Friday, July 1, 2011

Quick Beginning of summer update

Just a quick update:

My last post, put up almost 2 months ago on May 9th, was dour. I was a sourpuss. Granted, it was snowing. But things have gotten much better. The weather is now consistently in the 80's and sometimes 90's, the sun is up before I am at 6AM and goes down about the time I go to sleep. The rooster is crowing. The goats are giving milk like champs!

60 tomato plants, 60 peppers plants, 3-4 watermelon, 4 cucumber, various squash, 240 row-feet of potatoes, germinating corn, broccoli, kale, cabbage, carrots, 2 types of beets, spinach, rainbow chard, 5 lettuce types, onions, leeks, basil, parsley, and PEAS!

That is what Is currently growing. Some more successfully than others. All of my Cucumbers and most of my watermelons died over the 2 weeks I was in Seattle for Michael and Lia's beautiful wedding. I suspect under watered/bad soil conditions. I have a few greenhouse tomatoes, and they are just starting to bear a green fruit (one tomato is starting to turn red just this morning!). I've been having daily lunches of fresh salad and spinach greens with goat cheese and boiled eggs from the neighbor's chickens (sadly, my chickens aren't laying yet). It is wonderful.

While I was gone, there has been a behavior change with the chickens, too. Before I left, they would hop outside as soon as I opened the coop and forage around in the grass, keeping it drastically shorter than the grass outside their run. They'd also look for bugs, scratch at the ground, take dust baths, etc. That has all stopped for one reason: Mordecai. My overzealous rooster has decided to come of age before the ladies and dictate their movements. He keeps them squarely in the back corner of the coop all day, and I sometimes find 4-5 of them stuffed into a single nesting box. Now, this just won't do. And with 4th of July coming up, and Mordecai being only about 4 months old (a nice, young age for a rooster!), I'm thinking it's time for a good ol' fashioned Independence Day Rooster Roast! Sure Mordecai is a beautiful rooster, and I love to hear him crow in the morning, but the negatives outweigh the positives: I'm simply not getting eggs because Mordecai is stressing the layers out. Plus, tasty chicken for the 4th!

Over the years, it has become tradition, stretching back to before my parents owned the house, to hold a Independence Day BBQ Ye Olde Pederson Homestead. My grandparents on my dad's side will be coming out today and staying through the weekend, and I'm going to rope my Gramma into showing me how she used to slaughter the chickens when she was a little farmgirl, the youngest of (I don't remember how many, but a lot) kids on the Ross family farm in Kansas. It should be a good inter-generational activity, plus it'llgive me some good down-home experience.

I'm most scared about eviscerating it and not getting guts all over the place, and bile on the meat, turning it terrible to eat. Also, I've never slaughtered anything before, and I'm a little interested on how I'll react. I don't think I'll have any problems, but who knows?

With my recent visit to Seattle, I've decided I can't stay out here at the farm much longer. With more than a couple people asking me "When are you moving back", its getting harder and harder to not do just that. I'm getting homesick for Seattle, and my most recent trip has only fanned those flames. The only way I can subdue feeling like I need to move back immediately is to stay as busy as possible here, and tire myself out as much as possible. Yesterday I made cheese, bread, put up a fence with dad, watered vegetables, made dinner, helped with milking, tended chickens, and read for about 30 minutes before I fell asleep, too tuckered out to stay up past 10PM.

And I think that's how I'm going to have to do it from now on, until I move. As much as I love my parents, living with them again is becoming increasingly difficult as I start to feel the magnetic pull back to the PNW. I've noticed this last week I've been more on edge, and not as patient as I had been before going to Seattle. My biggest problem with moving is funds. I need to get some money before I can afford to move again. So, you know, everybody out there reading this, if you hear of a job that would work for me, pass it along! I'm leaning toward Washington to move back to, but I'm not ruling out Oregon, or even the Bay Area.

A quick update about goats: They're getting big! Pictures soon in a more complete post, but we have an addition! First there was June Carter Goat, now we have Loretta Lynn Goat (cause she's black, like a Coal Miner's Daughter, GET IT!? I dunno.)! Anyway, Loretta Lynn is the granddaughter of one of our two momma goats, I suspect Rosie. She's taller than all the other kids, but they pick on her a little bit cause's she's a herd transplant. We put in a new fence yesterday, and she keeps getting her head stuck in the fence, and the other goats just headbutt her while she's stuck. Its really mean. Don't mess with goats.

Before I went on my trip, I was starting to try and learn a little about foraging, and trying to protect some of the natural fruit that is on our property, like the crab apples, sour cherries, currants, and mystery fuzzy fruit (we think it's peach or apricot!). Michael gave me a really good book on foraging as a groomsman's present (many thanks, good friend!), and during the long trip home from Seattle to Idaho on Monday I was reading it. It is called "Nature's Garden", written by Samuel Thayer. It is SO in depth, the first 70 pages are an explanation of how the author looks at wild food, and wild food identification, and how YOU should find wild food, and the process by which you identify it. I was (am) enthralled by this book. So enthralled that I decided to look for some natural areas around Pocatello (hopefully not too far away) where I can try and forage. I asked a few of the old timer's I have breakfast with on Wednesday mornings where would be good places locally, and many of their responses were to go to the Tetons, only 2 hours away. Now, that's fine, but I don't want to go that far, I'm trying to get a lot of work done on the farm. I'm just going to have to keep looking. The closest I found is a hike called Mink Creek, which I think I'll try to check out this weekend, if I can convince anybody to go with me. Turns out every other trail in any hiking book I can find in Idaho is at LEAST 2 hours away by car.

Alright, Pictures later.


-Jon E