how little, I might change the original recipe.

Snakes – some background

September 19, 2009

Recently I posted a picture of a snake that Tim had accidentally run over with the mower. In this post I asked for help identifying the snake. I received some really helpful comments, but also heard from one angry commenter. The person was angry because he/she thought that we had deliberately killed the snake. The issue was resolved, but I would still like to give a little background into the snakes on our farm, as well as sharing what I have learned about snakes in the process. I want to do this both to clarify my stance and to possibly educate others about the benefits of snakes.

First, I have to confess that I never thought about snakes in Illinois before we moved. I knew there were harmless garter snakes here, but I honestly thought that when we left Arizona we left snakes and coyotes behind. How wrong I was! I’ve written about the snake Aidan found and in that post talked a little about the snake that Farmer Clayton found. Farmer Clayton’s opinion was is, “the only good snake is a dead snake.” I wasn’t sure I agreed, but I was nervous about the possibility of poisonous snakes being in our yard, especially with barefoot country kids running around.

A couple of days after Farmer Clayton found the snake under the stump, Scott the Farmer asked me if we wanted to kill snakes. He said he usually just moves them. At that point I didn’t know what to think or to say. I knew that I didn’t want to be worried about poisonous snakes, but I’m not really into killing things just to kill them (except maybe ticks). Plus, I really trust Scott the Farmer and I figured he knew more about snakes than I did, since I barely knew anything at the time. I didn’t really answer Scott the Farmer and I didn’t think much about snakes for a while.

Then a couple weeks later, Aidan found another snake. That’s when I wrote the post Aidan finds a snake. Tim caught the snake and gave it to Scott the Farmer to relocate it. We thought that one was a copperhead, but now I doubt that it was. We’ve seen other snakes, too, such as garter snakes and some kind of silvery snake near the garden. One of the silvery looking snakes got in the chicken coop once. Needless to say, that didn’t end well for the snake.

Anyway, fast forward a month or two and we went to the local library to see the Snakeman, aka Gary Liesen, of Quincy, Illinois. I learned a lot about snakes that day, and more importantly, so did Moira, who was fascinated by them! She kept “going to the bathroom” because in order to get to the bathroom, she had to climb under the table where the snakes were (some preserved in bottles). It was really cute. A few weeks later we found a snake book at the library. It’s for kindergarteners and has a few words, plus pictures and labels at the end. Moira loves that book. She loves it so much that when we were in Phoenix and she wasn’t feeling well, she would plead for me to read that book to her. In fact, it’s way overdue and we should probably just buy a new one to replace the library’s copy.

Anyway, that book has been terrific. We know what a lot of snakes look like now, plus it inspired us to look up more information about snakes. We’ve read and watched videos about flying snakes, anacondas, boomslangs, sidewinders, and more. What we’ve learned in the process is another post entirely, but suffice it to say that my initial worry is pretty much unfounded and we definitely will not be killing snakes on this farm, unless we are in imminent danger. I will write more about snakes, but in the meantime I leave you with this really cool video about flying snakes (which are not found in Illinois in case you were wondering!).

It’s like Easter every day

August 26, 2009
Lula Mae's old nest

Lula Mae's old nest

We now have two pullets who are laying eggs. Holly laid her first egg Monday, though she spent at least a week getting ready. I have now learned how to tell when a pullet is getting ready to lay. First, they get noisy – lots of cackling and clucking. The wattles and combs will get bigger and redder when they are near laying. They also start nesting. That sounds a bit obvious, doesn’t it? But they will make a nest (assuming you don’t have nest boxes, that is), usually somewhere dark and covered. Lula Mae, the first pullet to start laying, picked a spot in a raised bed that has a pine tree and bush growing out of it, as well as other plants. She made a little hole in the bark in an area that was quite secluded. She laid there for a cople of weeks, then switched spots. She made such a nice nesting spot that the cats thought they would lie there. I suspect that is why she moved her nest. It took us a while to find the new nest, though we had an idea of where it was. It turns out it was in the back of our shed, in a place that only the kids can get to since it has a little doorway leading to it.

Doorway to Lula Mae's new nest

Doorway to Lula Mae's new nest

Holly decided the garage would be a good place to lay. She had beein going in there making a lot of noise for a few days. She even found a box that was perfect. The kids and I shredded some newspaper and put it in there, but then the kids (OK, Mo) decided to empty that box out and move it later that day. So we tried to make a different area for her and she seemed interested, but kept going back into the garage. Finally, Tim got that same box ready so that Holly could lay in there. That’s where she has laid her last (and first) two eggs.

Holly's nest box

Holly's nest box

The other 20 chickens, the Buff Orpingtons, have been out ranging for a week or so. There have been no major skirmishes between the two flocks. Anytime Chicken Joe goes near the other chickens, they scatter. Joe is very secure in his position as top rooster. I have noticed the Orpington roosters (3 so far, not sure about a couple of others) fighting a bit and doing the mating dance next to the pullets. The Orpingtons are now 16 weeks old.

So the question that keeps popping into my head is, “What are we going to do when we get 19 eggs a day?” It’s a question that gives me a slight panic. Not a real panic, more of a I-better-figure-this-out-soon kind of panic. Mo suggested we slaughter (her word, not mine!) some. But then the kids thought maybe we should sell them. We can do that, of course, but there are some restrictions about that. Maybe I can just sell them to family and friends? I told the kids it would be a family business. They think it’s fun to collect the eggs since the chickens are day-ranging and we do not have nest boxes. Aidan keeps saying it will be like Easter every day! And he is right.

Welcome

June 13, 2009

Welcome to our country home, complete with gravel road (but unfortunately no barn).

This is the direction most people come from when they visit. If you keep going north on this road, you cross a 4 lane highway and then end up in Colchester, population 1500. Before you get to Colchester, there is a four lane highway. If you turn right onto the highway, you will end up in Macomb, population about 18,000.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but there is a bridge. That’s the bridge that goes over the big creek near our house, aptly named Troublesome Creek, which floods frequently.

Country road, north view

Country road, north view

Here is our mailbox. We have a new one, but still need to paint it and put it out. I did, however, spruce it up with some plants and a little border (with a little help from Tim).

Spruced up mailbox area

Spruced up mailbox area

South view of country road, with entrance to our place on left

South view of country road, with entrance to our place on left

We have a little creek that feeds into the big creek. There is a small bridge over our creek, but the creek still floods and we have mud patches on either side of the bridge. If you look on the left of the picture below, you can see some stubble from the corn, still, but mostly it looks like dark green, lush grass. That’s the oats. There are two fields on either side of the driveway. This field on the left of the picture ends, but shortly after it ends, way up that hill, there is another much bigger field. The other field is up the road in the picture above. The house is way in the background (it’s a white kind of blob). There are two small black dots to the left of the telephone pole and those are Sweetie Cow and Bullseye, our two calves.

View from the "bridge" near the front of the lane.

View from the "bridge" near the front of the lane.

In this next picture you can see the house a little better and you can see the dark green oats on either side of the lane. The lighter green stuff is NOT oats and is a mixture of grass and weeds.

View of the oats and house.

View of the oats and the house

We love where we live. It is private and secluded, but also close to town. We are surrounded by trees and animals. I do miss my Phoenix friends, and I know the kids do, too. But we also live closer to family now and we are happy we moved.

Friday Sounds

June 5, 2009

Things I heard today while at home:

Cows mooing in the evening and at night (occasionally it might be our cows, but mostly it’s not)

Frogs, lots of frogs!

Birds singing

Roosters crowing and chickens clucking

Chicks peeping

Cats meowing, growling, fighting

Cars on a gravel road

Babbling creek, if it’s really quiet

Big bumble bees and hummingbirds buzzing, which surprisingly sound the same

Kids playing, fighting

Farmer in training

June 2, 2009

The other day I read a really funny post with pictures of chickens taking dust baths, only they looked dead. The comments made me laugh out loud and the pictures were really funny, too. And then there were pictures of the beautiful feathers. I’d post a link but I cannot for the life of me find that blog or the post. It’s time for some gingko biloba or something, I guess. (EDITED to add that I found it!).

I saw my grandparents on Sunday and my grandma on Monday. My grandpa told me I am a farmer. I think I’m more of a farmer-in-training. Scott the Farmer came by this morning. He got out of his truck without turning it off, so I knew something was up as he usually chats with us for a while. It turns out one of the cows, Sweetie Cow, had gotten out and was on her way to Fandon, which is the town directly east of us. Fandon is probably the closest town, but it barely qualifies as a town since it doesn’t even have a sign, let alone a population on the sign (not that there is anything wrong with that, I’m just saying). So anyway, Scott said he hadn’t had a very good morning and that he didn’t get up until 5:30. HAHAHAHAHA. We get up at 8:30 or so. Even with the roosters crowing at dawn, we still wake up around 8:30. They even crow again right around that time, as if to tell us to get our butts out of bed already. So I’m sure the chickens would agree that we are farmers-in-training, if anything.

Doing our part to help out the wild cow population

April 20, 2009

Well, it’s dark out and our cows are still out adventuring. Scott couldn’t stop the truck from picking up his wheat, which is just fine. I would have felt really bad if he had missed out on that opportunity to sell his organic wheat. I think he’s been waiting a while to sell it, so it’s good he got to do that.

I’m sure the cows are just out in the neighbor’s woods. They went far enough that they weren’t spooked and then stopped and probably grazed out there most of the day. The woods are big, so Scott will look for them tomorrow and Tim will go help him. I’m sure we’ll get them back somehow. Scott is great with them and herds them almost silently, from what Tim told me.

I’m really quite mad at the cows and upset at the same time. I feel bad for them because it was quite an ordeal for them to be taken from the herd of 15 or so that they were used to. Then they get here and are totally afraid of these little kids. It seemed silly that they could be scared of someone so small, but after you see a cow go under an electric fence and one jump over because they are scared of a 5 year old, it’s not silly any more. I don’t know why they are so scared of kids, but they are. I knew they were and I shouldn’t have taken Aidan up with me. They aren’t used to me yet, though they seem OK with me. Just OK, though, not happy or relaxed, just wary. They are obviously not comfortable enough with me to be OK with Aidan and me.

Scott has said a couple of times that this is a bit unusual and that he learns something all the time. I suppose I have learned some things, too. First, chickens are way easier than cows. Second, cows are not stupid. They may be pretty simple animals, but they aren’t stupid. They know how to get out of that electric fence and they know how to get through the rusty barbed-wire fence, too. They did it once and then they remembered. Third, size is unimportant. Just because the cows are big does not mean that they are not scared of animals smaller than them. And despite their size, they are quite nimble. One of those cows jumped over a fence! I don’t even think she was scared, I think she was just following the one who was scared. Fourth, I know nothing about cows so I need to relax and be patient and learn. I need to watch Scott and let him teach us instead of thinking I can try something. I should also have listened to my own instincts. I KNEW those cows were not OK with Aidan and I still took him up the hill with me.

Anyway, here is a picture of the one that didn’t bolt on Saturday. Aidan and I got pretty close to her, close enough that Aidan took some of these pictures. She was fine, so I am sure it is the other one who is scared of him for some reason. The funny thing is that the one who is so scared is the one that the Cow People called Sweetie Pie. Scott got a good laugh about that name since she ran off Saturday. She also kicked the crap out of the Cow People’s Son when he tried to get her out of the truck and inside the fence.

The good part of the day is that I met some other neighbors and they all seemed understanding and said they would watch out for our cows. They didn’t seem surprised or annoyed at all. I even met an Amish neighbor that lives right by the neighbor behind us (the one who came over to complain) and she was very understanding and mentioned that sometimes their horses get out onto his land and he’s not very happy about that. So, maybe he’s just a big grump. He did help the other day, so I should be grateful for that.

I’ll be happier when the cows are back and I can look back and laugh about this experience, that’s for sure!

The cows are coming!

April 17, 2009

One of the things I did yesterday was go to Farm King to try to find the following: check prices on charger for the electric fence, hoses to connect together to get the water up to the cows (and for the garden), and a gate handle. Well the trip to Farm King didn’t go well. It was such a nice day and I think the kids and I really wanted to stay home, even though I thought it would be fun to go into town. We were there way too long and I couldn’t think or find anything, including anyone to help when I really needed it. So I came home with bedding for the chicks, chicken feed, watering cans, two buckets to take treats to the cows and chickens (one for each kid, in theory, though I doubt they will be helping me every day), and some more seeds, including some shorter carrots, pole beans to grow with the corn, and something else I can’t remember. Oh, and two arrows for Aidan who now has a bow and some practice arrows. Of course, I have no clue about how to buy arrows and what is good or appropriate for someone learning. No clue. So I bought the wrong tips for the arrows we bought and one of the arrows broke on the way home. I don’t know how it ended up being a bad trip to Farm King, but it did. It was just too long, I think, and too nice to be indoors. In fact, the best part was when we were in the greenhouse/gardening area and the kids could run around. I’m trying to focus on that part because it was fun and nice to be outside.

Anyway, last night I was trying to figure out when to go back to Farm King since today we need a day at home to recuperate from yesterday’s trip to Farm King and tomorrow we are heading to Peoria for an overnight stay. I thought perhaps I could take the kids to Granny’s while I get groceries and go back to Farm King. Then we woke up a bit earlier than usual today (not early by any means, just earlier than usual) and we are all tired and a little grumpy. So we did our morning chores, minus walking the fence, then played in the creek, and inside to warm up and watch Spiderman 2. So we’re sitting inside mostly naked and I was totally absorbed in the movie, which is unusual for me. Then my brain registered that someone pulled up to the house, so I had to scramble to put on some pants! It was Scott the Farmer, who came by to see about our trip to Farm King and to tell us that the cows will be here either today or tomorrow.

Holy cow! Haha, no pun intended. I’m just a little excited and nervous and amazed that we will have two calves soon. Scott and I mixed up some feed for treats for the cows, talked about how much to give them, how to do it, and what time of day. Apparently morning is the time they graze a lot, so it’s better to wait so that they won’t fill up on treats. I need to do a little pile of treats for each one and each will get only about two quarts of treats. The treats are wheat gluten mixed with some other minerals. Scott told me the wheat gluten is mostly protein and is what is left after they make ethanol from the corn, so is probably from genetically modified corn. Apparently the lady who is selling us the cows doesn’t care for that feed, and I can’t blame her. Scott seemed to feel the same way, but it’s only temporary because soon we will be planting oats and that is what they will be eating. We will harvest the oats and save some for winter for the chickens, as well.

So anyway, Scott is going to call a farm supply store near where the cow people are (I have no idea who they are or where they live, but apparently near some other farm supply store), and they will pick it up and bring it all when they bring the cows. Since we are going to Peoria tomorrow, we may not be here when the cows get here. Tim will be here, most likely, and as long as I leave a check for the cows all will be well. We’ll come home Sunday and have cows (unless they arrive today, in which case there will be lots of picture taking and a third blog post for the day!).

Morning chores (and another tick)

April 16, 2009

So I do have some morning chores now. I am trying to switch the laundry every morning so that the dirty laundry doesn’t pile up and so that we aren’t doing a lot of loads back to back, which is bad for the septic system. The laundry is upstairs, so I can do that while I am showering or getting dressed (and searching for clothes!). Then I feed Riley the cat his soft food so he stops meowing. I check the water for the indoor cats and change it as needed. Then I go outside to feed the outdoor cats their soft food.

Right now the chickens are in the garage in their movable coop, so I go in there to check their feed and water. If it’s nice, Tim and I will cart them out to the garden. Soon it will be warm enough that we can leave them out there all night and just shut them up in the coop part. It’s time to get started on the hen house, though!

Now part of my morning chores will include walking the fence line to check the cattle. I don’t know if all cattle farmers do this, or if it’s because our fence is a one wire fence, but Scott the Farmer said we’ll need to do it daily. We don’t actually have the cows yet, but I figured I’d better incorporate it into my morning routine. Besides, it’s a nice walk (good exercise as it’s uphill, too) and a good way to work up an appetite for breakfast, which will be the next chore to do. Oh, and today I can take pictures to post.

Last night Tim found another tick after he showered. I checked the kids, which is pretty easy with their new Tick Season Haircuts, as I call them. Aidan’s is a buzz cut. He said he wants a mohawk next time, which is just fine with me. I’m not sure Marvin will be so cool with that, but we’ll see. His haircuts reflect on him, of course, so if he does something  unusual people in town might talk, I guess. 🙂

I will probably do another post today even though I don’t like to do two posts on one day. It is 5 weeks since we  got the chicks, so I owe you all some pictures from last week and this week, as well as pictures of the fence if I can take any good ones (I am so not a photographer, but I will do my best). Today we also need to go into town to get two long hoses – one for the cows, one for the garden – a watering can, and some more bedding for the chickens. We also need a trough for water for the cows, but not sure how big of one we need. I’ll have to call Scott the Farmer to find out.

I’m also going to stop by the tree nursery to get more potting soil and to see when they can come till. In the meantime, Tim and I built two more frames for the garden yesterday. Now I have 3 4′ X 4′ frames. I need to plan the garden a bit more before I build more frames, as yesterday I was reading about how to plant the Three Sisters (planting corn, squash, and beans together as the Native Americans did) in a square foot garden. So, more planning and tending of the seedlings, too. Not sure when I will find more time to blog today, but I will try.

Anyway, I’m taking this short break while waiting for Tim to get dressed so we can walk the fence. Now I must go get some water and take my vitamins so we can go for a walk.

Too long without blogging

April 15, 2009

I have so many things to blog about. It’s funny that’s it’s just been a few days and I am dying to blog! I just have not had the time to do it lately. So, here’s what is up.

Chickens
The chickens are in movable coop all the time now. They spend nights in the garage, warm days in the garden area. Usually we take a blanket out there and lay around watching them for a while. It’s quite relaxing, almost meditative. We have a good time digging up worms for them, but I think they are spoiled and need to figure out how to dig up their own worms. Am I silly for being worried that they won’t figure it out if we keep doing it for them? They are getting bigger and bigger every day, but now they almost look like miniature chickens. They don’t quite have all their feathers, but they have most of them. The wattles and combs are growing, and a few of them have reddened as well. They are making noises that sound more like clucking than cheeping, which is really cool to hear. I do owe you all pictures of the coop and the 4 week old chickens. I suppose I will wait until tomorrow or Friday and post the 4 and 5 week updates at the same time.

Garden
We still haven’t heard from the people who are supposed to till the garden. I have put a 4′ by 4′ box out in the garden area, with newspapers spread on the bottom to try to kill the grass. It’s an experiment. I think it will work, but probably not in time to do a garden this year, so we might go with the tilling after all. I just can’t decide. It seems like a lot of people used raised beds and make their own potting soil because their soil is crappy – too sandy or too much clay or something like that. In this part of Illinois, we are lucky to have really good soil. So, I’m not sure what to do. I was partly thinking of no tilling because I am just tired of waiting. I suppose I could give them a call or stop by and say, “Hey, come till my garden already! I’m dying to get started!” 🙂 Whatever we end up doing, it will still be some form of square foot gardening for sure. It’s just a matter of whether to till or not, and if we don’t, then I think high raised beds (12″ or more, I think) with lots of mulch would work well. If we till, I will still be using the boxes/frames to do the square foot gardening, it just won’t be as deep.

One thing I am trying to figure out is how much lettuce and carrots to plant for a 5 person family. The square foot gardening book I have says you can plant something like 9 spinach plants per square foot. So if I have one 4′ X 4′ square for lettuce and radishes, and I decide to plant 5 squares of spinach, that’s 45 spinach plants. Obviously I will not plant them all at the same time, but even so, isn’t that a lot for a family of 5? I suppose spinach can be cooked and then canned or frozen, so that might not be so bad, but what about the bibb and romaine lettuce. I think it was (Edited to finish the thought!) 7 lettuce per square foot, so if I plant 5 squares, then that’s a lot of lettuce, don’t you think? Anyway, I’m just not sure how much of some things to plant. I guess extra is better than not enough, since we can give extra vegetables away to friends and family.

Seedlings
The seedlings are doing OK. Things that sprouted: broccoli, spinach, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, gold rush zucchini, and butternut squash. The broccoli and spinach seem really skinny and leggy to me. I transplanted the broccoli today and we’ll see if it does better. If I have to, I will buy transplants. The peppers I planted have not sprouted at all. I am thinking perhaps the soil just was not warm enough when I planted them? My house is not warm, especially downstairs, so maybe it wasn’t warm enough for them to sprout. The only other thing I can think of is that the seeds were just not good. Any other ideas? It has been two weeks and it seems that they should have sprouted by now. None of the herbs have sprouted, but I have read that it is hard to start oregano and rosemary from seed, so I might have to buy them as transplants as well.

Farm
Scott the Farmer was here today and he and Tim are working on the fence for the cattle. They are only fencing in a few acres and we are only getting two heifers for now. That’s enough to get into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP for short. We’ll be sowing oats on the rest of the acres. He says that will improve the soil fertility, as well as providing some forage for the two heifers. The rest will be harvested and we’ll sell it, hopefully at a small profit. As for the heifers, I think we will be keeping one for ourselves for meat, and selling the other. I’m not sure of all the details at the moment. We have to sit down and talk to Scott about it soon. He says if we get too attached to the cows, we can always sell them as dairy cows. I would love a dairy cow, but I am not quite ready for that responsibility and would have to figure out how to make cheese and yogurt and butter before committing to our own dairy cow.  Scott doesn’t want to keep the heifers here over the winter, so we will have to decide before fall, which seems like a long time away at the moment. Scott went to some effort to find heifers that are already gentle and trained on a one wire fence. I did not even know cattle would stay behind one wire, but apparently they can be trained to do so. The one wire is, of course, electrified.

Pets
Mama Cat has been around lately. She is most definitely pregnant and is hungry and mean to her first litter (or at least her first litter we know about). I think Little Gray is also pregnant. Now, I love cats but am not all that happy about this. I wanted to get them all fixed, and still do, but it is very expensive as we wouldn’t qualify to do it through the Humane Society. However, one day I had a Great Idea. I finally figured out that we can pretend the cats are Tim’s so that we can do it through the Humane Society. So, after these two litters, we we will definitely be getting them fixed, even the males. I know the males aren’t a problem for us because they don’t have the kittens, but it just seems like a good idea to get them all fixed. Then at least when the neighbor’s cats get pregnant, I will know it isn’t my fault or my problem in any way. I think we will have to give some of the kittens away once they are weaned. It depends on how big the litters are, I guess. I was not planning on feeding 10 or more outdoor cats! Three outdoor cats is a good number, I thought. I admit I am quite attached to those three little kittens. We still call them baby cats even though they are obviously not babies anymore. They are so cute and it took several months for them to get used to us and let us pet them, so they are staying, for sure.