So much work went into getting the garden started back in May, and then it went on autopilot for a few weeks. First came the heat and the drought and cracked dry dirt nothing would grow in, next came the rain. And more rain. And then the weeds... Now it looked more like a jungle than a garden. Several days have been spent weeding and literally mowing to get it back in shape. It isn't perfect, but I think we saved it for now. Already we are picking a few cucumbers and green peppers.
A tomato hornworm (AKA giant nasty green worm creature) and a few of his friends were found feasting on the tomato plants. He is the caterpillar of the "hummingbird" or "hawk" moth. This one was about 3 inches long. Only one plant had significant damage, so I think we caught it just in time.
The strawberries needed some TLC, too.
So you're probably wondering what else this farmer has been doing that caused her to neglect her garden (and her blog) for several weeks. Since mid-April, she has been on a 2X per day milking schedule, typically 6 am and 6 pm. Alita was the first victim as her kids were weaned at 4 months (finally). Her milk production slowed down by June, and I soon realized the reason. The poor girl is pregnant again. That's another story,.
But, it was just in time to start milking Ember, since her kids were now 3 months old and ready to wean. Ember is a very good producer, but was not fond of the milking thing. She jumped and bucked and behaved badly, so for at least a month I had to enlist my helper Connor to hold her and keep her calm. When he went on vacation, I was on my own, so I learned to tie her up from head to tail. Literally. Her head in the head box, her two back feet in Velcro straps tied to the base of the stand, and a rope over her back to keep her from jumping. She's finally getting the hang of it, but I wouldn't try it without the restraints. In spite of all that, she's a sweet girl and she gives a lot of milk. She started out at 3.5 pounds of milk each time (equivalent to 2 overflowing quarts, or 1 gallon per day) and is now leveling off at 2 3/4 to 3 pounds, or about 1 1/2 quarts each time. She has given us plenty of milk to drink - I haven't bought milk at the store since May - and to experiment with cheeses and lotion. So far, I have made 6 batches of Chevre (goat cheese), 2 pounds of Feta cheese, many batches of yogurt, and enough goats milk lotion to use and give away. During this time, Princess flower arrived. She was only 9 weeks old and not fully weaned, so Ember has been feeding her bottle milk as well.
My name is Christy Franklin.