Monday, June 28, 2010

Visiting Season

Rick's mom (my MIL aka Mother-In-Love) has come from California to visit us for a week, and we are so happy to share our life here with her.  She hasn't been up since last fall when Cole was born, so we have been sharing our many new projects and gardening things with her.  I love that she has stories about how her family did things (as well as how she did them) and likes that we are trying all kinds of fun things - food production-wise - in town.  Her mother, Helen Mama, was a "real food" champion back when people we flocking to the prepared food isles and sprinkling MSG into their gravy.  I have wished several times I had gotten to meet her, but she died the same year that my grandma died, in 1996.  Thank God for stories to keep their habits and wisdom alive.

Our two New Zealand bucks are nearing butchering age.  In another week or so I will be posting pictures and blogging about butchering "bunnies."  I've been prepping myself by going through the "I'd rather eat an animal raised kindly, eating what it's supposed to eat" etc...but am not sure how good that's going to make me feel when the time comes to thump them on the head.  Butchering hooved animals doesn't bother me quite as much, but ultimately every time we kill something I am a bit sad and very thankful.  If we were all to personally kill the meat we ate, I'm willing to bet that our consumption would go down quite a bit. 

I am no longer milking, our fat little heifer is consuming all the milk that her mama makes and I don't have the heart to keep them both alone so that we can get milk.  Next year we will have two milk cows (therefore two calves also) so they'll both have company when they're separated and we will have a TON of milk!  I will have strong hands next year.  This coming month we pick up our new heifer, and I can hardly wait to visit a Milking Shorthorn dairy!  They're an Organic Valley dairy with an outstanding sanitation record so we're very interested to see how they are set up (since they only have forty cows that they milk, and are considered very small).  We have only seen dairies that are for several hundred cows, and their tanks, milking stanchions etc are huge.

Last week we sold our first lettuce and green onions!  Our neighbors have said that they will buy whatever we offer them and are thrilled that we're just over the fence.  I talked to her last night and she said that our "lettuce was wonderful!  Not sure if we'll ever be able to go back to store-bought."  And I hadn't even asked, so no just-being-polite-because-you're-prodding  ; )  Another week or two and our beds will all be full finally.  We have brought the more delicate herbs out of the cold frame (their large, soft leaves make them easily damaged by hail) and have filled the "holes" in our planting beds with them.  Their soft, fragrant leaves are not only beautiful, but when it's warm out you can smell them - it's divine.

All of the blooming flowers and trees around us have made me wonder about bee-keeping, so I am now going to look into keeping a small population/hive here in the back corner of our lot.  Hopefully bees aren't lumped in with llamas in the city ordinances.  I'm hoping that having bees will improve our crops and flowers, plus bees need all the help they can get with colony collapse disorder affecting their numbers so seriously (30% loss annually).


Susan said...

I love that - "Mother-in-Love". How many DILs can say that? I also love how you write - please keep it up! I have installed my second hive and find bees to be completely fascinating. I do hope your town allows them - we need all the bees we can raise. I'll also be following your meat bunny venture because it's something that I've thought about, but don't know if I can follow through. You're inspiring!