Doesn’t that title conjure up images of fluffy bunnies and bouncing lambs?

Unfortunately, it’s been raining today! And raining, and raining. The creeks and streams are all flooded as is the road in places. The neighbour’s place looks like a mud puddle as his too numerous animals try to find food where there is none. All the animals stand with their backs to the wind, looking (and probably feeling) thoroughly miserable. I discovered today that even chickens stand with their back to the wind!

But today was a momentous day also. Adrian and I had an afternoon at home with no children! That’s right, not one of the little blighters! Two big ones at school and one little one at day care. To celebrate, my darling husband met me at the back door when I arrived home. He had dressed up for me, all special-like….waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, muddy gumboots, gloves and beanie. A sight for sore eyes! “Would you like to do this break then?” he greeted me with, meaning would I like to accompany him up the hill, in the rain and the wind, to move an electric fence so that Milkshake, Mona and their boyfriend Randy Manny would have some more grass. I thought about this question long and hard, and my honest answer was “No, actually, I would not LIKE to do this break, then”, but never one to turn down an opportunity, I donned my special going out attire, and we trudged hand in hand (actually, not hand in hand) up the hill getting wet and cold but caring for our darling animals. What wonderful quality time we got to spend together!

Back to this post’s title, beginnings gets me thinking about baby animals at Ra Puke. It’s winter now, but all of the girls who will produce offspring in the spring are quietly growing their little bundles of mooing, baaing and maaing joy. At least two of my Dexter heifers, Smokey and Peanut have had relations with Randy Manny, as has Mona. They are all due to calve (I’ve had a vet check them so I can be pretty sure of dates) between the 20th and 28th October. Milkshake has only recently been introduced to Manny, so she won’t be due till next autumn. Manny is a Brahman like this….

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This isn’t him, but he looks a bit like it…he’s just a bit younger than this grand fellow. So we’ve been thinking what we’d call the babies, in terms of a breed….Brahman and Dexter = Braxter?; Brahman and Jersey = Brahsey (we like to think of it as a cousin to the onion bhajee!) and Brahman and Friesian = Brasian. Hmm, maybe!

But we also have goats we think will be producing, and that’s probably only a month away. Remember this photo?

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Mocha and Latte are now beautiful young adult females, and we hope that both have been good enough friends with Cyril, the buck to produce a couple of offspring each. Then we can expand the cheese range to include goat cheese!

And finally, the sheep. They had to go off-farm to meet a suitable mate, so are with Simon and Wendy… well, there ram that is!!! They were scanned on Monday and it looks like 3 sets of twins, and one single. One of the girls hasn’t managed to conceive unfortunately, but she has a lovely coloured fleece, so I’ll hang onto her for the meantime.

My final beginning is thanks again to the Zero-Waste Chef for reminding me about sourdough. I used to make it in Southbridge but then my starter died and I just never started up again. But she has this great recipe for sourdough crackers which sound brilliant, so it’s got me enthused. Using her recipe, I put down my starter yesterday and this is what it looks like today….

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Not much to look at just yet, but it’ll get there.

And just because I’m on a roll, I did a first today…a no-oven dinner! We had burritos for dinner tonight, and I cooked everything on the wood burner. Not one thing was cooked on the stove top. The beans cooked up during the day with additions every now and then, and I even managed to get it hot enough to cook some flat breads to wrap the whole lot in…

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Such a nice homely look with the washing drying over the fire guard, no?!

And the best part…..?

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Happy kids eating up their dins. Yay!!!!

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