What madness my life has become...
I was super busy all last week and never got time to post here. I had a mini-breakdown on Wednesday night (freaking out about everything I had to do) but then got busy and made Cinnamon Grape Preserves that evening. They turned out tasty and beautiful, but they did not gel properly. Ugh. I do have directions for fixing it...so I'll give that a shot later this week.
On Thursday, I did exactly nothing towards our 'farm life' outside of normal chores and doing some reading. We went out for sushi and just relaxed a bit. It was nice to forget that we've got new responsibilities for a little while. While we were at home watching the World Series, I did some reading about building farm structures, composting and wine making.
By Friday, we were prepping for the weekend again. On Saturday we were up eary to run some errands before picking up our local pork/beef CSA share. Turns out, they had to cancel the pick-up but we didn't know about it because I didn't have email access on Friday night. Bummer. We were able to pick up a few supplies though. We needed some pieces to reinstall the front gutter after the construction work and we needed some type of container in which to put our apple cider when we make it. We spent the afternoon free ranging the chickens, spending some time with the goats, harvesting the last of the carrots (the parsnips were planted too late and didn't develop), cleaning out the chicken coop and moving it and various other little tasks.
Sunday was apple day. We spent the entire day picking and sorting apples. We picked over 300 lbs of apples - most for cider but some for storage and cooking. As it turns out, one of the varieties on our property is a very old heritage strain. It's called a Lady apple and it's apparently one of the oldest apple varieties in the US. It's also a good keeper, so we set aside a box of these for storage. They are small, sweet apples, and Sassy's favorite. In fact, as we were picking, we let Sass and Buddy out to munch on the ones we dropped. Turns out, that was a bad idea, but I'll get to that in a minute. We also picked a couple of boxes of red delicious, a box of the tiny apple and a box of a late variety that I have not used for anything just yet. There were TONS of this particular apples, so after we do the cider, I'm going to can a bunch of these. I will be picking up the cider mill/press in about a hour and then we'll set to work with it this afternoon. I wasn't sure how much cider we will get from the apples we picked, but after we had picked them, I went online and did a little research. My calculations (totally an estimate because type of apple, temperature, type of press, season, etc all affect juice quanitity) tell me that the 300 lbs we have will give us about 25 gallons of cider. OOPS. I had no idea we'd get so much!! We do NOT have containers for 25 gallons...not by a long shot! This should be an interesting evening.
Anyway, this morning when I went to milk Sass, she was acting odd. She did not greet me at the gate like usual. She was standing still with her head down, clearly not feeling well. I tried to see if she'd respond to me at all, and she kept walking away from me. I decided that I had to at least get the milk out of her, so I led her onto the stand and while she burped and refused food, I quickly milked her. I heard no activity from her rumen (usually she gurgles about once a minute or so). Her milk production was way down, too. I gave her fresh water and went in to find my H. I explained her symptoms to him, got ready for work and headed out. He was working from home today and was going to check on her. After a little research, we are certain that she has bloat. Too many apples and now her rumen is off! We think it's still a mild case, so he started with walking her around, massaging her stomach, and helping her burp. He's also given her a mixture of karo syrup and corn oil to help her better release the gas. When I go pick up the cider press, I'm stopping at the farm store to buy a horse syringe and some medication. Poor Sasafras! I feel so badly, for her...she's obviously miserable and if we can't help her release the built up gas, it could kill her. I don't think she's that bad yet though.
I'll post an update later this evening or tomorrow (hopefully with good news). Think good thoughts for our sweet Sass, will you?