(You know, like the State of the Union. We just had the State of the State recently.)
One Romney mutt lamb, and two Soay. Romney will be in the freezer someday, when there’s room, but we’re not sure what we’ll do with the Soay. For now, they are behind electric fence in the yard, because Ruby started chasing them. We are feeding them alfalfa pellets, which they love.
Fifteen hens, one rooster. One hen who’s recovering from molting — the first molt we’ve had! I don’t know why; even the one hen left from our first batch, who’s now 3 years old, never molted — and one who’s just generally down; her comb is pale and she sleeps in the corner, but she also runs around and pecks like everyone else during the day.
Garth calls the rooster “Tom Servo” because in the MST3K opening credits, the character Tom Servo is introduced just before the character who pronounces his name “Crooooooooowwww” — and that is what the rooster does, for sure. He crows a LOT. He also makes sure the hens are all to bed; the other day he was the last one still up, but wouldn’t let me herd him into the coop, and then I realized that a hen was still out. As soon as she went in, he did too. He also makes sure to tell the hens when there is something tasty, with a special cluck that is like the cluck the mamas make to the babies. And when there were hawks overhead in the summer, I went running out to make sure everyone was OK, but he had them all hidden away under the grape arbor or a nearby bush. So, we like him. His spurs are starting to grow, and I hope he doesn’t become too aggressive, because he is a good patriarch, and also we’d like not to have to buy chicks at the store anymore.
Also there are two lady ducks (Khaki Campbells), one definite drake, and three of undetermined sex, but probably all male. I’d be happy to keep one drake, so maybe we wouldn’t have to buy ducklings either, but we most definitely do not need FOUR drakes. So, I’m trying to figure out when we can process them. Ducks are really hard to pluck so I’d want to use our heavy-duty equipment, but I don’t want to fire up all the stuff just for three ducks. So I don’t know what will happen with them.
Right now we are getting about two chicken eggs and one duck egg a day. Tomorrow I’m going to take a dozen in to a friend, which hasn’t happened in a couple months.
The freezers are stuffed full of meat and veggies and some dairy. In 2010 we got a quarter of a cow, and half a pig in January and then again in August. Add to that the ~20 chickens we kept for ourselves, plus a couple still from last year, plus ducks from last year, plus leftover lamb from the harvest party, plus the two goats. That takes up one 15 cubic foot freezer and some of the next one, which also holds frozen blackberries, peaches, blueberries, cranberries, green beans, carrots, onions, celery, shallots, peas, corn, …
We’re slowly starting to empty the freezers, but I’m already trying to figure out how we can keep ourselves on a freezer-emptying regimen so we can get one of them fully empty and ready to defrost and clean before the next quarter cow arrives.
The canned/jarred preserves are holding up pretty well too. It appears that our jam consumption is such that we don’t need to make jam every year. I made a lot in 2009, and then in 2010 I did just a couple of small batches, and we still have plenty left. I did some peaches this year too, and lots of tomatoes (mostly purchased, not much homegrown). I’m trying to hoard them just enough — not so hoardy that we never use them, but not so free-handed that we run out in like February.
Oscar and Ruby continue on being who they are. Oscar loved the snow we had yesterday, and spent a lot of time on the porch eating fresh snow. Ruby likes to escape from the yard, so we welcomed the snow as usually it means we can follow her tracks and find where she is getting through the fence. Alas, this snow was too soggy for her — she would run out, pee, and immediately run back inside — and also melted too fast.
H.P. Lovecat, our future barn cat, currently a laundry-room cat, went in for her spay today. She is home, and despite having stitches and also being kind of high right now, does not seem to have any qualms about continuing to jump up into the bathroom sink, where she prefers to sleep.
H.P. and the dogs — especially Ruby — are still getting used to each other. H.P. has been allowed out of the laundry room a few times lately, and she and Ruby have achieved a fragile détente, wherein Ruby sits and whines and wags her tail, and H.P. does whatever she feels like. She is surprisingly bold for a cat who runs away whenever we take a step anywhere near her.
There was a bed of lettuces I carefully started from seed, potted up when it was time, and then planted in neat little rows in the greenhouse — of course have all died and melted and there is hardly any trace that they were ever there. It’s just bare soil.
The radish starts are doing great, though, so I’m looking forward to them, at least.
I started a few little lettuce seeds indoors, just so that we have something green. They have germinated!! Very exciting.
I am starting to get a spring planting plan together. I will be attending a crop-planning workshop soon, so will have some more ideas then.
I brought my various trees and shrubs into the house for the winter.
Not pictured: green tea bush.
The goats ate most of the fig and the bay laurel, which were outside the greenhouse. The lemon, lime, and lemongrass were inside the greenhouse, which was blocked off to keep ruminants out. I thought the fig and bay were probably toast, but brought them inside all the same. Good thing, too; they have revived and are growing like crazy.
Two lemons will be ripening soon!
Garth has gotten a job in the city, though he works from home most days. It’s flexible enough that — assuming his 4-month contract gets renewed — I might be able to reduce my hours at work for the summer, and maybe have an actual productive garden. And maybe some dairy goats??
We’ve just had a wonderful vacation in Portugal, thanks to Garth’s dad. We didn’t read or knit as much as we’d thought — which made the three knitting projects and seriously like 15 books we brought seem pretty silly — but we had a fantastic time, and we ate lots of delicious food and drank delicious wine and had delicious walks around to look at a delicious landscape. It was great to be in a place where there were no expectations of us! I guess this is what normal people mean by “vacation”?