Sunshine for Dinner Rotating Header Image

farm animals

Goats for sale!

Dairy Goats:

These babies are about 5 weeks old and are being bottle fed with fresh goat milk, supplemented with goat milk replacer as needed.  They are totally tame and very friendly.  They are brother and sister, out of a pure LaMancha doe and a pure Nubian buck.   Both parents are good milking stock.

Doe:  $100.00

We call her Sandy.  She has the nubby ears that result from some LaMancha/Nubian crosses – some LaManchas have no ears at all!  She has been dehorned.

Buck: $50.00

He is a handsome fellow.  The kids didn’t use much imagination when they named him “Billy”, but feel free to choose your own name.  Although he and Sandy are two of three born to the same mama, Billy has the long Nubian ears, inherited from his father.  He has been dehorned.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats:

I am eliminating my small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats.  They are good little hardy goats, great for pets and eating brush.  I have a beautiful buck, very docile, for $75.00, and several does for $50.00 each.  Some are very small.  These goats are not bottle fed, affectionate goats, but they have been handled a lot and are not totally wild.  We interact with them on a daily basis.  If you are looking for goats to eat brush, these are an excellent choice.

Share this:

Milk – a visual journey from udder to fridge

the freshest milk

the freshest milk

I am not a full-time milkmaid, but I have the responsibility for three milkings a week for a small herd of three dairy goats.  One evening I captured the experience to share with the curious.

Daisy

Daisy

Here is Daisy, goat extraordinaire.   She looks rather unremarkable, but she milks like a cow (well, not quite, but almost)!  Her teats are huge and so easy to milk and she is giving slightly over a gallon a day of delicious milk.  She has one mission in life – convert sunshine to milk.  She eats leaves all day, and comes to stand by the barn door ready to milk.  Then she goes back out to the field and commences eating more leaves.  Good girl!

Daisys wonderful udder

Daisy's wonderful udder

This is the business end.

And this is my and Daisy’s business concluded for the evening.  She is officially off duty, and I take it from here.

milk processing equipment

milk processing equipment

Back in the kitchen, the milk is strained into clean (sanitized in the dishwasher) glass quart jars.  The strainer is stainless steel, and the filters are disposable Schwartz brand milk filters.

pouring in the milk . . .

pouring in the milk . . .

The milk is carefully poured into the jars.

It can take a few seconds for the milk to go through the filter.  You can see here some filled jars and one with the plastic lids that we use.  A blue sticker on the lid has a cryptic code, D 2 P, which means Daisy, March 2, evening milking (p as in pm).  Then into the fridge with all the milk.

the used strainer

the used strainer

The used strainer is examined for anything suspicious – what you see is probably bits of hay and a few hairs that have been filtered out.  This is normal detritus.  What you don’t want to see is clots of milk/ blood/ mucus that might indicate mastitus, an infection in the udder, but if you see it here you can begin observation/treatment quickly.

Then the washing up – hot soapy water does the trick.  Everything is ready for morning, when we go again.

Share this:

Milk! Maybe . . .

Jersey milk cows

Jersey milk cows

In Arkansas, there is legislation being considered to make it legal for people to sell modest amounts of raw cow milk as on-farm sales.  This would be so wonderful for our state – if you are interested in supporting this, now is the time to let your state senator know.  The bill has passed the house overwhelmingly, but as far as I can tell is still in the committee in the Senate.  Below is  the letter I wrote in support of the bill, HB1114.  I’ll keep you posted.

I am writing in support of H.B. 1114 – to allow the incidental sale of whole milk that has not been pasteurized.  As a consumer, I would love to be able to purchase raw, whole, cow milk.  As the owner of a farm and business selling locally grown produce, I know that others want this product as well.

While other rural states are reaping the benefits of the local food movement, in southwest Arkansas our grocery money continues to flow elsewhere instead of into the pockets of our local farmers and then back into the community economies that are so critically important to our state. I offer a subscription-type delivery service of locally grown, high quality produce in the Texarkana area, and the demand for my product is far above the supply I can produce at this time.

The local food industry must have both buyers and sellers to succeed. Right now I have lots of buyers on a waiting list, but not enough sellers – growers of local produce – to supply them. While of course I don’t sell milk to my subscribers, any measure that strengthens and diversifies small farms in Arkansas is good for my business and good for the food consumers of Arkansas.

In my investigations of local food distribution in other states, I have noticed that states with laws that are friendly to raw milk access have vibrant and successful small farming and local food communities, where the dollars of local consumers cycle in their local and state economies, creating state and local revenues. Providing raw milk access seems to be an indicator for the growth and success of the local food industry.

We must remove archaic and meaningless regulations that prevent Arkansas landowners from developing profitable and sustainable farming operations. Encouraging young farm families who are committed to a healthy rural Arkansas lifestyle is good for my business.  H.B. 1114 helps the family dairy cow become an asset, not a liability, and therefore makes the whole farm stronger. I want to buy plentiful, high quality, beautiful, local produce to provide for my customers.  I need young farmers to buy from – while I depend now on the network of farmer’s markets in my area, they are overwhelmingly staffed by older folks for whom farming is a hobby.  Farming must become profitable for young families if Arkansas is to take advantage of the powerful local food movement that is so good for local economies.  Offering small farmers the ability to sell a few gallons a month of excess milk makes the expensive prospect of owning and maintaining a dairy cow more manageable.

While the average consumer of high quality, high end gourmet local food does not consume raw milk, many small farm holders form a stronger commitment to this lifestyle if they can successfully integrate a cow into their operation.  They are likely to be farming year round, and more involved in the operation as a family.  Their children can have the benefit of dairy calves to show at fairs and for FFA projects and their family can benefit from dairy products such as home-made cheese, butter, and yogurt.

In Miller County, where I live and work, there are empty fields along any road you choose to travel.  Some are filling with overpriced, cookie-cutter, shoddily built, suburban housing that represents only the massive debt and lack of foresight that has driven our entire country into economic crisis.  These fields could be developed into thriving farms, growing food to be sold nearby, keeping Arkansas money in the local communities, providing healthy nutrition for our citizens, and allowing farm families to have a lifestyle that is one of integrity and pride.  These fields can produce wealth for Arkansas families.  And yes, the sight of a grazing dairy cow and her calf would be inspiring and affirming to those of us who love our state and know that the rural life that has always existed here is a good one.

Please support your local farmer, because the local farmer does so much more for our state than just till the soil.  Please vote yes for H.B. 1114.

Thank you,
Georgiaberry Mobley
Kandan Mobley

www.SunshineForDinner.com

230 PR 1102
Fouke AR 71837

Share this:

A box full of pure joy

A box full of pure joy.  <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx”>

box full of pure joy

box full of pure joy

Contents of box:  70-75 baby hard-working hens, 10 baby lady ducks, 10-15 chicken dinners, 10 duck dinners, or as the hatchery calls it on the packing slip, 65 production red pullets, 25 straight run Surprise Special chickens, 20 straight run Hatchery Choice ducks

Did you know that chicks come in the mail?  Delightfully, they do.  An early morning (very early, dark-thirty early) call to the postmaster went something like this:

Georgiaberry (anxiously):  Did my chicks come today?
Postmaster (amused) :  Yeah, they’re here.  Do you want me to hold the phone over there so you can hear them cheeping?

Lots of cheeping.  You have to shut them up with food.

The natural hatching process of birds lends itself to shipping them in the mail.  A mama bird (chicken, in this case) lays a clutch of eggs.  Hens will lay a pile of 10-15 eggs before they begin to “set” – a lot of eggs.  After the setting period, most of the eggs will hatch over the period of a couple of days.  The first chick to hatch must wait, safe and warm, but hungry, for the mama to decide that all the eggs have hatched, and then get up and lead the chicks to find food.  So a couple of days in a warm box transported by various mail carriers from the hatchery in Texas to my house is a little like a couple of days waiting under mama for hatching to finish.  They arrive hungry and thirsty but fine.

Chickens do not bring food to their babies like a backyard songbird does – baby chicks (and all this goes for the ducks, too) are hatched ready to scavenge for food.  They start scratching as soon as their little feet touch something to scratch on.  The mama hen scratches and they scratch.  The mama hen finds something good in the dirt, and makes a certain low trilling cluck, and the chicks come running.  She bobs her head over the spot with the nourishing morsel and they obediently come and peck in that spot.  The mama hen finds water and makes the come-here-for-something-good clucking sound and the chicks come and she shows them how to drink – beak in, then tip head back to let the water trickle down your throat.  Soon they are drinking like pros.

So when chicks come in the mail there is no mother hen.  We have to be the mother hen.  As the chicks are removed from the box, each must have its beak dipped gently in a pan of water.  They find food with no problem, at first a little food sprinkled on a piece of paper, then in a low tray.  They have to be kept very warm and dry.  As long as they have copious amounts of food and lots of other chicks to cuddle with, the noise level is melodious but constant chirping.  If they are hungry or one gets separated from the rest, then shrill, ear-piercing shrieking ensues.

So in a few months these chickens will begin laying eggs for all of us, and in the meantime they will eat and grow and join their hardworking hen friends in scratching and turning compost and eating bugs.

Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 1/31/2008 4:36 PM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx</a>

Share this:

satisfaction: pleasure or contentment derived from the gratification of a desire, need, or appetite

happy pigs

happy pigs

satisfaction: pleasure or contentment derived from the gratification of a desire, need, or appetite

It isn’t often enough that I have a truly satisfying day, but it does happen from time to time.   The other day, Kandan and I finished the new pig pen in the cold, and the pigs were happy to find new ground, a little green stuff, and lots of roots and acorns to munch.  Building this pen was hard work.   My kids were very good all day and did not cause any trouble – they were basically on their own indoors, because pigs and children do not mix.  Kids love looking at pigs and feeding pigs, but moving pigs is always a potentially dangerous situation, and while our pigs are friendly, they are still big and strong.   You have to be prepared with a combination of patience and fast reflexes.  You have to make a plan that will ultimately produce the pig going from point A to point B without the use of brute force, because the pig is stronger than you, and your dog, and your fence.  Trying to handle pigs while your kids are asking for elaborate snacks, or help with their projects, or reporting their petty bickering, is frustrating and counterproductive.  But there was none of that, and I am pleased with our whole family for each doing their part to accomplish this task.  The kids did run a huge ball of string around everything in the playroom with about a thousand knots, but this is to be expected.

After we finished with the pigs, Kandan dug potatoes and we had the loveliest dinner of tiny chops from a lamb that we raised ourselves, and new potatoes, and very tasty sweet baby green peas (from the grocer’s freezer, I’m afraid – don’t get mad and email me with “where are my peas, I want peas” – I know and I am trying to grow them!  They have flowers . . .).  The chops are 2″ long at the most, just the tiniest things that you could never buy, the only way to get them is to grow the lamb and butcher it yourself.  I made a pan sauce with red wine and butter and a pinch of herbs (rosemary,parsley, garlic) left over from making sausage the day before (yes, we stay busy).  It was so delicious!

When I was washing the potatoes, I was reminded of a book I read a few years ago, about an Irish bartender who hates a man and wants to kill him – one of the reasons he hated the man was because he didn’t eat potato skins.  So that evening when we were eating dinner, my daughter didn’t want the potatoes, no big deal.  Kandan and I were talking and I told him about the book and went to the shelf, and a small miracle occurred and I found it.  Here is the passage from “Bogmail” by Patrick McGinley.

Eales was a fastidious feeder who never touched bacon rind or pork crackling or the thin veins of white fat that made the best gammon [bacon] so tasty.  He never ate the frizzled fat of grilled lamb chops or sirloin steak, nor the crisp earthy jackets of baked potatoes.  Normally he would not have blamed him for avoiding the latter because the jackets of some potatoes were rough with scabs and excrescences.  But Roarty’s potatoes were different, grown lovingly in the sandy soil by the estuary and smooth to the touch as sea scoured beach pebbles.  The man who was not moved to eat the jackets of such potatoes was nothing if not untrustworthy.  He was blind to the beauties of life and the true delights of a wholesome table.  He was probably a man who harboured evil thoughts against his neighbor, a man from whom wise men one and all would lock up their daughters, at least those of them who still retained their maidenheads [this turns out to be very true – there are some ‘adult themes’ in this book and they are very funny].  The outcome was inescapable; Eales must be destroyed.

That is what our potatoes were like – sea scoured beach pebbles.  So after reading this passage aloud and laughing over it, my daughter decided to try the potatoes!  The power of literature prevails.  And she liked them so much that she even ate all the leftovers the next day.  And that does make a momma satisfied.

Share this:

Another baby goat . . .

Another baby goat . . .
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 8/7/2007 6:14 AM and is filed under uncategorized

An armload of goats

He finally arrived – in this picture he is the lower goat, with the larger white marking on the forehead.  He is five days old now (8-7-07) but in the picture he is one day old.  As you can see he is already as big as Cookie, and he is very active.  The midday heat is hard for him but he is getting better every day.  We call him “Cracker.”  He will be a wether (a neutered male goat).  He and Cookie look like twins, and since the mothers came from the same herd I suspect they have the same father.

Share this:

Baby Goat – extreme cuteness

Baby Goat – extreme cuteness
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 7/31/2007 5:57 AM and is filed under uncategorized

Cecily and Cookie

This little goat is doing well and it is fun to watch her prancing about following her mama, Ginger.  Another doe, Calico,  is about to deliver any time.  I’m sure since a torrential rainstorm is headed our way it will be today!  Goats like to be inconvenient whenever they can.  Hope all goes well.

We purchased these Nigerian Dwarf goats about six weeks ago for the purpose of clearing brush.  This is part of our farm principle “Let Animals Do Work.”   We fenced an overgrown area with cattle panels and turned in three goats and three sheep, and they have eaten everything down in about a month.  We can now go in and cut out the small saplings (mostly sweetgum and sassafras) and knock down what is left of the wild blackberry bramble and fox grape, and then mow the area, and then it will be ready for whatever use is coming next – growing veggies for you, no doubt.  The goats and sheep will be moved on to the next area, in this case right next to where they are now.

Here is another cute goat picture.

Share this:

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin