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This has certainly been an interesting summer, to say the least. Mix one part crazy Bandit Romance, one part crazy-animal-keeper-needs-to-get-a-life, and one part VERY LARGE AND AGGRESSIVE GARDEN THREATENING TO STAGE A PLAN OF WORLD DOMINATION UNLESS IT IS BEATEN BACK RIGHT THIS MINUTE, and you have a preeeeeeetty good idea.

Or maybe one part “Bandit blogger needs to work on her time management skills and not let her blog wither away and die a miserable death”?

I heard that.

‘Tis ironic, though – this whole “I’m gonna write a blog all about our homesteading adventures!! … Wait…I’m too busy keeping the homestead adventures afloat to write about it” thing.

However, I am here to report that the mission has been (mostly) a success.

Garden: world domination plan has been controlled. Now if only I could figure out how to channel all that energy into growing vegetables!

No worries though. It’s only the first year gardening on such a massive scale (for me). I’m not impatient (well, maybe sometimes), and I’m not bothered if everything isn’t perfect on this go-round.

(And the short version might or might not be “we are just really redneck around here”. Ahem.)

Goats: even more success! Caramel has done very well on her second freshening. Not only has she produced more milk (between a pint and three cups per milking!) than the first time, but she has held a steady level of production for a longer period of time before the lactation curve peaks and drops. Apricot and Marshmallow were born at the end of May – that’s coming up on 4 months. I’m well pleased.

Plus she is a DREAM to milk. For a goat the size of a glorified Cocker Spaniel, her teat size is very comfortable to hand milk, with large orifices – in layman’s terms, that means a lot of milk per squeeze! She knows the routine and eagerly hops up on the stand by herself, and sticks her head in the catch gate, waiting for her alfalfa. Food motivated? I’ll never tell.

Chickens: success, not without a few downers, as we lost one little hen a few weeks ago, to unknown causes. The roosters are being…well…roosters, but so far they’ve all mostly minded their manners (i.e., not tried to kill us like a Certain Terrorist Rooster Who Shall Not Be Named). The little chicks have grown into beautiful young hens (eyed greedily by a Bandit hungry for fresh eggs) who collectively have a thing for coming when called, perching on arms, and eating out of hands.

I swore I wouldn’t make them pets.

Fat chance. 🙂

Writing: Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I don’t know if any of my readers out there on the other side of all those screens happen to be writers, but if they are, they are welcome to check out this Awesome Website of Awesomeness! Nice people, good writers, lots of writing tips and challenges – what more can I say? And lest you think I am a pure philanthropist, here is a shameless link to my Faithwriters profile where you can read all the incredible, chart-topping stories written by your very own Bandit Queen!

Ahem. I’m not that shameless. Facetious, thy name is Bandit.

But I do love to write, and if someone out there reads a story of mine and a) enjoys it, b) laughs, or c) is inspired, then hey – it’s all worth it.

Enough with the writing thing, RC.

Cooking: even more success! Yes, we are indeed crazy cooks around here. If cooking had levels of crazy, we’d rank right up there with the Mythbusters.

Although, at the moment, I have simmering on the stove a skillet full of beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, various herbs and spices, and just a leeeeeeeetle too much olive oil. Which turns the lovely Mexican nacho-taco-enchilada-borracho bean wonderfulness into a halfway Italian dish.

I love Italian food. And I love Mexican food. (Shoot, I just love food. Full stop.) But a marriage between the two in this particular recipe = fail. Sort of a “Hagar the Horrible eating eggplant parmigiana while trying to scalp the Lone Ranger” picture. Uh huh.

I’m basically like…

I do not own this; wish I did...

I do not own this; wish I did…

But on second glance at my stove…

Don't own this either

Don’t own this either

…that duck mash looks kinda tasty.

Call the Bandit King in for his assessment…

Don't own this

Don’t own this

Time to eat.