Friday, September 30, 2011

Some thoughts on cream...

These are some thoughts that you have when you have a cow and get three to four gallons of milk a day. The milk is strained into one gallon glass jars and put into the "milk 'fridge'" (yes, we have a refrigerator which is designated for the overabundance of dairy products). After a day or two the cream has risen to the top. The milk is skimmed and the cream is put into one of two categories in which the terminology and the science is contradictory.

The "heavy" cream is as the top. It is very thick on real, actual milk right from a cow. In contrast to its name it is actually "lighter" than the rest of the milk. That is why it floats on top.

The "light" cream is the next layer. There is no clearly defined demarcation, you just go by feel and experience. It is actually heavier than "heavy" cream, which is why it sinks below the "heavy" cream.

See the contradictions?

After all of the cream has been skimmed off you have skim milk. I have heard that there are people who actually prefer to drink skim milk above all other kinds of milk. Interesting.

We give it to the pigs (living at a friend's house - they swing by after work and pick up five gallon buckets of it) or we make "curds and whey" (yes, just like Little Miss Muffet ate) and give it to the chickens.

I was surprised at how many people jumped right off of the "healthy" soy milk wagon when we recently brought a quart of heavy cream to work. Don't think we didn't notice how quickly that quart disappeared...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A waddling of ducks

There is a very large list of collective nouns for ducks, but the one that best describes what we have here on Haldan Farm is a waddling.

About a year and a half ago we bought several duckling from the local farm store. After spending some time in a confined space under lights getting adjusted we let them have their freedom around the farm. They did their job (eating slugs) and proved to be so funny and cute that we were shocked that we hadn't thought to get ducks years before.

Haldan Farm is, though, in a place which features many predator birds (owls, bald eagles, hawks and more) and we had some losses and got down to one clever female. We bought a few more ducklings from the farm store and the adult female literally took them under her wing and we had a new waddling. They always travel together and are such a joy when returning home from a late-night meeting. No matter the hour, they wake right up and come and greet at the driveway. No one can sneak onto our property at night! They are immediately assaulted with a cacophony of "quack, quack!"

Recently we acquired five more ducklings. These, like all of the others, were kept in a confined space for the first two weeks so that they could adjust to our place, but the adult ducks had access to view them and visited regularly.

Today is the ducklings first day out and about and those four ducks are taking them for a tour - really! They are waddling around and showing the littles the place, pausing when necessary so that everyone can catch up. I never knew ducks could be so wonderful, and now I can't imagine a farm without them!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Snow in August

What do you do on a hot summer day in the Pacific NW? You go "to the mountain" to walk on the snow! Saturday was one of our warmer days this summer. We had three adults and three children (various combinations of family, relatives, friends) and headed up around the back of Mt. Baker. We got to see the active craters (dirty snow lets us know where these are) and we got to play in the snow.

The flies were a bit beastly, but repellent helped. We'll do this hike again, but after a good, hard frost to eliminate the bulk of the buggies. A great day, a great hike, and lovely people!