Monday, September 19, 2011

Fiddletown Fiddlers' Jam

Saturday was the 60th Anniversary of the Fiddlers' Jam.  Rick and I moseyed down the hill to have a peek and a listen. It has been a few years since we have last gone, and I won't miss another one!  It was a fun opportunity to visit with neighbors, explore this little Gold Rush town, and listen to some genuine hill country music.

 I couldn't help but think "Jenna should be here!!"

Extended Roots is an all gal group that demonstrates their passion for the music of America's roots. 
Their beautiful music made my angels sing!!

Here is a sample of the nice croud that gathered...

Sage's Body Care offers an excellent assortment of yummy soaps and lotions!  Wonderful products, nice people :)

Now, I freely admit that I was already a fan of fiddle songs :) I love hearing the old folk songs, hoe downs and waltzes. They just feel like my kind of music. They make my heart swell and tears come to my eyes. As I wandered down the middle of Fiddltown Road, I had a strong sense of belonging that I have not felt before. We have lived in this small community for nine years, and this is the first time it truly felt like home. year there will be a FiddleSong Farm booth :) See you there!?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NO coyotes, but BIG thunderstorms....

I haven't seen a coyote since my last post, so I am starting to relax my vigil. Was it scary me running up the hill yelling with my pack and my brave goat Bella? Or was it the unmistakable "marking of the territory" by Jack?  Or did it just get smart and decide to leave the crazy lady's chickens alone? Unknown.  I love a mystery.

Hen proof lettuce bed :)

Last weekend was a good one for gardening. I watered like mad on Sunday, because everything was thirsty.  Then Sunday evening we had a noisy thunderstorm and it rained nearly all night.  It was GREAT! I pruned and chopped weeds and planted some cabbages and peas. I cleaned out my greenhouse and reorganized, then I filled two flats with herb cuttings. I spent five minutes lamenting the failure of my pumpkin plants this cold, wet spring, but vowed to plant EXTRA next year. We are still enjoying our excellent green beans from the first row, and the second row is already trying to bloom!  I have decided to try and save some bean seeds for next spring, I'll let you know how that goes. The tomatoes are EXCELLENT this year.  My favorites are German Queen and Pink Brandywine.  The German Queen is a solid beef steak type with hardly any seeds.
Both have rich, old fashioned flavor.

I am considering expanding my veggie beds.  You  know what that means?  I would be taking out several established beds of ornamentals.  I like to transplant, and usually have good success if I wait until the fall. I will definately need to fence it with hen proof fencing :) 
I have to figure out a better choice for my garden paths, though.  The gravel is pretty but it requires too much maintenance!  Thinking about a new scarecrow, it is almost that time....

...FiddleSong Farm is anticipating autumn....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The hens held 5...

In order to thwart the hunting efforts of that sneaky coyote, I have been keeping the chickens penned up every day. I was out pretty early watering this morning and by 9 I was feeling hungry for breakfast.  I put down my hose and went inside, and popped an English muffin into the toaster. I heard goats snorting in alarm. I turned and saw that coyote creeping down the hill toward Little Crow, our bantam hen.
Now Little Crow and I have an understanding.  I leave her alone, and she will continue to live at FiddleSong Farm.  She heartily and VOCALLY disapproves of egg stealing, and she gets to pick where she roosts. She can fly like a quail, so she has the run of the farm, and she loves heirloom tomatoes, thank you so much.  There is no controlling Little Crow. But I LOVE that hen.
When I saw that coyote after her, the hair stood up on the back of my neck!  I ran out the front door and yelling for the dogs, ran full speed down the path and burst through the gate. Little Crow ran unharmed into the barn, right betwen the legs of highly alarmed goats. "GET THAT COYOTE!!!!" I yelled to the dogs. We all ran up the hill. "GET HIM, GET HIM, GET HIM!!!" Jack was slow, because he didn't want to leave me, but Sheila saw that varmint and streaked up the hill barking!  Tilly got into it too, although she looked like she was barking at Sheila. The coyote shot under the fence and took off, while Jack ran along and peed on all the fence posts. So helpful :) As I finally arrived at the crest of the hill, I was surrounded by three excited barking Aussies and.....a goatBella, my favorite doe of the day, had left the security of the herd and followed me up that hill as fast as she could.  There she was, standing calmly at my side amid a pack of three jumping, snarling, barking dogs, looking across the road trying to catch a glimpse of the departing coyote.

I have given her an extra helping of grain and a well deserved new title....

...Bella the Brave

Friday, September 2, 2011

goat sustainability....

Tonight, I am dreaming of fresh sweet milk, creamy goat cheese and warm snugly newborn kids.  And I am dreading telling Rick that today I placed an ad for "Goats for sale" in the Buy N' Sell. I have been thinking that I need to slim my herd down, to make room in the barns, and to shrink our feed bill.  With hay being $15 and more all summer, it is a necessity. So today, I made a list of who was staying and who was going. :(

When we decided to invest in this herd in the beginning, the whole idea was to make the goats help support themselves and the farm.  In lots of ways, they are already doing that, but now we want to take it to the next level.  Sustainability is about balance and efficiency. It's about making it work. The goats produce rich, creamy milk. The goatberries feed the garden which feeds us and also the chickens. The chickens give us fresh eggs and (maybe someday) meat for the table. To have the milk, you must breed the does.  When the kids come along, they are sold to new homes.  RIGHT!?

OK, I think I have convinced myself. Now if I could just keep myself from adopting any more cats....