Our Autumn hasn’t given us the most beautiful foliage this year, but there have been enough red Maples, Dogwoods, and Bradford Pears that we were content with the nature-show. We even managed some ooohs and aaahs as we gazed out over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
With a month remaining in Autumn, the cold weather has set in. Last week, our daytime temperature was just 17-degrees. Thankfully, that Arctic blast didn’t last long and we were back to our typical erratic weather pattern. We adapt to our local weather, even with its unpredictable nature, doing outdoor work when we can and staying indoors when weather dictates we must.
The woodpile now holds about 3 cords and we’ve been heating with wood for almost two months now. The entire house is dustier when we’re heating with wood, forcing me to pull out the dust-cloth much more often than I want to.
When the weather cooperated, we managed to paint the 4-board fencing and it will help to preserve the wooden planks for years to come. But we have more painting! The additions to our goat barn and buck house still need to be painted and that is our next outdoor project. We hope the weather will continue to cooperate so we can accomplish this job.
Our first couple of seed catalogs arrived the other day and with them came the dreams and hopes for next year’s garden and all of the good foods we hope to grow.
I did acquire some new starter seeds — seeds of the Texas Bird Pepper (Capsicum annuum glabriusculum), a small hot pepper that was grown at the Thomas Jefferson gardens at Monticello here in Virginia. The seeds have dried from the small pepper and will be planted next year. This is a beautiful bushy pepper and could easily be incorporated into an edible garden border, Rosalind Creasy style.
These pepper seeds came by way of a class called “Gardening With Thomas Jefferson” which was taught by Pat Brodowski, the Monticello Vegetable Head Gardener. She brought in a number of sample plants grown at the large garden at Monticello and I was admiring the tiny peppers after the class ended. Being the true seed-saver, she encouraged me to take a few of the peppers home to save some of my own seed. So we will start this tiny pepper plant in 2014.
The goat kids are growing out so nicely. We enjoy playing with them and they never want us to leave. Last month they got collars so they can be lead-trained. We also moved these 3 doelings in with the adult does so they are learning to adjust to each other.
This year, we culled our dairy herd down from 19 goats to 10. We sold several milkers and some of the young bucks born this kidding season. Some of our goat kids have traveled as far away as Georgia and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but some are nearby and I have made new ‘goat friends’ with the buyers.
Since we no longer needed a wether, we decided to find a home for Max who was the companion to our first buck. We have 2 unrelated Nubian bucks so we no longer required a wether. Max was placed with a local farmer and his son, a 4H’r raising sheep — and Max is only about a mile away. Max is being used to lead-train his sheep for the upcoming shows and so he lives with a flock of sheep now. We see him every time we drive down the road and he still looks up when we holler to him as we drive by.
At this time, we believe our 2-year goat does are bred and they will kid in late March to early April. Our rabbit does are bred, due to kindle during the first couple of days in December.
We will have a quiet, stay at home Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys the holidays. When I was young, we would gather at my grandparents’ table and after the blessing of the meal, my grandmother would say, “And bless the hands that prepared it!” Words that I will never forget.
Happy Thanksgiving to all….