Saturday, 23 February 2013

Milk, Eggs, Dust, Ski Slope, & Lucy

 The Cat. Her name is Lucy. She is a grand little thing. Likes to wander over our desks when we are working. We try not to get irritated, but we have a lot of things on the go at the moment, so our patience is fairly limited. 

She has also decimated one of our plants, preferring, it seems, to go to the loo in proper dirt rather than her cat litter tray in which is 'proper' cat litter. I am not sure I approve of this stuff, as it seems that one has to pick up the clumps of poo and wetness and put it in the dustbin in a plastic bag. I would appreciate advice on this subject, as I do not think that this a particularly eco friendly, not that I am a fanatic on this subject, but I am unhappy with getting rid of her poo in such a way. However, there is another method of poo removal in operation here, and that is the recycling machines of the puppies, Boolie and Gus. It is now an added task for me to watch over the cat litter tray and quickly remove any doings that Lucy does in it before the dogs get to it.

She is resident in the Half Barn at the moment. She was out in the kitchen, but we 'lost' her for a day and thought her gone forever. After three days in the puppy kennel, she asked to be let out, so we did, and then she 'went'. It was a worry. The builders were here and making a fearful mess and din out in the hallway. We thought that she had taken a fright about that, or it might have been the puppies barking at her in the middle of the night, anyway she went. But she did make her presence known again, so we broke our rules about keeping the Half Barn an animal free zone, and in here she is. 

.....and she is bored, looking for things to do, mischief to make, and needs a life, so she will be put back out in the kitchen, will have to learn to get on with the puppies and them with her, so I can have some peace when I am my desk. For her it is playtime when I sit here writing, but my writing time is precious enough, so banned from our desk areas she will have to be. 

Boolie is in here as well, removed from the kitchen because Maz and Blue thought it a hoot to aggravate him at frequent intervals during the night by romping over to his bed and bouncing on him, which made him growl with annoyance, which then woke me up, which then had me getting up to sort them out. Those puppies knew I would do that, they are not daft, they knew that I would come and rescue Boolie from them, so each night it was happening more and more. So now we all have a good nights sleep because Boolie is in with us.  


Milking is coming along nicely, although we are having trouble with little Ice Cream, who seems to be in a terror of being milked. Two days ago we were going to give up on her as she went all shivery and shaky, and stepped into the milk bucket when she half milked out so the milk had to be given to the dogs. Rovi is also showing reluctance to be milked, but Blacky is fine.  But what to do with the milk which is starting to fill the fridge up. I have no time at the moment to so things with it, so it came into my head to store it in the freezer. I don't know if it will alter its nutritional value, but it's all I can do at the moment. 

Some people freeze it in the bottling jars, but I don't have many of them and they are expensive to buy, so I thought I would use zip lock freezer bags. Seemed to work.  

We also have an abundance of eggs: 

Why aren't they in the fridge? Because there is no room, that's why. So what to do with them. Ahha! Try freezing them as well. 

I have loads of margarine containers, so I put two eggs in one of them, beat the eggs up, then put them into the freezer. Have now taken them out again, but in their frozen state, to see what they are like when they defrost. If this works it would save me from having to buy eggs when the chickens go off lay. 

In the red bowl is the bacon I made last week, and it is soaking in water to get some of the salt out of it. After this photo was taken I dried the bacon, then soaked it in maple syrup for a couple of days. It was still salty, but I fried small pieces of it with some onions, which was all then added to a mix of goats milk, eggs, and cheese, put into a pastry base made with our own lard, and voila! One quiche! And that bacon lost its saltiness and gave a good flavour, so I now feel that I have found the right use for the bacon, bacon and eggs - no, but in cooking- crikey, yes. This is a relief. And please do not think I am 'showing off' about this, but I do feel quite proud of the fact that the bacon, milk, eggs and lard were all homegrown. 

It took time and effort, and the process was a long one.... 
- from the feeding of the piglet for months, then the slaughtering and butchery process, then the learning of how to make the bacon and finding a good way of using it when it was cured,..... 
- of making the lard from the pork, which is not an arduous process, just a long one, of watching a pot of pork fat melt down into liquid fat which then has to be separated from the crackling which has stuck to the bottom of the pot, the fat then hardening into lard which tastes nothing like shop bought lard.
- Of the looking after the chickens, of trying to find the eggs because we have not yet got proper egg laying facilities for the hens sorted out, although they are quite happy playing the game of searching out nest sites which we can't find. And then there is listening for the 'I have just laid an egg' broadcasts, trying to locate the nest and get the egg before Maz, Blue, Bools and Gus get to it, and soon the magpies and crows will also join in the race to the egg.  Then there are other jobs, like catching, and putting into the freezer, the four  cocklings who have lately taken to gang raping the hens. 
- And of the milking of the goats. This morning it was minus five, and as I slowly froze my thoughts wandered to others smallholders who were milking this morning. Our minus temperatures don't stay with us long, but I thought of those in other countries whose winters are long, and who will therefore get frosty cold on many a morning. But we have not had the goats long, so have not had to manage the little herd. What I mean is, that we  have not had to cull them as yet, although Ice Cream heads towards the freezer every morning. 

So why is my time being so chewed up at the moment? Well, apart from getting another web site up and running, this is what is happening: 

We have our own mini ski slope! Wahoooo! 

......not really! Jean Pierre is working on the staircase, causing disruption and tons of dust. Not to worry, it feels like the house is taking shape. It also feels like home.

..... and this is the completed framework for the concrete pour, which they are doing today. Most of the oak beams are staying, it is just the staircase itself which will be concreted. Later on, non slip tiles will be laid over the concrete steps, and any other exposed concrete will be covered with either wood or lime plaster. 

So this is why my days are a bit disordered at the moment! Not to worry. We will get dust free some day, but not today. And soon we shall have an upstairs in which to store things, so we should also become less cluttered. Yipppeeee!!! And Lester has had work come in so we are financially solvent until the end of April. And I have had some work come in as well, which all helps. Onwards, dear friend, onwards........


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Dust during renovation is a nightmare, experience has told me all about that. I am thankful that we are pretty much at an end all we have to do is now change all our windows. We have then all in the barn but we decided that we would wait until it was a bit warmer before we replaced them! Nigel was also having trouble with varnishing the frames as it was to cold for them to dry.

Good luck with the cat training, they have minds of their own! Keep well Diane

Ohiofarmgirl said...

wow! so much going on! great work. Little Mo, one of The Insane Cat Posse, likes to 'help' me write also. *sigh* excellent work on milking - contrary to popular belief, it is ok to cry over spilled milk (or "stepped in milk")- its just part of it. we feed our extra milk to the hennies. mix with some cracked corn to make a kind of cereal - they love it and its very good for them. we reduce our feed bill by 30% during milking season.

Denise said...

Stairs? Upstairs?? Looking good, Vera!

Rachel said...

Your eggs are lovely! I am green with envy. :) Do let us know how well they freeze!

rusty duck said...

The house is looking good.
It WILL be worth it!

Horst in Edmonton said...

I would be too boring if you didn't have all of these things happening. It will all smooth it's self out soon, so keep on the bright side.

Vera said...

Diane, you must feel very happy about nearly being done with your renovations, ours is going be ongoing for ages yet!

Ohiofarmgirl, you must be producing a heck of a lot of milk! And just to mention that I often look at your blog to see how you do things, and it is both helpful and inspirational.

Denise, the house is starting to feel like home now even though we are bogged down with dust!

Rachel, will post a blog up about how those eggs do!

Jessica, it's worth it already!

Horst, one thing I never am, and that is bored!