I know I'm not the first to say that we only appreciate what we have when its gone, but it certainly applies to us with produce. When we first got Bella our house cow we had so much milk, we didn't know what to do with it all, the dogs even had some with their breakfast and we got to experiment with cheese-making.
We had Bella artificially inseminated (remember Kaptain Nightcrawler?) in early December and she hasn't come back on heat, so we expect that she will have a calf in mid September (279 days gestation for a Jersey cow). Its best to dry her up (stop her from producing milk) about 3 months before she calves, so that is mid June. We were a bit worried about how Molly would feel about being weaned, but I should have worried more about how WE felt about being weaned! After having fresh raw Jersey cow milk for a year, to suddenly go without is pretty distressing!
In order to dry Bella, we have to separate Molly and continue milking Bella every morning, taking not quite all the milk, until she stops producing, it should take about a week as her body starts to realise that she doesn't need to make milk, so we were still getting a couple of litres of milk a day and freezing anything that we didn't use. It won't be enough to last us through 12 weeks without milk, but it will keep the kefir going at least.
Anyway, as usual these two animals had minds of their own and Molly decided to start weaning herself when she came on heat in late May and was totally distracted by walking around the paddock bawling to the neighbour's cattle. We separated Bella and started the drying up process, Molly didn't seem to mind at all, even after her heat finished and we put her in the paddock with the steers.
milk ready for the freezer
To my add to my distress we are now entering the annual egg-draught. Some days we get one or two eggs (from nine hens) and some days we get none. Even though this happens every year, we still find it very difficult to deal with and feel lost without our daily egg for breakfast, particularly on a cold morning when you want something hearty to get you through the day. Unfortunately Plan B is porridge or weetbix, which requires milk, oh the pain! But I have also whipped up some homemade baked beans to get us through.
two lonely eggs :(
Come spring, we will again have more milk than we know what do to with and probably more eggs too, considering all the pullets we hatched this season our laying flock should at least double. Soon we will have a steer killed and have more beef than we can fit in our freezers, and it will be time to kill some roosters too.
As I've said before, eating with the seasons produces feasts and famines, and learning to preserve can even out the humps to some extent, but accepting that some things are seasonal does take some effort when its so easy to just buy it all from the supermarket whenever we want it. I think part of the learning process is finding foods that are nutritious and satisfying and most importantly AVAILABLE in each season, and for us this is still a challenge, although my winter garden is looking more promising this year!
(By the way, I am (mostly) joking, I know I'm very lucky to have the farm fresh milk and eggs when we have them, so I will manage to go a few months without!)
How do you get through the seasons? More importantly how do you cope without a daily egg fix?