I am so behind on writing to my Janie’s Mill bakers. This afternoon I must sit down and do that. Are you all on that list too? That is a straight email list until the website is ready for me to start a blog. Let me know if you would like to be on that list and I will let you know how. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mill Matters it is all about flours and bread. The Red Fife and the Einkorn are in the stack already, we are just waiting for label approval. I am so close to calling myself The Little Red Hen but I WANT to SHARE my bread!
So much excitement
Did I tell you I finished the HACCP plan for Janie’s Mill and my first peer review was outstanding. So now I can relax a little and just focus on updates.
One more thing then back to the farm. We milled pizza flour the other day – I can start selling it when OCIA approves our new labels ( merciful heavens they are strict ) anyway, when we mill pizza flour the extraction rate is such that we waste a lot more of the kernel, 600 pounds of wheat ( we mix Glenn with Turkey Red) makes 330 pounds of flour, so the bran has way more flour in it. I brought some of the bran home and mixed it half and half back to Glenn and it makes an amazing tasty loaf. But it proofs really fast. So I have to watch the rise closely.
Jake’s restaurant is open! It is called ACRESinn and is in Pontiac, Illinois. Naturally they are using our flours! Nic their baker makes lovely loaves and rolls.
Meanwhile back on the farm the cold stopped the birds in their tracks and they stopped laying overnight. We are collecting less than a quarter from both the chickens and the ducks. Usually they slowly drop production during the dark months but this is a dramatic change. So, not enough eggs to sell this week.
This is WaiWai sleeping under his blankets. He wriggles himself right under his pile of blankets but never far enough to cover his bottom. So last thing at night I tuck him in. He always says thank you. He does not want to sleep with other pigs so he has old blankets people donate to the farm. Pigs never pee in their beds so I have always given them blankets. Not Poppy though she just shreds them!
Sheila and her straw. She looks very healthy at the moment! Carrying a little weight into the winter is a good thing.
Del is just not dropping that last five pounds of milk that will take her below the safe amount to dry her up. (20 pounds) My goal is to pull the plug at the end of November. Fingers crossed. She is literally eating her new lovely straw, no alfalfa hay, no grain, no pumpkins. What a good cow. I will keep her just in case we decide to milk again – if I lose my job or there are severe economic changes. All dairy farms are having a hard time – big and small dairy farms are closing across the country at an alarming rate. Good organic milk is especially hard to find.
So I am keeping my options open and she is a lovely albeit big, pet.
Did you realize that with the constant rise in temperatures in some areas of the planet, dairy cows are having a hard time of it. Milk production drops when they are too hot. Not something we thought about, right? The big dairy’s are working hard on research in to how to keep cows cool in this climate crisis. Not to mention their sales crisis – REAL milk itself is close to becoming an endangered item in the supermarket fridges anyway, due to the downturn in sales. And – no skim milk is not real milk it is just watered down milk.
How did whole milk get such a nasty reputation in the western world. Oh yes! Marketing! If you tell a lie often enough people just believe it. Not us though – not The Fellowship. We triangulate our news and work hard on searching out the kernels of truth that hide in all this noise.
I am zooming over to California on Wednesday. My way of counteracting the nasty impact on the planet of my train travel and plane flights is to plant trees. As you can imagine we have lots of young trees here! I usually only add a couple on to my tree numbers for a California trip but I wonder what the equation would be. A tree per thousand miles? It’s 2,000 odd miles to Fresno.
About 8 and a half thousand miles to New Zealand – the world is so small – plus I am using public transport! Snort! Still, the trees assuage my guilt.
Do you see this hole in one of the chook-house doors? Something is trying to get in. Gnawing a hole in the door to gain access to my lovely chooks. It is tiny so far, the hole. I will fix this today. I wonder if this is the Bastard Mink.
We are warming up again. Which is good. You will remember that the farmers who were able to plant in that dreadful wet spring ( and one third of fields in the Midwest still lay unplanted) did so very late. So the harvest is late too. Anything above 40F and the corn standing in the fields starts to dry again.
Our organic corn is having a hard time of it. Low yields and wet. There will be plenty of stock feed this year!
For our dairy farmers, I think the problem is less the temperature (our cows must be acclimatised…) than the fact that the bastard supermarkets are selling their milk for a dollar a litre, which is less than it costs to produce. We make a point of not buying own-brand milk, but paying more and buying milk where the farmers get a decent amount.
Same here! I don’t get it!
Lovely portrait of Sheila sunning herself. It is kind of you to tuck Wai’s blanky ofer his poor old bare bottom. He needs (& thrives on) your tender care. I have always bought whole milk for my tea & baking & back when I was raising my son. I do water my wine lately which pains my friends to see. And also citrus drinks. Seems gentler on my aging system.
I am signing up for your mill newsletter & look forward to it.
“over”, there is always a typo…
Thank you! Some wines love a splash of bubbly water!
My choices: Perrier, Pellegrino, & sometimes even good old Branch (as we always said in Ky.)
Speaking of flour regulations; the history of flour and bread making (the baker’s profession) is a very deep and critically important one. Your requirements for labelling may be a nuisance but in the past demands for assured quality could literally be life and death for a baker. For example, in Paris France there was a strict limit on the number of master bakers allowed. If you could become one you were assured a very comfortable, wealthy life. If however you were found cheating the government confiscated all you assets, both business and personal and killed you 🙂
My property didn’t sell this year so I’m here for the winter. Still running the bakery on the weekends as usual and presently installing a live edge hardwood floor in my front room. I’ll email you a picture of it when I’ve got the whole floor covered.
Yes! The safety part of the labels is the Easy but actually. But every flour is named and they insist in approving the names plus we are changing the mill name officially to Janie’s Mill and that is slowing the process down. Reading about these Parisian Master Bakers does shed sons light on their insistence but not their interminable slowness. This process started way before I joined the mill so thankfully I cannot be blamed for the endless mistakes! Our process is approved. And our flour is approved. Our facility is known for being the cleanest. They are very happy with us actually. This is all just wording on the labels. A different dpt. A very boring department .
Lots of good news! Looks like the animals are settling in for the coming cold. And the straw sure makes that nice, warm and comfortable!
Also, what great news about Jake’s restaurant opening! No doubt he will do fabulously!
Your loaves look fantastic – I like a well baked crust. Sheila’s looking fabulous too!
The supermarkets put dairy farmers out of business in the UK – they didn’t want to pay a reasonable price for milk. The result of this, relative to a boom in farmer’s markets, is that dairy farmers started to make cheese. The UK now produces twice a many real cheeses as France. I believe it was illegal to sell unpasteurised milk, but there have been changes with that too and it’s now available, direct from the farm, in farmer’s markets and via email order.
What an exciting development. These big chain supermarkets make so much money. Selling so much rubbish! So glad I am seldom in them.
It’s fantastic, people are recreating farmhouse cheeses that disappeared in the industrial revolution. I tasted some brie like cheese from a Tottenham dairy and it’s better than brie! Something cheese makers have been trying to equal for a long time and Tottenham hasn’t been associated with farming or artesanal produce for at least a century. I don’t think they are producing their own milk, but many dairies buy in.
I love cheese!!!
Oh and those are Nic’s loaves. Lovely aren’t they.
Congratulations to Jake on the opening of ACRESinn, I saw your recent IG post. Glad to see he is taking it one step at a time. Good thinking
I am very allergic to nuts and the new requirements for detailed labelling makes my life both easier and safer
I also avoid milk, seems like once it is homogenised/pasteurised and fat reduced, I don’t tolerate it, but interestingly enough I am fine with raw, full cream cream. Who knew.
Enjoy your California visit.
This is very true if real milk- pasteurization destroys the enzymes necessary to digest milk.
And we are very clear on our labels and luckily for us we have only one allergen in the facility. WHEAT!!
what a beautiful look into your life on a farm. thank you for sharing Cecilia
oh my don’t let the chewer chew into the hen house! You certainly have to keep a sharp eye out! We have always just imbibed whole milk, use butter NOT
yucky margarine and so forth. Every thing in moderation! Since we moved to to a small neighborly community within Vancouver WA I have been teaching neighbors how to easily make and bake bread! I like sharing information and it’s a fun time for all of us! Have a lovely Sunday.
I love how busy and fulfilled you are! Yay! This is great. We must keep charging ahead. Sheila is flashing her loveliest smile EVER. The loafs look so good!
Speaking of cheese – has anyone here visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory on the coast in Oregon/California? My folks used to take us to the old factory in the 50’s when it was just a ramshackle building. Now, it’s a huge factory where you can see the processes of making cheese – very active AND free samples! Ah, Ceci I! Close that chook hole fast! Don’t want another disaster!
Funny, these years of reading your column, to see how the farmy (and you) have morphed. It’s like a kaleidoscope! Never to be repeated quite the same way and always changing! the love and excitement of your blog adds a beautiful symphony to accompany the view through the scope. Thank you for the peaks into your world!
Our dairy farmers here are having a lot of trouble staying in business. Between the higher temps, the drought, and lately, the bush fires, a number of them are packing it in. Also, some of the companies who buy milk from them to sell on to the groceries are ripping them off and they are often selling milk at a loss. What is wrong with the world that we can see that we need to pay people a decent price for their hard work? I love my organic whole milk and hope the store continues to stock it. There are some gaping holes on the shelves these days. Thank you for keeping us so well informed! xx
Sign me up for the new list please. Love all the great photography you take Cecilia:)
That bastard mink! Rotten beast. Good luck. I love Sheila’s smile. I think she’s pleased with her bed and your lovely bread! Good luck down on the farm with winter preparations.
I did not know that about pigs. They seem more fastidious than I give them credit.
I drink milk maybe once a year at christmas time with cookies.
Love this whole post! So much good news here, and Wai Wai stories. I’ve missed him. Sheila too. Your energy and enthusiam comes through the air waves, or however. New information too–about pigs sleeping, about milk, about grains. And the tree idea. Wonderful! Im glad I could visit again. Looking forward to more, here and at the mill site.
This is great. I love it.
I’m back and tethered again. Cruised to the Virgin Islands for a few – and let my soul sail over the waves. It felt fantastic. Sea air does a body good.
I so want a loaf of your bread and a cold glass of WHOLE milk. Instead I’ll just have my tea and wait until Turkey day.