Monday, October 24, 2011

First Snow days

Our world is white once more. It started snowing last Sunday, and it is still here. Here stay for a long while I'm sure. We are getting accustomed to watching our step as we navigate the paths carrying water jugs and armloads of hay to the animals. The temperatures have been mostly in the twenties. Goat water tanks and chicken and duck water heaters are all plugged in so that their water containers won't freeze solid. At first the kids were pretty excited about the snow. Noah tried sledding the first night it started to snow. He tried out three sleds on the hill, but was disappointed that none of them would work on the half inch of snow that lay on the driveway. The first day the snow was moist enough we could roll snowballs and have snowball fights. Now it is too dry as is typical for snow here in our arctic desert.

Now that Dustin is home for a while and done with summer work, I'm getting out on my own in the morning for milking and chores, which take about an hour and a half. Then we are getting the kids outside in the afternoon to play till they get cold. Otherwise, we are all thrilled to be spending the day indoors. We've been keeping the woodstove going, so there is the pleasant glow of the fire in our living area- and it is toasty warm. I've been baking bread, pita, cornbread and biscuits to go with all the different soups; chicken noodle, white bean with pancetta and vegetables, goat curry and many more. I've made two meat pot pies in the last couple weeks. I should say, they were the best pot pies I've ever made, phenomenal actually. One was with goose and the other with ribeye steak leftovers.

I'm thoroughly enjoying beginning every meal with our own onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Then all of our own meat of course. We are having an egg shortage around here. First egg drought since we got chickens. I think some of our old layers are taking a longer break than in past years and the new layers haven't started yet. We've bought eggs twice in the last couple weeks, gasp! (And even the organic, cage free hen eggs are nothing compared to our lovely orange yolk eggs).

In other random news, we've got a local lynx paying us regular visits. Handsome young guy. Not too timid. The first time I saw him, he was about twenty feet away, and he sat down and watched me, watching him, till we were bored of inspecting eachother. The second time I saw him, I was putting free range pullets away, of which he had already gotten three of. They had taken shelter in the buck pen, under their ramp. So I had to scoop them out in the presence of three excited bucks while the lynx watched from the edge of the garden licking his lips.

I sold Asia and Brie this weekend. I would have liked to keep another milker going into winter. For a first timer Asia was doing pretty good, producing well. I loved milking her tiny teats. She has a nice udder, and in most areas seems improved upon her dam. Our doe barn is overcrowded and I've been trying to sell a couple goats, and these were the two that sold. I felt really good about the buyer. She seems like a very nice lady who has a few goats already, and takes good care of them. So, thanks Brenda, if you are reading this! This was the first time I've sold any of our does. I've got a few more I'm ready to sell, but it looks like I've got a couple interested buyers lined up for late winter/ spring. So, looks like the barn is going to stay on the crowded side. As a result, I'm going to keep milking the milkers, and breed them later than usual.

I am turning my mind away from harvesting and preparing for winter, to winter crafts and holiday preparations. I've been playing around with felting. I'm beginning some knitting projects. I have big plans for homemade holiday gifts, so I'm starting now. We are homeschooling Noah, and I've been behind with everything else going on. Now I'm ready to commit to more of a planned schedule. I am looking forward to doing lots of crafts with the kids. So far we've been painting together with the Waldorf approach. We've also been playing with wool and beads, and working with colored beeswax and bake-able play doughs.

Here are a few final pictures of fall. These are from the last time the kids and I were in the garden, letting the goats nibble on the few remaining pea vines and sunflowers.

 I've plans to start writing more here. I'll be writing more on milk, cheese making, goat feeding and how meat butchering has been going for us. Happy fall/first snow days to you!


Jamie @ Woodside Gardens said...

You definitely got more snow than we did! We only got about 1/4 inch and it only stuck around for a few hours, but the kids were SO excited! Thanks for continuing to blog and post pictures. I have to remind myself sometimes that even though this is Alaska, we can make this lifestyle happen, and your blog is a source of constant inspiration to me! Thank you again!

Ginger said...

Great to hear from your neck of the woods, it sounds lovely! I hope you have a great winter and I'll be looking forward to seeing your Christmas projects!

Buttons said...

Emily I am so happy you will be writing more I think you are a wonderfully talented writer. Goodness knows you have enough original material with your environment.
Thanks for taking me along. Take care enjoy the snow I am OK with it holding off a little around here. B

Amish Stories said...

Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.

Emily said...

Greetings to you, Amish Stories of Amish Country Pennsylvania. You live in a beautiful area. My husband is from Shippensburg. I've visited the area on a few occasions. Emily