We used to keep goats, but then we didn't. The reason? Because the behaviour of the goats stretched Lester's patience beyond a point where he could no longer cope with them.
All the other animals 'fit' here so are part of the team.
Yes, they do have their 'off' days, but we do as well.
But those goats!!!! They were never on anyone's team except their own individual ones.
It was the fighting for dominance which was worst, which made being around them not a good experience. 'Never again', Lester said, ' we are never going to keep goats again!'
That was at the beginning of the year.
But I felt that we were not done with goats, but did kept quiet about saying so.
I thought that if we had a couple of young goats, and then trained them up to our ways of doing things, that perhaps we would not have so much trouble with them.
That the goats that we had were all mature animals, set in their ways so less willing to be part of our team, that if they were trained from very young that they would fit in more here.
We have two calves. They will have to be separated from Bonny and Lissie soon otherwise there is no point in keeping cows because the calves will be milking their mum's udders dry, leaving no milk for us. At the moment Lester is milking Lissie, but only getting a couple of litres of milk from her per day. While this keeps us going in the kitchen, this is not enough to make cheese or butter with.
Last time we had a calf, we had the goats as well, so the goats kept the calf company during the day, sleeping in a pen beside his mum at night.
He has tried to put the older calf out in the side field for the day, but it was not a good feeling seeing her run around by herself, so she is now staying with the others for the day.
Which is why Lester muttered something about having a go at keeping goats again.
Just two, plus of course a male, which makes three.
I think that perhaps this will happen.
- we shall have goat milk again which means I can make goat cheese
- they will keep the fields clear of thistles, and eat the brambles away from the fences
- they will keep any future calves company when they have to spend time away from their mums
Next year, then, .....perhaps......
Meanwhile Lester has ploughed up a section of veg plot number 1 which had succumbed to a heavy load of weeds........he hopes to plough it so we can put some green manure in, such as mustard or clover, which will grow over winter to be then ploughed back into the earth next spring.
Veg plot number 2 will be ploughed up by the two adult Tamworth pigs once the self sown butternut squashes have been harvested.
Not done much myself out in the veg plots, as things have got busy indoors, notably the break down of the food preservation conveyor belt, the problem being that we are tiling the middle hallway, which is the space in between the back kitchen and the front kitchen,
this is what has broken the production line!
The meat I got out of the freezer and was supposed to be canning, hasn't been...
(I mentioned this in the last blog)
but it did get to being roasted, but then it went into the fridge, and then day by day it went into our tummies, thus providing us with our meals for the week, which was a blessing because otherwise it would have been cheese sandwiches all week.
As I have said, the food production line is at a halt.
So no canning jars of pork from these two pieces of meat!
As for the bacon I started,
...this had a thick layer of fat, like the bacon I made a couple of weeks ago. Although the cure went right through all of the meat, I did think that there was too much fat on each slice of bacon, so this time I have taken the thickest parts of the fat off. That will be turned into lard.
So this is the piece of meat, and I used the same cure as I did last time, which was 500grams of salt, 500grams of brown sugar, 25 grams of black peppercorns, and a few bay leaves. But this time I ground the peppercorns and bay leaves in my spice mill before adding them to the salt and sugar. It is likely that I shall stay with this recipe in the future, because the last lot of bacon I made with the recipe turned out wonderfully well.
And the smell of peppercorns, bay leaf, sugar and salt.....wow, but it was nice.
This is the last day of the cure now, so the meat will be washed tomorrow and then left to sit in the fridge for five days before I slice it into rashers which will then be frozen.
I suppose bits of the production line are still operational!
At the beginning of the week I was given some bags of rhubarb...
out of which I have canned eight jars, with some left to make a crumble. Didn't want to put them into the freezer because I am supposed to be getting the freezers emptied out, and at least now they are canned they are also cooked.
I have also just about managed to get all of the tomatoes stored now, mostly through dehydrating them. I should have also had at least five canned jars of crushed tomatoes for the larder, but alack and alas, I was tardy with getting this done even though I had prepped the tomato juice ready for canning. But the stop light was on this part of the food production line, so the pigs ate the juice (cooked with pasta) instead.
....Bonny waiting for her calf to be led out of the barn by Lester....
Dotty on the left, and Flora on the right, both getting ready to chase the chicken out of the field, but waiting until I disappear, because standing beside me as I take this photo are the two big black dogs which they are most reluctant to have anything to do with.
I have managed to be reasonably productive these last few days, although not as productive as I normally am. This will continue until the end of next week, or until I can walk through the middle kitchen to get to the back kitchen. To have to go out through the half barn doors, and then walk across the courtyard to get into the back door when it is dry and sunny is alright, but when it is raining and I have three dogs trailing behind me who are all damp and muddy, well, it is a bit wearing on the nerves. Not to worry, it is only for a few days more and then the production line can be up to full speed again.
Went down to Tarbes today to get the radiators for the Rayburn Wood Stove Project....it looks possible that we might be having that working this winter.
Bye for now,