Spring!!

Wow!  Spring is here, which means I should have done so, so many things yesterday - if not last week.  I've been frantically trying to get the garden in, while getting the spring hoophouse out, so I can get the summer hoophouse in...  and of course everything else I need to do -- pasta, soap, milking, cheesemaking, occasionally feeding my children, you know!  It's been pretty crazy for the last few weeks, I've been getting up around 5:30 or 6 and washing eggs or making soap or pasta before breakfast, just to get it out of the way.

It's been weeks since I posted - I was waiting for the last 2 goats to kid, and wrap up the season with a last goat post, but they wouldn't oblige.  The second-to-last finally kidded this afternoon, one little girl - that just leaves one lone pregnant goat holding out on us!  We need to combine the goats with the cattle herd, now that most of the kids are several weeks old.  Rather than waiting the whole herd for these last two girls, we're just going to put them (and the one new baby) in with the milk goats for another week or so, until the baby is mobile enough to stay safe around the cows, and hopefully until Esme kids soon and same thing for her babies.  Then we can combine the herds this next weekend, and simplify our livestock rotations and locations.

One big chore off my roster is the bottle-feeding.  Liam has completely taken that over as his chore.  He has had collecting the duck eggs as his daily chore for a couple years, and has vocally hated it for about that long (it used to often take him 2 hours to pick up eggs - unfortunately for him, I can out-stubborn him!).  Malachi has decided he needs to commandeer all Liam's chores, so he started insisting on doing the eggs "myself" - as well as feeding the cats and dogs, also Liam's daily chores.  We needed another job for Liam, and he settled on the bottle-feeding - which Malachi promptly started insisting is his job, "I do myself!"  This is such a big chore, though - 3 times a day for 2 more months, without fail - and such a big help to me, especially as I get more and more ungainly! that we are paying him a percentage of these goats' value.  Who knows - if he does well with this, maybe next year he could get a bottle calf and raise it for a cut of the profit?  

As I said, I've been really working on the garden.  We finally got the last of the brassicas transplanted out of the cold frame in the hoophouse.  We now have 2 beds of broccoli, 2 beds of cabbage, one of kohlrabi, and a row of Brussels sprouts down the side of both asparagus beds.  We also picked up a couple dozen heirloom tomato and pepper plants at the local historical society's plant sale and got those in.  I've been harvesting and selling the lettuce, kale, and radishes pretty hard to clear them out as they are finishing up. I cut off the whole plants of the bolting cilantro and dried and powdered them, and have started on the kale.  I'm drying and powdering everything with bug holes, and selling the nice new leaves, but I think that'll about clean out my kale this week.  Once I've pulled it, I will replant with okra, corn, and melons in the hoophouse, and I've already, this weekend, gotten our big 25x25' bed outside planted with corn for drying.  We had a WWOOFer for about 3 days, and she got a lot of weeding done, so we've mulched the big asparagus bed, and by mowing the yard this weekend also mulched the larger cabbage bed.  Once I get the hoophouse planted, and the last bed of bolting spinach/almost-finished lettuce cleaned out and planted, I'll be done until the garlic harvest starts the first week of June.  I think I'll be leaving some of the bolting spinach in place since the 2 turkey hens have made a nest there, and we're stealing all the goose eggs from the laying goose and putting them under the turkeys.  If I pull the spinach, they'll feel exposed and leave, and we won't get baby geese!  Finally, Caleb also got several dozen blackberry and raspberry plants from a friend and planted them in the orchard.    

If you're wondering why I've been making powdered cilantro and kale, the answer is - green pasta!  I've started making a tricolor fettuccine with regular egg noodles, cilantro (and now kale) for the green, and squash powder for the orange.  I made 4 batches of various kinds of pasta last weekend, and then 3 more this weekend (the last one for us, since I had 15 egg yolks to use up - I've also been selling meringue cookies on the farmer's market - and all-yolk pasta is just amazing, and wonderful for the hands!).  Now that produce is here again, the farmer's market is picking up and my pasta sales are up again.  Also, for some reason I decided to participate in a new farmer's market in Monteagle (like I need one more thing taking a big chunk of time out of my day!) and I actually sold as much pasta there this week as I did at the two online ones together.  

I also managed to squeeze in 2 batches of soap this weekend, although I desperately need to make 2 more, and then will soon need another 3 - but I'm getting closer to caught up!  I also need to felt more soap bars - but first, I need to dye and prepare more wool!  I've about used up what I had ready, and can only felt 5 or 6 more bars, which is about what I'm going through every week.  

Fortunately, we should have a WWOOFer arriving on Thursday, for a several-week stay - I can't wait!  Caleb has been really helpful the last few weekends, doing a lot of work with and for me in the garden and hoophouse, but we are going to have a number of projects coming up that will take up his weekends - we need to have a goat roundup/health check, same for the alpacas, we will need to collect honey from our 2 hives soon, and we need to fix all the little boy goats.  

Now that the goats are (basically) done kidding, we are on calf and cria alert from here out.  Our first calf last year was the last week of May, and we've had calves as little as 11 months apart.  Also, we should have 2 new mother cows this year, so without a baseline of last year's calf to be counting from, they could be calving at any time this summer.  Our first cria last year was the first week of June, and they have about a year gestation as well, so that's only a few weeks away.

That's the news round-up from Solace Farm for the last few weeks.  I hope the next one is much more relaxed, saying that I am caught up on everything and have just been reading books and knitting :)  By the way, happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Comments

YOU ARE AMAZING!!

Wonderful to hear all the Earth's news by way of Solace Farm. I am using your felt-covered soap and it is just remarkable. I love having a scrubbing pad and a soap in the same handful. I even sewed felt covers for some other soap I had, but it's not "alpaca" wool. Looking forward to my next visit.

So Are We!

Glad you like the soap! We are looking forward to your next visit as well :). Liam read an entire Little Bear book to Caleb last week, he's looking forward to showing you his improving reading skills.

whew!

This post needs to be required reading for all folks who think they have a challenging schedule. Tickled to learn Liam is feeding the goats as his chore now--he mentioned this to me, but I didn't realize it got him off egg-collecting duties. Great life lessons. miss you all,

I agree!

I wish I wasn't this busy! Just seems like everything piles on at once - and about when I think I'm overwhelmed, I get caught up and it's back to normal again. I'm really trying to get everything active/mobile done (and done well, like weeding) before I'm an uncomfortable whale in these last couple of months before the baby!

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