Friday, July 31, 2009

Buckets of rain, Buckets of milk

As the rain "lashes down" on this amazingly grey and blustery day I figured that I would share some of the work that we are doing.

With Gerd and Renate on a rare, few-days' holiday, I have been the sheep milker and tender, which is pleasant with such well-loved, clean, kind sheep. Renate is their usual shepherd, and they certainly are "one-woman sheep," leading to a bit of kicking and recalcitrance in the sheep house/milking stand. But I think that we are all coming to a bit more of an understanding of each other. It is amazing, the difference in different sheeps' udders. These sheep are far more full of milk, are milked only once a day, and take me about ten minutes to finish off. I get most of it out in the first five minutes or less, but spend quite a while trying to knead and punch out the rest. (When I say punch I refer to an imitation of what lambs do when they milk their moms - hitting the teat in a way with their nose to urge out more milk.) I am getting used to them, though, their pink pink teats and varied attitudes, and it will be too bad when I have to hand them back over to Renate tomorrow.

In the grand tradition of my friend Emily I have also nearly triumphed in a skirmish with a terraced herb garden, attempting to uproot and unscrew the legions of morning glory vine and grasses, while trying to preserve the poppies, cosmos, thyme, chives, rosemary and marjoram etc in the process. Some nasturtiums and poppies unfortunately ended up in the weed pile but the compost will be all the better because of it, and the slugs hopefully more pleased to be in the pile rather than the garden.

Matt has been doing various grunt work involving the digging of gravel and the strimming of polytunnels and will be doing hedge trimming once the weather clears.

In the polytunnel many bushels of beans have been picked and mold removed, tomato offshoots pried away and grape vines trained to the piping. There is quite a lot of mold in there, reminding one of the importance of ventilation, which perhaps could be utilized quite a bit more in their polytunnel. Most of the polytunnel onions and garlics have been harvested and crocheted in baling twine for storage in the winter cow house.

Lettuces have been stepped up from their initial germination flats and more seeded, along with a flat of fennel. Next week we will be transplanting the bigger seedlings into the greenhouse where the peas used to be, and harvesting and freezing ever more beans, and dealing with a big onslaught of new guests and their children for "children's days."

Our friend Angela has left, leaving us with more time alone, which is both good and sad. And a calf was finally born! The day after its birth it escaped into a nearby wood causing much anxiety and confusion, but happily the rascal was found and now enjoys a pasture with its mom and aunt in our backyard.

That's all for now. I am going to return to the pile of National Geographics, farming literature, and wool at the house. Take care and love to all,


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