My Farm Life in May, 2010, Homemade Cheese, Cowboy Bread, Breeding Rabbits

My farm life during May. Let me tell you about the fox and chickens, the bees, my favorite cheese recipe and how to make Indian Spinach from Lambs Quarters.

I have tried every day for over a week to write something, anything about my homesteading life so you all would know I have not abandon this blog. May has been a busy month as I know it has been for many. Everything grows so fast in the spring. Lawns need mowing constantly. Trees get out of hand. Hay needs mowing. Thistles need chopping or spraying. Insects take over. May, yes, spring has sprung.

I thought I would write again about my farm life this month since I'm sliding under the wire here. I would simply tell you about my month and how I handled the farming issues that arose. Such as the six bee stings. I'm not sure they were really bees, they looked like bees, but 2 weeks later I'm still healing. I used clay to pull out the venom. Oh my were those leaky bites. They swelled up the size of a dime. No, I'm not allergic to bee stings. These were just very talented bees.

Then there was the huge ant hill that was constructed in the front yard. I have never seen something so large be constructed that fast. 2 large bucks of boiling water and that problem was solved.

Then there was the fox that about wiped me out of chickens. I lost over 65 birds this month. Such is farm life! It was 2 night's worth of killings. I don't dare kill the fox. It's a male, and if I do that it will only invite many more males into the area until another King is declared.

Yes, this King has found his feeding ground and the next may not, however I'm not willing to take that chance. I literally board up and screw in those boards every night, and every morning go out with my screw gun and let the chicks out. I have re-fenced with a welded 1/3" wire, 4' high to the tune of a few hundred dollars I didn't have. That's okay though, as hay was cut so the money will come back soon.

This brings me to the fact a friend dumped a mare and foal on my door step, I used to own them so I gladly took them back. This also means my hay ground is being violated and my resident horse hates the foal.

We had a few close calls over that deal. I am now building fence like a mad woman to keep the horses off the hay ground and have called another friend to take my horse so he can work in a wild west show and not tear down more fences chasing this poor colt over them.

Farm Life and Breeding Rabbits

I'm still working on my house, so plaster, paint, fences, what garden I managed to put in, and the rabbits... Oh the bunnies! I had a wonderful litter of Flemish Giants I so adore them. My next litter is due on my birthday. I can't wait.

This brings us to Lucy. Lucy is a small black and white Dutch rabbit that lives freely in the yard. She never leaves and I have no fear of her being eaten or suffering through a storm. She asks to come into the house when she feels she needs some safety. She also loves to ride in the truck and will also run to the truck if she wants to go for a ride. She is a joy to say the least. Lucy however was also one of the bits of excitement this month in my farm life.

All my rabbit bucks are in pens a min. of 4' height with double wire so no one is breeding through those pens. Some how Lucy ended up pregnant. Wild rabbits cannot breed with domestic rabbits, therefore this was not possible. I'm sure you have heard the adage, "Beware of what you ask for".

Well, I had been wanting to try this new rabbit hopping and agility but cannot hop a Flemish. It's like jumping a draft horse. However the Draft warm blood crosses do very well, and this I'm sure was what Lucy had in mind when the little agile girl cleared the 4' pen to be bred by my giants. Yes, I'm a bit worried about the birth. I also know that if everyone survives this, my hopping rabbit will be born. The world record for jumps is 4.5 feet, Lucky lacked that by 5" and she weighs a mere 2.5 lbs. I'm sure that with this cross we could be very competitive.

I'm very excited, however unplanned this was, it was life moving me forward when I didn't have time to fill my own dreams and wishes, life made the time. I also would like to assure my readers that rabbits adjust the size of their kits to the mothers size. They are not like dogs and other animals that could have to large a birth. Rabbits seem to catch up later. However my vet has been made aware and if need be, we are ready for the worst, and hope for the best.

Then, there is the most exciting thing of all. I met a wonderful man a while ago. He is retired army and loves the country and farm. We have decided to move in together here on One Sky Ranch, the first week of June. What a birthday present huh?

So you see I have not forgotten my farm life blog, and you all. I really was busy. I promise to do better in June. Bill is very organized and I'm sure he will help me "find time" every 2 weeks to write in with new ideas about how to make your farming life easier.

With this, I will leave you with one of my favorite homemade cheese recipes. It's spring so I know the babies are on the ground, and those goats are fresh. This is one of my old standbys when I'm just too busy and want some of that good old "farm fast food"

You can fry this stuff and it will not melt. Its wonderful as cheese sticks. Put in stir-fries, soups, chili.. it doesn't matter. I saute it with veggies and herbs. I exudes the flavor of whatever you cook it in. This is not a good fresh cheese, cooking makes all the difference.

Farm Life and My Favorite Homemade Cheese Recipe

Heat 1 gallon of whole milk to 180 over direct heat (see.. it's really easy)

***Make sure your put is NOT aluminum! If it is enamel, make sure there are no chips or cracks, you can get very ill if there is. Only use stainless steel or non chipped enamel even your spoon.. no wood as its porous and that's where germs live.

Ok! You have your milk in a pot stirring a lot so that it does not scorch. Do not stop stirring! Maintain the 180 degrees for several minutes. Add vinegar until you see it form curds. About 1/4 cup will do. Use white vinegar.

After the tiny curds are formed pour into cheese cloth and hang. Many of the issues with hot weather and hanging will not effect this cheese. This is a 'no fuss, no muss' easy cheese. Hang it until it stops dripping, remove from the cloth and poof! You are ready to go!

Just lay it on the grill with your chicken or put it in the pot with your stew. It's awesome in anything cooked.

Farm Life and Indian Spinach & Fry Bread (Cowboy Bread Recipe)

The Lambs Quarters are also up now and if you have never had Indian Spinach.., you must try it!

Pick 4 times the amount of Lambs Quarter tops you think you will need. Wash them well as they are a bit sandy. Find some of those walking onions that should also be very ready about now. Even the green parts will work very well. Grab a Tortilla or make some fry bread.

(Fry bread, Get a bowl of flour and add a pinch of salt and baking soda to it, a bit of sugar and a small amount of yeast if you like. Add warm water and make a soft dough. Fry and enjoy)

This bread made over a grill or fire without being fried is called cowboy bread and is also very good.

Boil your Lambs Quarters, just until they turn green. Saute your onions and whatever else you like even a strip of bacon, in a pan, then add your greens and fry all together for a short while to mix. Place in a tortilla or fry bread and enjoy. I also like to add fresh salsa to mine, or a bit of hot sauce.

Lambs Quarters are so good for you that if you have malnutrition these will pull you right out of it. They are wonderful for this time of year when your body is working harder then it did last winter and is adjusting to all you have to do. You will feel better and the taste is awesome. No bitterness here.

See you all in June! Gypsy.

By Gypsy, our resident homestead blogger from One Sky Ranch

Gypsy's Wanderings Homestead Blog

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