Saturday, May 31, 2008

I love this next picture of Mya - she's so funny.
I have been wanting some pictures of Gabby to use in our etsy advertising and thank you cards, so while I was out taking pictures of the fish, I took some pics of Gabby. I think they turned out cute.

I experimented with making cheese this week, which was pretty cool. I made some soft cheese (I can't find the pictures of it, I must have them on the other camera - we have 2 cameras, one that is mom and dad's and one that is Justin and I's, but they are exactly the same, except ours has the shoulder strap, so it gets confusing - which camera was I using??), which was a basic white cheese, and it turned out pretty good, it needed a little more salt, but it's good! We've enjoyed snacking on it. Its definitely something I would make again. The other cheese I made was a "Chevre" or "fromage blanc" but it didn't turn into cheese so much as it did REALLY good sour cream. The whey didn't seperate very good while it was hanging, so we just mixed it in really well, salted it, and saved it for sour cream. Its good! I put part of the recipe into molds though to make chevre, which is supposed to be a cream cheese like spread made from goats milk. It isn't done yet, so I don't know how it is. (If you hang the mixture it is fromage blanc, or "bag cheese", but if you put it in molds and let it drain it is chevre). It's fun, I can't wait to experiment with more of this stuff. Plus its SO great to be able to eat dairy again, and not get so sick. I haven't been able to have butter, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. without getting so sick. The goat milk is wonderful!

Juju is broken!

Justin has been trying to catch fish since he moved here last spring. He's had some bad luck, and before today had caught just 2 salmon, some kelp, a sea cucumber, and the bottom of the ocean. About halfway through todays fishing trip he decided that maybe his bad luck was coming from the hat he wears when he's fishing, so as we zipped out across the ocean, he gave his hat a fling! And at the next hole we started catching halibut, and Justin got his limit first! Yay! :) Just had to break the bad juju.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our gardening

We started our gardening downstairs on the desk in our living room, but as the plants very quickly grew we realized we would need to find another place for them to grow, so we built the greenhouse, which I've already posted about. I've just never shown you the planting side of things, and how things are growing.

After the big move upstairs to the greenhouse....Things still look pretty small.
This black tray above is my flowers, zinnia, and marigolds.

But give them a few weeks of warm weather and a little sunshine.....

This picture (above) is one of my cucumber plants. I actually have a cucumber about 5 inches long right now. Its growing inches a day - very cool. Below is the corn, its about 3.5 feet tall.
My flowers (below)

So, this is our greenhouse!


I think you can see the glob of butter there in this picture. I know its hard to see. Kind of fun though.
One of the things I really wanted to try when we got goats was making our own butter. So, we saved cream off a few days milkings, until we had a pint jar full, then one evening we just started shaking it. And we shook, shook, and shook some more, until Voila! We had butter floating in milk. It was really cool. This actually was our first batch, and it took a while to do, the second batch we let warm up more before we started shaking, and we used a larger jar, so it had more room to shake, so it went a lot faster. Now we've made butter twice!

I tried to make yogurt once, but it didn't go well. I think maybe I didn't let it cure long enough? It was like white snot, not to be gross, but it was. Anyone who's made it before - how do you tell yogurt is done and ready to go in the fridge????

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oops, I forgot

I forgot to add the video to the crane post. So, here it is.

Sandhill Cranes

For a week or two now we have heard the sandhill cranes flying around the neighborhood, but hardly ever get to see them. This morning around 10 am I was outside bringing plants out of the greenhouse to harden them off, when I heard the cranes. I watched them flying towards me, then around behind the house, then they landed in the neighbors field behind his house. After I got the plants all drug out into the sunshine I went into mom's room to see where the cranes went. When I pulled back the curtain - there were the cranes on the ground right outside mom's window. They were digging in the dirt that got churned up last fall when Justin put in the ditch right there. We watched them for a long time, and I got some really good pictures I had to share. I have a video too. its a little slow, but if you are interested you can watch them eating and churning up the dirt. Also in the background are some tweety birds singing. Kind of a cool spring morning thing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thank you!

THANK YOU to everyone for the happy birthday wishes, and card!! I appreciate them all!! Love you all. Alicia

Monday, May 5, 2008

We've gotten lots of questions about the goats, which I'll try and remember to answer now. They're going to live in a small barn that we're going to build in the next couple of days, with wooden sides, to block out the wind, rain, snow, etc. That way they will be protected, they'll be able to wander around the back yard, once we get it tuned up a bit, and we will be able to get to them easily to milk them. Justin is doing most of the milking, I need to learn how but I haven't yet. We're going to build a milking stand (stantion) so it will be easier to do, and will give us something to tie Gretta's back legs to while we milk so she can't tromp in the middle of the full milk bucket.....again. We get about 1 1/2 quarts of milk per milking, so we're getting a little over 3 quarts a day, or we will once we have 2 successful milkings in a day. We haven't drank any of the cold milk since we got her home, we sampled her milk before we bought her, but haven't had it at home yet. We'll keep looking around for a billy to breed them with, either to buy or rent as a stud service. The next names if the babies are girls will be Bree, Susan, Lynette, Edie.....and the boys would be Carlos, Mike, Carl, Orson, etc. depending on what genders we have. The boys we'll either sell as studs, or eat. We'll be buying alfalfa for them to eat now and through the winter. Hopefully we can find some good rates.

Today I ordered the stuff I need to make goat cheeses. You can make any kind of cheese you want out of the milk, so we're going to try that. I've always wanted to make cheese, so hopefully I'll like it as much as I think I will. We're also going to make lots of yogurt. Everyone talks about how good that is, so we'll do that too. Plus ice cream. We'll breed the goats this fall, and hopefully end up with 2-6 babies next spring. Gretta is the only one producing milk now, since Gabby is just a baby. I can't remember what the other questions were, so if I haven't answered, let me know! :) Love you all. Hope the video works. This is me and Justin moving them to the other pen closer to the house. Right as the video ends you can hear Justin asking me to come carry the baby, so I ran over and grabbed the baby and carried her.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yep, we did...

...get goats that is. We've talked about it off and on for a while now, and we finally just went ahead and did it yesterday. We've been worried about what we would do for milk, if things got really weird in the world, or if it just got too expensive. So, since its hard to find good milk cows up here, we decided to get goats. Goats should be able to do really well with the land that we have here. That's the hope anyway. We got 2 goats. A mama and a doeling. Unfortunately the baby isn't from this mama, so they've both been a little upset since we brought them home. Hopefully they will adjust soon. They're really pretty, the baby is white with a brown spot on her shoulder, and the mom is kind of tawny/white speckled. Justin had goats a lot growing up, although I never did, so he knows what he's doing. tomorrow we have to get to work on building a permanent barn for them, and a milking stand. This morning she stepped in the milk pail and ruined it all! So, we'll be doing that tomorrow.

Justin also has been building an enhanced (larger) chicken coop for all our 40 chick and 2 turkeys. Yesterday was their first turn in the house too. They were a little cold at first, but when we got them lights in the right spots they did better. Justin has been working SO hard the last week to get all this ready, now he has to build a goat barn. Poor guy, he's really tired. I'll try and get some chick pictures today or tomorrow to share. They're growing so quickly. Last night, Justin went to check on them before bed one turkey was laying down (the turkeys are older and bigger) and the turkey had a chicken curled up in the middle of its back. And the other turkey was standing, and had a group of chickens huddled underneath it, trying to stay warm. And we were worried they wouldn't get along..... :)

Oh, I almost forgot. The mama goat is Gretta, and the baby is Gabby. To make naming easier when we have baby goats, we're going to name them after the desperate housewives or desperate housegoats that is (mom's idea), which I think is really funny.