goat kids on the move!

It’s a sweet time on the farm when the kids are due. Anticipation, nervousness, excitement join to form a feeling that sort of keeps you on edge, and a little bit holding your breath and not realizing it. I actually start looking at photos of baby goats from the previous year. I’m constantly in the barn monitoring (but not sleeping there like some with many, many goats) I check the kidding kit and track down missing parts or say pull the same snot sucker, (baby nasal aspirator) thing from the bathroom drawer that I had used for my kids 20 years ago. This is still only our third year and I’ve not needed it previously but maybe this time. Our does have mostly done it all themselves with only a little assistance for a couple and they’ve all been born healthy.

Especially with social media, I see I’m not alone in this just post empty nest time. I love being a mom and in some little way I get to help “mother” the kids:) They can’t help but fill your heart. Their trust, vulnerability and curiosity are powerful. And it’s just plain fun and so amusing. Holding a baby goat brings you very much into the present and just gives you a moment to step outside of a sometimes crazy world.  I’m grateful we have the opportunity to experience this process and share it with others. We’ve so enjoyed all the visitors the last two weeks.  We are grateful for another successful kidding season with 11 out of 11 strong, healthy kids. And we will be looking for new homes in the near future!

So let’s get to it…There’s a lot of goat kid cuteness all over the web- here is what we have to add.

First to give birth on April 3rd was Dinah our Lagerian (they don’t have their own wikipedia link). She’s a cross between a La Mancha who have the elf or gopher ear trait(we call them all nubby ears) and a Nigerian Dwarf. You hope for the butterfat of the Nigerian with a little larger size/milk capacity of the La Mancha who also have very sweet personalities.  She kidded, cleaned them and they were nursing by the time we saw them. She’s like that.

With her buckling Duffy.

goat kidsDuffy and sister, Dharma.

They are funny and smart and the first to hang on the doorstep like they’ve lived here for years.

And to venture on the teeter totter- Ollie’s rule of thumb… we might consider keeping kids who play on this. (he made it)

On the same day Jane (nubian), kidded- she was a little early. Jojo, Juan in the middle and Juno’s bum on the right. Beautiful markings on these three. She did great for a first year mom (freshener).

These three getting some lap time with Nanny Nadine. She’s making goat week an annual event:)

Then we waited, and waited, and waited till Friday April 7. Shirley got some relief after a long labor with another three… she only had one last year. She was like…. wwhhhaaattt??? The second buckling, Salvatore (Sal for short) was very big. I’ve yet to get a good photo of the three. Sal on the log, Sadie in front and Mr. Brown on the right. And they are on a different play/sleep schedule than the rest you see under the manger napping.

And if you’ve never seen it- here is Mr. Brown straight from the womb.

Getting cleaned up.

And hoping he can figure out how to get up and hit those teets.

And last but not least on April 8th (my birthday too), Nena kidded THREE MORE- unassisted. I think she intentionally waited for the 90 minutes we were not in the barn.

We’ve got Nellie on the left, Nigel in the middle and Oreo on the right.They all started in their own corners and within a few days started playing together inside and out. Once they were sure footed, introductions to Else were closely supervised.

She is still only 7 months old and very curious.The kids are outside in between napping and nursing. They are in constant motion on the rocks and logs.

And they are venturing out into the yard now.goat kids

One of my favorite things with this whole venture is I’m like the pre-teen mecca. It’s so sweet watching these girls nurturing the kids- lots of snuggling and a natural rocking like a baby.

There likely will be regular photos on Instagram if you want to follow along… wendyellenthomas or Facebook

Happy Easter, Spring and all that you celebrate!

xx

wendy

farm update- kids are coming (goats that is)

We are on our second day of sun. Well, dry and partly sun at least. It has been a very long rainy season- like for reals not just “seems like the wettest year EVER!” We have all been sloshing through mud and we are over it. #Mudzen.

Here’s a glimpse of most of the farm fam… Click here to see where this began.

#starrouteorcas

Add some chickens in there and our land mates’ Blue Healer, Jasper.

 

 Dinah and Otto looking rather dapper.

Nena on the left and Jane- both full Nubian- enjoying a moment of sun this week.

Dinah and Shirley with actual shadows do to this orange ball in the sky.

If you’ve been keeping up on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook– you might already know these guys are all PREGGERS in a big way. They are due in the next 2-7 days- follow along on one of the above.

Nena

The last of the stored apples… never you mind the dump run pile back there.

Our newest girl Else (pronounced Elza). Ollie named her:) Else LOVES attention.

And loves to stick her rough, black on top, pink on bottom tongue in the bucket when it’s getting filled.

And we are all VERY excited about the new digs. Yes- we are  building a REAL barn! Else seeing if she fits.

Otis and Else

Otis after a proper romp in everything mud.

He likes his baths.

Chickens are back to earning their keep… giving us these eggs that make me never want to eat an egg from anything other than on organic, really free-ranging hen again. The chickens get a little flax seed in their Scratch and Peck grain feed. The yolks are intense and nutritious. EAT the YOLKS folks (bumper sticker coming soon)! I made a little goat cheese from frozen milk- not as good as fresh but it worked. Yogurt too.

Our weekend no knead sourdough wheat loaf- this one with walnuts…

and top with these…

I forgot the chives- the only thing growing in the garden- although sorrel & rhubarb is coming out.

Sorry – got distracted by food again. We’ll say goodbye now. xx

White Kimchi with Pear & Fennel

Inspired by the fermenting demo at 610 Magnolia with Chef Edward Lee, I made this white kimchi with pear and fennel within days of returning home from the IACP conference in Louisville. It’s loosly based on the recipe from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

White Kimchi w/Pear and Fennel

  • Time: 1hr + 2-6hrs soaking
  • Print

*Note: Allow 2-24 hrs to soak cabbage in salted water at room temperature

Ingredients

  • 1 large savoy cabbage 3-4lbs cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 4-6 qts water for soaking cabbage
  • 1 bulb fennel, tops trimmed(save for something else), chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 pear, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 8 ounces of daikon radish,peeled and chopped
  • 6 green onions cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and discarded, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2oz ginger, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2 TB honey
  • ½ cup of whey if available

Directions

  • Cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the core and discard. Coarsely chop cabbage into 1-2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • Toss in 1 cup of salt and massage into cabbage.
  • Cover the cabbage with water and place a weight (like a plate) on top to submerge cabbage. Let sit at room temperature for 2-6 hours (I’ll let it sit overnight even).
  • Drain cabbage and rinse. You will see it has begun to soften.
  • Chop the fennel, onion, pear, bell pepper, daikon, green onions and jalapeño pepper.
  • Mince the garlic and ginger and mix together with the ¼ cup of salt, honey, fish sauce and whey if available.
  • Mix cabbage and all remaining ingredients thoroughly and stuff into ½ gallon mason jar. Have an extra quart jar available for back up!
  • Take your fist and mash down the kimchi to bring up the liquid.
  • Place swatch of cheesecloth on the jar and place a lid on it.
  • After two days, gently open jar, “burp” it and make sure contents are under the liquid.
  • Leave at room temperature for 3-7 days and then refrigerate.
  • NOTE: I will let mine ferment on the counter for up to 2-3 weeks if it’s in a cooler pantry. This comes down to factors of room temperature and personal taste preferences. It will continue to ferment in the fridge- just not as quickly.

I packed all this into a half gallon canning jar along with another quart jar. It’s always a little give and take depending on the size of the cabbage.

I tried something Chef Lee did, putting a swatch of cheesecloth just under the lid. It keeps the contents off the underside of the lid.

After only 3 days it was burping and bubbling and the solids were completely immersed in the liquid. Using the whey does help expedite this process. You can either find someone who is making cheese, strain some from yogurt…Or just skip it. I’ve made pounds and pounds without whey and they turned out great. I also prefer not use the rice flour slurry that Chef Lee uses in his recipes.

Chef Lee and Darra Goldstein, editor of Cured Magazine, hosted this pre conference event. If Darra has a fan club, I want in. She is a walking food fact and history encyclopedia.

He prepared Chow Chow, a fermented green tomato relish I’ll surely make in August.

A white kimchi like the one I’ve made today, pickled beets and pickled watermelon with peppercorns, fennel fronds, celery, dill allspice, clove and garlic.

These deviled eggs served at Chef Lee’s demo are garnished with pickled watermelon.

I’ll be making the white kimchi again for sure as well in the summer with produce from our own gardens (and may sell it under a new business name- #StarRouteOrcas). But I could not wait until summer to try putting together this recipe. For lack of napa cabbage I went for a nice big head of savoy.

So this conference really rocked my boat. I’ve hovered over it for years waiting for the right time to land.  And 2017 was it. Ollie came with and had the opportunity to teach for a day at the University of Louisville to boot. Score: Double tax deduction. There were informative breakout sessions on writing and cookbook publishing, the workings of SEO, finding your niche, keynote address on the culture of Southern Foods and plenty of networking and good food. My elevator pitch was pretty, how shall I say, weak. But I actually have a fair amount of confidence behind my year of exploration. My midlife awakening. I was quite chuffed around 4am the night before the conference thinking about midlife crisis and how that’s not what I am experiencing. I couldn’t wait to wake up and coin the midlifeawakening hashtag. Yeah… if I had thought about it three years ago maybe. Well, I wasn’t shy to # my thoughts to an already existing stream of midlife consciousness. It’s true. I’ve never been happier than I am right this moment. I had a lucrative couple years doing a job from which I gained friendships and knowledge to carry through life but a job I don’t want to carry into the next decade. My fingernails yearn to be packed with dirt and dough.

So I’m workshopping and conferencing to my hearts content this year. This winter/early spring at least till our four does have their babies (kids) and start making buckets of milk! And then I’ll be making loads of cheese!

Happy fermenting!

xx

wendy

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