Most visited this week:
Smallest wood stoves
Fighting tomato blight with pennies
Propagating persimmons: Germinating seeds, grafting, and transplanting
How many batteries do I need for my solar panels?
Automatic chicken door
A year ago this week:
Goat milking stand adjustments
Leaky gas line
Weight and longevity of row cover fabric
Walden Effect Facebook page
Our new pulley and
gambrel system was lacking any kind of decent instructions.
"Phew!" I thought to myself Friday as I walked home in the gloaming. My family and I had spent another long day feasting and walking and canoeing,
then I'd cleaned up the community house and lugged home two gallons of
turkey stock. I was ready to get back to my usual routine.
But Artemesia was yelling her head off even though she should have been
sound asleep. And when I pulled out the buck rag Saturday morning, she
wagged her tail like crazy. It was time for our grand adventure.
Luckily, I'd chatted with
a local goatkeeper named Tonya three weeks ago and had an open
invitation to bring my doeling to visit one of her three bucks. For the
sake of herd sanitation, she insisted upon a driveway date, but she also
promised me a do-over if the first time failed. So Mark spread the tarp
across the back seat of the car, Artemesia jumped gamely inside, then
we wound down country roads for an hour and fifteen minutes until we
reached Tonya's house.
Tonya raises Nigerian
dwarf goats and she recommended her largest stud, Monte, to do the deed.
He's got the best milking lines of the three choices, and he also
turned out to be a gentleman, willing to romance Artemesia until she got
in the mood.
He did the deed a couple
of times, but Tonya wasn't 100% convinced. Despite seeing semen, she
would have liked to also see Artemesia tuck the lower half of her body
down as Monte climaxed.
But after a couple of
go-rounds, Artemesia was getting bored with the whole thing. "Been
there, done that," she told us. So we took her home, knowing we'd get
another chance for our $75 if she comes back into heat in December.
All told, Artemesia's
date went much more smoothly than I'd expected. She was a sweetheart in
the car, Abigail didn't have a fit while her herdmate was gone, and we
all got home by mid afternoon. And, hopefully, I can start calling
Artemesia a first freshener after this instead of a doeling.
We had our first goat date
I've filled about twenty pages of a notebook this year with tips and skills I've acquired from my quest to rewire my brain for happiness. It hasn't always worked, but I've definitely been happier than ever before.
Thanksgiving --- feasting, family, and fun.
I outsourced much of the turkey to my father, not wanting to be responsible if it was imperfect. Despite both of our best efforts, the beast did end up imperfect...but it didn't matter.
Our focus was on the food. But, honestly, I think we had the most fun pulling together to put each dish on the table.
For example, my nephew Jeremiah saved the day by figuring out how to mash the potatoes with the implements in the communal kitchen.
The space was well-stocked in every other regard, but we couldn't for
the life of us find any kind of masher or beater. Pure elbow grease did
the job in the end.
Meanwhile, Maggie kept the kids busy playing our family favorite card game --- Boot.
After the meal, it was so
sunny and warm most of us gravitated toward the river. I took the kids
out on a canoe trip which matched my definition of success --- no one
"You'll probably want to brine your turkey," my pastured-poultry producer said when we picked up our 22-pound beast.
Next step, remove the
turkey from the brine and let it air dry uncovered in the fridge
overnight. This step is necessary if you want crisp, rather than soggy,
skin. We decided the easiest way to do this was to put the turkey in the
roaster....which didn't work until we turned the humongous bird
Abigail pounded on her door
this morning until it busted open.
Every fifteen years or so, Mom pulls a 1974 Good Housekeeping
article out of her hat and makes me read it. I wish I could share the
whole thing, but it's still under copyright, so I'll just sum it up with
the title and subtitle:
"I Remember, I Remember": My 97-year-old mother tells about Thanksgiving when she was a girl --- cornmeal johnnycakes, five kinds of pie, turkey, goose and capon, blueberry flummer. And all the family home.
I think I can probably sneak in another little quote about pies without being sued:
"The pies that kept well --- apple, mince and cranberry --- had been made --- all three dozen of them --- a month or so before and laid out on the attic floor. All the women pitched in now to make squash and blueberry pies...."
Monday was turkey pickup day. Our friends
let us drop by early so we'd be sure to get home before dark, which
means we got to see the whole butchering operation in action.
The farmers apologized
profusely because...the turkeys are too big this year! "That's good,
right?" I asked. "More money for you?"
By way of apology, they
offered a pack of last year's bacon. I think I know who got the sweeter
end of that deal. Thanks for the awesome pastured meat!
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