There is no denying the laundry list of health benefits to raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar. Whether it be used for cosmetic or internal purposes, a simple google search will yield millions of reasons why you should add it to your diet or beauty regimen. I personally have used it for years on my hair and face, as well as a substitute (in most cases) for plain white vinegar in recipes. The stuff is just plain ole' good, and good for you. I always bought Bragg's with "the mother", because if you're going to buy it, in my opinion it really is the best. But this fall during apple season I thought shoot I can just make it myself no problem! So, I did! And it really is as easy as I detail below. All it takes is some patience and you can have homemade, raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar with that wonderful "mother" at your fingertips! Give it a try and see for yourself.
Thanksgiving is all about food, family, being thankful, and foooooood. My husband and I are thankful everyday for our animals, food, and the life that we live. I have said and continue to say that nothing makes you appreciate and be truly thankful for food more than raising your own animals you eat. This year we decided to raise our own turkey to take down to my family in PA for Thanksgiving, as well as extras for big dinners throughout the year and for grinding. Just like the chickens, the turkeys were brought to our farm at 1 day old in June, and were cared for everyday until they were processed by us the weekend before Thanksgiving.
I have people ask me all the time "how can you eat or butcher an animal that you have taken care of? Don't you get attached?" Seven months ago, I said no, I don't get attached. That's because up until that point, I only raised poultry for meat. And chickens, well, they're chickens. Sure, I felt something while I was killing, plucking, and gutting them. And every single bird that I killed, I thanked for its sacrifice. I don't appreciate them any less, I just never got attached.
I hauled my pigs away to the slaughterhouse this morning after caring for them day in and day out for the past seven months and raising them from thirty to three hundred pounds. I can't help but reflect on the whole experience that has taken a toll on me emotionally in a way I didn't expect.
When we first got Karen and Alan last summer, the intention was to use them to clear our land. Milking goats was nowhere near being on, or even in the vicinity of my radar. But, it didn't take me long after getting them to jump on the goat milk train and decide that I wanted to expand my herd and start breeding for milk. For the past year we have kept them in a dog house with a door we could close them in. This set up is not suited for kidding or raising kids, and although we knew it was temporary anyway, the plans for breeding pushed us to get moving on a permanent solution.
There is an existing concrete slab on our property, adjacent to the one side of the goat's perimeter fence. This is where some sort of barn used to stand, and the slab is roughly 11x50 feet. Due to financial and spacial constraints, we decided on a 11' by 16' structure. Because this is going to exclusively be for small dairy goats (and Annie of course), this is a good size to grow into and if designed right, can provide more than enough space for the amount of goats we need.
Earlier this summer we welcomed a new addition to our farm family, a Maremma Sheepdog also known as a Livestock Guardian Dog. Not to be confused with herding dogs, LGD's live with their stock full time to protect and guard them, not herd them. Our house and property is surrounded by over 600 acres of protected conservation land, filled with natural predators. We didn't have issues with predation before, but when my companion dog Copper passed, the fox, coyotes, and raccoons started creeping in. We keep small Nigerian Dwarf goats which are vulnerable to predators such as bobcats and coyotes, with recent attacks happening in neighboring towns. This led to me reaching out to rescue leagues for a couple different LGD breeds including The Great Pyrenees, Maremma Sheepdog, and Anatolian Shepherd. I found a Maremma close by, who was a working 2 year old LGD but needed to be re-homed. I went to pick her up in Maine and she has been settling in fantastically since. Annie takes her job very seriously, and there has been a learning curve on both ends during the past few months. She is truly unique, and unlike any dog I have ever owned or known. As she has settled in and gotten more comfortable and established our home as hers, she has displayed some interesting traits that seem to be right in line with typical LGD behavior.
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