Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First day of Snow

The kids are outside attempting to slide in whatever way possible down our rocky trail that is covered with the first couple inches of snow. The dog is helping hinder them in some way I'm sure. The fire is crackling. I have BBQ goat ribs in the oven, a goat leg in a stock pot cooking down for soups and a pot of vegetable pancetta parmesan soup on a low simmer for tonight's dinner. I probably don't have much time before all is indoor mayhem once more. I mostly wanted to let everyone know that I'm still here. I know it has been a long time since my last post. I guess I was waiting for a slow snowy day to make time to sit down in the afternoon with the computer. We've been spending our days readying for winter. We still have head lettuce and kale under fabric and plastic row cover. Other than that, we finally finished digging potatoes just last night. I managed to get at least half the beds hand weeded, compost spread and the drip tape laid back on top. I dug comfrey root yesterday and cut back some perennials and mulched the tenderest beds with aged chicken/goat stall bedding and moldy hay - as that is what I have.

Aside from only making it down to the cranberry patch once this fall, I don't have too many regrets. We've made the most of our summer and fall, getting out day after day, rain or shine, with friends or at home in the garden. In the summer we go to town on rainy days. I wear sandals and enjoy the warmth and wet on my feet. We bust out on errands and stock up on groceries so that we don't have to go indoors when it is sunny.  I realized today that I do a complete reversal now that there is snow on the ground. Today I feel that I'd be content not to leave the house for the next few months...if I didn't have to.

We've made it down to three bucklings and one milker. The milker and one buckling are scheduled to be butchered any day now. We would rather have some goat meat than try to sell these two who aren't very nice. The other two bucklings will be making the rounds among my fellow local Lamancha raising friends this winter before meeting the same fate. I am still milking and am so ready for a break that I'm not feeling very thankful to still have milk, although I know I am going to miss it desperately when it's gone. We will be picking up local milk weekly when we no longer have our own. We have a barn full of hay I'm hoping to sell over the next week so that we can use the covered space for storage. This weekend we butcher a coop of two to four year old layers. I think I'm going to can some chickens for convenience, but freeze the rest and label them stew chickens.

I've been dreading winter in some ways. I always do, until the first snow covers the ground. Then there isn't much to do but accept it. And as soon as I spend my first day indoors without many outdoor chores to divide my time, I find myself thinking ahead to crafts and music and baking. Before I know it I'm getting pretty excited about having more time to sit and read to and play games with the kids. I've been spending my nights for the past few months getting ready for this school year. I usually cap off the night with a good book. Today I think I'm going to start looking for a good audio book and start knitting Avery a pair of mittens with some yarn she picked out last spring.

I have been researching juicers this week and it occurred to me that I should ask you all for suggestions. I have been using cheap centrifuge juicers for years and am looking to get more juice out of my vegetables. I think I want to buy the heavy duty industrial black Champion masticating juicer with the greens attachment. Or I'm wondering if I should just buy a separate wheat grass juicer. I mostly juice carrots with some beets, kale ribs and ginger. I am draw to the heavy dutiness and lack of plastic parts of this particular juicer. My concern is that some reviews say that the pulp is still kind of wet and some people run it through a second time. I would prefer to find a juicer that extracts the most juice possible and leaves dry pulp behind. I also don't want to have to chop up the vegetables over much. I'd like it to be simple to clean and easy to juice large quantities at a time. So, any recommendations of what juicer you have and whether you like it or not would be much appreciated.

I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you now that our days and nights are slowing down. Let me know how your harvest is going wherever you are! Best wishes!