Independence Days Update: Snow Falling on Spruces

Sharon December 28th, 2009

The big projects these last few weeks have been taking place in the house rather than outside it - we’re rearranging furniture to make the better insulated apartment home for the winter.  We’re still hoping to eventually find housemates to take over the apartment and/or the two downstairs guest bedrooms, but for this winter, we might as well be cozy in there.   I’m also cleaning out.  The fact that 10 people are coming for an apprentice weekend here in two weeks is a compelling pressure to get this house cleaned up and marginally organized!

The big crisis is that Selene has meningeal worms, and Mina may as well.  These are parasites transmitted by white tailed deer that are carried by snails.  The goats accidentally eat the snails and the parasites end up in their spinal cords causing paralysis, blindness and brain damage, and eventually, death.  It is most common in the northeast after a wet year with an unusually warm fall - pretty much precisely what we had.

It isn’t contagious to people or other goats, but it is a nasty thing.  It can be treated by heavy doses of wormer - much heavier than are used routinely, but you generally only know about it when symptoms show up.  Selene is getting really large doses of wormer to treat it, along with anti-inflammatories, and seems to be recovering.  She’s walking well, although with a limp,  and she tried to jump up on the stanchion yesterday, something she hasn’t even attempted in days.  Still, it is a miserable thing to deal with.  We’re about to start treating Mina, who we suspect may be in the very early stages of the same thing, and are going to treat the whole herd preventatively.  I hate it when my goats are sick!

This means that I probably won’t be doing cheesemaking with my class of apprentices, which sucks, since I don’t think the milk will be clear of wormers.    It also means we have to think about strategies for reducing the snail and deer population near our pastures.  This means I’m more inclined that before to add another dog - keeping the deer far from our pastures becomes a priority.  I’m also thinking I need to add ducks, geese or guinea hens to keep the snail load down.

Otherwise, a quiet week here - lots of cooking and baking, lots of little projects.  Eli is on vacation, which is not his favorite thing in life, but he’s dealing ok so far.  He dislikes disruptions to his routine, and he loves school, so this is annoying to him, but he’s reasonably gracious about it. It helps that it is snowing today - Eli loves snow.  In fact, I looked out the window to see that he’d gone out in his pajamas and was swinging fiercely, a 9 year old in footie red pajamas with penguins on them, surrounded by a haze of white.  It was a lovely picture!

This week’s big project, besides more cleaning and rearranging and getting the book in order (It has to go to the publisher 3 months from tomorrow - let’s just say that I’d like to be a lot further along than I am) is the seed order.  The boys are excited to place their orders as well, and are also anxiously awaiting Murray McMurray’s chicken catalog, since they are allowed to select a bantam breed of chicken to raise to show at the fair this spring.  I’m also plotting the acquisition of bees.

Otherwise, it was a quiet and lovely week, such a relief to have Eric’s grading finished and a little time to pay attention to the house and to the family.  We’ve also had a lot of fun with friends - skating, movie nights, etc… The kids have already picked out movies for our staying-up-late New Years (we go to bed about 20 seconds after they do ;-) ) - Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” and the Monty Python Alum version of Wind in the Willows “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” (which Eric and I saw in theaters when it came out, but which I have little memory of).

There’s enough snow coming down today to keep us comfortably at home - the kids are hoping for enough to build snowmen and sled.  There will come a time when we’re tired of winter, longing to get into dirt.  But for now, winter is welcome, pushing us inwards, getting us focused on home.  The snow is falling on the spruces, on the housetops, on the ice and the world is pleasantly at peace around us.

Ok, actual update:

Plant something: Nope

Harvest something: Some kale from under the snow, a few eggs

Preserve something: Nope, lazy week

Waste Not: The usual composting, reducing consumption and feeding things to other things. Made it through all of Chanukah reusing the same four gift bags ;-) .  Have been feeding the autumn apples (the ones that aren’t good keepers) to the goats and rabbits.

Want Not: Nothing, really. 

Eat the Food: Made dim-sum style turnip cakes from our turnips, which were extremely yummy.  Pumpkin gingerbread was a  hit at Eli’s school, although just a touch overly sweet for me, new cranberry bread recipe invented to use up sour milk was great. 

Build community food systems: Too sleepy from overdose of baked goods.

How about you?




18 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Snow Falling on Spruces”

  1. Lisa Basherton 28 Dec 2022 at 10:49 am

    Plant something: mixed sprouts
    Harvest something: Still using cutting celery I brought inside in a pot and am keeping in the window of the cold pantry. Hey, this is working! Seems to be quite happy! And the parsley is also still doing well.
    Preserve somthing: Will be making apple sauce later today to can…
    Waste Not: Yes, I narrowly averted my partner’s attempt to go back to wrapping paper (from the gift bags we’ve been re-using for years). We not only did NOT buy wrapping paper, I think we ended up with more gift bags than we started out with… they are multiplying…
    Want not: Well, we did buy more wine racks for the root cellar, so I guess this category is a bust
    Eat the food: I am going to cull the RI Greenings from the root cellar today and make pie & apple sauce as above!

    Thinking a lot about my bees for the spring. It was a tumultuous year for my 5 year old colony — first I split them with a neighbor, then moved them out of their Langstroth hive and into a top bar hive. Lost my second colony to a series of mishaps. Thinking of trying to get a locally adapted colony raised by one of the members of SE Michgian bee club, rather than ordering a package from Georgia. Hmmmm. Spent the fall getting the city anti-beekeeping law changed and, in the process, met many new urban beekeepers.

  2. Lisa Basherton 28 Dec 2022 at 10:52 am

    Oh yeah,

    Build Community Food systems: Always, always busy at this. Today I worked on (actually) telling someone about your books, gathering people for a honey cooperative & some beekeeping education, building community by working on transition town topics here in SE Mich — a book group, crafting circle, local self-education series, etc. Yeah. Always at work in this category.

  3. Gabrielleon 28 Dec 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Plant—Nothing planted this week. I doubt I’ll plant anything outside until late January or early February.

    Harvest—Beet greens for salad, turnip greens for Christmas Day, herbs and onions

    Preserve—Turkey broth for the freezer from the turkey bones from Christmas dinner.

    Reduce Waste—My father stayed with us for a few days last week. While he doesn’t compost or recycle at his home, I’m pleased that he took part while at our house. Maybe we’ll convert him yet! We have been using all of the leftovers from Christmas dinner so that nothing goes to waste. We packed away the ribbons, bows, boxes and bags from presents we received to be used for other gift giving occasions. My aunt has been working hard on cleaning out her closet. She passed another bag of clothes to me, and since some of the sweaters were wool (I can’t wear wool), I shared them with my sister. I’m loving all of these “new” clothes I’ve been receiving.

    Prep/Storage—My hubby pulled the stump of a very old and very dead crabapple tree. He is going to save some of the trunk to dry in hopes of turning it. The wood is a bit gnarled which usually makes for an interesting looking turned piece. With all the wood we’ve been blessed with lately, he hasn’t had a need to purchase any yet. Hubby made a couple of honey dippers out of olive wood for my cousins. We commissioned a friend to make two homemade honey pots, and the dippers and pots went over very well.

    Hubby has measured the chimney and is now off buying a cap to place on top of it. We had a bit of water leak down the chimney a few weeks back.

    A few weeks back I told you all that I bought out Germantown/East Memphis in Ecotrin working the Walgreens deal there. My father ended up with a couple of years supply of low dose aspirin. When he packed for the trip to Knoxville, however, he forgot his Ecotrin! Much to my dismay, when I searched our medicine cabinets and first aid kits we did not have any aspirin! I like to keep it on hand for our emergency supplies and have no idea where I have put it. My cousin had given me some more coupons, and so I used those to replenish our stock and gave another bottle to my father.

    Building Community Food Systems—I was so happy to have so many homemade items for our holiday celebrations. We had pepper jelly and onion relish that we brought to a party we attended. I gave jars of pears, jams, jellies, relishes, and pickled foods as gifts. We had corn and other foods that we had preserved over the summer as part of our feast. We had local milk, eggs, and sweet potatoes. We felt so blessed!

    A friend from Indiana dropped in for a quick visit and brought a sweet cream pie (at least that is what I think she called it). It was from bakery that is in Columbus—I’ll try to get the name so that people can visit if they are in the area. It was the flakiest of crusts and the most delicious pie! The fact that she knew I would like to have something that was locally made and brought it all the way to TN even though she already had a car load full of other stuff to bring meant so much to me.

    Also in this category, I checked our church food pantry and sorted a few donated items there. We will be making breakfast for the United Methodist Men next Saturday, and I’ve begun the preparation for that.

    Eat the Food—Our Christmas dinner was a special one. I think that my husband counted 20 dishes in total including the desserts! I haven’t had to cook lunches or suppers in days!

  4. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLifeon 28 Dec 2022 at 1:59 pm

    I too am plotting bee acquisition this year. Pretty exciting stuff! They are so fascinating to learn about. But the range of diseases that can decimate a colony are pretty staggering. Sorry to hear about your goats. I hope they feel better soon.

    I’m glad you’re continuing to post here, Sharon. I like reading what you post here.

  5. risa bon 28 Dec 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Plant something: Nopers. But our seeds from SSE just came in the mail!

    Harvest something: Kale, a smattering of eggs, onion and garlic greens, dandelions (which do well in the hoophouse), some bok choi. The bok choi was hammered by the cold snap even in the hoophouse, though, so it is being cut back (ugh, slimey!) for the chickens, who are less discriminating than we.

    Preserve something: uhh, no.

    Waste Not: “Feeding things to other things” is well put. Lots of that. We stew pumkins, squash and apples for the poultry (apples? Yes, the ducks won’t touch them raw … chickens yes, but not the ducks). Pulling old fencing out of the blackberries with a wire-rope, cable gripper, come-along and wire-rope pulley block. Very slow!

    Want Not: Piling up a cord of newly cut and split wood.

    Eat the Food: Chicken and chicken broth from the freezer go a long way. We are impressed with how much we’re enjoying the four-bean chilis week after week. Also the potatoes with dehydrated greens as a garnish. We’re using the tomato puree and apple sauce less than we expected, tho. A new item in our diet is the dregs from the home brew bottles, which are going into our breadmaking …

    Build community food systems: Beloved and Last Son took part in a major carrot pull at the Grassroots Garden. And I’ve reported our available seeds to SSE for the Yearbook.

    risa b

  6. Laurie in MNon 28 Dec 2022 at 2:32 pm

    So very sorry to hear about the goats! I’m glad to hear that they are treatable, at least. I find it heartbreaking to deal with serious illness in one’s critters — you can’t explain to them why they feel bad or that you are trying to make it better. Many good, healing vibes going out to the caprine members of your family!

    My participation in this update is sporadic at best, but here goes:

    Plant something: Nope, and probably not for a long while. No real good place to start plants inside given that we have cats that enjoy greenery so much. *rolls eyes* I’d like to experiment with some sprouts this winter since I have room in my studio for that, but that won’t be for a bit yet.

    Harvest something: Similarly no, although I’m wondering if my rosemary (mini) bushes are still alive under the snow. I’d be delighted to get some fresh rosemary.

    Preserve something: Making a couple of batches of turkey stock from the leftover carcass to freeze. Mmmmmm, homemade turkey soup in January/February simply can’t be beat!

    Waste not: Can’t say I’ve done much about this. Christmas is hard with my (extended) family — they are not so much on board with minimal presents, and actually *encourage* people to not save the wrapping paper. *sigh* I usually save some to use in art projects, or judiciously re-use, and I take crap for it. My husband and I requested gift cards for dinner out for our presents this year — we celebrate our marriage with a monthly “date night”, and this doesn’t add to the clutter in our house! We managed a second year of no presents with his family, but the pre-Christmas fridge cleaning was an agony of food I had to toss out. At least it went in the compost pile! I’m trying to instate a system of cloth gift wraps/gift bags, but I need to get on the ball and make some. We’ll see how that goes.

    Want not: I forget exactly what goes in this category, but honestly — there is very little we need. I have a couple of boxes of stuff (mostly clothing, some decorative stuff and craft stuff) that was sent to me by a relative that is basically going directly to the local charity shop as soon as I get over there (it’s near where I get supplies for my business). Again, I am delighted that we managed to avoid exchanging much in the way of gifts this year — our families are in general quite blessed.

    Eat the food: Starting to break into the peach jam I made this past summer. Yummy! Have shared a couple of jars of it. Eating up the leftovers from Christmas day dinner — turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. We shared some with family, sending home leftovers that night, and the turkey left will be dinner tonight and probably tomorrow night, and then be going into the freezer to be cassaroles and soup in the next couple of months. We are working on the canned tomato sauce — need to make up another big batch of red sauce sometime soon, and maybe some homemade tomato soup. The strawberry jam was less of a success — need to try a different recipe next year. The darling husband doesn’t much like it, but I’ve been eating it, so it’s not going to waste. The stuff that I totally over cooked may need to become the center of thumbprint cookies (we are going to a New Year’s Eve/Bowl Game get together on the 30th), or possibly a jam tart sort of thing. Assuming it tastes at all good. ;)

    Prep/Storage: Pantry is really about as full as it can get. Ditto the freezer. DH is not so much on board with storing things like popcorn, and I don’t really feel like explaining it to him right now. *sigh* But is otherwise fairly cool with being prepared for natural disaster type issues. We have talked about installing another hot water heater *tank* (no heating element) for water storage, and he is FAR more on board with that than with other forms of water storage. I confirmed with him recently that our furnace (natural gas) will NOT work without electricity, and planted the idea of kerosene space heaters in his head. I may need to push that, since that is my one HUGE worry about power outages where we live. Then again, it may be best to look at picking one or two up in about March, when they start to go on inventory reduction sales. ;) (The stove is also gas, with electric ignition, but at least the stove top burners will work with matches. Not sure about the oven; should check.)

    Build community (food) systems: Other than talking enthusiastically about my garden (and how I need to re-think parts for next year) and hoping out loud that I’ll get the community space sometime soon, AND giving away some jam, not so much. I’m a bit of a hermit/introvert naturally, so interacting with other people is not on my list of Favorite Things To Do. On the other hand, I had a lovely conversation about knitting with a friend of a friend at a Boxing Day get together. Like me, knitting had just never stuck for her. I suggested she try manipulating the yarn with the other hand, and showed her what I meant (I’m a thrower), and saw a lightbulb pop on over her head. :) We did chat about yarn cost, and that you really aren’t necessarily going to save money over a commercial sweater (barring thrift store or garage sale finds, gifts, or a really, really good sale), but that you can get one to *fit* you. (I am short as well as round — sleeves are always too long for me, torso length is usually too long, and the ribbing at the bottom doesn’t help the over all look. I *hate* trying to get sweaters/sweatshirts that fit! If I make it myself I can tweak it, which is why I’m glad I sew, too.) We didn’t get into being able to recycle yarn/somewhat worn sweaters, but I think I gave her stuff to think about. :)

    Not great, compared to some of you, but better than the average city dweller I hope. Now we are just hunkering down for the rest of winter, and getting some projects lined up for spring. This winter is hopefully shoveling extra “stuff” out of the basement for storage options (cold room/root cellar?) and general clutter control/peace of mind. Also starting a couple of sweaters to keep us toasty. Our heat is pretty high compared to some of you, but still chilly enough that sweaters are a good thing. Spring will be rearranging my tiny vegetable garden, possibly making some of it actual raised beds (the space is so narrow I’m reluctant to lose much of it to building materials, but I think raising certain parts of it will be helpful in other ways), finishing the sheet mulch in the soon to be shade garden*, and pushing forward on the front rain garden**. In addition to my business, teaching, and other obligations. ;)

    * Our backyard has two great big maple trees that aren’t going anywhere any time soon. They do shade our house beautifully during the summer, reducing our (read: my husband’s) need for air conditioning quite a bit. And I’d rather have shade plants than grass that does poorly and needs to be mowed even if they are ornamentals.

    ** The front yard gets a bunch of shade from surrounding trees, too. The side where I’m putting the rain garden is definitely part shade, although I’m going to attempt some salad greenery as border plants. Maybe some chard, too.

  7. Claireon 28 Dec 2022 at 6:39 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about the goats too; hope they recover completely.

    One of the things about livestock that impresses me from your posts is that it always seems like each kind of livestock necessitates getting another to either feed it or keep it from getting sick. Cats kill mice that would eat your stored food (good), but they need meat to eat, so you raise rabbits and feed the cats rabbit entrails. Goats need to be kept away from deer and snails, so you need a dog for guard duty (who needs at least some meat, so more rabbits), and ducks or some other snail-eating creature (now you need to feed them, too). It reminds me of the old Daffy Duck routine: he found a mouse in his room at the hotel, desk clerk offers a cat to evict the mouse, then a dog to evict the cat, … finally a mouse to evict the elephant, and now there’s a mouse in the room again. I’m probably missing something in your posts, but since I am already not much of one for keeping pets, it causes me to have a lot of reluctance to add any livestock beyond the worms in the worm bin. I’d rather let my DH raise mushrooms.

    Plant something: no. Maybe nothing again till March, unless it’s in the cold frame. I won’t even be starting any seeds till March. What I’m doing now is looking at every single package of seeds that I have, to see what I need to buy over the next few weeks.

    Harvest something: not last week; we got another couple inches of rain. Just too soggy and cold to want to venture outside. Maybe tomorrow I’ll see if any collard leaves look decent enough to harvest.

    Preserve something: nothing new, but still have leeks, radishes, and Jerusalem artichokes in the root cellar

    Waste not: my DH and I didn’t wrap each other’s gifts, and we bought them from local stores. My MIL gave me a warm fleece vest and a friend gave me fingerless gloves; I bought fleece booties, long underwear, and sock and glove liners using the gift card from my parents. For the first time I am actually comfortably warm in a 55F house, hurray!!! I can make it through the winter at this temp!!! We saved 40% of the natural gas consumption at 55F versus at 66F for the same number of heating degree days; I keep track of our electricity and natural gas consumption. Otherwise the usual composting, feeding the worms in the worm bin, and so forth.

    Want not: nothing yet, but I’m planning the first purchases of supplies to plug preparation holes, to be started next month.

    Eat the food: made another excellent pumpkin pie from my Lady Godiva pumpkins. Made a squash casserole from one of my squashes and some salvaged apples we were given, took it to our neighbor’s house on Christmas Day when we joined them for dinner; all thought it was very good.

    Build community food systems: other than mentioning my garden successes in my Christmas letter to friends, nothing.

  8. Annaon 28 Dec 2022 at 7:35 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your goats! I hope they perk back up soon.

    We started bees this past spring. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but I grew into it and really love them now. They remind me to be meditative because if I go out to the bees in the wrong mindset, I get stung.

    We got really lucky and got our bees pretty much free through an extension
    service bee grant. Those things vary from state to state, but it’s worth looking into because the startup costs are high!

  9. Lisa Basherton 28 Dec 2022 at 9:31 pm

    I hope folks will consider making & using Top Bar hives — because, yes, the cost of beekeeping in standard stacking Langstroth hives is very high. With top bar hives, bees build comb hanging from a bar instead of inside a frame containing wax foundation. Some people believe that the foundation (reused from other hives) is a disease vector. Also foundation is impressed with a hex pattern that causes bees to build cells at 5.4 mm, a larger size than bees build in nature (which is 4.9 to 5.1 mm). This is important because varroa mites latch onto the young bee just in the last day or two before they emerge from the cell — in smaller, natural sized cells built on top bars, bees emerge a few days earlier and thus have a lower “mite load.” The top bar is healthier and less expensive, because comb is cut off and bars are simply reused over and over, rather than needing to buy so much equipment upfront, as with the Langstroth. Just some things to consider — and yes, Anna, I have certain songs I sing to keep my mind calm when I work the bees…

  10. TLEon 29 Dec 2022 at 6:01 am

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your goats, Sharon. Hope they get well soon.

    Plant something: Hass and Fuerte trees (in buckets from the co-op), rocket, sprouts.

    Harvest something: Cucumbers, lettuce, basil, rosemary, basil, oregano, tomatoes, spring onion, lemon thyme, chillis galore.

    Preserve something: Made cherry jam and nectarine salsa, froze another kilo of cherries & half a kilo of stewed plums. My partner made yet more beer.

    Waste Not: The usual composting and recycling, plus picked up incredibly long canes (flagpole length!) from the recycling shop for gardening.

    Want Not: Sorted freezer to make space for new goodies, bought 5 kilos of red lentils.

    Eat the Food: Lots of salads & herbs & chilli in EVERYTHING. And beer!

    Build community food systems: My dad & nephew both asked for homemade jam for Xmas :)

  11. Danielon 29 Dec 2022 at 6:11 am

    Beekeeping is definitely a good idea. Have you looked into the top bar hive? It is a much healthier and cheaper approach to beekeeping.

  12. Sharonon 29 Dec 2022 at 8:34 am

    Claire, I think that’s right - there’s a reason that the diversified small farm was so diversified - that is, there’s a reason why the old farms had cats and dogs, sheep and cows, etc… Because each one fills an ecological niche that is more functional with the others around them - that is, geese, sheep and cows all eat different lengths of grass, for example. The way modern farmers deal with these problems is chemical/fossil fueled - poisons for the rats, wormers for the parasites, make all the grass into silage anyway… But the traditional small farm really does require ecological diversity.

    On the other hand, if you aren’t trying to create a whole farm, it doesn’t necessarily work that way - for example, an urbanite wouldn’t necessarily have to raise animals to feed their cats - they could trap squirrels and pigeons or collect waste meats. Different places require different responses.


  13. ctdaffodilon 29 Dec 2022 at 8:47 am

    ahh school vacation is upon me…so everyone is home all day!

    here is my update..
    Plant something - nothing - the 20 inches of snow finally melted off my chopped leaf mulched garden. Today is bitter and windy so I’m hoping that this leaf mulch does what I want it too this winter - which is break down nicely so it can be tilled into the soil.

    Harvest - everything was pulled from the garden so nothing to harvest.

    Preserve - I froze the half of the Ham we didn’t eat as of yesterday - it will be used in soups this winter (bean and ham is a big favorite here)

    Reduce waste - as I lugged the cart to the curb today I was very thankful they come weekly. We had a very full cart. I did compost a fair bit of veg peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags. I’m very curious to see the results next spring.

    Prep/Storage - still trying to figure out a method of storing clothes from kid 1 for kid 2….I may have it now. It just needs to have continual tweeking. The pantry needs a few things restocked and the freezer needs to be sorted out - but thats what this week is for - while they lego-out

    Build CFS - helped older child’s class with their pre vacation project at school - collection for town food pantry.

    Eat The Food - want to rename this one - Diet for New Year. I am working hard on eating leftovers - Planned Overs and having Clean out the Fridge Nights. It should ease up my cooking schedule and my stress level of tossing out food gone bad/science experiments in the fridge….

    Happy January to All!!

  14. Robinon 29 Dec 2022 at 11:39 am

    Plant something – nothing , just heaping on the goat and chicken bedding for next year.

    Harvest – rosemary, cilantro, parsley, chard, spinach, leeks, cabbage, sorrel, mustard greens

    Preserve – canned 30 quarts of tomatoes from the freezer to make room for half a cow we will butcher tomorrow with my parents.

    Reduce waste – Saved all bows and as much wrapping paper as I could.

    Prep/Storage – Running out of homegrown potatoes :( Already ran out of HG onions. Will triple both crops next year. I think the canned/frozen tomatoes will hold out, as will garlic and winter squash. Have been doing well during the power outages with led headlamps and an aladin lamp.

    Build CFS – Not much this week.

    Eat The Food - So.Tired.Of.Sweets. So glad we still have greens in the garden for braised greens. Ate lots of stored winter squash with all the holiday meals. Have also been making a huge pot of vegetable soup made with bone broth and tons of leeks and garlic every week for lunches. Trying to keep those colds away!

  15. Michelle Pon 30 Dec 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Sorry for your goats, but it’s an interesting bit of goat keeping info. How do you determine what certain symptoms are & come to a diagnosis & treatment? Do you have to call & take them to a vet? One goat keeper I know out here has a farm visit from her vet to take care of as much as she can while he is there.

    The past several months I’ve been studying goat keeping & still there is much to learn that I don’t think can happen til one is actually taking care of goats.

    I would really like to attend your classes either on line or on site. Someday, perhaps. For now, I am following the ID challenge. Very interesting reading others posts & experiences.

    Planted nothing, but thinking ahead to starting an asparagus bed in the spring.

    Waste not: collected a bunch of egg shells over the past several weeks for roasting & grinding & feeding back to hens.
    Taking a load of cardboard to the recycling center today.
    Giving bunches of good clothing away.

    My christmas gift was a light with a timer in the chicken coop. Also about $50 in cash that went into the goat fund. Oldest college kid had homemade goat cheese at her inlaws over holiday. She also went with me to buy bulk eggs from local goat keeper & got to pet a saanen doe. Now she knows why I want to get goats!

    community food: hoping to be more active in this area. Right now, I am feeding 6-8 people a day, so my challenge here is feeding whoever is at our house these days.

    We have had to get rid of our brother in law on the couch a little over a year ago (drug & alcohol problems). It was a surprise to me to read on this blog that this is a common syndrome & is even covered in the course! i would really like to hear others experiences on handling the BIL issue!

  16. Sharonon 30 Dec 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Michelle - We did take Selene to the vet to confirm diagnosis in this case, the first time we’ve done it in 2 years of goat keeping. Generally speaking, we are able to figure out what’s going on, but if not, we make a cost-benefit analysis and decide whether it is important enough to go to the vet. A good livestock medical handbook is a good thing, though.


  17. emeeathomeon 30 Dec 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Just to let you all know that here down-under the temperature was over 100 yesterday, and will easily make it over 100 today.

    I have zucchinis up to my ears. I’ve been drying them (in little chunks) and they have been taste tested by my elderly neighbour who has asked for MORE. My freezer is filling up with with nectarines, rhubarb, apricots. The peaches aren’t ready to pick yet - but wont be long.

    I am somewhat daunted by my tomatoes. We didn’t do too well the last two years, so this year I went beserk. I have 37 plants and they are laden - still all green yet, but I can see we’ll have more than enough for a couple of years.

    I’ve also got just over 150 corn plants. They’re well past even the largest elephant’s eye, and each plant seems to be producing at least 2 ears. The corn is the only hybrid seed I’ve used.

    Mainly planting more salad greens and spring onions at the moment. Still tending pumpkins, beans, cuccumbers, strawberries, potatoes (vertically grown), eggplant, rainbow chard, celery and more.

    My main concern is for my three chickens. We lost four chooks in the extreme heat last year. One day (Black Saturday) it got to 118+, and we had three days in a row of 115. Now when it gets too bad I bring them in and put them in the inside bathroom.

    This is my last growing season in this garden and I’m really enjoying it. Next year we’re downsizing from a suburban block to a unit with a space for vegies.

    MaryD in Oz

  18. NMon 30 Dec 2022 at 9:50 pm

    DH had what appeared to be flu all Christmas week; I woke up with it Monday morning, so not much is getting done here. We did have a lovely Christmas anyway; gifts were clothes, tools and useful things (for me, he built a new medicine cabinet, which we’ve been without), gave away to friends and family a lot of jam and baked goods. We’ve been eating leftover Christmas lasagna, lots of soup, fresh-caught salmon brought over by the neighbor, homemade croissants that got finished just before I got sick, too late for giving away as gifts (except to above neighbor in thanks for the fish), homemade bread also finished just in the nick of time, a lot of tea and juice. I have no idea what’s happening in the garden. Did spend some time leafing through one of the new seed catalogs, making far too many little xs.
    Sympathy and best wishes for your goats.

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