Thursday, March 29, 2007
Yesterday the sheep shearer was here. There is nothing better than watching someone else shear your sheep! Shearing is hard work even if you are not the one operating the shears. Just getting 'ahold' of each one and directing them to the shearing area five feet away will wear you out. Not to mention gathering each fleece to tag and bag. Thank you Stella and Deb!
After everything quiets down and the sheep are relaxing outside, I go back and skirt (pull off the undesirable wool from the edges) each fleece. This might be my favorite part. It’s not every day you can sink your hands into Crazy Esther’s wool :-). Other than Henri, those Jacob sheep are a wild bunch. The Cheviots are just as bad – and PP lived in my kitchen and slept on my lap as a baby!
Ewenice is a welcome addition to the family. Punkin might have been the BEST sheep ever, but Ewenice is the SWEETEST sheep ever. She’s a four year old Border Leicester ewe and was the last sheep left in a spinner’s flock in Frankfort, Kentucky. She was lonely by herself and they wanted her to have a sheepy home with sheepy friends. It’s a little hard to make sheepy friends, however, when you’d rather be drinking coffee on the porch with people. One sentence I thought would never come out of my mouth is, “Go around to the back door, Ewenice”.
Friday, March 23, 2007
I AM TAKING BACK CONTROL OF THIS FARM!
The bird chasing cats have been kicked out of the greenhouse. They are now homeless and living in cardboard boxes. If they don’t straighten up, I’m going to give their Alaskan Salmon Cat Treats to the dogs. Even the crumbs.
In a combat maneuver tonight, each and every chicken will have her wing feathers clipped. There will be no more digging in my gardens, hiding eggs in the hay stalls, sleeping in the loft, teasing Iris in the driveway, trying to figure out how to start the tractor... No more. You have five acres, a creek and three horse stalls to play in all day. It’s a chicken paradise.
Elizabeth and Peabody! If you don’t quit screaming at me when I’m working on the porch, there’s a fair chance you might be our first non-vegetarian cooking experiment. I’m not kidding. You have plenty of green grass to eat. You do not need “cookies”. I realize it’s hotter than normal this time of year. The shearer is coming on Wednesday. I think you can make it.
T-Bone, Handy and Aria. You will all be wearing (grazing limiting) muzzles until midsummer. You eat way too much grass and it makes you sick. T-Bone! WHEN you figure out how to take it off, do not throw it over the fence onto the driveway to taunt me. Likewise, do not throw it over on Stella’s driveway to try to hide it from me. She’s on MY side. We are not amused. A little impressed maybe, but not amused. You will not prevail. Stop laughing! I mean it!
Iris. We are putting landscaping and a wrought iron fence across the middle of the side yard. You will no longer use that as the raceway in your attempt to chase cars. The 4” trough you have worn down over the last few years is being filled in and there WILL be grass there (or maybe a nice stone patio :-). Right now it looks terrible and we are tired of falling in it when we try to make a run for it to get away from you all.
The dirt digging, furniture chewing, extension cord eating (!) Corgi…well, we haven’t quite figured out what to do with her. There’s only so much you can hope for with a Corgi. It’s a good thing they are cute.
It’s a good thing they are ALL cute.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Anyway, I'm not super "sold" on the end result, but I'm not really sure what it needs. The best sounding suggestion was that there was too much empty space and to add more horses, trees,... Since this is supposed to be a pretty fair representation of our farm, I don't really want to add any more horses - trust me, three is PLENTY. More trees in the horse field would be desirable except that T-bone eats trees, so I'd have to add dead ones.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Now, while this doesn't look like much help (unless I guess he laid there long enough to kill the weeds underneath), Brushy is my number one employee. He'll garden, check bees, feed sheep, horses and chickens, oversee sheep shots and even pose for pictures. He initially stretched out in the sun there while I was pulling some weeds. I thought, hmm, that would be a cute photo and went in to retrieve the camera. It was dead. I charged the battery for just a few minutes, but when I came back out, Brushy was gone. I called him, he came running, I asked him to go back and pose in the flowers and he was happy to oblige. How many cats can you ask them to do something and actually have them do it. Good help indeed.
For those of you wondering why the siding has been eaten off the garage and assuming that was perpetrated by one of the dogs, I'll have you know that was the work of Popcorn PP Pants. There is a reason real farmers don't want bottle lambs.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Tim built all of our gardens on the principle of raised beds. They are fairly small and easy to manage – more for fun than serious production. We filled them with layers of sand, soil and store-bought compost. I added a thick layer of leaves this past fall. My mother taught me to add leaves. As kids, we learned this the hard way – scrunched down as low as we could get in the back seat of the car while she stuffed it to the roof with bags of leaves she picked up from curbs in front of stranger’s houses.
Over the winter, I bought Patricia Lanza’s Lasagna Gardening book. I was already fairly familiar with the idea (my mother is a “lasagna gardener” from way back), but I’m a sucker for marketing, the pictures were pretty and I got a free bug book as a special prize for ordering. It was wintertime and completely irresistible. I didn’t find any real surprises in the methods described, but I had fun with all the planting suggestions and even learned about a few new plants. Green thumbs up!
And so, tanked up on gardening books and seed catalogs and a bad case of spring fever, I went looking for trouble. The raised beds had settled quite a bit since last year, but this time, rather than buying expensive fill, I let my co-workers help me out. I added a thick layer of composted sawdust bedding from the horses and topped that with a thick layer of straw from the sheep stall.
Buddha seemed to approve.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Yesterday I walked out into the middle of the side pasture to throw some hay for the sheep. I wasn’t being mobbed as usual and realized I must be missing something quite exciting, as very little distracts our sheep from food. My loyal little hiking buddy had tried to follow me and found himself in a tight situation. He carefully picked his way through far too many nosy sheep faces and then bolted at his first chance, the young sheep in hot pursuit.
There’s really only one thing to do after a trauma like that, but how can this be comfortable?