One of the seven wonders of the preserving world is Quince Jam (Preserves). It starts out as a beautiful, aromatic, inedible fruit. However, you can devote about 6 hours to it and turn it into something wonderful. Preserving books call is Quince Preserves. I call it Quince Jam. We have a small tree which lives in the temporary turkey pen and despite being roosted in by turkeys and occasionally nibbled on by goats, produces a bumper crop of quinces each year. This year was no different. To make the preserves, you peel and chunk up the creamy white quinces. You make a sugar syrup, add the chunks and then (patiently) boil it down for hours and hours. As the mixture boils down, it thickens and turn a lovely ruby shade.
We had a light kidding year this year – only 16 kids with the last born May 1st. In the past few years, we’ve had a high percentage of does vs. buck kids born. This is a good thing as we usually sell more does than buck kids and the bucks born are generally too related to our existing breeding stock for us to use. This year the count was 11 boys and 5 girls. Guess we were due. However, all are healthy and bouncy and we had no kidding problems, so we still count this as a good year.
We had a collection of old horse/cow feeders from over 20 years ago. They had never worked well for our sheep and goats as the animals pull the hay out on the floor and on themselves and get their heads stuck between the bars. Using discarded feed sacks and zip ties, we improved them. They seem to work well. We have less hay waste and fleece contamination and haven’t had to build/buy another option.
While packing the cat and spraying the dog, it’s a wonder I get time for garden watering at all!
We weaned the first group of cashmere kids (11) a week ago. Their home for 3 weeks away from their mothers is a small pasture across the fence from our early garden. They learn quickly that this is a very good deal as they get “throwovers”. Throwovers include weeds and other garden plant disposals thrown over the fence by the gardener. Here they are getting the lower leaves from the sunflowers and weeds. Recyclying at its finest!
This is a new yarn I just finished making from our Shetland sheep wool. I started with rovings of two colors (dark and white) and spun from each randomly. I plyed this with a white spun strand from my Shetland lamb Penelope. After washing (to set the twist), I hung it outside to dry yesterday; it dried in less than two hours. Guess 100 degree days are good for something. I knitted a swatch on size 5 needles. I love this yarn! I’m taking this yarn to a knitting guild next weekend where I’ve been invited to speak and bring product for sale. If it sells Saturday, I will make more. If it doesn’t, the new sweater gets started right away.
If you plant sunflowers, don’t plant them too close to the fence separating your garden from the goat herd. The north side of the sunflowers planted at the edge of the garden took some abuse. Goats were happy. If they could have just stretched their necks a bit further, I’d have no sunflowers left at all. I think these will recover; goats have been moved to a different pasture.
Cashmere kids out to play on a sunny day. Not an electronic device or video screen in sight!
Sometimes – ewes and does seem to get stuck looking after kids/lambs that aren’t theirs. They don’t seem to mind.
Planting peppers with dog help – *plant a pepper, throw the ball * , repeat until you are out of peppers.