The Long Hot Summer

Okay, you’re right.  I’ve been absent from the blog for weeks.  It’s been a very busy summer.  With the addition fo the goatie girls, there are more animals to feed this summer. Putting up fencing and moving animals around takes a bit of time.  The pigs, bless their pea picking little hearts, have pulled apart their long term waterer, so we’ve been hauling water to them several times a day. We finally got a new “pig nipple” and have repaired the waterer, which will help enormously.  And I’ve been busily making cheese and taking an oil painting class which takes up every SAturday morning into the afternoon.  And this year, we have a seasonal site at Island Pond, so sometimes, it’s “side out, rotate” as farm sitters move in and we head up morth.  It is marvelous up there, where it is 10 degrees cooler and there’s always a breeze off the lake.  I wish we could go up more often, but between obligations, appointments, activities, and animals, we don’t make it up as often as we otherwise would.

I love the oil painting, even though it’s outside, often in the hot sun.  I am learning a lot, though it is a bit frustrating, as my “style” isn’t the same as the teacher’s style.  I am trying to learn his way of doing the paintings, even though I don’t like the result as much as I like the result when I do it the way I want to.  I’m not giving up on the way I do it, but think it is a good discipline to learn another way to do something, and it will make my style, when I return to it, better in some way.  Meanwhile, I struggle with representing trees with smears of color.  It seems to me that he oil paints the way many water color paint…and I mostly don’t like water color paintings.  However, I know I’ve already learned a lot about color and balance and value and composition and a great process to arrive at a composition, one of my weaknesses, so it’s been a worthwhile venture.

As to the cheesmaking, I took a course, while we were up at Island Pond at a local historical venue, Old Stone Village, in Brownington.  It was an all day workshop, we made four kinds of cheeses, and it gave me confidence to try it on my own at home.  So, I’ve made some mozzarella, some queso blanco, and out of some goat milk, more queso blanco and chevre.  I really don’t like goat milk or goat milk cheese, though I am looking forward to trying it with MY goats.  I have tasted the milk from Nigerian Dwarf goats, and it doesn’t taste goatie, as other goat milk does.  THe chevre was good except after swallowing it, there was a nasty taste in my mouth the way goats smell. And this goat milk was from Alpines and not very strong.  Hoopefully, once I get the hang of milking mine and using it, the cheese will not have that aftertaste…and if it does, the goats will still support themselves by my selling their kids, and the milk can be used to feed the piglets.  Or not…if I choose not to milk after trying it.

It has been a very hot and dry summer. THe grass and pastures, for the first time since we’re in Vermont, look like N.J., all brown.  It rained a little Sunday night, but not enough.  I am worried that I will run out of grass for the animals to eat.  HOpefully, it will rain a lot more this afternoon.  Thunderstorms are predicted, which are supposed to break this hot spell.  We can only hope.

Spinning today.  It will be good to sit among friends and spin or knit, whichever I decide to bring with me.  Probably knitting, simply because, if it’s raining when we leave, carrying the wheel out in the rain, and up Elizabeth’s long driveway to the car, doesn’t appeal. I guess I’m getting old and lazy.

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2 Responses to “The Long Hot Summer”

  1. Pat Bennett Says:

    Hello, Betty, good to read a post from you. I imagined you must have been very busy with animals, ect. I wanted to tell you that I am familiar with Island Pond, and Brownington. My husband grew up in Brownington, and I have spent considerable time visiting there. You are right, the summers are lovely in that neck of the woods. And I always have thought that the Northeast Kingdom was a beautiful area. Just not enough jobs to make it financially feasible to live there full time. Plus, the winters! But I do enjoy visiting there.

    I am envious of your taking the painting class. It is very insightful of you to realize that while his way of painting is not your way, that you will gain new knowledge and skill from the experience. Not everyone is gracious enough for that lesson.

    As for goat cheese, we love it at our house. There used to be a goat dairy in Cornish, and we always enjoyed the cheeses that they made. I hope that your adventure in cheesemaking goes well.

    Tonight, I am heading over to Tatha’s for our regular get-together. I usually either did some carding (now have my own) or spinning. But it is too hot to schlepp my wheel over there tonight. So I have opted to bring my knitting. Should be fun, regardless!

    Good Day, Pat

  2. Lori Adams Says:

    I love goat yogurt. I don’t find it “goaty” tasting at all.

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