Tagged "2012-1"

Berlusconi, The Territorial Livestock Guardian Dog

Berlusconi the LGD at Work

With the prospect of literally spending thousands of dollars on animals in the next few months we’ve been researching the different options for protecting the livestock. The first line of defense will be permanent perimeter fencing. It helps keep predators out and our animals in, although it’s not foolproof. We’re using some fencing leftover from the prior owners and also putting up some new fence as needed. Predators will find a way to circumvent the fencing, no doubt. In order to deter them further we plan to have Livestock Guardian Dogs, or LGDs. Very simply, these are big dogs (normally white ones) that live outdoors with the animals and do what their name says, guard. The ability is genetic, although a certain amount of training and level of maturation is necessary for them to succeed. More to come on that later, but for now I wanted to share a story I was reminded of while researching our various dog options.

Read more →

Farmstead Cheese Equipment: What's a Small Farmer To Do?

Maria at Masseria la Greca outside Lecce in Salento, Italy

Since the end of last summer we’ve been acquiring the bits and pieces to put together the creamery. The primary components we’re interested in are the milking system (pipeline or bucket, we don’t know yet), the bulk tank and the cheese vat. The milking system is exactly what it sounds like. It includes the piping and the vacuum system required to milk the animals. In a bucket system you pump the milk directly into buckets and then dump it into the bulk tank. In a pipeline system you pump the milk through a pipeline that flows directly into the bulk tank. There are other variations as well, but those are the basic methods. The bulk tank is where the milk goes for cooling after milking. It cools the milk to approx 40 degrees within an hour or two. Once the milk in the tank is cool and you have enough to make cheese you open up a pipeline and the milk flows to your vat. From there you begin the cheesemaking process. Aside from the construction of the building, these three pieces of equipment are typically the largest capital expenses.

Read more →

Impending Move to Nowhere, Reading Gets Primal

Cover of Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner and available at Hesperian.org

With the move date drawing closer my research is getting more primal. It's been a strange phenomenon, but true. Maybe it's because every time I tell a friend about our plans the first thing they ask is, "Are you going to get a gun?" Ha. It's even funnier when I tell them that I already have guns, plural. More likely, however, it's because I'm subconsciously (and now consciously) reacting to the fact that we'll be living in the middle of nowhere in approximately 6 weeks.

Read more →

Bean Soup with Lemon Paprika Oil

bean, soup, lemon, paprika, infused, oilUsually by January's end I've made dozens of bean soups. This year however, we had yet to enjoy our first until this weekend. It has been a winter of eerily mild weather. This past Saturday it was close to 60f and Scrapple and I went to the farmers market half dressed in tee-shirts. Finally though, on Sunday, the temperature dropped enough to cook one up. Bean soups are best for cold days when you just want to snuggle up under a quilt next to a fire. They're hearty and filling, warming and comforting and one of my favorite winter staples. A pot simmering on a Sunday afternoon makes the kitchen a cozy spot to read or write and the meal practically cooks itself. If you have less time at home in the evening, you can speed up the process by putting the beans in water to soak in the morning and letting them sit for the day. If you do this, you can cut the cook time down to 30-45 minutes. Be sure to test the beans for doneness. 
Read more →

Human Farming

No, not farming humans. And no, I didn't mean to say humane. I am talking about the people actually doing the farming. The humans.
Read more →