not a "mistake". You know how you're never quite sure whether a goat is pregnant or just chubby? No - just us, then? We have December babies here. Twins, born yesterday.
Clearly, Holstein got into the wrong pen at the wrong time. We anticipate more this week - come and see the babies, who'll be outside in Tony's Pen for you to admire if weather permitsMost of the girls seem pregnant - or fat - we're obviously not expertsThey seem docile, thoughtful; they take it easy around the loafing barnOthers seem friskier, ready for a good timeBut he's a player, so there's quite a lineFather of this week's Miracle Babies, and many moreMeanwhile, we've been cleaning out the loafing barn ready for birthing. Goats come into the barn to give birth - they don't have babies in the pastureSince this ...
leads to this ...and ultimately this, we have to rent heavy-duty equipment at this time of year, before the ground gets waterlogged with rain, and scoop out the barn. We dust the floor with agricultural lime to sweeten and disinfect, and add fresh straw collected from our neighbors across the street, the MooresWe age the manure, away from the goats. It's ideal for garden compostMaybe we'll call this one Miracle? At least there's a clean straw bed for them
It's our Christmas Faire in two weekends, and the farm shop and nursery barn will be magnificent in red FarmPaint.
Karolynne and David begin the first coat
David just got back from South America. He worked on a Peruvian quinoa farm translating and delivering, and then took buses through Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Haggling down the gringo prices was good for his Spanish. He loved the street food, but "it didn't love me". Now, get back to work.
On your hands
And on your cats - but no problem - milk paint washes off easily. Puss'll be fine
Still no rain. None in the forecast. Dust, not mud. Stiff upper lip - we just have to carry on enjoying autumn. The cheese shop has baskets of persimmons brought in from Meryl's tree. She has the fuyu variety - the less astringent kind which you can eat like an apple when it's still firm, slice into salads when it's a little riper, or leave to soften if you fancy persimmon pudding.
If you have a persimmon tree, you will be giving them away by the boxful. They will ripen off the tree
These ones in the kitchen look almost ripe - if you can pull the calyx out easily, they are ready to eat, and you can spoon the flesh out from the skin. I don't know what the cook has planned for these. Like quince, fuyu persimmon will work well with meat, too
Quince grows well in Pescadero and there are several trees in town, enough quince for everybody. Bring the windfall quinces inside for their glorious scent
Litter of pink and yellow leaves under the different-colored plum trees in the secret garden
Deer have eaten all the apple leaves in reach. We plan to lease some of the garden - the old restaurant vegetable garden on the way into the secret garden - and will have to fence to keep the deer away from luscious crops
Still no rain, but an excellent crop of flower seeds. We save our sunflowers, nigella, cosmos, cleome and tithonia
Sarah Wool is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wool, who shear our llamas, and most of the neighborhood's llamas and alpacas, every year. She was here with her dad helping out earlier this year. Sarah grew up with animals on their San Jose property, and plans a career in agribusiness - not with animals, but with plants, which involve less emotional involvement! She's supplementing her CalPoly student income with these gorgeous full-of-personality woolly llamas, for sale in our farm shop.
Sarah's llamas are Scottish Blackface sheep and mohair goat wool - the mohair gives the gorgeous curly bodies
Llama "wool" is actually fibers rather than wool - hollow, with no lanolin. The outer coat fibers, or guard hair, are stiff and tricky to comb out from the fleece, so mohair and sheep wool were a much cuddlier choice for these mini llamas
We have the dog days of summer, China has their autumn tiger on the prowl, spreading a fierce heatwave in early autumn. Today's less a dog panting in the shade and more a wild dry fire-crackling heat. On that note, our inherited pile of eucalyptus wood is diminishing but still available. Free - come and stock up on firewood while it's bone-dry.
Free firewood. Help yourself
The pasture over the road is watered from the creek, which is also bone-dry. There is much less nutritional value in pasture grasses at this time of year, but we would still prefer to keep watering to keep the grasses robust for next year. We'll move last year's babies off the dry pasture and back over the road to the fields by the farm this month. Next year, we'll rotate groups of goats on that irrigated grass using electric fencing, which is flexible and effective. Don't touch!
Goats will avoid electric fence. This year we had groups of goats running at the fencing, smashing it and escaping
This time of year is sweet spot time, with summer crowds gone back to school and holiday parties yet to start. The goats are healthy and already breeding with Holstein. Their milk begins to dry up as daylight hours shorten, and when we stop milking altogether we'll worm them and change the nutritional mix of their feed to support their pregnant bodies. They are sleeping inside the loafing barn now that it's nippy at night, and as soon as the field becomes muddy in the rains they'll spend most of their time there.
We've harvested the pears in the orchard for pies at the local restaurant and cleared more ground to begin a vegetable garden. The last farm wedding of the year will be next week in the secret garden, and then it'll be a quiet space for hammock thinking and the gardeners to get to work again. We have plenty of garden clippings to chip and rotted manure to work into the ground. Jake will clean out the straw and manure in the loafing barn in a Bobcat, and we'll cover and store that manure to rot down over the winter. We'll also fill in potholes where we can. I'm at peace when all these winter preparations are complete and I can look forward to next year's babies - not to mention the end of year parties coming up very soon.