Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Babies and Bounty
We've been busy! Harvesting, canning, cleaning, fixing, and playing (mostly with goat babies!).
Since my last post we've named the goat babies (Daisy is the girl and Dollar is the boy), had them disbudded (they both turned out to have horns), and attempted to milk Skylark. Milking has been unsuccessful thus far. First of all, one udder doesn't produce much milk so we are hesitant to take any for fear the babies will suffer. They are eating quite a bit of other food now, so we may try milking her some this weekend. Secondly, she hates it. We ordered a hobble (a velcro strap contraption that will hold her legs motionless while we milk) but we have yet to put it into practice - again, hopefully this weekend. Dollar is growing like a weed. He's easily more than twice Daisy's size now. Both goats are super sweet and very friendly.
Pepper has been bred. We matched her up to a buck with similiar coloring to her and she made friends quickly. She stayed at the buck's place for a couple of weeks but is now safely back with us and tolerating the babies reasonably well. She should be due right around Valentine's Day. I'm anticipating naming at least one of her babies 'cupid'.
The farm bounty has begun! We harvested pears and then I dried and canned as many as I could in one weekend. Lots went to waste though - I am getting better at dealing with this! Then we harvested blackberries - they went into a LOT of jam and quite a few batches of muffins. I have a recipe from my mom that was based on the original Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins (remember back in the day when department stores had restaurants and bakeries? Jordan Marsh in downtown Boston was known for their killer blueberry muffins). I've subbed in blackberries (and whole wheat pastry flour) with much delicious success. I particularly love that they freeze so well! I also freezed a few quarts of blackberries for recipes later in the year. Lastly, I made a pear blackberry pie with cardamom in it and it was DELICIOUS! It was so good that I'm tempted to actually buy more pears to make it again for Thanksgiving. Oh the sin!
Then the harvest moved to apples. I did 16 quarts of applesauce (I still have a couple left from last year!) and then 6 of those went into making apple butter in the crock pot which then turned into 7 pints of apple butter. I also did a couple of dehydrator loads of apple rings for winter use (and hiking food!). Delicious apple bread, apple crisp and baked apples were also made. There are two more apple trees that are just now ripening, so I forsee much more apple products in our near future.
We harvested the garlic which turned out beautifully and is drying in the garage. We harvested TONS (possibly literally, though I didn't weigh them) of onions. One dehydrator load took care of about 20 huge Walla Walla onions (Walla Wallas are similiar to Vidalia onions for you southern readers!) and the rest are stored in the laundry room for general use. Having what feels like a neverending supply of onions is nice...but I can honestly say that I will never buy bottled garlic again. The home grown fresh stuff (we did four varieties) is incredible!
I didn't get many zucchinis this year, but yellow summer squash is taking it's place. I've successfully subbed summer squash for zucchini in my favorite banana zucchini bread recipe, so I will be doing quite a bit of squash shredding for freezing and winter baking. All the winter squash varieties appear to be doing really well, so expect a future post about sweet potato squash, pumpkins, butternut squash and Fujitsu black squash recipe experimentation!
And then there were tomatoes - and more tomatoes...and more tomatoes. Wow. HUGE harvest this year. With a friend's help, we produced 12 quarts of seasoned sauce this past weekend and two pints of salsa. My next project will be to attempt to can tomatoes diced since that's how I use them the most. I'll probably end up doing another batch or two of seasoned sauce as well. I will also chop and freeze and also dehydrate as many as possible to try to tame the hoards.
Then I'll move on to carrots...looks like a bumper crop of some delicious carrots! I think carrots are like tomatoes - the store bought ones just don't compare to what you grow yourself in terms of flavor.
Grapes will be the last to be harvested, I think. The plan is to put a new steam juicer to work so that we can get the most of our grape harvest. Who knows...maybe home made wine is in our future!