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Friday, May 11, 2007

pause for deep breath

It's been busy around here. Kidding season is well over, but that means milking season is upon us. Also there are a lot of things to do as far as general herd management goes at this time of year. All the kids have to be disbudded, which is a gruesome activity that I hate. I've only seen it done, and studied as much as I could on the Fias Co Farm website, which is very thorough in its explanation. But the actual experience is a whole lot more difficult, when you're a rank amateur trying to burn a kid's horns off. I always feel like I'm burning too much, and I've gone past the "copper ring" state to the "burning a hole in their skull" state. But almost all of the kids' horns look weird, like they might have scurs, which means I haven't burned enough. Yuck. John was gone to England for a week, so we had to wait to do Nona until he got home, and I felt a little better about hers until I saw that the horn buds were oozing a little bit of blood, which means that she'll probably be just like all the others. Of all our goats, I think Captain Stubing--the first one we did--has the best-looking horns of the bunch. Sigh.


Next we have to castrate/dock/emasculate or whatever Captain Stubing and Umlaut. We went with a Burdizzo-type tool, because the elastic band idea sounds awful, and I don't want to cut them open if I don't have to. Captain Stubing isn't too bad, but Umlaut is already acting far too bucky for my tastes--he keeps mounting Tilde and Nona, and they keep trying to get away from him. He needs to just settle down--he's not even a month old, for crying out loud! Pervert.

Milking is going really well. I haven't been separating the babies at night, because of one thing or another, but I'm still getting 2 1/2 quarts of milk every morning, which is almost enough to get us through a day. I'm going to separate the babies tonight, and we'll see how much milk I get--and how long it takes me. I don't think our 6 quart bucket will hold it all.

John was glad we went through some kiddings before our baby is due, to kind of remind ourselves what that whole childbirth thing is like. Thankfully people have a lot more help--medicinal and otherwise--when they go through it.

Our lawn is totally getting away from us. It's a sea of dandelion seedheads and brownish grass. Poor John is beside himself. He thinks we're cursed, or at least that our superpower is killing lawns. It would be nice if we had a pump system worked up to use the irrigation water on our lawn, so we didn't have to use the culinary water. Then it wouldn't cost so much to have a dead lawn.

The strawberries are ripening, the spinach and lettuce are on, and the peas are growing nicely. Emmett loves raw spinach, but hates it cooked. Makes sense. I learned to love spinach by first trying it raw. I've found that I really like greens, like kale and collards and spinach and chard. I didn't grow anything besides spinach this year, though. Just planting the few things I did was enough to wipe me out. Being pregnant is difficult when you're trying to be all provident-livingy. I love having produce in the garden, and I'm looking forward to the local fruit stands opening for the year. Cherries, apricots and peaches--especially peaches. Brigham City has the most wonderful peaches. So juicy and flavorful. I read a stupid thing in a magazine the other day that said that peaches continue to ripen after picking. Umm. It depends on what you mean by "ripen." If you mean "soften and eventually rot without ever gaining another degree on the Brix scale," then I guess so. But people, there is a lot of produce out there that is not meant to be picked green and shipped all over creation. Strawberries are not meant to be the size of golf balls with the taste of sawdust. Melons are meant to smell and taste like melons. Peaches and nectarines are meant to be softer than rocks, and juicy and fragrant. A blackberry that is worth eating cannot be shipped. Seriously. I mean, it's nice to be able to get produce year-round, but frozen or canned is better, because at least those things were harvested near the point of ripeness. Except berries. There's just no way to get a good berry out of season.

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