Life on Regal-Hill: June 2, 2010

Spring work continues here at Regal-Hill. The fences are all checked and repaired so most of the heifers are out in the pasture now. Heavy snow and the deer did quite a bit of damage to the fences so it took some work.
Presently we have only eight young heifers in the barn. They will be put out in a lot close by and then when that lot has been grazed down enough they will be put back in the barn until it grows back. That is unless Thunder gets to spend time there. Actually he would rather be with the older heifers but it is better for them if he isn’t since he likes to chase them.
George has been doing a lot of grass trimming lately. The trimmings dry in the hot sun and he then forks it into a wheel barrow and takes it into the barn to feed the young heifers. It seems like a lot of work for him but it is a good way not to waste the hay. There is probably more hay than weeds in what he gets from trimming.
George also continues to work on the machinery to get it ready for haying. It is still hard to get used to waiting until the hay is older before harvesting it since most of our hay sales are for horses rather than dairy cows. Beef cows will eat whatever you feed them.
A couple of weeks ago local dairy farmers were cutting hay and making round bales and then wrapping them with white plastic covers. They looked to me like huge marshmallows. These bales are nice for dairy cows since they take less drying time to be safe to harvest and are easier to store and feed.
Getting rid of the plastic after the bales are fed is a problem. The weather tends to be dryer when the second cutting is ready to harvest so it can be round baled but not wrapped. It is best to store these bales inside.
Hay that is cut earlier is more nutritious and healthier for dairy cows. Cutting it earlier also allows for at least two more cuttings and some years three or four. Farmers have always said, “A cold wet May makes a barn full of hay.”
Only a few years ago it wasn’t recommended to feed unwrapped round bales to horses because it got brown and dusty and was thought to be unhealthy for horses. Now I guess if you do it right and store them inside rather than outdoors, round bales are OK for horses.
There is always plenty to do here at Regal-Hill. As always, haying continues to be a guessing game with the weather.
June is Dairy Month so I will feature recipes in this column that contain milk or milk products. For this first week of June I have two recipes for homemade beverages like smoothies, shakes and slushes that contain milk, yogurt and sometimes fresh fruit. They are very nutritious.

Coffee House Slush
6 cups strong brewed coffee
2 cups sugar
2 quarts milk
1 quart Half-and-Half
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream
In a five-quart freezer container, stir coffee and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the milk, cream and vanilla. Cover and freeze over night. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours or until slushy. Spoon into glasses and garnish with whipped cream.
Yield: five quarts.
Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2004

Strawberry Breakfast Shakes
1 and 1/4 cups plain yogurt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen sweetened sliced strawberries
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon honey
4 whole strawberries
In a blender, combine the first five ingredients; cover and process mixture until smooth and thickened. Pour into chilled glasses. Garnish with whole strawberries. Serve immediately.
Yield: four servings.
2009 Taste Of Home Annual Recipes