How do you like the new Winter header? Catching on to blogging and hope to put up a fresh one for each season. I can’t find this week’s envelope, but next to Sun Dec 12, it said C-c-c-cold. So the to-do list is going to be farblonjet anyway.

Re-created B of E: Monday: cope. Larry lunch?

Tuesday: cope, shell beans

Wednesday: cope. That’s as far ahead as I want to look. Monday brought some fellowship. Larry, my friend and Goat Husbandry Mentor, had 4 late kids to haul to processing for customers in Cincinnati, so he stopped for lunch on his way home. I had hoped Genia was off work and could come along. But given the weather, she stayed home, so in case he got stranded (always an issue with our beloved and much-used farm trucks) someone would be on hand to look after their stock (cattle, horses, sheep and goats.) I sent her some baked apples from Sunday’s stash.

My overriding concern the last week or so is that one of the does, (who are shall we say visibly approaching confinement) would pick this bitter weather to go into labor. Larry was kind enough to look them over and help assess their readiness. This morning, all were eating heartily, so it likely won’t be today. But today I will shut Jonquil (who when she lies down to cud, looks like she’s sitting on a beach ball – a large one) in the kidding stall, with her twin Hyacinth, a little less advanced.  

These two give me a lot of satisfaction. In 2008, I was looking to double my herd – from 2 to 4, right? and told Larry if he could get higher sale prices for his older doe kids, I’d take a couple younger and smaller ones, trusting to the abundant browsing here to bring them on. That got me two visibly rather scruffy weanlings, but the most tireless browsers you’d ever want to see.

This past season, Hyacinth produced just one stout buck kid (to be expected her first breeding) who fed up rapidly and brought a fine price for summer sale. But Jonquil dropped twins! And with all 3, we saw the advantage of this breeding plan. The does are half Toggenburg, a Swiss dairy breed known for its rick milk. So their kids, 3/4 Boer, altho they have meat-goat conformation (which is basically a rectangular slab of muscle) are raised on richer milk than pure Boer kids. This makes the meat fatter and more tender  than any goat meat I had ever had in the past, and able to be roasted or broiled, as well as slow-cooked for chili, curry or barbecue. 

(High praise indeed for critters of my raising: an Indian-American chef customer reported that the shoulder roast she used for Biryani – I got a delicious portion of that – was so fat she “didn’t need to use any ghee!”)

So my update for the week: keeping the stock sheltered, fed and watered, and in between, doing a little – very little – Christmas preparation. Here, Genia – the festive “cleared” table  you didn’t get to see yesterday. 

Easiest decorating trick in the book: fill your best wooden bowl with the prettiest apples available, with a few springs of boxwood. Add some walnuts and hazelnuts, polished with a soft cloth.