So, so, so much has changed around here, I hardly know where to begin. Let’s just go in alphabetical order, from Animals to Zucchini.
Ants – We have many many ants and mostly they keep to themselves. There are ant-roads across several doorways but they come in the house only rarely, when I forget to pick up the dog dishes after supper.
Chickens – We raised another batch of meat birds and have slaughtered all the roosters. There is no comparison between this meat and store-bought chicken. It has so much more texture and flavor. It’s all the bugs and compost that make it so good! We still have 3 hens left, and we’ve waited so long that they’ve started laying eggs. Tiny, infrequent eggs, but eggs nonetheless. Now we have to decide whether we’ll keep them. That decision needs made soon because I have another 25 chicks coming in two weeks and I need the coop space for the brooder!
Dogs – Lily and Jack got lovely haircuts from the fabu stylist, Paw-l Mitchell. Just kidding; it was Matthew 🙂 They are no longer panting constantly from the heat and they look very cute. Like pups again!
Goats – Here’s some big change. Our ‘practice-goats’, Abby, Libby and Daisy, have all gone on to new homes. Abby and Daisy, who never got along when they lived here, went to a pet home which is so nice I thought I might want to move there. Libby went off to be part of a new barnyard project at an Equine Therapy center.
I decided to go fancy with some registered Nigerian Dwarfs from great milking lines. First we got Dawn and her doeling and buckling, Suki and Quito. The babies were only 10 days old when they came to live here and their birthday is just 3 days before mine! With about 49 years difference. Dawn is a little nervous, but coming around slowly. Suki is more friendly, but not a snuggler. Quito just wants to be alone (or at least away from humans…)
Then a week or so ago, we got Rainier (who is called Buddha Goat) and her doeling, Glacier (who is called Baby G). These girls are absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful coloring, beautiful temperament. Friendly and obliging. We’ve been milking the mama for the past few mornings and getting just a bit of milk, but SO tasty. When Baby G is weaned, we’ll get more of that deliciousness.
Lizards – There are a lot of lizards on this land. Now we see lots of juveniles. For a while it was all tiny ones which are really really cute. Our land-mates’ cat catches them because she is worried that her people will starve because they are lousy hunters. Very responsible cat!
Turkeys – Yes, this is a thing now. I saw a post on Craigslist for 10 Broad-breasted Bronze Turkeys, 4 months old. It was a good price and I thought, why not? My talented and hard-working (and very tolerant) husband got started on the design-build for a new coop. I drove up to Livermore to get the birds with two big dog carriers in the back of the pickup. Then 2 kinda funny things happened: 1) I got lost and had to call the seller and discovered that it was a person that I knew and 2) he said, “I think you have seriously underestimated the size of these birds…” Luckily, he had a couple *more* dog carriers I could use because they were HUGE. Like 30-pounds-each-huge.
We have butchered most of the toms and I will say that turkeys are a whole ‘nother level of complexity on that front. They are strong enough to break a bone with their wings; they are heavy as hell; they are more ‘conscious’ about what’s happening. We always pray over our birds when slaughtering and these prayers needed to be different, more involved. The boys were willing to go, but they wanted more explanation (or something…words don’t really suffice here). Now we have 4 hens and one big tom left and will probably wait a while on those. 4 birds in the freezer at about 20+ each will last a while.
There’s all sorts of other wildlife here. There was a confirmed mountain lion kill in town a few weeks ago. The cat came down a greenbelt, right into the yard and killed a Nigerian Dwarf goat. Later came and attacked some others. Those goats were removed to a safe location. Now the cat’s been sighted just over the ridge from us. We’re keeping a close eye on everyone. There are many daytime birds; also barn owls, bats, and a mockingbird who enjoys singing at night.
There was a big bull across the street, but he just died last week. There was a community outpouring of grief and memories and kindness around that. Folks knew Simon because his owner, Ralph, used to walk him on a rope all around the neighborhood. This is a really small town.
The garden has been going gangbusters. There are a series of plantings always coming in and going out. Asparagus, kale, beets, carrots, kale, chard, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, 3 or 4 different kinds of lettuce, cucumbers. Then there are the berries: huckleberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries (they’re done for the year). The peach and the plum trees are done, but the pears, apples, pomegranates, persimmons and quince are still to come. And let me just say this: the amount of zucchini was just right 🙂
All fruits of the Earth are fruits of Her womb
Quickened by the gifts of the God
May they bless and nourish us…
All these images are belong to me 2015