Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The wind, milking down, and horrid eggs.....

A mild moan is coming along..........
 because I would really like to start wearing my summer clothes
before I have to start wearing winter clothes again.
It is still cold here.
There is a horrid chilly wind blowing nearly all the time.
We don't normally have much wind.
It is normally quite warm.
 In previous years I would have been wearing summer clothes for several weeks,
and I definitely would not be wearing thermals.
But I am.
I know the weather is beyond my control,
so I should be grateful that it is not snowing,
that we are not down in the minus degrees,
that we are not suffering flood nor hurricane (at the moment),
and yet I still feel niggled at this continuing chilliness.
It is just that I think that on June 1st, which is today,
that I should not still be in thermals.
Soon we shall not have any milk coming from Lissie as she starts drying up
in readiness for her new calf.
At the moment she is giving us just under two litres a day,
and I have noticed the milk is less rich in cream so does not make much butter.
Today I had to take the first of the stored butter from the freezer,
but think that I shall have to hunt for some cake recipes which do not require so much butter,
possibly some sweet yeast breads.
I don't want to go back to the soft margarine I once used.
I often thought what a marvellous product it was because it never went mouldy.
Well it wouldn't, would it,
because recently I found out that it is made of made of plasticky stuff.
And I don't really want to use shop bought butter because I know too much about the commercial dairy industry.
So we need to use our stored butter sparingly,
and making super duper cakes with it gobbles up the butter fast,
so I need to rethink what cake recipes I use.
I have had to recently buy in eggs again,
because either the hens have gone off laying,
or the hungry magpies have been eating them,
or the dogs have been making successful  'egg search' raids
but we have only one egg left in the fridge.
'Bio' eggs are the ones I bought.
They were more expensive, but at least I thought I was getting good value.
They are rubbish.
I make my own custard:
0.5 litres of milk, two egg yolks,
and some Maizelina (quantity varies)
The yolks have to be separated from the white of the egg.
So I break open the egg, put it into my hand,
and through my slight open fingers the egg white will go,
hopefully leaving the yolk still intact in my hands.
Our eggs are gloopy,
the white refusing to come away from the yolk,
unless I fidget my fingers to coax the separation,
and even then it comes away in a sticky gelatinous mass.
Not so the 'Bio' eggs.
Their whites, what there is of it, just moves through my fingers
as if they are made of water.
Thin liquid, that is what they are.
I shall not mention the colour of the yolks.
I am becoming ever more disappointed in the state of commercial food,
whether it be labelled 'Bio' or not,
and feel relieved that we are able to produce our own food,
and that it is as organic as we can make it,
although it could never be 100%,
because of the food supplements and innoculations which our animals have to have.
But at least it is better than what we would be eating if we didn't do as we are doing.
It is still windy outside.
Just saying.
So I spent the morning up the ladder and down on the floor,
carrying on with painting the spare room.
After a poor night of sleep, I felt more inclined to search out my bed,
but felt that I ought to fight the urge.
I had to use my timers though,
those treasures of time keeping, for when I feel slothful but need to do things.
I find that setting myself a limit to how long I am doing a task,
tends to keep my momentum moving forward.
I think this is because there is a definite start and stop,
the period in between being the allotted time to do the task.
And when that task seems too much,
then all I have to do is have a look to see how long I need to keep going for.
Most times it works.
The  timers were originally bought to help me stop burning food,
but soon they were used to help me stop burning myself up.
Lester braved the howling wind this morning
and attacked the thistles growing in the Main Field.
After we had a blitz on them last year
there are not so many of them now,
but they still need to be kept in check.
He was going to stay outside longer but the wind got to him,
so he came indoors and attacked the numerous cobwebs instead.
I don't know why the cobwebs are so many.
I think the local spider population must be appreciating
all the work that was done on the house last year.
I think they like the newly painted décor.
Lunch today was a hock from the last pig we slaughtered.
I am gradually working my way through the freezers,
but need to get a move on with getting the meat into canning jars,
so that room can be made for the two Tamworth adult pigs.
Unfortunately they do not look like they are going to reproduce again,
and they are expensive to keep,
so in to the freezers they are going to have to go.
It is a task that will no doubt be put off several times.

As for Boolie, our Springer Spaniel, and the tumour on his ear.....
Well, he is still as frisky as ever, is in no pain although the tumour is growing,
so he is still with us.
I value the days he is able to keep company with me,
because I know that soon they will end.
Meanwhile, a few hours later,
and the wind it is still blowing,
and now it is drizzling with rain again.
So it is a good thing that I kept my thermals on today.
Perhaps tomorrow will be a better weather day.
Perhaps tomorrow I shall be able to sit outside,
and get a roasting.
 If not,
then at least we have a roof over our heads,
and we are away from the rain and the wind,
and I can wear thermals for another day.
Bye for now,


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I would be happy to share some eggs with you if I could. We have a surplus for now. Your butter sounds yummy.

Vera said...

LISA, thanks for your very kind offer, and if your were nearer I would trade those eggs for a chunk of our butter!

rusty duck said...

Mixed weather here, some days nice and warm but others, like today, grey and chilly. Oh well, better for working I suppose. The heat slows me down more than anything.

Cro Magnon said...

I used to know a wise old cattle dealer who told me that you should buy land which grows thistles big enough to tie a horse to. Apparently it's the best.

Vera said...

JESSICA, same here,....Lester was born and raised in South Africa, so he is used to the heat, but I wilt when it gets hot!

CRO MAGNON, well now that's good news! The thistles, if left alone, would grow tall and vigorous, so it is nice to know that the land is good land, and that it is recovering from the decades of commercial farming which it was subjected to before we arrived here.

Rhodesia said...

I agree with bought eggs and just recently I find the yolks just break, a sure sign to me that the date on the box is wrong, as surely with fresh eggs the yolks will not break!
As for the weather I cannot ever remember in the past 10 years that we have been here a year like this one. I am generally in summer clothes in May let alone June and with a summer duvet, it is horrible weather and it still feels like mid-winter to me. We have had about 600 mm of rain already this year and when we bought here we were told we were in a drought area !!

If I disappear next week for a while it is because we are going overseas for a month (strike permitting!) and I am not taking a laptop. Therefore blogs and comments will not be possible. Take care and when we return I hope it will be summer. Diane

DUTA said...

I can definitely understand your frustration about the weather. We have a short winter of 3 months, but it causes rheumatic pain for a whole year, and since I take no meds it is hard on me. Although I don't like hot weather, I've come to prefer it to the cold of winter as I feel light and free of pain, and that's great. We used to have mild winters but it has changed during the last years. The bad news is that climate anomaly is moving stronger and faster, and we are helpless about it. There's dryness and destructive wildfires in Canada, ghastly floodings in Germany etc..

Vera said...

DIANE, the poor quality of those eggs I bought just pushes us towards ever more determination to grow our own food! All we have to do in regards to eggs is get our hens more organised, and train them into laying in 'proper' nest boxes instead of letting them lay where they please.
As for the weather, it is the wind which has been so tiring, and you are right about summer clothes and summer duvets!
Have a good trip, and look forward to reading all about it when you get back. Vx

DUTA, we tend to suffer with rheumatic pain more in the winter here, and usually our winters are short, about three to four months but with plenty of warm sunny days here and there to give us some warmth. But the last two months (April and May) have made us feel as if the winter is not over, and there has been few sunny days to help us along. Perhaps you are right, and the planetary weather patterns are changing.

Coco said...

Our cool, rainy spring has delayed everything, but we´re now in a stretch of sunny and hot, finally.

The spiders here are slackers, with the farmers busily spraying slurry over they´re cut fields, the flies are starting to swarm. For the number of webs that appear instantly around the house, you´d think they´d have more effect.

I buy eggs from the ladies with small tables at the farmer´s market. They´re OK, but frankly the ¨cage free¨ eggs from the store have the same or better color and consistency. I bought bio eggs to try, but was unimpressed too.

Hugs to the pup, poor thing. At least he´s in no discomfort.

Vera said...

COCO, I think we are heading towards a warmer spell of weather, thank goodness, because the vegetable plot is fast becoming over run with weeds because it has been too wet to weed!
Spider's just seems odd that so many should be appearing at this time of year, but perhaps I am not making allowances for this being an old house!
I think we are spoilt with the quality of our eggs here on the farm. The hens are free range so have a wide choice of food which reflects in the excellence of the eggs.
Boolie, is difficult watching that tumour growing, but he is in good form and in no pain, which is a good thing.

minwks said...

Hi Vera,
Weather is warm here south of Vancouver Canada. Tsawwassen actually. A friend always give me a supply of horse chestnuts in the Fall that one can put in discreet corners to frighten the spiders. It seems to work.
I am happy with them in the garden but they are not permitted inside.
Wish I could keep chickens her but not permitted. Our friends and my sister in Australia keep the hens in the coop till 11AM. They usually lay in their boxes prior to that time then they are released to roam for the day and return to the safety of their coop at sunset. We call it the Henhouse Hilton,
Regards Janine

Ohiofarmgirl said...

isnt it so weird how you/we were so reliant on commercial food... and now we dont want anything to do with it? ha! i havent had many eggs for another reason - it's too hot!
i'm so sorry about Boolie - i know that you are enjoying every day you can with him.

Vera said...

MINWKS, what a good idea about using horse chestnuts. I shall give it a try when the chestnuts drop from the trees.
Sorry to hear that you can't keep chickens, but I love the title 'Henhouse Hilton'. When we have the Chicken Project done then we shall do the same......keep them in their run then let them out late morning after they have finished laying. We might then be able to have first dibs on the eggs rather than having to have the few that are left after the birds and dogs have done their raids!

OHIOFARMGIRL, you are so scares me to think how much rubbish we were eating before we came here. In ignorance we were slowly poisoning ourselves. Scary!

northsider dave said...

Fantastic weather here in Ireland at the moment Vera. Hope the weather picks up for you. I always enjoy reading about your new life in France.

PioneerPreppy said...

Hmmmm I have a answer to your lack of butter issue. Since cakes with lots of butter are the best and all.

Get more cows!!!!

And send me cakes in the mail :)

Vera said...

NORTHSIDER DAVE, nice to hear from you, and hope you are well. Well, now that makes a having better weather than us! But we are sunny today, but humid. Not moaning though, because at least that horrid wind has stopped blowing its chill at us.

PIONEERPREPPY, actually the cakes turned out flat and stodgy, so we shall have to eat them with custard poured over them as a dessert! You really would not want to eat one, trust me. As for getting more cows.....if we could also get more grazing land then Lester would definitely expand our little herd!

Kerry said...

I've always bough free grange eggs but they are quite different here. Definitely runnier, the shells are thinner and the yolks not so yellow. I'm going to try and find a local place where I can buy my eggs.

Vera said...

KERRY, ....or perhaps keep a few hens yourself?

Kerry said...

Yes perhaps, we have the house but no hens yet :)

Vera said...

KERRY, lucky you! We have the hens but no hen house...ours just roost up on the fig tree and lay their eggs anywhere they can't be found by us!