Sunday, January 29, 2017

Almost there!

I wrote this post in late October however earlier attempts to publish it failed - and it sat languishing for three months. Much has happened since then and very soon I'll publish two entries in order to catch up.

Almost there!

Our neighbor, Marli, has been building the walls of our cob house since I had to stop, and now two of her brothers have worked since Monday this week to put the roof over the whole house. The two bedrooms are finished, except for the final foor layers and wall plaster and Marli just completed the foundation for the living/dining area, but we’re taking a break from the cob building until we get the doors, windows and other parts together. (With the two bedrooms we got the walls most of the way up and then had to partially cut out holes for the doors and windows – a waste of energy and time.) It will be great to have the whole space covered and protected from the rain. 

Cob house with blue tarp that was up for over a year.

Cob house without any cover.

Current work on the cob house - wood structure for the tile roof.

Animal management takes a lot of our time. We get up early to feed the goats and milk Polly whose two kids spend the night enclosed in a pen away from their mother. We’re getting three cups of milk every day now. We made a difficult decision: we got rid of Nina and Daisy, and are keeping the two Nubians, Polly and Nellie. “Developed in England, the Nubian is popular among makers of cheese and ice cream because its milk is so rich. This goat comes in many colors, most typically bay or black, and is the most energetic, active, and talkative of the dairy breeds.” (Damerow, Gail, The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals.) Nellie has returned from the farm where the went last month to hang out with the billy goats, and hopefully the fullness in her body means she's pregnant, expecting in February. 

The chickens require little care other than feeding them in the morning, making sure they have plenty of fresh water, releasing them late morning, gathering eggs, and enclosing them at dusk. As I described in the last post, from time to time we have to deal with a broody hen - right now we have one isolated in the cooling down pen and are only collecting two eggs a day. 

Lolita in the pit.
Then we have our pets, Lolita and the cats. Lolita tore her leg on a piece of wire and the sore was invaded by flies that lay their eggs inside. It was taking forever to heal so I took her to vet. Now she has a collar to keep her from licking her wound, and she reminds me of the RCA dog. 

Our little orphan kittens seem to be doing fine. When they're not sleeping they're all over the place, very cute.
The cats usually require almost no care but suddenly Fofa, who birthed kittens in the beginning of September, has gone missing and we have two of the cutest little devils to take care of. They’re drinking goat milk out of a bowl and eating both cat food and dog food. I miss Fofa. The other adult cat is Cindy, a pretty Calico, and she’s no trouble at all. I assume that she catches any mice who make the mistake of coming around for corn and other foodstuff. Lolita also has a job and that’s to bark when any stranger, including the monkeys, comes onto the property. She’s good at her chore, sometimes she overdoes it, but fortunately she doesn’t bite.

Lolita and Cindy.

When we moved onto this piece of land several fruit trees remained from the prior dwellers who’d lived here about fifteen years before. There were five mango trees, two China limes, a dying orange, several guavas, and five jabuticaba trees, the latter being a superb fruit endemic to Brazil that is now cultivated in many places including Florida. We’ve pruned the old trees and all of them, including the orange, are doing well. 
More limes than we can use - lemonade, salad dressing, caipirinhas, lemon bars - yumm.

Jaboticabas- a few green fruits growing on the trunk while a new set of blossoms are beginning to flower.

We’ve also planted numerous fruit trees, coffee, and a small banana grove. We picked our first coffee beans last season, and pitangas (a delicious cherry-like fruit) this year. One of the new orange trees is flowering right now as well as a pomegranate. The passion fruit vine is flowering profusely but no sign of fruit.