gardening, Homesteading, News, Permaculture

Milk Bottle Greenhouse

The task at hand this week is to use all our old milk bottles we have been hoarding into a greenhouse – I’ll update this post with our progress once we start but for now sit back and enjoy the tale of how we came to the decision to do this.

Before we started milking Kisses moo we would go through a huge amount of milk probably about 6 litres a week and at this stage we were just two adults and a toddler (who seemed to consume the most!!)

As we are out of town we do not get town rubbish collection and instead have to take our rubbish to the dump. Recycling is free and we don’t create much “waste” the way we live but we dislike driving to the dump the amount we were creating milk bottle waste. I was feeling guilty looking at the ever growing pile of plastic bottles and started researching different ways I could recycle them at home.

I made a Plastic Bag holder such as this one

upcycled-grocery-bag-holder-milk-jug

not the prettiest but hey it does the job

I also made some watering cans like this one

waterbottle

but that only took care of a few bottles. I needed something bigger and then I stumbled upon these!

bottlehouse2 greenhouse house

Ours won’t be as elaborate as these but it’s incredible what can be achieved using “rubbish”

We are planning on using a frame of a old broken greenhouse the type that you get cheaply from bunnings or ebay that come with the plastic cover. We will be using the milk bottles to build around this. My hope is that this should use all of our remaining plastic bottles as we no longer buy milk now we milk our Jersey.

Stay tuned for our progress!

Homesteading, News

News

We had a lovely weekend here at the swap meet and sold many of our preserves and spaghetti squash. It was lovely to chat to people with similar passions and I really hope they enjoyed our produce.

This week we decided to harvest the pumpkins. I know we could have got a lot more out of the vines had we left them but we have a lot of seedlings that need to go into the ground and only limited chicken proof growing space. I have been getting increasing frustrated with the young chicks getting into my seedling growing patch so it’s time to get them in.

D made the beautiful arrangement and took this photo.

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We have been having a up and down battle with Kisses recently and went a week without milk even having to buy some! It started with her being on heat but then she just refused to let down , the milk was there but she was saving it for her calf. We really don’t want to build a stanchion as we don’t know how long we will be here and we like having a good relationship so we don’t need it. As separating during the day wasn’t working we now separate over night and milk in the morning HOORAY we are now back in business and I can make mozzarella today!

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I had some new books arrive in the post so I thought I would throw in a wee book review to make up for my lack of recipes.

The first is Dick and James Strawbridge Cheese and dairy made at home cheese

I really enjoyed this father and son duos self sufficiency book and tv series not easy being green so I thought I’d give this one a try. It has some basic recipes that look easy to follow but focuses more on bought milk than owning your own cow. I was a little disappointed on the amount of cheese recipes as there are a lot of recipes for cooking dishes that use cheese but not so many on making the actual cheese but still I think I will use it. I am very excited about making the clotted cream to have with scones next time we have guests. This is a really simple recipe and I will share it when I next make it. All in all I thought it was a nice book and I do really like the small easy to read in bed size.

The other book I ordered was the farmers kitchen handbook by Marie W Lawrence

fbook

I am so excited by this book , I didn’t really know what to expect ordering it but it’s wonderful full of stories and great recipes for all the year. Like the cheese and dairy book it’s a small “read in bed size”So I look forward to thoroughly going through it all. Being a American book it has loads of great sweet recipes and I tried out the Boston Cream pie and WOW was it amazing so I will be making this again so I can share it with you. I will of course lower the sugar like I do with most recipes as the one in the book I thought was much to sweet especially for little ones.  The recipes in this book is set out to go with the American Seasons and there is one for traditional Easter bread with a dyed egg that I am eager to try this Easter.

Well that’s all for now Today I will be back soon with a Post for Lime Cordial and Mozzarella which I will make in the next two days.

Homesteading, News, Uncategorized

Kisses Moo

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Let me introduce to you all Kisses Moo our beautiful jersey house cow. We were lucky enough to be given her by our landlord as a gift for B when we was born so she is technically Bs cow. She is such a beautiful soul and so friendly. We had originally become friends with another of our landlords cows and we were hoping to milk her but sadly she died of milk fever and then we met kisses who was so friendly and allowed us to pat and cuddle her. We were both pregnant at the same time and I felt sure we would “calf” together but her calf came months after B.

kissesresize2This is stingray our little Heifer calf and we hope to train her up to either sell as a house cow or keep as a backup. Kisses is a wonderfully gentle cow giving lots of kisses (hence the name) and loves a brush. She is so gentle she will just stand to be milked by D and has only kicked once due to fly’s irritating her. When we started milking we noticed the milk was salty. I was horrified thinking we wouldn’t be able to drink it but after much research we soon discovered it might be a early sign on mastitis. Being a breastfeeding mother I have huge mastitis paranoia and know how serious it can be if left untreated. We went back and tasted each teat, It was only in the back two teats and we had read we could try to treat naturally before getting the vet out so we gave ourselves two weeks to try milking out , tiger balm and comfrey.

D dutifully got up at the crack of dawn before work to milk her out and would do it twice before bed feeding her comfrey leaves and putting tiger balm on her udder in the evening. After a week we tasted the milk again and one quarter had come clean but we were worried about the other quarter. We gave it a few more days and HOORAY D had cleared her infection and we had saved ourselves a very expensive vet trip. I think Kisses certainly loved all the extra attention (and food!)

Presently we are getting about 4 liters a day, We very rarely separate her and stingray and this system works well for us. We still have enough milk to drink for our family (and we drink a LOT) and I have also been making Butter and cheese – Haloumi , Ricotta, Basket cheese , Mozzarella and Yogurt. Having a family cow is wonderful often when I look at store bought milk now I wonder what cow it’s come from and where that cow lives. There’s something very satisfying about having a relationship and connection with your food and knowing it hasn’t traveled 100s of kilometers ( not to mention the packaging) to reach my kitchen.

haloumi