Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Field Trip: Tree Chopping, Determined Eggplant, and Tiny Milk Goats

This summer, we met Abby and Daniel at the Downtown Westminster Farmers' Market. They come every Saturday and pick up some produce from several vendors. After the first few visits, we found out they had purchased a farm in Westminster - but not just any farm, Greg and Kris's from Thorne Farm. (Thorne Farm is also a vendor at the market, right across from us as a matter of fact.) It's a beautiful 4.5 acre property only about 20 minutes from our place!
They already have a lot of really fun things going on there, and have even more planned for the future. On a recent Sunday we got a chance to go hang out with them and all their little farm friends.
Our tour started with the beautiful 1950's house, I didn't get any pictures but you can see a few on Abby's blog. The rooms are covered in wood paneling - real wood paneling, not the cheesy staple on kind - and it is the perfect size.
Behind the house the land goes back into a wedge shape, on the right will be their pasture as soon as the fences go up and on the left are their vegetable gardens. They have some really fun veggies growing (all heirlooms, yay!) and the plants have been very persistent in spite of a very pesky groundhog.

This eggplant had been eaten away and had seemingly died, it grew back and is now flowering again!

They are growing basil, peppers, beans, sweet corn, pie pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, tomatoes and more!
Next on the tour were the three dead trees that need to come down before the new fences go up, one of which was coming down while we were there. Daniel and Shawn worked on clearing the way for the falling tree and then the lengthy task of cutting it down.
Here Daniel is cutting a wedge into the front third of the tree. This cut will guide it as it falls.



They then cut into the back of the tree until they were a few inches from the original wedge.
And TIMBER!!! The tree came down - to the applause of the neighbors who were watching from their deck.
Our final stop on the tour was the goats and chickens. They have 22 Rhode Island Red hens that were happily pecking at some cantaloupe rinds when we got there. In the future, they plan to get some rare heritage birds (we warned them that the polish ones, like Trudy, get beat up on).
The goats, however, are amazing! They are so sweet and full of personality...and small! They are smaller than my dog.

This is Stardust, the only one Abby is currently milking. She is the leader of the females and demands it stays that way. She threw two or three fits while we were there, which involved stomping to the back of the barn and giving us funny looks. I think she was mad that she wasn't receiving ALL of the attention. :)

This is her son, Ziggy. He is a very sweet wether (this is a castrated male). He is a little shy and acts a lot like a dog.
Abby and Daniel are planning to breed the four below soon so they will start producing milk too. For how small they are, each goat will produce more milk than you think - a quart per day! If you didn't check out her blog with my first link, here it is again. You can see the names of these four and a video of them. Abby spins eco/human/animal friendly fibers into all kinds of beautiful and awesome yarns. You must see them!



While we were hanging out with the goats, milking time rolled around. This is Stardust's favorite time of day.
The milk pail, cider wash for her udders, brush, and grain for her to eat.




She showed us how to do it! It's hard at first, but once you get it, it's fun.


These two are jealous of her milking time...they will get their chance soon!

There will only be more fun adventures had here, keep a look out for them. :)

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