Back in Business, Baby!

We have plenty of milk and cream available in the farm store. Bring your coolers and stock up!

The Cat’s Meow

On our dairy farm we have a lot of cows, obviously.  We also have chickens for fresh eggs, guineas for fly control, and lots and lots of cats. The barn cats live on the dairy, eat what they hunt, and generally avoid people.

My husband and I were never really cat people, but Lucy stole our hearts. As a very small kitten, she decided to adopt us. She was born on the farm to a long line of barn cats. She liked people, and she liked us. She would jump on our laps, if we sat on the patio. She made figure eights on our legs, if we went outside. One day Scott came home with cat food, and it was official — she was ours.

Lucy was a good mom and had many litters. We always kept at least one kitten from each of her litters. Some didn’t make it. Some stayed around our house. Some ran off with the other barn cats. She even adopted a stray baby that was the same age as her kittens.

Unfortunately, Lucy got an infection and never recovered. She left behind two 6 week old kittens, Harley and Sake. There was no way I was giving them away.

Harley and Sake were inseparable. They played together, snuggled together, and took care of each other. They even came in heat together. Soon we noticed that both Harley and Sake were expecting.

As time passed, I anxiously awaited the kittens. I checked for signs everyday. Yesterday evening, Harley started acting differently. She was very affectionate with me and her sister. I knew the kittens were on their way. I watched as she found her spot and delivered her first kitten. It was getting late, so I went inside and went to bed.

That morning, as I put the boys on the bus, I decided to check on Harley. Boy, was I surprised when I found Harley, Sake, and ELEVEN kittens! You see, Harley and Sake had both had kittens over night (they do everything together). They are both taking care of all their kittens. I have checked on them several times, and one mother is nursing and one is taking a break. (Wouldn’t that be nice, ladies?) They clean each other’s babies and each other.

kittens
Sake (black and white) and Harley (gray) take care of their brood together.
kittens
Harley takes over while Sake gets a break

I think that Harley had 4 babies and Sake had 7 babies, but I can’t be sure. Either way, they will be raised by the both of them. And the kids are already asking, “how many can we keep?” It’s hard to say no to babies! So now I have 15 cats — Harley, Sake, their older sister Minnie, their adopted brother Sonic, and 11 babies.

img_2399

Cloud 9 Ice Cream Available Locally

Did you get a chance to try the handmade soft-serve ice cream at the corn maze last fall? I hope you did! It’s delicious and made from milk from Four E Dairy and organic ingredients.

Kyle's Cow Sign 2

If you didn’t make it out to the farm last fall, don’t worry! Kyle with Cloud 9 has taken his ice cream mobile with a little red trailer.

Cloud 9 will be parked in front of On Pointe Studio, in Schulenburg, Wednesdays and Thursdays 3 to 8 pm. And, parked at Spoetzl Brewery, in Shiner, Fridays and Saturdays 11 to 5 pm.

We hope you try Cloud 9 and support our local small businesses! You can follow Cloud 9 on Instagram @cloud9softserve.

img_2399

Lira Rossa Featured on Food Blog

Texas Food Heritage
Mary Anne from Texas Food Heritage, recently visited Four E Dairy and Lira Rossa. Mary Anne blogs about her travels across the state while she explores the many culinary cultures that we are blessed to have in Texas.

Check out her post about Lira Rossa Artisan Cheese and it’s historical, Italian roots. And don’t forget to try her recipes using Lira Rossa cheese. Yum!

 

The Green Grass Grows All Around, All Around!

Wow! Has it been a rainy winter! While the soil has been too wet to plant, there is a positive outcome from all of this rain. The creek is flowing, the tanks are full, and the wildflowers are beginning to make an appearance. Spring is right around the corner!

With all of the rainfall, the pastures are looking fantastic! Cows love lush, green grass and it makes better milk too. Because the cows have more fresh grass in the spring, their milk is yellowish due to the beta-carotene in the grass. In other words, the yellower the milk, the more grass the cow has eaten.

jersey cows grazing

 

Cows are naturally curious, so when you stand in the middle of their territory, they want to know what’s going on.

20190309_100604 - enhanced

 

This girl came right up to me!

silly cow

 

“Well, that’s enough grass for the morning! It’s time to head to the milk barn!”

20190309_101449 - enhanced

 

image

 

 

 

Breeding Our Cows for A2 Milk!

calf

We have begun the process of breeding our cows to produce A2 milk! Many people find A2 milk to be more easily digested than traditional milk. At Four E Dairy, we want to provide milk with the most health benefits possible!

What Is A2 Milk and Why Is It Special?

Cow milk is made up of water, fat, sugar (lactose), protein, and minerals. There are many different proteins in cow milk, A1 beta-casein and A2 beta-casein are two of these.  Humans, goats, and sheep only produce milk containing A2 proteins. Cows also produced only A2 milk, until thousand of years ago a genetic mutation occurred which caused cows to also produce milk with A1 proteins. The milk found in grocery stores today contains mostly A1 proteins.

If you experience digestive issues after drinking milk, it may not be the lactose causing issues, it could be the A1 protein! Many people who self-diagnose as milk intolerant have reported that they do not have the same symptoms with A2 milk.  Without being too technical, the way that A1 protein is digested and broken down, releases a protein fragment, or peptide, that causes discomfort for some. The A2 protein does not release this peptide during the digestive process.

What Are We Doing on the Farm?

We’ve introduced A2/A2 bulls to our herd to begin the slow process of breeding cows that produce only A2 milk. Each cow has two copies of the gene that determines which protein will be present in it’s milk. Since a cow receives one copy of this gene from its sire (father) and one from its dam (mother), the cow can either be A1/A1, A1/A2, or A2/A2. The A2/A2 bull ensures that our baby calves will be receiving at least one A2 gene. Jersey cows typically have about a 50% rate of containing the A2 gene naturally, so as we grow our herd, more cows will produce only A2 milk.

We’ve tested a small sample of our animals to see how the process is coming along and we are pleased with the results. Out of 50 cows that were tested, only 5 were A1/A1. This means we are well on our way of providing A2 milk to our customers. We will continue to test more cows and plan to create a separate herd containing only A2 cows. We will continue to update the blog with our progress, so please check back!

img_2399