03 September 2008

Autumn Bounty

It's here, it's here! The glorious harvest season, the time of plenty.

The Eau Claire Farmers Market is bursting with bountiful veggies. Check out the amazing, vibrant green color of these leeks, cucumbers, and eggplants!

How's that for inspiration for some funky, hand-painted sock yarn?

Chef Jeff decided to cook up a wonderful pumpkin bisque recipe that I found in the latest issue of Victoria magazine. It was awesome.

Chef Jeff says to add white pepper, and he would have preferred to use heavy cream instead of the coconut milk.

Click here to visit the Victoria site.

We had a surprise a couple of days ago - the arrival of "homemade" guinea keets!

The whole band of adult guinea fowl turned out to monitor the hatching, and then proceeded to corral the little ones as they ventured out to hunt for bugs within a few hours of emerging from the eggs. All are white save one, who is brown-striped like a chipmunk.

We'd protected the nest from donkey and sheep hooves by placing half of a dog kennel over the hen...

That worked well, but a beautiful hawk has also been monitoring that pasture, and we didn't want to take chances with the keets. So Chef Jeff braved a rather protective mother (who went after him with her sharp toenails, making raucous calls and holding her wings out to the sides so that she resembled a tipped umbrella) while I gathered up the keets in a bucket and carried them into the brooder house. Hee hee, I had the easy work on that job.

The mother followed, and we were able to screen her in the brooder. Guinea keets seem to rely on their parents' instruction far more than baby chicks - they are less likely to learn to eat and drink properly from a mere human. I think we were lucky raising them in the past because they were housed with chickens, and looked to them for guidance. (Now, the guineas rule the roost, and some of our roosters have missing tail feathers to prove it!)

So with mama in the brooder with the keets, there is no need for a heat lamp, and all readily took to eating and drinking. As soon as the keets are feathered, we'll let the family go back to free-ranging.

When I look out on the pasture, our grand total of 14 sheep seems to be plenty, too:

And since the 2008 spring clip has arrived back from our new, wonderful processor, plenty is an understatement!

Holy smokes, what am I going to do with all this wool and mohair?! We still have the 2007 bags!

The lovely Dixie and Cindi at our fabulous LYS have invited us to have some available at their fall festival on September 20th; look for Chef Jeff if you stop by! He wants me to stop by with one of our Angora goat babies, but I don't want to get a ticket for having a farm animal at a sidewalk sale... do you think they'd believe me if I told them she was a poodle?

As one of my usual asides, here is what that wool/quilting storage room looked like before we moved in:

When I tell people it used to be PINK, I am not kidding. It took Chef Jeff three coats of Kilz to cover up the Pepto Palace. I would not be at all surprised if a child growing up in a room like this ended up in Las Vegas, would you?

Much easier on the eyes...

All the "big goats" (I say that in quotes as the majority of our goats are miniature versions) are being very, very careful with little Elfine. Here she is with Pippin (a full-size, but still young, Toggenburg) and her mama, Pansy (Nigerian dwarf):

Little Elfine, though tiny, has all the regular goatie instincts. She loves to rear up on her hind legs and fake butt the others (picture mountain goats in the Rockies)... and she's not afraid to do it to goats 10 times her size. They seem to realize she is just a baby, and they stand there with their heads lowered, so she can bump them on their foreheads with no more force than a mosquito; they make absolutely no moves to hurt her, and just humor her baby efforts at asserting her position in the herd. You can practically see them smiling.

Goats are brilliant, emotional, kind, curious, compassionate, and gentle animals. They awe me with their family and friend relationships. When I am feeling blue, I go sit with the goats, and they come over to lean on, sniff, nibble, and comfort me. They are very much like dogs in their personalities, which is probably why I love them so much.

Just look at that bright-eyed little girl! What an unexpected blessing she is!

So much to be grateful for at this season... I need to keep reminding myself of that when things get tough. I must just remember to...

(Pendant by Under The Moon Jewelry Designs.)

Here's some music that's seeing me through at the moment:

I hope you are finding bounty in your life today!

P.S. Those mitts I was working on? I totally botched the EZ "thumb trick" afterthought thumb... I can do a short-row-heel sock without gaps, but I could not conquer that thumb. Back to the drawing board on those...


Nannette said...

I love getting glimpses of life on the farm! Tho that pepto palace? Not so much LOL. I'd worry about that room's previous resident ending up on a pole in Vegas! YIKES!

Hope your day is abundantly blessed!

Murph said...

LOVE reading your blog! I am living vicariously through both of you! I too would own rescued cats and dogs, and live in a lovely farmhouse, and have all sorts (alsorts!) of farm animals too. And have a cozy room to knit in. Your Flickr photo sets take my breath away, the Wisconsin landscape is reminicient of my childhood adventures in farm country around Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! Observing how the big goats handled the rambuctiousness of the baby goat brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Stasia, thank you Jeff! Hang in there, I'm cheering for you silently!! Hugs.

Dixie said...

Was it your B-Day on Monday? If it was HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Denise in Kent, WA said...

Hooray for home grown guinnea keets! That must have been a delightful discovery.

Fast turnaround from your new fiber processor. Looks like they did an excellent job!