Thursday, November 3, 2016

An Explosion, a Purple Goat, and Peppers

When I got home after a day at the office followed by a trip to Tractor Supply, my friend Joe was busy baling hay in the field next to our little farm.  The goats were anxious to be let out of their pasture, and the donkey was anxious to be freed from his stall.  The dogs were more than ready for some attention too.  There's always a flurry of activity when I get home now, which is nice as long as everything goes smoothly. 

I slipped on my barn shoes and shuffled the herd members - Rufus got some love and room to roam, and the dogs and I took the goats for a stroll while we watched Joe's big hay bailing machine suck up the mounds of hay and make a cloud of dust in the air.  I turned my back, and then heard a loud explosion!  We all turned in time to see a giant could of white steam erupt from Joe's tractor, blocking our view of Joe and his equipment.  Uh oh.  That sounded expensive!  I called Joe to make sure the goats and I didn't need to organize a rescue mission, but he was fine.  He said that it looked like he was done for the day.  Yep.  

Isn't that always the way.  Just when you think things are moving along like you hoped, something goes wrong!  A busted radiator hose isn't the end of the world, I know, but it made me think of all the broken things we've been dealing with lately.  The truck needed a new transmission ($!), my car needs new brakes and tires, the tractor crapped out on us too (apparently, transmission fluid is important), the hot tub got all new guts, but then burned through the plug.  Doh!  Our wifi has been on the fritz for weeks (no Netflix.  Oh, the humanity!!).  And now, to top it all off, my goat has a sore foot.  

I sent a picture of the red and crusty looking place under Peach's dew claw hooves (what are those things called?) to the lady who gave me the River brothers, and she said to soak her foot in warm water with Betadine, and gently scrub away the crust, then put a daub of stuff called blue-kote.  Everyday, for a week.  I thought I was pretty clever engineering a way to tie her to the fence and pin her still with my hip while she soaked her foot, but didn't realize the blue-kote is a bright purple substance that will magically splatter all of my clothes, my shoes, and my skin, and does not wash off.  And then, Wendigo drank some of the Betadine water while I was messing with the goat and the goat licked the purple stuff so that her muzzle, mouth, and tongue turned violet to match her feet.  I have to do this every day for a week? Ack!    

I left my poor purple stained goat and my poor puppy that now had a belly ache outside, and escaped to my kitchen to spend some time with a lovely bowl of peppers that Tamara gave me from her garden.  Hello, lovelies!  What to do with all those peppers that doesn't involve washing the dishes or digging out my canning gear?  Time to try pepper dehydration!  

I kept the biggest green peppers to use fresh when I cook, but considering my dedicated kitchen time lately has been barely enough to make a smoothie or heat up some soup, I knew I would never eat them fast enough.  I cut most into slices, but slit the little hot peppers in half, and put them all in the food dehydrator overnight.  The smell of drying peppers made us hungry!  

I chopped all the banana peppers into rounds, with chopped onion and some garlic cloves, and put them in a quart jar with a big tablespoon of salt, and a big slug of whey from the top of my yogurt, and then filled the jar with water.  Lacto-fermented peppers anyone?

This morning the hot pepper halves were still a bit moist, but mostly shriveled.

The slices of green and red pepper where dry and crispy.  It worked!  I think I can add these to soups and foods when I cook.  Nice!

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