Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daisy Update and Goatling Sling

        Daisy is not quite forty eight hours old yet, but it is time for an update. So you'll get to see some pictures of the baby all fluffed up and clean now, rather than twenty minutes old and still a bit wet. We are going to take a picture of her every week until we give her away, next to the same picture frame and grass hay bale, so we can see how much she has grown. For baby goats grow very quickly. Here is our "farm news" sign with the latest announcement:

        Welcome Daisy, born on my mom's birthday (she was so exited)! Some goatling in a frame pictures:

        It has been a bit chilly here lately, although nothing like the weather the rest of the country is getting right now, so Daisy stays mostly in her barn with her Mama and her warm light. When I take her out, I put her in the sling that I made to carry my cat a long time ago. People see her and think she is a bunny! It amuses me. I don't think the ears are big enough. Anyway, the sling.

        This is me and Daisy, out in the cold air. I walked her over to the restaurant where her future adopted parents work, and they met for the first time. I got lots of weird looks on the way over, but since I walk my goats on a leash all of the time, I'm pretty much used to it.

        I suppose hardly anyone carries their baby goats in slings, but I love slings, so why not. My mom carried me in a sling all of the time when I was a baby, so why not? Slings are great because they allow the child/animal to feel close to their mom, and yet if you are carrying a baby in a sling, you have your hands free! They just go right to sleep because they know they are safe and bundled up, and you can get some work done. Not that I have to carry Daisy around, but it is an excuse. 
        If you want to make a sling, it is really easy. I just cut a rectangle of fabric that was the length from my shoulder to the opposite hip (plus seam allowance), and then cut the bottom into a curve. I sewed the ends together so that the seam is closed on both sides, and the hemmed the edge. There are lots of easy sling tutorials out there also if your mom can't teach you how like mine did. My mom is just cool like that, and your mom might be cool in other ways. :)
         So the moral of the story is: slings are good! For kittens and puppies and goatlings and babies (I mean people babies)! You just might get strange looks.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birth Announcement: Meet Daisy-goat!

        After five long months, Lily (our neighbor's goat) kidded. Yesterday morning we knew she was getting close because she stopped eating and went into our shed and lay down in the straw. We could tell she was getting ready. Also, her udder was huge and the baby had dropped, making her hips protrude. So, as the day wore on, with us checking on her at least every hour, we began to wonder if her kids would really come that day. After all, she didn't really seem to be in labor, and some goats take kind of a while. I went up to my room at about nine last night, wrote in my journal for an hour, and then went to bed. I'd had a long day at school and was ready to sleep. Not if there was a goatling, however. A bit after ten, my mom came back from checking on Lily, and I asked her how Lily was doing. "Well, there's one baby!" she answered. I can't tell you just how fast I came tearing down the stairs. I grabbed my shawl, didn't bother with shoes, and raced out the door and down the street. I had been hoping to see the birth, but I would settle for just a baby goat. Here is Daisy and her very proud mama:

        All of these pictures were taken within thirty minutes of her birth. Lily licked her and licked her until she was clean and fluffy.

         Learning to nurse for the first time:

        This morning, I went out at seven to check on everyone and snuggle the baby. She is doing very well; eating and loving on her mama. Daisy looks just like Lily, but everywhere that Lily has brown and a little bit of black, Daisy has black and a little bit of brown. I think she is beautiful, and I am relieved that she does not look like a black and white beef cow. I was a bit worried that she would, as her father was all black:

        He was a strange goat, let me tell you, but then, most bucks are strange. I am glad his daughter is cute! Although I was hoping for a boy and a girl, just Daisy is fine with me. Our friend may adopt her when she gets a bit older, so we would still get to see her. 
        This morning, I did some sling training with Daisy. When I first got Eponine when she was five days old, I carried her around in the sling all of the time and it was just the cutest thing! She will have to stay with her mama for a few more days, though. I am so thankful that lily's birthing process was quick and easy. She did everything "by the book", and it made our first experience with birthing goats very good. In a few weeks, we are going to breed Eponine, hopefully for July or August babies. Maybe she will have more than one. Aren't baby goats cute?


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yarn Swatch and Architecture

        I recently got to play with some new yarn, and guess what it was made out of? Raw silk and baby alpaca! Yes! I think it was my favorite yarn that I have swatched so far, and I may just have to buy some of my own in the near future. It did curl quite a bit when I was knitting it, but after being blocked it flattened out really nicely. Here is a picture of it pinned out and drying:

        Because of the color of our nasty blue carpet, the yarn looks a bit darker than it actually was; plus, it was wet. As I said before, though, it turned out very nicely. I used size four needles because the yarn was so thin, and I think it was 35 stitches across. And if you were wondering, the yarn is made by Blue Sky Alpacas and is called metalico. It comes in skeins of 147 yards, which is nice - definitely enough for a scarf. I get so tired of buying nice yarn and then getting two thirds of the way through a scarf and then running out. Here are all of the beautiful colors. Mine was the fourth from the left (I don't own that picture, by the way).

        Here is my second architecture drawing from the book. I didn't use tracing paper for this so the proportions are a tiny bit off, but oh well. It is the Trajan Column from Rome, built in A.D. 112:

        I didn't like how it turned out as well as the Ishtar Gate drawing I did, but I suppose I won't be pleased with everything I draw. I just wanted to share also a lovely picture of the sky out of my window a few days ago. I thought it was stunning:


Friday, January 24, 2014

I Just Had to Make This...

... Because Legolas and Tauriel aren't in the book. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't mind their addition because I am just a fan of elves (and Legolas) in general, but if the movie was to be book-accurate, they wouldn't be in their. Especially not Tauriel. So here it is, the Silvan Elf and the Mirkwood Elf, and a quote from Samwise Gamgee:

        Not one to kill you from laughing, but a good point, I thought. And it was the first meme that I had ever made, so have mercy - I'm not a pro at this!
        What are your thoughts on Legolas and Tauriel in The Hobbit? 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Rabbit Hutch, Continued

        Now I know I never did a real post on this structure, but here is the "continuation". We have been doing the living roof, bits and pieces over the past few days, and it is coming along well. We took the plywood roof off to install the grow bed, if you will, and worked on it laid out on the patio. First, we screwed a frame onto the outside. This was hard and delicate work because the plywood was so thin, but we managed and only split the wood in a few small places. Then we put the pond liner in, trimmed it up, and tacked it on:

        Then we lifted it back onto the coop to measure where to put the drainage hole, and installed the pipe:

        Leaning up against the house while the glue dries: 

        An interlude: pictures of goats and chickens. First up, Eponine eating our Christmas tree:

        Finding yummies in the sprouted wheelbarrow. So cute!

        Lily-goat, who is due to kid very soon now (is it just me or does she look dead in this picture?):

        Here is a better one:

        Okay, back to the living roof. After the glue dried, we heaved it back up onto the coop and made sure the drain worked properly. Then we put a lair of straw down so that all of the dirt doesn't just fall through, and then the dirt itself. Now it is all done, with some little baby nasturtiums growing on the roof!

        Do you have a living roof? Please tell!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Architecture Assignment

        This is a sketch of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon that I did for my architecture class. If you are at all familiar with this structure, you will notice that I didn't draw the lions and horses on the front. I tried, but it didn't work out so I erased them. It doesn't have to do much with the architecture, so I hope my instructor won't mind! By the by, if it looks a bit distorted, it's because of the way the picture was taken - all of the lines and angles are straight! The light was really bad and it was hard to not get my shadow in the photo. :)


Sewing Gadgets

        A friend who helps my brother with beekeeping recently gave him a box of notions to take what he wanted from it and give the rest to me. So I got a whole shoebox full of goodies! Mostly thread, but that really is the most expensive, so I am pleased. Very pleased, yes precious.

        See? Look at all of the pretty colors! 

         There are even some wooden spools mixed in:

        There is some elastic; very sturdy and well made (you can see my boots in the background!):

       And, something that I go through a lot of, and now hope never to have to buy again:

        Can you guess? No? Sewing machine needles! I break those all of the time, and now I have 100!

        Also, there were three bobbins, the kind that I need for my old Singer 99K.

        And, of course, the box of things that I don't want:

        On another note, a friend gave me an old cameo shawl pin that had been lying in her drawer. It is blue and has a carved shell picture in relief. I can't wait to wear it with some of my 19th Century style outfits! Here is a photograph:



Friday, January 17, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Cookies (Grain and Gluten Free, GAPS)

        I just thought I'd share with you a delicious recipe that I concocted a few weeks ago. It is, as the title informs you, for cookies, but the best part is, they have no grain at all! And they still taste great!

  • 2 1/4 cups blanched almond flour (I made my own; see below)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest from 2 large-ish lemons
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries (see below)
Mix all ingredients together. The dough should be firm and sticky. Form into cookies (makes about twelve small or nine large), and bake at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool for about five minutes so they don't fall apart when you try to eat them, and then devour savor each bite. 
        I made rather large cookies this time:

         About the almond flour. I refuse to buy blanched almond flour from the store; it is SO expensive! The way I make it, it doesn't turn out quite as fine and takes quite a bit of effort, but still works. Here's how:

  • Soak three cups of almonds in water overnight - I dissolve two teaspoons of salt in the water to pull the phytic acid from the almonds as well.
  • In the morning, rinse the almonds well until the water coming out runs clear.
  • Peel the skins off of each almond. This will take a while, so maybe put on a TV show or something.
  • Grind up the skinless (blanched) almonds in a food processor. Try to get the pieces as small as possible. The blade in ours is rather dull, so it is hard for me to get it really fine.
  • Spread the wet almond flour on a dehydrator mat and dehydrate on 150 degrees for eight hours or until completely dry and crispy
  • Use in baking!
        About the blueberries. Again, I am not going to buy the fancy dried blueberries that are soft and tender and full of sugar. So, I make my own (surprise)!
  • Get a dehydrator mat and put some aluminum foil over the top. Then put down a paper towel.
  • Pour about 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries onto the paper towel and make sure they are spread out. 
  • Dehydrate at whatever temperature you want until they are almost dry but not crispy. They should still be chewy and a bit moist. I think I did mine at 135 degrees for about seven hours. 
  • Bake cookies or use in trail mix!
        I hope you enjoy this recipe! We eat mostly grain-free and this is one of our favorite treats.