Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meet Moses & Miriam!!

Our Alpine, Mary, gave birth on Sunday, February 16th, to two kids!  One billy and one doe!  Moses, the billy, looks just like mama, and Miriam, the doe, looks just like papa who happens to be Jack, our first billy born on our farm the same day of last year!!  Isn't that neat?!

We have been in need of a container for hay for our goats so Nate and Christian got busy with some free pallets!  They simpy attached 2 pallets on opposite sides to a base pallet with L brackets, then nailed on 4 pieces of a disassembled pallet to the other parallel sides.  Nate added a top with 2 hinges to keep the goats out of their hay becuase they love to lay in it!!
 Nate then sawed off every other pallet board to allow bigger head space for the goats.

There you have it!  A little planning and a few tools, and lots of free pallets equal a great addition to our farmstead :)  Great job boys!!
More animals also means a need for more shelters…yet another way to use free pallets!  Ben and dad have started the shelter, and I will be sure to post pictures of the finished product soon!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemade Baby Formula? Yes!

Breast is definitely best…but sometimes, as in Maddie's case, not enough.  She is my eighth baby and this is the first time I have had a lack of breast milk.  It started her first few weeks of life…I noticed scant diapers, no bowl movements, she seemed weary all the time.  Even the coloring on her face didn't seem right.  She was getting thinner, it seemed, every time I changed her diaper.  At 3 weeks of age I finally listened to my mothering instincts and took her to our family doctor.  I was right: she weighed 6.1 and at birth she was 7.13.  That's almost a 2 pound loss!!  At 3 weeks old babies should be back to their birth weight, plus some!  I sought counsel from friends and a la leche leader.  Some said I could have retained placenta, which is a hormonal issue not allowing milk to come in; too much stress; and as you can see in this picture Maddie has a bit of a tongue tie which some said could be the cause of less milk production (baby not sucking well decreases milk supply).  Enter: Nourishing Traditions baby formula recipe to supplement.  Great cookbook with a wealth of nutrition information…I highly recommend it.  There is even a website, www.westonaprice.org with loads of more nutrition information and sources for raw milk.
You can search Amazon for all the ingredients, but I personally found it easiest to order the ingredients as a "kit" from Radiant Life.  They give you enough of each ingredient (minus the raw milk, cream & whey) to last 1 month, 3 months or 6 months, whichever you choose to buy.  To me this made more sense.  For example, the lactose you run out of quickly, but in the 3 month kit you get 6 bags of it. Made more sense to me so I wasn't scurrying for an ingredient I ran out of. 
The process of making the formula seems very intimidating at first, but once you do it a few times it really is no big deal…it has become a part of my every day.  (It is recommended in the book that you make a fresh batch daily)  Thankfully here in SC raw milk is legal so I have easy access to it.  If you don't where you live there is a meat-based formula recipe on the website here.  I will eventually try this one as well since we have a freezer shelf full of chicken livers and homemade bone broth.  The only step you need to think ahead on is the whey.  Be sure to strain some out before your baby will need the formula.  I do a quart at a time and store the whey in the fridge.
You can find the full recipe and instructions for the raw milk formula here.  In the pot I have half the water, the gelatin, lactose, coconut oil and cream warming up.  I decided to freeze our cream for storage purposes, and its easiest to melt it in the pot instead of putting it frozen in the blender. 
Once that's all melted and mixed add it to the blender with the rest of the water, milk, whey, and remaining ingredients.  Blend for 3 seconds and you're done.
I store Maddie's in a half gallon glass jar (recommended) in the fridge, and each time I pull it out I give it a good shake to incorporate all the oils again.  You can find the recipe for this nourishing baby's formula here.  Hope this is helpful to someone out there…I'm very thankful I already had the Nourishing Traditions cookbook and knew about this, but I know there are those who aren't aware of it.
Maddison is one content baby now, getting plenty of nourishment!  Thankfully, she is still nursing, but this addition has helped her tremendously.

Snow Day!!

 We woke this morning to a couple inches of beautiful snow!
 Time for some fun!!

 Jason took the kids down to the creek to sled down the hill

We have added to our flock of hens with guineas!  6 of them for now, and that may be it…they are extremely loud!  That is one of the reasons we got them.  They alert the rest of the flock of predators…well, anything that they think may be a threat…they squak at cars that drive by and they squak at us when we go to collect eggs or clean the egg mobile!!  They will also provide us with eggs that are extremely rich in omega 3's due to the high volume of insects they eat, which is the other reason we added them to our farm…to help control the bugs, ticks especially.  They will free roam with the hens, but I'm looking forward to keeping them in the garden this Spring & Summer.  They don't scratch like chickens do, and they are always on the hunt for bugs so they will really help out in that area!  They are an interesting looking bird…we serve a creative Maker!!
 Handsome fellow, isn't he?  He's our cinnamon king!
Our piggies are fattening up very quickly.  Their feed intake has increased 150lbs every 2 weeks for the last month!  And they are always rooting.

This is our 2 year old Alpine beauty, Esther.  All the goat's thick coats grew in back in November, and they are bushy and beautiful!
 Ruthie was enjoying licking the snow off the fence!

Even on fun snow days there is still work to be done and animals to be fed.

All the waterers had an inch thick of ice covering the top that had to be broken to allow the animals to drink.
All our cinnamon queen and barred rock hens have started laying and we are getting an average of 2 dozen eggs a day!  Live nearby and want to feed your family fresh eggs from free roaming hens?  Contact us on our Facebook page to get more information!
 I love this big helper!!