Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guineas, Melons and Alpaca Corralling

I have learned a valuable lesson. I will never again talk about erections on my blog. Using the word "erection" in a post title alerted the people at Viagra to the fact that I am now running a pornography site. So, if you see random advertisements from Viagra in my comment section, please disregard. Here are a few recent farm updates.

The Guinea Fowl Roost

Glenn is loving my maternity leave. He has all day to work on the many projects he has going around the farm. Yesterday Glenn finished the construction of the guinea hen roost and decided to paint it red (like we are planning to paint the barn). We will be moving the guinea fowl into their new home this Saturday.

Big Melons!

We ordered seeds for this large "Bidwell Casaba Melon" from the seed saver catalogue last year. Glenn picked this variety because it was developed in Chico, CA and he thought it would have a good chance in our climate. They are turning out to be huge and so tasty. We will be planting this variety again next year for sure!

Alpaca Grooming

A couple of weekends ago we decided the alpacas were looking a bit unkempt so we gathered them up for a morning of grooming. Alpacas are decently easy to corral. They can be captured with only an (extremely frightening) rope. I watched as Grammy and Glenn roped in the alpacas and began to wonder why we even built a fence for them. It seems like we could have saved some money and made a large enclosure out of ropes. You can see Leche and Serio (the goats) laughing at the alpacas in the photo below.

Grammy haltered all of the alpacas and then I began to work out Remy's knots.

We "let" Glenn brush Pablo because he is a bit more wild than the other two. It was fun to watch them dance.

Finally, all the boys were clean and I was able to snap one quick picture before they rolled in dirt.

Our audience: Oliver and my two cute nephews, Reid and Owen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Romantic Anniversary: A Vigorous Erection and Hours of Pickling

Yesterday Glenn and I celebrated six happy years of marriage. To honor the occasion, we spent the day getting "farm chores" done, then had an excellent evening together getting foot massages and having dinner out on the town.

Glenn's big project this weekend was erecting his guinea fowl roost. We wanted the guineas to be close to the garden and the front pasture to keep bugs and snakes away from the places where we spend most of our time.

Oliver and Glenn spent a long time thinking about how to most easily get the roost up without getting hurt. Glenn decided Oliver and I were pretty worthless, so he asked Grammy and Pop to come over to help.

Glenn put on the final touches on the roost and I decided to check out the guinea fowl view. Not bad.

Finally, after two hours, Glenn was fully erect and boy was he proud!

Here is a picture of one of the guinea hens. She is at the awkward teenager stage, but you can see how pretty her coloring will be.

We wanted to hang out and admire his erection all day, but we knew we had a big pile of cucumbers waiting for us inside. Our excellent neighbors donated all of these cucumbers to us in exchange for some pickles. After our jam experiment we were ready to take on more canning.

Glenn filled the jars with fresh dill and other spices. He really had to study the directions as making pickles is slightly more difficult than making jam.

My job was to cram the cucumbers tightly into the jars. The sad thing about this picture is that this is my attempt at making a "sexy" face. It is a wonder how I ever got pregnant.

The final product: eight jars of pickles! We will have to wait two to three weeks to try them. Pickle photograph by Glenn.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Raspberry and Apricot Jam and a Huge Spider!

I'm embarrassed to say I have never canned anything until last week. Feeling like country folk fakers, Glenn and I finally decided to break out the canning equipment his mother had given us when we moved to the sticks. For years Glenn and I have talked out canning pickles, tomatoes and other goods from the garden. We never seem to have enough of a surplus to actually can, so the jars have been collecting dust in the barn. We decided to start with jam because that seemed like a simple canning experiment.

Last Saturday, we had a long day of picking. First we picked apricots at our local university, then we headed to the coast to pick organic raspberries. After nearly two hours of raspberry picking, we were all ready to collapse. I estimated that our raspberry jam would cost us about ten dollars a jar at that point if we considered paying ourselves a decent wage.

Canning the jam was fairly simple. Each batch took about an hour to make and an hour to clean up. When the jam cooled in the jars, we were excited to hear the popping sounds of the canning lids. Oliver's favorite part was sampling the fruit throughout the picking and canning process. I love looking at the finished jars, knowing we will have delicious homemade jam for at least the next six months!

We found this cute little guy in one of the canning jars. He nearly stopped my heart when I saw him. We let him go outside and are praying he finds a home far away from the house.