The Garden


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The cows are doing really well, both of them. We’re getting 5 or 6 gallons of milk per day from the two of them, which doesn’t seem like great production until I remember they’re both almost entirely on grass, with a very small—token, almost—amount of grain, and they’re both staying in good condition. So our input is very low, and considering that Pearl is going on a year of continuous milking, I’m pretty happy.

Last week I sold two of the goats. Oscar had just kidded, so I didn’t sell her, and I liked her personality so much more than the other two, that I thought maybe I would keep her and her two kids, which would give me a little goat milk to play with. Then this afternoon I walked outside to find her standing in the garden, and I turned around, came back inside, and listed her on craigslist.  Ten minutes later she was sold. I love craigslist.

So maybe goats really aren’t for me, or maybe I just need to have a better infrastructure before I attempt them again. And for now I can get 6 or 8 gallons of beautiful goat milk every week from my neighbor—all the fun, none of the hassle.

Speaking of animals wearing out their welcome, Gloria the pig has decided no fence can hold her—I had to chase her out of the garden last night at midnight. So, although I had hoped to breed her, she’s going to the butcher Friday, and we’ll just get a couple of weaner pigs who will have more respect for the electric fences.

It’s sort of a zero tolerance thing around here these days!

Oh, good grief—I just can’t seem to ever sit down and post an update. Here’s a quickie:

More lambs, and a couple of adorable goat kids have been born—pictures soon.

I quit my job to let my elbow heal—hopefully I haven’t burned any bridges, because I actually kind of liked my job!

ED is milking several of the sheep for me, so I can’t make some ewes’ milk cheeses, and I’m buying a few gallons of goat milk a week from a neighbor so I can make goat milk cheeses.

I’ve been experimenting with making my own versions of Chaource and Tomme, and am having a blast doing it.

We took two pigs to the butcher, and now have a freezer full of beautiful pastured, milk-fed pork.

The puppies are so big and adorable, and very, very interactive now. I’m starting to get attached to a couple of them…need to nip THAT in the bud!

We have 40 chicks in the house. I’ll move them out Thursday. Not nearly soon enough.

I still don’t have a garden, but I’ve managed to coerce our neighbors into sharing our garden with us, so now I’m starting to get a little more motivated to make it happen.

We’re done with chorus until September. We did two performances this past weekend, which was really fun, and now I have a combination of relief that I don’t have to drive to Asheville once a week, and sadness that it’s over. Bernard and I walk around singing the songs, and wishing we had the rest of the 75-member group singing with us!

 

It was spring all winter; now it’s definitely summer. I’m dealing with the odd seasons oddly—I’m confused and rushed. I haven’t done a thing in the garden, in part due to the tennis elbow I’ve developed working at the dairy. Tennis elbow isn’t a joke, as it turns out—it’s seriously debilitating! I may have to give up my remaining shift at the dairy to let it heal.

We sold the two Dexter cross calves—Hester from last year, and Maeby’s new calf. We just don’t like the Dexters, and there’s always the issue of breeding when you have a breed that’s smaller than any of the other breeds in your area. We would have to find Dexters to breed to, or Dexter crosses, and they’re not very common here.

I’ve also sold the Khaki Campbells. They are just too much of a pain to deal with; a pond or stream would help, but it also turns out I don’t really digest duck eggs all that well. Chickens and chicken eggs are more my thing. We’re keeping our little flock of Anconas and one Muscovy—they’re so much calmer than the Khakis, and then we’ll have a few duck eggs for DH.

I’m spending a lot of days in the kitchen making cheese right now. The girls are bringing in 6-7 gallons of milk a day, and we’re about to have a goat and a few sheep in milk. The relentless tide has begun! ED and I (and DH and Bernard to a lesser degree) are revisiting the idea of a small licensed cheesemaking facility—a micro-creamery. I’ll keep you all posted on those plans! Meanwhile, I’m pleasantly lost in the world of acid titration, butterfat, and flocculation.

Pearl’s milk production has picked up to 2-3 gallons a day, and suddenly I have to be making cheese. I’m trying to make enough feta to get through the summer, even though I much prefer making it with goat or sheep milk, partly for flavor, but mostly because yellow feta looks wrong to me!

The weather has been so, so lovely, but I can’t get a thing done in the garden, because it rains so often, the ground won’t dry out enough to work!

Baby tomatoes are up, and peppers, and cardoons. And nicotiana.

The girls and I are all burned out on the dairy. There’s too much to do here, and way, WAY too much to do there.

Maeby looks gorgeous. Her sister, Maude’s daughter, just had a calf and it sounds like she’s doing well.

Ok—off to the kitchen.

The peach tree in front of the house has finished blooming, and is leafing out. The grass and clover in the pastures is belly-high to Joon.  It’s an early, early spring (it was 80° yesterday), and so far, there’s no end in sight. DH took on the miserable task of cleaning out the greenhouse this past weekend, which was a big job after the duckies spent the winter in there, and today I’m starting tomatoes.

This seems a little early—here’s hoping a late freeze doesn’t kill all the flowers (and therefore the fruit)!

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