Saturday, October 8, 2011

The crisp air of Autumn

The last few days have been colder, windy and wet. Our first minor freeze happened last night. This morning the sky is clear and the air is nippy.


Autumn is my favorite season. I love the slant of the light, the crisp air, and the colors. I don't live in a place with spectacular fall color like you see in New England. We have a lot of Siberian Elm trees here. They're pretty much of a nuisance as they tend to "volunteer" in some very inconvenient places. There is a place near here where the trees line the creek bank. When the trees put on their brilliant yellow coats it really is breathtaking.

Today is a home day. I love home days, especially during Autumn. I actually feel like I am accomplishing something when I have a home day. I've spent time tending to chickens and goats and saving some seeds for next years garden. Also, laundry, dishes, mopping, etc. I prefer the first set of tasks over the second but all are necessary to things running decently around here.

This year I planted a very modest garden here at home. I was hesitant to plant too much. We've been trying to hold on to our house and when planting season was here we still had no answers and a looming sale date that kept getting moved a month at a time. I planted two types of green beans, yellow straight neck and zuchinni squash, and two types of cucumbers. We had a reasonable amount of green beans, and a few cucumbers. The squash bugs were a plague of biblical proportion here this year. They decimated the squashes and then moved on to the cucumbers. I decided to save seed this year if I could. I preferred the Blue Lake beans over the Purple Podded Pole beans. I'm going to save seed from both and just give the Purple Podded Pole seeds away. They are pretty but not my favorite for flavor. My dear friend, Ivy, shared several things from her always fabulous garden. The Moon and Stars Watermelon was spectacular! It is an open pollinated variety so I saved a BUNCH of seed. I will give a lot of it as gifts to family and friends so that they can enjoy those lovely melons next year.

At our bookstore I planted the north window bed in lettuces, chards, carrots, beets and scallions. Behind the store I planted some butternut squash. A few days ago I harvested six butternut and although I hoped for more I am happy to have some decently sized ones. I make Butternut Squash Soup for our Halloween party and I'm thrilled that this year I can claim growing the squash for it. Yesterday I pulled all the scallions and a good amount of little carrots. I have learned that the scallions need to be in a sunnier spot next year.

I'm in the mood to bake but the oven needs the element replaced. Maybe my mother-in-law will let me use her oven if I leave some goodies in return. Couldn't hurt to ask!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blink and the summer passes

It has been a busy summer. I am totally thrilled with my Oberhasli, Arra! She claimed Reserve Champion at the County Fair and most people were surprised she didn't take Grand Champion. I understood the judge's reasoning in giving it to an older La Mancha Doe. No teeth grinding here! Dd has decided to "start over" with La Manchas. She has been very unhappy with Ellie-mae. Nubians need the right kind of person and apparently dd is not the right type. Ds is still completely in love with his Nubian.

It's now breeding season and believe it or not a lot of thought and planning goes in to this. Arra will be taken back to where she came from to be bred to a buck there. Coraline will probably be bred to a nice buck from someone in our 4-H group. Ellie-mae is still up in the air.

With the breeding season comes the task of testing and the blood draws that go with it. Those were accomplished yesterday with the generous help of Hazel, Wendy, and Jorge. Hazel has dreams of becoming a vet and watching her yesterday I can see it as a wise choice for her life. Many people with goats don't think testing is important. I am NOT in that camp. There are a few nasty goat diseases that I don't want in my herd. There are also a few that are transmissable to humans and I am DEFINITELY NOT taking my chances with those. Drawing blood from a goat is often done from the jugular vein and it's no simple task. Arra was the most patient and I'm attributing it to the fact that she's had it done a few times before. Coraline didn't like it and Ellie-mae really didn't like it. But it's done and the tubes are going out today. I have no worries about Arra but the other two are a bit up in the air. The seller said they were tested but I was not shown any results from the lab. It will be good to know for myself. If their results are not favorable they will not be bred.

This whole goat journey has been so much fun! It's had it's bumps such as the Nubians not liking the Oberhasli and then having to separate the Oberhasli in a different pen. It's amazing what a fence will do for "herd relations"! My dh has helped in so many ways and I'm thankful. While I was out of town in August I came home to the surprise of a small barn. It was greatly needed. This weekend he put together a better shelter for Arra. There is now talk of refurbishing Coraline and Ellie-mae's shelter. Just in time for cold weather!