Saturday, April 20, 2013
I'm just peeking in here. I feel bad I haven't posted in so long, but my hands have been full--specifically full of Clothilde. She really can't stand it when I'm on the computer. In fact, she screams her face off if it looks like I might be working on the computer. I've tried setting her up with new toys, but they become unbearably boring the instant she hears the keyboard clicking. In fact, the only reason I'm touching a computer right now is because she's deeply asleep--and even then sometimes she can sense it. At least my email is down to only two not-spam messages a week, so it's do-able. I keep wanting to head over to Bliss Beyond Naptime to watch Kathy's inspiring videos on simplifying and carving out mama-time, but it's just not possible--it's definitely a Catch 22.
But we are doing well--if perhaps kind of chaotically--these days. We've necessarily had to scale back our plans and projects for this year. I've started going out to the farm again and I've been busy putting in the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and ground cherries. I've also started melons, watermelons, cucumbers, gourds, squash and pumpkins. Next I'll be putting in the corn, beans, cow peas, okra, sweet potatoes and lima beans. This year I've got a snap bean that my great-uncle sent me that he has kept going for years. He got it originally from my great-grandfather who was from Italy, so I am very excited to grow this bean.
We have a new batch of the Freedom Ranger meat chickens going. I love these birds. They are always so healthy and vigorous (and eventually, tasty). Raising them is so easy--unlike the poor Cornish X Rocks that only seem to want to eat themselves to death. I'm looking forward to having chicken again. All we've got in the freezer are stew hens, and even after being boiled all day for broth they are tough. There's hardly any meat on them anyway.
The cows and goats are all doing well (as far as I know). We had to dry off Geranium for the same reasons we did last time. She just doesn't make much milk and she's very antsy. She is very disappointed. I wish we could have gotten a film of her coming down to be milked, because she looked like a rodeo bull. She is so wide, but she would still toss her head around and kick up her hind feet and buck all the way down to the milking paddock because she was so excited about it. Chestnut, who was originally called "Chestnut-case" has really settled down and makes a lot of milk. She has become very sweet, in stark contrast to Matilda, who has never gotten over Mairie getting milked, too. She looks like such a psychotic animal because she kind of hunches over a bit and pokes her horns out at the other cows. Her posture is very dictatorial and dogmatically in charge. I wonder if there's a homeopathic we could give her to help her relax.
We also dried off May. She was just being too ornery. Ethan's back couldn't handle carrying her into the milking paddock every day, since she absolutely refused to go in for him (she was always fine for me, but the goats really just don't like Ethan. He doesn't know how to tame them), so we have no more goat's milk until next year.
Just keeping up with the milk we are getting now has been like a part-time job. I have to churn butter and skim cream every other day, but it is nice to have our raw cultured butter and all the milk and cream we want. I can't really complain, because churning butter mostly involves pressing a button on my standing mixer, so it's not like I'm actually doing anything.
This year we have already gotten all the fertilizer spread--thanks to our wonderful neighbor Bernard. He has a tractor and a spreader, so we just paid him to do it. Yay! Last year it was such a huge job to spread all that--and even seeding the rye this fall was huge because I was doing it all by hand. It is really a lot of work to sow or fertilize even just 8 acres. There's still lime to put on, and we are hoping to order more fertilizer to have the whole grazing area done. We would have so much more good forage. The animals would love it and it would save us so much in hay.
Anyway, so much still to do always, one thing at a time.