Monday, September 29, 2008

Freezing milk

Here's why it is a bad idea to freeze milk in a glass jar with rounded shoulders...

Dear doggies

We have lived on our farm for four years now. In that time nine dogs have lived here. They've come to us from people who can't keep their dog any more, strays that have shown up, and some just born here.

Farm life is a happy life for a dog, I think, but it's not a soft life. Our dogs don't sleep on our beds; they're not even allowed in the house, unless there's a terrible storm.

They're expected to work... protecting the animals and farm. Most of them really like to do this. Some have thought the chickens might be quite delicious, but we've managed to limit this somehow.

They run endlessly, play in ponds, get dirty and don't get in trouble, and pretty much live a doggie dream life.

Of course we've had dogs get stepped on by cows and kicked by horses, but the really dangerous thing for dogs here turns out to be cars.

Our house is close to the road, and for reasons I still can not understand, cars are very threatening to the canine mind. Trucks hauling trailers are the ultimate enemy.

We have had three dogs get hit by cars. Two have died. We've also lost dogs in mysterious ways... they've just disappeared. And we've given dogs away.

Molly, Fleck, Fred, Zeke, Belle, Sheila, Pepper, a stray we never named, and Luke. Nine dogs, and we're down to one.

Luke is our only dog now. Dear limping, sad Luke. He really is a good dog, but he's never gotten over being separated from his brother and best friend when he was a year old and brought to live with us. Luke was hit by a car this summer. He has recovered but will always limp.

Recently Luke seems to be cheering up. His solo status actually appears to be a positive for him... he gets all the human attention and doesn't have to argue with anyone over status (although he'd been top dog since right after he arrived).

He's not doing his job very well. We're down to six chickens (from 40 in the summer). Rather a calamitous loss. I believe the coyotes refer to our house as "The Breakfast Club".

Wild Turkeys

Stephen discovered a large flock of wild turkeys (technically called a rafter of turkeys) on our property recently. I was excited because we do not raise turkeys yet, so we still have to buy Thanksgiving and Christmas birds. Wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner - how fitting!

Unfortunately (for me, not for the turkeys), turkey hunting season is in the spring. Good thing the folks in Plymouth lived before government regulations on hunting. Not that they were unfamiliar with the problems of a heavy-handed government...

Anyway, here are the birds. Ugly but in a really cool kind of way.


Oh my, three months since the last post. Yes, it has been a full and happy summer.

While Stephen has had many new projects on the farm these past few months, my main farm project has been planting a much bigger garden. As I've written, Stephen enclosed a little more than 1/4 acre for us last spring. We got some planted, but it was previously pasture, so there was a lot of work to do to break the ground.

In August, Stephen took over the ground breaking part (phew!) and now we are moving along quickly. At this point we have about 1500 square feet planted, and are probably 1/4 of the way done. Of course we want to feed ourselves, but we are also planning to sell vegetables at the Bastrop Producer's Market.

The kids and I plant mostly in the morning after breakfast and before school. After dinner I like to go out and sit in a chair in the garden and just look.

I still squeal like a 5 year old to see things like this (our first sugar snap pea):

We have marauders in the garden periodically. A rabbit systematically helped itself to our bean babies. This picture is taken half way up a 40 foot row, the rest of the row behind me was wiped out too.

Here's what fills the row where there you see no green above:

Thankfully I read that tabasco sauce mixed with water and sprayed on the leaves deters rabbits. It works! That's why we still have some left.

They pilfered a cabbage plant too. Here's a happy cabbage:

And a missing neighbor!

Yesterday I was marveling at how green everything in the garden is. We are in a serious drought and most of the farm is dry and yellow, but our wonderful soaker lines keep the veggies green.

We do have bursts of color here and there...