Turn Kitchen Scraps Into Christmas Dinner

By on Dec 11, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

What can you do with kitchen vegetable scraps? It might take six months but there is a way to convert leftover cabbage, carrots, pumpkins and other veggie scraps (lettuce, asparagus stems, celery stalks) into ham. Here’s how. Collect refrigerated kitchen scraps from a restaurant or commercial kitchen, we get most of our kitchen scraps from Grappone Conference Center.  Make sure there is no meat in the mix and that the scraps have never been served to humans. If they have been on a plate, toss them. Be sure the veggie scraps have been refrigerated and mix the scraps with pig pellets to provide protein that veggies are lacking. Then feed them to a pig or two. Do this for six or eight months and your pig will be ready to become ham for Christmas or Easter or maybe just ham and cheese sandwiches. This is one way to reduce landfill in a tasty and sometimes fun way. I say “sometimes...

Animals are Smart

By on Dec 4, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

There were clearly pig tracks in the dirt and the decorative pumpkins in front of the store had been eaten but there were no loose pigs. The empty scrap buckets stacked in front of the barn were tipped over and snout marks covered the bottoms of the containers but there was not a pig in sight. Every night we push the pigs out of their huts, clean the floors and feed pans. Then we fill the pans with food while the pigs watch eagerly from the doorway. The rule, that most of them follow, is to wait patiently until the pans are filled. Then on the command, “Ok,” they pile into the pen to eat. Those that jump in too soon are shooed out and have to go to the end of the line so there is an incentive to being patient. Then when we leave the pig hut we try to remember to re-latch the pen doors and put up the electric fence wire. That night either we forgot to latch the door, or the pigs figured...

Fall is the Time To Wean Calves

By on Nov 29, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

It’s weaning time on the farm, that special time of year when we are kept up all night by the mooing of the cows calling to their calves. The eight Highlander calves we’re weaning have been eating grass and hay for months and while they like to nurse they don’t have to. We try to plan all the births in the spring so that we can wean the babies six months later, in the fall. Our cattle are raised for beef but dairy operations work differently. Dairy calves are born all year and are weaned shortly after birth. The main purpose of a dairy cow is to produce milk. By weaning the calf, milk can be collected from the cow. Dairy cows are typically milked twice a day, twelve hours apart. Some backyard farms with one or two cows let the calf nurse once a day then the farmer milks the cow the other time. This allows the farmer to “take a break” from twice a day milking. We...

Pigs and Cows Love Pumpkins

By on Nov 20, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Not sure what to do with all those Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations? No need to cook them or peel them just donate them to your favorite cows or pigs. Are they soft and squishy? All the more tasty for your four-legged friends. What is one man’s waste can be dinner for a pig or a cow. Our barn is filled with a mountain of pumpkins and squash donated by Cole Garden. Frozen, then thawed pumpkins are soft and perfect for cattle to eat. The hard pumpkins need to be split so we have a smash fest to crack them open before we feed them. A friend of the farm, whose apple trees exploded with fruit this year, brought us boxes of apples which the pigs and cattle devoured. We also get kitchen scraps from Grappone Conference Center which include the occasional bucket of eggs for the pigs. The cattle love the pineapple and melon rinds and besides the eggs, the pigs get bread and apple pie. Each...

When the Cattle Don’t Want to Come Home

By on Nov 15, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The cows didn’t want to come home. We thought with the recent snow and cold temperatures the eighteen head of cattle at one of our remote pastures in Gilmanton would be hungry and ready to move to a new pasture in Canterbury. At first, they followed two cows we led towards the temporary pen attached to the stock trailer. Sure they would be hungry we had put hay in the pen hoping they would be distracted by the hay as we closed the panels behind them. Once secure in the pen, we could load them in the trailer.  The herd followed the two cows but about twenty yards from the pen, one particularly flighty purebred Angus cow named “Alice” stopped, looked around then bolted away. Of course, the rest of the herd followed. There were only three of us and one ATV in a twenty-acre pasture where the cows had the advantage. The cattle seemed to enjoy the chase with Bruce, my husband, as he...

Generators Make Farming Possible After a Storm

By on Nov 8, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

Next to us at the gas pump, a man was filling a container with gas. The guy in front of us pulled a container from his car and filled that as we pumped fuel into the generator strapped to our flatbed truck. Two days after the tree uprooting storm that flattened much of New Hampshire we were all trying to cope by keeping generators filled with fuel. We have a large generator that kicks in a minute after the power cuts out. This generator is in a concrete building built into the hillside. It is so quiet we only see the lights flicker as it takes over powering the farm during its regular Sunday test run. Test runs are important to make sure the unit functions in an emergency. One generator in the neighborhood was not so silent so for four days, while the power was out, we slept to the purring of what sounded like a loud lawnmower. The rumble from our neighbor’s generator was a...

DIY Cider is Delcious

By on Oct 31, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

At the pressing party, each person took three to four-minute“shifts turning the crank that ground the apples into mush. Six bushels of apples waiting to be ground sat on the picnic table; there was a lot of grinding to do. After the grinding comes the pressing which squeezes the apples into cider. One more step, straining, and the DIY (Do It Yourself) cider was ready for sipping. The centerpiece of this operation was a manual cider press worked by three, or more people. One person cranked, another fed in the apples and a third pushed the apples into the grinder to turn them into mush. Once the small bucket was filled with apple mush two people, using a board for leverage, turned a screw to compress the apple mush extracting the cider which was then strained through cheesecloth and poured into gallon jugs ready to drink. The work looked hard (I just watched and took pictures) but the...

A Magnet Can Save a Life, a Cow’s Life

By on Oct 25, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

How can a magnet save a cow’s life? Here’s how. While our cattle were grazing in a leased pasture in Gilmanton, the farm owner replaced the barn roof by tearing off the existing roof and tossing shingles and nails next to the barn which is also the pasture. The owner cleaned up but may have missed a nail or two. Stepping on a nail is bad, but a bigger concern is that the cattle might eat a nail and get “hardware” disease. Several years ago I’m pretty sure one of my calves died when she ate some metal. Without an autopsy, I’ll never know for sure. When the cow arches her back, moves reluctantly or slowly and groans when lying down and getting up, hardware disease might be the culprit. In dairy cows, there is often a decrease in milk production. The cure is a magnet. A magnet is swallowed by the cow and attracts stray metal keeping the metal in the cow’s...