It is winter here on the homestead and we have gone weeks without a trip to the grocery store. Our Jersey milk cow, Lexi, is giving around 2-2 1/2 gallons of milk a day. Our free-range hens are giving around 8 eggs a day. We also have shelves of canned produced from the garden and a freezer full of local beef, pork, chicken, and venison.
With the milk, I have made cheese, such as: Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, and a Farmhouse Cheddar. We make yogurt, kefir, and lots, and lots of pudding. With the cream I make our own butter, ice cream, cream cheese, and sour cream. I also have raised two bottle calves and four savanna goats on her milk.
I froze eggs by the dozen for scrambled eggs and in twos in snack bags for baking in anticipation of our hens not laying through the winter, but that hasn’t really happened yet. However, this gives me the ability to use stored eggs and sell any excess.
We use Azure Standard for our organic feed for our milk cow and to buy a lot of things in bulk. While I haven’t gone to the grocery store, I do meet the Azure truck once a month to maintain our feed and dry good supply.
We are at the end of our milking season and hope to begin drying Lexi off in a month or so. We are looking forward to the break, but already worried about not having milk. We will freeze some in gallon jugs and make up plenty of dairy items to freeze to get us by. We are facing four months without milk and still have a bottle goat who will need fed for about two of those months. We are planning a produce pickup in the next week or so for some fresh food. We have eaten all the apples from fall picking and ready for something fresh and juicy.
It is and always will be a work in progress here. Planning and preparing ahead of time is always a priority when you are trying to grow food for yourself and cooking from scratch. It becomes a routine and a rhythm that becomes as natural as running to the grocery store is for most. The girls and I would much rather be home tending to the animals or working in the garden as opposed to driving two hours roundtrip for groceries whenever possible. It definitely calls for creativity sometimes!
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