Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My How You've Grown

Spring saw 2 exciting additions to the Paris farm: the birth of Nugget and my first attempt at an herb garden.

Well, it's been nearly 3 months since I wrote about both of these events and I thought you'd like an update.

I'll start with the herbs since they came first.

The most important thing is that my herb garden more than doubled in size when my friend Dana, who's studying horticulture and works in a green house, brought me some more plants after I'd had my 3 plants for less than 3 weeks. She brought me dill (which she said was variegated in color), 2 types of mint and lemon thyme. She offered to bring more and made the bold suggestion of even bringing me a tomato plant. I politely declined - pretty sure that 7 herbs was more than I could handle.

For a while, everything was going well. Dana told me to clip the plants to make sure they kept creating new growths. So I snipped large and luscious leaves of the basil and watched as new shoots and baby buds appeared. I trimmed my mint plants and my rosemary and used the fresh herbs on some pork chops. Everything was great until one day my garlic chives didn't look so hot.

I added some more soil and tried to trim them down but they looked dried up and brown. I had snipped some for use in a vegetable pancake and what I snipped did not seem to be growing back.

Then came the dill. Dana swore it was two-toned - yellow and green. Mine started to look brown and green. I found myself peeling off dried, withered bunches along the bottom, even as the plant shot upwards and began to flower.

The mint was touch and go. Some green. Some yellow. It depended on the day.

Then my beautiful basil hit some trouble. At one point tall, flowering and full of new leaves, those leaves turned brown and dried up. I don't know if it was the massive heat wave, the intense humidity, the lack of sun or too much water.

Funny enough, my garlic chives, once on death's door, have started to spring back and now most of the brown is gone and the shoots I have are green - and possibly growing. It's hard to tell. And the thyme seems to be flourishing no matter what the conditions.

The truth is, I doubt all 7 plants require the same growing conditions and yet I water and treat them the same (except the rosemary which I know prefers drier conditions). What can I say, I just don't know.

But here's a look at my herb garden now. I am just hoping to make it through Labor Day.

Remember Nugget when she was born?

How cute and little she was?

Well she's now nearly 3 months old and all grown up.

Size-wise, she's nearly as big as Ann-Margaret and her horns are coming in nicely. She grazes. She frolics. She plays. She's got a bit of an independent streak.

Like all of our animals she's completely spoiled. She loves her Goat Chow (now mixed with sweet corn) as well as her animal cookies. In fact - feeding has become quite the routine. Elvis and Ann-Margaret each have their troughs, side by side on the gate, while Nugget eats straight from the bucket. All of them eat so fast because as soon as one is done, it'll move onto the other 2. So if Elvis finishes first, he'll push Ann-Margaret out of her trough which means Ann-Margaret will come over and push Nugget out of her bucket. Then whoever is feeding (usually Marty) has to dance and manouever and try to shake off the 2 older goats so the baby can finish.

We both agree this is not an effective way to do things - especially since there is a strong possibility we will add 2 more goats in the near future. Individual feedings are over and we are graduating to one long trough and letting nature take its course.

Still, all the goats are happy and healthy and we have no complaints except one.

Elvis is still horny and chasing after both mother and daughter at every seeming turn, which has left us with only one choice...

...and that is to castrate him. Sorry big fella.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...


Maggie said...

I'm SOOO proud of you! Your herb garden looks fantastic! Chez Panisse look out...