29 January 2016


... I just can't. 

So I put on my reindeer pyjamas and got back into bed. 

Some days are like that, even in Australia.

28 January 2016

Cheese test!

Today I cut open the first cheese I made on January 15:

It is very mild yet, sort of... Gouda-ish. Very yummy. 

I've sealed it back up and will let it age a few more weeks.

There is a lot of cheese stacking up... Yay!

19 January 2016

Non linear journaling

I made this journal over the last two days... It's intended for non linear journaling, writing, drawing, stamping, adding bits and pieces and such. 

It's just a composition book, with lots of pages removed... Then stuff and paint added and pages glued together for thickness. There are a few tags hung on string, some tabs at the page edges, lots of room to add words and "stuff".

Most of the papers are leftovers from other projects, and everything is attached with plain white glue, glue sticks, washi tape stickers and assorted paints. 

This book is destined for someone else, and I hope it will be enjoyed... And written in and doodled on and stamped and scribbled and mussed up. 

That's what makes it personal.

13 January 2016

Dairy update

- Sasha is predictably giving 6 litres of milk every day, plus whatever the calf takes when he does "cleanup milking"

- the calf (who will acquire a name later this week) is tied in the barnyard today: he is being very good about the halter, munching hay, licking the fences, and helping himself to the water bucket 

- Sasha is still looking askance at the newcomer but her tolerance is slowly increasing 

- I am in the middle of making cheese from 9 litres of milk (using my biggest stock pot sitting in the enamel canner for a water bath)

- I have a couple of litres of cream warming up to make butter 

- I am going to lie down until the curds are ready to drain

11 January 2016

Dexter dairy production

For prospective Dexter owners, there isn't a lot of detail about how much milk they really produce. 

In the interests of adding to the store of common knowledge, I've been measuring. 

As we aren't sharing with a calf this year, I have better data than previous efforts... At a week post freshening, Sasha is reliabily providing 6 litres of milk every day. 

We have been getting the new Holstein calf to do "cleanup milking" - he gets tied to the milk stall when I'm done and slurps up what he can, so Sasha is producing a bit more than the measured amount, though not a whole lot. 

All is well so far... Sasha isn't in love with the calf, but a few more sessions of cleanup milking might change her mind. We shall see!

I am definitely going to make cheese. Even with all of us here, we won't drink six litres a day!

09 January 2016


Sasha still isn't quite sure about this new member of the barnyard family. 

The temperature has dropped considerably and he was shivering so he is back in the barn with a heat lamp to give a smidgen more warmth. I warmed his milk, too, which seemed like a good idea. 

In other news, I used the cream separator that my friend gave to me, and then drank fresh milk and made delicious butter. 

Been a while since I made butter, but I remembered!

08 January 2016

We have a calf

..  Though not through the expected means. 

Sasha calved on Wednesday, without making any noise so we didn't realize anything had happened. I went out mid morning and there she was with a dead bull calf. Not sure if he even got up, he didn't look like he had stretched out. 

Regardless, he was gone. Sasha looked around for him a little but seemed fairly unaffected. Which is good, really. 

After some pondering we decided to purchase a dairy bull calf: by the time he is breeding age it'll be a good time for Sasha to start a pregnancy (i.e. so we don't have a January calf again) and he can head off to freezer camp once his job is done. 

We get beef, a sire for the next calf (maybe two, depending how he grows and when he gets cranky), and a buddy for Sasha and Miss May. 

So far everyone is just settling in, locked up in the barn. Tomorrow I'll arrange better introductions. 

He is awfully cute. 

Better pictures tomorrow. :)