Friday, December 14, 2007

The waiting game...

It rained last night. It was just a light rain but still I swear I could hear the earth sigh a sigh of relief. Here in the Southeast we are still experiencing a severe drought and most major cities are either out of water or very close. I hope this doesn't continue into the new year... it has been our biggest challenge our first year on the farm.

Yesterday I had e-mailed Riona's (one of our Irish Dexter cows) original owner to see if I could get a firm date on when she was bred. I was told when I picked her up last April that she had been bred in Jan and then again in Feb. According to my cow gestation calendar, if she had been bred on the last day of Feb she should have calved on December 7th.

I heard back from her today saying that her last breeding date was recorded as March 4th. Still, that would put her due date as December 11th so she is still overdue. She is bagging up and her vulva is swollen and this morning I noticed some mucous discharge from her vulva so maybe it will be soon! I can only hope!

Speaking of eminent babies... one of our alpacas, Noodle, has a due date of tomorrow the 15th. So I have been watching her closely. Alpacas very rarely show any signs of parturition prior to being in active labor so there really isn't much I can watch for to give me a clue if she is on schedule. Again, just a waiting game.

The hens have been providing so many eggs for us lately ( seventeen today) that we haven't been able to eat them fast enough. I have been trying to find more recipes to use them in. Tonight I made a batch of pickled eggs. This is the recipe I used:

German-Style Pickled Eggs

2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
6 whole cloves
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled

In a large saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool completely. Place onions and eggs in a large jar; add enough vinegar mixture to completely cover. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Use a clean spoon each time you remove eggs for serving. May be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

*Note on using fresh eggs in this recipe. Truly fresh eggs are near imposable to peel when hard boiled. I planned ahead for making hard boiled eggs by setting aside several dozen eggs a few weeks ago. When I cooked these up they peeled wonderfully. I just keep replacing my "older egg" stash with the oldest eggs in the house as I use them and use my "fresh eggs" in my everyday cooking.

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