Winter is here and brought snow and that kind of cold chill that seeps into your bones and is hard to shake. Lisa has finished the sauna and that helps the humans stay warm. Sweet Pea still struggles with the cold and after a riotous trip to the local pet store in search of warm clothing she now has a selection of warm hoodies to choose from. The only trouble with the hoody is Jade. Jade loves to chew . . . on anything. She now has taken to standing as close as she can to Sweet Pea and then grabbing a delicious section of her hoody and PULLING. Sweet Pea goes flying across the room (Jade is very strong!). Often the hoody ends up in the middle of the barn floor to be stepped on by many hooves. So . . . keeping Sweet Pea warm is a work in progress.
This is a favorite time of year for the goats. They love to tip faces up to the warm sun and stand for hours ruminating. They slow down in Winter. Maybe because they are pregnant and staying warm and growing their babies takes all the energy they have. They also love Winter because it is Christmas tree time. Goats love evergreen and Christmas trees have provided hours of fun and nutrition for our hungry goats. Lisa and I drive around on trash day and collect as many trees as we can and then . . . the goats feast.
So this year we are trying so hard to dry the goats off and are having some trouble (maybe due to the Christmas trees?). We are doing our drying off routine and the goats just keep making milk!
We have a different hay blend this year and we think Mr. Nuss might make some magic canary reed grass that is very high in protein. So we are patient and trying to be positive about our ability to have these goats dried off before the lovely Dawn and her partner Jeff come to stay and take care of everything here at Shady Apple Goats so we can go on vacation.
As the goats are continuing to make lots of milk I am continuing to make cheese. The CSA is done for the season so now I experiment with cheeses for next year. I am now making a wash rind goat cheese infused with coriander and orange peel that is washed and aged in a white belgian ale. The entire cheese room is full of the most delicious smell of warm savory orange. Then a lemon washed soft goat cheese, then some cow milk cheeses to age until summer.
The goats have settled into their pregnancies. Buttercup did not settle and we did not re-breed her. Buttercup has a difficult time being pregnant and her last birth was hard (mainly on us!) so perhaps it is meant to be that Buttercup will not be pregnant.
Our Scoop (Amazing Grace) has left us for a life with the McGuire family. Report from Jim is that she is queen of the castle and settling in nicely with their two other little goats. We hope she will have a nice life with them — showered with affection from this very sweet family.
Winter is a time for knitting, for making birdhouses, and soaps, and planning for the summer garden. This year we also have big plans for expanding our goat herd which means lots of planning and fences (always . . . fences!).
The students from Morristown Friends School are planning a class experience here for a week in March so we are thinking of great projects for them to do that help us and help them to learn about the many facets of a sustainable urban agriculture. I am excited to share what we are doing with them and feel so honored they have chosen us as their Spring Project destination.
I am in the process of planning the 2013 Shady Apple Goats CSA and have about ten spots open for CSA members for next year — feel free to contact us if you would like more information.
Warm winter tidings . . .