Crofting: What Schedule?


Mowing the goat way

I don’t mind being boring. I don’t mind getting up at the same hour every day and going through the same routine.

If only the weather and my health would cooperate.

I am (maybe) finally getting over whatever it is I’ve been sick with – I suspect a sinus infection, probably viral. My skin is healing, although meds are still continuing. I still react to every stray chemical and mould spore that wafts by. But overall, I am improving. I still need a lot of sleep, which is sometimes hard to get, since I’m awake in discomfort, with foot and joint pain, and no analgesic I can safely take. And irritated skin still keeps me awake, until I stagger out of bed and find whichever med is appropriate, or utilize the soothing olive oil-beeswax-rose-lavender-frankincense salve I made.

Weather has been volatile and strange. Thunderstorms, then autumn-like temperatures. I lit a fire in the woodstove yesterday. The last of the wood from last night burned down this afternoon. (Oh, it’s efficient.)

Goats have appreciated the overcast, cooler weather, but they protest greatly if they have to endure a five minute shower. Tara’s deerfly bit is finally draining (lovely) and it looks as if Bucky’s abcess/hemotoma from his stupidity-inflicted gate injury is reducing. I was going to lance it, but the spell of warm muggy weather bred flies, and I thought it safer to leave it for now. He isn’t suffering from it.

I must say that with lots of good pasture and wild herbs the goats are getting into good condition. Bucky has these cute little curls on his neck. Tara glistens in the sun, and Vanilla is filling in along the ribs. They were in good trim when I got them, but winter always takes some of the condition out of ruminents. I am hoping for good breeding this fall, and maybe twins.

The garden is little islands of bean and tomato plants, and waves of squash plants, bearing orange blossom sails. Boom. Everything is growing. I will check Milli’s garden tomorrow if dry, and probably harvest some radishes from mine. If I had the strength, I would hoe between the bean hills here tomorrow, while the dirt is still moist and loose from rain.

We have had a few raspberries, but they don’t seem to be ripening fast. Maybe we haven’t had enough sun this week. I am picking up hay tomorrow. The farmer in Tilley who is selling it from the field said it has been hard to get it cut and baled, with all the sporadic rain.

I hope to get a bit of fence put up tomorrow. It’s only for a small chicken yard. We wil convert one stall to chicken quarters with nest boxes, a lower feed trough, shallow waterer and a roost. I’m hoping to go to Centreville on Friday to get a half dozen silkies. Nicholas loves chickens, and some exotic ones should please him. We were planning to build a coop, but it will wait until we have more birds. I am looking forward to having a small turn-out yard. It will make it easier to manage the goats when I need them out of the barn but not necessarily want to picket them.

I have a meadow full of St. John’s wort right now! It really should not be all that complicated to meander up through the clover with a basket and pair of shears. I bought extra olive oil on sale today, so a pint jar of St. John’s wort salve should be possible. That might help the joint pain a bit.

I am still so pleased with this little house and the property around it. It is clean, clean of mould, clean of pesticides, clean of rodents and bugs. We get a minimal number of houseflies, and regular attention to the stalls keeps the stable flies down. I’ve handpicked, from my garden, maybe three potato beetles, and two or three crawly things I didn’t like the looks of. We do get some of the usual white moulds in grass clippings and fallen leaves, and there is biochemical breakdown happening in the compost, but it is where it needs to be, and I just try to avoid it.

Now if I can just start rising at a decent hour, and get ahead on the housework…

7 thoughts on “Crofting: What Schedule?

  1. Remember that you cannot count on silkie chicks to fly like a regular chicken, they might need something to climb on like a mini latter to the roost. (I have a friend who didn’t realize that and wondered why they would not sleep with the other birds…)

  2. My green tomatoes are growng bigger and I am so excited!! This is my first summer as an “urban farmer”! Also, my green chilli peppers have been growing too. They were started in my ktchen before spring and then were planted in my backyard in the raised garden bed built earlier.

    Now that some of my veggies are being harvested, how do I freeze them to use during fall and winter? Can you please reccomend a source of information whereby this kind of free information can be found??

    I really enjoy your blog as it is very interesting! Please don’t ever stop blogging or doing FACEBOOK! Take care of you and yours. God Bless you and yours! Thank you very much!


    • Hi, Julia! Blanch your vegetables such as peas and beans,then pack into ziplock bags and freeze. The fresher they are, the better. I use an old USDA cookbook, but there are lots of resources on line. My recommendations: Freeze the best, as soon as you can, within 12 hours or less. Wash, trim and pick over your produce, removing stems and blossom ends. Get a pot of water boiling, and use a colander or strainer or insert to quickly immerse the vegetables. Don’t try to do too many at once. Dip immediately into cold water. My mother used to add ice cubes to a sink of cold water. Drain, pack into freezer bags of one quart or less. (I usually go for two person servings.) Best to freeze: peas, beans, broccoli, cauliflower. Not to freeze: Potatoes, onions, carrots. My cousin Beth does this with her produce: Put ripe tomatoes through a food mill or dice fine. Bring a pot of tomatoes, chopped zucchini and diced onion to a boil, bag in quarts and freeze for soup stock. If you don’t have a food mill, bring a pot of water to boil, dip in raw whole tomatoes for a half minute, remove, and the skins will slip right off. Chop for freezing.

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