My last April vacation week ever! The best part? The Peepers are back! (I love those little guys and wait for them each spring).
Otherwise, the weather has totally cooperated, and there was a lot of activity around here. I really wanted to do some fun things with friends, but I also really needed to get some house and paddock work done.
Today my son and I did some alternative cattle panel fencing and gate moving for the boy goats and Jingle the donkey. That took awhile, and afterward we ran an errand, and kept going down to Pemaquid Point lighthouse. It was a fantastically beautiful day. The sun was warm, the breezes were stiff, and the sky was as blue as ever. We ended up in Damariscotta to make a Reny’s run, and then I went to the chiropractor. After that, I had a lovely rest in the sun and I got some reading in. Spent some time this afternoon with the goats, and then took a lovely bath.
Most of the week has been organizing and cleaning out spaces like the mudroom (ugh!). We are selling one of our giant chest freezers, and it took the day on Tuesday to clean out, organize and re-assign items to other freezers. But it’s done!
Tomorrow will prove to be somewhat boring. I still have to clean out and re-organize the lower pantry cupboard cabinets in the mudroom. It will be a relief to get it done and over with, however! There is much more organizing to do in the house, but this was a great start. And the week isn’t over yet, so more fun to come, I hope!
And how! Even doing chores really early in the morning won’t get you out of it. We have had a breakneck weekend, with a friend visiting from NJ who is looking at a house not far from us. He is planning to retire up here in a few years, and a fantastic property came onto the market recently that is perfect for a single guy and his trusty black lab. Plus all his hit-and-miss engines and car toys!
And so it goes. The two youngest goat kids showed up with the scours a few days ago, but the heat and humidity don’t help that at all. They are coming around with the Di-Methox treatment, but I feel so bad for them in the meantime. They are as perky and interested in food as ever, so I think I caught it just at the right time. It’s always something on a farm.
As far as “it’s always something” goes, during our stay in NJ, our friend who was caring for the goats and the pigeons kept calling to say that our bucks were out of their paddock every time he turned around. When we returned, I beefed up all the fences in the boys’ paddock, and still Bagels the Buck was over and roaming about. (He was also luring Henry the Buck along with him, and Henry twisted his leg pretty badly jumping out, so he is a three-legged goat for now, but doing very well). I finally put Bagels into a pretty airtight pen, and there he stayed until I took him to the butcher last Tuesday. I would have kept him around for awhile, but only as a companion for whatever buck we get for the next few years. I couldn’t use him on all of his daughters, and having him breed the 3 moms would only result in more babies related to him. So, getting meat into the freezer is not the worst thing in the world, but I admit that I was not thinking about this for the moment. And I am keeping Henry around to be a short-term companion to the young buck that is still with his mom, Pippi, for weaning time. I won’t allow a buck to be alone, even with Jingle the Donkey, because goats are social animals and need another of their kind to pal around with. It’s the forever juggling act!
And tomorrow is Monday. The humidity is supposed to stay with us for a few more days, but it sounds like the temperatures will stay in the upper 70s, and not hover near 90F. Yay! There are a few things on my list for tomorrow, so I will see if I can get them done without too much trouble. I can’t stand the heat, so even though I am relieved not to have 5 feet of snow on the ground out there, the opposite is not very conducive to creativity or activity either!
To all our feeling down about our Zorro. She went and had her kids early this morning. I was figuring she wouldn’t be kidding until sometime today, but she loves a good surprise. Brown/black buckling with a blaze, and a doeling that could be a twin to SnowPea’s Sassafras. Both of them are good and strong, the doeling is 7 lbs, and the boy is 9. Wow. The cuteness quotient has gone up considerably overnight!
Today the temperature soared, and we went for a load of hay. I am still feeling the effects of the workout in the heat. It frequently happens that way, unfortunately. My older son graciously offered to help with the unloading, which was an enormous help!
This evening our boys took us out for dinner down in New Harbor, where we ate out on the deck of a local restaurant, right on the water. Heavenly! Breezes off the ocean, sunlight, and lovely family. Great end to a busy weekend and a lovely way to spend Mother’s Day!
Is great. Time to put our feet up and do some more knitting as well as watching another snow begin, enjoying my oldest some who is here for a week from North Jersey. We have had some fun doing the rounds of the area, and even took some time to get down to Pemaquid Point Light this morning. The temperatures are in the upper 20s for a change today, but the wind down at the point took our breath away. The clouds were rolling in for the coming snow, but the sun was just peeking out from behind the light, and the view was spectacular! (That’s my older son and myself in the photo in front of the lighthouse).
I have been slacking in the blog post department and a lot has happened in the past week and a half. We had two snowstorms hard on one another, and then an ice storm this past weekend. Many in our neighborhoods are still waiting for power to get reconnected. We were lucky, have not seen a flicker. But the ice on top of packed snow has not been kind to us at chore time! Even with YakTrax on my boots it’s almost impossible to stride normally up the driveway. So feeding times are definitely an exciting adventure. The animals are all doing well, but with the extreme cold I separated the does from the two boys and Zorro the llama. They are back together with the ewes, where they have a much larger shelter and I know they are out of the wind on dry ground.
Solstice and Christmas have come and gone. After a lovely time with family and friends (and a lamb roast on Christmas Eve, Yum!), we are thankfully on the up slope of daylight minutes and hours. Every day means another minute or two! The winter obsession begins :*)
Another weekend and week has come and gone and I have not gotten a blog post out. I am still battling back issues and trying to get into summer mode. A lot of things around here are wanting accomplishment, so yesterday I continued trying to get the ‘fiber loft’ in order. Reorganizing books and back issues of magazines had me happily engaged for a few hours. The fiber stash needs a lot more organizing, however!
This past Saturday marked the third of our Bristol Farmer’s Markets for this summer. This year we are installed right in the middle of Bristol Mills at Ellingwood Park, instead of being farther down the peninsula. It’s a great spot, and because of the area, our booths are closer together and it’s a little cozier.
Our little goatie boy is growing like a weed. We don’t usually disbud (or dehorn) bucklings here as they are mostly destined to go for meat. This little one is showing his hornbuds now and is getting to be the class clown of the paddock. He excels at teasing the lambs and then running away. He is like greased lightning, and unlike his mother SnowPea, is definitely not interested in interacting with me!
Getting ready today for the incoming high humidity and heat. We can’t complain too much, we have been having very cool weather up until the past week or so. This will mark the beginning of ‘real summer!”
I am exhausted! Firstly from the 8 days of rain, downpour after downpour. Then we had a wonderful treat for the weekend: our older son and his girlfriend got up here late Friday night and stayed the weekend. It is the first time in a few years that all of us have had a chance to spend time together. They had an awful drive up from north Jersey on Friday in the rain and the wind, but today their return trip should have been a breeze! Because of the rain, we didn’t do much until today when we did many of the Pemaquid Peninsula touristy things. We spent some time at the Granite Hall Store in Round Pond, and then took a leisurely visit down at the lighthouse on Pemaquid Point. The lighthouse tower was open and the kids and John went up, so I took a picture from below (I have been up there many times). It didn’t come out too badly, either, even though the camera was pointed almost into the sun.
Right now I am doing my imitation of a vegetable. A little knitting as well as keeping my feet up! I am definitely not ready to go back to work tomorrow. It feels like we just got a nice day and now it’s over too soon. Ah well. It was a great weekend, one of the nicest ones that I can remember. Lots of food, laughter and fun with the family. Can’t do any better than that!
It’s Saturday night again and it’s raining. I know that the ground had gotten really dried out, but I am definitely rain-shy after the early spring that we had! But today was the first Saturday of our newly-hatched Pemaquid Farm Market. I want to call it the “Farmers’ Market” but am having a difficult time deciding where the apostrophe should go… I know, I am a language geek! I hate poor grammar and punctuation. It’s something that I feel grumpy about a lot of the time! And I am guessing that we can probably write the term “Farmer’s Market” in two ways, as it is meaningful in both. Farmers’ Market gives it the connotation of one market for a lot of farmers, which it is. But it is also a Farmer’s Market in that it is the market for each individual farmer. So I guess we all can take our pick on which spelling we want to use! I didn’t look anything up, just sat here thinking about the possibilities :*) Maybe you can tell I need a vacation!
Anyhow, today was marvelous. Weymouth House, which is a community-minded organization on the peninsula, has invited local farmers to join them on their beautiful lawn each Saturday between now and the end of October to share our farm products with the community and visitors from away. It was a lovely time, even though it threatened rain and began to sprinkle toward the end of the time. We are going to be there from 9-1 each Saturday until the end of October, so I hope that anyone who is near will come and sample some of the local produce and products. As we get going I know that we will have more vendors, but today it was Pam of Hatchtown Farm and I (we share a booth as the BaaBaaSisterhood) and
Anna Barber and her angora bunnies. It’s a little early for produce, but I expect that by the beginning of July we will have a lively crew. Come down and visit with us! 1700 Route 130, Weymouth House, Bristol!
It’s just about time to say goodnight on the first day of the new year. We have had a very laid-back vacation this time around. We kept the holiday spending to a minimum this year and my favorite gifts were two: the gift of our son and our grandson being with us, as well as a visit from wonderful old friends from New York. It made for a crowded household: 5 adults, two teenagers, one baby and 6 dogs :*) It was a great visit. We always enjoy sharing our home and our little corner of Maine with good friends. And I don’t think that anyone minded the lobster dinner!
We have been scrimping on everything these days as, like everyone else, we are trying to make ends meet and make do with less. We try to think creatively, and recently we feel we really got onto something good! When we take our chickens to the butcher we need to put them into crates of some sort, and a friend of ours usually has one or two to lend us, but nothing that will really get us all the way there. Used chicken crates are hard to come by as no one seems willing to part with them! New, even in catalogs, they cost about $75 each. The way our birds grow, we can only fit 7 or 8 in one of those. So. Living on the coast of Maine, we have some supplies at hand that most folks wouldn’t ordinarily see in their neighborhoods: lobster traps! A neighbor of ours makes lobster traps for a living and we approached him about making some custom chicken-carriers. They are beauts! This is John standing behind two of them with the top open:
We didn’t break the bank, and the crates are nice and easy to handle as well as easy to get the birds into and out of. We love them! And the bonus is that they are roomier and can hold more chickens.
I have been running into a frustrating situation with my cheese-making as well. I have been using a lasagna pan, stainless steel cake rack and plastic cheese mats to drain the cheeses, first in the forms and then without the forms after salting, and it was cramped and small and not working really well. The salt was beginning to break down the finish on the cake rack as well (even though it’s stainless, I don’t think it’s solid stainless!). So our friend Pam (Hatchtown Farm) suggested that we get a piece of shrimp trap wire and use that (shrimp trap wire has smaller openings in the grid than the lobster trap wire). We kept mulling it over, and finally decided to go see our trap-making friend and find out if he could bend some wire so that it doesn’t just sit on top of our stainless container, but somehow fit into it or attach to it somehow. So he came up with another great product for Ruit Farm: the cheese drainer that slides onto our giant stainless chafer!
Chevre draining in forms (left) and salted chevre draining (below); you can see the black trapwire under the cheese mats
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!