It has been a long time since I've written anything about Lantanaland, not from lack of interesting things, more the opposite. Mostly the time has been going to The Boy. At seven and a bit months he is good fun, lots of cheeky smiles and little milestones. However the momentum for this blog came from the fantastic Mr Flinthart, who writes his as a rambling record for his kids to read one day if they want. History is important and stuff has been happening and thoughts have been percolating that need to be recorded if I am to provide even an incomplete picture of how the farm grew up around us.
Curtis has not just been sitting around playing with his toys. He is quite used to being strapped in and coming to feed the cows and the chooks, water the fruit trees and do the other many small jobs that need doing around the farm. He has even spent a few afternoons in the backpack while I have been fencing. Fencing! How it haunts my nights and causes gnashing of the teeth. More about that a bit later.
The big changes have been the addition and subtraction of the cows. I had to sell Candy, the dexter. Lovely as she was, especially in the milking bales, I could never convince her to give up all her milk without using the calf. The cows are not pets and I haven't made cheese or yoghurt for the herd share since I started milking. Feed is also scarce, and I can't warrant buying feed for a cow giving 2L a day. I also have more mouths to feed. Both Laf and Dolores have calved. Laf had a little bull calf, somewhat surprising as I didn't know she was even in calf and she did so before Dolores! Dolores eventually followed up with a little girl a week later. So I have enough cows at the moment.
Despite having two cows I could be milking I'm getting none. This is because of cash and optimism. I tried to do a day pen for the chooks in electric fencing because I can't afford the mesh for a big run at the moment. It didn't work and a side issue was in all the fiddling round I also rendered the fence I use to separate the calf off at night impotent. So I haven't milked Laf yet because the calf has beaten me to her every morning. You'd think getting up at 430am would be early enough but no, no milk for us. Dolores is in quarantine, having had a shot of antibiotic to clear up some post birth swelling.
I am looking forward to milking Dolores. She is so tame that I swears he has a bit of Golden Retriever in her, she even lets the other calves have a drink. The latest fencing is a small yard around the bales. Of course $1000 and some proper yard fence panels would solve the problem in ten minutes. Mostly I love being innovative and making something out of scarce resources, but right now I want 6L of milk a day and some cheese.
One positive is letting the chooks out to irregularly range has seen an upturn in egg production. Chooks that get a big range have better tasting eggs as well and eggs means some of my favourite foods, aolli, fresh pasta and boiled eggs. The other big sucess has been homemade harissa, using my little ornamental chillies and tomatoes semi dried in the oven then cold smoked in the washing machine smoker. Fantastic depth of tastiness and I can't wait till I have my own yoghurt again.
The next big thing is going to be a decent summer veg production. I really do suck at vegetable growing, but I want enough tomatoes this year to do some bottling and freezing and smoking. Also I'm keen to supply most of the houses fresh greens. We will see, but right now I have to go and check on an electric fence, again.