It has really turned into July in the past week! Hot, humid and mostly sunny. I’m not a humidity lover because it wreaks havoc with my asthma, but up here in coastal Maine, we really don’t get slammed with this kind of weather the way they get it in the mid-Atlantic area where we used to live. Our bedroom has a window air conditioning unit in, so when we need it, at least we can sleep well. And it doesn’t last that long.
Today I was outside taking care of a few things and I just sat down on the edge of the milk stand (which I have outside of the hay greenhouse) and enjoyed the scene. Luckily we had a wonderful breeze most of today. The sky was blue with lots of clouds, and between the pigeon coos, all I could hear were the crickets and the grasshoppers singing in the long grass. And the movement in the grass with all the little critters was wonderful. When we were listening to the morning weather, I realized that sunrise has progressed all the way to almost 5:30 a.m. We have lost at least a half hour of light so far. Sheesh! That happened fast!
Anyhow, the crickets and the grasshoppers and the fading light are all just signs of the post summer Solstice event. The daylight is leaving us, and we are moving toward Autumn. It’s okay, that’s the way it goes! And the garlic harvest was a good one. It’s all good!
That time came to us here at Ruit Farm a few weeks ago. Our girl Betsy the Guernsey was quite overdue for weaning, actually. A few weeks ago I put her in with the larger group of does, which shares a fenceline with her mother and auntie. (Big debates in the dairy and sheep world over the best ways to wean, whether it be whisking the babies away so they cannot hear or see mama, or whether it is to the opposite side of the fence.) And a week later, I took our girl Pippi out of the larger group, and moved her in with the two Guernsey girls.
The acclimation time has differed for the two different weaner groups. Betsy has had a very difficult time being separated from her mama. She gets pushed around by the big group quite a bit, but she is holding her own. Pippi’s two babies have been sad to be separated, but they aren’t inconsolable. And the difference is that I left Pippi’s twins in with their cohort, but Betsy not only got separated from her mama, she had to go into an alien group. Poor girl! I am hoping that if I re-introduce her back in with her mother in another month, that she will not nurse, but just be happy to be back in her element.
And so we have milk! I have been madly making cheese. A few batches of chevre, one small batch of Haloumi, and a batch of cheese that I hoped was going to be chevre, but turned into something halfway between a partially cooked-curd cheese, and something indefinable. I kept it, pressed it, and may just have to use it as you would use curds. Poutine anyone???
Into retirement, which still does not feel like retirement! It feels like most of my summer breaks, although I am not on a roll trying to fit all the “fun” things into a very short time span, and am enjoying the lovely summer we are actually having in coastal Maine this year.
I am now into milking, cheesemaking, training pigeons, and spending as much time with our grandson as possible. We love to swim and go to the beach, so that’s been a lot of fun. I am trying to get myself into a productive schedule, but have not succeeded yet. That extra cup of coffee on the back steps, smelling the ocean air, is too powerful to resist. I have not gotten much done upstairs where I need to get going on organizing the fiber space. But I have been doing some spinning on a beautiful wool/mohair blend from Friends Folly Farm. My eczema got really bad toward the end of the schoolyear with all the stress, so I couldn’t handle fiber for awhile. But my hands are almost all better, and I am trying to get to a little fiber every day.
And so it goes. Delightful!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!