Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lucky Day!

It's our middle son's birthday today. Eight years old - a good age. He was lucky enough to have our first baby goat born on his birthday. It's a baby buck ... so they are both lucky! If this little buck wasn't born on our son's birthday he would have made his way in to our food chain in the fall. But since he's a lucky birthday goat my son has named him Lucky and he is now a family pet.

Lucky, you don't know how lucky you really are!

Unfortunately we needed to pull Lucky from his mom at birth. Lucky is in the house tonight and will be moving out to the barn tomorrow. He'll get three bottles a day for the next week or so. My wife and I milked his mom tonight to get the colostrum. I'm heat treating it now and will feed it to Lucky when it cools.

It was fun milking a goat for the first time. I said to my wife "Imagine, I'll hate doing this one day in the future" but right then I liked it alot. It flowed well and was rich and creamy. It looked incredible!

So even though I have milked a goat much earlier than I expected I will not be starting my journey just yet. I'll have the opportunity to stock our freezer and fridge with fine milk products while I learn a few cheese recipes. For the next few weeks however all the milk might go to the kids after I pasturize it.

This will be fun!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Busy night

I love Friday nights because I always feel energized to 'make some stuff'. The kids watched a movie tonight so I took advantage of the empty kitchen to make two loaves of bread, a batch of egg noodles and then an anglefood cake. It takes the pressure off the rest of the weekend since I get something done right off the bat.

I start off with the bread since it needs time to rise. While it's rising I make the egg noodles.

If you're interested here is the egg noodle recipe I follow:

2 cups white flour (or 1 cup white flour + 1 cup durum semolina flour)
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1/2 cup water (approximately)

Mix everything together and knead for 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes. I then divide the dough in to 2 or 3 smaller balls and then roll and cut in to strips. Lay the strips on newspaper and then after about 20 minutes twist the noodles (optional).

It takes about 2 batches of egg noodles before you have enough egg whites to make anglefood cake. I freeze the egg whites until I have about 1.5 cups. I'll post my anglefood recipe another day. I'm still trying to perfect the recipe.

After the bread is done and the egg noodles are drying I throw the anglefood cake in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes and that's it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The incubator is up and running ..

I fired up the incubator on Monday. A mix of RIRs, Americanas and four buff Silkies. I haven't been able to get the humidity level up to where I want it because the new egg turner is taking up all the space for extra water dishes. I'm hoping for a good hatch - we'll see.

I also ordered 30 day old chicks from our local hatchery. I ordered 10 RIRs, 10 White Leghorns and 10 Barred Rocks. I'm getting a mixed run of females and males so I can breed them myself next spring. We pick up the chicks on April 6th.

If the hatch goes well I'll have more chicks than we need. I'll likely offer some up for sale to help pay for some of the hatchery chicks. Part of the fun of raising chickens is to try to make the hens pay for themselves. You won't get rich raising chickens but if you try really hard you can break even.

On a side note - the goats are due to kid any day now. It's very exciting. Our family and friends are asking "Have the kids been born yet?" every day. We keep saying "Not yet but soon". I think they'll kid between now and next Friday. Any later than that and I'll really start to worry.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maple Syrup

We only have enough supplies to tap one mature maple tree on our property. The tree is large enough to handle two drip pails and the sap has been running for just over one week. Each night I've been boiling down the sap and storing away the maple syrup for later. Home made maple syrup tastes absolutely incredible - it is so smooth and creamy!

We planted 5 sugar maple saplings about 3 or 4 years ago but only 3 survived the first winter. They are still very small and won't be able to supply sap for many many years but when they're ready we will be too!