It was drizzly and cold and rainy but we still made it out for MOFGA's (Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assoc.) Small Farm Field Day on Saturday--along with a respectable turn out. We also managed to pick up some things we didn't know before we went and had a really good day to boot!
While my husband hung out with the guys with the scythes, I went over to hear some stuff about goats and goat-keeping. This couple from Harrison, ME had 30 years combined experience with goats and passed their goat pearls of wisdom on to us.
They were somewhat unconventional in their goat-keeping methods--which I happen to hearken to much of the time. For instance, they do not de-horn their goats (as most do) for some very practical reasons--1.) they said that not having horns cuts down on a goat's radiating capabilities and is just more physically demanding on a goat 2.) it eliminates the problems associated with de-horning like horns that aren't completely removed growing back in weird ways that can break off and cause bad sores or curve around in ways that grow into the goat's back--not good. And 3.) most importantly, it gives the goat a way to scratch its back--extremely important in my mind! Don't you just love it when you can't scratch that certain itch in the middle of your back?
We also learned that goats are great for marginal farm land, peeling the bark off firewood, as well as for their milk and cheese. Not to mention that baby goats are the cutest, fuzziest little things you've ever seen--even if they can get into some mischief!
And even though it continued to be cold and rainy, we hooked up with our friends, Steve and Karyn and their little ones, and as usual the kids were like, "Rain--what rain?" So we just didn't tell them that they were actually supposed to be cold and miserable--and went and had some lunch instead.
Nice shot, huh! Don't ask me what they're doing--or looking at--I guess this is what happens to children when you talk about farms and goats all morning--in the cold, drizzly rain.
After lunch, things really picked up. I took the kiddos with me to listen to someone tell me all about chickens while my husband went back to the guys with the scythes.
I had never fully grasped the extensive amount of info there is on raising chickens--and that's a whole topic unto itself. The lady did mention that there is a computer program in which you can answer questions pertaining to everything you want in a perfect chicken and it will then give you your perfect chicken match. I believe I may just go that route when I'm ready for our perfect chickens.
In the meantime, my hubby manged to tear himself away from the guys with the scythes to take the children into the nice warm cozy kitchen to make some bread from scratch--YUMMY!! While I continued to contemplate my perfect chicken.
And then for the grand finale--and grand it was too! Kindra and her earth oven that she completely constructed on her very own and who was also responsible for starting the fire in that clay oven five hours earlier in order to bake the most heavenly scrumptious sour dough bread you can ever imagine!
First she scored those luscious lumps of dough with this handy little razor-blade tool--so that the bread would not explode through some little hole of its own choosing--and come out looking like sheer perfection.
Next she took the long homemade peel...peal?...peele?...peelle?... to shove the first loaves to the very back of the oven...
Then she used the short peel to put the remaining loaves toward the front of the oven--and she was such a whiz at this most of my photos are completely blurred! I never realized I'd need high-speed action for bread baking--you could just tell she was lovin' every minute of this stuff!
Now don't let that 5 hours of prior fire-starting fool ya! Because those 6 loaves of bread were done in 15 minutes flat--no kiddin'!
And boy oh boy! were we excited! And boy oh boy! did it ever smell incredibly, wonderfully delicious! Here she is taking the bread out of the oven....
These small ridges in the bread were created from the willow bowls she used--which are supposed to be perfect for allowing the dough to breathe as it's rising (available online). Plus they make the loaves look quite lovely, don't you agree...?
The children--as well as adults--couldn't get enough of that bread! And she made this all look so fantastically fun and easy that everyone in the crowd (including ourselves) is now fully convinced they must have one of these in their own backyard!
And if this gets you all inspired and yearning for more farm-y stuff, then go stroll (or scroll) for a leisurely Tour of Mary Jane's Farm...she's unequivocally, hands-down the 'Martha Stewart' of farm life! Enjoy!