Starts Off Well Mannered

Meals in the show barn begin with everyone minding their own grain pans. Each animal gets their fair ration and begin eating right away. It is when I start chopping up apples that things begin to lose their sophistication.

The two cows along with heifer #47 are locked into the stanchions at the far end of the barn during meal time. If they were to roam free, none of the three calves would get any food at all. Don’t worry the two cows and #47 get their own feed and quite a lot of it.

The three calves, two of which belong to the two cows and the orphaned Primrose #70, eat at the closer end of the barn. None of them are big enough for their heads to lock into the stanchions so they get to scuffle amongst themselves on who gets the good amount of feed.

When they start off with grain, I separate the the three youngsters placing their pans at intervals of every other stanchion so keep them from stealing each other food. While they are eating, I start cutting the fruit.

The three calves are closest to where I am working, and watch intently as I get the apples ready. When I head toward them with the bucket they all stop and wait for the sweet fruit. While I head over to the far end of the barn to give apples to the two cows and yearling heifer, small fights break out over who gets to eat out of which pan in an effort to get the most fruit before it is all gone.

Before I can finish doling out the fruit to the larger animals, the calves have scooted their pans this way and that, and continue to pick at each other. Even though Primrose is the smallest in size, she does not let anyone keep her from getting more than her fair share.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Payback From The Apple Tree

I almost named this post ‘do I dare’. Yet again I almost didn’t write this story at all. This is one of those momentary things that happen and then was gone, easily forgotten from memory. Except I happened to document the happening and shared the snippet with my sister who was then expecting it to show up on the farm site. She is the one who reminded me of the event.

It was one of those warm days, the yellow transparent apple tree in the garden had been dropping fruit and we like to keep the apples picked up to discourage yellow jacket bees from hanging around and giving the cows in the show barn good fruit cut up with there hay and grain.

Just over the electric fence, I was attending to the garden hose and filling the stock tanks while we had the irrigation on. Mike grabbed a bucket to pick up apples. He cleaned up under the tree and had the bucket half full. He decided to use the bucket as a good sitting spot and barely started enjoying a respite in the shade of the apple tree when a lone apple fell from the tree and hit him right on the head. If I would not have been mere feet away from him I would have missed the whole thing.

Instead, I snapped a picture and shared the direct hit.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

The Lure Of Fresh Fruit

This time of year, with the fresh fruit on the apple, pear and plum trees, we are not able to simple load the dogs on the Gator to begin work for the day. Both Butler and Jackson will forego the immediate loading procedure for a quick run into the garden to see what tree has dropped some fresh fruit during the night.

dog eating a pearJackson prefers plums and will head for that tree first, but Butler will eat a pear over plums or apples but will be content with whatever he finds.

Jackson will grab a piece of fruit and run head-long and jump onto the Gator before he begins to eat. Butler will stay with his fruit until he has every last nibble cleaned up before he heads for the ride. He has figured out that we are willing to wait as long as needed before heading off to work for the day.

 

And Fruit Too

trays of figs, blueberries and apples ready for dehydratorI am keeping the dehydrator busy these days with lots of veggies. And when I get tired of doing that, I switch to fruit.

Today happened to be blueberries, apples sliced thin, and figs. I love adding these scrumptious goodies to my ‘adventure fruit’ stash, those little baggies that I carry in the car, in jacket pockets, in suitcases and everywhere I go. The mixtures are are a good little pick-me-up so I don’t go in search of those snacks that are not nearly as healthy.

As soon as this batch is done drying, I will switch back to veggies.

Speaking of the veggies, I had a friend tell me that she freezes her zucchini/summer squash. She told me that she has always grated the squash and froze it to make fritters or bread well after summer is over. I could see this working well if the squash is frozen into baggies of one or two cups in each so when it came time to make the baking, the correct amount could be pulled from the freezer easily.

She also mentioned that today they are busy slicing and blanching squash for one minute before freezing. Her mother-in-law said to fry it up with a little corn meal. From freezer to frying pan is how she stated it, no thawing necessary. Now I’m intrigued and may have to do a little creative preserving on my own to see how it works.

Windfall Apples

With the earliest varieties of apples starting to ripen, the trees are naturally dropping fruit in an effort to thin out the  total number of fruit on the tree.

green apples in a bucketThe first variety to ripen each year are yellow transparent apples. These are not ones that you can find in the grocery store. They are a very thin skinned, bruise easily, and are not good keepers. In fact they are so fragile that once they fall off the tree they begin to rot.

The apples at this stage are still pretty green and sour so we have been picking them up each day to feed the cows in my barn.  They just love the apples and fight each other for the pieces we put in front of them. We lock the metal stanchion head gates keep the cows from stealing the apples from the calves.

The cows get downright noisy  with indignation without their fresh fruit. If I miss chopping apples to go with their meal, they promptly let me know by bellowing until I find some or cut down a row of lettuce from the garden or start up the lawn mower to add fresh cut grass to their hay. They aren’t mean about it, they just know what is good and expect to get as such.

In the next few weeks the yellow transparents will be sweet enough to slice and run through the dehydrator, they are one of my favorites for dried apples. The different varieties of apples and pears will continue on for several months until the last of the winter apples freeze solid. Last year we had fruit for the cows well into November.

Tipsy Bovines

The apple trees were loaded this year and it was causing a problem with the overabundance. My brother had a couple of trees that needed all the fallen fruit removed from beneath the tree so he could mow his lawn. We filled a pickup bed with fruit and still had not completely cleaned up under one of the trees.

The fruit is in various stages of decomposition and many of the apples would melt between fingers as we grabbed them off the ground. We filled tubs (empty 200 lb. mineral tubs) and 5 gallon buckets to transport the apples home then fed a tub at a time during hay feeding to the main herd across the river. Continue reading

Loaded Yellow Transparent Apples

A tree loaded with green apples.The first of the season apples are ripening quickly. These are called Yellow Transparent and are a very fragile apple.

They have very thin skins, and can bruise with a light touch. They are an excellent fresh eating apple and taste best before the light green skins begin to yellow. They are also a good preserving apple. I like to dehydrate Yellow Transparent slices for my dried fruit mix. No sweetening needed. The biggest downfall of these beauties are that they do not keep well. Once picked off the tree they begin to lose their crispness.

Every morning, I collect apples that fell during the night. These are chopped and added to the mealtimes for the cows and calves in the showbarn. The three cows, three calves and one heifer enjoy the fruit. The calves will hold off eating until they have at least three apples chopped up and placed in front of them. It’s a battle of the wills, they remain steadfast until I comply with their wants. They usually win…

Very Last Hold Outs

Granny Smith apples on tree. The little Granny Smith apple tree is the final hold out with fruit still clinging to the branches along with a few stubborn leaves.

Until most of the leaves dropped off, I had no idea that this little tree had so many apples hiding.

Granny Smith apples make delicious pies, cobblers and baked apples filled with cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins. With the harvest season lasting until the 1st of December this year it will be a hard transition to not have fresh fruit right out of the garden.

Good thing I have a cupboard full of dried fruits and vegetables ready for the nibbling.

Thieves In The Night

We had been savoring the last few apples still hanging on the trees. The last Rome apple dropped yesterday. The Honey Crisp tree has barely a bucket full still hanging, and the frosts have taken away the crispness yet they are still sweet and juicy. Red delicious apples finished falling off the tree a couple of days ago, the Jonathan apples are also done. The yellow delicious are still crisp and flavorful with only a handful of small sized apples left.

The raccoons have been raiding the last of the apple crop, they are sneaking in at night under the cover of darkness. In the morning we had been finding chewed cores littering the ground beneath the trees. With the apples dwindling, I believe the pesky varmints are trying to move to the barn to steal the cat food that is left over from the evening meal. Continue reading