Bernie – Our New Shih-poo

Bernie Our New Shih-Poo

After losing Sprinkles, our much loved  shih-poo, it took a while to find another dog to be our inside house pet. Considering the circumstances of her death, we decided against another shih-poo. But the dilema then became what to get.

Living in what will be the basement of our home with 1500 sq ft for the 9 of us, a large dog inside could become a source of irritation – especially for those in the family that are not true dog lovers! So, while a big dog would probably not be the best for us right now, I knew I wanted some type of a poodle mix because any dog bred with a poodle will have little to no shedding.

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Hilde, Hildie or Hildy….

Hilde our new Jersey milk cow As I said earlier, during my absence from Cultured Palate, a lot has happened. So, I would like to introduce you to our new family milk cow. She is 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey. The problem is the spelling of her name!

How would you spell it? Hilde, Hildie or Hildy?

My preferred spelling is “Hilde”!

So, while our family disagrees (playfully of course) about the spelling, everyone agrees that Hilde is possibly the best family milk cow we have ever had!

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Heavy Hearts

sprinkles the shihpoo as a puppy and older

Have you ever noticed how situations, circumstances and lives can be changed in a matter of minutes? Life is fleeting and this was brought home in a very real way to our family this week through our little shihpoo, Sprinkles.

For our family, Tuesday began like any other day. We woke up and began preparing breakfast. While breakfast is being prepared, our 5 yr old feeds the outside dogs, Snowball and Cotton, both Great Pyrenees. This particular morning, Sprinkles was also outside and decided to help Snowball eat her food. This was never a problem when she shared the dish with our cat Lolli. As you can see, they would both plunge their heads into the bowl at the same time![Continue Reading]

Butchering A Cow

butchering a cow tips and techniques

“Butchering a Cow” might sound like a step-by-step tutorial, but I really just want to share with you how we butchered our steer Brisket (while encouraging you to also branch out beyond your comfort zone).

We purchased Brisket when he was a few days old from a local dairy (and steer-ified him soon thereafter). As his name implies, we considered him not as a pet but  future meat for our table. Last week, that happened – Brisket was re-located to our freezer.[Continue Reading]

No More Milk!

preparing to calve how to dry off a cow

It is sad.

Then again, it is good.

First, the sad part:

We are no longer milking Emme, our family milk cow. Needless to say, we are really missing the fresh raw milk… and cheese… and yogurt… But most of all – the ice cream!

That’s right, no more ice cream for dinner – I mean literally, dinner consisted of ice cream many nights. If you remember, we had many flavors of ice cream like Blueberry, Coffee and of course, Vanilla, for dinner on hot summer nights through the end of September. We have reverted to our time living in Switzerland and adopted the European tradition of having our biggest meal midday and a light dinner in the evening which, after all, ice cream is! It was especially refreshing after working in the vineyard heat all day.

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Dogs and Porcupines Quills

how to remove porcupine quills

Who knew – dogs and porcupines don’t mix!

Well, ours don’t anyway!

After losing Bob, a much loved dog to coyotes, seeing a coyote not more than 80 ft from me in the vineyard in broad daylight, and waking to a coyote circling our chicken pen one morning, we decided to get pro-active in protecting our farm.

About the same time, friends were leaving the area and offered us their great Pyrenees, Cotton, whom they felt would make a good family dog and would adjust to us easier than a cross country move. Cotton very quickly adapted to our family and has become a valiant worker in protecting us from the coyotes. In fact, she worked all night running from one end of the property to the other and slept all day – the job was almost too much for her!

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Emme 10-13

I thought I would give you a break this week on Family Friday’s from the vineyard work/harvest and update you on our family milk cow, Emme.

Well, almost.

Let me just say before moving on to our escapades with a family milk cow, our last harvest is scheduled for tomorrow. We will be harvesting all of our Italian reds, Aglianico and Montepulciano, at one time. They will be harvested separately but since the crop load is so much smaller than normal (thanks to the late freeze) it is just not cost efficient for the winery to send an 18 wheeler twice. Plus, they are both ready to harvest.

Now, moving on to life outside the vineyard and yes, we do have one   ;)

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Unrest in the Barnyard


If you follow Cultured Palate on Facebook, you already know that last week we sold Buttercup, one of our family milk cows. It was definitely a more emotional experience than I was expecting.

I cried.

Some of the children cried.

And, the other cows cried.


Brisket and Emme moooo’d off and on all night and even the next day!

It definitely caused unrest in the barnyard!

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De-Budding the Vineyard

De-budded grapevine rows

It is that time of year again – time to de-bud the vineyard. We have prepared for planting and planted 5 new acres but now it is time to take care of the older vines.

You might wonder what de-budding means – and, I can’t wait to show and tell you!

The trunk of the vines should be clean and free of any green shoots. These green shoots (or suckers) take energy from the vine to grow, produce and ripen fruit. We want all the energy to be focused on the part of the vine which runs on the wire horizontal to the ground called the cordon. Each vine should have two arms, one coming from each side of the trunk and growing  along the cordon wire.

Since we had such severe freezes as the vines were budding out and to some degree the vines sustained damage, they are putting out an exceptional amount of suckers this year! Unlike the first picture, before de-budding the vineyard, you could not see underneath the rows to the far side of the vineyard there was so many suckers!

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The G-Rated Barnyard?

Brisket the steer

Having a large family and farm animals makes for educational opportunities almost daily. This week, however, our attempts to maintain a G-rated barnyard have been almost futile! We have had not one but two family milk cows in heat. That’s right – both Buttercup and Emme came into heat. We had thought that Buttercup was pregnant and I will be taking her to the vet for a double check but our foolproof method of determining a heat cycle says otherwise!

What is our foolproof method …. Brisket.

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