“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him. The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

Cesar Chavez

h/t Givenness


Pretty Things

I got more gardens prepped yesterday, in the hope of getting them planted in the next few weeks.

This one will be watermelons.

This one will be watermelons.

Imagine sweet corn, okra and winter squash in these.

Imagine sweet corn, okra and winter squash in these.

It’s really beautiful this time of year.  Pretty things everywhere.





Yesterday’s post featured Madonna’s kids, but didn’t include a picture of the proud mama.  So I’m fixing that today.

Madonna and child.

Madonna and child.

Taking Her Time

We’d been wondering why our goat Madonna was taking so long to kid.  A couple of days ago she finally had her babies and what a cute pair they are.



After the sometimes brutal kidding season this winter, it feels good to end it on an upbeat and positive note.

We also had this good news.


But so far there have only been two spears. We’ve never had the asparagus take so long to start coming up–which has me worried.  But my mother just told me that the hummingbirds have just arrived, about a month later than last year.  So maybe nature is just taking her time this year.

The Biggest Contribution Is?

So I just read that sandwiches are considered Great Britain’s “biggest contribution to gastronomy.”

Not black pudding?

Well, as biggest contributions to gastronomy go, I suppose sandwiches aren’t bad.

But I wonder–what is America’s biggest contribution to gastronomy?


Every goat has a unique personality.  Some are shy around people.  Some are indifferent.  Some love being the center of human attention.

Our goat Sheeza falls into the “hey, pet me” category.

Cherie and Sheeza

Cherie and Sheeza

She’s lucky to be alive. This winter she kidded (her first time).  She had grown so little I didn’t even know she was pregnant.  I found her trying to deliver.  I had to pull the kids, both of which were very large (and stillborn).   The first was one of the largest kids I’ve ever seen.  I still have no idea how she carried those two.  She had a lot of trouble recovering and was near death a couple of times.  We brought her into the barn and away from the other goats to give her a chance to recover.  To our delight, she bounced back.   She’s still too skinny but she’s back to pushing around the smaller goats and she insists on being petted whenever we’re in the pasture with her.

Sheeza having a close look at the camera.

Sheeza having a close look at the camera.

We like giving our goats musical names.  When Sheeza was born I thought I’d already used up all the names from Ramones songs, but a friend and fellow Ramones fan suggested “Sheeza,” inspired by the song “She’s a Sensation.”  I thought it was a great suggestion (Cherie was not so keen on it then, but I think the name has grown on her).

When she was born her mother developed a problem with her milk bag, so we had to bottle feed Sheeza and her brother (who we naturally named Heeza) for a while.  No doubt that contributed to Sheeza being so spoiled and lovable now.

For more on the early days of Sheeza:


Rise and Shine


Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
Isaiah 60:1

A nice image to start the day, it seems to me.

And it’s the origin of our expression “rise and shine.”

Feeding Squeaky

I made a video of Squeaky running to me to get his bottle, but I can’t figure out to upload the darn thing.

If I figure it out I’ll post the video.  In the meantime, here’s some photos of the hungry rascal.


All gone.

All gone.

Too Much

Over the last 24 hours I’ve been thinking a lot about the advantages of raised bed gardening and no-till agriculture.  Those advantages include less soil compaction and less damage to beneficial organisms that live in the soil.

We only have a few raised beds.  That may change.

We only have a few raised beds. That may change.

Chemical-free weed control is very difficult without tillage, so it’s particularly hard to farm organically without tilling.  For me it’s also just been hard to wrap my head around a completely new way of doing things.  I learned gardening as a child and we always plowed the garden and laid out straight rows.  We have lots of room here so we had no reason to conserve space.  So I’ve just kept on tilling and setting out rows of seeds or plants in the freshly tilled soil.

Less damage from erosion is another advantage of raised beds and no-till.

Yesterday it rained 2 inches between midnight and mid-morning, leaving one end of our brassicas garden looking like this.

It looked at lot worse to me than this makes it appear.

It looked at lot worse to me than this makes it appear.

Once the ground was saturated the alleys between the rows acted liked ditches, channeling the water to the end of the rows, where it backed up then flowed over the rows downhill in the other direction, washing up plants and sweeping topsoil from the garden.

The garden I’d freshly tilled for corn and okra was even worse, but I didn’t take any pictures of it.  The rain had washed a big gully right down the middle of it.

In the pea garden the rows were flattened and many of the pea seeds are now laying on the top of the ground.  When it dries up some I’ll figure out if it’s necessary to replant it.

This sort of thing happens every few years.  Sometimes the damage is much worse than this.  A heavy rain on freshly tilled soil on sloping land can wash away crops and topsoil.  Sometimes entire gardens or fields can be wiped out.

I did not anticipate the end of the row washout in the brassicas garden and I could’ve done some things to prepare for it, possibly preventing any damage.

I did anticipate potential problems in the corn garden, however, and I took steps to prevent any erosion. Obviously those steps weren’t good enough.  I see now that I need to dig a drainage ditch there and I’ll do that once it dries out.

The good news is that in the places where there was no damage all this rain (followed, we expect, by a few warm sunshiney days) should cause the gardens to thrive.  Unfortunately, however, yesterday was further proof that it’s possible to get too much of a good thing.