Friday, October 30, 2009

Changing of seasons

Today was the day that comes to us each Fall. The young does who will not be staying part of the herd go to the dairy about 70 miles south of us. It is a good place, run by a fellow who has a good heart and does all he can to make it work. But non the less it is not what these young ladies are used to.

So we pamper them with great alfalfa and a soft ride. A gentle loading and hugs all around. They are our children of the hoof and each will be missed. It is a wide new world on the dairy and I keep reminding myself on the ride down they are, after all, DAIRY goats.

It is with tenderness and the utmost respect we send these lovely young ones on their journey. As we do with the young men who we have no place for. And in their case we often times need to remind ourselves that there are worse things than death in life.

But it is seasonal. And the seasons of change have already begun with does being bred to give birth to the new young ones. The circle remains unbroken. Unlike my heart. Safe journey, good lives to you girls.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last October Sunday

Got busy early today. Made a pot of soft cheese and then bread to rise. The bread is a recipe from the King Authur Flour 100 Years Anniversary Cookbook.  
I so enjoy using the King Authur line up, even tho the FOB makes it a bit pricey it is worth the cost for the quality I don't find elsewhere. So until I begin to grind my own wheat this makes me happy! 

       First comes the dough. I love to knead it until it feels just like a             baby's  bum. Takes time by hand a good 8 to 10 minutes but
       it gives me a time to entertain thoughts and mull over them. Then
       comes the first rise in a bowl and a final rise in the loaf pan.

Next creative chore to tackle was the apple pie made with local McIntosh apples. There are multiple wonderful apple growers in our
area. We do have our own trees but we let nature take it course and
don't cull as we should so as a result the apples are small - great for
human hand eating and goat treats but a bit of a chore to do anything
major with.

End results?

 The bread was wonderful - crispy crust, lovely texture and soft. The loaf that  I made into cinnamon / raisins rolled with melted butter (I am a big believer in real butter and lots of it!) was to die for!  The pie still has the jury out on it. We will find out after dinner when it gets served up with a big scoop of french vanilla ice cream.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Some after thought

This has been a very long week.

Working 5 days in a row is always a  challenge in addition to the chores at home. Add to that our daughter Annie had a biopsy scheduled to determine the meaning of an area of shadow on a lung lobe. She is 32 and mother of two birth children and two acquired by loving the fellow children. So it came to pass and no biopsy was done and this mother is encouraging their mother to have a follow up with her Dr. and keep on the antibiotics that seem to be shrinking the area. Which means it could be Valley Fever instead of cancer and addition of scar tissue from a previous lung collapse two years back.At any rate our friends came through with prayers and energy and love. And believe you me for that we are thankful!

Another post later this weekend but I will leave you with the most beautiful Rainbow the day of her procedure.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time's they are a'chang'n

Saturday was fantastic!

Donna came over and after I was done at work she met me and we drove down to San Rafael to the Marin Civic Center and attended Caroline Casey and Dr. Andrew Weil's program at the Bioneer's Conference

Caroline is a visionary activist and quite an entertainer also. Dr. Weil is a well know holistic physician with many books, appearances on PBS or NPR

We enjoyed a refreshing, stimulating evening and also went to the vendor area briefly prior to the talk. We visited the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and I purchased their book.

After the event we stopped at McNear's for Spring Rolls and Coconut Shrimp and beer. Arriving home at 12:45 in the A.M. OMG - we are not too old for this!
As long as we can catch some sleep the next night.

The next day we went to Ardelle's in Willits for a great breakfast. And then a bit of a walk around town to help make the large amount of food consumed go south. Donna spied a nice big sign for a book sale and we browsed the selections. Donna ended up with a few items I just enjoyed looking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This 'n That

Today was a welcome day off. We were in surgery all day yesterday and when I drug in over 30 minutes later than hoped for I was pooped. But it was a good day and I slept well.

So today catch up! After milking I made some ricotta cheese. This recipe is wonderful as it is for whole goat milk instead of the usual whey ricotta. It will be molded in bread pans one frozen and one used in the lasagna later today for supper.

After some mandatory household stuff, laundry, ironing scrub tops and so forth I ended up back in the barn with the goal of trimming feet on all my adult does which numbers 13 today since the two nubians Berrie and Pearl are still at Donna's to be bred.
Can you tell that Tassels was none too thrilled at being the first up? No I don't make my does stand still for hoof trimming without alfalfa pellets or a bit of grain but Ms. pain in the bum decided that the % of grain to alfalfa pellets was not to her liking and moments before snapping this photo she lifted the bucket out of the holder in front of her and tossed it to the floor.Goats have very tactile mouths and use them well.
On the way back to the house after reaching my hoof trimming goal the rain gauge showed that we had gotten 2.5 inches in about 36 hours and believe you me every drop was a blessing and so appreciated!  Even the ferns and fish were delighted.
Supper got under way late afternoon. Yummy lasagna made with just about 100% home grown products. Included were the ricotta of earlier plus some goat mozzarella. The ground beef was courtesy of a friend who was kind enough to sell me 1/4 of a angus cross she had butchered. Yeah I know ugly word but when we are stewards of the land and of the critters there is a destiny for everything. So with each meal we thank that fellow for giving up so we may eat. 

 So the above ingredients including some canned tomatoes made a lovely supper tonight for this we are thankful.

 Snowy River one of two barn cats is thankful for a comfy spot to nap during the rain. And lastly we here at Walnetto Farm are blessed to have a lovely Medicine Wheel at the base of our pens. So we sleep well at night knowing that we are protected..

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hay-it must be Sunday

Today I took back the last 10 bales of #2 alfalfa I bought awhile back. It was awful - well maybe not awful but very difficult to feed as it was baled in a way that made it like a work of macrame. After 15 bales I had had it. So I loaded them up and went to the Hay Barn in Lakeport. Well someone was watching over me as the #1 alfalfa was amazing. It was put up last week I imagine, fine stemmed, lovely purple blooms dispersed in the appropriate places and so leafy even a goat would swoon! 

There were 49 bales left and two blocks (roughly 120 bales) had come in only Thursday. "I will take them all" to the guys loading up my trailer. "And what we can't get in the trailer can go in the truck bed." A slight nagging in the back of my head thinking of Geoffrey at home sick but functioning and seeing 49 bales to be unloaded would just sigh. I did feel some guilt about making him work so hard but also knew he would certainly understand the prudence of buying up all of it while I could. It would have broken my heart to leave any of it behind. Only a true farm girl can understand that sentiment.

Below my wonderful husband backing up trailer full of hay. Of course I had already unloaded and stacked the 9 bales in the truck bed. Those above with the Dixie Chicks being very chicken like and curious.   

So we got on with the unloading and stacking taking turns as neither of us are really up to snuff yet. Altho I am much better than he is. But I did have a weeks head start. To the right is the trailer before unloading.
Below left  is the trailer sans hay and next to it is the hay area in the barn with the contents of the trailer. I am off soon to feed the said new hay to the goaties. I expect that they will lick those feeders clean!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Picking hairs (cat that is) and other fiber projects

I stayed home again today. Pffffffffffht! This has been the worst alien stuff I have had in years. I am off tomorrow and hope that by Saturday I will return to work right as rain. I was just pooped yesterday after a full day and felt worse then I had two days ago so I think I made the right choice.

So what does one do when one is home but not enough energy to tackle anything big? Well this afternoon while I was talking to Geoffrey (who is in Cayucos again and just now came up sick) I picked the cat hairs out of my computer keyboard. Ya know I do believe it works better now ;-)

I then tackled a long standing fiber project. You all may remember when Geoffrey was gone a few trips back I washed up some wool a friend gave me. Well today I combed and carded. There was allot of vegetated matter in it and I reasoned it would come out easier if I washed, combed and carded. Well it is working to a great extent and I have made a very small dent in the pile of fiber I now visualize this being one of those "on going" projects. Like maybe the rest of my life! Not really it just feels that way right now.

The top is midway wool to be carded setting on combs and cards. The
  large amount of fiber on top left is the washed product. The photo below    is the finished product.

  The next two photos are what we in the vet. med business call job  
   security. They are a foxtail and sticker  seed. Insert either in an ear, nose,
   mouth or between a dogs toes and I  can promise you a bill of no less
   than $300. In the fiber business they are known as more work than one
   wants or needs. Which is why some folks coat their sheep.

So while sitting on my front porch looking out (apologies to Lonestar) the last photo of the day is my view.

All in all a lovely relaxing day. Said no to the nap as I wanted to be sure to sleep tonight and now it is time to start rustling up something for supper. Eating alone is a two edged sword. On the upside you can eat whenever and whatever you want. On the down side you are alone. Actually it is pretty much o.k. until day 3 when even the cats stop listening to my endless commentary!

Disclaimer. I have yet to come even close to mastering the whys and wherefores of this program. So if there are more spaces than needed and single words ending up far away from the whole remaining sentence. Just ignore it, someday I will get there!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dairy Sunday

Today was day 4 of the URI assault. I am weathering it fairly well and have a bit more energy today but foresee several more days of R&R.

I am still working on the top down sweater for Geoffrey and since the cool weather is picking up my knitting time needs to as well so he will have it for this winter. I also began a new project for a friend as a thank you for how instrumental she has been in my spiritual journey.

The big event(s) today were Geoffrey making his famous 8 egg yolk, 1 quart whipping cream, 1 pint half/half, 1.75 cups raw sugar/vanilla /coffee flavor ice cream. We have called it cardiac arrest ice cream for years and made it frequently back in the Berg when the kids lived at home.

I gathered up 6 gallons of saved milk and produced some more Mozzarella and a round of Cheddar.That is the first hard cheese I have made in years. Hopefully I will get some more done before I begin to dry off the girls for the winter.

Couldn't resist doing some feline photos. What else would a self respecting cat do on a cool day but fine his/her place in the sun?

Very top photo is Chloe,Monkey,Boot Scoot and Molly doing the cat window version of 60's Volks Wagon Bug stuffing. Lower are Sidney and sister Rachel the newest rescue additions then Helen in what else? the laundry basket, how catty of her! Lastly is P.T. sunning her buns between the cat statues. Cats-gotta love them!

Friday, October 2, 2009


The word that says it all.

Wednesday night while talking with Donna about 9 pm I was over come by fatigue. Well it had been a busy day but that busy? Thursday morning I awoke to copious amounts of , you guessed it, snot. By 1:30 at work it was sore throat, snot and someone unseen piercing my right ear with a spear. I went home, me who has left work sick maybe now 3 times in my life. I am one of those show up, buck up persons.

Got home Geoffrey took one look at me and said why don't you go to bed, I did and slept until 4:30. So today was better but not great. The throat is recovered but now come the sieges of sneezing. I had to go to Santa Rosa for the usual suspects, Costco, Target, Trader Joe's and some Great Pyr. rescue business. Could have been better as my ears are now popping like crazy.

The irony of it all? I have three days off beginning today. Well life must still go on and I will continue to do the stuff but temper it with some rest and hot tea and honey. Thank you Kat / as I have been slugging down tinctures and herb potions by the groves!

So think of me tomorrow sniffling my way through Farmers Mkt. and perhaps catching a few sneezes at the knit store. I know I should stay home but there is too much to do!