Here's what was going on as I left to milk the goats this evening. Laura, Katie, and Sirius Black were on a heater vent with a blanket. I asked what they were doing there, and Laura answered simply, "We're nomads." Becky's guitar music seeped outside and could be heard by me in the crisp night. It was magical, the shine of the ice crystals reflected off of the grass in the light of my headlamp, and the sound of Becky's strumming. She's using http://www.metronomeonline.com/ (for free) to practice timing on her chords. One of the 244 reasons I like her guitar teacher, Justin Schroder of Lynchburg, is his knowledge of how to learn to play without breaking the bank.
Whenever I make a batch of soap, I always love it the best of all soaps. Just like my daughters; I love each of them the best of all. These two soaps are made simply with goat milk, olive oil, coconut oil, and fragrance. On the kitchen floor, having just been poured, are Lavender on the left and Jasmine on the right. Aren't they pretty? After curing overnight, they now look like twins on the table, waiting for Big Dan to cut them into bars. I hadn't made soap for ages, since for a while no goats produced milk. Now we're back in the swing of things, with yogurt and soft cheeses incubating and soaps curing.
Here is the snow so far. It's whitened up just a speck since these were taken by Becky a little while ago. But I don't think there's any more for us this time.
Update: I have no idea why this published earlier without the pictures. We lost satellite as soon as the ice came down, so I wasn't able to retry at the time.
On a very interesting note, my friend at Holes In My Jeans was on blog talk radio today. If you'd like to hear her take on being a homesteader, listen at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backyardpoultry Go to the January 26 show. I should warn you that Karen doesn't come on for at least a half hour.
All three Griffith Girls went with friends after church yesterday to attend a concert. Big Daddy and I found ourselves all alone on a Sunday afternoon. We discovered that we're still the same wild and crazy people we were before the kiddos cramped our style. First we took advantage of the alone time to milk goats together, and spend a little quality time with the goat mommas down at the barn. Then we kicked the fun into high gear by kidnapping (haha, KIDnapping, see how I made a pun there?) Honey's daughter from the barn and bringing her into the house for a snuggle. Yeah. Mommy and Daddy are pretty darn cool.
I grabbed my trusty Yoplait container and fortunately a wash bucket for udders, and headed down to the barn right after the sun peeped out and the wind stopped making a spooky howling sound through my back door. I hadn't milked goats for a really long time, which was evidenced by the way I squirted some on my jeans and up my arm. The last goat we milked was Tillie, and Becky did all the milking with her. Tuscany and Merope are historically my best milkers, but for some reason when Danny took their kids to wean them last night, I didn't expect much milk today. I was wrong! They gave over a quart between them, which isn't bad for Nigerians. I also checked the coop and brought up seven more eggs. So never mind all the whining about farming's no fun.
Here's a view of all sorts of animals on Providence Farm. Like the humans, they're just sitting or standing around. Waiting. We're all waiting for spring! The days are often gray this winter. It seems like we're perpetually in some part of the cycle of: getting ready for a storm, watching a storm, cleaning up after a storm, repeat. I have a copy of the garden catalog. You would think that would cheer me along. But when I see it, I think of how hard and hot the work will be, weeding and harvesting and canning in August. Is winter the dues we agrarians pay for being the ones who get to feel so fully the joy of a newborn goat, or the smell of grass growing in spring, or the satisfaction of beef and milk and eggs and garden vegetables all coming to fruition after a long season of dormancy?
Maybe I would have succeeded in school had I been surrounded by Barbies lounging on my desk. In this photo, Mrs. Walker is walking (hehe, pun) Katie through a chapter book about a dognapped cat. I love having tutors for the girls!
I woke up this morning to HAY. My friend and neighbor, Clifford, delivered a round bale and some squares while I was in Lynchburg for music lessons. I couldn't see it when I got home, because it was already dark. It was a wonderful feeling to look out and see hay inside its feeder. As you can see, our scary storm turned out to be just hype. It's not the weatherman's fault, snow was actually over us all day and night. It was just too dry to make it to the ground. That's ok with me. I wasn't looking forward to having no power.
We were expecting a dusting of snow overnight. As of bedtime, it's almost an inch. The ground is warm, so it'll probably shrink, if anything, overnight. But I can always hope... Ironically, we grilled out tonight. I say "we," but in actuality, Becky grilled out tonight. You can still see the Sweet Baby Ray's sauce on the grill.
On November 13, my best milker, Merope, had these two boy children by Bambi. For reasons unknown to me, I kept them a secret from the public. I think I meant to blog them, but for some reason didn't get a good picture of them... or something. Karen at Holes In My Jeans is hard to fool, though. She caught me hiding the births of all male children on Providence Farm. Remus, the orange one, got sold to a good home. His brother Romulus, on the right, and Janner are getting wethered tomorrow, I hope, and will go on Craigslist as pets. I will also try to photograph our beautiful little doeling named "Surprise" and get her birth announcement up on the blog. Better late than never.
I was hesitant to publish what a good week I've had. I felt somehow like I'd be jinxing myself. But if Laura at Good Enough Farm can blog her good day and make me feel warm and fuzzy, I will try to make you feel the same with my good week.
While Danny was at home I got taken on not one, but two, dates. It's been a relief to have daughters old enough not only to babysit themselves, but also to take an active role in the farm and home. Said daughters have cooked many a dinner and dessert in the past week, all delicious. School has been going well. The girls are taking guitar and piano lessons, starting yesterday.
Around the farm, we've sold two whole beeves to friends and family members, which offset the cost of hay substantially. Two goat kids went to a good home on New Year's Eve. The ram may possibly be getting sold at the end of the week. Our good friend from whom we buy hay will be buying some goats from me. I Craigslisted 5 old stew hens today, and within minutes, a lady called to claim them- as pets, no less! So we don't even have to suffer the grief that goes along with them being eaten. And what, you may be asking, does all this have to do with the filthy farm fresh eggs in the photo? Ah, the best part of the week. The chickens are laying at last! Except... that's mostly due to the expensive use of the heat lamp. And a hen, who's identity has so far escaped detection, is eating some eggs. But still, eggs! I'm going to get some wooden or ceramic eggs to put into the nest boxes and also feed the layers some oyster shell. Maybe that'll be enough to stop the egg eater. I hope next week goes as well as this one has.
It seems that this fall and winter have been especially dreary. But here are photos of a beautiful bird in a persimmon tree, and a red sky at night. I am so thankful the sun popped out this afternoon, after a cloudy morning.