With the bounty of cucumbers comes the making of pickles and the harvesting of dill.
The dill produced abundantly this year and I have left many heads unplucked and drying for seeds.
Although Abigail may forever remain our special needs Nigerian Dwarf goat, she takes a a great photograph!
Just a short note on several vine garden offerings rapidly approaching harvest:
This week found me harvesting angora fibers from our angora rabbits. Unfortunately, although we brushed Stormey regularly, we procrastinated plucking or shearing his moulting coat until the fiber felted around his body.
Chalk it up to newby ignorance!
He and I spent one very long afternoon clipping away the felted hunks of fur with a pair of small scissors. No photographs. He's too embarrassed ...
The following day I brought in our two other angoras, Ty and Amy, for plucking sessions. Angoras moult their fibers three or four times a year. Removing the fiber is not painful for them as the hair follicles have already released from the skin. Not removing the hair results in matting or felting which keeps the rabbit's body from cooling as needed and may also cause rabbits to ingest dangerous clumps of fur.
I utilized a comb for most of the fiber harvesting. An undergrowth of fine hair remains once the moulted fur is removed. Note the difference in the photographs above: plucked Amy on the left, unplucked Ty on the right.
Fiber from each rabbit is now available through our Etsy shop. Check out our Fiber Store web page for more information.
As most gardeners this year, we are struggling with an overabundance of squash. The freezer is filling, we have ingested as many as possible, and plants continue producing. My favorites of the season are these starburst squash, meaty, crisp and mild in flavor. Excellent for frying.
Yesterday I attempted a new strategy: oven baked squash chips. First step: remove the seeds.
Second step: thinly slice the squash into strips. Coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then bake in the oven.
The challenge became baking the strips evenly, so I played around with oven temperature settings to try and attain an even crispness. Success proved elusive, but the taste was good. These will make a nice snack item or side for dinner.
In addition, the toasted squash seeds made a delicious snack item. The seeds, coated with olive oil and seasoning salt, are thinner than roasted pumpkin seeds and melt in the mouth.
Our shelling beans are ready for harvesting, including speckled pinto beans ...
and red kidney beans.
After shelling, we spread the beans on newspapers for drying over the next month or so.
Some for eating.
Some for planting.
Emma, our newborn Jacob lamb, turned two weeks old today. She is healthy and energetic and inseparable from her mother.
Without the potatoes. My neighbor suggested another way to use up the armloads of squash produced this summer. Potato cakes. Except they are squash cakes.
Peel squash then cook until soft before mashing with a potato masher. Drain in a colander, squeezing out all excess water. Mix with a beaten egg, flour, salt, pepper, and finely chopped onions. Fry in oil. This proved a family hit and a tasty approach to using up excess squash!
An unfortunate accident occurred midweek when the three-day old baby goat somehow pushed through a small opening at floor level between stalls and wandered into the domain of the sheep and newborn lamb. Near as I can figure, Maisey the mama ewe kicked or headbutted baby Abigail.
I found her lying in the hay, legs kicking furiously, but unable to walk, lift her neck, or support her head. Traumatic brain or neck injury, but no apparent breaks.
I expected euthanization, but the vet suggested nerve damage and a 48-hour vigil for any sign of improvement. Although her mother remained patient, Abigail did not seem to remember how to nurse. We returned to milking Blossom and using an eye dropper for feedings every two to three hours.
Improvement has been gradual but steady, and this afternoon we took the pair outside for much-needed sunshine and fresh grass. Abigail toddles on unsteady legs and falls often. She remembers how to nurse, however, which is a good sign.
We're not certain where this "road to recovery" will lead, but we have learned that Blossom is a patient, long-suffering, and excellent mother.
We brought Maisey and her lamb (yet unnamed - still ruminating) outside for a spot of sunshine this afternoon and tail-banding.
Here's a family shot with Jackson the sire ram watching from behind the fence.
Maisey the mama was unimpressed with the ordeal and headed for the driveway.
Much to the consternation of both, we retrieved the lamb for her tail docking, applying the tight rubber band with an elastrator which cuts off blood flow to the tail. It will fall off in a couple of weeks.
This is our story, in real time and in photos. It is neither unique nor unusual nor extraordinary. But it is our story.