"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Food Production Season

Just a few notes here to catch up. 

It finally rained a few days ago, a good, soaking rain that lasted most of the day. But it's been hot and dry again ever since. The grass doesn't seem to have perked up much. We need more. I hope it rains again before the fourth of July. People up here really do fireworks big time. There's no need to go to a municipal show: from my ridge here we can see some pretty major displays - stuff I've never seen regular people blow up before. So of course my husband wants to keep up with the Joneses. Me, I'm happy with a big box of sparklers. 

Last night I put the two bucklings in the barn and locked the door. I want more of Iris' and Flopsy's milk for me. As I sit here, I am nibbling on the last of my red-pepper queso fresco and now that it's got about two weeks age on it, it's getting sharper, drier, and more delicious. I really want to make some storing cheese, so we will have cheese in the winter. To do that, I need much more milk!

The bucklings cried and cried. They yelled and hollered for hours. It's so sad. The moms always hang around the barn and yell to their babies for about fifteen minutes, then they wander off and seem to forget all about them. (Well, that's what I do, too, I guess. My sister and I went away for the weekend, and I might have thought about the children twice. For a second or so.) Meanwhile, the babies are apparently starving to death, even though they nursed less than a half hour ago. When I let them out this morning, they were both all hoarse. They could barely baa, the poor things.

But I got almost a gallon of milk! I'm making cheese right now! I am hoping I can move a little cheese into the trade network, to make up for the lack of eggs.

The egg supply has dropped severely lately. I'm sure that some of the hens are finding a new place to lay eggs, because I haven't seen any blue eggs in a while, but the hens that lay them still look like layers. I have no idea where they are laying them. Not in the hayloft, that's all I know. All I find up in the hayloft are more brown eggs. Right now, six or so of my hens are broody. They've been broody for weeks. Nothing seems to stop them. I've tried the recommended methods of breaking them up, but nothing works. I'm sick of broody hens.If I let them brood, the babies have a hideous mortality rate. And I don't need any more chickens anyway! I'm thinking of putting an ad on craigslist offering two broody hens for one layer. 

The Kale Fairy is on vacation for two weeks, which is fine with me because we are still trying to eat our way through last week's shipment. It consisted of two gallon sized ziplocs stuffed full of various salad greens, another of endive, another of kale, and one more of some kind of spiky and peppery green. Mustard, maybe? I also have turnips, napa cabbage, and dill from my sister. And a big colander full of pickling cukes. I'm planning to pickle today.

I also want to get out to the strawberry farm this week and get serious with the strawberries. We went two weeks ago and picked enough strawberries to eat ourselves sick and to freeze two gallon sized ziplocs, but one of them is gone already. I want to have about ten in the chest freezer. 

Then it will be raspberry season, and after that, blueberry. Oh and blacberry. Last year was a bad blackberry season and I hardly did anything with them. This year I plan to get a lot more. 
It's hard to believe it's this time of year already. Canning season. Berry season. Preserving season. Almost time to start thinking about the cold season again.