Monday, March 31, 2014

Two New Kids

May's baby was born last week.  He looks just like May!  And he got the long Nubian ears that are so adorable.  May has tons of milk this time.  Mirin and Rose are bitterly disappointed that all the babies so far are boys.  They were both hoping to name them after My Little Ponies.  (I am sort of embarrassed to say.  We don't even own a TV, but they've watched the cartoon on Netflix at their grandparents' house.)

We've been reading Tom Sawyer aloud on our drives to the farm and back, so we are calling them after the characters in the story.  This one's Tom.  He seems unusually photogenic for a baby goat.  Or maybe he was too freshly born to jump around crazily.

Firefly also kidded last week.  It was another boy!!  So much for the dreams of calling him Twilight Sparkle!  Nope, he's Sid.  He wasn't even born with the weird African Pygmy goat waddles like the other two.  It's so entertaining to watch them playing.  Two more mamas are due this week!

Friday, March 28, 2014

{this moment}

{A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.}

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gut Flora Revolution

We have begun the GAPS diet this week. Since Mirin was very young he has had mood behavior issues that are directly related to things he eats.  Last fall he had some cake at a friend's wedding, and was miserable for weeks afterwards.  We tried to do this for him when he was very young, but it was impossible not having all of our extended family on board.  Also, back then I was going on just the GAPS book, and there's so much more to it now!

We finally decided it was something we had to try again, and we have everyone on board this time.  That means he can't run next door after refusing a nourishing meal and eat six pieces of toast with jelly like last time.  Really this is something we ALL need.  Ethan and I are of the generation where you got antibiotics for any sort of sniffles--and we were both in daycare and sick constantly with multiple ear infections.  We've both had countless rounds of antibiotics during our life.

(GAPS is a diet that helps to kill off unhealthy bacteria, yeasts and parasites by depriving them of the foods they thrive on, while taking in very nutrient dense foods, digestive enzymes and strong soil-based probiotics.  If you have digestive problems, allergies, immune problems, absorption problems or mental health problems, you should totally look into it!!)

The first day, I had made a delicious and rich pork stew with onion, tomatoes and carrots.  Right after breakfast, everyone's reaction was pretty much the same:

No one was happy, except Ethan, who was at work and didn't hear all the screaming.  Mirin took refuge in Calvin and Hobbes, although there was a little whining about not having chocolate frosted sugar bombs or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I myself felt the same way--horrible.  It was only one meal, but I felt like I would die if I didn't have my customary glass of milk.  The rest of that morning felt otherworldly.  I was not myself.  I didn't realize I couldn't make it through ONE meal without these foods!

After lunch my stomach began to really hurt, and I laid down with Clothilde during her nap, with the same feeling that I might die if I didn't go eat a spoonful of honey or a cracker or something sweet or starchy.  It felt like a collapse of civilization, really uncomfortable and unhappy.  I was amazed at how much it affected my emotions.

After I got up, I felt so much better, but not quite myself.  That night, too, I felt so relaxed going to bed that I thought there must be something wrong with me.  But yesterday I woke up and felt incredibly peaceful, grounded and happy.  Of course my kids were at the point where they felt like they would die if they didn't have the foods they are used to, so there was still lots of screaming, but I was shocked at how calm I felt.  I guess I had always gone through my days with horrible near-panic-attack anxiety, and never realized it before.

This morning I feel even better, although really fundamentally different.  I've spent years trying to get to this place of calm and peacefulness through emotional/spiritual work, and all I needed was a change in diet!
The children are better today, even.  So far so good, it has been so worth all the change.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Yesterday morning I heard a strange tapping on the front window.  When I opened the curtains, Penny was standing on the windowsill peeking in.  Later, we discovered her sitting in the egg basket that Ethan left on the front porch.  She looked very comfy.

She made herself a little nest and when she got up, there was a fresh brown egg, already in the egg basket!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Two Gardens

I do hope this becomes more of a habit.
I thought I might write a little about the gardens--my winter garden, and my dreams for the summer garden--

Thanks to our friend Danny, we found a wonderful source of horse manure.  It's a horse-boarding place, there's tons and tons of it, and they are so happy for us to haul it away.  We also found some huge pieces of cardboard, so garden construction is underway.

Here it is-- the whole side of the garden--15 beds and all, not counting the corn and pumpkins.
This past week I was worrying I may have been over ambitious this year.  But we only have five more beds to build--two more loads of manure to haul away.

Last summer's garden was a smallish garden.  It only took up a quarter of the space, and I built three permaculture beds around the corn patch.  Everything did so well, but I ran out of room.  It changed my gardening philosophy in that I only planted a few plants of each thing and nurtured them along.  It was so shockingly productive that way.  Before I had been planting dozens of plants in hopes I'd get a handful of something out of them, but it was too big and there were too many to really care for them all.
This year I am only planting a few plants of each thing, but I really want to give everything the space it needs.  So that's why the garden is so big this year.

We had such a busy late summer/fall last year, that the winter garden was not really well done.  I actually ended up buying starts this year instead of trying my own starts.  I finally did get some nice kale to grow.

We have potatoes starting to peek out, and some of the carrots did sprout at last.

The onion patch is doing well this year.  I did two different kinds of beds with them, and it turns out the most back-breaking one to build did the very best.  Oh well.

I'm even getting a tiny bit of cabbage.  We also have a revolutionary hoop-house for cold protection.  I'll admit, this is the first year the winter garden didn't just freeze and get eaten by rabbits.  It's been kind of shocking, really.

Now that so many things have gone to seed, there's not too much growing there now, except the borage.  She is certainly queen of the garden at the moment, and I enjoy her beauty every day.  I even made an herb cream cheese spread from the leaves.

Younger Buckthorne is doing quite well.  He was jumping about playfully yesterday.  Firefly is due today, and May tomorrow, so there just might be a new baby goat at some point today.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring and a new start perhaps

It's been so long now since I have written here.
It has been on my mind so often to write about such-and-such, but I never seem to be able to find the time these days!  But I have carved out a little today, so here are a few random pictures--

Last year we had a good year.  Nothing has changed extremely.  The garden was so lovely and productive last year with all the rain.  We got a buck for the goats, and the babies are being born now!  The first one was born on Thursday.  I thought it would be Firefly, because she was supposed to be first, but it was Cricket's baby.  It was a little boy--the first boy goat born on our farm.

There was a calf born in February.  We've called him Sampson.

The rye we seeded on some of the pastures and in the garden turned out quite nice.  It has made such a difference for everyone to have some good green stuff during the winter.

Clothilde has grown up quite a lot now. 

This spring our table is decorated with spring flowers and an Ostara tree.  We had lots of fun blowing the eggs and painting them on the Equinox.

This was from warmer days--Clothilde helps to feed the animals!  She loves all of them, and isn't afraid.

This was the buck.  We were reading Washington Irving, as per family tradition in the fall, and called him "Young Buckthorne."  He was, after all, a young man of great expectations.
He was a good buck, got all the girls bred, was friendly and gentle, and towards the end of his stay was not even terribly stinky.  The drawback was that he was very funny looking.  His mama was a La Mancha and his father was a Kinder (Nubian and African Pygmy).  My friend Denise lent him to us for free.  His dad had gotten in with the does and so he was sort of an accident, but we weren't picky at all this year.  She said his mama made the most milk of all the goats, but he did have wattles and weird little Shrek ears.

Spring is in full bloom out at the farm.  It is so beautiful out there these days.

I hope that I will be able to write more this year.  But look what happened last time I shut the office door, leaving Ethan with the children, and tried to order the Freedom Ranger chicks for this year without a certain someone chewing on the electrical cords or ravaging the sewing table, or other certain someones asking innumerable questions:

In case you don't recognize this, it is a $1,000 fine for "Cruelty and Neglect" of my children they tell me!  I thought that was pretty steep for 15 minutes alone.