Tuesday, 17 May 2016

When is a lamb not a sheep?

The phone call from a complete stranger came late one evening last week. His ewe had not accepted one of her twin lambs. What should he do?
Bring it to me of course.
So this box full of lamb arrived early next morning.

But "oh oh" he's not a real sheep.
We were not sure what breed he was, but he looked like a cross between a sheep and a goat.
His umbilicus was still very soft, pink and fresh, so I sprayed iodine on the base at his stomach to prevent infection. This (infection) occasionally happens to a young lamb at a week or so old, when otherwise they appear perfectly healthy. One leg becomes stiff and then another one becomes stiff, until there is nothing that can be done for the animal except euthanasia. I have had two cases of this in the early years, until I researched and found that it was caused from an infected umbilicus. I always keep iodine on hand now and spray it routinely on any new born that comes into my care.

I mixed up a lamb colostrom for him because the owner said he had not had a drink from his mother.

2 teaspoons cod liver oil
1 egg yolk
2 cups of cow's milk

His suckle reflex was strong and he drank willingly so I offered him a small drink every two hours throughout the morning. By lunch time he had finished all of his colostrum mix. Then I fed him a small amount (approximately half a cup) of plain cow's milk three hourly.

Number one son's partner fell in love with him immediately of course.
He is a Damara breed, otherwise known as "Fat Tail" sheep.They don't have wool, and are perfect for landowners who don't want the bother of shearing and crutching.
 A phone call to a neighbor with young children, who are already raising a pet lamb that needs company, sealed the deal on finding him a permanent home.

Why couldn't we keep him?

As Merino owners, our wool clip is valuable to us each year, and running a black sheep of a shedding variety with our sheep would contaminate the merino wool, rendering it near to worthless.
Brian was not going to let me keep this gorgeous little guy.
More about Damara sheep

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Enough is plenty

The rhythm of my days feels just right lately, and here's a clue why that is so. We have had RAIN..!
Not lots, but the grass is starting to grow, the cool wind is up, and I have fires lit. I have a huge heap of cut wood, thanks Brian, and the freezers are all bursting full.
I feel rich. This is the kind of wealth that money can't buy. We have enough of everything we need.
Washing is drying in front of the fire and there's a dog under there somewhere.

The cellar is groaning with preserves, fruit and vegetables to see us through the winter.
Sweet potatoes.

Pumpkin is on the menu every day.

Plenty of greens of every variety.
I'm on the last leg of Clover's first birthday quilt. It will be finished in time to take it with me when I fly to Victoria in less than two weeks time.  I'll show you the "reveal" after it's been handed over. This project has taken over the formal dining table for more than a month. Small steps, and now it's nearly all done.
I will find anything to do instead of sewing, even cleaning out the fridge is more fun than sewing, in my book.  ;)
The drizzle has slowed, so I'm off to the wood heap to bring up another load of firewood.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

First attempts at pasta making

The ravioli making tray that I bought at a garage sale on the weekend has really piqued my desire to make our own pasta. You know how I have this OCD thing about making EVERYTHING possible from scratch?  Yes, I'm beginning to admit that I could have an obsession.

My friend Stacey offered to loan me her pasta machine, so there was no stopping me this morning. As usual,  I went at it like the proverbial bull at the gate, stopping only briefly to read some instructions on the pasta machine box.
I took to the pasta making and the winding bit like an old hand, although I must say that one extra hand would be handy. Three hands is definitely better than two when winding pasta through the machine and then trying to catch and guide it on the other side as it comes out.
Anywho, so then I laid some thin pasta sheet onto the ravioli tin.  Only at this point did I wonder if I was supposed to have greased or floured the tin, but I carried on regardless. In for a penny, and all that!
I always have quark (creamy cottage cheese, European style) in the fridge, that I make from the raw cow's milk, so I mixed a bit with a crushed garlic clove, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and piled it into the little indents in the ravioli tin.
Another sheet of pasta went over the top after brushing the edges with milk to make the two sheets stick together.
Rolling the little rolling pin didn't quite go as planned, but I won't go into all the details. Suffice to say, it was the devils own job trying to get each little square ravioli out of the tin.
After considerable time wasted, and beginning to wonder if this is really worth the effort, I took a deep breath and attempted another batch.
The tin required some scrubbing with a toothbrush to remove all of the stuck on bits around the edges, and when it was perfectly clean and dry I dusted the tin with flour.
Maybe if I had read some instructions, or asked Mr Google, I would have realized this in the beginning.

The second lot looked almost perfect and were much easier to remove from the tray.

Erm... quite a difference when I learned how to do it properly.

Dinner tonight, with a creamy bacon and tomato sauce. (Our bacon, cream and tomatoes, but I bought the onion)
Covered with the sauce, the odd shapes were indistinguishable from the perfect ones. Phew....and the flavors were so good.

Accompanied by a salad, all from the garden, and some feta from our cow's milk. Dressed with a honey, balsamic and olive oil dressing. Home made of course.. our honey, Brian's balsamic vinegar, and olive oil from a neighbor. The pumpkin pieces got a little over roasted when I got distracted with something outside, :-/  but the flavor was still there.
The flavor of the pasta was amazing, so I'm now on the hunt for a pasta machine.
I'm not so sure I'll use the ravioli tray much though,  as it seems it would be just as simple to make little rounds with a biscuit cutter, and with none of the bother of trying to remove the filled ravioli portions from the tray, as suggested by some of the comments from my previous blog post.
Thanks too for the great recipe suggestions and pearls of wisdom shared by the comments there.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Got to love a bargain.

I'm not keen on shopping but I can always find the energy to ferret around in op-shops, (charity stores) looking for quirky items and bargains.
Last week, during my lunch break at work, I browsed in one of our local op-shops and found some treasures.
When I saw this heavy enameled cast iron pot with a $20 sticker on it I grabbed it and felt like the woman in the Ikea advert. "Start the car! Start the car!"
They retail at more than $200 so I was mightily pleased with my bargain. I absolutely love cooking in my large round blue "Chasseur" pot that was a cast off from my daughter, so now I own this gorgeous green oval one as well.  It's large enough to fit our huge home grown chickens in it. Happy!
I checked out the ladies socks drawer and found these thick "Kathmandu" socks for $1 a pair that will be perfect with rubber boots in winter.

 On Saturday morning I was driving past a Garage Sale, so of course it would have been rude not to pop in for a look. ;)
I love these clothes hangers and I buy them whenever I see them. These were super cheap and are perfect for hanging t-shirts and knits without getting the pointy shoulders look.
A couple of new tea towels with lovely designs. One has roosters which will be perfect for my chook crazy niece who has recently bought a house.
This entire haul of goodies was $3. Happy!

Now all I need to find is a pasta maker/roller gadget, but I'm hoping I might be able to roll the pasta dough thin enough with my rolling pin. I think we'll be having ravioli this week.
I'm thinking of home made feta cheese with spinach and garlic for the filling, with a spicy tomato sauce.
Do you make your own ravioli? Have you any tips or recipes to share?

 Have a wonderful week folks.

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