Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's Been A While...

I've been a bad, bad blogger.  Nothing written for a couple of months.  I think that's the longest I've ever gone since we started the blog!  It's not that nothing has been going on - it's's just....

There's a couple of reasons: I find it so fast and easy to update on our Facebook page.  A photo, a couple of lines and presto!  Done!  Doing a blog post, to my mind anyway, involves more 'serious' writing, an essay every time, more thought, more preparation.  And Facebook often gives more instantaneous feedback: a like, a comment within minutes.  Second, by the end of our season we're so tired and cranky it's hard to write something upbeat and enthusiastic - which is how we like to have the blog.  And this wasn't a fantastic year for us, so it was hard to find the motivation to write.  I really just wanted a break, I guess.

So what's been going on since we last blogged early in October?  CSA went into the first week of October for the first time, an indication of a less than stellar year.  We were at the Global Market just Saturday's through October.  We were still harvesting in October: carrots, onions, hauling in winter squash.  First sweeps of the squash patches were for what was really ripe and ready for CSA and for markets.  We left squash on the vine to continue to ripen until hard frost, which came about the end of October.  We eventually took even unripe stuff hoping it would ripen in the sun room and because you can never have enough - it's great for feed for chickens and goats.  Ongoing problems with the tractor made harvest more difficult.  We can bring in a lot in a tractor bucket and much less in a wheelbarrow, so our work was made a little slower.

October was also all about making soap!  I'd signed up for a few craft shows and needed a good supply of our lovely goats milk soaps, well cured!  The soap made in October was well aged for December sales!  Three weeks is about the minimum our cold-process soap can be cured, so I was happy to have soap at least six weeks old for sale!  Created some new types of soaps and acquired some new molds that let me do guest sizes and some festive shapes!  There was quite a learning curve for the small molds; I found that at first I was letting the soap set-up too much so I was trying to get thick glop into tiny shapes.  Worked that out eventually!

The other challenge with both soaps and blogging has been computer problems.  The old office computer is dying and printing the labels I needed became a challenge with frustrating lock-ups and crashes.  Then, the newer laptop started to act up with the track pad going off - sometimes it wanted to just grab-and-move everything, or just highlight everything, or just ignore being clicked.  Trying to send a simple email might take five or six tries of hitting the 'Send' button before anything happened.   The laptop also decided it didn't want to recognize the printer.  Just writing this blog post I've had to stop three times to un-highlight text.  Aaaaargh!

November was about cleaning the barn and chicken coop, renovating and getting all the critters ready for winter....and breeding for the goats!  We almost completely emptied the barn of equipment and stuff, broke down the pens, hauled out old bedding and then re-built new pens with brand new bedding.  Farmer Man must have taken out forty tractor buckets of old bedding!  That, like harvest, took a while as Farmer Man was working off the farm and the tractor was acting up from time to time.  But that, also, eventually was completed.  On Remembrance Day, Randi the buck got his most fervent wish and got a couple of lovely ladies to live with.  Assuming he did his 'duty', we should have some babies mid-April.  We were still milking Mabel and Chocolate, so we didn't put them in with Randi at that time, because it would be too difficult for me to get them out of Randi's pen to milk.  I'm doing chores alone five evenings a week while Jes is at work and I'm a little intimidated by the exuberant Randi - he's a friendly buck, but enthusiastic.  We started the process of drying off the two milkers, which means milking less and less until they stop producing.  So we'll have another batch of babies, hopefully, mid to end of May.  That will ease things a bit; it got a bit crazy last Spring when the does all had their kids within 36 hours of each other and some of the babies required bottle feeding - don't want to do that again!

Mid-November to now has been about me finding some work, Farmer Man working a lot, always the chores, craft shows, fighting with computers, baking, thinking about getting ready for Christmas.  It's been busy! 

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