I have the best of intentions of keeping up with the blog side of farming. All too often the work side has me up and down with the sun – the bits of rest I snatch during the day are consumed by meals and loving on our house pups.
So here comes an attempt to capture what has happened since my last post in Late April through the end of June.
I re-set the goat fencing and we moved our pregnant Mama Maz just in time for her twin boys to arrive. It was a lengthy labor for which thankfully we both were home – Maz needed help and Leora put her nursing experience to work as she turned Dean’s hooves so he could emerge. Brother Sammy soon followed. Maz accepted Dean and we have been bowl-feeding Sammy. Both are doing well – they were recently banded (castrated) and will be up for sale as wethers soon.
I’m so thankful to have fresh milk again! Our Alpine gives a gallon+ of milk each day, and I happily make yogurt, ice cream, and cheese as often as possible. It’s impossible to find custard based non-cow milk ice cream and milk alternatives I’ve tried are (in my opinion) not great. I make mine using duck eggs – which thrilled one particular egg client. She’s allergic to hen eggs so this gives her a safe, delicious summer treat. To be honest, she’s the type of client I went into business for – someone that lives with food allergies/intolerances but doesn’t want to be deprived of deliciousness.
I built a super-cool scarecrow that got taken out by the month of rain we experienced in May. It totally worked! We saw deer emerge from the woods, stare directly at it, then go back into the woods. I loved watching the hair flow in the wind. Sigh. I’ll get it back up one of these days.
The re-routed goat fence gave me direct access to the field – and perfect ground for root vegetables. I recently harvested onions and 1/3 of my potato crop. Carrots are doing well here too, as are kale, cucumbers, peas, and beans. I love walking out my door, choosing what I want for my lunch or dinner stir-fry, and consuming it with an hour of harvest. What a grand way to live!
I talked so much about my fresh turkey that 3 egg clients asked me to raise them one this year. They moved into the new tractor yesterday and are enjoying outside life. Putting the wheels on it is giving me fits, but I have a new plan and will give it another go tomorrow. They’ll eventually move into a larger enclosed run – 6 is a few too many to free-range, especially when I’ve pre-sold three. The ducks and chickens will get another run extension and have tons of fresh greens delivered daily.
All our May rain means summer vegetables will be quite late this year. I’m just now seeing peppers and tomatoes appear on the vines – thankfully I got the plants in the ground just before all that rain – and should have ripe produce in another week or so. Thank goodness – I’ve been hoarding my last few jars of salsa! Okra got a late start, but my fingers are crossed that I’ll get a few harvested this year.
I’ve spent the last three years working to clear the field of saplings, stumps and rocks so I could plant my vegetables. With that accomplished – just a few stump/starts left – I’ve been working on plans to harvest the grasses, weeds, and other plants for our goats, chickens, and ducks to consume. It’s a difficult proposition as the field has a significant slope, the ground is rutted and filled with stones, and there are a variety of grasses/stalks that would make mowing – at least at this point – foolish if not impossible. No one wants broken machinery! So I’ve been methodically working in quadrants to deliver fresh greens to our animals. Goats get the brushy, prickly stuff in long form – but the chickens/ducks get it cut into inch/two inch pieces for easy consumption. It’s a tedious process, but I love seeing the progress. Now that the rains have past I’ll start working to cut larger sections, let it dry in the hot sun, then safely store it to use as hay this winter. If I do it correctly I’ll have happy animals and we will save a small fortune this winter.
So there you have it. Farm life keeps me busy and I do my best to tell the long form story. I’m a bit better at keeping up with my Instagram account, so look for me there for more frequent glimpses of my bit of heaven on earth.