Friday, May 3, 2013

Cheese making fame, drama goat queens, and happy seedlings

If you feel adventurous and spontaneous, I want to invite you to come to my cheese making class this Saturday, May 4. I know it is Friday already, but I'm just saying. Plus, I'm kind of famous this week, since I got featured in the popular New England Cheese Making Supply Company blog.  My ears are burning, and my Ego has inflated even more than usual. You can read about it here if you want.

Famous or not, the pigs still need to be fed, the goats need to be milked, and the seedlings transplanted into the garden. Mucking around in manure keeps me humble. Watching the pigs has been a lot of fun this week. I swear we can see them grow, and no wonder – every day, they are getting a gallon of milk or fresh whey from cheese making. They are so used to us already that they let us sit with them while they eat, and we scratch their backs for them.

Unfortunately, one of them (named Porky) has what I believe to be an umbilical hernia, so we have to return her and switch her out for another piggy. It's strange how much we already feel bonded with all three of them, so letting one go seems sad.

It feels like summer here this week! We are gardening in shorts and T-shirts, and the kids jumped into the (cold) pond yesterday. I have been transplanting all the beautiful little seedlings I raised in the greenhouse, and now they live in the garden, where hopefully, they will be spared by slugs, flea beetles, and other assorted monsters. Asparagus stalks are shooting out of the earth, surrounded by their friends the Jonny Jump Ups. It's not a bad way to live, surrounded by flowers, I think. Eva loves swinging in her swing underneath the dogwood tree. It's not a bad way to live, swinging under a blooming dogwood tree, no?  The goats get walked to fresh pasture every day.  Not a bad way for them to live, either...  The problem is that Quasar, the new goat, hates to walk on the leash, so I often end up pulling and pushing her.  Sometimes, she flops herself dramatically on the ground and refuses to go on.  Doesn't she realize this is the way to lush, green, sweet grass?

In this photo, only two of my goats are present.  Quasar pissed me off too much doing her drama queen show, so she had to stay in the barn.
Many people envy my yearly onion crop. “How do you DO it?”, they ask, and I don't really know if I am doing anything special, but I will show you step-by-step how I grow mine, so you can try it.
In the middle of February, I sow onion seeds (Walla Walla and Copra from Territorial Seeds) into 4 inch containers in the greenhouse. Two and a half months later, they are ready for their new home in the garden. I give them a little hair cut first if they are flopping over. Then I take them out of their containers and put the whole block of soil into a bucket of water, so the soil gets washed away gently. When there are only roots left, I gently tease apart one plant at a time, and then place it into the earth. I fertilize with manure made from my goats, and organic fertilizer. Voila! Nothin' to it.

Kai rescued a humming bird from our living room.  See it in his hands?

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