Friday, August 24, 2012

Handy Dandy Milking Stanchion...for short cows, who may or may not kick 

After we sold off Bossie's calf, she became nasty toward me in the milk stand. She would kick every chance she got, and as fast as I try to be...she clipped my knee good.  Then if she really wanted to take me down, she would go sideways and push me into the corner and kick at me.  I'm not one to back down from a fight...and I'd like to think I can outsmart a dumb cow (she's really not dumb and that's the problem!) .  I didn't have it on her in the photo, but I tethered a strap to the wall and ran it to her ankle she was kicking with and snapped it around it. (That proved dangerous Ash held her tail up while I snapped it on) . I went to Lowes and got a 10 ft. 2x4 to run diagonally from the stanchion...but I didn't have anything to fasten it to...then I remembered an old shipping pallet base.  It worked like it was made for it.  I do need to push her out from the wall a little so I don't have to reach so far to hook up the milker.  I don't know if it will break her of kicking...or if she will eventually calm down and forgive me for selling her baby.  BUT, if she doesn't behave, I will get rid of her.  I want a cow that I can teach my kids to milk...and one I can relax and enjoy milking...and dodging hooves ain't relaxing any way you look at it! 

Update: Oct 8, 2012   Bossie has indeed calmed down as much as she probably ever will.  No kicking on the stand, although I don't want to trust her, so I have fitted her right back ankle with a heavy duty nylon dog collar with a ring to clip her leg tether to. That works so well, as it is permanent, and all I have to do is quickly snap the strap clip to it and she can't kick if she wanted to. I just have to remember to UNHOOK if before excusing her from the stanchion. (did that once..but she remained calm until I unclasped her).  We moved the 2x4 guard over toward her so she doesn't have as much wiggle room. It's working great.

Way Too Easy Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

(also use for Buckeyes)


1  18 oz Jar of Creamy Peanut Butter

1 Jar Vanilla Icing

2 Cups Powdered Sugar.

Mix well, spread in Pan, or form balls and dip in Chocolate for Buckeyes

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rhonda's Ground Cherry Pie

2 1/2 Cups Ground Cherries 
1/2 C packed Brown Sugar
2 T  Flour
2 T Water
1 tsp Cinnamon if you like Cinnamon
 Toss all the above together and mix well, pour into a pie crust

3 T Flour
3 T Brown Sugar
3 T Butter  
Mix until crumbly and put all over the top of pie

425 deg. oven, bake 15 mins, then reduce to 350 for 30 more mins.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bossie's Safety Gear

Not cool...but practical, and better than dehorning!

Rhonda's Homemade Laundry Soap


2 T. Original Dawn
1/3 Bar Fels Napa Soap (I sometimes use up slivers of my goat milk soap instead), shredded fine (I use a cheese grater blade on my Kitchenaid grinder attachment, or the food processor, unless you love to use the hand grater)
1/2 C. Borax
1/2 C. Washing Soda (not reg. baking soda)

  1. Mix soap w/ 6 cups hot water, heat and stir until melted
  2. Add soda and borax, stir until thick like honey.
  3.  Pour hot tap water in to equal 2 gallons, and add your scent now if desired. I use 1 oz of scented oils per 2 gallons of the laundry soap.  You don't need to use any, as the soap will smell nice and fresh anyway...but your clothes won't retain the smell of would be like using unscented laundry detergent.  Stir , cover , and let set overnite. You will see that it has somewhat jelled. I use my hand blender to even the consistency out and make it easy to pour into gallon jugs with a funnel, and also to dispense better in the washer.

Tip for softener.  I use white vinegar instead of store bought softener.  I just fill the dispenser in my front loader that takes softener.  If you don't have an automatic dispenser, I'd use 3/4 Cup to 1 cup.  I works great!  So now you can do laundry for a few pennies a load vs. the expensive store stuff.

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Bossie...the Irish Dexter House Cow

    Meet Bossie (and she is very Bossie indeed). She is a 4 yr old  heritage breed miniature cow. She is well suited for our small barn and barnyard, and reminiscent of our ancestors cows...small and compact, not huge milkers like today's breeds.  As you might notice she has horns.  I was not crazy about that...but tune back in to see my unique solution to this dangerous situation.  Miss Bossie is very cooperative, but not really a love bug...yet. She is all about the feed. You get a scoop of feed or a bag of bread, and she will follow you anywhere.  She is fine with being milked, by hand or with the machine. I prefer the gets finished in 1/4 the time it would take me to hand milk her.  Her milk is very white and creamy. Once it sits in the refrigerator for 12 hours or will see a thick white line at the top.  This is the wonderful cream that I use for ice cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese...well, I would make all this if she gave 5 gallons a day like a Jersey. As it is now, she is giving us 1 to 1 1/4 gallon a day being milked once per day, and feeding her bull calf too.  As time goes one, perhaps she will give more once he's weaned.  I love her compact size, and she eats 1/2 or less than our Jersey did, and stays nice and plump.  I highly recommend this dual purpose breed for a family milker...and the calves for beef.

    My Favorite Soap Recipe

    1 lb of lard, just melted enough to become liquid

    3/4 cup fresh goat's milk (whole cows milk will work also) partially frozen

    2 oz lye (household drain cleaner lye works)

    fragrance or essential oils to taste (don't use cheap oils from Walmart etc.)

    First I put the lard on the stove in a pan on very low.
    Use rubber gloves when working with lye. 
    Measure the lye and set aside. measure the milk into a glass measuring cup and slowly, very very slowly add lye should take 10 mins or so of slowly adding it and constant stirring, using a hard plastic spoon.
    You can just dump the lye into the milk if you don't care about the color of the soap. The slower your pour and stir, the lighter and creamier the soap with be.  Also, if you allow the lye to heat the milk to fast, you will get a burnt milk odor to the soaps and the color will be dark yellow or  brown.

    I watch the lard melting while I stir the lye/milk mixture, and quickly remove the melted lard from the stove as soon as there is not solid pieces left in the pot.
    After the lye is completely dissolved into the milk, pour the melted lard into a blender and slowly add the lye/milk to it and stir with the spoon. Then turn the blender on low and bring the mixture to trace and then pour into molds...(if you want fragrance or dyes you add them at the trace and stir them to combine, or just mix a few seconds on low) (Trace is when you turn the blender off, and the consistency is similar to instant pudding before setting up. )

    Let the soap set in the mold for 12 to 24 hours. Unmold and cut into bars.  The soap will be cured and ready to use in 2 weeks.   I line my soap mold with a kitchen sized trash bag to avoid leaks.  Any small box will do, according to the thickness you want your bars to be.

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Great Grandma Alma's Berry Joe

    This recipe goes back at least 100 years in our family. My Great Grandma who was born in 1900 had it handed down to her from her mom, and who knows where she got it.  I will share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  It's good alone, or of course topped with vanilla ice cream!

    Berry Joe
     For the Sauce:
    3 cups of water
    2 cups of sugar
    2 pints berries
    Boil and pour over the cake batter in a cake pan (9x13 works well)

    For the Cake :
    2 cups sugar
    1 Egg
    4 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp melted butter
    2 cups milk
    1 T. real vanilla
    1 pinch salt
    3  1/2 to 4 cups flour (add flour and mix until batter is thick like cake batter)

    Butter the pan, pour the cake batter in, gently ladle or slowly pour the sauce and berries all over the batter. I put my pan on a cookie sheet to catch any spewing over. Bake at 350 , check after 30 mins or so, until a knife comes out clean and the top is lightly golden brown.  Let cool and eat.  As it cools the sauce will thicken, and if you refrigerate it the sauce will be like a nice thick pudding on the bottom.