A delicious assortment, with boxes going to Meals on Wheels this year, coordinated by the Hartland 4H. Thank you, everyone, for baking dozens and dozens of cookies!! Happy holidays!
A ukulele group has formed at Cobb Hill! Several of us - a surprising number, really - have formed a nascent band, the Gadzukes. Who knew there was such interest in ukulele on the hill!? Five to eight of us get together to practice and rehearse - Bob Marley songs to holiday music. Our first show is coming up next weekend at the annual cookie swap - four festive tunes. As we near the solstice and the depths of winter, making music together lifts our spirits.
Twin heifers - Clara and Celestine - were born yesterday, December 11th 2018, to Daisy. Twins are fairly rare: 1 in 100 in the industry, and even less at Cedar Mountain Farm (0.6%)!
They were two days overdue and both needed help with delivery. Kerry assisted, as Celestine was a breech and Clara had her head twisted back. She was pushed back in and had her head aligned with her legs before delivery. The wall of the uterus is paper thin, so extreme care is required in assisted deliveries. Breech calves have a higher still birth rate due to the cord tearing early or being compressed. Needless to say, everyone is happy and healthy. The new calves received plenty of attention today by the 4H students, who can tell them apart by their heads and the fact that one has a silky smooth coat and the other is rougher.
Planting, cooking, growing, singing on a Friday
1) Lean-to 2) Phil’s oven 3) Sauna on wheels
How the GONG came to be
About a month ago, I was taking a walk on my trail loop and got caught in a thundershower over by the sugar house. So I took shelter in the vacuum pump room under the sap storage area. While waiting out the downpour, I noticed this large disk of metal that was probably the cut off end of a fuel oil tank. I rolled it out from the wall to take a good look at it. It was quite heavy, being 3/16” rusted steel and 42” in diameter. I stood it on edge and gave it a good kick with my boot and got a deep gong sound. I thought to myself “Would it be possible to mount this disk in a frame to make a gong?” At that point the rain had slowed enough so I could continue my walk. So I took a picture of the metal disk and moved it back where it was stored.
Over the next couple of weeks, I showed several CH members the pictures of the metal disk and told them of my hope to create a gong from it and keep it up at the lean-to site. Needless to say, I got a lot surprised responses, though no negative ones. Being that this time period was also intense gardening, along with mushroom log and beekeeping responsibilities, I shelved my gong construction for a rainy day. One day, when I was moving maple syrup from the sugar house to the root cellar, I grabbed the metal disk and put it in the equipment shed.
From time to time, when I was on the internet, I looked at pictures of gongs and the frames they hung in. I decided to use some of the 2” metal square tubing that has lived outside of the wood working shop for the last 15 years. I had already used some of the 25’ pieces to fabricate a railing over at the bread oven and I used some others to replace the ricks in the mushroom fruiting area. There was still plenty of the tubing left, so I dragged a couple of sections over to the equipment shed. I had come up with a simple right angled design that would be a good test for my newly acquired welding skills.
Well, the last 2 weeks have provided plenty of rainy days to pursue this project. It was a bit of a challenge to accurately mate the long pieces of tubing so I could weld the angles right. After welding the frame, I spent about $12 on hardware to hang the metal disk in the frame. I ended up using a section of metal pipe with a rubber maul handle protector as the gong mallet. After showing several CH members the finished gong in the equipment shed, we decided to keep it here on campus for now. So Rooz helped me move the gong from the equipment shed to the first bench in the center flower garden facing the Common House. When I was building the gong I had thought of it as more of a musical instrument than a piece of sculpture. But seeing it set up out there, I guess it’s both!
Come visit! As part of Vermont's Open Farm Week (August 13-19), Cobb Hill Cohousing and Cedar Mountain Farm are hosting a Wednesday evening open house! On August 15th, from 4-7pm, stop by to say hi, have a tour of our eco-village, see how we grow shiitake mushrooms, pet an Icelandic lamb or Jersey calf, see the Fjord draft horses, check for eggs in the chicken coop, and taste cheese and maple syrup. Meet the cows with the Hartland 4H, taste dairy products, and help trim and groom a cow!
Taco's Tacos from nearby New Hampshire will be on-site with a food truck and delicious tacos for purchase featuring Cedar Mountain Farm beef and veggies.
Tastings, tours, and tacos...what could be better?!
Cobb Hill residents were treated to a Chinese jiaotze feast this past weekend. We were welcomed by Jenny Macaulay, along with her mom Marian and her aunt Nancy, to learn/share/feast in one of their most special family traditions.
Marian and Nancy’s mother was Chinese and they honor that side of their family by having huge jiaotze feasts at their family gatherings and big holidays. Their family dumpling record is about 800.
This was no dumpling-as-an-appetizer event! Cobb Hill folks managed to wrap and eat 440 dumplings – along with fried rice, stir-fried veggies, green salad, and a rice noodle salad.
Part of the joy of this meal is making them together. A labor of love! In their family there is a "rule" you can't eat more than you wrap :) No such rule for this meal, but we enjoyed our community time learning about one of our families’ traditions. It took our community pitching in to pull it off. Thank you Jenny, Marian and Nancy for such a delightful, yummy experience.
Text and photos by Coleen