It’s Almost Baby Time!

37 weeks 4 days

……..yes, we have many, many calves due to be born in the coming months BUT, I happen to be referring to HUMAN baby time! It’s true, my husband and I are expecting our first child, a little girl, sometime in the next 2 -4 weeks!

Pregnancy has slowed me down quite a bit – hence my disappearence from this blog! Thought I’d take a few minutes to update before life gets REALLY crazy once baby arrives.

Things are going great at the farm. We’ve got 35 acres of our corn planted (about half done) and we just mowed our first cutting of hay. Beef calving season is pretty much over, but most of our dairy calves are due to be born in July, August, and September this year. The guys are keeping super busy caring for all our dairy cows – we’ve been milking a record number of at least 70…..though we’ve started drying off a number of them in the past month as they prepare for the birth of their calves (they get the last two months of their pregnancy off …….pre-maternity leave of sorts.) :)

We are hosting Country Pumpkins at our farm again this fall! We’ve been in the planning stages since January and are getting really excited about all the fun times ahead. We were blessed with a wonderful 2012 season and hope to continue to build on that growth. Can’t make any formal announcements YET, but we’ve got several FREE Special Events in the works that will be scattered throughout our September 13 – November 3rd season. I’ve been working on updating our brochures, flyers, and website to get a head start before the baby comes.

 

Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

There’s no better way to celebrate a scorching hot 4th of July than with a fresh batch of homemade ice cream…..which is exactly what we did yesterday! I’ve had several friends request this recipe that I’m sharing with you today. You may be getting this a little too late to include in your 4th of July celebrations, but lucky for you, July is National Ice Cream Month! I seriously need to hug whoever thought that one up. :) Ice cream is my number one weakness of all time. I eat it almost everyday – at least once!

This recipe comes from a cookbook by Thomas R. Quinn called “Old-Fashioned Homemade Ice Cream”. My mom picked this up for me at an Amish store in Holmes County, OH a couple of years ago. These recipes are simply the BEST homemade ice creams that I’ve ever had in my life. Leftovers freeze amazingly well (anybody ever had the kind that turns hard as a rock when frozen in the freezer?) and scoop out just like store-bought ice cream.

If you try it, please let me know how much you loved it. :)

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 3 cups mashed, sweetened strawberries (about 1/4 cup of sugar will sweeten berries) OR you can use thawed, pre-sweetened strawberries from the freezer section of your grocery
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (not necessary if you use pre-sweetened strawberries from the freezer section)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • whole milk as needed (about 5 cups)

In a large pan combine the sugar, eggs, and salt. Add the whipping cream and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 180 degrees). Refrigerate. When cool, add the vanilla.

If using fresh strawberries, either dice strawberries into very small pieces or slice and mash them. Add the lemon juice and enough sugar to sweeten (about 1/4 cup). Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow the sugar to blend with the strawberries.

When ready to freeze ice cream, add the strawberries to the cream-sugar-egg mixture. Pour into an ice cream freezing can and add whole milk to bring the mixture up to 3/4 full. Freeze in a home ice cream freezer. Makes about one gallon.

Note: I use a 6 qt White Mountain ice cream freezer so I don’t fill to 3/4 full because this recipe is written for a 4 qt freezer. Also, I used raw milk from our cows which has a bit higher fat content than “whole milk” so I used 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream and  5 1/2 cups milk to compensate. In addition, I added the milk at same time I added the cream and cooked to 180 degrees. This is not necessary to do – I’ve made it both ways – BUT I felt this may have given the ice cream an ever creamier texture.

Social Media Interview Published in Progressive Dairyman!

If someone would have told me two and a half years ago when I started the Alpine Hills Dairy Farm Facebook page that it would one day have been mentioned on the radio, the DFA Leader Magazine, and now the Progressive Dairyman magazine I would have laughed my head off! Really??? When I got the idea to start the page, I knew very, very little about dairy farming. My husband and I had been married just a few months (we were not working at the farm at the time) and with all our visits to the farm I thought it would be a fun place to share pictures and updates. I felt that it would really be something that people who didn’t live on farms would enjoy reading and learning about. That seems like it has turned out to be true!

As time has gone on, and we starting working at the farm full-time (celebrated our 2nd anniversary working here last week!) I have been able to learn more first hand about dairy farm life and have been here to take more pictures to share. I have absolutely LOVED having the opportunity to manage the Facebook page! Thank you to all our loyal fans who continue to give me such great feedback and encouragement. :)

Below is the link to the article recently published online and in print in the Progressive Dairyman magazine. Special thanks to Emily Caldwell for taking all my jumbled thoughts (I get super excited talking about social media! Ha!) and putting them into one cohesive article. She did such a fabulous job and it was a great opportunity to get to meet her! Click the picture below for the link to the entire article or click here.

Caption Contest!

One thing I have discovered from photographing our cows, is that it’s pretty easy to get a comical picture of them! They all have such unique personalities and are complete hams for the camera. In fact, because of their curious nature, they often come toward me when they see me with my camera out! Such divas!

Right now, we have a Caption Contest in progress on our Alpine Hills Dairy Farm Facebook page for this photo:

The contest ends at midnight tonight, Thursday, June 7th. Do you have any good caption ideas? I’d love to hear them! :)
Of course, I must honor our previous winners that we’ve had so far this year. I absolutely LOVE these photos and the great captions that our Facebook fans have come up with!

Thank you to Katie Taylor for this perfect caption!

Thank you to Brandon Severn for this hilarious caption!