A Sweet Taste of Autumn

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6:30 AM DST in Maryland

I really should of grabbed a jacket when I went out early this morning to tend the animals. I love this time of year. I’m not sure who doesn’t. And I know Josie is happy to see cooler temperatures. I know. I too was at the end of my first pregnancy, 25 years ago.

I too was looking large, feeling off balance and wanting nothing more than a cool drink and a place to prop my feet! I’m not sure I could of stood on one foot….she’s quite talented, being able to scratch her behind on three legs!

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Sweet Girls 25th birthday is on Friday. 25 years ago my water broke on Labor Day, how appropriate! It was hotter than…. But Sweet Girl showed signs of who she would be and didn’t want to come out and only did so with a lot of prodding! She was born the next day after much convincing that it was a good thing. Way back when, they used to keep us in the hospital for a few days….I really can’t remember how many it was. What I do remember is that the day she came home, we had our first taste of Autumn.

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I didn’t accomplish much this weekend, at least not physically. I did work on my Sheepwalk & Fences Vest by Autumn House Farm and I really like it. I’m not sure what’s going on with me…..I think it’s just a combination of Menopause and Babesia. I didn’t sleep much last night and I’m not sure why. I usually sleep like a rock. It could of been the frequent hot flashes and the fact that my mind was racing all night. My doc told me that hot flashes are a sign that the adrenals are stressed. Yeah, that sounds about right. So, now my job is trying to eliminate that stressor in my life. Not so easy, but I have to let it go.

So, it’s time to up my Cod Liver Oil again and watch my diet. In the mean time I won’t stress out over the little things like the grass and pasture need cutting (4 hr job), the garden needs weeding (3 hr job), the house needs cleaning, the manure needs hauling (1 hr job). It’s pretty hard to accomplish a lot when my energy reserve is only 3-4 hours! I guess I should be thankful that it’s overcast and looks like rain and go unload the dishwasher. But that’s been part of the problem….so much rain and everything is growing and makes my work load greater.

Here’s my vest….maybe I’ll finish it today and spit my tongue out at the yardwork!

Heck, it will be there tomorrow….I know my yardwork fairy isn’t comin!

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Nice foot too!

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My Vit D Mantra!

My Vit D mantra is take Cod Liver Oil, take CLO, take CLO, take CLO!

I read this article on The Conspiracy of Silence About Swine Flu (I know a weird title….?), extremely important that I wanted to share it with you. I also wrote a post on the importance of Vit D a few months ago, that specifically tied Vit D deficiency to pain and fatigue. Here is a whole list of reasons to increase your Vit D intake NOW…..don’t wait until you start to feel sick. It’s usually too late by that point.

I’ve asked myself for years now, “why do we get so sick in the winter?”

I’ve come up with a few of my own unscientific reasons, although they’ve been proven to be true. One is the lack of Vit D from sunshine. Another is the increase in the amount of sugar during the holidays. Sugar increases the insulin levels in the body which in turn depresses the immune system.

“Vitamin D is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight. Season, geographic latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreen affect UV ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis in the skin, and it is important for individuals with limited sun exposure to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet.” reference: Wikipedia

Natural sources of vitamin D include:

  • Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil, 1 Tbs. (15 mL) provides 1,360 IU (one IU equals 25 ng)
  • Fatty fish species, such as:
    • Herring, 85 g (3 ounces (oz)) provides 1383 IU
    • Catfish, 85 g (3 oz) provides 425 IU
    • Salmon, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz]) provides 360 IU
    • Mackerel, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz]), 345 IU
    • Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 50 g (1.75 oz), 250 IU
    • Tuna, canned in oil, 85 g (3 oz), 200 IU
    • Eel, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz), 200 IU
  • A whole egg, provides 20 IU (esp eat lots of yolks)
  • Beef liver, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz), provides 15 IU
  • RAW MILK!

And don’t forget a few years ago when it was the Avian Flu, it was recommended to consume the juice from sauerkraut. Not the vinegar kind you find in the grocery. But the kind I posted on a couple days ago; fermented sauerkraut. It’s loaded with another vital nutrient, Vit C!

Now back to the article on The Conspiracy of Silence About Swine Flu. Frankly, I believe that the government today is not our friend. Unfortunately I’ve found out the hard way through my own battle with a very political disease, that this is true. Is there a conspiracy? I don’t know about that. But I believe that this administration will take advantage of any crisis! Not my words but theirs! Here is Rahm Emmanuel, the Presidents Cheif of Staff. So, do they want to stay silent and not give you a simple prescription to warding off The Swine Flu? You decide. In my opinion, it would be the perfect crisis to force through the Health Care Bill, which I am in opposition to. I do believe that some kind of reform is needed, but not this Bill! (I warn you, it is a PDF and is over 1,000 pages ….pleasant reading!)

For me and my house, we will consume CLO, get as much unobstructed sunshine as possible, and eat nutrient dense foods! We will NOT get vaccinated! We will continue to build our immune system, do what we can and leave the rest to God. That’s all we can do.

Body Condition Scoring

As you know my entire vocabulary has taken the route of cows.

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On Keeping A Family Cow forum, it’s often asked for someone to comment on a certain cow’s body condition. As a newbie, I’ve found all the numbers more like scoring a swimmer in the Olympics….at least there I know what a perfect 10 is.

The most common range for dairy cows goes from 1-5. And of course somewhere in the middle is best. During a cows life cycle she moves in and out of different scoring.

I found a really great article published by the University of Arkansas on The Importance of Body Condition Scoring.

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Here is what I’m shooting for….a body score between 3 & 4.

I find this job hard because when looking at a pregnant cow, she’s obviously filled out and her body is getting ready for calving. But the vet said Josie looked a little heavy…..yeah, I looked a lot heavy when I was 8 months pregnant! But having been pregnant I can understand the need for good body condition….and I can say, I did not have it!

Here’s what the publication said:

3.0
“This cow is in ideal condition for most stages of lactation. The vertebra are rounded, but the backbone can still be seen. There is between a half-inch and an inch of tissue covering the short ribs. The edges of the ribs are rounded and not as sharp as the BCS 2.0 and 2.5 cows. Hook and pin bones are easily seen, but are round instead of angular. The ligaments connecting them to the backbone form clear boundaries between the forward and rear pelvic areas, but the fat covering
makes them appear smooth and round. The thurl is dished, but not to the same extent as in the thinner cows. The area on either side of the tail head is hollow, but the folds of skin are not as distinct.”
4.0
“Although many producers want their cows to be heavy at calving, research here and in England shows that fat cows lose more condition, eat less and have more post-calving problems than cows that freshen at half a condition score lower. A BCS 4 cow looks fleshy. Her back appears almost solid, like a table top. The short ribs still form a shelf, but they cannot be seen as individual bones and only felt with deep palpation. The hook and pin bones are rounded and have obvious fat padding. The area on either side of the tail

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In this photo though her pin bones look a bit fatty or are they just getting rounded for calving???? I have no clue!

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All I know is a face like that is a perfect 10!!!

Curious Henrietta!

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The new little chicks are enjoying freedom at last!  And Sunday night was the first night (other than the tornado storm night) that they ALL were in the coop at bedtime!  It’s not fun chasing little hens around in the dark!!!  Honey watches me from the kitchen and just laughs!!!  It’s a good thing I love him so much!

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Henrietta, my curious hen runs to greet me when I visit the chicken yard and if she could talk….this is what she’d say…..”well, it’s a pretty hot one today, and did you know that Jenny Hen hasn’t gotten off that nest for weeks, what does she think is going to hatch from that wooden egg, did you see all those new little ladies, they say they are replacements for the old ladies, what old ladies???, and did you see how nice their new house is, I mean, what’s up with that, and I had to go in and try out the new nesting boxes, did you hear me, I told the whole neighborhood that I loved laying my eggs in this new house! and did you see how little those girls are, I mean, they won’t lay you an egg for at least another 3 months…at least! and by the way, why do they get such a nice new house….what did they ever do for you???, and can I have some more bread, not the brown stuff, I like the white one better, and how come that cow over there gets all the apple treats this year, we were here first, and by the way, where did they come from anyway…….and………….and….and….”

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(caught in the act….she makes herself right at home)

I think Henrietta talks none stop all day long. She is always poking her head in to see what I’m doing. She is so curious! And to think, she was my sisters worst nightmare of a hen! Not anymore…she is just a curious busy body!

I love you Henrietta Hen!

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It’s In The Mail

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I finished my B-day gift for my sister yesterday. They turned out great! This was a wonderful pattern from Favorite Socks. It was the basic 64 cast on sock with a simple knit and purl ribbing. They look lacy but they aren’t….don’t worry M! They also have a lot of stretch and are machine wash and dry Merino Wool.

Here’s what I’m working on now….

Sheepwalk & Fence Vest by Autumn House Farm

I’m using the City Tweed from Knit Picks.

And…

Fiona

Fiona

I love working Aran….aren’t they lovely!

And not to forget my younger sis Jackie….it’s her birthday on Halloween….and I think I have just the right gift picked out to knit for her.  She lives in southern California, so it can’t be tooooo woolly!  I do love this new Stroll finger weight yarn from Knit Picks….the heathers are so sweet!

Now to figure out her favorite color???

Stroll

Stroll Sprinkle Heather

Stroll Firecracker Heather

Stroll Firecracker Heather

Stroll Tidepool Heather

Stroll Tidepool Heather

Summers End

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We had a wicked bad storm blow through on Friday evening. There were tornado warnings with rotational winds. The lightening strikes were violent.

The aftermath left my sunflowers a complete disaster. I’m grateful that that is the only thing to report damage to.

I worked for hours on Saturday to cut the sunflower stems off in what must of been 100% humidity. We must of gotten several inches of rain overnight and the plants were almost all uprooted. I’m glad I got to enjoy them while they were blooming beautifully all summer and the bees were none to concerned about the condition of the plants, they were still busy collecting nectar.

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I decided to put them out by the street. I read on a blog the other day that a young mom was driving home after a difficult day and saw a sign for FREE sunflowers. She was overwhelmed with gratitude. She needed that beautiful pick-me up from someone offering FREE sunflowers!

Even though we live in what would be considered a very upscale zip code (notice, I didn’t say neighborhood!), I still put my sunflowers out for FREE. This was my simple blessing this weekend and I hope someone had their spirits lifted by these lovely summer ladies!

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I didn’t let the seeds go to waste.  I laid them out to dry and I’ll collect them for my Jersey girls!

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Brined Sauerkraut

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My cabbage did very well this year. I think I got about 15-20 lbs.

I chopped it roughly and pounded it with 3 Tbsp Seasalt.  The ratio I used was 5lb to 3 Tbsp Salt.  You can use more or less salt depending on how tart you like it.

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My pounder is stained from berries. You just keep pounding and the salt causes the cabbage to release water. I fit 5lb in a 1/2 gal jar. In the first picture I used a ziplock filled with salt water to weigh the cabbage down and force liquid up so the cabbage is covered. That’s the most important part of brining, is to keep the food covered with the brine water.  I placed the jar on a small plate to catch any overflow….and it did overflow.

I set it in a cool spot and after 3-4 days I tasted. I thought it needed a lot more time, and it was finally ready for my taste after 10 days.

It’s recommended to eat 1/2 cup of fermented foods with each meal to aid in digestion. I credit fermented beasties for the majority of my healing from Chronic Lyme Disease.