Sunday, March 7, 2010

some time for projects

This may be one of the best weekends I've spent in a long time. We had a warm, sunny day yesterday so we took care of quite a few small projects that were nagging at us. We set up some compost bins near the garden, built two more garden beds and fenced in a new area for the goats to hang out in during the day. Here they are, not enjoying it. Goats hate change.

Just a quick word of advice - when fencing in a yard for goats, don't put it next to your dogs' yard. One or both of the parties are likely to object to this arrangement.

The rain moved in today and stayed, keeping us indoors all day. I took the opportunity to tackle some projects I've been meaning to get to. We had an excess of goat milk that needed to be dealt with*, and I've been ready to try something new, so I started my first batch of feta. The curds are draining now, and then it will be salted and left to sit for a couple of days before we get to eat it. I don't know what I'll do when I start making pressed hard cheeses that need to be aged. I adore cheese, and I don't want to wait for months to find out how it turns out - I want cheese NOW! Perhaps I will learn discipline...

And since I'm already waiting anyway, I made a batch of soap too. I made a soap of beef tallow, olive oil and coconut oil and scented it with a blend of cedarwood, bergamot and grapefruit oils. It's hardening in the mold now, and it will be several weeks before we get to try that out. It looks wonderful, though. It came out exactly the way I expected it would, so that was encouraging. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to post of the soapmaking process. It's somewhat dangerous business and requires one's full attention, so I just didn't feel like I could make the soap AND photograph it. I'd have asked hubby to take pictures, but he was graciously keeping the (needy) dogs out of my business. Plus, he has his own things to do. Perhaps next time.

The drama of the broiler chicks seems to be over - we have a final headcount (after many, many losses) of thirty-one, and the survivors are quite robust and getting LARGE. Having never raised broilers before, I'm amazed at how much bigger they were after just one week. This image illustrates it perfectly - these two chicks are one week apart in age!

The next couple of weekends should bring a full-on gardening blitz (weather permitting) so it was nice to have a little time for some pet projects. Next up - a cheese press!

* We're only milking one goat right now and already have a whopping amount of milk to find ways to use up. I don't know what we'll do when our other doe kids and we're milking two. I'd best get that cheese press together and fast!

1 comment:

  1. I was very interested in the photo of your goats, especially in regards to their fence. We're in the process of putting up goat fencing and the fence itself would be outrageously expensive for a 1 acre goat field. I've been considering regular field fencing, which looks like what you have. Even with their heads sticking out, that photo heartens me tremendously! I'm thinking though, that I'd better get de-horned goats if we go that route! Are yours Nubians? How do you find their personalities?