If you didn’t see last week’s posting Straight From The Horse’s Mouth, it’s in a different section of this blog as it’s primarily for interested equestrians here: bluebellmountainblog.wordpress.com/straight-from-the-horses-mouth/
In this particular posting, you’ll find the goings on ‘down home on the farm’ OTHER than the busy time with the Straights (chronicled above) since the beginning of August. Such as Smitty gets to spend a lot more time off his chain because he mostly sticks around now AND doesn’t bite the first people that might drive in the driveway (like the carload of Jehovah’s Witnesses that rolled in today) AND he doesn’t chase the other animals anymore. Thus he has become something of a Pied Piper!
For most of the latter part of this summer, since the first rains came at the end of July and our garden became a veritable JUNGLE, my kitchen has looked like this and worse most days: baking out, some form of dairy being made from Cammie’s milk (2 quarts a day now!) The below is my Chevre cheese which is quick and I’m getting better at it now – it’s much less crumbly and stays in a mold now than when this was taken. PLUS at least 3 or 4 types of vegetables sitting about waiting for “processing” of some stage or other.
Though we’re always exhausted this time of year, it IS so rewarding to partake in meals or snacks (if we ever find the time to sit down for one!) that are completely and totally from our own garden or animals. The following photo shows me drinking my made-from-scratch iced tea with mint and borage, and eating my homemade bread slathered with Cammie’s butter and chevre (made with herbs from my herb garden like fennel which we are LOVING this year!) , and homemade raspberry jam (we picked these as last year down in the valley on a logging road neighbour Pierrette discovered. I wish we had time to pick more than we do, but we’re just so crazy busy getting the garden in and processed! )
One of the young hens (still not laying!) we got in June came to my kitchen window, looked in and crowed loudly at me – so back HE went to the chicken farm and instead Richard brought home “Lucy the Layer”, who IS giving us an egg a day at least. Hopefully those other 3 will get the idea from her soon!
And while I’ve been making chevre cheese and yogurt – even frozen yogurt once – regularly from all Cammie’s delicious thick milk, I’ve been slowly collecting the tiny bit of fat that rises to the top of the jars if you let them sit a few days. Then I freeze it. So after more than a month, we took the jar out and thawed it, then shook the jar for 10 minutes and voila – Cammie-butter too! Now to find some Rennet tablets to make other kinds of cheeses – but not until the garden is all in, methinks!
Mom helped so much early on with keeping the weeds down, but she won’t always partake of enough of the ‘fruits of our labours’, so I try to make her some dishes to enjoy before I freeze things like the soups and stews. Have a great parsnip and fennel soup with the whey from the cheese and yogurt-making that I invented myself – delish! Every single thing on this tray incl. the herbs and spices comes from Blue Belldon Farm!
May, June and July were serious drought months, but since the wedding July 28th we’ve had some regular storms and other types of crazy weather. Very photo-worthy:
And of course all this rain has turned our garden into such mass-producing veg – and flowers and herbs too, for us and for the bees! – that we actually had to give some cucumbers to the local Food Bank this week – Mom and I have both made varying sorts of pickles ’til we can’t stand it anymore, plus I’ve pureed and frozen so much cucumber soup (delightful with Cammie-yogurt when served cold!) not to mention all the peas, beans, tomatoes, zucchini and squash we have in abundance right now! Let’s not even talk about the carrots, edamame, parsnips and corn that I’m hoping will wait for me to catch up …
My oven can handle 6 spaghetti squash (split in two) for cooking, then I drag all the ‘noodles’ out and freeze so that whenever we don’t want some heavy pasta dish, but do feel like something like it – we pull those containers out, thaw and melt some cheese or pour butter/salt or a sauce over.
If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, do so! It’s delicious, not fattening like noodles and actually quite fun to handle and “play” with!
Now, also in August, SOME of the wedding photos from official photographer Tiffany Christensen have been ‘released’ as a teaser. So Richard’s niece Carriann gave me permission to share some of these, and there will likely be more forthcoming later on. Here’s the lovely bride and her father, Richard’s younger brother Jean-Marc (John), coming off our side porch and through our temporary arch (from a piece of wood Richard and I found in the woods in early spring and set up and painted white for just this purpose. It looked much better all decorated than it does on a day-to-day basis!)
Groom Matthieu and Bride Carriann exchange vows in front of the beautiful vista of which they had long envisioned and dreamed…
Tiffany was good enough to use as a backdrop for several shots, my Rustic Revivals’ cabin which Richard worked so hard on all through June and early July. I had purposely added some purple accents just for this big moment!
Tiffany has a great sense of humour with her photos, and was happy to have “crime boss” Matt and his mob do some godfather-esque poses:
One of the surprises we’d wanted to offer Carriann and Matt was using our knoll in the bottom pasture as a “Hobbit Hole”. The couple are Tolkien fans in a big way, and if they could have afforded it, they’d have been off to New Zealand for their honeymoon to visit a lot of the Lord of the Ring sites, etc. But I painted a door and window and Richard artistically arranged them, then Tiffany REALLY went creative-crazy and got a really neat angle:
We haven’t seen TOO many of the service yet, but Tiffany did share one of the Halpines – 3 boys and their Dad, who played some lovely classical and pop music throughout the ceremony. They also live self-sufficiently on a farm down the road from us, but are doing it in a much bigger way – besides their 5 young children, they have several goats to milk, a number of cows and pigs, ponies, donkeys, horses, many fowl and a fish pond!
Thought this was a nice shot of Tiffany and Carriann together discussing some shots to take just after the service ended, back on our side porch.
And here’s one of the entire guest-list. Richard and I are the 2nd couple from the left; I’m just raising my cowboy hat in the air.
Though they didn’t want to actually touch the animals and get their clothes smelly and dirty before their reception, Carriann DID want some of the animals in their shots. Tiffany is amazing at photo-shopping, too, apparently – because Richard was actually HOLDING Robin on a rope in this one, hiding behind Carriann’s skirt as best he could – and Tiff managed to make it all look free and natural!
Speaking of dear Robin, we had some sad partings with the twins in the beginning of August as well. Kids should be weaned at about two months, and as we had found good homes for both, it was time to let them go, and get on with serious milking twice a day for our own larder (since this was the whole purpose of having to breed Cammie in the first place!) As Robin was the most friendly and out-going because of the early-on bonding with me (remember, he’s the twin who nearly died in the first few hours when I was alone with them and had to syringe some milk into him because he wouldn’t take to the teat right away) he was the first to go, and thus had a little photo journal taken of him as he learned to be weaned and to explore and eat various things on his own. As the wedding was over, I even let him experiment with nibbling flowers – anything to get him off milk!
He was so cute as he had to learn to drink water, too – he tried the chicken’s shallow water pan outside…
He followed Richard around when water was being carried to the other animals:
And finally he took some tentative sips from the ‘big-boy’ pail!
But he took to leaf-eating VERY easily and loved trying all new things and even standing on his hind legs to eat the apple tree leaves like his Mom!
Such a personable little guy, so unlike his twin “Mo” ! Robin was always following us around, fairly unperturbed that his brother and mother were shut up in the barn calling to him!
We were a bit sad to see him go, but “Grace” is the type of gal that brings all her animals into her house for play-time, so we knew he’d be well-loved. (Mo took a lot longer to wean, and was with us for a very trying and noisy 10 more days before we could give him to the fellow who lives just 2 houses down the valley from us. But Mo is happy now too, with some other fowl and goat pals, and Richard says he’s even had some climbing apparatus and an upper level bunk to climb into at night!)
And Grace sends us regular photos of Robin with her goat Rammi and matching pony, so we know he’s also very content and having lots of fun!
Also – this just in – Our New Denmark episode of Still Standing (Chevy and me in the parade shots) . https://watch.cbc.ca/media/%E2%80%A6/s%E2%80%A6/new-denmark-nb/38e815a-00f0c4c14f4 Here’s a photo of Jonny Harris shaking hands with Trampis, our local ‘hippi’, who took Mo and lives just a few houses downhill…
But, Robin – you were very DEERE to us:
And “Owl” Always Remember You!!!!