Getting Ready for Cold and Flu Season

Sometimes it may be helpful to look back 150 years or more and ask ourselves what did our great gramma do to prepare her household for winter months and cold and flu season.

  • Remember no processed foods, gramma fed her family what she put up herself. Food was all nutrient dense. Food was stored in root sellers and meat was smoked or salted and in the root cellar. Today we can store in canning jars and freezers.
  • Keeping our gut health good, gramma made cheese, yogurts, kefirs, buttermilk, butter and milked the cows daily for fresh raw milk. The Mayo clinic started as a raw milk diet source using ONLY grass fed milk to cure many diseases.
  • Twice a year gramma did a fall and spring cleaning. I implore you to consider this; it is really important. These will include:
    1. all sheets, curtains, pillows are washed and hung in the sun to dry. Use curtains not blinds, these can be washed and dried weekly if needed to keep dust out.
    2. I use a wood cookstove, and that is stripped down and all ash removed. I put water on the reservoir that keeps the air moist. You MUST keep this water clean and use a white vinegar rinse weekly
    3. Weekly a vinegar/lemon rinse is on a cloth to wipe down all door handles, door jams,
    4. Check your water (well) to be sure it is clean
    5. Check the root cellar or pantry for all jars, are they sealed? Check onions, potatoes apples etc are not soft or moldy
    6. Mold is something you want to keep an eye on. Keeping the moisture low is best idea.
    7. Wash all windows, clean window sills, check for drafts. Wash window screens.
    8. Dust all light fixtures including in ceiling lights. Open the windows while you so this to get fresh air in. Ceiling fans? don’t forget them clean with soft cloth, soap and hot water.
    9. Vacuum chairs, couches, beds. Move all the furniture to vacuum under.
    10. Dust all shelves, furniture
    11. Replace light blankets with heavy blankets
    12. Wash rugs and floors
    13. Wash vent covers, vacuum out vents

Foods that fight viruses:

Onion slices: Gramma would slice an onion as soon as she suspected you might have exposure to a virus. The onion was put on your night table sliced side down. This collected bacteria and viruses, YOU MUST NEVER USE THIS ONION FOR EATING.

Elderberry juice. Elderberries are everywhere in our county, and likely yours two.



Health Benefits of Elderberry

1. High in Nutrients

2. May Improve Cold and Flu Symptoms

3. High in Antioxidants

4. May Be Good for Heart Health
I make elderberry juice every year, but i have heard that you can get botulism if not canned correctly. This year I bought dried elderberry. To make a sipping tea when you feel like you may have caught something. One tablespoon of dried berries in a cup of hot water, sip throughout the day

Raw Milk: You should daily consume 2 cups of milk daily for gut health and allergy suppression. Basically, exposure to environments with high bacterial and microbial diversity is associated with lower rates of asthma and allergies.   Several other studies have found similar results, and have concluded that living in a farm environment provides protection from asthma and allergies. Contact with farm animals was found to be associated with lower rates of allergies [3], as was “exposure to stables and farm milk” [4]. The study found that, regardless of which environment the children lived in, those children who drank raw milk had significantly lower rates of asthma than children who did not drink raw milk. The PASTURE study concluded that, “Continuous farm [raw] milk consumption in childhood protects against asthma at school age.” This study found that raw milk’s “beneficial effect on asthma increases over time. Recent consumption of farm milk seems to be more relevant than consumption in the first years of life, which extends the concept of early prevention to sustained prevention until school age and beyond.” 

Depending on your diet and fitness needs, the average adults need between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium a day. How do you reach your nutritional needs? Consume a minimum of 3-5 cups of Whole RAW milk per day to meet daily nutritional needs.

Reflux? Try this: Organic raw apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger: In the Amish folk medicine acid reflux is treated by combining apple cider vinegar with ginger and garlic. Ginger helps in improving digestion and expels intestinal gas. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It suppresses bacterial overgrowth and provides relief from digestive problems.

How To Take

To prepare the mixture, you will need a cup of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, 10 cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix the ingredients well. Mix two tablespoons of the mixture with a glass of water and drink slowly. It will cure your reflux in just a minute or two.


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How to Buy a Safe Raw Milk Cow

IF you are looking for safe raw milk to drink you want to be sure to buy a safe milk cow (or find a herdshare that tests at least yearly). Many cows today are sold as “family milk cows” when they actually come right off a non-tested, non-raw milk dairy. Brokers sometimes make a deal with dairies to take their cull dairy cows that the dairy would otherwise sell at an auction yard, or the brokers buys cattle at an auction yard; puts a “story” on the cows and sell to unsuspecting families. I have known too many families who have purchased cattle like this only to have their family member get very ill. I myself bought a “tested” dairy cow from a RAWMI listed diary only to test again and find the cow to be positive for Q fever. I was sick for 3 years, in and out of the hospital every few months with respiratory distress; and will always be disabled from this disease. Yes, most people get over q fever with no ill effects. My husband and daughter both caught it from this same cow at the same time and have had no issues other than a sever “flu” like cold for a few weeks. With our dairies being such petri dishes of disease; most of the dairy cows in the US now and indeed most of the world are now affected. Bob and I having both been vet techs and having a vet tech daughter; we knew enough to quarantine all cattle coming onto the farm. NONE of our cattle caught Q fever because the minute we take them out of the trailer they get tested, EVEN if the owner gives us vet paperwork. They go into a Q pen isolated from all other cattle until all the tests come back clean. DO IT. This particular cow had a cut teat and we doctored her every day, I wore gloves but not a mask. This is an airborne bacterium, and it infected my lungs.

Do yourself a favor and test!


  1. What is her date of birth. Sire? Dam?
  2. What has she been tested for and can I see hard copies of the results
  3. Has her milk every been tested by an independent lab and do you have hard copy results?
  4. Milked once a day or twice a day?
  5. Hand or machine milked?
  6. What have you been feeding her for the past year?
  7. Can i get a video of her being milked? In the pasture? With people?

Most sellers will not get past question 2, it’s ok. Move on.

We have found the best place to buy cows is from other breeders/milkers or a university farm. We look for a farm close enough for a drive up to see the cows, check herd health. look at records together. Here is the protocol we use when selecting a new cow.

We have often found the best cow is the cow that does NOT LOOK like a dairy cow. They are healthy with shiny coats, bright eyes, well attached udders . Why aren’t they Jersey’s or Holsteins? That is because in most countries, dairy cows have been bred for generations to produce milk from grain. The gut biome of these cattle have completely changed so that they are less fertile, more likely to come down with Milk fever or Acidosis, and have trouble with reproduction and liver problems. Did you know the average lifespan of a dairy cow in the US is 5 years? Not five years of production, but 5 years of age? The number one reason for this is that they will not rebreed.  Second is milk fever and third, mastitis. So why are you looking at a dairy cow that was raised on a dairy and expected to be culled when she is 5?

What you should be looking for are cows that produce good rich milk on grass alone. In other words, the perfect HOMESTEAD cow. Not so easy to find any more. Experts in fact will tell you it takes 17 generations to take the gut biome back to where the cows can produce milk from a grass fed diet alone. We will have to change our attitudes and accept the fact that we are NOT looking for a cow that produces 14 gallons a day; but a small, fertile dairy cow that produces 7 to 8 gallons a day over 5 to 16 years of production.

our second generation homebred Guernsey
Shiny coat, bright eye, alert. This cow has good flesh for a grass only cow. Many times the cross bred cow is the much better buy

So let’s list what you should be looking at BEFORE you go look at cows.

  1. What are my feed conditions? A milk cow will need 30 to 40 pounds of grass a day to produce milk.
  2. What should the cow be tested for?    First and foremost clean cows! Never buy a cow that has not been tested for e. coli 0157H7 . At a minimum, you should look at that first, then do an SCC (Portacheck) and only consider if under 100,000. She should be BANGS vaccinated or have a bangs tag if it is a requirement in your state. TB tests are a must, as are testing for BLV and BVD, Johnes, Q fever, Brucellosis, Neospora if in your area (API and UBRL). If she is in milk, get a mastitis test (API).
  3. What should a good quality milk cow look like? Well, there are as many opinions on this as there are cattle breeds, however a healthy cow will always LOOK healthy. She will have a bright eye, be curious and have a shiny coat. For a cow that will be a grass only cow, she MUST have good condition, too many Jersey’s or other straight bred dairy breeds can not hold up on grass alone, so if that is your goal, pass up those sorrowful eyes! With a cross bred cow you get hybrid vigor; something missing in most purebreds so do not discount the cross bred cow. Purebreds will generally cost more and be harder to find.
  4. What should I pass up?  We NEVER buy horns, only takes one head swing to put an eye out, and horned cattle can be dangerous to other livestock as well. Dry cows that are open should also be passed up, don’t believe the “I don’t own a bull”, while that may be true, it is the number one excuse the cattle broker uses. Swinging udders cause problems while milking. Hard udders that feel hot, never buy them as you will not likely get rid of the mastitis. Cows that have not been tested, you are taking a huge chance on. Cows without a history generally indicate a cow that came straight from an auction. Cows with an unexplained low milk production; this is a hard one for a beginner. If a cow just freshened and is only giving a gallon or two a day, may be just fine but MAY be staph a. These cows are dangerous to you as they can pass this to your herd. ALWAYS test for staph a, and the CMT will not do it, only API or a similar lab can test for this. Lastly, never buy a heifer that is not pregnant. It is very common for brokers to try and pass off a twin heifer to an unsuspecting buyer. These twins (bull and heifer) are called “freemartins” and few can get bred. They are generally infertile. You can, with a practiced eye, determine if a heifer is a freemartin; but best to leave that to vets. IF you do buy a young heifer, get it in writing that she is NOT a freemartin. IF they won’t do that, then go someplace else.
  5. What should I look for at the farm where my cow is? What are the condition of the cattle? What are they eating? Is it a complete diet? Is there mastitis in the herd? Broken tails usually mean the cattle have been mishandled. Bobbed tails or switches mean the cow is off a dairy (never buy off a dairy, why would they sell a good cow?)
  6. What should I look for in a seller? I look for passion and commitment to clean healthy cattle. Are they willing to talk with you? Are they willing to test, this is HUGE. I have been told too many times “I will not test because if she is A1 I have to drop the price.” If I pay for the tests, the results are MINE and I do not share with the seller. IF they really wanted to know they would test. Costs $25 to test for A2, about $50 to test for mastitis indicators, I have the SCC kit I take with me, a health certificate is also a must. I run a blood test for BLV and BVD carriers (not always obvious), Q fever, brucellosis and Johne’s. All in all about $200 worth of testing; but can save my entire herd so it gets done, no excuses.

Our Family Cow Lines: Gallant Bess

Like all diaries you should look into family lines. Look at three traits you MUST have and all the others can fall in line behind them. Cows that do not pass the blood and milk test are eliminated first, don’t look back. Bringing home ONE cow with Q fever will infect your entire herd and you will loose everything.

  1. First must always be fertility. Without that you loose your line. High milk production and fertility are often at odds. Remember MOST dairy cows are culled by 5 years of age because they can’t get bred back. Do not be afraid of the 8 year old cow, she has proven she can produce more milk in her litetime than most cows already. I rather have a cow that milks a minimum of 4 gallons a day and produces for 14 years. You want her daughters.
  2. pounds of milk per day. Once a day milkers produce 30% less so keep that in mind when you look at cows being milked once a day. How much milk do you NEED? Try and find two cows that can do this rather than 4 cows, remembering that too much can mean fertility issues in the future.
  3. mastitis history. Mastitis is usually something that comes back and back in cows.
  4. butterfat. Butterfat is genetic, ask for the butterfat records. Walk away from anyone that tells you there cows gives 50% butterfat. I see this all the time, not real.

Galant Bess:

Bess we bought when the herdshare first started. She is from an A2A2 breeder in OR, and is sired by a New Zealand Friesian bull (not the same as a Holstein.) Out of a purebred Jersey cow. This breeder was the first dairy we found that offered tested heifers.

The NZ Friesian is usually all or mostly all black, horned and a good milk producer on grass alone. It is my understanding that the bull semen came from NZ and she used it on her Jersey’s or bought the cross bred heifers from the Tillamook valley from Jersey dairies.

Bess’s Daughter LOLA:

Out of Bess and by a Normandie/Jersey cross bull. Freshening as a first calf heifer she produced over 7 gallons a day on once a day milking. She like most of Bess’s daughter are not super friendly, however they are a joy to milk because they are very respectful.

Lola’s sister Mo

Mo on pasture with Bess and Penny. This year (2020) was her first freshening and she surprised us with topping over 7 gallons of milk in the bucket on OAD. Her sire is  No. 1 sire, 7JE1067 GR Oomsdale Tbone GOLDA-ET (+257). So Mo is 3/4 Jersey and 1/4 NZ Friesian. Still black as soot. Mo is due around Christmas with a Guernsey calf by the bull Latimer.

Latimer, Guernsey bull.

Mo’s daughter Dani will be bred in 2021. She is out of Mo and by the polled Jersey bull, Steph

JX Oregon Marlo Ivy

and JX Oregon Pecos Debra

New to the herdshare in 2021, Debra and Ivy were purchased to bring back some Jersey blood into the milk string. Both passed milk tests twice from API and all the blood tests. They have been bred to a Limosine bull for beef calves in 2022.

Garlic Parmesan Pasta


  • 120ml (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 220g (8 oz.) fettuccine or angel hair pasta (cooked and drained)
  • 360ml (1 1/2 cups) broccoli floweretts (cooked tender-crisp)
  • 3 Tbsp. walnuts (chopped )
  • fresh, grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet.
  2. Add the basil, lemon juice, garlic powder and seasoned salt, blending well.
  3. Add the fettuccine, broccoli, walnuts.
  4. Blend well and toss to coat the fettuccine.
  5. After tossing, add fresh grated Parmesan cheese to top off the dish.

This article uses material from the Wikibooks article “Cookbook:Garlic Parmesan Pasta“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



  • 4 avocados
  • 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 chopped Jalapeño OR 2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper OR 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 minced jalapeño OR 2 minced serrano chiles OR 2 tablespoon minced of any chile pepper like (adjust for spiciness)


  1. Pit the avocados.
  2. Score avocado without cutting through the skin.
  3. Scoop out one avocado with a large spoon and place in mixing bowl.
  4. Add the lime juice and stir to evenly coat the avocados.
  5. Stir in the Pico de Gallo, garlic, oil, jalapeño, salt, red pepper, and black pepper, mashing and tossing the avocado pieces until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Then scoop out the other avocados and gently mix and toss in the larger pieces.
  7. The guacamole is the right consistency when more large pieces than mashed parts remain.
  8. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

This article uses material from the Wikibooks article “Cookbook:Guacamole“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup peeled and cubed sweet potato
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 14-oz cans of nonfat and low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice


  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes then add flour, curry, cumin and nutmeg and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add sweet potato, salt, chicken broth and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for about 20-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through and softened. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes to cool.
  3. Place half of the pumpkin mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Using a strainer, pour soup back into pan. Repeat with rest of soup.
  4. Raise heat to medium then stir in milk and cook for 5 minutes or until soup is heated through.
  5. Remove from heat and add lime juice.

This article uses material from the Wikibooks article “Cookbook:Spiced Pumpkin Soup“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.