Week in Review

This past week we finally finished kidding.  The last goat wrapped things up with two big boys on Wednesday the 5th, almost a full month after the first kids.  We were on track for the fastest kidding year yet, with most of the 45 babies arriving within a two-week window, and then these last two mamas took two additional weeks!  The second to last was somewhat exciting - I was loading the car for the farmers market, and heard the doe bawling. I went to check, and she had one baby on the ground, and just a little head sticking out of her of the second - no feet first like there should be.  Unfortunately, she is probably our most skittish goat, as in I chased her until I could barely walk and couldn't catch her.  I don't know how she could run like that during labor, but she could!  I knew the baby was dead - there was no way it was okay the way it was flopping - so I finally stopped so that the mama would go take care of the first kid.  I checked again after I finished loading the car, and I guess the running got things moving again.  The baby was out - and sitting there shaking his head, working on standing up!  I couldn't believe he was okay, and I'd never have chased her so hard if I knew he was, but I think that actually helped her push him out.  

Let's see, this last week or so I've also been working a lot in the hoophouse, getting out the finished things, prepping beds, planting - and then the same thing in the garden.  I lucked into tomato plants, which was actually my plan - or total lack thereof!  I usually have a friend start mine, but just never got around to it this year, so I had about a dozen that recently popped up in the hoophouse from fallen tomatoes last year, and then another grower at the market had some for sale, so I've got 22 in the garden now and 5 in the hoophouse.  Last year I put 18 in there, and it was insane, a jungle we had to crawl through, and only after a WWOOFer spent hours thinning things out!  I'm sticking with just a few in there this time, in a nice single row that I can keep a handle on :)  I'd like about a dozen more outside, we'll see what falls into my lap in the next week or two.  I have a new student intern as of Monday evening, so we spent Tuesday also in the hoophouse - it was a beautiful day, coolish and overcast, perfect for working in the usually-sweltering hoophouse - transplanting the few cabbages and broccolis that didn't freeze this spring.  We picked peas and strawberries, pulled berry runners, and then prepared my farmer's market order - pulled carrots and cut kale, mustard and cilantro.  Friday and Saturday I planted corn, winter squash, watermelon, beans, and okra in there, and I still need to plant all those plus cantaloupe outside.  

Milking is going well, the girls are giving just over a quart now.  I made soft goat cheese for the first time, and seasoned it with dill and my own garlic powder.  It was so good with crackers!  5 quarts of milk made 2 lbs 6 oz of cheese, so I froze most of it.  I'm making more than we are eating through so I'm going to try to freeze lots of it for the rest of the year.  I'm going to try cottage cheese soon, I think.  I just ordered the culture necessary for making feta, so that'll be coming soon also!  I also successfully revived some kefir grains that I dehydrated last year, and I'm going to make kefir with the milk before I make it into cheese.  Usually recipes call for a generic cheese culture or just buttermilk to ripen it some, add some flavor to the cheese, so I thought kefir would be a great substitute.  We'll see how it turns out this afternoon!

With all these other activities, my pasta-making fell to two batches this last week, mostly because I haven't had time to grind the wheat.  My mother-in-law ground an entire canister-full a few weeks ago, which got me through that first week, but now I'm out.  Hopefully my new intern will be remedying that issue soon!

The strawberries have been ripening for a couple weeks in the hoophouse, and they've just started in the outdoor beds.  We have a huge mixing bowl on the counter that will be going in the dehydrator today.  Next will be some jam, using the last of our honey from last year.  We should be harvesting again within the next few weeks, hopefully much more than last year, since we have 4 hives now instead of just the one.  

Well, that's about what I have time for today!  I've got to go milk, make cheese, deal with a LOT of carrots (soup?), dry strawberries, pick and then pickle radish pods, plant sweet potatoes and okra, and I'm sure a zillion more things I haven't thought of yet!  


Whew! Amazing you made the time to write, too!

Such wonderful goings on. Wish I could taste the goat cheese--it sounds yummy---we love goat cheese we've had from other goats. And sorry to miss the exciting goat chase to get the last baby out and growing.

Wish I could pop by to grind you some more flour every couple of weeks or so. Not something I'd like to do every day, but very good shoulder therapy for me, for sure. Happy strawberry eating :-)

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