Saturday, 8 June 2013

Open day - dates for your diary

Hello everyone- a couple of dates for your diary Sunday July 28th and Monday 29th, -10am -2pm both days. I am having an "Open Day" at Trenow Cove Dairy so that all of you who have been so interested in following "Karen's Farm" can come and have a look around the micro dairy. This is probably still the smallest commercial dairy in the UK. You can spend as long or as little time as you like here to suit yourselves - there is no "start " time. I am sharing this occassion with Gerald and Anne Babcock who will be using the day to officially launch their website. As many of you know I work in conjunction with the Babcocks who own the Pendeen herd of Whitebred Shorthorns

The cows that are currently residing here will be in the lower of the fields, so you can wander up and have a look at them. Those of you who like walking might want to see them by walking along Churchway footpath and loop back to Trenow and the bridleway. In the barn will be some photos of the view from the top field and some shots of the fields of how they were before and since.  You will be able to wander through the barn and have a look at the tank room, milking parlour and the pasteurising room.

The Babcocks look after my cows when they are not milking- because they are too young or early pregnancy or "dry " cows who have finished milking for a time. When the cows are away from me they spend their time up on the Penwith Moors where they are conservation grazing. If you want to know more about conservation grazing come along and talk to Gerald.

Now for practical issues-  parking is limited in the little area at the bottom of the bridleway so if at all possible, can you walk to the dairy. If I can secure additional parking I will let you all know. For those not familar with the area there will be sign posts directing you. Respectfully no dogs, on this occasion. I am not anti dog but two of the cows who were involved with the terrible dog attack last year will be here and now they are not struck on them!

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

What is happening in 2013

Well it is a few months since I was last in touch with you all and there has been plenty of things happening. But first can I just show you a picture I took when it snowed, It was certainly a wet cold winter and spring. Thank goodness the warmer weather is here but I supose it is all very relative.This picture was taken in the collection yard with the cows tucking into some tasty wholecrop

Did I tell you that the fields that I work are now mine? That all went through last October. They used to belong to Jim Bettens who has recently passed away at the grand age of 89yrs. I used to tell him from time to time what was happening with the fields and the cows. Talking of which I have now acquired a few more cows to add to my little herd. You may recall I started off with Buttercup and Daisy and then the following year I added Primrose. In the autumn I bought 5 more cows. Snowflake ( Snowflake is a flower incidently)and her calf Clover;- Snowflakes grand daughter Lilly, Bluebell and Rosie. Rosie is not going to be mine for much longer as I am going to swap her for my first calf produced by Daisy, that I called Snowdrop. Snowdrop was hand reared over at Pendeen with another little calf called Widget who is a Jersey cross
Here they are frollicking inthe meadow of buttercups
The other bit of news is that in November I got my "kite " mark as a food producer from Cornwall Council. Thats the little oval mark you find on all your yoghurt pots for example It means I can sell my dairy produce anywhere and makes it tracable. So my milk and butter has this mark on the labels and is being sold locally.
Snowflake had a calf on 2nd May so I called her May ( when I was young we used to call Hawthorn blossom May). May is now in Pendeen being bottle reared.
May will come back to th erd when she is older.
Her mother Snowflake is milking like a dream- a little hesitant to come into the milking parlour but it is all strange to her. today she produced 13 litres of milk. Thats almost 3 gallons in old money.It produced 1.5lbs of butter too. So if you want unhomogenised milk;-skim, semi skim or full fat milk or butter just give  me a phone 07980 313739 and you can buy some. Or go to any of the local outlets notably Village Crafts in Perranuthnoe or The Deli in Marazion
Daisy is due on 20th May and Guinivere any day now. Guinivere isnt mine but she is the cow that came off worst in the dog attack last year. If she sees a dog ( even minding its own business) she wants to attack it so she cant graze the Penwith moors any more. So the plan is that she will return to Trenow and be a milking cow and be away from dogs.
The little meadows in Boat Cove Lane have been rotavated with a view to ploughing and reseeding in grass The meadow where I first had chickens has been revamped and should be fox proof unlike their last field that had too much cover to make it safe. The chickens are point of lay so these are not producing great numbers of eggs yet but will do before too long. The cockerel to keep the girls company is called Oliver ( Cromwell) according to his previous owner who had one male too many,

 In the garden I have 12 goslings They were hatched on 16th April and are destined to be Christmas dinners. They look so cute at the moment so the secret is dont give them names and be content with the fact that they will have lead a happy life.They will go in the field next to the house when they are fully feathered.



Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas goose

Hello Everyone Its 1st December and Christmas is nearly upon us. Have you sorted out your "bird" for the festive season? I have still two geese available. If you like duck you will like goose and you cook it in the same way. It is a treat but not as expensive as the supermarkets or butchers at £4.25 per lb. It comes ready to go - not a DIY job with the feathers still on.

Other news;- Primrose came back today with Major the bull, plus one or two othe cows from Pendeen for Majors attention. Primrose left here shortly after the dog attack so it was lovely that she remembered me and where I kept the treats. She will stay here now and hopefull have a calf of her own in 2013.

More news;- My milk and butter sales are going well. Now that I have a " kite mark" it means I can sell anywhere in the world but I will stick with being local for the moment!The outlets are Village Crafts in Perranuthnoe, The Stores in Goldsithney and Delicious in Marazion. The Cornisman photographer came and took a few pictures on Thursday with me and the three outlet proprierors. Not sur if it will make the paper or not

Thursday, 8 November 2012

latest news and dairy update

Hello everyone, its a while since we last spoke. However I havnt been idle. The first bit of news is that thanks to the Bettens family, all the little fields that I was renting are now mine. The last bit af paperwork was done last Friday.

I have now completed a level 3 HACCP course and been given my "kite" mark from Cornwall Council Environmental Health Dept to sell pasteurised milk. Over the summer I have had the interior of the barn revamped to meet those requirements.The pic below is my pasteurising room. The panel on the wall looks something off a flight deck, it controlls temperature, time, agitator, tachograph

and various other bits but actually I have got the hang of it! The silver thing on the right with two arms is my cream seperator. Next door is where I milk the cows. I can take two at a time but for the moment I do the "girls" one at a time. This is Buttercup being milked

While this was happening, Daisy, who always goes first, was waiting outside for her. All that is stopping me is the printing of food standard fridge proof labels to go on the milk bottles and butter packets. Many thanks to Pippa for helping me with the design. Enid Kirk my Dairy Maid Assistant has been helping me, and took some butter home lastweek. (Enid and me both have to wear white and have hats on in the pasteurising room. )

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A new birth

Hello everyone, its a while since we spoke and its now definately autumn.

Happily Daisy is now pregnant since Major paid a visit. with a new calf for her expected early May 2013.

However, the news of the day is that Buttercup gave birth to a bull calf at dawn this morning Cow and calf doing well. Also, I now have a new part time dairy maid,-  Edith Kirk from the village, so she was soon on the scene to view the new arrival. (Enid will be doing some relief milking at week ends in  a few years time ). The calf will only be here for a few days befor he goes to Pendeen to be hand reared by Gerald Babcock. There just isnt a way to keep mother and calf together and produce milk. He will be very well looked after and soon mix in with other young calves over there.

The dairy is rapidly changing in order to produce pasteurised semi skimmed milk. I will add some more pictures when the work has been completed in a few days time .

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Daisy has a friend over for the weekend

Well its now early July and unfortunatly Daisy didnt hold to AI. She was pregnant for a few weeks but it wasnt to be. Last year Daisy didnt take to AI either- she had to have the real deal. Answer to the problem, have the bull Major over for the weekend. ( Daisy cant go to his place as there is nowhere for her to go to be milked) So, over Major came and.....................! Ask me in three weeks time, but I am cautiously optomistic.

The other bit of news on "Karen's farm" is that I am going commercial with my milk. I have ordered a batch pasteuriser and work will be carried out over the next couple of weeks to the bring the dairy upto DEFRA and Food Standards Agency requirements. stainless steel and white catering walls all round.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Daisy's night out

Do you recall last time I spoke, that Daisy would have to be AI'd when she next came into season. The  vet has examined Daisy and said she was not "cycling" ( hormone wise) and would give her a bit of a boost to get her started. I wondered if the dog incident has put her off. Anyway the boost consists of a progesterone tampon which I was to take out on Sunday 27th May.  It was expected that she may come into season 4 days later on 31st May but more likely 21 days after that on 21st June. And that's when I get the AI man in.

However, on Sunday morning I notice that the bit of string that should be dangling out isn't there. Call Gerald ( Pendeen Whitebred Shorhorns ) for advice ;- apparently the string does drop off sometimes so have a ferret around and pull it out. If I don't have any luck then he (Gerald) will roll his sleeve up on Monday morning.

Daisy strongly objected to my ferreting around, on Sunday afternoon, though I was very gentle, even though I say so myself. Over to Gerald. However at 3 O'clock on Monday morning Daisy starts mooing. By 4 O'clock Daisy is bellowing and climbing the hedge between the field and the garden, taking Buttercup with her, and she is off. I got dressed as quickly as I could and went to the spot were they were last seen - to no avail. Then it dawned on me, the string hadn't fallen off, the thing had come out altogether- she was BOOOOSTED!!!!!! A supercharged, four wheel drive, bovine nymphomaniac on a mission. I looked in every field , path and lane between Marazion cemetery and Trebarvah looking for clues ( cow pats). Nothing. Then at 6.30 I had a call from Matt Skewes at Chiverton Farm to ask if I was missing two cows? They had been with his herd of dairy cows since 5am and by the way one of them was"bulling " that strongly she had been ridden by every one of his herd!

By 8.30 I had both cows home, with Daisy locked in until the AI man arrived. She was not amused by his antics and wouldn't let me milk her. On Tuesday morning the AI man arrived again - just to make certain ( I hope). More disgusted in indignant looks. I had to milk Daisy in the crush. She let me have a pint to relieve the pressure, and then stopped. I took the clusters off and we had a talk. The  clusters went back on and with lots of soothing noises and stroking she reluctantly let me have the rest of the milk.. Both cows spent the rest of the day eating and sleeping. Buttercup glad to be home and Daisy with a "I haven't been quite my self" look.

Daisy and I are now on speaking terms. This afternoon Daisy volunteered to be milked so normal service has resumed. I will put Chiverton Farm on standby for 21st June, but I hope she is in calf.