Friday, October 7, 2011

Slowing Down

Fall is here, and although that doesn't necessarily mean the humans are slowing down (lots of wood to chop, split & stack still), the goats and chickens have definately slowed down in their milk & egg production.

Nettie has been dried up since the beginning of the Summer because of her bout with Mastitis, and Annette's production has significantly dropped in the past three weeks; she's been milking for six months now.   Ishtar is also slowing down, but is still putting out just under a gallon a day.  She's been milking for five months now and I usually dry them up around eight months.  I know they say you can milk them for up to ten months, but I really like to give them a full four months of their energy to go into their pregnancy. 

In my quest to take full advantage of the abundant goat milk we had this summer, I've been making cheese (fresh, Queso Blanco kind'a stuff) and freezing some of it for the winter.  It freezes pretty well, although it's best used as an ingredient in a meal like lasagna as there is some separating of the cheese & whey after defrosting.  Works fine in a baked dish, but isn't as good used for spreading on crackers or toast as the consistency is different.

From a gallon and a half of milk, I'll get just under two pounds of fresh cheese and I have about a dozen packages in the freezer already.  I've been toying with the idea of freezing a few half-gallon jugs of milk, but I don't think we'll have the freezer space with a 1/2 hog and hopefully a deer or two in the near future.

The chickens are also laying less.  I've noticed a huge drop in egg numbers this past month.  We have thirteen hens, but I've only been getting on average four eggs a day.  The length of daylight is waning and there is an abundance of feathers in the bottom of the chicken coop as most have started moulting.  It almost looks as if a chicken exploded.

There was a time last year when we wouldn't get a single egg for several days.  And since I am an egg-snob, I wasn't buying them at the supermarket so we'd just do without.  We have powdered eggs in our long-term pantry and I can use them in just about any baked product, but sometimes you just need to have a fried egg on toast, and those powdered eggs just don't hack it.  I'm not looking forward to an egg-less winter.  Not one bit.  But if we're lucky, our Barnyard Mutts will just be starting to lay the first part of March and hopefully make up for any still-moulting older hens.

Enola Gay over at Paratus Familia just did a blog post about keeping eggs in Water Glass and although I've been tempted to try it, I think I'm just too "chicken" to do it.  Although I suppose I should try it just for the experience. 

Otherwise we'll do what we've done in the past; if the chickens aren't laying eggs, we're not eating eggs & if the goats aren't milking, we're not drinking milk.  Hasn't killed us yet.....and it probably won't hurt my waist line either!


  1. I am totally with you about being an egg snob. A few weeks ago, I purchased a dozen eggs at the market (where I USED to get eggs and LOVED them) because I had some baking to do, and my 3 hens have slowed WAY down... So anywho, I had some left over, so I made scrambled eggs for breakfast... NEVER AGAIN... They were practically flavorless, the color was bland, and they were rubbery... ICK! I am a total egg snob...

  2. Egg snob here, too! My kids wonder what is wrong with pale-yolked store eggs and won't touch them. Sounds like things are rather fall-like on your homestead. Enjoy it! :)

  3. I think that is how the old folks did it. They ate what was in season and then each season became that much more appreciated. I do freeze raw scrambled eggs so at least I can cook with real eggs in the winter. Not like an honest to goodness fried egg but great enough for baking.

  4. Tiny & Mooberry, Egg-Snobs of the World, Unite!

    Donna, I should really try freezing raw scrambled eggs, thanks for the reminder.

    BTW, I've been having trouble posting comments on a few of your blogs lately, Susan & Erica's come to mind right off the bat, anybody know what's up?

  5. We're living through times of not near enough eggs here, too. I caved and bought a dozen (organic) eggs from our co-op but we can't eat them as we would ours for breakfast. Matter of fact, I made some Lemon Bread with the store bought ones and even it was much inferior to that made with our own eggs. Now that's pretty bad, wouldn't you say?

  6. I am in the same boat with you on the eggs. We are getting 1 or 2 a day. We met our neighbors behind us recently when their rented bull got over on us. We told them not to worry about it, but Dh also told them just to turn their two cows in with our herd (3 bulls) when they want them bred and not bother renting a bull. They were happy about that.

    She is still getting lots of eggs from her chickens since they just started laying in March.
    She brought me a dozen eggs last evening! I think I will be safe from 'store' eggs for a while.

  7. I can't do anything with store eggs...baking is dryer and flat...and eating store eggs is just weird...I understand the snobbery of eggs, and how have buyers of ours who have become snobs as well..

  8. Another egg snob here! :) If I really, really have to this winter I will try buying some at the Farmer's Market but I'm hoping it won't be necessary.

  9. *Raises hand* Egg snob here, too! Store eggs are just nastygrossdisgustingewwww.

    Our egg production is way down. I've got a solar light to put in the hen house for winter. Wish me luck on that one. I'm hoping we don't end up with zombie chickens again.