Farm life: mud, afterbirth, curds and whey … and beautiful girls. San Francisco photographer Michele Clement took a series of “naturalistic” fashion portraits on the farm a few days ago. The models were ivory and diaphanous like slivers of parmigiano on the most expensive of salads. They clutched bunches of daffodils and gazed naturalistically across the farm. Ryan and Luis took several “short-cuts” outside to gaze back.
We are immensely touched by the response to our call for a shepherd. Engineers, teachers, a professional cyclist, several chefs, many musicians, and, most enchantingly, a poet were among those of you who were interested in weeding goats. Many of you declared your love of animals, others pointed out that their experience herding children would certainly help with goats. Chefs were intrigued by the position, but only goats will be doing the eating. There would be time to compose, but your music might have to play second fiddle to wandering weed-eaters..
The Harley Herd shepherd will run the weeding flock as a separate business within our dairy business, generating their own income. We will trial the weedbusting this year, and add retiring milking goats next year.
Thank you to everybody who was interested. We're sorry not to interview all the exceptional people who applied, but welcome you to the farm soon.
We've written about our dream of a Harley Herd of weedbusting goats. Your weeds are their lunch. Goats prefer blackberry bushes, Canada thistle, poison oak and even poison hemlock to their usual pasture grasses, making them a natural part of land management. Now we're looking for the extraordinarily patient individual who'll manage the Harley Herd.
You'll have a basic understanding of the botany of both weeds and desirable plants, so that you'll know when to introduce the herd. You'll have empathy with the goat hierachies: control the boss goat and thus the herd. Work with the herd dog. You'll decide how many goats to introduce, and how you'll keep them on the property. Optimal land management involves seasonal or annual control: you'll seek public and private land contracts, keep detailed records of projects, and make pricing decisions. And you'll have the patience of a shepherd!
You'll work with Harley Farms, county Sustainable Business of the Year. We seek integrity and commitment to community, and we look forward to hearing from you!
It's been a productive morning. Fourteen babies arrived last night, bringing our total up to 29 - one mother had quadruplets! Also, I made a chocolate birthday cake from scratch for our lovely, youthful office manager Sharina.
I could probably be a professional baker, don't you think?
We bred the goats early, so the babies have started arriving. The newborn families are separated from the lively week-old babies, and just-about-to-give-birth mothers. We'll have a very noisy barnful of pregnant and nursing goats over this rainy weekend!
Born last night
Tours begin in February, so do come and admire the babies soon.
We're a month back from Yorkshire, and I'd like to report that British men are looking good! They were wrapped in chic cardigans and scarfs, shoes polished and witty charm on full blast. Of course, my husband has nothing to fear. He keeps a closet of clothes at my parents' house: wet weather things and tennis whites acquired fifteen years ago at Pescadero's thrift shop. A fine establishment, and naturally my husband looks very fine, as you'll notice from the photo.
You can't have everything - slick cardigans, witty charm, ready cash… - but I have got the most wonderful cook. Our New Year's Eve feast was pheasant and goose, prepared by my husband with assistant son and nephew. We ordered the birds from the extremely well-supported local farm shops in Yorkshire. Most people shop locally in the country; each small town might have three or four butchers, each with their own specialty sausages, for example.
I love the festivities and routines of Christmas in Yorkshire. It's both a fizzingly exciting whirl of cooking and singing and cold weather and everybody off work, and a recharging, peaceful reassurance of the pleasures of childhood. On New Year's Eve, we had cocktails and canapes at my parents', moved on to neighbors, and ended up at Tony's house, dinner having being cooked in three ovens in three different houses. There were millions of candles, Andrew and Griff brought Andrew's famous amaretto trifle, and we ended up with two hours of fireworks in the freezing night.
Tony was away, with family in the Lake District, so he couldn't see the party devastation of his house. The very last wine glass was put away as he returned the next day.. Here's to 2009!