Our two Great Pyranees females had puppies a while back. The girls are great working dogs–our farm would be lost without them to guard the chickens. All three dogs are gentle with the kids, too. They don’t try to keep the kids in line and are welcoming (sometimes too much so!) to anyone who comes. However, the boys have tried sneaking up on the house before, and the dogs proved to be able defenders. They watch for things that sneak (even boys) or cause alarm in their protected group. They are good family dogs and fabulous guardians.
Jim was helping me get pictures, but the puppies just wanted to play with him! The one he’s holding is his favorite. The markings on the face are called “badger markings” and fade away to white as the puppy matures. Our adults all had those markings and are white now.
Sleep is still one of their main occupations, but they get more active everyday. They are starting to play and wrestle now, just 5 days after taking these photos.
These superior family guardian dogs are indispensible on a farm or homestead. They are $350 each and will be ready for their new homes starting April 18. We are taking deposits if you want to ensure we have a puppy for you!
At last, the weather man is suggesting warmer temperatures! We are reveling in the idea. And eagerly anticipating the pleasure of the practice of sunshine. Meantime, our house is full of puppies and the pig houses are full of straw to keep the baby pigs warm.
The puppies are by our incorrigable male Obie, out of Lilly and Minnie. All three are working guardian dogs on our farm. They are purebred, but not papered. Their duties mostly concern the pastured broiler chickens in the summer, but they also watch over the pigs, cows, and kids. They do like to wander, but respond well to the livestock fencing, which includes electric fence, and to the underground fence. They are gentle giants.
Puppies are $350 each. A deposit of $175 will put you on the list of first choosers and guarantee you a puppy. You can mail a check, or make a deposit online through FarmMatch, just order a “Miscellaneous” and make a note of what you want. Let us know today if you are interested!
And there are baby pigs happening. We will have weaned pigs available starting the middle of April. We don’t take deposits on them, just come! If you let us know you want piglets, we make sure you have preference when it’s time to let them go to new homes. They are well acclimated to our cold northern climate, so they are fine outside even in Michigan’s spring weather! Weaned feeder pigs are $250 each, breeding stock is available this year for $750 each.
I’m working on a batch of curing meat that’s “done” today and have been doing a bunch of reading on a controversial topic: nitrates. I’m also fielding questions about whether or not we use them, with folks making the assumption that no nitrates = healthier.
I have cured with curing salt (pink salt/nitrate salt) and without. I have to tell you that the pieces cured with the pink salt have more flavor depth and a familiar reddish color. Depending on what flavor you are after, the pink salt imparts a more familiar bacon flavor, while not using it results in a more dry cured, salumi flavor. Mark likes salumi. I like bacon.
The other thing the pink salt does for the meat is prevent botulism. Botulism is a very deadly and undetectable bacteria. The conditions for curing meat are also perfect for growing bacteria, mold, and fungus. While we can see and deal with the rest, botulism spores are undetectable. Botulism contamination is not common, but it doesn’t have to be to make an ounce of prevention worth the ton of cure (if any).
So, to help explain my thinking on the nitrate issue, this article by Michael Ruhlman provides a good explanation about the marketing gimmick that is “nitrate free,” or “uncured” meat. If our products say “nitrate free” you’ll notice a color and flavor difference–because I really didn’t use any form of nitrate in it. But you’ll also notice a flavor difference. I hope Michael can help you sort out the controversy and understand the marketing language used on “natural” products.
This time of year is lovely for cooling things off. I love using the great outdoor cooler to cool things, and even freeze things if left long enough. And all for free! It’s a definite silver lining on the cloud of winter.
And then there are the times when you want things cool, but when it’s -10 degrees they just naturally freeze. Quickly.
So, what does one do if that happens to your raw milk? Homogenized milk will thaw and be as good as new. Raw milk, though, tends to thaw into liquid and clumpy cream. Do not despair!! Simply pour your thawed, clumpy milk through a cheesecloth to strain the cream chunks out. You’ll send up with something that’s about like 2% milk and some really good, super heavy cream. The cream is good in coffee, hot chocolate, as a bread spread. Sometimes it’s thicker than other times, but you’ll still have useable product and your milk will still be wonderfully fresh.
In that vein, we now offer some special services to our dairy herd share folks. IF you own a share of the dairy herd, the farmer’s wife, Brenda is willing to separate it for you and send just the cream, or to separate it and then churn it into butter. The butter can be salted or unsalted. The salt she uses is the colorful raw sea salt. I use that salt when I make our butter and it gives the butter a whole new dimension of flavor. You can order the service for your regular share by ordering a quantity for the month, or you can order it as a “provisional share.” A provisional share would be a temporary or transient one just for the one time. You must be a herd share owner to get an extra share and it’s based on the herd having extra milk available.
Note that all dairy orders have to be in by Friday noon for delivery the following Friday.
**Official notice: Cream and butter are not being sold. The milk belongs to the herd share owner and the farmer is offering a SERVICE. The milk is the private property of the herd share owner and they are engaged in a private agreement with the farmer.**
We also have burger available in bulk. It’s available as a 1/16 of a beef, which equates to about 20#. You can order through the farmmatch button on the right side of the page. This burger is from the beef raised by our organic dairy farmers, Joe and Brenda. A cow has to have a calf in order to “freshen” her milk supply, and this beef is that calf. The burger is lean as that’s how dairy cattle go, but flavorful. The beef cows are grazed on fresh pastures in season and eat Joe’s organic hay during these snowy months. This is a Farm Exchange advantage product.
If you are interested in a herd share or Farm Exchange buyer’s club membership, you can order it online to the right. Contact us if you have any questions!