Monday, September 8, 2008

Back at last

Well what do you know, the computer at work decided to let me on. You never can tell what its going to do. I know it has been quite a while but let me try to get all that we have done in some sort of order. In July we picked 19 quarts of strawberries and made our first preserves. Well we made some preserves and some syrup. Pectin , it seems is magic and we are novices at its control. We have about half the jars (about 25) that are just too soupy to be called preserves. But its good on ice ceram. And the freezer has a goodly amount in their natural state. Our chickens have matured nicely. We now get about 30 eggs a day and are selling them. We are talking to a caterer and that would be sweet if they want 12 dozen a week. We got 25 cornish cross roosters to raise as meat birds and I will not be sorry to see them go. All they do is eat and sleep. And they are not nice when you go in to feed, they peck at your legs constantly and spur you. So I say " to the freezer with you old buggers" and I will keep my affection for my sweet brown hens. Ted built us another set of nest condos as 9 was not enough. The girls were pushing and shoveing and laying eggs everywhere. Now they are much happier. The weather has been an issue for us all summer. It rained here in upper Maine for a month straight, every day. No one could get hay cut. Well some did but not us. The fellow who was supposed to cut our hay does not like to square bale but has both a square and round baler. He gets half the hay for the job. This year he thought he had a lease on a much bigger field a so kept putting ours off till the rain started. When it finally ended we had hay and weeds and his lease fell thru so he came and cut ours. Then his square baler wouldn't work so he round baled everything, except sheep want dry hay and we have no tractor to move round bales. So we have an empty barn and round bales sitting out in the rain. He on the other hand can use round balse and has the tractor. Go figure. So Kelly and I have decided to go to the USDA and jump thru their hoops in the hopes of getting a loan for a tractor mow bar, rake , and baler. With 20 acres of hay we can do our own. So additionally, due to weather, high grass, and general lack of funds we still don't have our fence posts in or fence wire purchased and up. We did , however make a trip down to Skowhegan and check out the Tractor Supply Company. What a candy store! They tell us one is coming to Bangor next year. I can't wait. We have a pellet stove paid for and are waiting and waiting for Lowes to get it in. We've been 5th on the list for a month. Pellets are also reserved thru our feed store. The sheep are coming in January so we have much to get ready. The second side of our old barn is now all cleared out and just a few repairs needed for the sheep to come. I have to build a bunch of doors before winter gets here. Now kelly has decided to get some dairy goats. I have to find out about mixing the goats with the icelandics and what the differences in care are. Her Soap making is going great with many different kinds of wonderful all natural goat milk soap. Selling well. If we can ever figure out how to get the web site up and running you can all see it. Now she is going to make bath bombs and maybe lotion. I have started making cheese. So far Mozzerella and ricotta and soft chees spreads. A neighbor has goats and lots of lovely milk and is going to teach me to make cherve though I still can't pronounce it. Lets see what else... Teddy, Kellys youngest is off to college this last weekend. Phones and says he loves it so that is good. The house sure is quiet. The bees are doing well according to Kelly. I still look from an allergic distance. The back of the house has the siding completed and all the kitchen cabinets are in. We built a huge island around the chimney and it has lots of custom stuff like tall sheet pan cabinets and cutting board slots and soda can bins and is all tiled. We took down the wall that was so cold in the kitchen last winter and found..surprise, no insulation at all. nothing, just the ouside boards from when that end of the house was a barn 160 yrs ago. So it is now insulated and sheetrocked but has yet to be painted. All the bedrooms upstairs are finished. Floors are done, walls painted and decorated. Thats 5 rooms. All that is left up there is the hall and the yet empty bathroom. Someday!We did end up with some tomatoes squash cabbages brussels, lots of Italian peppers and onions. The grape vines are ok as are the raspberries but the blackberry didn't make it. The blueberry bushes look fair. Our asparagus patch lots like it will be ok too. Some of the trees are already changing. The days grow perceptably shorter up here and I made a big double batch of homemade bake beans. Must be fall coming. I am headed to NH in Oct for my eldest sons wedding and have been clothes shopping, which I hate. but I finally have something to wear. Kell'y birthday was last week and mine is in 2 weeks and so time marches on, right over us. All her kids were up last weekend which was loads of fun. Good to see them and the grandbabies. well thats it for now. Glad to be back. Alex


Peggy said...

Glad to see you back and loved catching up on all you guys have been up to. Man, you have been busy plus holding down a paying job. Wish you were closer and I would give you some goats to get started. The goats should do just fine with the sheep.

Kelly or Alex said...

Hi Peggy, We were thinking that maybe if you have a couple of girls available we would take a road trip and come down to NC. I make goat milk soap and Alex makes cheese, we are looking for a couple of milkers to add to our family. Will you have anone who wants to move to Maine?