Thursday, July 21, 2011

Big News, Everyone!

Well, some of you know already, but I thought I owed it to my project here and the rest of you to let you in on the big happening as of late in my life: I'm moving back to Seattle. Tomorrow. Seriously.

It started with my last trip back there for Michael and Lia's wedding. Apart from the visit evoking strong homesickness, It also brought about the draining of my savings account. I decided I needed to look for employment, and about 3 weeks ago, intent on staying in the Pocatello area and finishing out the harvest, I applied to Convergys (After having applied to numerous other, more "me" jobs, but less "attainable" jobs in the past). After receiving a second interview from Convergys, who deal primarily with telephone support of Direct TV subscribers. Now, I'm not knocking the company, and many of my family do currently, and have worked there in the past. Convergys seems to be doing well and hiring employees and growing when many other companies in the area seem to be floundering.

But just the same, I started getting a feeling of disease with the situation. First of all, my options for my planned trip back to Seattle for Dana and Lauren's wedding were not looking good. Convergys has a mandatory 5-week training that means I would have had to miss the bachelor party, buy a different plane ticket to go over there, and try for some kind of vacation in the first 2 months of employment. That doesn't seem like a good starting position for me. It just didn't feel right.

About the same day of my first interview (I believe it was Thursday, July 14, one week exactly before today!), I called the warehouse manager at Micro Computer Systems, the company I worked for previously in Lynnwood, and asked him how the summer was going. He mentioned that the summer had not been going as well as he was hoping, and I asked him how much he would hire me back for, if I were to come back and work for him. Some figures got thrown around, and I ended up really thinking hard about it that night, and discussing it with my parents.

We talked about what to do with the vegetables and the chickens (Who haven't even started laying yet!), and who was going to cook dinner anymore, and general farm maintenance inquiries. At the end of the day, It came down to me knowing that I had always been planning to leave at about a year from moving here (And it has been 11 months, believe it or not), I had run out of my savings, and I had a good opportunity to hit the ground running in a geographical and social environment that I genuinely enjoy.

The tentative plan here now is this: I'll be working in the warehouse at Micro, delivering, driving, and doing warehouse work. I'm not at all thinking that the warehouse will be permanent employment for the long term (Not from my own intent, but the company notoriously runs out of summer warehouse work sometime around the end of September, and I can't count on anything past that), so I'm going to be putting out feelers in the meantime, seeing what I can come up with. But from what I would imagine to guess, it is much easier to get a job in an area when you are actually in that area. Go figure.

So here I am. Off on the verge of another journey. Have I left the last one unfinished, or did I just get the ball rolling for my parents to continue on what I have been doing? I guess that is something I'm going to have to decide and live with by myself. I'm not sure if I'll post to this blog again. I might make a different one, if I'm inspired to by some projects I take on in the PNW.

Until next time,

-Jon E

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

Monday, May 9, 2011

I think Idaho is trying to break my spirit




9th of May.

In happier days (i.e. last week) Many more things were getting done. I transplanted tomatoes. In the greenhouse. Oh yeah! we bought and erected a greenhouse! Potatoes got planted! I dug all the trenches by hand! (ugh.) Its... been a while since I posted anything of content, other than a celebration of beards, I guess.

Tomato Transplants in the greenhouse!
Potato Rows, dug by my BRUTE FORCE
Ah, the first Spring Crop of Field Rocks! So fresh!

Sister Jenni is at the farm, between contract from Holland America Cruises, where she performs the duties of Stage Manager for the onboard theater productions. She's got all kinds of projects. First and foremost, she's in charge of Baking and canning. Cookies, Gingerbread, Pies, Jams, Salsa, Preserves etc. That is only a list of the TYPES of things she's made, with multiple variations of each being made throughout the month she's been here. Talk about not helping me get my Bowflex body...

In addition she was in charge of building the patio to put the Pergola on that my parents bought. However, as of, oh, about 10 minutes ago, we are now informed that she'll be going out on her next contract for Holland America within the week. And its supposed to be Rainy here all week. So.... Guess who gets to finish that project!!!? (If you guessed "Jon and Mike Essinger", you would be correct).

Jenni with the start of her hole, to put the patio on, for the pergola

Another thing that she wanted to do before she left was make another beer. So, using ingredients I already had, we came up with a recipe. I call it Dark Matter IPA, named because it is 1) very hoppy, 2) darker in color than most IPAs, and 3) I've been reading about astronomy recently. Did you know that Dark Matter accounts for 23% of the mass-energy density of the observable universe!? And you know what dark matter is? Well if you do, you'd better let some physicists know, cause they have NO IDEA! how's that for spooky? 23% of the KNOWN UNIVERSE is UNKNOWN!!!!! anyway, I was going to write something about how this beer is a testament to still undiscovered what-have-you's in general, how its special because of something-or-other, but really, its just beer. And it was nice to brew again (Even if I only did get 52% Mash Efficiency! How lousy is that!?). We bottled it last night, and should be ready in a few weeks, but unfortunately, not ready while Jenni is still here at the farm. However, we're having a labor day/ retirement party BBQ for my dad at the end of the month, so if you're coming here (as I know some of you are) for that, It'll be ready to drink!

The chickens are doing swimmingly (literally with all this rain and snow!! ZING!), and we got the fence for the chicken yard up, and the mobile chicken coop in place! The chickens are learning how to exists outside the box, how to scratch and peck and not be cooped up. They're doing alright, but they don't like to be out in the rain for some reason. They have a coop they can hide under! What else could they even want!?


Just a good shot of Henry, happy outside in the sun!
Now, Last but not least, The goats are doing great. Here's a picture of Jenni and the kids:

The boys are absolutely huge, at only 2 months old tomorrow (May 10th). The next paragraph is going to get pretty graphic talking about castration here:

The boys' Balls have dropped (June Carter Goat is still just as cute as ever, though!). The boys need to be wethered before they start impregnating something and everything. They're doing "domination games" (I guess that is the best way for me to describe it?), They mount each other (doesn't matter who, they mount everything, horny little goats!) but they just don't know what exactly they're doing. They'll soon find out, though. And we need to nip that in the bud before they impregnate Abby. We'd like to breed Abby sometime, but she's so small, if she gets impregnated by a big goat, it would kill her and/or the kids. We don't want to do that, we like Abby. The young bucks can be fertile just 3 months after they're born. We're using a method called Elastratration, where you basically take a special tool called elastrator pliers, and these rubber bands that are similar to, but much stronger than, rubber bands for braces. You slip the band on the tool, open 'er up, drop down whatever you want to die off, and snap it shut. The testicles die and fall off in a  few weeks. The tool is also used to dock tails on animals, and can also be used to de-horn the goats, which we might use as well (Though I've read some reports that it is messy when the horns fall off from this procedure). Before this is done, however, Dad's calling our vet for any pointers. Most places that talk about this type of castration say you need to give the goats a tetanus shot. I'm willing to believe it, and it costs only $3/vial at the animal supply store, so we might (probably will) be giving some injections prior to castration.

In addition to my own farm, I've been helping out over at Ladybird farm, which is more like they're helping me out. They're being great information sources for local growing, and since I don't know exactly what I'm doing with all this farm stuff, I can generally use them as a compass for when to plant out things, and how to treat local weeds and weather. So far, I've helped put up a high tunnel for season extension, helped them put peppers, basil, and eggplant in the ground, and they've given me a flat of tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillo varieties I didn't have! Their setup is pretty nice, more sophisticated than my ramshackle butt-hut, but hey, they've been doing this longer! They have more materials to allow for a longer growing season, but I think I can adapt some of my materials (see the failed first greenhouse for some of them) into season extension techniques. Mostly, I think I can do some smaller tunnels in the field to help with thermophilic crops like peppers and tomatoes, and with limited cost.

until next time,

-Jon E

Saturday, May 7, 2011




Henry Beard
Haggar the Horrible sez: you like my beard? Maybe you'll like my dance!
Funky Chicken Dance Beard
Haggar the Horrible Sez: "I knew you'd like that dance" beard

Mrs. Featherbottom Beard (It wraps all the way around her head!)

Beardo Photobomb Beard

Connie's got a beard

Connie is teaching June Carter all about growing beards

June Carter Goat is trying SO HARD to grow a beard right now! (Everyone's doing it!)
Rosie can't grow a beard, but she's got a winning smile...

And the "last but not least" beard...
That's all for now.

-Jon E

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It gets kinda rambly at the end

Lets start this edition with an account of my visit to Seattle. It was overcast the entire time. I spent too much money. I was tired the entire time. It was wonderful. So many friends, so much fun. The overcast skies strangely felt more fitting than they do in Idaho. Toby and Shannon's wedding was beautiful. It was an honor to be a part of as best man. Aside from the wedding, I saw a ton of friends. Big thanks to Adam and Katie, Britt, Erica, Michael, and anybody else who hosted me! Fun times were had, and I always fail to take pictures when I'm out doing fun stuff, so no pictures. The only pictures I was actually actively taking were pictures of the sky from the car on the drive from Idaho. The sky was beautiful for those two days. Perhaps I was drawn to the sky for its feeling of freedom.

I left Idaho feeling like I had my soul sucked out of me by the long, cold, grey winter. I came back feeling refreshed, inspired by the Seattle Spring, daffodils blooming, everything being bright and green and full of life. I brought that feeling back with me, determined to get things going here on the farm. I think I've made a good start on the growing season, even though I SHOULD have started a bit earlier if I could have been around.

After the Seattle trip, when I stopped through Fruitland, ID at my grandparents' house, my Gramma sent me home with some onion sets... she called them Multiplier Onions, and they originally came from her brother, who was a farmer down in Kansas. I was very grateful to be able to accept such a wonderful gift, and be a part of something that is the definition of Heirloom vegetable gardening. I got those onion sets in the ground, as well as the chive plants she sent me home with.

As for all of the almost $200 of seed I bought,  depending on their germination times, they are starting in my room. I bought a heat mat to raise germination temperatures, a four foot shop light with florescent lights in them, and set my growing operation up in my room where my TV once was. Its pretty fun having this all in my room, being able to wake up and monitor overnight progress, and having it super humid in the room at all times because of the plant respiration. So far, Basil shot up first, within 4 days of planting the starts, tomatoes took 7 days (right on time!), and the peppers are starting to come up today, a mere 10 days from planting time. Standard germination for peppers is said to be 14 days. TOTALLY BEAT IT. That's not to mention the onion, leek, broccoli, cabbage, kale, parsley, and rosemary starts that are all in various stages of germination.

Seed Start setup (I plan on expanding this for more space, since I'm going to have to pot on the small seedlings into larger pots)

Soil Blocks, with Tomato, pepper, and broccoli
So, I mentioned before how I had bought these Soil Block contraptions. Now, I have to say, I'm not usually one for newfangled widgets and con-sarned fizznats, but I thought I'd give them a try. I have them in a seed tray, but the difference is, everything is so much more controlled. I mixed the potting soil correctly so they would keep their form, and I'm keeping them moist my spraying them like it was suggested. Just one seed per tiny block. Those blocks above are seriously tiny, I was surprised at how small. However, they seem to work wonderfully, and the Broccoli seeds I put in them are actually already sprouted 4 days later. You have to marvel at mother nature sometimes. How DOES that old bat do it year after year?

My dad has been gardening in a bed close to the barn for the last few years, and he has graciously allowed me to use it for early-season things. Right now I have the aforementioned multiplier onions and 2 pea varieties in the ground in that plot. I'll also add some beets, carrots, chard, lettuce, and various other cold-weather crops. This is due to the fact that I currently have annual rye growing in my 1/8 acre plot I'll be using for the main growing season. The rye is to add organic matter to the soil, which will help with nutrients once they break down after I till them in, and also water retention. I planted the Rye last week on Wednesday, so it has been now 9 days... I am hoping it sprouts any day now to get some growth on that field. I really should have done the rye last year, after tilling the field, but I was young, foolish, and uninformed. What a dumb kid I was! In addition to the Rye, I planted a Dryland Mountain flower mix as a perimeter to the 1/8 acre vegetable field to encourage beneficial insects, and to add some color to everything. It'll help brighten it all up and make working out there as pleasant as possible.

In addition to planting the rye and flower mix, I erected my greenhouse/cold frame.

...aaaaaand it promptly fell down yesterday after a thunder and windstorm. Balls. I have some ideas for fixing it in the future, but that can wait until the wind isn't blowing like it is currently.... constantly and at high magnitude. At least there wasn't any plant material in it to get ruined. Disirregardless (that one's for you Craig), it was reaching temperatures upwards of 30 degrees F above outside temps before collapsing. Not bad, I'd say. now if I could just get it to STAY UP! Much thanks to Dad and Sis for help putting it up, as misguided and doomed to fail as it may have been...

Ah the chickens. We've reached this topic. They're certainly not as cute as they once were. And they're rambunctious. And they're about 3x bigger than they were before I left for Seattle. I barely recognized them when I got back. I'm slowly making mental notes on what to name them. Probably not going to name them all. Some might be named Dinner. Who knows!? I just know I have one that looks like a falcon, so I'm naming it Mordecai, after the falcon in the Royal Tenenbaums. Another that's super ornery, and Dad suggested the name "Henry" in a french accent. I'm also convinced I'll name the rest after dinosaurs.

Band Photo

They now have the entire coop to run, play, jump, harass each other. They're, you know, Chickens.

In addition to all those crazy projects, Dad and I started demolishing a pasture fence that needs to be replaced if we're ever going to run goats there. Dad bought a custom mix pasture seed where I bought my annual ryegrass. The pasture mix was dryland seed, so we wouldn't need to really water it after it gets established. It is also an important step in cleaning up the farm. It gives us an end goal to finding junk that is laying in the field and dealing with it. It also is going to help us accumulate a bunch of old lumber and round poles we can use as materials for other projects if/when we find a use for them. Again, it was too windy today to go out on the tractor (It was a very unforgiving wind today), but we should get all the old grass and weeds ripped soon, and the new pasture mix put in.  We won't be able to run the goats on the field until the fall, but we should be able to cut it and use it as hay for goats to eat through the winter.

Aside from a laundry list of things I'm getting done, I'd like to day that I'm starting to feel like all this farming stuff is nothing new. I don't know if that's good or not. I still feel wonder and excitement at things happening like seeds germinating, chickens growing, and baby goats chewing on my pants, but I think I'm feeling more and more comfortable with this being regular life. Accepting it. I don't know what I was expecting when I moved, maybe just a long vacation? Was I expecting a complete life change? I still don't know. But I can tell you now that I can see the progression of the changes I've made in my life. Example; I just made bread on a whim today because we were making soup for dinner. No recipe. I looked at a book once to see if I was setting the oven temperature correctly. I would never have been able to do that a year ago. I feel more confident in my abilities to just jump in and DO something. Its liberating. Its surprising.

I've been blissfully going about my business since moving out here, but now I'm faced with a choice in the next 6 months or so; Stay here and farm, move back to Seattle, or move someplace completely different. My life choices have really put me into a place of complete freedom to do what I want to do at the end of this farming adventure. I have nobody and nothing counting on me to be responsible for anything.

I met a man in Alaska who took Michael and I fishing and sailing during my travels last October that really made me realize that life can be SO full if you chose those paths. That man was a captain of a ship during the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He had at one time been a pilot. He had raced yachts. He had worked in Antarctica. Exciting stuff! It made me so glad of my decision to get out from behind the desk and do physical work again. However, this new found sense of freedom begets an equal feeling of uncertainty that I had not experienced before. Where am I going? What am I doing? When I took myself out of the mainstream commerce machine, a bunch of social supports were taken out from under me, like financial stability, close friends nearby. I am completely in charge of my prosperity in the next few months. How I am able to sell my produce and products directly effects my future. These are real issues that I have to deal with when I decided I want to be lazy that day, or the weather isn't cooperating, etc. Being directly responsible for your own prosperity completely and utterly lets you see what you're made of. And the only one to judge if it the job you're doing is good enough is yourself.

ENOUGH philosophical Mumbo-Jumbo. I guess I just want to point out, I'm thinking hard about my future, and trying to figure out WTF I want to do, since it doesn't seem so clear right now. But I'll figure it out (I'll have to), and I'll be sure to let you know when I do.


-Jon E

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Quickly, I wanted to share the joy of my tomato and basil seeds germinating... Hooray!

Tomato Seelings (Brandywine)

Italian Basil pokin' up!

Seed Blocking experiment (Tiny humid seed warehouse)
I'll post something more extensive of my farming progress as soon as the weather turns into crappy, but for now, I gotta make Hay while the sun shines. Upcoming: Greenhouse, chickens (they're bigger, not surprisingly!), ryegrass planted in vegetable plot, a visit to Seattle for a wedding, tearing down fences, deconstructing old structures, getting sunburns, thermal mass, converting my room into a sprouting lab, etc. Tons of exciting new developments, stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kids, Chickens, coops, spring!

Tomorrow I am leaving for a trip to Seattle for Toby and Shannon's wedding. In the past two weeks, a few things have been happening that are pretty exciting, and I'm just trying to get them all down here before I take off tomorrow.

The previously mentioned chickens: I haven't killed any of them! We'll see if my dad can keep that trend going when I'm gone for a week an a half. I'm absolutely shocked at how fast they're growing. Most of them have great looking wing feathers already, and are trying to fly (!) (?)..... (:-/). I keep telling them in my sad and lonely old chicken-man way (yes, I'm talking to the chickens, its perfectly healthy) that they're chickens and they'll never be able to fly. The optimistic young rebellious side of me hopes that they won't listen, to me or to nature, and they'll fly away forever free. The old chicken man (Kinda like the crazy cat lady, but with chickens. Go with it) part of me wants their eggs. I think the chickens will listen to reason and stop all their jibber-jabbin'.

Proud and, relatively, free. They just can't get out.

They're friggin' chickens, man! Such Proud, Independent Women.
 Today I moved the chickens out of the small 3' diameter brooding tank I had them in and put them into the newly enclosed coop that got, kinda, finished! It has a nice coat of Boring White Primer on it (Thanks to Gina for help with the coop and the painting!), and I'll decide on a color once I get back from my trip. I attempted to go to a hardware store and buy some mistakenly made paint off them for cheap.... the one problem I now see is that it was just winter, and nobody buys exterior grade paint in winter. There was no messup colors available to buy. Guess I'll try later! I also need to put in roosts as soon as the chickens are big enough to roost, but for the time being, that point is moot.

Moot. Coop. Moot Coop. Now say it out loud. Enunciate. Now you sound incredibly silly.

Chicken Viewing Window from the outside of the coop!

This is apparently the only picture I took of the "finished" coop. I am an imbecile. LOOK A WHITE BOX! The other angles are better, I promise.
In non-chicken related news and similarly super-cute baby news, those of you who do not see my facebook posts will be happy to hear that we have baby goats now! Kids! Unfortunately, one of them didn't make it, but we are proud to introduce the newest members of our goat herd, no-names #1-3 and June Carter! The boys don't get names, for they are destined for either a gruesome, bloody, delicious end or someone's field who is not us. Either way, we prefer to not associate names and get emotionally attached (yeah right, like that's not going to happen).

No name #1 (Con-Tron's First)

No Name #2 (con-tron's Second)

Our little Ghost Goat. Sadface. :-( (Rosie's Third)

JUNE CARTER GOAT (Thanks for the Name Britt) (Rosie's Second)

No Name #3 (Rosie's First)
Ghostie didn't make it, we think, because it wasn't pushy enough to get fed. The big goats tend to walk away from the little kids when they're trying to feed. Unfortunately, it happens more often than I had previously read about; one goat out of a set of triplets gets ostracized and underfed. She would have made 2 beautiful little girls to raise with their mommas. Now we have 3 Billies and 1 girl. The girl is named June Carter. Britt requested we name one of the goats this. I think it is great. And Devon and Elsa, if you're reading this, I'm really not trying to copycat June Carter Cat, because that three-legged bundle of energy is in a class of its own. I wouldn't want to impose.

They are so much fun to watch play. It is ridiculously cute. Here's some pictures of goatplay, really cute. Best joke of birthing day goes to my friend Sean, who, when he saw the pictures, commented "Baby goats!? They've got to be kidding!" Bucketuhfish. Click on the images if you want to see any bigger.


June Carter goat in the wild.

lookit the little goat feeding!!!!

If you're wondering, yes, I'm getting pretty good at milking the big goats. Connie's got a lopsided udder that the kids won't feed from if not explicitly made to. So we milk it down, then get a kid on the teat with Connie locked in the goat stand so she can't run away. Which she loves doing. She also loves resisting any attempt to get her into the goats stand. Its a nice morning wakeup to hoist her up onto the stand and push her head through the restraining boards so she can't run away. And just our luck, Rosie would love to get up on the stand because we give Raisins as treats, however, she doesn't need to get up there yet. one interesting and kind of adorable thing that they do is that they'll feed each others' babies. Not something I expected. Also, the kids headbutt the udders pretty hard when they're trying to get the last drops out. Not something I would think these stubborn goats would allow, but it doesn't seem to faze them.

So, now that all the kids are kidded and chickens are chicked, I have only to get the plants planted. No small task. I'm still behind on getting my greenhouse/cold frame built (PVC structure with plastic sheeting for solar energy intensification). I also need to get a big ol' pile of my dirt ready and mixed, and jerry-rig some kind of a hot house/heated starting structure in the attic of the barn. Sheesh.

I visited Ladybird Farms' headquarters (their garage) to see how their seed starting operation was conducted, and to interact with some other local growers. Sufficed to say, they're far ahead of any progress (or lack thereof) I have made. However, they've been doing this a couple years longer than NEVER BEFORE and have a little better idea how things work in our local climate. I also didn't want to start any seeds then leave for a week and half. I'll start stuff when I get back. However, I suggest, if you are reading this and are in the Southeast Idaho area, and like vegetables, or think you need to eat more vegetables, subscribe to Ladybird Farms' CSA. I was a member of a CSA in Seattle, and I have to admit that the benefits of getting locally produced, fresh produce in abundance during to the summer is well worth the price they are asking. Whats more, I found that it more or less forced me to eat more veggies, or they would go bad and I would feed stupid for wasting my valuable vegetables that had already been paid for. Anyway, check it out if you're interested (though I don't know how many people in SE Idaho actually read this).

I went to Craters of the Moon with Gina when she was out here last week. It was fun to have a friend around for once. It was good to kind of shake me out of my day-to-day existence, too. Craters of the Moon was too snowy for us to really enjoy any "craters" or have it look like a "moon", but I wore my astronaut helmet anyway. I made sure to sing "Ziggy stardust" and "Rocketman" to the aether of the craters of the moon, and even came back with a mission patch bought for me by Gina. We then stopped in the town of Arco for a (gutbomb) Atomic Burger, so named because of the SL-1 nuclear reactor facility in the area that melted down in 1961, a somewhat poignant landmark to pass considering the recent disasters in Japan reactors. The Wikipedia article about the meltdown is fascinating to read. In lighter news, the high school local to Arco, Named after the local county of "Butte", has the unfortunate mascot of Pirates. They are the Butte Pirates. I have picture proof taken by my crappy cellphone camera. I think everybody in the Pickle Place restaurant where I snapped this photo was glaring at me and hated me as I walked out the door.

Most Unfortunate. I'm sorry, high school kids that have to go to this high school.
EDIT: After having to explain why I find "Butte Pirates" slightly humorous to my parents (awkward!), I realize that this might not translate well to people who read "butte" with a long "u". While there is no offense meant by posting this, I do, however, sometimes have a juvenile sense of humor. A Butt Pirate is something that I would have called a friend jokingly in middle school. I thought it was funny at the time, and unfortunate for any students of the school to have to be branded under the moniker. All guys are stupid 12 year olds at heart sometimes. Here is evidence.

Anything else? No? Okay, meeting adjourned.