Author: Teri


This is Sephira, one of Zoe’s daughters from this year, at one month old. She is now four months old, and has gone to live at her new home, with her uncle Barnabas and aunt Clarisse (Aberdeen’s kids from last year). I can’t believe I didn’t get any more recent photos of her before she left, but fortunately her new person has already sent us several photos of her in her new digs.

Some of our critters get to stay with us for years, but some are with us only for a short time. It’s getting easier to accept that, as time goes by.

Our current totals, including both the recent losses (to hawk and to hatchet) and the recent gains (namely, Maud’s new chicks):

  • 31 chickens (it’s too early to tell the gender for sure yet on this year’s chicks, but those that turn out to be male will be destined for “freezer camp”);
  • 9 goats (two of which are for sale: Zoe’s other daughter, Isis, and Lulu’s boy, Galahad – details on those two coming soon!);
  • 1 dog;
  • 1 cat;
  • …and hundreds of plants!

Scrap stock

This GIANT pot of stock is simmering away on our stove. Yes, that is our (guesstimate: 3 gallon) water-bath canning pot – it was the only one large enough to hold all of the bones and veggie scraps I had accumulated.

In this pot are: chicken carcasses (our own chickens), chicken feet (our own chickens), random chicken bones from random dinners (not our own chickens), beef bones, pork bones, scraps/skins/ends from all the veggies we’ve eaten over the past month or so (onion trimmings, onion skins, garlic trimmings and skins, leek greens, carrot ends, kale stems, basil stems, onion greens from the onions in the garden that the chickens tried to kill, and whatever other veggie scraps I deemed it necessary to save at the time – all saved in a ziploc bag in the freezer, until such time – like now! –  as I was ready to make use of it), and saved (frozen) cooking water from previous steamed veggies (kale, onions, etc).

Oh yeah… it’s gonna be good!

And on the other burner, for tonight’s dinner: quinoa simmering in previously-preserved chicken stock (from our own chickens), to be served on a bed of fresh salad greens from the farmer’s market and topped with the leftover pesto from yesterday’s dinner (basil from the farmer’s market, onion greens from the garden, garlic from winter storage, local hazelnuts from winter storage, homemade goat milk feta, and olive oil.)

Sigh… life is good…

ETA: I forgot – the stock also contains several eggshells (from our chickens), a good dose of apple cider vinegar (it helps draw the minerals out of the bones and eggshells), and a couple of corn cobs for added flavor. It’s still simmering away, after about 20 hours! Soon I’ll strain it out into jars to cool. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top – if there’s a good amount of fat, I’ll scoop it off into another container to use as a cooking fat (otherwise I’ll just leave it as is). Then into the freezer the jars will go, just waiting to be pulled back out for some future meal!

Lamb stew

…it’s what’s (was) for dinner!

Deck Family Farm grass-fed lamb, Horton Road Organics carrots (from winter storage), frozen sweet corn from last summer’s garden, garlic from a local farmer (also from winter storage), store-bought onion, fresh rosemary, oregano, spearmint, yarrow and bay leaf (all from our garden and/or yard), water, red wine, lamb fat (saved from a previous cooking of lamb), olive oil, dash of shoyu (soy sauce), kelp, salt and pepper… cooked in our cast iron dutch oven, and simmered on our woodstove for several hours… yum! We both had seconds…

From the past few weeks…

Galahad (more commonly known as “You Little Weasel” or simply “Pesky”) meeting the rest of the herd for the first time, with mama Lulu keeping watch

Galahad introducing himself to cousin Isis (again, with mama Lulu keeping a close eye on things)

Sorry for the blurry image, but I love this shot… and goats love Peter!

Broodies, broodies everywhere… (The record so far was seven hens broody – i.e., wanting to hatch eggs, and therefore not laying – at the same time. I did give in and give eggs to two of them, one in each coop… 1-1/2 weeks until we have chicks!)

Nettle harvest, from a very small patch by the river – enough for a nice helping of steamed nettles for each of us with dinner! (The nettles were so tasty, I can’t even remember what the main course was…) I’m hoping to get one or two more meals from this patch before they get too large and tough.

Our first spring salad! Lettuce from the farmer’s market, volunteer arugula, spearmint and chives from our garden, wild dandelion leaves, oxeye daisy leaves (so sweet!) and purple deadnettle tops, and wood sorrel from the woodsy area by the river… eating this salad, my body sang!

Our beautiful eggs, from our beautiful hens… these are a staple in our diet almost year-round

Cooking on the wood stove

It’s finally getting warm enough that we’re only using the wood stove for a quick fire in the mornings now, just to take the chill off. But during the winter, with the fire always going, we were able to cook the majority of our meals on our wood stove.

Sigh. I’ll miss it.

Oh, I’m not complaining about the warmer weather – I’m ready for it – but cooking on the electric stove just isn’t the same…

Goulash, made with Deck Family Farm ground beef and our own canned tomatoes from last summer’s garden (the eggshells on the top level are drying for future use as chicken supplements and garden nutrients).

Corn chowder, made with our own fresh goat milk and goat cheese, and our own frozen corn from last summer’s garden. The carrots are from Horton Road Organics, a local farm.

And breakfast, fresh from our own hens!

One giant buckling, one traumatic birth

Three nights of very little sleep, thinking she was going into labor. Today, finally, in labor. All day. Single birth. Giant kid, with really giant head. First-time goat mama, with really tiny birth canal. Head stuck. Amniotic sac burst. Me pulling while she’s pushing. Mama goat hollering. Can’t budge head. Mama goat tiring, stopping. Kid’s tongue turning blue. Thought we’d lost him. Still not sure how we finally got him out of there. Wonderful surprise to find him still alive. Choking and wheezing on aspirated amniotic fluid. Swung him several times, now seems fine. He’s a little firecracker. Mama Lulu is tired and torn, but seems happy with her brand new baby. Did I mention he’s huge?