Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Farm Update 4/22

Wow! So much has happened this week that I don't even know where to begin. 
In case you haven't heard already, the Wall Street Journal did an article about our little farm on Saturday. It was a really nice piece and the response has been fantastic! We have about a gagillion new shareholders (Welcome!) and I've received emails from a couple of old boyfriends (although how they recognized me from that Godforsaken drawing I will never know) a high school student looking for an internship, several people offering up land on the Vineyard for grazing, and lots of other lovely people wishing us luck in this project.  It has been a whirlwind, my friends, and on the heels on Fiber Fest, I am just spent.

Speaking of Fiber Fest, it was such a perfect day. I got to meet lots of shareholders and, as you can imagine, they were all funny, charming people. It was so emotional to meet the people who had taken a chance on me that I spent half the day in tears. It really meant the world to me that so many of you came from so far away to spend the day with me and the flock and I don't think anyone in the world felt as blessed as I did that day.

If you couldn't make it to Fiber Fest DO NOT DISPAIR. We're going to do it all over again in September or October and you're invited. I'll let you know the exact date ASAP. In the meantime you might enjoy watching the video Harry (Patrick's elder son) shot of the event or looking at all the pictures that your fellow shareholders took at the event in the flickr group that Kate set up. [You rock Kate!]

My favorite pictures are of the shearing itself. Shearing day is the most important and most labor-intensive day on the shepherding calendar. In addition to the all important hair cut, each animal must have their hooves trimmed, be wormed and deloused. We also like to do a general health check on each sheep and goat at the same time. It is a lot to get done and the work is very physical. 

The shearer obviously has the hardest job. The shearer we used in the Hudson Valley, Jeff Traver,  came up for the weekend and he was a great sport about performing for a crowd. 


In addition to Jeff, Patrick and I called on two friends, Mark DeFeo and Eric Hammerlund, to help out. In fact, just about every one we know on the Island pitched in to get it done.

The thing I love about shearing day is that it kind of like getting your hair cut and colored. You know that feeling you get when you leave the hair salon? That "I'm brand new" feeling? That's what shearing day is like for me. My entire flock is clipped, trimmed, wormed and cared for and for the next six weeks I don't have to worry about any of those things. It's a great feeling. 

The fleeces that Jeff took off looked absolutely beautiful. Here's Patrick holding one up for the crowd to see.

We have umpteen jillion bags of cormo, cotswold, babydoll southdown and angora goat fleeces in my workroom downstairs awaiting their trip to the mill. I'm taking it down to New York this weekend- I'll keep you apprised of it's progress. 

I will be coming back to Martha's Vineyard with 10 new goats- 8 wethered bucks and 2 bottle babies. The babies will need "herb"names and I am plum tapped out. So far we have Thyme, Sage, Chive, Basil, Tarragon, Cilantro, Sassafras, Saffron, Rosemary, Oregano and Juniper.  Can ya'll help me come up with two more?  We also need to come up with a theme for the new wethers. So far we've done candy, famous nannies and herbs and spices. Post suggestions for both here or email me.

It's hard to believe but the six nanny goats due to kid in May are already showing signs that they are close to kidding.  Linda is already really bagged up, meaning that her udder is full of milk. This generally happens two to three weeks before their babies come. 

Miss Linda
Linda is our oldest nanny goat. She is not so easy on the eyes but she is an excellent mother and throws award winning kids. And she almost always twins. I wrote about Linda on my old blog. I can't link you right to it, don't know why, but if you really want to read it go to www.mvfiberfarm.com, click on Blog and then Archive and scroll down a bit. 

Linda is a lovely creature on the inside and she lives to mother. I am concerned about her because she is so old that she's slowing down. It takes her longer to get to the feed trough and she isn't super-competitive anymore. To make sure she is getting enough to eat I'm going to put her in a kidding pen tomorrow with a small shelter. That way she can get plenty to eat without wearing herself out. 

The kids are growing like crazy. Tarragon seems to have recovered completely from his strange infection. Our vet, Dr. Dave Tuminaro, made a house call last week. Actually, Dr. Dave always makes house calls. He has solved the problem of sky rocketing rents on the Vineyard with his own mobile vet clinic.

Tarragon had a big swelling in his throat that wasn't going down with antibiotics alone so Dr. Dave had me hold the kid while he stuck a syringe in the abscess and drew out the guck. [I actually took a picture but it was across the board disgusting!] It was super-gross but it worked like a charm and T is on the mend. I'll post some new pics soon.

That's it for tonight. I'll be doing another update later in the week.

[Important note- to the lovely couple that I met at Fiber Fest whose daughter both them a share as a gift. You haven't been getting the emails I send out and you gave me your email address so I could add you to the list. I put it in the pocket of my jeans and then I washed them. :(  I'm so sorry- please email me and (I promise) I will get you on the list.]

[HEY LINDYPEPPER! You won the Shepherding Camp drawing. Congratulations!]


Susan Berger said...

I am a new Share Holder and am thrilled with the update! Can't wait to meet my investment this summer.
Susan Berger

rebeccablood said...

Herb names: Chervil, Rue, Marjoram, Cayenne, Ginger, Fennel, and Anise. And some spices: Cardamom, Ginger, Turmeric, and Coriander.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Fiber Fest went well....but I'm heartbroken that we didn't make it. I was so looking forward to it, but the combination of not getting a room and some personal stuff conspired against me. I would like to make a trip down before summer hits though.....maybe when the new babies are here?


caracolina said...

I know it isn't an herb or spice but what about sweet william if there's a boy?

Heather said...

How about the names of Peppermint and Spearmint?

woolies said...

I love naky goaties, Linda looks like such a sweetie too.

girlwithasword said...

more herb-a-licious names! Artemesia, Tansy, Violet, Jasmine, Hibiscus, Rose, Woodruff, Hyssop, Dandelion, Chicory, Cocoa, ....i run an herb shop, give me time and I can come up with loads. :)

LiquidLace said...

It was an absolutely wonderful event! Thanks for all the care and effort that went into it.

Here are some more herb & spice names, enough for many more kids:

Angelica, Arugula,
Bay, Bergamot, Betony, Borage,
Caraway, Chamomile, Chicory, Chipotle, Cicely, Cinnamon, Clover, Comfrey,
Dill, Dandelion,
Echinacea, Elderflower, Eucalyptus,
Garlic, Gingko, Ginseng,
Hawthorn, Henna, Hops, Horseradish, Hyssop,
Lavender, Lemongrass, Linseed,
Mace, Mahlab, Marshmallow, Mustard, Myrtle,
Rocket, Rooibos, Rowan,
Safflower, Salvia, Savory, Sesame, Sorrel, Speedwell, Stevia, Sumac,
Tamarind, Tansy, Thistle,
Vanilla, Vervain, Vetiver,
Wasabi, Watercress, Woodruff,

Allspice, Cassia, Clove, Curry, Galangal, Licorice, Nigella, Nutmeg, Orris, Paprika, Pepper, Poppyseed,

Diane said...

more spices!
Aadrak (Ginger)
Aamchur/Amchoor powder (Mango powder)
Achar (pickle)
Ajmud (Celery or Radhuni seed)
Ajmoda (Parsley)
Ajwain (Carom seed)
Amla (Emblica) Gooseberry
Anardana (Pomegranate seed)
Badi Elaichi (Black Cardamom)
Badam (Almond)
Choti Elaichi (Green Cardamom)
Chakra Phool (Star anise)
Chironji (charoli)
Camiki (mango extract)
Dalchini (cinnamon)
Dhania (Coriander seed)
Dhania powder (Coriander powder)
Elaichi (Cardamom)
Garam Masala (Spice mixture)
Gulab Jal (Rosewater)
Gur (unrefined sugar from the sap of the sugarcane or date palm)
Haldi/haldi (Turmeric)
Hara dhaniya (Coriander)
Harad/hime (myrobalan chabulic)
Hari Mirch (Green chili)
Hara miri miri (Coriander powder)
Hing (Asafoetida)
Imli (Tamarind)
Jaggery (unrefined sugar from sugarcane
Jaiphal (Nutmeg)
Javitri (Mace)
Jeera (Cumin) seed
Jethimadh licorice powder
Kadipatta Curry Tree or Sweet Neem leaf
Kaju Cashewnut
Kala Namak or Sanchal Black salt
Kali Mirch (Black peppercorn)
Kalonji Nigella seed
Kasoori Methi (Dried fenugreek leaf)
Katira Gum (Gond Katira)
Kebab Cheeni Allspice
Kesar Saffron
Kesar miri miri Saffron pulp
Khajur Dates
Kokum Garcinia indica
Khus Khus Poppy seed
Lahsun (Garlic)
Lal Mirchi ( Red chili)
Lal Mirchi powder (Red chili powder)
Lavang (Cloves)
Mausammi (Sweet lime)
Methi leaves (Fenugreek leaf)
Methi seeds (Fenugreek seed)
Mustard oil
Namak (Salt)
Nimbu (Lemon)
Nimbu (Lime)
Jaiphal Nutmeg
Pudina (Mint)
Pyaz or Kanda (Onion)
Kali Mirchi (Black Pepper)
Pilli Mirchi (Yellow Pepper)
Safed Mirchi (White Pepper)
Rai (Black mustard seed)
Rai Kuria (cracked mustard seeds)
Ratin jot (Alkanet root)
Saji (na) phool (Citric acid)
Sarson (mustard seed)
Saunf/Sanchal (Fennel seed)
Shahi Jeera (Black cumin seed)
Sirka (Vinegar)
Soa sag (Dill)
Sonth (Dried ginger powder)
Suwa or Shopa (Aniseed)
Taj (Cinnamon)
Tartri (Citric acid)
Tej Patta (Malabathrum)
Til (Sesame seed)
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Zaafraan (Saffron)
Menthulu (Fenugreek Seeds)
shitu (lima seed skin)
osmanli (onion peelings)
pudina (mint)

Angela said...

Great articles in the WSJ! More herbs/spices...how about Lemongrass & Licorice...? (I just looked at the comments and I see that you already have PLENTY of suggestions!).

Anonymous said...

I love Lemongrass & Licorice.

linda said...

i couldn't imagine a more perfect day!! thank you for all that you put into it! peter + i met so many nice people and it was just such a great relaxing time.

Joan said...

Personally, I think Verbena just sounds like a goat. Also, lavender, marjoram.

Elsie said...

For the wethers, how about
1. movie characters... If you pick an actor who has been in a lot of movies (like Sylvester Stalone/Nicolas Cage) you could probably do a whole year of wethers on one actor.
2.Wildflowers (bluebell, mayapple, gentian, columbine, etc)
3. Cartoon characters

Tactile Travel said...

Cumin didn't make any lists yet, and it's one of my favorite spices. Caraway is another good one (in Arabic, it's known as Karwaya.

Thanks for the great environment at the Festival. The sense of community was wonderful, and our group reallly enjoyed the whole day!

BooBoo said...

How about Nutmeg and Cinnamon for the babies?

I also like the idea of a wildflower theme for your new wethers.

Glad all is going so well!

Jenny said...

I also love Lemongrass and Licorice. For the possible twins coming. :)

How about Slippery Elm Bark? Okay now I'm just being silly.

I think the next round should be 60's song titles. Or types of coffee. Or... okay I'll try to think up some suggestions that are actually good.

SeDress said...

Since the new bucks are 'less than intact', sort of in between male and female: Shakespearean parts in which girls pretended to be boys or vice-versa? Portia, Nerissa, Rosalinde/Ganymede, Viola/Cesario....

Ulli said...

Hi there - I am a new Share Holder and I am loving it! I love the names Nutmeg & Dandelion
Thanks for letting us be part of your wonderful adventure.

Mary, Mary... said...

I had a great time and especially enjoyed chatting with your mom and Liquid Lace. I just added my pix to the flickr pg--yay!

Mandrake, belladonna, epazote? as for the wethers--Italian regions/cities? Lucca, Parma, Capri, Positano, etc...

Brian said...

For the wethers:

How about family sitcom dads?

Ward, Ozzy, Mike, Cliff, Al, Raymond...

--Deb said...

Wowzer, Diane . . . I think that covers ALL the herb name possibilities!

Sitcom dads--that's a great idea!

And, Susan, Saturday could not have been more fun. I don't know how you managed it, but even the weather was perfect. Just ... wow.

And, hmm, if I were thinking I wanted a Fall share, I obviously better make up my mind, huh??

Sandra Cohrs said...

I notice that you have Sage, Rosemary and Thyme but no Parsley. Simon and Garfunkel would not approve!;-)

Anonymous said...

I like dandelion, ginger, licorice and cinnamon. I also all flower names, rosey, primrose, lilac, daisy, aster, petunia, peony etc (I had a goat named Flowergirl when I was little).

Writer bug said...

When I first read the post, I was thinking Cinnamon or peppermint. Someone else wrote cardamom, though, and that's one of my favorite spices because you can make chai tea with it!

I like the wildflower theme for the next set!

Andi said...

I think that names of chocolates would be great... Also constellations... It might be fun to name the wethers after deserts, i.e. Sahara, Gobi, Kalahari, Namib, Gibson, Simpson, Kavir, Thar, Sonoran, Yuma, Mojave, Kara-Kum Kyzyl-Kum, Takla Makan, Sandy (for the Great Sandy desert in Australia) and Victor (for the Great Victoria, also in Australia)

I think deserts would be clever because wethers are infertile.

Sandra Cohrs, Parsley was not left out, unfortunately he didn't survive. It's one of the painful truths of farming.

goodkarma said...

Susan, it sounds like such a busy and fun time on the farm! I love the names Chamomile and Clover for the new little ones, but here are a couple of other ideas, too: Anise, Cardamom, Cilantro, Dill, Lavender, Mint, Thistle.

For the wethers, how about mountains or mountain ranges? I love the theme names, what fun!

- Karma in Seattle

monica said...

I found you through Ravelry. I enjoyed reading your blog and the article. I will be added you to my reads.

For herbs, some of these I am sure have been suggested already

My youngest thinks the wethers should be named after flowers.