Friday, November 4, 2011

Critter Chow Heaven

The big girls peck through the heap of yum-yums, two weeks ago.

This last week's batch of free critter produce was interesting - Hot peppers, cantaloupes, bagged salad mix and pomegranates, mostly. The cantaloupe and the croutons from the Caesar salad kits were the biggest hit with the chickens. The Bunzos liked the fennel and the broccoli. The goats are in one of their snobby "hay only" moods, and are therefore turning their noses up at all of the produce except for the occasional sliced apple. Divas.

This landslide of free animal food has been a blessing. Thanks again to the folks at Ralph's Thriftway for sharing it with us.

An Early Frost

This year, it seems that our Western Washington Autumn is as hell bent on fast-forwarding into Winter as our Summer was on skipping straight into Fall.

Now, I'm not one of those Los Angeles, eternal-Summer types, but I am feeling a bit shafted after less than a month of "Summer weather", and now, just 6 weeks into Fall, we're getting hard frosts.

It's not like I'm worried that the frost is going to kill my garden. Poorer than expected soil quality and minimal heat did that a long time ago. It's that, with the return of what I have come to think of as our 6-month long Winter, comes the return of the bog, inches of slicker-than-snot clay mud, and worry - heaps of it.

I was born a worrier, but seemingly incessant darkness, damp and cold compound it. I worry about my animals - are they warm enough, dry enough, safe enough, getting enough vitamins and calories? The long-lasting dark means that the nocturnal critters that'd have my chickens and goats for dinner have extended business hours, keeping us on our toes about getting everyone tucked in for the night, earlier and earlier with each passing day, for the next 6 weeks.

It is joyful and burdensome at the same time to be responsible not only for a life, but for also ensuring happiness and comfort beyond basic needs. Between Bill and I, we now have the keeping of 72 lives besides our own on our backs and minds at all times. And Winter and it's accompanying wet and dark magnify every challenge.

I'd better stock up on my coffee and vitamin D. This season feels like it'll be a long one.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On Deck for this Week -

*Turning some beautiful but mealy apples into "Apple Pie" schnapps :)

*Making more Pumpkin Raviolis

*Finally trying this Chevre Cheesecake recipe with a caramel-apple topping.

*Giving Tetanus booster shots to the goats

*Re-homing the Thunder-bird :(

*Vaccinating our "big birds" for Fowl Pox

So, a lot of cooking and a lot of critter jabbing. Oof. I'm tired already...