TRAVEL JOURNAL 12: SHEEP RODEO

We helped in a minor way with shearing the sheep while we stayed in Alsace. It’s a difficult job to restrain a wiggling sheep and shear thick wool away from its skin without hurting it, so our job was just to catch them, turn them into a sitting position (much harder than it sounds), and…

The Fromagerie

The next day is cold and rainy in the morning, and it’s just me because the Teenager warned me not to wake him up early “or else”. This means the backpack is WAY lighter. I am prepared with a waterproof backpack cover and raincoat. They are still milking when I arrive, so I wait and…

Out With The Goats

A neighbor has a fromagerie where they make cheese from goat and sheep’s milk. In the past few days, several sheep and goats were killed by wolves. They have a guardian dog, but he is very young. Our host asks if we would like to go stay with the goats and sheep in the pasture…

Treating A Cow With A Snake Bite Naturally

I have to give credit to my daughter Rose who took this lovely picture of me and Matilda at milking time. This is how our mornings always begin. It’s been a busy week, and it all started when one of my milk cows named Chestnut (because of her beautiful brown coat and prickly personality) came…

November Mustard and Cheese Wraps

The horrible, hot humid weather lasted so long this year. Still, it was startling to see how quickly Autumn took over, greying the skies and laying the tall grasses of summer flat against the ground overnight.  The bright early fall wildflowers are replaced by pale late blooming ones, and the honeysuckle vines are empty and…

 Sweet and Simple Blueberry Cobbler

This is the height of the grass season, when milking and making cheese and yogurt and kefir and butter fill up my days.  Every day I skim the yellow cream from four gallons of milk, and churn three-quarters of a gallon of cream into golden butter.  Every day after milking, the cows, sleek with their…

Bread, From Seed

“Our bread doesn’t shine like that,” said Cordelia. “That is the pity of it,” said the peasant woman.  “What makes yours shine?” asked Cordelia. “The sun in the wheat,” said the peasant woman.  -The Shining Loaf by Isabel Wyatt In January this year I planted four kinds of hulless barley, the kind that is easiest…

Peaceful Mornings

Being in the countryside, with a lot of empty land around us,  you would think that there would be a lot of peace and quiet all the time,  especially in the very early mornings as the sun is just rising.  But you can’t imagine the awful barnyard noises I was ignoring while taking these pictures!…

Recovering

Last week was rough.  On top of all the new babies, Ethan was out of town for work,  and we all had a really nasty illness,  possibly the dreaded flu that’s been killing everyone. I have no idea really,  since I only go to the doctor if I’m actually dying,  and obviously i made it…

Spring Fertility Madness

It’s been the craziest week ever,  and nothing seems to be slowing down in the least.  Nearly every evening finds me exhausted and covered in some sort of birth juices, dirt, milk or all three.  It all started about 3 weeks ago,  when I had just finished creating an email to send out,  offering acorn-fed…

Women and the Land

I’ve been thinking lately,  and one idea I have dwelt on quite a bit is the connection between women and the land.  Not long ago (and in some places even now)  women were seen merely as property, a form of wealth and resources.  We generally like to think those days are in the past.  All…

Holiday Madness

Everyone always tries to do too much for the holidays. Our version of that this year was an apparent fit of madness in which we decided to take advantage of the cool weather and slaughter a giganormous pig just before Christmas. Bee was actually our first Gloucester old spot to have piglets on the farm….