Friday, September 11, 2009

The Little Ones

time for some updated photos of the kids!

Homemade Baby Formula

Goodness, it has been such a long time since I have blogged. I have been very busy with everyday life. Since I last blogged, I have removed my 2 eldest children from preschool, and so have all 3 of them at home every day. This has obviously had its challenges and rewards. Some things are really difficult - like shopping. But I have loved being more relaxed in the mornings and am enjoying do more arts and crafts with them.

I had been thinking for a while that I would share that I make my own baby formula. I use the recipe described by Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions. You can also read more about this formula here:

2 cups whole milk, preferably unprocessed milk from pasture-fed cows

1/4 cup homemade liquid whey Note: Do NOT use whey from making cheese--it will cause the formula to curdle. Use only homemade whey made from yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk.

4 tablespoons lactose

1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis

2 or more tablespoons good quality cream (not ultrapasteurized), more if you are using milk from Holstein cows

1 teaspoon regular dose cod liver oil or 1/2 teaspoon high-vitamin cod liver oil

1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes

2 teaspoons gelatin

1 7/8 cups filtered water
1/4 teaspoon acerola powder
I ordered some of the ingredients online as they weren't available in my local healthfood store. You can get everything you need from this company

I did some calculations before I began and from memory it worked out to be about $5L made. Organic commercial baby formula is $4L. It would be more if you needed to purchase the raw milk, cream and yoghurt to make whey.
This is how I do it.
I measure 450ml boiling water into pyrex jug and add gelatine, coconut oil and lactose until dissolved. Pour that into blender. Add all the other ingredients and blend for 15secs. Then pour it into glass bottle. It makes about 1L plus some froth, so a 1.5L bottle works well. I am now using fermented cod liver oil, and I recently boughts a flavoured one "fruit attack". The citrus flavouring in it curdles the formula - so I don't add it to the formula - rather feed it to bub from a dropper before his bottle. I also add 1tsp of flaxseed oil to the formula for extra omega 3.

Henry loves this formula and is most dissappointed on the occaision that I haven't made any and give him straight milk. It has been suprisingly easy to find the ingredients and to make it up.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Broccoli of the Season - What a Beauty!

Okay, I have to admit that my vegetable garden can be a bit "hit and miss" - mainly because of neglect from me, but also because of some kind of animal invasion which can destroy a months work in a couple of minutes! So when I get a "hit" I can get pretty excited. I was thrilled yesterday to find this beautiful broccoli in the garden. It hasn't had a single chemical, powder or spray used on it and it is huge, full and completely bug free. I feel like I should do something special with it - I will look at some recipes today.

I have had the vegetable garden going for about 2 years now. Dan built it for me out of logs from some trees that he had to cut down. It is behind the house, so doesn't always get the best sun - but it seems to do okay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Belly full of Baby

Exciting News!
We had the vet out this evening to pregnancy test Daisy the cow. When we bought her, we were told that she was likely to be pregnant, but only just - which would have had her due in January 2010. The previous owner really wasn't sure, and seeing as though you need to stop milking 2 months before the calf is due, we wanted some more certainty.

So the news is - Yes she is pregnant - and due in about 3 months!

This is great. Her milk supply has started to slow down recently and we were thinking that January was a long way off before she "freshened up" as they say.

Now fingers crossed for a little heifer calf. The bull would have also been a guernsey, so a bull calf wouldn't be much good for meat but a heifer will make a great milker when she is older. We are looking forward to having a calf also, so that we can drop down to once a day milking. We plan on penning the calf overnight to allow Daisy's milk to build up, before milking her in the morning - then leaving the calf with her for the rest of the day - thus doing away with the evening milking. She will make plenty of milk for a calf and for us. We might then get another cow and calf so that we milk 2 cows once a day. This will give us the same volume of milk, and only one chore to do! By the time we set the dairy up and clean up afterward, milking another cow at the same time would take very little extra time.

So stay tuned for baby news in October!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Making Chicken Stock

As much as I love my chickens - there are times when they have to go...

about 6 months ago we hatched out some chicks, and 2 were roosters. My poor girls have been struggling, with 3 roosters in the hen house - so some nutritious stock needed to be made. I love chicken stock made using the nourishing traditions ( recipe. In this book, Sally Fallon outlines the benefits of stock, saying that "properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, in a from that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth."

So the recipe goes like this!

1 whole free-range chicken or chicken pieces

(chicken gizzards and feet can be used too)

4L cold filtered water

2 tbs vinegar

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 celery sticks, chopped

1 bunch parsely

I use the slow cooker, but I have also made it on the stove top. Place chicken into large stainless steel pot and cover with cold water, vinegar and vegies (except parsley). Let sit for 30-60mins. Bring to a boil and skim any scum from the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 - 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock the richer and more flavourful it will be. About 10mins before finishing, add the parsley. This will impart more mineral ions into the broth.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon (you can use the meat for salads, sandwiches etc). Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in the refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in the refrigerator or freezer.

This stock is delicious and a perfect base for soups and casseroles in the winter. And my hens are much happier!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Making Yoghurt

I have had so many people ask me how to make yoghurt that I thought I would write it down. My yoghurt has become better and better lately - not sure if it is because I have finally decided on a method and follow it, or if the culture has become better over time.

Here we go.

1. (Use 1L of milk for every 1L of yoghurt you would like.)
Gently heat the milk in a saucepan to 85deg Celcius. (180deg F)
Heating it gently means it is less likely to burn on the bottom and protects the enzymes in raw milk as much as possible. Stir it regularly.

2. Allow the milk to cool until it is 45deg Celcius (110deg F)
3. Place it in the jar and add 2tbs of your previous yoghurt

(Sometimes I add about 2tbs of "Esiyo" dried yoghurt sachet and keep the rest in the fridge until next time-this is good for those times when you eat all of your yoghurt before you remember to make another batch!)

4. If you like, you can also add about 2 tbs of sugar or equivalent of other sweetener (like stevia) and 2 tsp of vanilla. I also like to add 1/3 cup of full cream powdered milk to help make the yoghurt really thick and creamy. Mix well.

5. Keep yoghurt warm for about 8 hours. There are lots of different ways to achieve this but my favourite is to use the oven. Turn the oven on low for about 30secs to warm it up. Then turn it off, but leave the pilot light on.

6. Put yoghurt in the fridge. Delicious!

I hope you have great fun making yoghurt. If you like fruit flavours in your yoghurt, the best way I have found to flavour them, is to add jam to the yoghurt, after it has set. As the jam is sweet, you won't need to add any sweetener to the yoghurt. We use "sugar free" strawberry yoghurt - and it tastes just like strawberry flavoured yoghurt from the shops!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Little Flock of Sheep!

One of the most lovely things about living on a farm is baby animals.

We have a small flock of sheep which we keep primarily for their meat. Our sheep are Wiltshire Horns, which are great for meat - because they shed their own fleece. This means that we don't need to shear them, and greatly reduces the likelihood of fly strike - which can be a real problem in Australia. They become lovely and woolly in winter, but shed their fleece in bits and pieces as the weather warms up.

They also have gorgeous horns!
2 of our ewes were pregnant when we bought them, and 5 months later we had they joy of welcoming 2 very cute lambs to our little farm. We have since bought a ram - however he is not the father of our lambs.

As we were new to the baby lamb thing - we overreacted when we had the first lamb and thought that the ewe wasn't mothering it properly. We took over and handraised the lamb - who now plays with our dog and the kids in the backyard.

The second lamb stayed with it's mother and has done just as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Henry's Homebirth

The birth of my 3rd child was so amazing that I can’t wait to write it all down. My 2 previous children were born at a birth centre, with the help of the same fantastic midwife. I had decided to have this baby at home, and after talking with this midwife, she agreed to attend to my homebirth for me. I was so excited that the same midwife would help me birth all of my children.
My pregnancy was usual for me. I am very well during pregnancy, but find it physically difficult and had lots of problems with sciatica and pelvic pain. I was keen to have bubby out! My husband had taken on a job on a mine site and was away a lot leading up to my due date. This had concerned me, and I really had to come to grips with the idea of birthing without him. As it turned out, baby arrived on his due date, and Dan was home! What a good boy!

The night before my due date, we went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday. I wasn’t all that keen to go, and felt like I needed to be in my nest – I hoped that tonight was the night. We arrived home late and got the kids settled into bed. Then I had a big cry to my husband about how stressed I was that he would miss the birth. He was due to go back to work in 2 days. I was hoping that this cry might release some tension and let my body go into labour. We went off to sleep. I woke shortly after and wondered if it might have been a contraction that woke me. It was! I headed to the bathroom and back to wake Dan. I told him that things were definitely happening tonight! He thought I meant the next night, and proceeded to go back to sleep. I waited another half an hour just sitting on the bed. Yes these were definitely contractions, but I wanted to be sure before I rang the midwife. I decided to check my cervix. It was almost fully effaced – just a tiny ridge – so I had the confidence to get things underway for the homebirth. I woke Dan again. He got the message this time, and rang the midwife. It was about 12:30am. She had a 2 hour drive ahead of her. Dan started to set up the birth pool and all our other bits and pieces in the lounge room – he was starting to get pretty excited and nervous as well. He was always a bit nervous about having a homebirth, as we are a good 40 minute drive from hospital, and live rurally so difficult for an ambulance to find us. But I was confident things would go well and he trusted in me.

Contractions at this stage were going fine. I was pottering around the house, and sometimes kneeled beside my bed and lay my head on the bed. I was just breathing calmly and visualising my cervix opening up.

The pool was set up and I decided to try it out. It felt great, but I knew I didn’t really need it yet, so I hopped out.

A quick trip to the loo and back to the lounge room and leaning over a bean bag on a mattress on the floor. My midwife arrived about now (2:30am). Contractions were starting to bite, and I felt bub turn around in my tummy. He had become posterior in the last day or two, and thankfully he turned anterior prior to birth, but boy this turning around business hurt.

I slipped back into the pool – heaven! Contractions started to really spread out and I was having a lovely rest in between. I thought I was in transition and began to panic a bit about 2nd stage. Both my previous babies had been very easy to push out, but this one felt different. I was feeling a lot more pressure through my back and sacrum which was new to me. As he moved down the canal I could feel pressure in my bum. I decided he must have an enormous head! I still felt strong and just breathed through contractions.

The backup midwife had arrived to and we were all just doing our own thing. The urge to push finally came, and after just a couple of contractions that big round head was out! He had been sitting high in my pelvis until that day, and so his head really hadn’t moulded.

Dan was right there ready to catch him. Next contraction and he was born. 4:02 am! He was beautiful. Perfect. He gave a little cry right away, so Dan could finally relax! He handed him to me – what a big baby!
We were in love! The backup midwife was concerned about my blood loss and wanted me to get on with birthing the placenta. I wasn’t worried, I felt great. When I later asked my primary midwife about it, she hadn’t been concerned either. But I took some homeopathics and stood up and delivered the placenta 13 minutes later. It looked unusual and my midwife suspected I may have originally had a twin pregnancy. I had a threatened miscarriage at 13 weeks, so perhaps that had been the twin. He weighed 9lb 1 oz – my heaviest baby by far. I had a small tear that my midwife stitched. Just as she was finishing up, my 2 other children woke up and came in to meet their new brother. My mum and dad were staying in their caravan outside, so they came in too. This photo is taken about 3 hours after the birth.

After a beautiful breastfeed, a shower and some breakfast – my midwife tucked us up into bed before cleaning up and finishing some paperwork. It was the most fantastic birth I could have hoped for and I recovered amazingly quickly. Dan is converted to homebirthing! Welcome Henry John – we love you!

Meet the Family

Time to introduce my brood.

I have been married to Dan for 6 1/2 years. We have a son, Charlie who is 4 1/2. A gorgeous daughter, Emelia who has just turned 2, and our newest member, Henry who is 8 months old.

Our kids bring us so much joy and laughter.

Charlie - having a great swim in our creek!

Emmy .....

Henry - enjoying a kiss from Daddy.

Henry was born at home here on our little farm - with the help of my amazing midwife - who has helped me to give birth to all of my children. I will share the story of his birth shortly.

Fresh, Raw Milk

Meet Daisy!

She is a 5 year old guernsey cow that we purchased recently so that the family could enjoy fresh, raw milk like the days of old. Some of the benefits of drinking raw milk are discussed here: Dan (my husband) became very industrious and build a fantastic little dairy off the side of our shed - so that we could milk in relative comfort.

We use a milking machine, rather than milk by hand - which saves us a lot of time and keeps the milk really clean.

The milk is absolutely delicious. So creamy. I have been learning how to make some simple cheese to put all of this milk to good use.

The first post

What an exciting day, as I get started into the world of blogging! My family has made many changes to our way of life over the last few years and along the way we have been inspired by regular people, sharing their stories on the web. Now we want to share in the same way!

My aim through this blog is to share my thoughts and knowledge on running a small farm and a small family! We love to eat nourishing food and enjoy the great outdoors. We aim to live a sustainable life which is as self-sufficient as possible. We hope that you will enjoy the journey too.