Monday, 13 March 2017

Hello March

When I'm out and about, I occasionally meet people who follow this blog. I'm always thrilled to meet readers, am always humbled too, and in there somewhere I still feel some awe of this modern tech world that we live in. After all, here I am sitting at my desk, tapping out words to put underneath a few photos of our simple life, and the consequences of that are, to me, overwhelming in so many ways.
Unfailingly, over the last few months, I'm asked about Lavender. My dear little cow who suffered an awful trauma late last year. Lavender and Freddie and I realise now that I haven't done a very good job of keeping you up to date with her recovery.

I posted some photos a few weeks ago of how we were managing to milk her with three cups of the milking machine whilst catching the milk from the injured teat in a container placed on the floor.
In late January the teat looked like it was healed well enough to try putting the fourth cup on, and it worked! Initially she flinched because it must have felt strange, but now she accepts having the cup placed onto the teat with no fuss at all.

There is just enough length on the injured teat to hold the suction cup on securely. (Front teat on the other side furthest from the camera)

I'm pleased to report that her beautiful friendly nature has returned. Once again, she's usually waiting at the gate, ready to knock me over when I let her into the dairy lane-way. No more do I need to walk up to the paddock to bring her down, instead we can call out "C'mawn, C'mawn" in the loudest voice that carries across the valley to reach her ears. Her head goes up, ears go forward, and she sets off towards the lane that leads to the dairy.
She's cunning though and won't let down very much milk for me to take because she's waiting for me to let Freddie back in with her.
(On the days that I want to milk, Freddie is sectioned off into a separate paddock in the morning, so I can get some milk in the evening).
But we have a cunning way to prevent this happening. As Lavender is standing in the small yard before coming into the dairy, we open the gate to Freddie's yard and allow him to suckle for approximately half a minute and we can observe the milk starting to flow. Then we ask Lavender to 'Hup, hup" into the dairy, while blocking Freddie from following her.
We get twice as much milk by doing this, and now they know the drill, it's quite simple to manouvre.
Now and then I try bringing her straight into the dairy, thinking that surely she will let me have all her milk, but it doesn't work.

We took the two Angus steers, Ambrose and Gordon, to market last Thursday. Cattle prices are still holding, so it's definitely worth the effort of raising calves.
The temp was in the low thirties, but the stock were comfortable, now that the sale yards have water troughs in each yard. About time!

After weeks of temperatures in the high twenties and thirties, we had a refreshingly cool day yesterday with a few downpours. Gardening was abandoned, and the wood stove was begging to be lit up.
A look at the forecast weather for the next two days showed that it would be cool enough to have the stove lit for two days. So a rummage in the freezers resulted in a couple of bags of cooked bones that I'd been saving from our meals over the past few weeks. The bones are all from our own organic home raised chicken, beef and lamb, so are perfect for bone broth which needs to simmer for twenty four hours to release all of that goodness held in the bones.

This big wire spoon is perfect for taking out the bones at the end of cooking. I bought it in Kathmandu, Nepal, and I don't know what it's called but I'm pretty sure this kind of utensil could be purchased here in Australia.
I then tip the broth through a finer sieve before pouring into containers for the freezer.

I think my favourite storage container for broth is zip lock baggies. Sit them into a container in the fridge to cool before placing into the freezer.  Remove the container once the broth is frozen into a block. This makes it so easy to grab a small amount of broth when cooking. No need to think ahead and thaw it out the day before. Who's that organised?? Need to make gravy... grab a frozen bag of broth, into the pot on the stove, and within a few minutes it's thawed.

Another two batches of chutney were churned out; this one for the lovers of spicy hot..!

A small batch of Raspberry and Apple Jam.

A few sourdough loaves. It would be wasteful not to utilize the oven as well as the stove top. ;)

Tasting...for purposes of quality control. Someone has to do it!

Autumn has officially arrived, but here in South Australia we're getting the summer weather that we missed out on during Summer, so the stove has been allowed to go out, as we return to high temps for the next couple of weeks.
Gosh it was a nice two days though.! Come on Autumn.
Cheers and thanks for dropping in. :)


  1. Glad to hear your cow is doing better.
    What a beautiful, busy life you have, I know it's hard work, but oh what satisfying work it must be!

    1. Cheryl thank you so much for this comment of yours. It made me stop for a minute to appreciate that I do indeed have a wonderful life now. I'm so very blessed. I'm sorry to read that you've stopped blogging because I've only just discovered you when I followed the trail back and loved reading and catching up on what you do. I hope you'll decide to start writing again after a break, but I fully relate to and understand your reasons for stopping.

    2. Thank You Sally, you are tempting me with your lovely comment too!

  2. So good to hear that Lavender is doing well.
    We are having a late summer here in Victoria too. I'm so looking forward to the cooler weather.
    I use a big wire spoon just like yours, which I bought in an Asian shop, for lifting ravioli out of the boiling water. It comes in very handy.

    1. Aha, yes I guess the Asian shops would be the place to buy such gadgets. Thanks Yvonne.

  3. So good to hear that Lavender is doing well. She's very lucky to still have a functioning front quarter after such a nasty accident. All kudos to you for your expert care of her.

    1. We're so lucky her recovery has turned out as well as it has Sue.

  4. Thx for the update. Good to hear lavender is back to full production, and you got some rain!

    1. And those dreaded summer weeds are coming up too Liz! Potato weed and Caltrop...!!

  5. Lavender, it is so good to hear that you are well again and back to your tricks!
    Sally, I have another batch of your sauce to make next week! Is your Raspberry/Apple Jam recipe on your blog? I'm thinking 50/50 berrys/apples? I will go and have a look! As always so inspired reading your blog/Instagram. It feels like summer here too, absolutely awful ! Jude xxx (Instagram: fairywrencottage)

  6. Sally, sorry I am behind with reading blogs. I am so pleased to hear about Lavender and aren't you the clever one to work out how to get more milk out of her. Our weather is in the high twenties which isn't too bad but the nights have cooled down making it so much easier to sleep after our dreadful heatwaves.

    1. Glad to see you're feeling well enough to read again Chel. Here in the south, this summer is just going on and on..! Totally over it, but the nights are cooler thank goodness.


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