Spring is just beginning in the high country of the Hollow, and it has been an incredibly busy time with tasks and activities following one another back-to-back. As soon as the daytime weather got to above freezing, we began gathering sap and making maple syrup. Then our flock of dairy goats began their annual spring birthing, bringing the homestead both new life and getting us back into fresh milk just in time for the ancient festival of Imbolg (Imbolc), which was how the elders knew spring was coming because their livestock were once again “in milk”, the literal meaning of Imbolg. Daphne already has rounds of cheese aging in the root cellar.
Only the two youngest Saanen does have yet to kid, and this morning during the wee hours one of them did. And the verdict is . . . the new baby goat is a little Saanen doe. Mom was exhausted so we brought her in to finish cleaning her and start her on colostrum–the essential first milk that is filled with antibiotics and hormones a newborn mammal needs. Click the image below to see her stand for the first time . . .
About a decade back, we used to keep honeybees but decided we were too busy with other aspects of restoring the homestead. This year we have decided to start keeping hives once again. This time we are going to use gentler, less stressful top bar hives. They are quick to build, requiring only about two or three hours, and inexpensive, costing maybe $30 per hive. I have already built several and am awaiting nucs to start our colonies in mid-June.
And along with all that, serious spring brewing continues as we restock our wine cellar. I am currently building a small still, as well, so that Daphne can make her herbal tinctures, and I am looking forward to making a bit of rum or vodka to make elderberry and other wild fruit liqueurs.