Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going for Organic!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we got our first load of certified organic alfalfa hay in today, and we are filling our our Organic producer application as we speak. We will have a transitional period of 1 year before our milk can be certified organic, while the cows have to eat all organic feed and obtain at least 30% of their diet from grazing. The best thing is we really don't have to change a thing, other than we cannot buy any new heifers that do not come from a certified organic farm. That is okay too, beacuse we have contacted the folks at and will purchase heifers from them if need be.

Here are a few pictures of the new heifers:

Anna - Brown Swiss

Polly - Brown Swiss/Guernsey

Agnus - Guernsey/Black Angus

2/24 Had a second to add some info I missed last night: We will also be certifying mom's 40 acres organic, and we will graze the replacment heifers and sheep up there. This also means that all of our fruit, veggatables, and eggs will be organic too! We will update more as we get further into the process.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


In the summer when there is an abundance of cream and eggs we love to make strawberry shortcake from scratch around here.With all of the interest in cream and eggs being picked up at the farm, I thought what perrennial plant would compliment them better than strawberries! Last year we put in about 50 plants, and enjoyed quite a few berries the first year. They bloom early and often, which is great for the honey bees too! I have ordered 500 + plants to put in this year, so we can look forward to some this year and many more in the years to come!

Here is a recipe for Angel Food Cake from my mother in law LaDona McGowan:

12 egg whites
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sifted sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cram of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Let egg whites warm for one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift flour with 3/4 sugar, resift 3 times.
Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar unitl soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in sugar.
Gently fold in extracts. Sift flour mixture over egg whites, gently fold in.
Push into ungreased angel food pan, cut through with knife twice.
Bake on lower rack 35-40 min.

Serve with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More on the Dairy

The dairy cows truly are my favorite part of the farm, and milking is my favorite chore to do each day. We have had dairy cows on and off since 2004 when we first got married. Nathaniel's family has kept a dairy cow much of his life, and his dad has as well. Homemade ice cream is a birthday favorite around here.
The milk cow provides so much for the homestead - milk, cream, butter, sour cream, ice cream, and a variety of cheeses. Milk can be used to make a chemical free milk paint, rear ophan animals(we raised an injured piglet last month on frozen milk from our jersey, Daisy) and is a great fertilizer for the garden. Pigs thrive on milk and whey soaked grains, which makes their meat very juicy! In order to have fresh milk every spring, she provides us with a calf each year. A heifer that can grow up and remain in the dairy herd, or a bull calf to fill the freezer, or train as an ox. And then there is all of the manure to fertilizer the pastures and the gardens. What could be more versatile? Wait until you come out to get your milk and Daisy tries to slurp you with one of her wet kisses!
We are going to try to breed our cows to that they are more like the cow of olde - ones that provide alot of butterfat, and a calf that marbles like an angus! How are we going to do this? Enter the Normande.
The Normande is a breed imported from France that is better suited to grass based production, and has high butter fat. We have ordered Normande semen from to crossbreed some of our cows with.
We have also decided on two new heifers, one purebred brown swiss, and a brown swiss/guernsey cross. They both first calve heifers, one due in May and the other in June. The brown swiss/guernsey crossbred will be AI'd with our Normande semen, as will a shorthorn heifer we have named Spotty. Daisy will be bred to a purebred jersey, and the brown swiss heifer will be bred to a brown swiss bull, so that we can test the two crossbred calves against the pure american dairy breeds, and see where to go next in our breeding program. We have decided not to use any holstein in our program, as they are too closely bred and have too many health issues to work in a grass based dairy. Brown swiss are second to holsteins in production levels, but are a much hardier animal, often times living and producing into their teens.
My camera is broken, but I plan to get a new one this week and add lots of photos to the blog and our facebook page - I know that text without photos isn't much fun! I also wanted to throw out there - If there is anyone who needs/wants raw GOAT milk, let me know. We milked nubian does when our oldest son Eddie was smaller and couldn't digest the cows milk. We would be happy to add back a few goats to meet the needs of our customers! Please e-mail us at with any questions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Farm Club

I have recieved alot of interest from around the panhandle for fresh raw milk - very exciting! So far I have received inquiries or purchases from these areas:

1) Scottsbluff
2) Mitchell
3) Alliance
4) Lodgepole
5) Pine Bluffs, WY
6) Lusk, WY

In trying to make it easier for people to purchase raw milk at the farm, which is required by NE state law, I have decided to try and organize my own version of Sam's Club - called Farm Club. Whenever we have a relative that goes to Sam's Club, we send a list so we don't have to make the same trip that they already did.

That is the plan here. After people sign up for a cow share, or let me know they are interested in purchasing milk, we will try to organize people into groups that can take turns driving out for the raw milk. If you are interested in purchasing other products that week such as eggs or pork, you can email me and we will send those back along with your weekly milk.

So if anyone has been hesitant to contact us do to location, please keep this in mind. We will add other areas to the list as we hear from people.

2/10 Update: Added Lusk, WY to locations.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Birds and the Bees...

Chickens and honey bees that is. With this crazy cold weather you would think that everything would be trying to hibernate like the pigs in their straw piles. Everything except the chickens and the honey bees that is. Out of 17 hens, we have gotten over a dozen eggs all week long. While out gathering eggs, I spotted a honey bee out and about. On one hand, I wish spring was already here, but on the other hand we have so much to do before it arrives.

I put in our first poultry order of the year this morning from Murray McMurray Hatchery. I ordered 25 pullets for laying hens, and let each of the kids pick a bantam that they liked. We decided to add some color to the flock and the eggs as well and ordered Auracana's. They lay a tinted egg anywhere from mauve to olive green. We are also going to order Cuckoo Maran's, which lay a dark chocolate egg, but they were out of stock until March. I am planning to experiment by crossing our White Rock hens with a Cornish roo to produce a fast growing meat bird that I can hatch here at home.

After ordering chickens, I also ordered some new GMO-free Heirloom seeds from Baker Creek. They have a really neat website: and great customer service. My favorite is these Mexican Sour Gherkins, also known as Mouse Melons.

Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber

I want to try canning them up using my Watermelon Pickle recipe. Mother Earth News also did an article on these a few years ago that includes recipes.

Stay Warm!