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.

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Sake (black and white) and Harley (gray) take care of their brood together.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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We Are Proud Dairy Farmers

Elyse came across an article in the magazine, Hoard’s Dairyman,that perfectly captures our life, love, and family tradition of dairy farming. It captures our blood, sweat, and tears. It captures our hopes and our dreams, and we want to share it with you. WE ARE PROUD DAIRY FARMERS!!

“I am proud dairy farmer”
by Joseph Giemza

I am a dairy farmer. That’s all I’ve ever been. There once were a lot of folks who could say that. As of March, there are 9,600 of us in Wisconsin. Wow! In March 1999, the numbers indicated there were 22,000.

You’d think someone would build a fence around us and charge admission to view us in our natural habitat or Congress would put an endangered species protection act on us.

Yes, I am a dairy farmer. It’s my job, my life, my career, my religion, my passion, my home – all rolled into one. Most people are too busy to get to the basics of life, too busy trying to get rich quick. I get to deal with the basics of life every single day: birth, death, soil, sun, growth, mud, storms, calm, parched, wet, and above all, stress.

I am proud to be a dairy farmer. My contribution to society is very simple, yet it’s as grand as that of anyone who graduated from an elite liberal arts college.

I tend a heard of dairy cows that produce what evolution has chosen as the most naturally nutritious food for the most developed animals in the food chain – people. Evolution took thousands of years of trial and error, millions of genetic events to decide that milk is it. Its nutritional value puts milk above coffee, energy drinks, beer, or soda. Milk is it!

Milk doesn’t cause fatal car crashes or domestic violence. You don’t need an identification card to purchase it any time of the day or night. It won’t stain your clothes if spilled. Consider all the great products that are made from milk, whether they are hot, cold, cultured, or frozen.

Today, the American farmer feeds 144 people every day. Fifty years ago, each farmer fed 22 people. We’ve come a long way. The American farmer is expected to feed, fuel, and clothe the world, take all the risk with no guarantee of receiving fair compensation for their hard work.

One hundred percent of the people on this planet eat food. Where do they think this food comes from?

Not from a store, it’s from a farm. Yet, the farmer is the least appreciated person on earth. Not many people become famous for milking cows, but a lot of famous people couldn’t do what we farmers do. Professional athletes make tens of millions of dollars per year and contribute little to society.

Dairy farmers work extremely hard just to survive. What industry works for less than minimum wage, puts in hours well beyond the traditional eight-hour work day, seven days a week, with no overtime pay, no benefits of any kind, and no retirement fund?

Farmers have no control on the price we receive for our products; we have to take what the processor gives us. Is that fair?

We do it because we have passion for the land and what we do.

Published in Vol. 161,No.14 Hoard’s Dairyman

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Lira Rossa Cheese Now Available!

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We are excited to announce that Lira Rossa creamery is up and running! Smoked ricotta (ricotta affumcata) and handmade fresh mozzarella are available for purchase at our farm stand located next to the dairy. The mozzarella is $16/ lb (each ball is about 1/2 lb) and the smoked ricotta is $24/ lb (each piece is about 1/4 lb). In addition, Lira Rossa is currently delivering to Houston, Austin, and Victoria, and they will be selling cheese at the Bastrop farmers market starting in September. There are plans to expand to additional farmers markets, stores, and restaurants.  For more information please email Lira Rossa at info@lirarossa.com or send them a message on Facebook.

My favorite cheese is the mozzarella. It is delicious and oh so creamy! I love it on sliced tomato with fresh basil.  Earlier this summer, I used fresh tomatoes and basil straight from my garden.  I drizzled half of the slices with balsamic vinegar and half with olive oil and sprinkled them all with salt and pepper. I then proceeded to eat an entire ball of mozzarella without sharing it with my husband or kids.  It. Was. That. Good.

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The ricotta affumcata (which is just fun to say) is smoked with pecan. It is excellent shredded on pasta.  I also enjoyed just taking bites of it while drinking wine because I’m classy like that.

 

I haven’t tried the latteria yet because it is still aging and will be available in October. All of the cheeses are made with our milk, but the latteria is made with raw milk. In other words, the milk does not need to be pasteurized first because latteria is aged cheese. This is a picture of the cheese in the aging room, getting yummier every day, just waiting for you to purchase it come October.

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If you’ve tried the cheese, let us know what you think! If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?!

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Raw Milk Cheese, Yes Please!

The construction of our cheese plant is coming along nicely, but it will still be a while until cheese is being produced and then aged. I know you are ready to taste the delicious cheese made from our fresh raw milk, but you may not have realized that you already can!

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Susan Rigg, owner of River Whey Creamery, picks up our raw milk every Monday to make three fine aged cheeses: Keystone, an Italian farmhouse cheese, Caldera España, a Spanish cheese smoked over Texas pecan, and The Welshman, a Welsh cheese made with sea salt harvested in Wales. Is your mouth watering yet?!

In addition, she also makes two fresh cheeses which are not made from our raw milk, but they are just as delicious! St. Clements is available during the winter and is made with organic oranges and lemons, and Texas honey. Midsummer Surprise is a spreadable cheese that is available during the summer. It is made with Tahitian Vanilla Sea Salt and organic ginger. Oh. My. Yum.

River Whey Creamery artisanal cheeses are available at The Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio on Saturdays and Sundays and the New Braunfels Farmers Market on Saturdays. If you can’t make it to the market, I have great news!  They will ship their aged cheeses directly to you! Check out their online shop to order your cheese now!

As if that isn’t enough awesomeness, River Whey Creamery also offers monthly classes in which you prepare a dish using their delicious cheeses! If you want to keep up with the classes and other River Whey happenings, I highly suggest you like their page on Facebook.

Give River Whey Creamery cheeses a try and let us know what you think!

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