Welcome To The Little Black Cow Blog

This is a blog about our farmstay in the beautiful Hunter Valley. It is a place for families to unwind and get a taste for the good life.

This is our farm stay diary of events on the farm and the local area. Please read through and enjoy.

Our farm stay apartment consists of 2 bedrooms, spectacular lounge/dining room , sun room and kitchenette.Oh and we think you will find that the spa bath is the best one you have ever tried!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cheese Making Chewsday-a week late

 There hasn't been a great deal of time in school hols to make a new cheese but we are still benefiting from the goats milk feta made 2 weeks ago.

 The cheese is now marinating in a mixture of olive oil and sunflower oil , herbs and crushed garlic.
 The result is a delicious addition to pizzas and salads.The Mad Millie Feta Cheese is definitely the best value so far on how far it goes. I feel like we have a never ending jar .
 Other uses for our goats milk has been goat milk gelato . Goat milk gelato uses whole milk rather than cream and the result is a delicate icy combination of flavour and colour.
The old favourite , the bread and butter pudding is also getting a run at the moment.

And of course , the goat milk soap hand made here on the farm is working out beautifully with Snow's beautiful milk.

Have you tried making cheese? What cheese do you think is the most economical to make?

Do you have something on your farm/homestead /apartment /back yard that keeps on giving like the goats milk here on our farm?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sacred Tree Market -Hunter Valley

Sacred Tree Market
Sunday April 13 9am -2pm
Site 92 under the gum trees
Cindale Herb Farm & Little Black Cow Farm 
Hand Made & Home Grown On The Farm

Be there or be square. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2 Day Residential Farming Courses At The Little Black Cow Farm Stay

 Farming knowledge was something passed on from father to son/mother to daughter ...knowledge that was absorbed through the family as they continued to farm the land.
How  to use a set of pliers ,how to light a fire, how to manage cattle , how to put up a fence is something all farm kids grow up with. When I look at the knowledge our own children have , even as young teenagers, I know that they are very capable of being self sufficient in doing practical things .

Times have changed. There are less families continuing to farm through the generations . I can trace our farming generations back 4 generations- I have knowledge that trickles to me all the way back from years ago when I followed my grandfather around his dairy farm as he completed his chores.I often am surprised that no one taught me how to make a hot chicken mash or how to move cattle quietly into a yard they are frightened of ... it was all absorbed many years ago.
There are also less city families that have a farming relative  to visit as farming changes. This means that interaction with animals does not happen at a young age when most knowledge is absorbed.

It feels so inspiring to have a new generation of farmers coming through. They have so much knowledge gained from reading and from various government courses that really set them on the right track . It is a group of farmers that believe that they can make a difference to the world they live in through good ,ethical farming practises and also create a home that is self sufficient for their family.
David runs his  residential farming course from a practical point of view. We believe that you really do not learn something until you do it yourself and are present in the landscape of a farm where things seem more realistic. To hold a piece of lucerne in your hand , to move the cattle into different cells over a lucerne crop is so different to reading about it in a book.

We teach about how we garden and the resources from the farm that we use to  create that  incredible web of life up in our backyard.This is something that leaves me with a great feeling , to think that one more home may become less reliant on the big supermarkets and more self reliant ... and  then passing on that knowledge to their own children.
David teaches people how to build a fence and how to use various farm implements. I wonder how many new farmers have walked into the hardware store wondering what they should get and what it is used for....maybe even buying tools they don't need! Quite possibly learning to fence is a bit of a daunting prospect for someone starting out and it may not be economical to pay someone to build a fence on your new have the self assuredness to do such a practical task yourself gives you  the freedom to have the farm you want . Even to be able to say 'I built this' is a wonderful reason in itself.
People are always fascinated about the cattle psychology lessons where David explains that cattle handling doesn't need to be difficult if you understand how the animal is thinking and feeling at that moment. The paddock management lessons also come into this area as we explain how to set up your farm in 'animal  friendly' ways so that the cattle just flow into one area or another without having to be 'chased.'
For some people it is enough to have a sprinkling of all these aspects to get a full overview of a farming life. For others, there is a specific skill they need to learn in order to do the best job they can do on their own farm.
It might be beef cattle management, growing your own sheep for your own consumption, it might be a day of learning how to use farm implements. We send out a questionnaire asking all these things so that we can be sure we cover exactly what each couple or group wishes to learn.
As David leans laconically on a fence and tells an amusing anecdote about our life on the farm and the very real things that happen realise first hand that not all knowledge can be gained from a text book.There is a knowledge that comes from living this life that cannot be gained in any university.

We also offer one homecooked evening meal for people doing the residential course where we can sit with them and go over the events of the day. It is a time to find out what their hopes and dreams are for their farm and throw around ideas on how they could achieve this.
This is also a time to look at different types of properties advertised so that our new farmers can go to a real estate agent with some background knowledge of what kind of land they  really need for their farm.
In the ' International Year of The Farming Family' , Little Black Cow Farm aims to extend our hands out to new farmers wanting to build their own dream.
We see a farming future for Australia that pulls away from factory farming and more towards family based agriculture aimed at like minded consumers.
Farming is hard work , but it is wonderful kind of hard work .It's a good kind of tired at the end of the day , not a stressed kind of tired.
Farming is soul consuming and uplifting all at the same time.
Farming is a time to be yourself and be the best person you can be.

And lastly...farming is about gently  looking after a part of the earth ready for the next generation.

If you were going to do our farming course, tell us ...what would you like to learn ....and if you already have done the hard yards and learnt it all yourself ....what do you wish you had known at the beginning?

Books For People Who Want To Live More Gently On The Earth