Remember the barn we put up last spring in preparation for Melody’s arrival?
Now it’s blue! I would paint everything blue if I could.
Here’s the almost complete milking parlor. Blue!
It’s a very minimalist design but the goal is to be able to milk more easily and in an easier to keep clean space. A barn in winter with a cow and three goats getting out of the freezing rain is not particularly clean.
And the most boring awesome thing to everyone but those of us filling up the water trough – a frost free hydrant out by the barn. Boring, but it required a 137 foot long, three foot deep ditch from the house out to the fence line. Which David dug by hand because the government was closed and it seemed like a good idea. We call it his furlough furrow.
The first Sunday of Advent was conveniently located right after Thanksgiving this year making it perfectly reasonable for us to start decking the halls. Even more conveniently, our front yard is full of pine trees, all at the low low price of free. And free is better than cheap! Even if it does lean towards Charlie Brown and away from Martha Stewart.
The field has a patch of scrub pine trees which the goats mostly ignore. As soon as we cut one down though, they started munching. Fortunately, we didn’t want that one anyway.
Then Melody decided to investigate the expedition.
And David had to defend the tree that we did want.
I was really helpful and took pictures while he carried the tree and all four kids and kept the cow and the goats from eating our Christmas tree.
It all worked out in the end and Melody was willing to give up the tree in exchange for a good scratch under her chin.
We just had the most homemade lunch we have ever had.
Homemade provolone with homemade mustard on homemade bread, grilled in homemade butter with a bottle of homemade beer made from hops we grew here.
Provolone is a recipe from the book 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes and the milk of course came from our cow Melody. Mustard is from David Lebovitz’s recipe (and it is SO easy and so tasty. Combine, let sit for 2-3 days, blend, eat). The bread is from the book My Bread and it is a long 18-hour rise but no-knead bread. It’s probably the best crusty exterior, airy chewy interior bread that I have made yet. And its also very easy, just requires doing the math to figure out when to start the bread so it will be ready when we want it — 18 hours first rise+ 1.5 hour second rise+45 minute baking+1 hour cooling. This is my fourth loaf and by far the best yet. The butter is made from the cream we skim from Melody’s milk. The beer was made by the father of a good friend with hops we grew here. I don’t know anything about it but that’s its good. It is pretty decadent to hand someone a bag of hops and get back a case of beer.
The smug self-satisfaction is also homemade. Hah! :)
The goats are getting bigger and reminding us that we really need to add some electricity to the fence.
Hats are in order in the bright sunshine
The lavender is up.
The cream is thick enough to hold up a spoon.
The thick cream turns into very, very yellow butter.
Here’s Melody dozing and chewing her cud. We’re planting millet this week to get her some better forage until we can get the perennial grasses and legumes planted in the fall.
And what looks like a PVC pipe is actually a light saber.
Melody is here! She is a four-year old Jersey cow with a sweet temperament and a whole lot of creamy, sweet milk.She came to us from Judy and Bob of St. Brigid’s Farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is a gorgeous dairy with an all-Jersey herd who are intensively grazed from April through November. We met them at their annual Field to Fork dinner a couple of years ago which was so fun and I highly recommend if you are into good food and farms.
She is in with Penny, Pepper and Piper and they are all settling in to the new routine.
We are milking her twice a day and getting a little over four gallons of milk a day. It is kind of amazing and I am giddy with the freedom and possibilities of so much milk. Now, instead of despair, I look at cheese recipes and think, “This gouda recipe calls for 4 gallons of milk. Perfect!”