Sunday, March 31, 2013
Today, March 31st is my 53rd birthday. It is also the 29th anniversary of my patient husbands and my marriage. AND... Nova gave birth to THREE little baby goats. Two doelings (girls) and one buckling (boy.) They are marked like their father, black and white with some little tan points. Their ears are long and floppy and they are cuter than any words I know can describe. My daughter was here and helped me towel off each baby,and get them dry with a hand held hair dryer. Mama goat is tired, but being very attentive to her new charges. This has been a very big day!
Monday, March 25, 2013
I have Monday's off. I tend to spend my "off" time doing house chores. I catch up on laundry, vacuuming, mopping and the seeming endless chore of toilet scrubbing. With music playing I move through the work and rather enjoy it all. There are frequent trips out to tend to and visit with the animals. I call the whole thing "puttering." It is rather aimless time with little structure, and since there is really no where in the world I would rather be than right here,it is rare for me to go anywhere on my precious Monday's. Today, however, I needed to borrow a tool from a neighbor and pick up chicken food. On the way back from the feed store I decided to pop into the very sweet little antique store than is just down the street. I come from a long line of antique dealers and meandering around admiring the trash and treasures one finds in stores like this is extremely soul satisfying to me. It was there that I saw this. It is an iron table, woven with white painted wicker. I stopped in my tracks, and felt my pulse pick up a bit. I have a treasured table in my kitchen. It is dark pine with wonderful spool legs, and once belonged to my sweet mother. But this... this wicker table would be perfect there in the sunny heart of my home. I began to examine it. There were four sturdy chairs, which were quite comfortable to sit on. The table was sturdy too, but there was one hole in the wicker and the paint was in sorry shape. "I just pulled that out of a barn in Owl's Head," the shop owner said when he saw my attention was focused intently on the set. He meandered over, pointed to the hole in the top. "If you tie a shoe lace on here and repaint the top, you'd never even notice this. I think it's from the 1960's." I laughed, "So am I!" and before knew it the thing was in the back of my truck. (OH! I love my truck!) I went straight to the hardware store with my load of animal feed and old furniture. There I bought a wee can of white paint, a brush, shoelaces and little rubber feet for the table legs. I could barely contain my joy as I went right to work! In 25 minutes I had the set cleaned, the paint freshened and the hole "fixed." I can hardly stop smiling at this totally impulsive purchase. I will turn my beloved kitchen table into a little desk in the office I am currently creating in the guest room, so it will not be homeless. That kitchen corner was screaming for a healthy dose of white wicker!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
My sweet sister and her family put this adorable tray together for me as an early birthday gift. The tray itself will be perfect for carrying food and drinks outside for picnic table suppers when winter finally vacates the yard. Until then the inside of the tray boasts an adorable pan of real growing grass, little fuzzy chicks, Easter eggs, butterflies, flowers... even a little beehive! This makes a happy centerpiece on my dining room table. I'm feeling the love!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Winter is having the last laugh, sprinkling down a foot of snow as spring begins. The world outside my "think spring" sign is white and sparkling. And cold. I am anxious to do spring yard chores, but clearly, it will be a while. Ever wonder where the term "cooped up" came from? I can't tell you how unhappy the birds are with the snow. They just loathe it. The goats ate a big breakfast, took a long drink of warm water, then settled in. There is nothing else for them to do. They radiate boredom. The picnic table is patient. It has to be. It will be a while before we can enjoy its charms.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Since the girls are due to kid at the end of March or beginning of April, we needed to have a safe place for them to labor,deliver and bond with their new wee ones. Or garage is a terrible mess, and neither of us ever feel very inspired to work at cleaning it. However, with the right motivation (baby goats!) I got right to work clearing out a spot. Mr. Wonderful helped, of course,cranking happy music in the chill air and we even had a pretty good time. It took some doing to get the cattle panel I had neatly stored outside by the fence out of the ice that had it frozen to the ground, but we persevered,hauling gallons of hot water out to dump along the 16' length of the thing until we were able to wrench it free. After a few hours of effort,we created a nice spot for the goatie girls. They were quite suspicious at first, but since I've been feeding them in the new pen they are getting more comfortable with the situation. I will layer in deep hay for bedding at the time grows near. Meanwhile I am watching their bellies and udders grow. Though it is March and spring-like in much of the country, we had snow on Thursday and more is expected in the coming week. But most of the old snow is gone from the ground now. This makes the chickens and ducks very happy. They range all over the meadow, scratching and pecking and seeming to be delighted with the world. We've had some days warm enough for puddles to form, and the ducks explore them all with great glee. They don't need motivation to get about their business. I should be more like my birds!
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Ever since we added two sweet dairy goats to the place last spring I've been thinking it would be fun to learn to make soap. I have read a good bit about the process, and frankly, it seemed daunting. There is a lot of measuring and weighing and caustic chemicals (lye) involved. Exact measuring and things that involve numbers and math are NOT things that come easily to me. Fact was, I was scared to try. So, when my friend told me there was a one night class on soap making at the local high school I called quick to register. I talked my friend Marion into joining me. When we got to the point in class where a lot of stirring was involved, I volunteered to help. Our instructor was Megan Cafferata. She is the crafts person behind locally famous Sisters Soap. (www.mainesisterssoap.com)One sister owns a goat dairy, the other turns some of the milk into beautiful soaps. Our small class watched as she measured, and weighed and mixed. She heated some ingredients and cooled others. Then there was a lot of stirring, followed by her skillfully pouring the amber, lemon verbena scented liquid into a bunch of yogurt cups. These were then snuggled up under a layer of towels, where they sat undisturbed, curing for 24 hours. Each class member was encouraged to return the next day and pick up 5 of the cups. I did so with great glee! As instructed I popped them in the freezer for a while, then ran the container under hot water until each perfect soap popped out. They need to cure a few more weeks before they can be used, but they are currently perfuming my kitchen with their sweet scent. I am feeling more confident about the process having seen it done. I plan to try making some soap of my own in the very near future, and can hardly wait!
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Even though Chris and I have been together for half of forever, we still delight in changing things up, creating new traditions. Since he does all our grocery shopping (bless him!) on Saturday's, we have recently begun to have fish for supper every Saturday night. He buys it fresh when he shops and we cook it that night. I love fish and seafood, and this is a huge treat for me. Tonight he wanted to try a new recipe... a Cajun thing called Barbequed Shrimp. Here is the recipe: http://www.mrbsbistro.com/recipes_shrimp.php So we shared a glass of wine and cooked together,which was fun,and OH! it was a delicious meal. I highly recommend you give it a try. The only thing we would change is we would peel the shrimp first, just because it would make it easier to eat.
Although the thermometer has been staying in the 20's at night and not much higher during the day,and the ground is still covered with deep snow, the calender shows the days of March are marching forward and that means that spring is near. Living with livestock the signs of the changing season are quite obvious. The chickens are responding to the increase in daylight hours by cranking out more eggs. I collected a lovely dozen eggs in one day this week, many more than they produce during the dead of winter. This pretty chicken is a rose comb Leghorn. I wish her feathers showed up in the photo as beautifully as they do in real life. She is a lovely bird, and lays pretty white shelled eggs. The goats, too, are showing signs of spring. Not only are they shedding their shaggy winter coats, but they are both looking very, VERY pregnant,(Nova goat top, Luna below.) When I hug them around the middle I can feel the kid (or kids!) kicking inside them. Their udders are filling and soon we will have wee little goats getting into everything and driving us nuts! I can hardly wait. When the days are dreary and the weather cold, I look to the critters for proof that winter will soon end, the world will bloom with new life and wonderful spring will unfold.
Monday, March 4, 2013
After a weekend away this old house greets me like a hug. After airplanes and shuttles and rides from friends, after hotel beds and maid service and every meal from a restaurant,after too little sleep and too much talking, the peace of washing eggs in the silent dawn soothes. The paper whites I planted after the blizzard are in full bloom, and the scent of them greeted me when we arrived home from the airport at midnight. The dogs greeted, too, all wiggles and rumbling voices of happiness, Flirt flinging herself into my arms and flattening her body against mine with heart-wrenching sobs. She stares at me as if I might vanish again any instant. The simple joy of cooking breakfast for my husband... home raised ham and eggs, wiping the counters, washing the dishes, these are the things that welcome me with gladness.