Deep Winter 2014
It is hard to remember that underneath all that snow and ice there is grass. The seed catalogs keep arriving and I tuck them in a drawer. It just seems impossible that the ground will support seedlings and that the garden will be full of bright orange carrots, bursting tomatoes, ripe juicy strawberries . . . summer feels like a long time away. I feel housebound now and dream of big adventures in far away lands . . . of course there has to be lots of sunshine and a beautiful ocean . . . it is my dream after all. And yet here I sit, staring out the kitchen window and the land of cold and white. And more snow to arrive tonight. I see the coop and barn roof strain under the weight of all our snow and send a prayer up that they will hold up just a few weeks longer when the melt will create a muddy boggy mess.
After the bleeding we worried Honey might have miscarried but I see her from the side now and notice a slight protrusion of what once was a slim goat belly. We are hopeful that Honey and Jade are both pregnant. Our plan to breed little Clover (Jade's baby from last April) was put on hold as we watch her growing ever so slowly and worry she is just now quite big enough to kid. She will be a great mother. It is something I greatly anticipate for next kidding season. So off Nancy and I go to Teri's at Pocket Size Goats to get our buck. "Dusty Miller" will be joining us for a week of frolic and frivolity and (we hope) a few more pregnant goats . . . otherwise I am not sure we will have enough milk to keep up with all the milk needs for the CSA and the soap making.
We are down to milking every other day . . . with hopes that in another two weeks milking will be finished for this season. I miss it. I don't miss it . . . know what I mean? It's the good/bad thing. I love the milk and the closeness with the goats but after months of milking, after the heat and the flies and then the freezing cold dark mornings, I am ready for a break. I would like to make pancakes for breakfast and go out the the barn LATE! I'd like to be lazy and sit around in my pajamas by the fire and watch the freeezing ice-rain fall from inside my warm house.
I make soap, lots of soap, and dream of spreading the gospel of goat milk soap throughout the region! (So far it has found it's way to Weaver's Way Coop, Herbiary, and in lots of holiday presents!). I love the smell of the warm soap infused with rose oil, or lavender, or verbena with the dried flowers from the summer garden crushed and resting on top like a burst of color. We have made lots of birdhouses and hope someday someone might buy some of these birdhouses that are piling up all over. We make them with found things like the old barn board from a grist mill hanging on to the edge of the cliff overlooking the Perkioman Creek. The rusted tin of an old shed roof laying in the woods in Ft. Washington State Park. The faded yellow "Flourtown, Pa" signs we found in Doug and Nancy's old garage on Mill Road. . . we have the honor of placing one of our birdhouses at Morris Arboretum for their "Home Tweet Home" exhibition which showcases the birdhouses of local artists and designers placed throughout the Garden until September.
We also celebrated the article on Shady Apple Goats just published in the Chestnut Hill Local. It was such a sweet article and has led to people from all over the area calling and emailing to volunteer, or join the CSA, or talk about goats, or buy cheese, or reminisce about their Dad who was a long time Flourtown vet (and keeper of dairy goats of all things!). We have posted the article for people to read if you are interested.
The CSA is almost full for 2014 thanks to all the returning members (and the Local article!). I am spending this Winter combing through recipes and dreaming of creations for next season. A huge thank you to all who come back year after year and support me in my cheese adventure.
I almost forgot to mention the new addition to our family. Come around in July and you will be able to meet little Daisy Von Bacon. Our little mini Juliana piglet is due in June and will come home to us sometime mid July. Plans for the Piggy Cottage are in full swing although Lisa continues to draw the line at radiant flooring for our wee Princess Piggy.
The days are getting longer. Soon the weeds will be popping up in the garden and the chickens will have dug their way out of their icy run and will be able to eat worms and weeds to their hearts content. Soon I will put the seed catalogs out again and begin to imagine the flower beds in bloom and the abundant summer garden growing. The baby goats will arrive. Daisy will be settled in her new home. We will endlessly complain about the heat and humidity and climate change and the cost of air conditioning.
And I will dream again of the quiet and stillness of deep Winter.