Hello Everyone! Today I have a special guest post from Daniel Sherwin of dadsolo.com. Daniel is a single dad of two helping other single parents overcome their struggles by sharing his experiences and giving encouragement. Even if you aren't a single parent, his blog has some very helpful ideas.
Thank you Daniel for hanging out with us and sharing you tips on kids and kitchen safety!
What goes on in the kitchen is a source of fascination to most children. It’s where all that tasty food comes from, emerging fresh and hot from the stove, oven, or microwave. It’s an irresistible place full of fascinating, shiny instruments that can be very dangerous to an inquisitive little one. In fact, no room in your house is more fraught with dangers than the kitchen. That’s why it’s so important to begin teaching your children about kitchen safety at a young age. It’s a lesson you can impart while you’re showing them how to whip up some scrambled eggs or make a grilled cheese sandwich.
One of the easiest safety lessons to teach a child is the danger of being burned around the stove or picking up a plate that’s just come out of the microwave. Install safety knobs on your stove controls and keep protective objects nearby, taking care to demonstrate how to pick up a plate or bowl using an oven mitt. Always keep heated pans and plates away from the edge of your countertops or table. And make sure your child understands that steam can also be a dangerous source of burns, and to keep hands and arms away from a pan or serving dish that’s emitting steam. Cover electrical outlets and unplug the toaster so there’s no risk of electrocution.
If there’s a greater danger in the kitchen than burns, it’s sharp objects like knives or tin can tops. A young child can reach up and grab a sharp kitchen knife very quickly if you’re not paying careful attention. Keep knives put away and out of reach of your kids, and apply magnetic locks to kitchen drawers and lower cabinets, another easily accessible source of danger for little ones. If you want to teach your kids how to slice food for cooking, have them practice with a special, kid-friendly knife, or plastic knife.
Many people have shelving they use for overflow items, things they need to get their hands on quickly and use frequently. If you have kids and a freestanding shelf, be sure it’s securely anchored to the wall. A wobbly, rickety shelf is a real danger to kids, especially little ones who may decide they want to go for a climb if they see an enticing object up there.
When kids see food, they don’t think about bacteria or germs. If you’re teaching an aspiring young cook how to prepare chicken, fish or meat, for example, explain how easily bacteria can become a danger to everyone’s health. Hygiene is the first step, so make sure your kids understand the importance of washing their hands with soap and warm water before and after handling food, especially raw foods. The same goes with knives, which may have germs that can be transferred into a loaf of bread, for example, or some other food item.
A fire can flare up at any time in the kitchen, which is why it’s so important to keep a functional fire extinguisher nearby. They’re an important safety feature in the event a grease fire gets out of control or if something catches on fire inside the oven. If your kids are old enough, make sure they know how to operate a fire extinguisher in case of fire.
Kitchen safety should be the first lesson your kids learn as they begin to learn how to cook. Explain why sharp knives and fire are so dangerous and why they need to be careful. You don’t need to scare them, just make sure they’re aware of what can happen.
Kid Favorite Recipe
No blog on kitchen safety would be complete without a tasty recipe to make with your kids when the kitchen is ready for little chefs. Here is a favorite of kids of all age:
Favorite French toast
4 slices brioche bread
3 tbsp. whole or 2% milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Beat egg with vanilla, sugar, milk, and cinnamon. Pour on top of bread in shallow baking dish and allow to soak for one minute. Turn bread over and continue to soak for one minute. Meanwhile, preheat a cast iron or non-stick skillet on med-high heat and coat with butter. Place each slice of soaked bread on skillet and cook for approximately four minute each side or until egg is cooked through bread. Bread will be slightly soggy. Top with whipped cream, fresh fruit, or syrup.
PIcture Courtesy of Pixabay
Thank you again to Daniel for sharing. French toast is one of my favorites and such a good recipe for letting the kids help. Eggs were the first thing I remember learning to cook and one of the first things I've let my kids cook on their own.
I hope everyone enjoyed this guest post from Daniel. Be sure to check out his blog at www.dadsolo.com.
Have a wonderful day,
Gardening season is upon us and we are here to guide you! Many of you may know that I've been working on a gardening book, "Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Garden." It's done! It will be released on Tuesday May 14th and available for purchase here on our website and on Amazon
To kick off it's launch I thought I would do book giveaway! Yeah! To be entered into the giveaway is all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what excites you most about gardening. Simple! That's how we like it and that theme carries through to my book. A simple guide that won't confuse you or give you a bunch of unnecessary tasks. Yuck! My book outlines everything you need to do so you can have a garden THIS YEAR! Yes please!
There are numerous book on the market about grading-so many that it can be overwhelming for someone who is just starting out. Where are you to begin?
It has everything that you need and nothing that you don't!
Instead of wading through all those other gardening books, Pick up mine, Finish it in an afternoon or weekend, Then keep it with you as a handy guide while you go about implementing all the steps to create your garden.
You see, there isn't necessarily anything wrong with those other gardening books, But while you are trying to get a handle on all those methods and practices, you are missing out on growing fresh produce now. My book will lead you through starting, and managing, an abundant garden. Then, while you are reaping all those benefits you can do further research to refine your practices to your particular needs and growing environment.
The best to all of you! Looking forward to reading your comments!
As many of you know, I started an organic children's clothing line , Coco & Leelee. I also have a blog on that website. Because my audience here has a lot of the same concerns as my audience over at Coco & Leelee, I will be sharing some blog posts on both blogs. I can't help myself. While I'm typing certain post, like this one on GMO cotton, I think about how my other audience, in this case you, would appreciate it as well. So you may find some post that are on both sites. Now you know why. Gotta share the love!
And now to GMO cotton.
Cotton is everywhere; our clothes, cotton balls, swabs and pads, feminine products, dish and bath towels, curtains, yarn, place-mats, hats, bedding, quilts.....and on and on. Cotton is a versatile and useful product. It's easy to care for and the softness, can't forget that. GMO cotton, however, has a some scary secrets.
1. Cotton is One of the Top 3 Genetically Modified Crops
94% of the cotton grown in the US is genetically modified. Worldwide it is grown on over 70 million acres! What kind of affect does this have on the farmers?
In India, the second largest producer of cotton, farmers are committing suicide at alarming rates. 200, 000 thousand farmers have committed suicide since 1997. The problem began when the World Bank forced India to open up their seed sector. Farmers had always saved their seeds, bred them using traditional methods. Saving the seeds, improving their qualities each year. When the seed sector opened up and giant agri businesses like Monsanto and Cargill came in they were promised higher yields and more profit.
What Monsanto and the other companies didn't tell the farmers is that they would need to use expensive fertilizers and pesticides. Because these new seeds are patented they can not be saved.Each year they have to be purchased from the giant agri companies. The higher cost to produce the crop resulted in large debt for the farmers as stated by Dr. Vandana Shiva, a well know activist for pure-food and seed sovereignty:
"Corporations prevent seed savings through patents and by engineering seeds with non-renewable traits. As a result, poor peasants have to buy new seeds for every planting season and what was traditionally a free resource, available by putting aside a small portion of the crop, becomes a commodity. This new expense increases poverty and leads to indebtness."
The promises of higher yields were nothing but promises. Farmers are actually experiencing less profit.
"The region in India with the highest level of farmers suicides is the Vidharbha region in Maharashtra — 4000 suicides per year, 10 per day. This is also the region with the highest acreage of Monsanto’s GMO Bt cotton. Monsanto’s GM seeds create a suicide economy by transforming seed from a renewable resource to a non-renewable input which must be bought every year at high prices. " Dr. Vandana Shiva
It is the stress of indebtedness that is believed to be leading so many farmer to commit suicide. They feel trapped. Not only are they in debt but the insecticide and pesticides destroy the farmland and make it nearly impossible to go back their traditional way of farming. The soils is now dead and infertile. Hardly anything will grow without the use of synthetic fertilizers produced by the same companies selling the GM seed. It is a viscous cycle. Which leads to my next point.
P.S. Just in case you are wondering, corn and soy are the other two top genetically modified crops.
2. GMO Cotton is Responsible for 25% of Global Insecticide Use
Why are seeds genetically modified in the first place- to be able to be sprayed with glyphosate and other chemicals without dying. If they weren't genetically modified they would shrivel up and die once theses chemicals made contact with them. And they want us to eat this and cover our bodies in it. Doesn't that seem a bit insane?
Glyphosate is the chemical of choice for GM cotton. Not only is it a insecticide but it is also an herbicide. It is systemic meaning that it isn't merely on the outside layer of the plant which would be bad enough, but it is taken up into the plant and is then in every cell of the plant. There is no washing this stuff off people. Which makes it of no surprise that it is showing up in breast milk and urine samples.
'Glyphosate, the most used herbicide in the world, has been found in the urine of 93 percent of the American public during a unique testing project that started in 2015" Organic Consumers Association
In 2015 the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen and last year California went a step further and labeled it not as a probable carcinogen, but as an outright carcinogen.
Glyphosate has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma ( there is an on-going lawsuit against Monsanto with over 800 complainants and gowing) as well a a host of other issues such as, birth defects, allergies, tumors, heart disease, autism, celiac disease, Parkinson, reproductive/ pregnancy problems, and colitis to name a few.
The use of GM crops has increased mono-culture farming practices and is depleting soil fertility. This is a scary problem. Vast tracts of mono-culture crops set the stage to easily plow and plant in a timely fashion. Farm equipment is getting bigger and bigger to cover more area quicker but all that tilling is killing the soil.
"According to an article in Time World5, soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have only about 60 remaining years of topsoil. Forty percent of the world's agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone. Our soil is being lost at 10 to 40 times the rate it can be replenished, and our food production systems are to blame, which epitomizes the term "unsustainable." It takes decades or even centuries to regenerate significant levels of soil." Dr Mercola
Furthermore, vector DNA, which are present in all GE plants, are responsible for allowing different microorganism species to mate, crossing the specie barrier that God put in place. This in turn reduces the diversity of soil microbes which are the foundation of soil fertility.
I'm sure, if you have spent anytime around an organic farmer, or asked a few questions at a farmers market, they would tell you that microbial diversity in the soil is key to productive plant growth and higher nutrient contents of the crop. As an organic farmer myself, we totally forgo tilling in order to preserve this diversity and work to build upon it by adding compost (which is filled with microbes).
Soil diversity enables the soil to hold more water and allows plants to reach nutrient it would otherwise not be able to reach through symbiotic relationships between the plants and soil microbes.
"Soil degradation is projected to cause 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years—while our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time." Dr Mercola
3. GM Cotton Goes Right Into Our Foods
By weight, 60% of what is harvested from cotton ends up in the food chain. There are several ways this happens. The first is through vegetable oil. Cotton seed oil is used as is, or added to other vegetables oils. Sold simple as vegetable oil on the grocery store shelves or used to fry food. This includes packaged foods such as chip and also food in restaurants. Have you ever read a label to find "vegetable oil" ? It doesn't tell you exactly what kind, just vegetable oil. Most likely there is some cotton seed, and perhaps corn, soy or canola oil. Notice all of these are within the top 5 genetically modified crops. The cheapest oils to produce, but as you know, that comes at a price as mentioned above.
The second way that GM cotton enters the food system is through dairy feed. Cotton gin trash is used as feed in dairy cows. The pesticides in the cotton accumulate in the fatty tissue of the cow. The pesticides are then passed on to the consumer through the milk and other dairy products.
4. Who Wants to Support Monsanto and Their Cronies?
It use to be that everyone had a garden. Our ancestors saved their seeds and passed them on to the next generation. Crops were improved by selecting seeds from the best performing plants. This practiced continued with commercial farmers into the 20th century. It wasn't until Monsanto started patenting seeds that there was a major decline in this practice.
Monsanto convinced farmers that their new patented seeds were going to save the world, end hunger, and increase their profits. Farmers weren't going to have to deal with weeds and pests anymore, Mosanto had solved all of that with there GM seeds.
Farmers weren't the only one to buy into these lies. Consumers hopped on the band wagon because of course, they support the American farmers and want to end world hunger.
It's been several decades since the first GM food product, Flavr Savr tomatoes, were introduced to grocery store shelves. Since then we have learned that Monsanto has been lying to us about the effects of glyphosate as revealed in leaked emails between Monsanto and EPA officials leading thousands to fall ill, developing cancers, food allergies and other ailments. Their patented seeds have contaminated countless farms which Monsanto turned around and sued, bringing the farmers to financial ruin when it was there farm that was contaminated by Monsanto's seeds. They didn't plant them, they were spread from trucks carrying the seed which blew onto their farmland as it past. We can't forget what they have done to the farmers in India. They have infiltrated the government getting their long time lawyer Micheal Taylor, placed as Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA. Millions of acres of crops have been destroyed by the use of Monsanto's Dicamba and wind drift. American exports are being turned away from foreign countries because they are testing positive for GMOs. This is only a brief summary. The rat hole is deep!
GMO crops are banned in 38 countries. What is America waiting for? We may not be able to match the wallets of Monsanto and it's cronies at the ballot box but we can sure do it when we are shopping. Whether you are at the grocery store or picking out a new top choose organic. Then choose organic again, and again. Tell your friends and educate your children.
We like to grow things here at Rolling Hills Farm. any thing we eat that has a seed my kids and I try and grow. MY kids are just as eager if not more than me to see what we can grow. We are still trying to figure out the pineapple thing. Supposedly it's easy but we have tried a handful of times with no success. Now mangoes, that is a different story. We have no problem sprouting them, we just have lots of litter fingers that have snapped of a little sproutling more than once. Poor little sproutlings.
We have also had great success with apple seeds, tangerines, avocados, and pomegranate, Every time something sprout we are excited. This thing called life is amazing and it is fascinating to watch this seemingly dead seed come to life and turn into something wonderful! Certainly not a chance chemical reaction! There is some incredible design work going on here.
Starting a Mango From Seed
Our part in facilitating this miracle is pretty easy. It only take four steps.
At first I thought this wasn't going to be a good seed because the shell didn't look full. The seed was small but still full and plump although the shape is a little odd. Despite the funny shape, you can see that it has already sprouted which isn't entirely uncommon with mango seeds.
What to Watch Out For
Your mango should sprout anywhere between 1 -3 weeks. I dug one of ours up to show you what it look like when it starts to spout. See the little bulge on the side. This is where the little sprout will come up.
If you find that it doesn't sprout, dig out the seed and look it. If it is all black and soft you probably watered it too much. Keep this in mind next time you try and keep trying! The picture below is of one of our mangoes about 1 month after we planted it.
Are you gong to try this? Let me know how it goes for you or if you have had success sprouting something that I haven't mentioned. We'd love some new ideas.
I have been through multiple brands of organic lotion. There are getting to be quite a few out there. This I'm grateful for because it means the tides are turning. Yeah! However I discovered that a lot of them still contain ingredients that I'm not comfortable with and that do not meet MY organic standards. What is a dedicated organic mama to do? Make her own. It is so easy and you will wonder why you haven't done it sooner. Really it is so simple. I make several jars and then pop the extras in the freezer until they are needed. Easy.
This time around I decided to whip it. I've been seeing these recipes for whipped body butter around the web and wondered if my recipe would work. Oh it did and it is delightful! Why didn't I whip it sooner? Can you tell that I use this too. Yep, on my face and my entire body. We live in ND where it is not uncommon to have ambient air temps in the -20's and wind chill in the - 40's during the winter months. That will suck the moisture right out of anything, especially when you factor in the wind. People around here say we are always just one wind storm away from a drought. I'm outside plenty doing farm chores before I get to my Coco & Leelee work. Even inside the dryness is evident. My sweet little Charlotte's arms got so chapped when we started potty training from all the hand washing. She love washing her hands. This body butter has helped tremendously.
As a preventive measure, apply it to you or your little's face before heading out into the cold to add a nice moisturizing protective layer over there delicate skin.
I use several different types of oils and butters and the each add something unique. Let's take a look at what each one has to offer.
Benefits of Shea Butter
According to the Shea Institute, one of the top reasons to use shea butter is the high content of vitamin A which aides in the improvement/healing of:
Benefits of Cocoa Butter
We have heard over and over again how good antioxidants are for us. Antioxidants are what helps our bodies neutralize free radicals. Cocoa butter has several fatty acid antioxidants, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and steric acid. Because these antioxidants reduce the amount of oxidative stress, it reduces signs of aging like wrinkles.
These benefits are sounding pretty good for us mamas too right. I actually used this body butter first and then realized, wait a minute, I should use it on my babies too!
Cocoa butter also forms a protective layer over the skin while it moisturizes, blocking it from the harsh conditions of cold temps and drying wind.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coco nut oil is known for it's many health benefits like lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol, and we can't forget it's fat burning properties to name a few. Did you know how good it was for our skin? It's moisturizing qualities are surely at the top of the list but we can't forget about it's other great attributes.
Coconut oil is anti- microbial that means it can kill viruses, bacteria and fungi. This makes it a great option for people with eczema or dermatitis. Also for minor cuts or scraps, providing a natural disinfecting protective layer.
Coconut oil is often used for anti aging. It is widely popular in countries where it is native and even used as sunscreen. Because it has such a long shelf life unlike some other oils, there is no need to worry that it is going to go rancid. It is no wonder that coconut oil is rapidly catching on in the w
Benefits of Olive oil
Like Shea butter, olive oil contains antioxidants. The three mains ones are vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. Again, antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and combat aging signs like wrinkles.
Olive oil also contains a rare compound called Hydroxytyrosol. Hydroxytyrosol is a super star for combating damage caused by free radicals.
Last but not least it is a wonderful moisturizer that doesn't clog pores.
Benefits of Bees Wax
I wanted to use bees wax in my cream to add a little body to all these oils I was using. When I researched it I found that beeswax had many beneficial properties to add to my cream itself.
Because bees wax is antibacterial, antiviral and is and anti-inflammatory it is a great ingredient for skin care products and is a good option for minor cuts, scraps, bites, and skin wounds.
It contains vitamin A with the same benefits we talked about in the shea butter.
It forms a protective barrier over the skin that locks moisture in, so important for us in really cold climates, and still allows the skin to breath.
Are You Convinced
With all these great qualities, many that are unique to ourselves (antiaging goodness), combined with the fact that it is easy to make and all the ingredients are easy to find, it's a no brainer. Just make it, I know you will love it!
Fabulous Body Butter for the Whole Family
Remember to source high quality organic ingredients. Anything less will have less beneficial qualities and could potential have yucky fillers that you nor I care for. It is wonderful for your lips too so fill a few chap stick tubes while your at it.
I can't remember if I doubled or tripled the recipe below for my last batch. It made quite a bit, about a pint and a half. You probably don't need as much as my family of nine so here is the single version.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa butter
6 Tbsp. shea butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. bees wax
10- 15 drops of you favorite essential oil (optional). I like orange for this recipe, it turns out like a chocolate orange treat.
1. Melt the bees wax, shea butter and cocoa butter in a medium pan ( I use stainless steel for this). When everything is melted ad the coconut oil and olive oil. The heat from the melted oils should melt the coconut oil. We don't want the oil to get too hot because it has to cool in order for us to whip it. It all needs to be melted in order for it to mix evenly.
2. Add your desired essential oil if using and mix well.
3. Pour your oil mixture into a mixing bowl and place in the freezer to cool. If you live where it is cold you can just set it outside if it is cold enough. This is what you want it too look like. Firming up but not hard.
5. Now that it is cool all that is left to do is whip it. Just like you were making whipped cream. You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer, they both work great. I used the highest setting on my hand mixer. As you go you will see the texture change and become light and fluffy. You will know it is done when it forms a stiff, yet light and fluffy peak as shown below. It really does look like whipped butter.
It also melts like butter on your skin. It may seem a little oily at first but it absorbs into your skin before long. You may have to experiment with how much you use. Here is a lovely close-up of my face. Ha ha. See what you think. My face is repeatedly slathered in this through the winter and the rest of the year.
6. Put your fabulous body butter into containers of your choice. I like to use small canning jars. The shorter half pint, or 1/4 pint jars work good because they aren't very deep so the body butter is easy to get to even when it is almost gone. This also keeps them fresh. Store extra containers in the freezer.
Doesn't it look good enough to eat? Even without any essential oils added, it smells that good too.
My body butter has held up well and stayed in it's whipped state even in our warm house. Our house is heated by a stove and because it is so cold here and we are often working outside taking care of animals, we keep the house at a toasty 72 degrees or more much of the time. Without that I don't know how we would make it in this frigid climate.
We also have taken some out of the freezer and it has maintained it's whipped texture. Remember that I have used this for years before I ever whipped it. You can choose not to whip yours but I highly recommend it.
Now don't hog this wonderfulness all for yourself, lather up those little ones of your and let them reap the benefits as well!
Let me know how yours turns out and if you have to convince your littles that it isn't food, but don't worry if they do eat it, it is completely safe. Mine certainly have had their fair share.
What essential oil are you going to add to yours? Be sure to tell me in the comments below.
Have a blessed day,
P.S. IF you follow my other blog on my Coco & Leelee site you might be wondering why it is here and there. I thought it would be beneficial for both audiences so shared it in both places. Thanks for reading!
We always wanted to be able to test our cows with a simple pee test. Something similar to what us humans use to see if we are pregnant. We looked before but could never find one and were told they don't exist... Then we found the P-TEST from Emlab Genetics. And not only does it test for pregnancy in cattle but also goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, bison, elk or deer. How many of you out there are raising deer or elk? So cool that it works for such and array of animals.
As of this writing, there is a notice at the top of the website that states the site will soon be unavailable. This is due to the fact that it was created using Office 365 Share point program that is set to be discontinued. I'm sure they probably have another website ready to go but I wanted to let you know in case the above link becomes broken due to this fact. If so just google them.
Now back to the test. It is used very much like a home pregnancy test. However you don't hold any stick or wand in the urine stream but instead must catch the urine and insert it with a syringe into a vile like the one in the pictures above.
The question is, how do you go about catching cow urine (glad we don't have bison!)? I noticed when I went to the Emlab website to get the link for you that they had a video on collecting cow urine. That would have been very helpful if only we had seen it before we did the test!
The most comical part of this test I failed to take pictures of. I'm sorry. I'm sure some pictures or even a short video of the trials we went through running behind our cows and heifers would have worked up a nice belly chuckle for you. You see, we thought we could just be sly and sneak up behind them once they started peeing and collect some pee in a pint jar. Yeah, that didn't work out so well.
Despite the fact that it was bitter cold I decided one morning when going out to milk the cow and to do the morning chores with the kids that "today was the day" we were going to collect the pee and see if our Vondi was pregnant. We were sure she was/is because we could see the baby kicking around in there. This is really amazing thing to see and there is no denying a kick from a baby calf.
So we go out to do our chores. I walk out behind the barn to call Pippy in so we can milk her. Walking over to her at the feeder I start to look at Vondi and then ask my daughter to go get the extra jar we had been keeping in the milking parlor just for this purpose. Would you like to catch the pee of a cow in a pint jar? I don't know what we were thinking! Cows have large streams of pee. LARGE. And they pee, and pee, and pee. I wanted to tell you just how much they pee in one pee but I couldn't find the answer. Google your slacking.
However, when I did my Google search the first thing that came up was "Do cows pee milk?" What? I'm sorry people if you are one of whats seems to be the many who don't know that cows do not pee milk nor do they pee from their udder which was the number one search suggestion at the bottom of the page. No offense to you, but wow, we have lost touch with where our food comes from! In my search I also found that you can buy cow urine from Amazon. Apparently it is used as a supplement. So grateful that we eat a healthy, non-gmo, organic, whole food diet so we don't need any cow urine supplements!
Back to the story, cows pee large quantities of pee. I can't tell you exactly how much, but trust me, it is a lot! My eldest daughter and son were each holding a pint jar as we were waiting for one of our cows to pee. Any other day they all would have peed 4 times each by now. OK, may be only 2. But really, any other day they seem to be peeing all the time. I guess on this day they knew what we were up to.
As we were watching Vondi my daughter Elly realized that Crawford was peeing. Elly ran over there as fast as she could in her boots and coveralls trying not to trip over frozen cow pies. As soon as she got there Crawford stopped. Oh, she was not done peeing, but she stopped. No, she was not going to let us get any of her pee.
It was at this point that it occurred to me how foolish it was to try and catch the pee with a pint jar. Elly now had pee all over her glove. So off my son Carter went for a bucket. In the meantime the steer peed, then the calf peed, then the other calf peed but no heifer or cows peed,
By now I was getting pretty cold and we still needed to finish the chores and milk Pippy. Caleb stayed out with the new found bucket while Elly, Carter and I went back in to the barn. It was well below zero and we had spent the last half an hour to 45 minutes trying to catch cow pee. My desire to catch this cow pee for the test had completely diminished. I just wanted to get inside and stand in front of the fire and Caleb, although one of our heifers peed, was unsuccessful in catching any. I guess cows aren't comfortable having a bucket placed under there parts while they pee because as soon as the bucket arrives they stop peeing. It's the darnedest thing.
I am soooo grateful that we are able to have milk cows. We do not and will not buy milk from the store, not even organic. It is just not the same and not as healthy as fresh raw milk and I just know to much about the truth of store bought milk. So if we do not have a cow in milk we do not have milk or butter or yogurt, or cream. I love cream :). That being said, it can be challenging, to say the least, when it is negative 40 degrees outside. The cups for the milking machine are stainless steel and they get pretty darn cold so my hands are pretty freezing after milking in these weather conditions. You just can not hold on to them the same with gloves on. I've tried and I've failed. So after I'm done milking I'm not interested in lolly gagging and I was certainly not interested in trying to catch cow pee any longer. I was going in.
Fortunately for me and the pee test I have a son who is very determined. Carter loves taking on challenges like this. If we need to catch a sheep or calf he is the one to we call on. He will assert himself whole heartily to meet the goal. Man that boy can hang on to a calf. They might seem little but they are STRONG. With this same determination he decided to stay out there and get the job done. He said he wasn't coming in until he got the pee. We helped him get Vondi into the milking stanchion (what a novel idea!) so he wouldn't have to follow her around to collect the sample, then we went inside.
Low and behold right about the time I was done washing the milker here he comes with a pint of cow pee! Carter saves the day again!
Now let me go back to the video I mentioned earlier that I didn't watch until just now. Apparently you can get a cow to pee whenever you want. Yeah, just like that! You simply massage the area from the top of the cows udder to just below their vulva. No, you don't have to touch that. Sure enough, the man in the video did this and within a minute or two the cow peed. The video cuts off before it gets to a full stream but just like that it started to pee. That would have been nice to know the morning we went out to do the pee test! .
The process is very simple once you have your urine sample. Use the syringe to inject 1.5mm of pee into the little vile. Then wait ten minutes. There is a little pellet at the bottom of the vile. Gently invert the vile several times until the pellet is dissolved. If the cow is pregnant you will see it start to change colors right away. The cool thing about the test is that it also tells you in what general term of pregnancy the cow is in. The darker the color the further along in pregnancy the cow is.
Amber indicates not pregnant, light green-very early term, green- early term, blue green-mid term, dark blue- late term. The colors are shown on the package and in the directions.
Is Vondi pregnant? YES! And it seems as though she is late term. Yeah!
We still have two heifers to test but we will not be following them around with a pint jar or bucket. We will be bringing them into the milk stanchion and massaging that area above their udders with one hand and a bucket in the other. So grateful to have found that video.
Have you ever tried using a P-TEST with any of your livestock? What did you think about the process? Are we the only ones that made fools out of ourselves chasing our cows around trying to get a pee sample in a pint jar? Did you all know the secret get any cow to pee technique? Please do share!
Have a blessed day and may it be free of cow pee and buckets!
Everyone meet our newest addition. And her name is- well, actually we don't have a name for her yet but isn't she so precious just the same! You may be wondering why our cow is giving birth in December, that's usually a spring thing right? Yes and no. Most ranchers calve in the spring and a few calve in the fall but if you have dairy cattle you calve all throughout the year in order to keep in milk. .
We choose not to separate the calf from it's mama after birth though this is the norm of big dairy farms. Mama cows never get to see their babies again after giving birth. This way dairies can get more milk and go about milking without the bother of a calf distracting mama cow. I can't imagine taking a baby away from it's mom like that. I don't care if they are cows. Mammals are meant to take care of their own babies.
There are actual benefits to keeping mommy and baby together as well. The mama cow produces antibodies and passes them onto the baby through the milk building the babies immune system. The antibodies can change depending on the environment. Some of the calf's saliva is actually take into the teat when it is nursing and this is how the moma cow know what antibodies it needs to produce. The calf has virtually no immune system when it is born so it is very dependent on mama to build one for it. If this isn't reason enough, (oh but it is!) milk replacer is expensive and worst of all filled with GMOs. We certainly don't want to be feeding any of that! .
This does make things a little more tricky for the first week or so. Mama may not want to let down her milk for us. They can actually hold the milk back. They sometimes do this to save the milk for the baby. I'm amazed by this. I don't remember having any control of that when I nursed my babies. When mama cow decides she doesn't want to share we have to bring the calf in and let it start nursing. Mama cow then lets down her milk and we can proceed to milk her. After a week or so we start separating the calf out at night. We milk the mam in the morning then she spends the rest of the day with the calf. The mama spends some time in the calf's pen on the way to the milking stanchion (where she is milked) so she is exposed to anything she may need to make antibodies for to pass on to the baby.
You can see in the picture that Pippy is not getting any grain while she is being milked. Nope. She is 100% grass fed like all of our livestock. She is perfectly happy and perfectly healthy. And look at her butter. Wow that is yellow!
Poultry that have access to grass have brighter yellow yolks and grass fed dairy animals have yellower cream and butter. Why is that? Because they are higher in beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids, a result from eating all that grass. Grass fed butter is also 5 times higher in CLA ( thats the good cholesterol, conjugated linoleic acid.). CLA reduces body fat by increasing metabolic rates. In a study in Costa Rica, Scientists found that participant who consumed more full fat dairy were 49% less likely to have a heart attack. It turns out we need healthy fats like nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and full fat dairy products. Another interesting thing is that you actually digest full fat milk better than skim or reduced fat milk.
Raw milk has added benefits that pasteurized milk does not. Raw milk is filled with enzymes and probiotics that help in digestion and supports a healthy gut. The process of pasteurizing kills all these enzymes and probiotics. After you that you have dead milk. Leave it on the counter and it turns putrid. Leave raw milk on the counter and it turns into clabber. It doesn't go bad it goes different. It ferments and you can use it to culture cheese or yogurt and make all kinds of goodies with it. The fermenting process increases the amount of good bacteria or probiotics. It use to be a common thing the make clabber and fermented dairy products. If you ask your grandma or grandpa they probably consumed it on a regular basis. It is no wonder that the further away the nation gets from whole, fresh, and raw foods and move to prepackaged and processed dead foods, the nation gets sicker and sicker.
We are blessed to have fresh raw milk daily. Safe, healthy and delicious!
Happy, healthy, clean, eating,
Fall is a very busy time of year for most everyone. Quick dinners are essential. We used our farm fresh eggs, fresh cilantro from the garden, some tomatoes from the greenhouse, and few purple onions also from our garden. MMMMM, it was delish! oh so easy, and fast! and that = perfect.
We got to double yokers. That means that there were two yokes in one egg. Yes, that also means that two chick can hatch out of the egg. However they are usually not as strong and it is not recommended that you hatch double yokers. That's ok, the kids enjoy getting them and finding the two yokes and the eggs are larger than normal as well.
Crack you eggs into the pan and sprinkle with seasonings then flip them when they are ready. Once they are flipped you want pop the yokes and add the topping so that they can heat up and the cheese can melt by the time the egg is cooked.
I start with chopped onions then I add the cilantro and tomatoes. At this point I suggest adding more seasoning. So that all the toppings get a good dose. Then to top it all off add the cheese.
I am so grateful for that we are still getting some tomatoes from the greenhouse. There is nothing like fresh tomatoes! I think that these rainbow tomatoes are so beautiful sliced. For some reason it just seems to make them more enjoyable to eat then other tomatoes as well.
Tomatoes, onions (preferably purple), and cilantro always go good together. We like to make little quesadillas with them or throw them in with some beans for a bean salad side dish and don't forget the cumin.
Now that you have all of your topping piled on put a lid on your pan to help the cheese melt. If you don't have a lid to fit your favorite frying pan then you can use a baking sheet. We love our cast iron skillets. This one has a lid that can also be used a a shallow frying pan. It is very handy for making tortillas, flat bread or as an extra pan for frying. When the cheese is all melty and dripping down to the pan then your eggs are done.
Now isn't that a quick little meal. Now let me show you how to make clean up a breeze. It is actually my daughter's idea. She likes to cook and help with meal preparation, or just plain does it quite a bit.
As you can see in the picture below, the cutting board is in a cookie sheet. well actually this time it is in a pizza pan, anyways... This way any juices that accumulate, any scrapes from whatever you may be cutting up, like onion skins or tomato stems, are collected on the cookie sheet instead of all over the counter. Take the Cookie sheet to the compost bin to get rid of all your scrapes then to the sink for a quick rinse and you are done! Yeah!
We have not used this trick when cutting large things like winter squash. I would caution against that because they can be difficult to cut to begin with and it may cause the cookie sheet to move around making it dangerous. Otherwise chop and slice away!
Enjoy your quick and easy meal and happy fall!
Wow! I thought my son was playing some trick on me when he brought this worm in. I looked it over and as you can tell from the video and pictures, this is the real thing. It looks so strange moving about, curling itself around. Once we took some pictures and the video we let it go in the yard.
I'm sure we will never find another worm like this again. The funnest thing about it is the kids amazement. My oldest son was surprised that it lived so long to get that big. He couldn't, nor I, figure out how it tunneled through the ground with two heads. Do you think that it tried to go two different directions at once? I guess the strongest head would win but like my son said, that wouldn't leave much time to eat and such so that it could grow and live. I guess it will always be a mystery.
Speaking of amazing creatures the kids found, look what else they found just a few weeks ago. Yep, That's a Praying Mantis. We bought an egg case a couple of years ago but I didn't figure that any would survive the North Dakota winters. I was proved wrong. This seems like a pretty healthy praying mantis, it is quite large. We are praying that it is a female that will lay more eggs.
Such fascinating insects. I think of them as the lions of the garden. They are fierce predators eating all kinds of harmful pests. May this beautiful praying mantis leave a healthy egg case tucked somewhere safe in our garden. She and her relatives are always welcome on our farm!
What kind of interesting insects have you found in your garden?
Happy, healthy, clean living!
We are so grateful to be able to share fresh organically raised heirloom produce with our customers. It is truly a blessing. In doing so we pray that more people will learn about the importance of "clean" food, going non-GMO, and knowing where your food comes from. But it all began to provide our family with all that aforementioned good food, so we would know exactly what we are eating and what went into it. So our children can learn how to raise their own food and the difference between homegrown heirloom produce and commercially raised GMO counterfeit food. So far it looks like we have succeed (thank you LORD). Our kids love gardening and eating the vegetables. Heck, they don't even bother washing the dirt off. A few swipes of the hand is sufficient enough for them. Oh, it's great!
So with this comes canning, drying, freezing and fermenting. That is a lot of work but once again my kids love being a part of it and that helps tremendously. It takes a lot of food to feed this big ol' family!
The sweet peppers did not do the greatest this year but we had an explosion of hot pepper. My daughter just reminded me how I had said that I wanted a lot of hot peppers because we are about out of our red pepper flakes from the previous year. Oh I got it. We have over a gallon of ground red peppers. I think I will concentrate on sweet peppers next year!
After we get 150 plus quarts of purred tomatoes canned we start canning salsa, wings sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, or what ever new thing we find. We are always looking for new recipes. This year my daughter has really taken a liking to canning and has done all the tomatoes so far.
In addition to all the tomatoes we can beans, carrots, peppers and fruit. Also blanch and freeze greens, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. The kids picked about 6 gallons of wild plums and made plum preserves. They also picked bull-berries. They are cleaned and stored in the freezer so we can can them when all the other canning settles down. They are very good at identifying edible fruit and plants in the wild and it is one of their favorite pastimes. There was a time when almost everyone could do such a thing. I'm so grateful my children are learning those skills.
The onions and garlic have already been taken care of and are put away neatly on the shelves. However we still have to harvest the potatoes and carrots and beets. These can be harvested last because the frost isn't going to hurt the root. They store so well in the ground- at least until the ground freezes so we hold off on them while we get the other canning done.
This year we have started fermenting. OH. MY. GOSH. It is SO easy. Just cut up your choice of veggie, put it in a jar, cover it with filtered water and salt if you'd like, put the lid on a wait a week. And that is it! Now you have a jar of super healthy, probiotic filled veggies. One more skill that was almost lost. Fermenting food was an everyday thing for our ancestors. These probiotics are so good for a healthy gut and good digestion. But that is for another post.
So now you see why there was no September newsletter. But I know that you are the understanding type. Thank you and may you have a blessed fall!
Happy, healthy, clean living,
Hello, I'm Jaci. I love gardening and being outside in God's amazing creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals!