Very exciting news- on jan 3rd, we found the VERY first duck egg of 2012! Now the year has begun for real! For the last 3 days, one egg each day, and if conditions are good for one of the ladies, chances are the other gals will follow suit. We may be delivering eggs to the Cities starting in February, we’ll keep you posted here. The predator has hit the trail for some time now, but we’re keeping the dogs on nightly stake out as a precautionary measure.
In about a month, the first goat kids are due to be born! The 3 older goat mommas are all showing the “baby bulge” big time, and we’re really excited for bouncing joyful kids on the farm again….as well as fresh milk for drinking and cheesemaking. Cultured goat milk only has so many uses, and the flavor is rather strong after 3 months. Did you know real raw milk will naturally culture itself into a type of buttermilk?
Eating from our pantry and “root cellar” had been amazing. We have one bowl full of the very last fresh tomatoes, but they ripened indoors, so they aren’t the primo tomatoes you’d think of. Still- that’s better than those trucked thousands of miles from CA! There are still some Napa Cabbages to use, they hold very well into winter, a big surprise. Turnips extend mashed potatoes, and are wonderful in organ meat pot pies. Winter radishes have been another surprise- the red meated ones are wonderful sliced in a vinagrette with carrots and napa! The only downside to eating at home all the time is all the dishes that never end! Winter crops are essential to get by without much grocery store shopping, and we’re planning to offer an awesome winter share next fall. These winter storage and use experiences will help us determine what and when to plant things this coming season. If we grow things we don’t use or eat, chances are others wouldn’t either, so we’ll put our winter-of-local to use in the winter share.
The first litter of Rabbit Kits is now at 3weeks. The babies are bounding out of the nest box, eating big-bunny food with momma, nursing and growing fast on her very rich milk. Psycho Suzy/Jill is a great mom, and is transforming into a very sweet rabbit with some patient coddling. We had the rabbit harvesting experience a couple weeks back with our local rabbit guru, and can now say rabbit is a very delicious meat. We simmered ours in beer, fruit vinegar, with caraway, lemon and diced salt pork. Yes, rabbit is very very tasty, and surprisingly filling! A little goes a long way -one small rabbit extended into 6 meals for us. We met our Amish neighbors and purchased two more young does, so we can begin supplying rabbit meat this year. Let us know if you are interested.
Our pigs are being harvested next week. It’s a relief actually, as these pigs have been such crazy rabblerousers. They basically ran off (while playing with each other) all the calories they ate…..all summer. There were the multiple times they got out to greet us at the door. The amount of damage an loose omnivore could do on our farm is mind-boggling! You cannot grab a pig as there is nothing to hold onto, and they are pure muscle. Needless to say, it’s been a memorable time with these pigs. They had quite a life here, and we still love them up each day with pats and scratches on the back. 2 or 3 pigs max at a time is highly recommended, and this is what you do- you learn as you go.