“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Paper Factory

Mom has a new job. Or perhaps an addiction. The paper shredder.
Tuesday we got a heavier duty, recycled, paper shredder from the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, and now my mother is known as the Paper Factory. She is addicted to shredding, and has been folding, tearing, and shredding paper since we plugged it in. She is shredding everything in sight. Magazines, mail, newspaper.
She is going to set the thing on fire - I swear! It has smoked a couple times, but we think (and hope) its just the dust from the white paper. We have to takes its temperature every once in a while to make sure she gives it a rest.
So far she must have produced three or four garbage bags of the stuff. The fun hasn't worn off yet.
What does one do with all this paper you ask? Well, we use it for bedding for the goat's stalls. We get several bags from a couple places, but all of a sudden we need more. Perhaps the doubling in size of the herd?
After making a mess in the kitchen, we moved the operation out to the garage, where she can run the factory as she pleases, whenever she wants, and be outside in the sun or shade, depending on which door is open.
Its a nice sit down job for her as she waits to have hip surgery. We tell her the paper tearing is good for her upper body strength.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pecking Order

This morning was a nice slow walk out to the pastures. I was literally running everyone out for the past month. I was trying to get the kids to stampede behind the rest to get them out of the barn. Now that its hotter, and I'm usually carrying a couple gallons of water (another future project), walking is fine. Also I am hoping they just start without me, but that hasn't happened yet. I am still Lead Queen. They line up and mill around the door looking around for me. Great! Queen of a goat herd! Along the way, Layla, who seems to be the current alley leader, stopped for a munch, so Uno, who always used to be first at everything, passed her. As we were entering the gate for the field alley, there was a bit of butting, and Layla with her daughter, took the lead positions again. Uno has dropped in rank since she had her twins.
These are Zola's two bucks, and Uno's buck, lagging behind with slow Zola, who always brings up the rear.We are getting across the lower field pretty quickly now as the kids are getting bigger.
Zola is Herd Queen, once she gets here, and if someone is eating "her" food, they get a swipe of her neck.

Cleo is topping the grasses.
Aziza and Grant working together.
It looks like everyone is getting their share of what I think is goldenrod greens. Layla Mei
Everyone was enjoying the new browse today, and the little ones get a bit lost in it sometimes. This stuff is not as thick and high as others, but they are enjoying a good variety. See Cleo back there?I think you can see the line where they finished yesterday. By tonight it will all look the same, and we move fences again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Evening Walk

We like to give Jock as many walks as possible, and after dinner we try to get one in before the goats come in. This is the turn at the east meadow fence line. I love the canopy of this tree. I wish it were closer to the house for those hot days.
Mia joined us on this walk. They are waiting for me to continue.

We mow paths every summer and this one heads to the pond.

Snickers is sneaking up on another path to join the walk.
Everyone takes this quite seriously. Its really neat!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I'm not sure if I've been doubly insulted or not.
For Mother's Day the cats gave me a bird foot, piece of gut, and feathers. Here Mom - leftovers.

For Father's Day they brought a sizable headless rabbit. Here Dad - dinner.

Then there's the card.

But I got a nice card that day, so I'll get over this also.

More Stormy Weather

Another storm on its way Saturday night.
I think we've had heavy rain, thunder and lightening storms, and a bit of wind all week, usually later in the day or at night, but not exclusively. We even had tornado warnings in nearby counties and perhaps a sighting in Greensburg, about 13 miles away.
Last night, on our after dinner walk around the fence line with Mia and Jock, we found a large cherry branch on the path.
Luckily not much damage. Just a loosened post.
More for the burn pile
In this kind of weather, Jock is pretty underfoot as I am supposed to protect HIM from the thunder and barometric pressure changes.
Mid week I spent most of an hour getting the goats out on a rainy morning. If you don't know yet, goats prefer to be dry. Once out there they will browse in light rain if its warm, but cold heavy rain, and its in the sheds they go. Three goats followed me to the field, looking over their shoulders at the rest standing in the barn door. Once they were secure, I tempted Uno out with some food and shut the door behind her. Then I proceeded to shove the kids out one at a time till I had six out of seven done. Giving up on the remaining three does and a kid, I went outside with some grain and got Uno and a kid moving till I had the kid goat stampede. As I got them going up the alley, Vinegar started crying for her twins and pushed the barn door open and went after us. That got her older daughter going and so all that was left was Queen Zola. She needed a pull on the collar and then we had that bunch taken care of. I still had Neo to get out and by the time all was done, I was soaked to my socks - inside my knee high boots. THEN it stopped raining!
The thing about the storm skies is that it reminds me of those art history classes where we looked at all the masters paintings where it seemed the sky was the main topic.
I think I know what inspired them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jake and His Chickens

Oh! Hello! My name is Jake.
Let me come over for a serious talk about my chickens.
These girls are Bovan hybrids that lay pretty, fat, brown eggs. People rave about the eggs all of the time.
But let me tell you - quietly - the secret.
My pies. Really! They follow me around like groupies waiting for them to cool. I admit - I like the attention.
These girls can't get enough of them, because in them are my parasites and such, which to them are quite tasty.
And I have to say, they are doing me a favor.

The more they eat, the less I re-digest as I graze.

So the less I have to get that apple flavored medicine paste that the humans think is funny when I get it stuck all over my mouth.
Well if you are going to be grossed out about it, I'll leave!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Monastic Melissa Spirits

Last evening there was an impressive storm, and we had some major rains that washed the garden down.

Since the lemon balm was about as clean as it was going to get, we harvested enough to make half the recipe (see last blog for more information).
Basically you need LOTS of lemon balm leaves - We halved the recipe to 100 grams.... Stuffed them in a jar that can be sealed tightly. Mom is my hand model.
Its a lot of leaves (3 1/2 ounces).
We found pouring part of the brandy, a bit at a time, helped compact the leaves.
Still stuffing.
Pour more brandy as needed to flatten the leaves.
Til there's not a drop left. We actually were a bit short covering the leaves. The pint didn't make two cups that we needed, so we should have used less leaves.
So we shook the jar. Not really. I just liked this "accident" picture.
We did tip the jar a bit to get things all soaked. It is very dense in there.
And closed the jar tightly. After taking the picture, we put it in a darker spot. The recipe didn't say so. We just felt it would preserve the color better.
This is the jar about five hours in. The alcohol does a nice job of keeping the leaves bright green.

See you in ten days.