Apologies for the long time since our last post - things have been crazy here since the snow melted (finally), the last frost hit (like four days ago... seriously) and it's Spring! We have many new additions to the farm - both animal and mechanical and whatever you would call a couple of trailers. Physical? Let's see if I can cover it all.
Cutest first. Meet Annie.
She is a LaMancha goat - the same breed as Moonshine and AppleJack (who you met in a previous post) and is about the same age as Apple. Annie is such a pretty apricot color, which I've never seen in a goat, and she is also a great playmate and friend to little Apple, inspiring her to use those front legs. (Apple came to us with contracted front legs and receives physical therapy in hopes of straightening her out).
We received 50 baby chicks (Label Rouge is the breed, from Freedom Ranger Hatchery) that we are raising for meat - so I can't get too attached... Oran and his kitty Maynard got to check them out before they went into their chicken trailer where they will be protected from the elements until they are feathered enough to stay outside.
In the mechanical department, Frank has longed for a WoodMizer sawmill, which would mean he could easily create all the lumber needed for every project imaginable using our trees. Alas, WoodMizers don't come cheap. He intended to make do with a Foley-Belsaw saw mill, but this meant setting up a building for it, and lugging the logs to the mill. With the WoodMizer, (which has a bandsaw type blade) the mill travels to the trees and you carry out boards! Well, thank the Lord for CraigsList! Lookie what Frank got for his birthday/Christmas/Father'sDay/Arbor Day/Halloween/Happy Anniversary!
We are also extremely fortunate to have some generous friends - one of whom loaned us a fabulous spader, and the other the glorious International Harvester tractor to pull it. Plus, a neat little Cub backhoe, which we will keep exercised regularly... oh, yes!
I had also been searching CraigsList regularly, looking for a small travel trailer. I was thinking maybe I could create a little writers' office/guest room, if I found a nice one. Six months of looking netted me nothing. But I guess I'd put enough energy out into the Universe, because a neighbor walked up and said, "Hey, do you want to buy my trailer?" Why, yes. Yes, I do, thank you. It's a 1971 Trailblazer and needs a LOT of work - so for the moment, it's a storage trailer for my overload of possessions that I imagined would fit into my two tiny rooms. But as time and money allows, we will rip out the whole interior, seal up the exterior (got a couple of water leaks, nothing that can't be repaired), and make a little Vintage Glamper (Glamorous Camper) out of it for when friends visit - and a writing room for me.
One of our longer term future projects involves tearing down the back end of the house - including the kitchen, a weird bit of rooms linking the house to the barn, and the attached barn - all of it is coming down on its own, so we thought it best to take it down on our terms. This means that we would be out of a kitchen for several months while we built a new one. I've had a "temporary" kitchen for six months before, and I know how delightful that little adventure can be... and for someone who cooks and bakes as much as Maddrey, for people who eat as much as Frank, I saw only rough seas ahead. We also wanted to get licensed as a Commercial Kitchen, which has many unattractive requirements that go against all of our design ideas (nothing can be wood, basically). Again, CraigsList shows me a Commercial Kitchen TRAILER! I didn't get money together quickly enough for the first one I found, and the second one I found was a scam, which I reported (be CAREFUL on CraigsList, there ARE scam sales - plenty of them), but the third time was the charm. The trailer came with the required triple sinks, a Viking oven and range, a griddle, small and very small refrigerators, enough counter space to manage and an incredible PIZZA OVEN. We have a lot of cleaning ahead of us, and need a building permit, septic hook-up, well water approval, and a conversation with the State Ag Dept. on any changes they would require for licensing. But we are hopeful that by mid-summer we will have a fully-licensed Commercial Kitchen, where we can produce fresh Chèvre, baked goods, Maddrey's fabulous pesto and maybe even pizzas once a week, It looks like heck on the outside right now, but once we give it a Cute-Over, we'll post pictures.
And as if that wasn't enough, we are the proud new parents of a Post Pounder! What previously took a LOT of effort with Frank's "Sledge-O-Matic" can now be accomplished with the flip of a lever practically (okay, there's more to it than that, but BOY, it's easier!) So Frank and Brian have been pounding posts and stretching fence every chance they get. There have been quite a few rain and travel delays, but the goal is to perimeter-fence all 72 acres, and then break up various pastures inside after that.
Meanwhile, the goats and their guard dog, Yedi, have moved into the woods to start their brush-clearing responsibilities. The sheep have moved into their new summer pasture. The chickens will have new pastures next week - unless this rain keeps up. And Maddrey has the Greenhouse overflowing with salad greens and hundreds of seedlings to transplant, plus she's already doubled the garden space from last year. But that's going to have to be a separate post, because it's so fabulous.