Archive for December, 2014

We are offering our class Raw Milk 101:  five fresh and soft cheeses on January 31; check out our classes page for more information.  Herd-share co-owners may have one family member attend free.  Class is limited to ten participants, with a second session scheduled in February if there is enough interest.  We are looking forward to a great class — hope to see you then!

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we give thanks

We give thanks that, last week, with the help of four Franciscans, one of the boys living away and two nieces, we got two of the three yearling steers and four hogs cut, wrapped and in the freezer.  The bacon isn’t brined yet, and I won’t render lard until Advent is over and I can make doughnuts at the same time, but the bulk of the job is done.  Just a few more seasonal chores — ten, or maybe twenty — and we can turn our winter focus to Shakespeare, clay, and our book, for which we now have a publisher — and for that let us greatly give thanks!

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Natural systems have a lot of backup plans, but not a great deal of forgiveness.  If I slip on the verge of a steep cliff, someone else will have to do my share of the evening milking; but the local buzzards will have a good dinner.

When we culled chickens three weeks ago we had to move about one hundred fifty pounds of onions out of the cave in order to get at the mechanical picker (chicken plucker).  We hung those onions in the summer kitchen — temporarily, we thought.  Two weeks later, going in there to mix grain for the hens, I found the onions still hanging, frozen solid.

Deep chagrin and self-recrimination.

All was not lost.  The girls and I spent two afternoons peeling and chopping over one hundred pounds of onions which would have stored just fine for months in the dry cave but were now destined for the pig pens unless we could get them all in the freezer (our dehydrator is much too small for that many onions).  Now the freezers smell faintly of onion but our winter’s supply of alliums is safe.  We remember laughing at the story of another gardening family who, two years running, left the potato harvest spread on the front porch until a freeze destroyed them, but we will laugh at such stories no more.



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