Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Experience, the only real teacher

This morning the new baby goat is missing which doesn't really mean anything. Yet. Most likely it means that she's sleeping somewhere while her mom grazes. Or it might mean that predators might have gotten her. But she's probably just asleep somewhere. It is driving my girl children crazy though.

The kids have also noted that our older female goat, Chocolate, is heavily pregnant and this morning have decided that she might be in labor. I haven't checked. They think they see her belly moving in waves. She lays down and baas then gets up and grazes. I don't think they've thought to look at her parts to see if they are swollen or wet. If I went out, I'd try to catch her and feel her flesh between her spine, top of her hip and tail -- if the ligaments there are soft then she's having the babies.

Still, the best thing to do is leave them all alone. But the girls aren't going to do that unless I really insist. Which right now I'm not going to do. They can learn what they can learn. Hopefully sooner rather than later they will learn how to be around the animals, even in labor, without bothering them. And that is a very valuable skill.

We are looking at seed catalogs and perusing gardening sections of the marts and will soon make excursions to our favorite local seed places. The new ribs are up on the big hothouse and we'll probably work tomorrow on giving it a new skin. We've looked at where we plan (right now, plans are alwaysalways fluid things) to plant a really large stand of snap peas and are running through plans on how to trellis them. I don't think it would be possible to plant, tend or harvest more peas than you could sell. I'm still thinking of moving my milking shed for a sweet corn cash crop area. It would also grow pole beans and bush summer squashes (like cucumbers and zukes). This might be money I earmark for "rent a beach house for a week" or something. Assuming I can make a go of it. That is part of the fun of casual income. Anyway, we've also got to order the onion plants because they really need to be planted by the first of March. Husband will probably want to grow fava beans which I would just never bother with myself although they are good just a lot of bother to cook and almost no one here knows what they are to sell them. The potatoes are already turning their starch to sugar preparing to sprout.

A friend sent a link to a really interesting article about how nutrition content of vegetables has declined. It is because of industrial farming -- it depletes the soil. Plants fed macro-chemicals can grow but they are missing things so while nutrients that are measured are shrinking in industrial food, there are things that cannot be measured that are probably missing entirely. Soil is such a living thing. There is so much chemistry and so much biology involved. Absolutely fascinating and yet, a simple philosophy of "whole" works.

I do not understand why everyone concerned with their food doesn't grow SOME of it. Just some. And everyone can, even in city apartments. I think it is Gene Logsdon who posits in one of his books that he thinks no one should be allowed to buy any food until they grow just 20 feet of beans. Some food. Grow it and begin to understand. Landscape with some blueberries. Let a grape vine shade your porch in the summer. Grow some tomatoes in a pot on the deck. And salad and herbs. Keep two rabbits as pets and eat the babies. Do anything. There are always more possibilities than have yet been considered.

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