Getting Through the Winter (and other thoughts)

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What a winter! Up here, in the North, we have had everything one can think of in terms of weather – snow (SO much of it), rain, wind, flooding – everything except an earthquake and tornado, really. We still have snow and thankfully, it is melting. A nearby river flooded one of the main streets out to our house and ran down the road. Eli (out youngest) thought it was cool but I nervously watched as it, with a strong current, swept down one half of the road. The animals have faired ok, although, we lost one of our goats. Goats are very prone to bloat and a grain sack was left in their house and he must have jumped the fence and gorged himself on grain. Not good. So, in the morning, he was just laying down, in the evening, he was gone. Sad. We still go on and are hopeful our two female goats will have babies (after being bred three months ago)

Spring time is always welcome up here. Birds slowly start coming out and their voices are such a soothing sound. I will stand still and just listen to them. To me, their songs mean spring is here and winter’s tight grip is slowly releasing. Winter didn’t want to let go this year but I am thankful for seasonal changes and God’s Plan to bring the seasons each year.  Over the course of the last week, each day, more and more birds have appeared around our house – robins, primarily, flying from tree to tree, showing that they are back for the season. The Vernal Equinox which now puts South America (those places below the Equator) at the start of fall, puts us up north here, at the start of spring.

A cautious deer beyond our goat enclosure

Category: Schweitzer

It is Never Dull on the Farm!

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So, tonight, our transformer blew. This is a very important part of our electrical system and without it, we have no electricity. Apparently, these things last about 30 years and then, poof, just blow. Earlier this year, in the summer, one of our underground cabels stopped working and out Northern Lights came, with their high-powered diggers, spending upwards of five hours to replaced a bad cable. Tonight, they spent about three hours replacing a huge, 500lb electrical box.  Here is the excitement:

ok, so, we have electricity back. Thankfully. Just in time for an *approaching* HUGE snow storm!

Category: Schweitzer

Cows That Don’t Want to Move

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So, we get our chicken feed and hay from a farm, nearby. Today, while driving the fairly long driveway to pick up our farm supplies, the cows, that inhabit the fields around the farm, were standing in the middle of the road. They are NOT in a hurry to move. It is funny because they look at us like we are from a different planet. All the while, they take their sweet time moving. I caught a video of it and a close-up picture of a friendly cow…just more of what our life is like, out here in the North Idaho country.

picture of curious, friendly cow:

Category: Schweitzer

Gestation Period of Goats

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So, we took our female goats (Nibbles and Buttercup) to a farm, North of us. We know the lady who is currently housing a male goat. She invited us to drop our females by because she is renting a male goat for about a month, so her females can also breed. Once our females have mated, it will be a five-six month gestational period before the babies are born. For us, up North here, timing is key for when our baby goats are born. We don’t want them born in the frigid, below-zero temps, like we are having now. So, we have timed it to coincide with spring, when the temps are warmer. One of our females had her babies outside the chicken house last year, right on the hard ground. It happened so fast and all of us got up during the night to see if all was well, that really, there was no way we could have made the birthing experience warmer, more comfortable, etc.  Nigerians, of all the goat breeds, are probably the most independent on having babies (don’t need our assistance) and Nibbles, our female, proved this point. She had her babies all on her own.

So, this spring, we are hoping the same happens with both our females. While driving back home, Aaron told me that Greta, our friend, said that sometimes, Jacob (male goat) has bred with females and the females have had four goats at once! Whoa! This means we will have to build out on our existing goat shed to house all the goats.

Did I ever think I would be into goat breeding? Well, let me answer this questions with a question- did I ever think I would own goats? Nope. But, now we have five and very well, by spring time (June-ish) could have upwards of 9-11 goats, all together. They are good grazers and we will put them in our side field. I definitely plan on milking the females and making soap and cheese. This has been a HUGE goal of mine. I will write more as we go through this process.  For now, I’m praying that the females become pregnant and we have healthy goats come springtime.

Nibbles is right behind Sophie (the dog) and Buttercup is the goat walking up, in the distance.

Category: Schweitzer

Girl Goats going to a Farm North, for Breeding

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This morning, we took our two female goats, Buttercup and Nibbles, up North to a farm. It was soooo cold outside! They were fairly complient with getting into the van; the ride up was non-eventful but the kids would comment now and then about one or other of the goats being on their laps. The goats were rather sedate.  Here is a video from it:

Category: Schweitzer

Blowing Snow up at Our Place

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There are fields across the road from us and as we came home from church, we stopped so I could catch a video of this – snow blowing across the fields like there is a blizzard going on. This is NOT typical for us, up here. We have a confluence of snow, wind and drifts. More snow on the way tonight, apparently. Some snow whips up into a tiny tornado.

Category: Schweitzer

Hi Goats – They are Talking to Me and are Happy for Grain!

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A bright and early day at the Norling Farm. The goats are happy and have lots to say! Cross-Country skiing today and many other adventures, I’m sure. In such a good mood because even though it is seven degrees, I can just feel a warm front moving in…warming up to maybe, 20! Or, maybe, 25!

Category: Schweitzer

Counting Eggs and an Unfriendly Chicken

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I’m posting a video of a chicken who DOESN’T want me anywhere near her and her egg-laying duties. Casually strolling into the chicken egg-laying factory, I wished to tell the viewer of our set-up and how the chickens prefer some egg-laying boxes over others. Just as I was saying most are ok with me checking under them, this chicken makes it very plain and clear that she does NOT want me checking under her – watch and see…

You know, normally, chickens are fairly docile. Not her. She wanted to sit on those eggs and she made sure I knew!

Category: Schweitzer

Getting Hay and Feeding the Goats in REALLY COLD WEATHER

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Quick video of my reaction to the cold:

Ok, today is colder than blue blazes and I ain’t going to mince words. It is -3 or -5 and just coming in from outside my insides nearly felt like they would burst. We dragged the hay to the goats – they were hungry and ready for hay, and all the while I wondered what in the world I was doing.

Here are the goats REALLY HAPPY to have hay:

I’m astounded that the goats hang out in this kind of cold. They must have internal heaters chugging along, at all times. They have really grown thick hair, probably for days just like this.

Dragging the hay to the goats:

Goats awaiting their hay:

Finally, into their small barn area:

 

Category: Chickens and Goats

Quarktaschen – I’m Thinking of Embarking on this “Outside of the box” Baking Experiment

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Pictures are so helpful:

http://static.chefkoch-cdn.de/ck.de/rezepte/104/104962/599918-960×720-quarktaschen.jpg

 

Nope, this isn’t the scientific unit or the character from Deep Space Nine. This is a humble, German, folded pastry with a scrumptious filling. As I’ve been reading historical fiction, the one thing that hasn’t been fiction is the food. I’ve learned so much about German food in the book I am reading (The Ice Cutter’s Daughter) that one recipe (out of many) jumped out. Quarktaschen is a smallish-folded pastry filled with Quark (a type of curdled cheese) along with other flavors. Here is the recipe I will be following for Quark: (one can fill these with endless possibilities)

https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/quark

Here is what Quarktaschen looks like: (another link)

http://www.yummly.co/#recipe/Exotische-Quarktaschen-943487

And yes, here is the recipe:

4 2/5 ounces low-fat Quark
1 cup wheat flour (type 1050)
4 2/5 ounces RAMA original
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
4 2/5 ounces low-fat Quark
2 4/5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 mango
5 9/14 tablespoons coconut flakes
 knead Quark, flour, Rama, salt and powdered sugar with the hook of the Handrührers to make a smooth dough. 30 minutes refrigerate the dough.
 2. for the filling, mix cottage cheese, sugar and orange zest. Peel mango, cut into slices and roll in the grated coconut.
 3. dough on a floured work surface, roll out and cut into 6 squares (10 x 10 cm). On each square about 1 Tablespoon filling and spread the mango it. The corners slightly to the middle of the fold and press.
Quark bags lay on a baking tray with baking paper occupied and in a preheated oven at 200 ° C (fan: 175 ° C) bake for about 30 minutes.
 .
I will post pictures of mine once I bake them! Bon Appetit, or should I say, Genießen Sie Ihre Mahlzeit
Category: Baking