Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More oddities and other stuff from around the farm

OK, so this is not something from around the farm. This has been in the news of late, at least FOX has been doing some snarking about it.

This is a picture of the "Montauk Monster", said to have washed up on the beach of Montauk Island in NY. No one has been able to identify it yet, and several websites have been running contests to see if anyone knows just what it is. It may even be some sort of Hollywood FX sort of hoax to get people's attention and away from more important stuff like.........

....The Giant Grampus. I saw this on the porch of a local store and it just sat there for hours, its' little bug-ly brain wondering how it got there and where it needed to go when it left, if it could find its' way to where it needed to go anyway......

This is the season when all sorts of strange insects appear. Can anyone ID this fly?

These moths were on the tree outside my front door. They did not make it through the night- a cat, most likely trying to be helpful, assisted them in disengaging themselves....Oops!

Now this is really important! I found a farmer who grows barley, along with hay. He raises his own corn, oats, barley and other feed for his cattle so he does not have to buy it. His family is one of the folk from the area who is a multi-generational farm family. And it looks like they will be farming for many more generations. It brings a tear to my eye.......
The goats are very pleased with the choice of feed stuff here- they have taken a liking to it and have put on some of the bloom I had been getting from alfalfa hay, which I can no longer get locally because my hay man passed away last year.
Of course, there are other uses for barley which we may try- beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Family Grows......

We have an announcement to make-

DH and I are going to be grandparents- it's our younger daughter and her signifigant other of more than two years. They are elated, we are .........adjusting. Having a little two-legged around will be delightful, but we were hoping to have a few years to ourselves, with some time to do what we'd like, before it all starts again......sigh......

She is due in the middle of January and has chosen her midwife- she'll be using the Lisa Ross Birthing Center for the birth. They are connceted to the St. Mary's system so if anything were to happen, she could go right to the hospital for the birth. Lisa Ross midwives have priveleges there, and they take daughter's insurance. She wants to birth at the center, as they have a birthing tub.

I'm a strong believer in home birth and midwivery- considering the modern male centered medical establisment considers birth as a medical issue to be managed as only 'they' know how, instead of a natural unfolding process, and also a huge money making scheme, I am 100% behind my daughter's choice. Ricky Lake has a wonderful movie out called The Business of Being Born, which reveals the facts about home vs. hospital births in the US. Considering I loath hospitals, have very little faith in modern healthcare and that many, many US doctors are just in it for the money and not patient care, this is an important movie- in fact, Ricky has had some medical establishment come after her for her views and the release of this movie!

So, stay tuned for more pieces on this subject- there will be lots. Now, I'm waiting for what the rest of my family is going to say.........

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Tomato Jungle

And it starts.......
This is the first year we have had such success with the garden - specifically the tomatoes. Truly food for the soul- so good that you can take an ice cold tomato out of the refrigerator and bite right into it. Be careful now, and don't scare that delicious, ripe and juicy fruit! Make sure that the liquid goodness runs down your chin and all over your fingers. This is the taste I remember from my childhood!
These are Cherokee Purple tomatoes, which as an 'open pollenated' variety, which is to say that you can save the seeds fom year to year with no fear of some tomato-like swamp thing growing in your garden with dubious taste and form.

We have been gathering these beauties for a few weeks now, with no end in sight yet.

The squash was planted rather late, but seems to be doing well nonetheless. Zuc's and Yellow Crookneck are worth waiting for. The potatoes are also in full bloom and I'll do a piece on them soon.....
If you look at the photos from our Field Day, you will note that we make the raised beds from roofing tin and concrete blocks, with old tent poles to hold them together- all recycled from objects that can no longer be used for their intended purpose, but will last for many years in their current job.
To that we add a foot or so of deep, dark composted goat manure, which has been cold for several years. The worms are almost as big around as my little finger. The compost is so rich because we use a very good mineral mix for the goats- high %'s of many minerals that are sorely lacking in these mountains. Copper and Selenium for heart health, Calcium and Magneseum, etc.
Yes, that is an old toilet in the background there with a fern in it- I plan to do interesting things with it and make trellis' all around it next season- along with old bath tubs full of mint and herbs on each side.
This is the jungle of Cherokee Purples- We have not had to spray or dust for any pests- there are none here. The chickens and guineas take care of those early on. And the goats have left the area alone- which is strange. I had expected to keep running them out of the area when they are out foraging.
We still have beds of Amish White tomatoes to work with- these are one of the open pollenated white varieties of tomatoes and I believe that these are a paste tomato, which I am looking forward to working with in the kitchen. And the egg plant and other nameless squashes that volunteered, along with one HoneyDew melon, are due later on. The onions, well, they are hiding their heads until later this fall, and we should have a bumper crop of them to go with the potaotes.
As we get closer to fall, I'm looking at building more beds for more crops on the spring- the other side of the garden has not even been developed yet, so we have so much work ahead of us in the coming months. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Linear Appraisal 08'

Heeerreee's Chicago- his Immense-ness.......

We had a LinearAppraisal session here at the farm on August 1st- we try to appraise the goats every other year, but we had to skip last year because it got on so late in the year, what with the drought and all.

ADGA sends out appraisers (by request of the goats' owner) and each goat is scored in areas such as stature, strength, dairyness, udders, etc. We ened up scoring 24 animals in all and it sure was hot. The appraiser found it delightful when we offered him a Blenheim ginger ale-

Chicago's score was EEE 91 at 5yrs., 4 months of age. This means he scored Excellent in the three structural catagories that a buck is scored under and had 91 total out of a possible 100 points. You don't usually see higher than a 92, but some does have scored 93 and one doe, a Togg, I know of has scored a 94!

Chicago's grandmother, McQuitty Farm Aloha, was two times Nat'l CH Saanen, and he's been throwing beautiful daughters in several herds in NC. We are very proud to have him here with us!

ADDENDUM, 8/20/08: Chicago's daughters, One-More Dasha and One-More Cha Cha were 3rd place 2 yr. old and 3 yr. old Saanen milkers (respectively) at this years ADGA National Show! We are even more proud to have him with us at the farm!

Also, our buck Dzimianski's Zaphod Beeblebrox's momma was 5th place 5-6 yr. old milker as well!

This is Eilidh, one of the heirs to the Brandenburg doe-line. She has a gorgeous milky udder, woth easy to milk teats. At three years old, she still has some maturing to do, but her score was ++VE, 84, with a score of 43 in rear udder height. That final 'E' is for mammary- I knew she'd score an E mammary, her mother was the first homebred E mammary here at the farm.

That's Sassy in the background- she's anticipating the day when the Guernseys are accepted into ADGA so she can get scored too!

And here's Mysty, hiding in the round bale of hay, waiting her turn. She's no slouch- she scored a VEEV 87, at 5 yrs. of age.

My babies did well too- the dry yearlings all scored well and Eilidh's daughter was spectacular for with a score of EcEcV(Ec). I feel like we are finally going in the right direction with the Saanen herd!