Journal from June 21, 2013 [7 month-old baby]
Alma had a decent nap yesterday morning until about ten, so when she woke up we went to visit Nanny and Grandpa. The fields are dry enough that I can walk barefoot across them now. Alma and I sat in the grass while Mike and his mom worked in the garden. I gave Alma her first taste of banana. She seemed to like it, but had more interest in squishing it than in eating it. After sucking on it, dropping it in the grass, smooshing it, and dropping it again, she was finished and I was forced to do something with the banana pieces in the grass. I didn’t want to leave them for fear I would later regret it, so I ate them. And it didn’t gross me out at all; I think something in my psyche must have shifted in the past few months because pre-eaten bananas are definitely not on my list of appetizing things to eat.
Happy with her spoon
We set up an old swing on the porch for Alma; she enjoyed chewing on the chains until we distracted her with a wooden spoon. She played with dill weed, mustard greens, and carrots while we gardened, then had a bit of a nap in her little tent before we went home for a real nap later in the day. In the evening, we had a steak dinner with the grandparents. It was a good day.
Fresh from the garden
Journal from March 5, 2014
As Alma and I attempted to clean the house and prepare for a Mardi Gras pancake supper, Mike went out to feed the cows and put them in the barn for the night. He noticed our two bulls standing together in a strange place and investigated. Surrounded by snow lay a newborn calf who blended in so well with the surroundings that Mike would have missed her were it not for her spectators. He picked up the tiny cow and brought her into the barn to warm up.
After about an hour of trying to warm her in the barn, he carried her into the yurt and lay her down near the stove. Mike, his mom (a retired vet), and I spent the night cuddling the calf and trying to feed her via bottle (rubber nipple attached to an old soy sauce bottle).
Even the dog was worried about the little calf
Thankfully, our friend Kris was able to give us fresh milk from his farm for the newest member of ours, as the calf’s mother seems unable to nurse (she’s had problems with mastitis in the past). The calf began to warm up from the heat of the stove (and possibly from the many hands patting her), but her body temperature was (and still is) way below normal.
We called a vet who came and intubated her so that we could get some colostrum into her system. He fears that she has an intestinal obstruction that will prevent her from passing anything. We are praying for a miracle. I have high hopes for the sweet little cow resting peacefully on my kitchen floor. She is making cute noises in her sleep.
We have decided to name her Queen Maria. Queen – because her mother’s unfortunate name is Princess; Maria – because I am currently reading The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp and am in love with it.
Alma wasn’t too sure about Maria at first
Update: Unfortunately, the calf ended up passing away in her sleep that night. We assume the vet was correct in thinking that she had an abdominal obstruction of some sort. On a brighter note, two healthy calves were born this past month (one of them today!).
In 2014 we are hoping to:
- finish our bathroom (install a tub so that we don’t have to shower at the in-laws’ in the winter)
- build a new front door for the yurt (one with a window that doesn’t let the frost in)
- build a bed/room for the wee one
- plant things on-time and stagger certain vegetables (lettuce, carrots) so we can enjoy eating them all summer and don’t have to harvest everything at once
- join a farmers’ market and sell our produce
- take a permaculture course
- stop being such hoarders and learn to live with less
- become an organized person (develop a semblance of a regular schedule; keep house clean at all times (ha); dazzle husband with array of home-cooked meals)
- succeed at random challenges (e.g. have nice hair without shampoo; bake gluten-free sourdough bread that actually tastes good; live completely off-grid for one week each season) – we are open to suggestions if you have a crazy idea that you’d like to see come to fruition!
Spring feels like it is peeking around the corner. Despite our many years of experience, most of us seem to forget that the beginning of March does NOT mark the beginning of spring. Warm weather in March tempts us into putting away our toques and winter boots and taking out our skirts and flip-flops. Of course, as soon as all the winter garb is safely tucked away, a blizzard hits. I will not be sucked in this year.
We started pruning the apple trees today. We are hoping to get them finished in the next couple of weeks so they will have a better yield come harvest. (As I type this I’m laughing a little to myself, because I almost sound like I know what I’m doing. Do not be fooled. I have absolutely no idea how to be a farmer.)
After an hour of perusing a seed catalogue, I have highlighted all of the herbs, fruits and vegetables I would like to grow this summer. Now that I know what I want to grow, I just have to learn how to grow it all. I already have some recipes in mind, so I’m excited to get started. This brings me back to my qualms with March. I am falsely being led to believe that winter is over which is getting me excited for my vegetable garden. Let’s be reasonable though, it is March 9th… I have a good two months of waiting ahead of me… so in the meantime… I am going to work on recipes. I will post regular recipes as well as allergy friendly recipes (which are vegan and free of the most common allergens such as milk, wheat and corn).
RECIPE: Homemade Potato Wedges (allergy friendly)
4-5 medium potatoes (cut into wedges)
5 tbsp. sunflower oil
9 cloves garlic (finely minced) *if you have trouble digesting garlic, see note at the bottom
3 tbsp. tapioca starch (you can use any starch, including corn starch if you would like)
1/4 tsp. red chili pepper powder 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- pre-heat oven to 350
- cut potatoes into wedges
- boil potato wedges for 2-3 minutes
- coat potatoes with oil and garlic
- in a small bowl combine starch, salt, and peppers
- sprinkle starch mix over the potatoes and stir it all up
- lay wedges in a single layer on cookie sheet
- bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through
* for those who have trouble digesting garlic: my sister-in-law (a chef who can’t digest garlic) told me to remove the green centre to make it easier on the stomach – cut the garlic in half, pull out the green bit, and use the rest of the clove
*click images to enlarge