Friday, 21 August 2015

Flora is here!


And Flora has arrived.....born over night, probably in the early hours because she was still damp and a little shivery as I took these photos.

We knew a calf was on the way, but we didn't know exactly when, although we should have because she was conceived by artificial insemination, but, well, we have not been very organised this year so time slipped by and Lissie got bigger, and the time was getting close, but we did not know how close, and then Flora was here.

....and a chicken on the prowl for food, and Lissie having an itch.....


..... and one eye of Lissie catches one eye of the hen.......

 
...... and Lissie, full of maternal protectiveness, charges the little white hen, "**** off", she says, not in real words of course, but in the language an upset mum cow would use.

 
 
..... and back to making a fuss of Flora....
 
 




....so we have been caught out again. The milk from Lissie after the last calf she had, well most of it fed the seven piglets so it wasn't wasted. Some of it I made into butter, some of it we drank, some it was used for cooking with, but no cheese was made because I refuse to make any more cheese until we have a special place to keep it. Cheese does not do well at all if kept in the bottom of the fridge to mature, this I have learnt. So, as I say, I went on strike with making cheese last time Lissie gave us milk.

The Cheese Cave Project:
We don't have a cellar, which is where a cheese cave is traditionally kept, but we have this.....


.... which is the understairs cupboard in the small middle kitchen, which also is the home of the electricity box, but it will have to do....


The white and brown blob is the rear end of Boolie, who is having an investigation into something or other, and on the wall to the right is the electricity cupboard.

We are going to line the space with insulation, put some shelves along the left wall, make a small hole in the wall for ventilation, and find some way of keeping an even temperature with the right level  of humidity.

Wow,.....the making of the cheese......here we come!!!!

...... and soon Bonny, our other cow, will have a calf. Not sure how I am going to manage such a lot of milk coming in to the kitchen, but I shall have a go. Gosh, exciting times..... the back kitchen is now finished, and I have just about managed to get everything organised in it, and will post photos soon. The middle kitchen is going to be finished soon, which is the cheese cave and work surface for baking and cheese making area. The front kitchen, which gets tidier by the day because the back kitchen is the food production and storage area, is now finished apart from some shelves being put up.

Why do I need three kitchens?....because it separates out all the jobs that the wife of a smallholder needs to do. In other words, it gives organisation to a very busy life. I was doing all these jobs in one kitchen, which was temporary anyway, and to be quite honest with you, I just went round and round in ever tightening circles, getting very stressed along the way. But now I feel nicely stretched out as I move between those kitchens. I must say that I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to live this life, and have the space in which to do so.......

So Flora is here, but cannot stay because we are too small a farm to keep three cows, so she will have to be sold on. This we are not happy about, but it is as it is, there are no other options. Meanwhile we shall enjoy having her around and put away our sadness about it being for only a short time.

Chilly here this morning, the first tinge of the colder months ahead on their way.

Bye for now,

Vera

14 comments:

2Torts said...

Flora is beautiful! The cheese cave idea is fantastic too!

Dawn McHugh said...

Oh lovely and a pretty name too, I so wish I had a few extra kitchens one day perhaps, looking forward to seeing your photos of the kitchen and interested about your up and coming cheese adventures :-)

meadowlass said...

Lovely pictures of the calf. Vera I love your blog and I have been lurking for at least a couple of years without commenting. How you find the time to write so often and about such interesting things amazes me. I love the idea of three kitchens for food production and it is exciting to think of your home getting nearer and nearer to completion. About 15 years ago I too lived in a French wreck for only a comparatively short time while it was renovated and I moaned an awful lot more than you do. I like the way that you have followed through on the smallholding dream you are certainly not dabblers and you have overcome a lot of setbacks so hats off to you.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

yay for the new cow! and wow - your piggies are going to get nice and fat with any extra milk. just terrific. the cheese cave in fantastic! we dont have a cellar either so i'm absolutely jealous of your new cave. unfortunately there is nothing we can like that here. the house just isnt set up for it. so i'll be eagerly following your progress.

Vera said...

2TORTS, I do hope the cheese cave idea works, because the first time we had milk come into the kitchen from Lissie, although the soft cheeses I made were OK, the hard cheeses I made were dreadful, and I am not joking!

DAWN, you are also a busy lady, and no doubt you will get the right kitchen set up that you need soon....but I do think that having smaller, separate, kitchens is preferable to having one large open plan one. Ummm, Dawn, you do have that super duper craft room which I really do envy...... I just have designated areas for spinning, sewing and weaving (when I get round to buying that loom!) dotted around the ground floor of the house. I might eventually get one of the rooms upstairs as a craft room, but those rooms have to be renovated first!

MEADOWLASS, oh bless you, bless you! I do moan, and I do get tired, and I do get depressed, and I have been ticked off so many times with having to manage living in a renovation environment plus trying to run a smallholding....but although I have felt like giving up so often, there is something which does not allow me to stay in that mode of thinking more than a day or two!
Thank you for following the blog,....

OFG, we could have converted an old fridge to use as a cheese cave, but Lester didn't go much on that idea, so under the stairs we are going! If it doesn't work at least we can turn the cupboard back into a coat cupboard! Loved the video of the auction by the way. For some reason it really resonated with me.

Kerry said...

I loved seeing your new arrival, but then sad you were going to sell her. But I guess that's the way of life on a smallholding x

Vera said...

KERRY, we are sad at having to do this, ....sometimes 'living the dream' requires hard decisions to be made.

The Broad said...

As I read your post I thought about how far you have come since I started reading your blog a few years ago! My goodness what a change from those early beginnings and in quite a short period of time considering it was just the two of you. What a sweet little thing Flora is... Anyway, the place is looking rather ravishing ... and 3 kitchens that is just miraculous!

Kirsty Udall said...

Welcome Flora! I'm glad she arrived safe for you Vera. It sounds like no matter what you do, you'll make the most of all that lovely milk x

Rhodesia said...

Kerry has said all I was going to say but I understand as well. My Mum had 3 jersey cows many years back on their small holding. She would never let herself become attached to the calves as yes they also did not have the room for any more. Take care and have a good weekend Diane

DUTA said...

Congrats on Flora's arrival!

Cheese making (not the industrial one) is quite popular in some parts of my country. I also know the cheese maker can make a nice profit by selling it to consummers. So, it's worth learning to gain expertise on this craft.

Vera said...

THE BROAD, Thanks for those words of encouragement....we do finally feel that we can see light at the end of the tunnel!

KIRSTY, that milk will not be wasted....it provides food for the chickens, pigs, dogs, and us, in one form or another!

DIANE, the name 'Flora' came into my head the next morning as I was waking up. We don't usually name animals who are for the pot or are to be sold, so I have a vague feeling that we might be keeping her!

DUTA, I have a long way to go in learning how to make cheese, but it is a good thought that the cheese could be sold to help pay for the upkeep of the cows. The French people appreciate good, home produced food, so it is worth me really applying myself to the Cheese Project! Thanks for the suggestion.

northsider dave said...

She's gorgeous Vera. Will you keep her for a cow?

Vera said...

DAVE; common sense says that she ought to be sold, but a name for her did arrive in my head, so probably not. We are hoping to get the sheep numbers down this autumn which means that a stretch we could keep three cows. Lots of milk of course, but it will all be used. Having vague thoughts about selling on some of the cheese I hope to make, which may or may not happen because I need to sort my cheese making equipment out first, but I do have space to make cheese now, so perhaps.......