Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spring and Summer Reflections 2014

Time for me to look back and reflect.  What did I do wrong this season, how can I correct the errors of my ways, changes will they work and can I accept change?  Along with this what did I do right, what accomplishments were made and can I accept praise for doing good?

This year has been a challenge for me.  I was off the farm far more than I planned to be back in the spring, this was totally out of my control because I was needed by someone very special to me.  The days and hours I spent with my brother were a gift.  I never knew just where I was in his life.  Sixteen years is a lot of difference, there are his children who were much closer to my age than my brother to me.  He clearly let me know one day, he wanted me to know the hows, whys, and to be close to him as he ended his life on this earth, this was special to learn just how he felt about me.  The farm suffered,  but all in all we had a good season.  Some of our big projects were able to be completed early in the spring.  We had 5 baby goats born this spring, all of them found new homes except for 1 who is busy keeping Mr. Bootsie straight.  Lots of baby chickens were born and we were able to raise all of them.  There were 3 ducks hatched, 1 has a new home and 2 are waddling around here on a daily basis.

With the goats came milk, this was a new project for me.  I spent some time learning about cheese, how to make it and how to use the cheese made.  I have learned the hard cheeses are not for me.  I do not have the proper storage and I really am not up for another project.  I will be making the soft cheeses as we really did enjoy the soft cheese.  I made kefir with goat's milk and lots of yogurt. There is goat cheese in the freezer and we will be enjoying the fruits of our labors through out this winter.

As of now the goats are giving less milk, I plan to put the ladies on vacation in just a few weeks.  The pullets are starting to lay while the older girls are starting to molt.  Most of the roosters are in the freezer, we have made lots of good chicken salad and chicken pot pie.  This is the first time we have processed any of our own meat, but let me share with you...this chicken meat is delicious.  We learned how to process and we did have a few issues with it, but if we are going to hatch these birds we need to learn how to use them.  I tried to sell the roosters as they are a good breed, but there were no buyers, I, also, tried to give them away and there were no takers.  We had no choice but to learn how to process and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

The garden came into production and my time here became limited, I did do some canning, dehydrating and we enjoyed so many meals made with the veggies from our garden.  The berries came in and it was time for a new adventure, so this year we went for the wine.  Blackberries are in the freezer and I will be making a few more batches of wine into the fall.  Raspberries were also used, as we have never had any homemade raspberry wine, I will be looking forward to the first sample of this wine.  Will it be a keeper or will it become vinegar?  I have a mother of vinegar I would like to use.  I will leave this decision to Mr. Bootsie as he enjoys the blackberry wine I make.

I feel with learning and trying new directions we had a good season.  I had never milked a goat, made cheese or sold little ones until this summer, I did receive an education quickly,  We met some wonderful folks, learned how to use the local barter page on facebook and it worked for us. Now we are sharing flowers, continuing to meet new folks in our community and I have new flowers which I have never grown in the flower garden.

I will walk through the garden on another day, as we once again had our share of problems and I am still working on decisions for the future.  As the yellow poplar leaves fall from the trees, the wood racks of fire wood are filled, the chimney has been cleaned, I feel fall in the air.  So time for me to get the tunnel garden growing and maybe, just maybe, we will have a few veggies this winter.

Time for you stop by, enjoy a cup of warm cider and a slice of pumpkin bread.  Come, sit by the fire, warm your fingers and toes.  I look forward to sharing this time with you once again.  Oh, I smell the cinnamon drifting from the kitchen, it won't be long before I will be having a cup of cider, I need to check the garden and see if there are any new problems, so I can sit in front of the fire and ponder a way to handle the moles....