I got y’all caught up on the yard and garden. Ha, there is never such thing as “caught up” around here. Thought I would give you a tiny update on the critters:
I never had time to announce the birth of our babies! How fitting that our first goatling arrived on Friday the 13th, adding a nice touch of authentic gruesome fun to our party night. We were a little disappointed to only have single births, but I guess that is common for first time does. They look almost exactly like their mamas did last year! We love our little reruns, named Buddy and Coraline. This year wasn’t nearly as scary as last year’s birth. We are learning. We even dehorned them ourselves and, ummm, fixed our boy. Brave indeed! Sometimes the things I do feel like someone else’s life!
This week has been a challenge though as we have attempted to separate them from their mamas in preparation for weaning and relocating them. To say they cry would be an understatement. I’ve had reports that neighbors 6 doors down can hear the bleating wails of moms and kids! I am almost certain the hoarse but high-pitched “Maaaaaaaaaamm!” can be heard from space. If you hear an unsettling cry on the wind, wherever you are, my apologies. This may be the worst part of goating, I think. Even worse than mucking the goat shed (which really needs to be done again, gulp!) The best part? Maybe the 2 gallons a day we are getting of awesome, fresh goat milk. We have our system down and can detect zero goatiness in the milk. Infinitely better than my first taste! Not only can I drink it straight without wrinkling my nose, but we all love it and have sworn off the plastic gallon jugs. A sigh of relief as we sport our goat-staches!
We have a great system going. Even as we just tucked 8 away in the freezer, we have another batch about 4 weeks from full size and a brand new batch born yesterday (I know baby bunnies are called “kindles” but I keep saying batches like they are a bucket of cookie dough or something). The plan is working well because there are always cute fuzzies to play with and by the time they are big enough to “process” there are more cute fuzzies. My kids actually enjoy eating rabbit and we have become used to the whole routine. We’ve come a long way. I hate to use the word desensitized, but maybe that is what we are. The actual killing moment remains traumatic, but beyond that I am a little amazed to say I can skin and clean a rabbit faster than Shea, so that has weirdly become my job. A testament to our sickness might be the dinner I brought to my inlaws house for Easter Sunday:
We are getting good use and NEVER waste a scrap of meat. I usually prepare one in the crock pot a week. We use it in any recipe you would fix with chicken. Then the bones go back in the crock pot and simmer until I get every drop of broth out of it that I can. Factor in that we harvest the “bunny berries” and use it for fertilizer…homemade miracle grow!…and I think we can say the rabbits have been really good to us! For further value, I thought of making lucky rabbit feet key rings for Christmas gifts, but that seems a little much. I wanted to promote mindful eating practices, especially after reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivores Dilemma, and I think we have done just that.
More than a year later, we still call them chee chees. We started with 4 and now have 15 (I think). We get about a dozen eggs a day. We are enjoying the farm freshness, the bright orange yolks, and the occasional mutant egg. I sell extra eggs to friends and neighbors for $4/doz. Sometimes I even get cool trades (That load of dirt I used in the front yard actually cost me 6 dozen eggs.) The chickens are fun to watch and come running anytime we venture out hoping we have a bucket of kitchen scraps for them. NOTHING goes to waste around here! I even learned how to make a homemade calcium supplement out of powdered egg shells (link here), so what we don’t wash and feed back to the chickens I can actually use myself! Chickens are fun and low maintenance, I highly recommend them for your backyard! (Google urban coops to see all kinds of possibilities!)
And how about the other animals? We are, well, tired. Shea and I go to bed aching every night from all the work we put in. Spring is the busiest time of year. Except maybe Fall. And the time in between. It is sometimes frustrating to work our schedule around milking time and the kids aren’t always excited to do farm chores (Come on, who wouldn’t line up to shovel poo?) But overall, we are loving it. I feel like this gopher-ridden patch of dandelions was made for us and my head literally spins with more projects to start! Come visit anytime, Purple Barn is a fun place to play.