Friday, October 13, 2017

A Short, Random Story About Some Random Apples

We picked our apples more than a week and a half ago...and our first batch of applesauce burned, and was rather thick and almost dry in consistency.  The apples were okay to eat, but again, a little dry, very firm, and a bit tart.  I attributed it to the dry second half of our summer.

But then, after the apples had sat around for a few days, I grabbed one to eat - and it was delicious!  It was softer, and the perfect mix of sweet and tart!  The next couple batches of applesauce turned out much better, too.

I guess apples are one of those things that improve if you can just wait a little while!  

Anyway...anyone want to come over for some homemade applesauce?  :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Breed Profile #7: Nubian Goats

It's occurred to me recently that not only am I behind on general blog posts, but I'm also behind on my breed profiles!  Lol, I really hope these aren't too boring...they're mostly meant to be my way of keeping track of the various farm animals I've met, researching them, and deciding whether they might be a good breed to raise on my little farm someday.  But I hope they're moderately interesting to read.

So...about Nubian goats, which are apparently America's most popular goat breed!

I visited some Nubian goats way back when, the same day I bought a ridiculous amount of Romney fleece at Paradise Farm in Southern NH.  I even bought some of their milk - it was great!  No "goaty" flavor at all; I couldn't tell the difference from the cow's milk I got from the grocery store.

As I was researching Nubians today, I learned one new thing right away - outside America, they're known as the Anglo-Nubian.  Another interesting tidbit is that their name comes from Nubia, Africa, but a far greater influence on the breed came from goats imported from India.  These African and Indian goats were bred to native British goats, and by the late 1800's, the Anglo-Nubian breed was consistent enough to form a breed registry in Great Britain.  Sometime after that, some Anglo-Nubians made their way to America, and the breed registry there began in the early 1900's.  The Americans pretty quickly dropped the "Anglo" off the front of the name, thus ending up with just "Nubian."  Why?  Who knows!  Maybe someone was lazy, and it just caught on.  :P

When I started researching Nubians this morning, I thought that they were on the higher end of milk production, but actually, they're not.  They're fairly good producers, but what makes them valuable as a dairy animal is the high butterfat content of their milk (4-5%), as well as the fact that their breeding cycle can enable them to produce milk all year long.  Interestingly, they're also valued for their meat and their hides.  

They're a fairly large goat, with the females weighing at least 135 pounds and the males at least 175 pounds.  They can be any color, and are known for a Roman nose and a rather noble appearance.  They also have ridiculously cool ears - check out the baby below: 

So...will there be Nubians on Butterscotch Farm someday?  I honestly don't know.  I can definitely see some pros and cons...I need to decide if I want a full-size dairy goat, or something a little bit smaller, like Oberhaslis.  As a popular goat, Nubians may be a bit easier to find...but having a more unique breed definitely appeals to some part of me.  

So, I guess I'll stick Nubians on the "Maybe" list for now.  Ultimately, it's not so much a matter of what I decide, but of figuring out what God's will is...and I'm confident that if He wants me to have goats, they'll be the perfect ones for me and my situation.  :)


Monday, September 25, 2017

The Little Plum Tree that Could

Fruits and veggies have done pretty well this year, despite my highly neglectful gardening style.  ;P  Tomatoes have come into their own:

Apples are about ready to be picked: 

And we've got plums!

Italian Prune Plums, to be specific, which is why they're so small.  This is the whole crop, except for a few that fell on the ground.  It's a pretty impressive crop, though, when you consider what the poor Plum tree has gone through - first, it was planted in a dry, sandy New Hampshire yard.  Second, I planted it right at the edge of the driveway, so it always ends up buried by the end of the snow plowing season.  Third, it has actually been run into by the plow truck before!!  Fourth, it got some sort of fungal growth the past couple years, so I had to prune off a few of its meager branches.

But it keeps on growing plums...go, little tree, go!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

14 Months

It occurred to me at some point today that Thane is now 14 months old.  

He's continuing to mature...and he's come SO far!  He's gradually turning into a really great dog.  At this point, he's just got a couple annoying habits that I didn't correct enough when he was younger...I'm going to try to crack down on those before Puppy #2 comes along in a few months.

He's still a goofball most of the time, though.  I tossed a pine cone to try to get him into better lighting for some photos...well, here are the results:




His energy level isn't super high, but I think that if I worked on his stamina, he could go all day...and he'd probably LOVE activities like agility, herding, maybe lure coursing....maybe I'll try something with him sometime...though I ought to work on some "focus" training first - he can have rather selective hearing at times.  ;P

Aaaand...we got one nice pose:

Monday, September 18, 2017

An Update on Stuff!!

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted!  

I haven't done a ton of farm-related stuff lately...except for one thing - I'm beginning to collect ingredients and supplies for my first attempt at making goat milk soaps and lotions!

I visited a farm last week and purchased a couple gallons of goat milk, then portioned it out in baggies and froze it so that it's ready when I need it.

I'll be sure to take lots of photos once I get to the soap-making process, but in the meantime, enjoy a photo of this lovely Oberhasli goat, without whom my goat milk soap adventure would be a lot less successful: 

I'm very interested in this breed, by the way...I'll have to do a breed profile later, so you can impress your friends with random Oberhasli trivia.  :P

Anyway, happy Monday!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Project

I bought an antique dresser's in pretty good shape except for the top, which definitely needs to be refinished: 

I'll probably switch out the knobs, too (especially because some are missing!), but I might leave the rest of it as is - I like patina.  :P  

I'll be sure to add an "after" picture once it's touched up.  :)

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Taming of the Shrubs

Made some progress on another yard project today...many thanks to my coworker Kathy who came over to give me guidance, help, and moral support!  I've pruned the shrubs along the front of our house for years, but with little knowledge of the treatment of individual shrubs.  Kathy has years of expertise in landscaping, and was able to guide me and help me learn to assess what to cut and what to leave.

Here's the before photo:

You can see how the bushes were quite overgrown and didn't really have appealing shapes.  Kathy and I worked for an hour and a half, making selective cuts and removing a lot of dead branches.  We stepped back often to see how we were coming along - it's definitely helpful to see the big picture.'s the end result:

I'm very pleased with how the bushes turned out.  I'll probably gradually lower their height; you're just not supposed to take too much off at once.  I want them to keep a nice shape but not block the view from the windows too much.

Next week I'll tackle the monstrosity at the right side of the porch:

Oh, hi, Thane!!  :D

Anyway, thanks again, Kathy!!  The bushes and I are greatly appreciative!  :)