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Saturday, December 31, 2016

New website announcements!!

We have much going on for the coming 2017!
The Meishans and Donkeys are certainly taking over here!
We will always have geese , ducks and other poultry for our own use but we are becoming a donkey and hog farm on a much larger level than I could have ever imagined.

In the coming weeks I'll be working on a new webstore and website for our newest and best products yet!
Latte d'Asina Soap and Skin Care!!
Latte d'Asina means the milk of a donkey in Italian. I first found out about donkey milk from an Italian donkey dairy website so it's a fitting name!
Our first batches of donkey milk soap sold out quickly! And more is curing and being made as fast as we can! 
As a professional licensed Esthetician it thrills me to be able to work with such an amazing natural skin care ingredient!!   
As a farmer I'm blessed that I have the ability to produce this milk myself so I know first hand that the donkeys the milk is taken from are loved and fed the best natural foods. And my milking donkeys are chemical free! 
Also my other newest website www.mydonkeymilk.com has been launched! It will be a work in progress for awhile as I learn more all the time myself! It's focus is on caring , managing donkeys and managing them as dairy animals. I see mistreated and misunderstood donkeys all the time. It's my hopes that this site can help people understand the donkey before they buy one and certainly before they try to milk one! And information on why you would want donkey milk. 
I adore these creatures! They deserve good homes and top notch care just like any other animal. Few people realize they are very useful animals to have on a farm. 

As always thankful to God for the wonderful opportunities he has put in front of us! All the glory is His!  

Monday, December 26, 2016

Random pics from a growing donkey milk farm

Christmas was filled with blessings! It was a beautiful day and even though my*big* present won't be here for a couple of weeks I'm having fun with a really nice thoughtful present from my husband. A real camera! Sure I'll still snap cute shots on the phone but wow.. what a difference a real camera makes!! 
Little Ezra and his mom Mina
 Never had a camera this nice either. With the amount of blogging I do, the new website I'm building, our farm website, the farm store revamp and because I love to take pictures of my farm!  My husband thought it would be a great gift.
Gorgeous Phina
 Its got lots of confusing options and buttons but I'm loving it!!
Shani with Jayden in the background looking on
 Much better than the phone pictures!!
Diva and Jayden
 So as all these projects growing, the meishan herd, the donkey herd, our farm and I can't forget my grandson! I love talking pictures of him when he will be still! I think this will be a much used present!
Pretty dappled Fae waiting to be milked
Thanks Husband!! How do you like the pictures??  :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thankful for 2016 and praying for a good 2017

It's been a lovely year. I might even say it's been the best year yet on the farm!
The discovery of donkey milk and how well donkeys fit in on our farm and with my personality has been a huge blessing!
Learning how they think and how to train them keeps me on my toes! They are never boring!
I'm getting a better handle on what and how much I need to grow to feed us all year in our four season gardens. 
Next year will be a very different gardening year than the last few years have been! And I'm looking forward to it!
It was actually 2015 when the meishans entered the picture. But in this year of 2016 is when we were able to add the 2 rarest lines of Meishan in America.. The USDA line and the Illinois line. By the grace of God we were able to acquire the last of these pigs from those 2 centers. 
Never before available to the public , if managed properly the genetic diversity this brings to the table is outstanding! 
The Meishan has a chance of being an amazing opportunity for small farmers looking to raise non distructive , quite , productive , gourmet meat and lard hogs.
Also, for those of us who tire of the slow growth rates of most heritage breeds the Meishan grows much faster!  
If there is a pleasant pig that exists it's this breed!
My Muscovies are still champion baby raisers! 
And we raised over 80 goslings this year.
I had some surprises along the way but over all the geese were wildly successful.
To cut back on the work load and the breeding pens needed. I'll only be raising Pilgrims next year. The Chinese will remain though for their superior egg laying ability. We love goose eggs!
Also this year the addition of the quail has been wonderful! And we added a few more bantam chickens for summer eggs. 
Our plans for dairy sheep were once again put out due to having to up the donkeys because of my health needs for donkey milk and allergy to sheep milk if I don't have donkey milk but we still plan to raise some meat lambs!
The Lord has lead us where he wants us to be. Our farm has developed into something I never dreamed it could. 
It's a praise to GOD in every way. The failures and disappointments have been learning tools to help prepare us. The joys and successes have been amazing and we are grateful!
We will certainly be praying for guidance as we enter the new year to come.
Thank you Jesus 🙂 could not have done any of this without your guidance.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Go big or go home!

More Donkeys on the farm... It's a go big or go home moment!
Due to my 3 days no donkey milk experiment that did not go well, we've decided to expand the herd.
This means I won't be able to follow my plans of having dairy sheep to milk or adding Emus. 
It's true that donkey milk has healed my stomach so I'm not nauseous or in pain after I eat. But it's not healed it to the point that I can be without it... Nothing helps like donkey milk. So the donkeys are taking over a huge portion of our farm. 
Donkeys need time. Lots of one on one time to get them to behave like I need them too. Managing them to milk takes even more time, And I've decided to pursue training the bigger ones to ride which also means lessons for me! I'd always planned to eventually do this but now it's taking a higher priority since we have expanded.
It also means our donkey milk soap and lotion business will be taking a front seat As we phase out of the other milks.
Donkey milk is best anyways :-) I mean, if it's good enough for a queen..
So in addition to my already lovely herd of 5 Jennies and 1 Jack.., I have these lovelies joining the farm for evaluation. 
Finding standard donkeys is not easy for me here. There are no breeders.. No where I can just go buy well trained standard donkeys bred for the conformation and temperament I want.
I have to search them out. I'm often lied to about them, And very often they are in bad condition and I spend as much getting them in good condition as I paid for them.. Sometimes more. 
They are all a risk but some more than others!
So meet Shani,, she's bred to foal in April 2017. She is 'green broke' to ride or so I was told. She's a gorgeous sorrel red color!
And she's completely won my heart with her 'hugs'! I'm not kidding ! She hugs me.
Leans into me and wraps her head back to pull me closer. She's absolutely wonderful! And has good manners.
She's a treasure to have.
This is Phina.. Black no light points donkeys have to be my favorites for color. This girl is warming up to me. I really know nothing about her and she was a huge risk to buy. But she's heavy bred and friendly. As she settles in better I'll start working with her in the round pen to see if she knows what a halter is!
Same with this girl.. Huge risk but she's built so beautifully and friendly I had to give her a chance. I call her Jayden 
Now this lady is standoffish.. And at first was quick to act like she would kick me if I got to close. I'm giving her some time to de-stress then I'll try to see if I can get her to come around. Unfriendly donkeys don't usually end up with a good life so I hope she does. We call her Kezia 
She is also bred. I have no other information about her either. 
This girl is a rare beautiful color! A dappled donkey! Never imagined finding one of these! She's got a 6 week foal on her side. The farmer I got her from had no info on her either. She seems kind sorta friendly but is on guard for her baby. I hope she gets comfortable soon because I really need to start milking her!
She is called Fae and her Jenny foal is Fara. Fara has never been handled and is a buck wild kicking machine! I have a lot of work to do!
This is Mina... She's a pretty girl. She came from the same farm as Fae and has a 6 day old jack colt by her side I will call Ezra. She is very protective at this point !! 
Just look at his little face... I'm sure hoping she calms down soon so I can get my hands on that cutie!!

So as you can see, There's no room or time for dairy sheep or emus!!! 
I was a little sad about that at first.. But I can't be sad for long looking at all these gorgeous donkeys and thinking about all that wonderful donkey milk we will hopefully be blessed with! 
I do pray for wisdom , patience and strenth though! As I clearly have my work cut out here...
And I still need a second jack! 

Be blessed and have a great weekend :-) 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Small Farming in freezing temperature

Oh how I loathe freezing weather !
Especially as a farmer! It is a blessing I live in the south because if I lived up north I would probably not farm much.
Trudging around in layers of heavy clothing ... Freezing finger tips.. Cold red nose... Yuk!! I so did not sign up for this part of farming! 
Something I have learned the value of...
Heated waterers!!! Nothing is worse in the frozen cold than carrying water to ALL the livestock we raise! 
I bought this heated chicken waterer and it's so wonderful. I wish there were mini heated waterers I could buy for the quail!
The waterfowl all have access right now to a spring fed pond that rarely gets ice and the spring that I've never seen frozen even when it got to zero last year!
So chickens, waterfowl are covered! Just have to deal with quail ...
Now the pigs, sheep and donkeys need water.. They drink a heck of a lot more than quail!
The pigs and sheep drink a lot less in cold than they do hot temperatures. The Meishan pigs are the husbands problem .. He carries water to them. I have everything else to manage!
The sheep still need water carried to the but nothing compared to the donkeys! 
Donkeys, I've learned, drink a lot no matter what the temperature! Especially my bigger girls. 
Some of the donkeys have access to the spring but the ones in the main barn area do not...
So I fill and carry these 5 gallons buckets.. A lot of these!
Since donkeys are my joy and a necessary thing here for their milk and poultry guarding , A heated equine water tank is on my wish list! 
It's much needed!!!
I was complaining about how square bales are easier to deal with than round but actually in cold weather round are easier!! Just one less thing I need to carry out in the hideous cold! 
Our hay feeding stations are saving us tons of waisted hay! Saving so much wasted hay I'm seriously wondering if I'm going to have enough mulch for my gardens!
As our farm grows the need for things to make our daily chores less time consuming become more apparent.

I write this as I hope like crazy when I go out today the hoses are thawed out and I don't have to carry water!
I'm sure thankful I can do it!
But sure hope as the farm grows I can add more heated waterers! 😀😀

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Amazing Donkey Milk

There has been a lot of growing interest in donkey milk in the last few years. 
Big donkey dairies in Europe are getting more and more attention!
And now here in the USA donkey milk is slowly starting to be known for the amazing milk that it is. Luxury donkey milk products are even hitting the markets! 
Historically donkey milk is nothing new. Since it's not a very efficient, commercially viable product it's not well known in our modern world. 
It's making a comeback as people rediscover its value!! 
Primarily it's used for its nutritional value to infants because it's so similar to human breast milk , it's many medicinal reasons and for people who have milk casin allergies.
It's sweet and light and wonderful!
I started milking because I had a health problem I wanted to see if it would help and bad milk casin allergies that were getting worse every year. I missed having milk products in my life!
Donkey milk does heal my digestive issues and has served as an allergy free dairy choice for me.
However, After around 6 to7 months of lactation , around the same time the foal is getting most all its nutrients from solid foods , the donkey milks healing effects aren't as good. 
But it's still an allergy free , sweet tasting milk! 

Donkey milk is wonderful used in many things.. Some things donkey milk is better at than other milks!
Like this....
Kumiss!!!
The magic of Kumiss now even has my husband totally addicted to donkey milk. 
Drinking just 4 ounces of the fermented wonder drink is like getting a B shot!
I've been a coffee drinker for a good 20 years.. I'm totally addicted to caffeine .,
But this is better than any caffeine I've ever had and yes,,the energy , it wears off. But there's no crash like with sugar or caffeine and it's much longer lasting!
I actually find myself wishing I could start the morning with kumiss instead of coffee sometimes. 
Unfortunately Donkey milk is scarce right now at our house with Rani nearing the end of lactation and no foal in sight until spring so I hold off until mid morning for that wonderful energy high!!

Ok.. So you might be thinking 'what the heck is Kumiss' 
Traditionally it's fermented mare's milk drank by the people of Central Asia. Made famous by the Mongolian warriors. 
I totally see how they almost took over Europe if they were on this stuff! 
Donkey milk is very similar to mares milk in high lactose sugars, fats and proteins so it ferments well into the slightly effervescent drink. 
It's absolutely amazing, fairly easy to make and only takes 24 hours!

Now this is really something normally made with cows milk. It's milk liqueur ..
Donkey milk liqueur! I used a traditional recipe from Portugal but left out the sugar since donkey milk is naturally so sweet.
Smooth... Decadent are two words that come to mind when I sip this! 
I can not imagine cows milk and sugar would be better! It's also better than any cream liqueur I've ever had. 

Other things donkey milk excels at is being used desserts as I've mentioned previously and yes! I will be posting recipes on my website! 
I've noticed recently a very expensive donkey milk chocolate being marketed in Europe. I can personally say donkey milk and chocolate are a match made in heaven! 
There are so many things this milk does well!

Through all the trials on the farm with dairy livestock I am blessed for every experience because it prepared me to milk and manage such an amazing *dairy* animal. 
It's very ironic to me that one of the modern worlds most neglected and mistreated animals holds the key for so many healthier lives. 

I am thankful for donkeys and their milk that's made such a difference in my quality of life and added such flavors to my food and drink!
Praise to God for leading me to this very unusual adventure!