A Cow, A Goat, 4 Chickens and Chest Pains

I have been cleaning, decluttering, painting and all around beautifying.

And then…IT happened.


First came the news that our Annabelle (bovine) is pregnant. One of the bull calves we put on her to nurse, grew up and took over the role of paramour. She is almost 7 months along which means we will need to stop milking her soon. Only those who live with fresh milk from their backyard will understand the worry that came over me knowing  we would no longer have fresh milk available. So in true form we delved head strong into getting a goat. Aldonza, a sweet gentle LaMancha is now in our pasture. Fences must be replaced, gardens must be protected and the existing animals must be gently introduced to the newest family member.

Definitely looking forward to the cheese.


Next came the matter of our egg layers, who are now basically pets, they are either laying in some obscure location or have decided to retire. I would gladly stew the Rhode Island Reds, Henny and Penny, as they are not the friendliest, but Mrs. Orpington is the girl who loves too tight hugs from my 2 year old and will then follow her around for more. How do you make soup out of an animal that loves hugs?!

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So next we found ourselves in a stranger’s backyard, large fishing net in hand terrorizing 4 laying hens to relocate to our little farm, names to be determined at a later date.


Once all things on the milk and egg front calmed down, I found myself sitting in the ER with chest pains. If I had just waited 6 hours I would have discovered a virus that would make it’s way through each member of my family, morphing into a different symptom with each incubation. My body weakness is muscle tension so it was no surprise Doc thought it was muscular. I am pleased to report that despite a hereditary heart problem my ticker is in perfect shape.

As we began to make progress in health it was time to take a look at the state of my much too ignored home, only to discover, the washing machine decided it was time to say adieu and the small drip from the garbage disposal I was managing with a tupperware container was now gushing.

As  a final “how do you do” we received the sad news that my husbands best job prospect demanded he work in Baltimore, Maryland where homeschool laws are absurd and the next best prospect would not be needing him to relocate until next spring. Hope is still alive, but the urgency for a ready to sale home is not.

Life, IT happens.

The purpose of this post is to get my patooty back in gear. Our home deserves to be beautiful and stress free whether we sell it to someone else or spend yet another winter here in Utah.

After finishing the room downstairs, my youngest started asking  to sleep in the “pretty bed downstairs”. I had spent so much energy on “getting the basement finished”, I didn’t realize my children would feel left out.

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When my first was born we bought a beautiful convertible crib (crib, toddler bed, daybed, full bed).  When my second was old enough I purchased a second toddler mattress and slipped it under the daybed as a trundle and this has been their bedroom for some time.  I expected at some point they would share the full size bed, but their personalities are not shaping up in a way that makes that expectation seem plausible. So I think it’s time to define their spaces.

Here’s the plan:

I’m going to make 2 toddler beds. That’s right I’m going to make them. I just can’t see spending money on furniture that will last only a few years.

Paint the walls. Keep me in your thoughts, I’m having a hard time with neutral. I want pink walls and so do the girls.

Toys will be limited to a few.

Create 2 full bed sets. Pillow cases, throw pillows and comforter. I’ll probably buy the bed skirt, that actually seems too difficult to sew.

Art for the walls.

New curtains

New furniture, well new to us. I will be scouring the classifieds and thrift stores.



A1 versus A2 Milk

Woman milking a cow, 1921

I spent the weekend with a short lived flu bug as did every member of my family. So my sleep patterns are now completely off. Which means I was awake most of the night. Although I hate how I feel in the morning, this is when I do my best research.  Last night I decided to delve into everything I could find about A2 milk.

There are 2 different kinds of  cow milk, A1 and A2. Some breeds have a higher chance of having one or the other. Some have both. There is no way of knowing for sure without genetic testing.

Here’s the science:

A2 milk is the original protein milk. A1 milk is a mutation. Both carry a protein called Beta Casein. There are 2 different types of Beta Casein and they are identical except for one amino acid. This one amino acid is apparently where all the concern is coming from.

  • A1 milk carries the amino acid histadine. This amino acid allows a peptide called betacasamorphon 7 (BCM7) to enter the milk. It is an opioid and much like morphine.
  • A2 milk’s amino acid proline prevents the BCM7 from ever entering the milk.

According to the research I found, this morphine like peptide in the system has been linked to type 1 diabetes, digestive disorders, heart disease and possibly more. When BCM7 passes into the blood stream and brain it can cause symptoms of schizophrenia, autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

My Concern:

The majority of the research I found was paid for by a company in New Zealand called A2 who has patented the rights to the genetic testing and is selling their milk called A2. When profit is on the line I always question the validity of such research.

I read several stories of people who claim it has made a difference.  Many, many people believe A2 milk helped with symptoms from allergies to autism. Of course belief is a powerful tool and if you tell someone one it helps, it often will. 

My belief:

There isn’t enough independent research for me to feel strongly about it either way. I do believe that most likely A2 milk is just healthier.

What you can do:

Put the odds in your favor by choosing a Guernsey breed. They have the highest chance of having A2 milk. Jerseys are high on the list as well. Next are Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn, Ayrshire and sometimes Dexters. Every other breed will most likely be A1.

Drink goat or sheep’s milk. It is always A2.

Get your cow tested. It seems the patent must have ended because there are genetic testing facilities in Michigan and California that will test for the amino acid.



Keep your digestive tract healthy. There is some research that a healthy gut will keep the BCM7 out of your system.

To sum up, if you are drinking fresh milk from a healthy cow, you are still getting something that far exceeds anything you can buy in the stores. Love your cow and pat yourself on the back for giving this gift to you and your family.