Friday, May 31, 2013

Have I mentioned we have amazing timing?

It just happens to be in the wrong direction.  Chuck is trying something new this summer with the help of our hay man and his son.  Chuck is trying his hand at growing 'maters on the farm.   Now, I have my trepidation about this whole venture - mainly because I don't know vegetative matter like I know critters.  I have some idea what to do when a four legged varmint has an issue, but when a plant looks sickly... well, that's another matter entirely.  I'm out of my element.  I've even gotten used to Chuck's crazy turkeys.  He found one of his Royal Palm hens holed up setting twelve eggs the other day.  They're better moms than most of the chicken hens.

One of Chuck's momma turkeys with some mixed breed poults.

Virginia enjoyed trying to poke holes in the plastic.
This enterprise has come about as an attempt to augment our income and learn to better utilize the land on the farm.  The goats are doing fine this spring - better than fine, actually - but I've had no time to fool with the blog or the website, and we've missed all the weights we like to take at the 30, 60, and 90 day marks.  We've just not been able to arrange to get both our bodies to the farm at the same time without three small helpers with us.  Annalee and Chip have gotten to the point that they actually are helpful catching goats, but Virginia is just too little.  She requires constant attention at the farm.  She is part either mountain goat or sherpa.  We turn our backs, and she's standing on the top of the car or has climbed to the top of the hay feeder. 

Annalee was less impressed.
With rain in the forecast, we spent a day poking holes in the black plastic to prepare for planting, but found the ground under the plastic very dry even though the mud between the rows clung to my shoes and made them resemble giant snowshoes.  Not cool.  Chuck had to wait to plant, and of course, got plants in right as the rain quit cold turkey and the heat came on.  It has been nearly 90 degrees most days this week, and those baby tomato plants are not loving it.  He is trying to get used to the irrigation, and that offers some challenges since we have no power.  I do hate being on the bottom of any learning curve, but it is part of life.  If we quit learning, I fear we lose the ability to learn.  We ought to be in pretty good shape, with all the things we've had to learn in the past few years!

This new venture means we won't be able to make it to the SEKGA sale, and I hate that.  We had really been looking forward to it.  We had a blast there last year.  The kids enjoyed Go Fish Georgia, and it was just a really fun sale with a lot of nice people.  I wish it were a few weeks later into the summer, but it is what it is, and we have work and tomatoes to handle. There are a couple of does for sale that would blend rather nicely with our bucks, but such is not to be.  I also hate that we are missing the opportunity for fresh ripe Georgia peaches.  There's a stand in Walnut Cove that says it has S.C. and Georgia peaches, but I stopped and took a look at the pathetic imposters.  They felt akin to little baseballs - not a good sign for a tasty peach.  I passed on the disappointing little orbs, and left quite unsatisfied.
The beautiful peaches we bought last year.

If anyone feels rather generous, pick me up a couple of does at the sale and with any luck, we'll have a mess of tomatoes we can trade later this summer.  At least, I hope so.  I guess I'll just be satisfied if we have ANY tomatoes to peddle this summer at the Farmer's Market.  I'm not even going to worry about how I'm going to manage three kids at the Farmer's Market yet.  I have a little more than a week of school left with students, so I won't have time to take a breath until that's done.  I can't believe the school year is almost over.  When I first started the year I'd not have believed I would say this, but I'm going to miss those characters. They are irreverently funny, unconventionally smart, and worldly-wise, yet so innocent, and so very, very resilient.  Hopefully, I'll get to work with them again in the fall. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where's Chip-do

It has been a strange spring.  We found an unexpected consequence of kidding extra early: if spring comes late, nobody much grows because there's nothing to eat!  Finally, the kids are growing because they finally have some forage.  I can't remember many Mays where it has been so chilly, to be honest.  It has at least been wet, though, and the continued showers are not only bringing flowers, but taller and taller grass.  Chuck opened the gate to allow the goats to mow some of the bottom field although we wanted to wait and use it for weaning.  We couldn't find the time between family and work obligations, and we didn't want the forage quality to tank completely.  Chuck took this picture before he let goats in the bottom field.  It is our version of "Where's Waldo," except we're looking for Chip.  Annalee went to school the next day covered in stinging little grass cuts and whining, but she was reading Little House on the Prairie, so her teacher thought it was quite appropriate and even hummed the TV series theme song for her.  Annalee remained unconvinced...

You can find him if you look reaalllly close.  He was walking, if that tells you about the height of the grass.  The goats are loving it.  Chuck assumes they are okay, but there are some he can't find, so we'll know more when they mow it down a bit. 

We are coming up on EOC tests at school, so the pressure is on.  I vow to update the "for sale" part of the website as soon as school is over, but right now, I have a long evening ahead of me.  I am still grading last week's tests and I have to create new ones, too.  I must relate that we are reading and watching To Kill A Mockingbird right now, and the magic created by that book never ceases to amaze me.  The most die-hard "I don't care" kid fights right alongside Atticus, and is heartbroken when Tom Robinson is convicted.  They all can't wait to finally see Boo Radley, and the message of the movie - don't judge anyone until you've seen the world from their eyes - sticks with them at least a little bit.  I am pretty lucky to be in a spot where I can reread such a gift of novel every few months!