Friday, July 18, 2008

Long Time No Blog

I've been so busy keeping up with life that I haven't made time to blog. Keeping up with a small farm and four small children - garden, laundry, mowing, animals - leaves one too exhausted to put words together at the end of the day. In fact, Jarret and I have been falling in to bed at 10:30, not up watching too much TV, but racing the sun to get work in the garden done, feeding the chickens, cleaning up after the adventures of the day. But to adapt a cliche it's better to blog now than never, so here's an update of what's been keeping us busy for the past month at Maplestone Farm.

Rose graduated from kindergarten at Gorham Elementary on June 25, 2008 with a lovely little ceremony. My camera was acting up, so the pictures are not great, but here they are nonetheless. Mrs. Sloth was a great teacher and Rose will always remember being a member of her class.

The PTO hosted a nice little reception after the ceremony, great for those Kodak moments, and then we headed over to our friend's the Prendergast's to celebrate the start of summer with an afternoon by the pool!

Here is Rose with her best friend, Emily Lehman. Aren't they cute? Nothing is more pure than the affection girlfriend's have for each other at this age.

I mentioned in one of my last posts that I was going to have to cook goat for the party for our departing priest who is from Kenya, where they regularly feast on goat. The party was wonderful, and we do miss Fr. John, but we are happy to welcome another Fr. John, also from Kenya. I will not however, ever cook another goat. The cooking fat has an odor that I don't find pleasant or appetizing. But the goat itself did taste very good. Here I am seasoning and cutting up the goat. This was only my portion - my friend Mary cooked up the other half. Jarret had to use a jigsaw to cut in half the 90 lb goat that was delivered to my doorstep, as you can see here.

We celebrated the fourth of July with a long-standing tradition we have of attending the parade in Auburn, NY, a small city about 45 minutes east of Stanley where Jarret's sister lives with her family. It was through visiting with them that we came to know and love the Finger Lakes region, which I really feel is a piece of heaven on Earth. The parade was great - the kids got a lot of candy - but you can see that they are used to the quiet of country life and not the noise of the city! This is how they spent most of the parade. Luckily the lady standing next to us helped me pick up candy for the kids. I don't know if you've ever tried it, but it's nearly impossible to gather candy and cover your ears at the same time! We followed the parade with a great party at Laura and Frank's.

I jammed up the strawberries we picked - 12 quarts of them! And while I was making jam, Jarret was brewing beer from scratch. I know, we are insane. If you want a great recipe for making your own graham crackers I can give it to you. They are very tasty. I am not kidding. Take that Martha Stewart!

Jarret does an all-grain brew in the garage:

We have also come by some Bantam Cochin chickens, which I bought at a yard sale. Ten to be exact. Bantams are mini chickens. Perfect for you city dwellers who want to own a flock. They should also lay eggs, although it would take two eggs to equal one regular chicken egg, but I think we have about four roosters, so I am not sure what will play out there.

We got our first eggs from the regular-sized chickens last week! We got them as chicks in February, so we've been waiting for a while for eggs. Here is Rose showing them off. They taste great, and I love to have a glass of farm-fresh milk with my breakfast of fresh eggs and homemade jam on an English muffin (I haven't attempted to make these yet, but I promise to let you know when I do!). Production should steadily increase, until we are getting about two dozen per day. That's a lot of protein!

Last Tuesday we went to watch our nephew Noah play on the Little League All-Star team in Geneva. It was Auburn vs. Waterloo and Auburn creamed Waterloo easily. I don't even think Waterloo scored any points. Noah played great! An all-star among all-stars. The kids enjoyed the game, and dinner at the concession stand, and visiting with Uncle Frank.

Other than that, we have just been enjoying some beautiful summer weather, spending a day or two at the lakes, having dinner with friends, entertaining some friends here,

Tomorrow, we are headed on our first camping expedition to Keuka Lake, which is about 15 minutes from here. This is our first trip since Molly was born, and we are tenting it, so I am sure I will have some stories for the next post. Here, we air out the tents, and Riley makes sure we have all the stakes accounted for while Jack oversees. Check back soon to see how our trip went!

Don't you just love those fat thighs!