Monday, June 08, 2015

Good Times Roll On, Farm-Style

On a rather misty/rainy day I met up with W. and we went to Roaming Radish for snacks and a drink, and, it turns out, cake.
In case past posts hadn't led you to pick up on it, I like to go to the beach, and I spend a fair amount of time hanging with Rodo the Jack Russell. There is a hierarchy to his affection, which will always start with his true owner, E. But E. has a job and life off the farm, so often enough Rodo will deign to hang with me (or anyone else who he thinks will give him food and a soft place to lie down), but I will say that I am sometimes touched by Rodo's choice to follow me on any particular day. For example, this day. I think it was my day off, and I had run errands and then wanted to go take advantage of the sunny nice weather for a swim and a sit at the beach. I walked down the one big hill, through the ewes' pasture and through the gate that leads to the steep descent to the beach when I heard a whimpering noise above. So I turned around and went back up a bit to check and see what it was all about. Unbeknownst to me, apparently, Rodo had seen me start walking and decided to follow...but then hadn't announced his presence in time for me to wait for him at the gate. He wanted to go to the beach too.
And to the beach we went. I finished my former wine night/grad school comrade's (Lindsay Hunter) book, Ugly Girls, which is a good read for those who like reading.
On another morning, H. and I were milking, but when we looked up at some point, we noticed that the ewes that had already been milked were entirely not where they belonged. This led to a bit of a delay in finishing our last group of milkers, as well as some consternation as to how the heck they got out in the first place. Eventually all was put right in the world, but it wasn't without a bit of effort on the part of H., me and B.... especially because we didn't see where they were breaking out from the first time round, so they did it again. A little frustration, a little laughter, a little ultimate triumph.
 Another romance movie painting.
We get asked a lot of questions at markets, many of which are entirely understandable and worth answering. But then there are some questions that are just hard to hear and keep a smile on your face. H. texted me from a market saying "I'm going to make a meme about how my face looks every time someone says our goats are so cute." This is because we have no goats, and all our signage prominently says sheep. So, yeah, we get a bit perplexed. This is the photo I texted her of what my inside face meme would be when such a statement was made.
 Peony season is the best season of all.
 Sheep selfies. Sheelfies.

 Driving a golf cart with lambs or sheep in your lap will never get old.
 Wine, salad and foie gras...with letter. Perfect.
 Another trip to the beach, this one at a very low tide.
Low enough that we could walk out and pick up Dungeness crabs...and be slightly terrified that their claws would get us.
 Then slightly more confident that they would not.
 Then totally certain that we could kiss the beasts if we wanted.
 Happiness. Also, I am wearing a romper.
 You wouldn't think picking up crabs would be quite as entertaining as it was, but it was.
 These are the good kind of times that keep rolling.
 At one point S. and the dogs started doing a little circular run/jig. It was heartwarming.
T. and his gf M. came up to the farm from Seattle at the end of May. It was the first visit for both of them, but they were pretty game to muss themselves up a bit when saying hi to the sheepies.
 Though I think T. worried a fair amount about getting shit on his shoes.
 A morning view.
 An afternoon view.
 Even when they're falling apart, peonies are pretty.
S. flew in to visit with M&A&M and I met up with them in her hotel room for drinks and dinner. So nice to see them all. So glad I know them.
 Slightly hard to see, but an eagle diving into the water to get a fish.
 Slightly better proof.
 Obligatory (to me) photos of me at the beach after taking a swim while wearing my new suit.

 Coco and S. came down on this particular beach jaunt and also had some fun times.

 Coco was wiped and took a nap on the log behind my set up.

 Sun or shade. Sometimes a difficult choice.
L. and H. post-milking. I think this was a night that I was in charge of dinner and chose to make dinner grilling sausages on a fire.  Because that is always the best kind of dinner.
 Proof that I trepidatiously jump on the trampoline with A. from time to time.

 L. and H. again.
 A sign I saw on my way to the ferry one market morning.
The double yolk eggs aren't coming quite as frequently as last year, but they still do happen from time to time. H. is the best when it comes to taking photos. She has no fear or shame in just taking one million of them, which sometimes leads to me feeling like I'm walking around this life with a permanent triple chin...but other times I just have to be very strict in choosing from the many options she provides me.

 This was me doing a double yolk egg jig. Also known as a dyej.
 Sunscreen, beer, letters, beach. Never. Gets. Old.
H.'s boyfriend M. arrived on the farm late last week. I've been hearing so much about him for so long, that I really just decided he was already my friend. Unfortunately it turns out that he's a really unfunny, terrible person. Poor H.

And then this Saturday we took all the new folks on the farm (M. plus two new boys who are going to help us for a couple of weeks) to Goss Lake. A.-the-10-year-old came with and was not the only one to try out the rope swing. I did not try out the rope swing, but I did swim like no one was watching.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Moons, Birds, Lambs and Cheese

This post was made in reaction to Joe who, according to a voicemail c/o LW, thinks I need to get my blogging act together.

We've had some good moons in the last few weeks. A super killer one happened I think last week, but I didn't photograph it. This is an earlier moon. All this moon talk reminds me of the Mighty Boosh Moon, and its feelings on the best of moons....which is a Youtube clip I can't seem to find. So here is another glimpse into the opinions of the moon.

We made some new moveable fence lines the other day, giving our oldest batch of lambs access to totally new grass. They were digging it, but even if you love all the grass, you still need a break every now and then.
They were not entirely pleased that I interrupted their break, but they didn't hold it against me for long.
Nope, they just went back to grass loving (and in one instance, butt sniffing).
We've been having such higher milk yields this year, that the existing system for chilling milk between cheese makes became a bit complicated. So a bulk milk tank was purchased and installed in our cleaning area next to the parlor. Now we can store crazy amounts of milk and keep it nice and chilled in a better way. Very neat.
I had a very good burger and started writing a letter on one of my weekly bar nights.
I loved Penny the Rooster. When he was a chick, we all thought he was a chicken. Eventually his comb, plumage, size and crow made it known that he was not, in fact, a chicken. And for a good long while he was still pretty chill. In the last few weeks, however, he began getting a bit aggressive. Jumping at me with his spurs and fluffing up his feathers whenever I came in to get eggs or if I had to pick up one of his ladies. He wasn't super crazy aggressive, but honestly I didn't feel like waiting to get spurred to make the decision to cull him. This became a learning opportunity for me. With E.'s instruction, I dispatched Penny into the beyond and learned how to skin and butcher him. It was not an entirely unmessy series of steps. Did I get blood on my chest, face and other parts of my upper body? Yes I did. Did I make a tasty stew out of him? Yes I did.
Did I ask H. to take photographs of me all bloodied up? Why yes, I did.

On another day I made plans to meet up with a neighbor for wine, cheese and conversation. It was about a mile-long walk. Rodo followed me of his own volition. At one point I paused in an area that had been logged last fall to enjoy a little sun. Rodo enjoyed it as well.
Then he got to play with a boy and a soccer ball...and another dog that really didn't understand what to do with the soccer ball (chase it, obviously).
On another day I was walking up to my room and I saw a bird struggling with a window. It was a bit addled and easily restrained.
I've been told it was a Wilsons Warbler.
Last year, with a larger farm crew, there was a bit more down time for quick jaunts or drives to nearby beaches. I kept telling H. that this was a true thing, but we never quite managed to have the time to actually have such an experience. One Saturday, during milking, I announced that we were going to do it no matter what. A few unexpected things came up that nearly derailed our plans and threatened to make me cry (on the inside) but in the end we met all our responsibilities and made it to Maxwelton Beach for a nice mid-afternoon sit and read experience.
Morning light as I fed the rams whilst walking down to the barn to milk. We're definitely seeing more sun and the days are feeling longer in that way. In other words, when we wake up it isn't dark, and it's still not dark at around 8 PM, so that's pretty cool.
Me and Persephone. She wasn't as into this photo shoot as I was, but that's nothing new.

An especially tasty breakfast I made for myself post-milking one morning. Radishes, greens of some kind, and perhaps hidden might be some fresh crab...there has been a lot of fresh crab in our lives over the last two weeks and I love it.
Our milking ewes enjoying some greener pastures and clover.
Stilton. Letter writing. Wine.
My day off last week was a good one as far as being warm and sunny. I went to a different beach and basically just stayed there for five hours, which mainly included a phone interview and finishing a book.
Stan and Brian using the tractor to get an old farm implement off a flat bed truck.
We split dinner making responsibilities on the farm, and on this particular evening it was my turn. I missed having fires in our lives, so I decided that dinner would be sausages cooked on a fire. And that is exactly what happened. Turned out well for everyone really.
Water for the lambies.
A breakfast of fresh crab, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, sushi rice and ginger. Altogether tasty and satisfying.
Earlier this week, my boss and I made the trek to Pike Place Market for the Women in Beer event, which also featured women in cheese or chocolate. It was a three hour thing where folks go around with tasting cups and try lots of beer and enjoy free samples of any number of cheeses, chocolates and other snacks. We manned our table together for part of the time, but each took a few circuits to try the wares. It was pretty fun.