Friday, November 27, 2015

Weeds in the Window

It is a wet, gray November day in the Ozarks.  Despite its gloomy appearance, the air is warm and mild, a little odd for this time of year.  It seems strange that we dug post holes on Thanksgiving Day in nothing but a long sleeved shirt, yet that's just what we did.  The purpose of those post holes is the subject for another blog...

Today, as the first day of Winter rapidly approaches, I found myself with my fingers in the soil, making a huge mess and gently cradling plants in their new home.  Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time at all know I am not blessed with a green thumb.  Plants don't holler when they need food or water like the goats do, so they tend to just quietly fade away in the windowsill.  Yet it is this time of year that I desperately need to be reminded that Spring will come.   I decided today I was going to replace my dead houseplants and bring a little green back into WeeHavyn.

 With my track record for houseplants, it seems silly to spend money on them.  Besides, I like useful plants and am much more likely to take care of something that serves a purpose.  So...I went hunting for edible weeds.  We had a very hard frost last week so I figured anything left alive is probably pretty hardy...a definite bonus in my house.  Spade in hand, I poked through the soggy leaves until I found the bright flashes of green of what I was looking for.  I came in with a dandelion, some wild onions, a chicory plant (I'll admit I thought it was a dandelion before I examined it more closely), a violet, and some miner's lettuce.  Each plant was carefully trimmed, and lovingly nestled into its pot with a sprinkling of "goat berries" for fertilizer.

I'm well aware that none of these plants are going to provide enough food to make any kind of dent in the food bill.  Yet, there's something so very satisfying in clipping a few leaves to add to a winter salad. 

I think that kind of satisfaction is just as nourishing as the salad.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hanging Out

Yesterday was a beautiful Ozark Fall day. 
A warm, playful breeze teased the few leaves still stubbornly clinging to the trees, encouraging them to make that final leap.  A gentle sun sent crisscrossing spiderwebs glittering and warmed my skin.  It was a perfect day for just hanging out at WeeHaven and giving heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful things in my life.

I turned the hens out into the goat pen today and thoroughly enjoyed their antics as they scratched through the leaves with the enthusiasm of a 4 year old child hunting for Easter eggs.  The goats watched the flying leaves in a most dignified manner, while daintily picking out the tastiest leaves for themselves.

I am rethinking where I put the henhouse.  True, it is very well protected, but being under the deck on the north side of the house, it is rather dark and damp.  The girls enjoy their time out in the pen so much, I am considering moving the henhouse into the goat pen.  I will need to add some roofing to the nestbox area since it won't be protected by the deck, but I think it will still be better. 

Besides...the area where the henhouse sits is just begging for a sauna.....

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Love is in the Air

It may be a long time before Valentine's Day, but Love is definitely in the air at WeeHavyn.... and so is the pungent smell of male goat.  How does one adequately describe the reek of a buck?  It hovers in the air, rank and oily, coating the inside of your nose with its sharp aroma and following you away.  It is like nothing else, far reaching and overwhelmingly male.  But Rosey must have babies for us to have lovely, creamy milk and delectable cheese.  My original plan was to take her to the lady I bought her from for a "date".  But the best laid plans of mice and men....

I really did hope I would not have to have a buck at WeeHavyn, but once I accepted the inevitable, the search went quickly and Pepe Le Pew, a black and white Nigerian Dwarf, came to stay with us.  He's actually a very sweet little guy, relatively quiet and respectful with the girls. That doesn't quite make up for the smell, though; and Pepe's stay here will be as short as possible. 

Now I have another decision to make.  Pepe is small enough that I could breed Iris to him.  He's in his own little pen, so I can choose whether I let her in or not when she's feeling romantically inclined.  Do I want to milk two goats? I didn't much care for milking two cows so I'm not sure.  I can expect 1/2 gallon a day from Rosey, which is plenty of milk.  Still, the economist in me balks at having an underutilized animal.

And....the babies should be so adorable!!