A SWOOP

Around the farm.

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PUTTING PIGS TO BED

Tane, the old cripple KuneKune boar has terrible arthritis – though he is looking fatter and shinier than ever this winter – needs to be snuggled down into a deep bed of straw with his blankie and more straw on top. Read More

MUD NOW

We are getting rain. Lots of rain lately. I wonder if we will have another wet winter. Read More

HOW DO YOU THINK

Sometimes when I am reading a book I try to make myself slow down by insisting to myself to read every word out loud in my head.

I used to encourage my students to do this in exams. Read every word out loud in your head – you will understand it better. Or pinch your hand a tiny bit as a learned instruction to your brain to focus and breathe and read each word.

I was thinking to myself the other day that I did not need another slice of freshly baked bread slathered with butter and local honey. I had already eaten a whole slice with lots of butter with my hot cup of gumboot tea so I certainly did not need another slice – anyway you slice too thick my out-loud on the in-side voice said. So, I used the outloud on the inside voice and told myself, no. I put away the knife, rewrapped the bread in its sweet cotton bread bag, put the top on the honey, shelved the butter in the fridge and left the kitchen.

And it struck me that if I think my thoughts in my outloud on the inside voice – particularly with drama class articulation- I do tend to listen more and make better decisions.

But, like reading, I seldom think in coherent hearable thoughts. Plus I seldom pause and call up this clear inner voice. Usually it is as I imagine space would be – just a wild collection of neuronic, no not neurotic, neuronic sparks and reactions, deep quiet, dark space and bright star lights in the distance.

If I am looking for my farm knife ( and I am always looking for my farm knife) I seldom think with my inner voice – there are no key words- I just wander about forgetting what I was looking for – keeping myself busy until I remember what I was looking for or even remember I was looking at all and it is more a flash of orange in my head ( the farm knife is orange) rather than an actual useable thought. And when I find it I add the knife to my pocket and head for my boots. I only think about the boots if I can’t find them then we go through the whole space like process again. Though, just to be clear, I seldom lose my boots! Neuronic. The thought seldom hits an alphabetic neuron.

I imagine that if I tried to force my brain to think in words poor brain would get tired fast? Do you think? There is so much black unchartered space to cover. I think this is why I love making bread as opposed to making mathematical tables. Bread has no words it is all touch. Also why I love to write – the words are easily retrievable when I write. I do form words as I write.

So, how do you think? Are you linear? Do you make mental lists. Do you think out loud in your head? Do you have a running dialogue in your head? When you think about what you are going to do today is it in words or pictures or reactions or are you neuronic too? We must all organize our thoughts differently which is perfect – after all diversity is healthy.

Do you remember the standing on one leg theory. That we can create an action that forces coherent thought. Stand on one leg, get your balance, breathe, focus. For me this forces me to stop and read my mind out loud in my inner voice and things are usually much clearer when I do that. Just like reading every word on the page. So much better.

I have no other pictures. So here is WaiWai making his bed.

I went around all the pigs houses yesterday afternoon to add more straw and WaiWai was so excited he got straight to work pushing the straw into a high mound. Later when I came to cover him with his blankets he had totally disappeared into his straw. Deep into the mound he had created in his own little way. I spread the blankets on top of the mountain of straw. He loves to be covered up. All my other grown pigs sleep on top of their straw. Wai gets right in.

Sheila has spent a lot of time carrying straw into her house a mouthful at a time. I did not need to add any to her house- I just pushed more straw closer to the door. She does her own housekeeping.

We all love our beds.

Time to bake this mornings bread! It is 100% calumet – whole kernel Glenn. I am giving myself an extra hour before going to work today because I am also making croissants! For the first time. They will be baked tomorrow so I will let you know! I do the laminating stage today. Lots to learn.

Pete the Baker – are you reading this morning? Got any tips? I know you make the best croissants!

Love celi

PS you can buy my organic cotton holiday bread bags on the janiesmill website. ( our new site is almost finished but not quite). I have created holiday flour gift bundles. They are up already but will be prettier on the new site. Remember to write F after your name on the order form so I can pop your Fellowship gift in with your flours!.

Tethered

Like Pat I am back and tethered again. Sometimes – oftentimes I do feel tethered. Though it is light this bracelet around my ankle. Read More

MY NEW LOAF

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 ceciliaatjaniesmill@gmail.com. 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.

Great news!

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.

Ok!

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!

Love celi

PLASTIC FREE CHRISTMAS

How to prepare for a Plastic Free Christmas!

By the way kids hate wooden toys except wooden trains or those wooden bees we have in New Zealand but there are only so many wooden trains a person can give and the wooden bees are for toddlers!

And for a start we can’t use wrapping paper! Last year all the wrapping paper was made of some kind of plastic that even sticky tape rejected. And sticky tape! We would not use that either. String then and newspapers or decorated butchers paper for wrapping. I am good with that.

I think at least half of this is a discussion with the children about why I am not giving plastic this Christmas. So they get it but not in a way that decreases their joy when they do receive plastic from someone else!! How to phrase that sentence.

I have always been the book giver- safe in the knowledge that later in life all my dears will understand. As long as the books are collected. Because every year I see my books set aside by the parents for later! Maybe I should be giving hope chests or book cases.

Also by making a stand I make all the other givers of plastic wrapped gadgets and plastic toys and plastic made garments, feel judged in a way. Some grandparents get offended very easily especially by their peers. Especially me! Somehow I have made an artform of saying the wrong thing!

Anyway! For us today I would like to make a list of Christmas presents ( other than books book cases and hope chests) that I can wrap and that would travel, for all ages, that will excite all the little people who would rather have a bright pink dolls house made entirely of plastic!

Just drop all your ideas in the comments – riff off each other. I need help. All I am sure of is that I don’t want to continue to contribute to the bags and bags of plastic that go out to the curb the day after Christmas!

Wine for the parents is a wonderful plastic free gift!!

Already I feel a list coming – but I have put the bread in the oven so I have twenty minutes to shower and get ready for work – then when the buzzer goes off I take the lids off – turn the pots and I have another twenty minutes. Usually by the last minute of baking bread I am stood at the door ready to exit with my hot loaves on their cooling trays in the bin ready for travel.

Talk soon c

ALTERNATING UNIVERSES

When I went to bed last night it was 4F (minus 15 celcius) – now, I know for you people up in the mountains to the north this is not too cold but for me here on the plains of Illinois this is bloody cold for November.

We did get a bit of snow with nasty ice but for the most part the cold caught me by surprise.

We seem to have jumped straight to that awful majestic bleakness of mid winter.

The wind had dropped by yesterday afternoon though, which made my afternoon farming almost pleasant.

After a long day in the mill – and it never seems long enough because the mill is like an alternate universe where time seems to behave differently – I quite enjoy feeding and watering the animals. I have the best of both worlds. The farming grounds me and the organic food industry stretches my brain ( and give me an income)!

Here is a little freezing duck video for you. I hope it loads. On that really cold day the ducks would waddle along a bit then sit on their feet to warm them up again. And they insisted on breaking the ice on their muddy pond so they could all flap about in there. The water froze to their feathers and they looked a bit silly. Funny ducks.

Last night when I put the ducks to bed, as I shut the door, I saw three chooks sitting on a bale in the Quack House. There was nothing I could do. It was dark. I just shut the door.

Let’s look at the weather.

Looks like we have a warm up on the way. That’s good. I really want to get more straw in for these pigs.

I hope you all have a great day. It is Wednesday here and I have barely scratched the surface of this week. I need to have another cup of coffee and make a list.

Love c

IT’S THE DARK

I have reached the time of the year when I leave for work in the dark and come back to the farm in the dark. Horrors! Read More

6is5is6 OR IS IT 5is6is5

I think Daylight Saving is Barbaric!

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