Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blessed Rain ~

It's Raining!!!! I laid in bed this morning listening to the wonderful sound of rain on the roof. We are in such desperate need of rain. We haven't had measurable precipitation here since the 3rd of May. They are only predicting a half an inch or so but even that is better than no rain at all.

The above photo is our local radar as of 6 am. WE are praying that all the rain in the west continues to come east. We are located in the lower part of the state of Maine. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Have a great weekend everyone :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

New additions & storing up for winter

My oldest son, Tom, raises Indian Runner ducks. These ducks do not fly. They really do run everywhere they go. They are the funniest creatures. We have three. Two females and a male. They huddle in a group and they chat to each other. They bob their heads up and down and actually look like they are having a conversation. We listen to them and wonder if their conversation is about us :)

Mama duck has been setting on a large nest of eggs. Tom has been patiently waiting and today that waiting paid off. As of chore time tonight he has four baby ducks! They are adorable :) He's very anxious for morning chores to find out a total baby duck hatch. She wasn't thrilled about him taking photos of her new babies. At some point she had him right by the pant leg!

Runner ducklings

We managed to get another piece of ground fertilized and seeded today. It was fairly warm, 65 or so but very windy. A cold front moved in and hopefully it will rain tonight and tomorrow. We desperately need it. Tom and I put up three strands of electric fence around a nice pasture full of grass for the sheep. They were soooooo happy to get out in that grass!

My nephew worked on the winter wood pile and the kindling and dry soft wood is piling up nicely in the woodshed. We have an old fashioned cook stove in the dining room with a rocker on each side . A great place to warm up on cold, wintry days. We will put up about 4 cords of hard wood along with the soft wood for the upcoming winter. We run the wood stove everyday in the winter and limit the amount of time the oil furnace runs. Everyone has the same concerns, especially with oil prices nearing $4.20 per gallon. I know I'm very worried about my friends and neighbors getting by this winter. I would expect most eveyrone else is too. If not, they should be.

Tom's 1st Duckling

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another good day ~

It's a beautiful sunny day here in the Northeast. I am always greatful to wake up to sunshine and birdsong. All of the critters were singing their song as I made my way to the barn this morning. The lambs were jumping and bouncing - Always puts a smile on my face.

Hummingbird Feeder/Gift from Tyler

I received this beautiful hummingbird feeder as a christmas gift from my youngest son. It hangs on the front porch directly in front of the window over my kitchen sink. It's amazing to watch several hummingbirds at a time feed from this feeder. They are such amazing little creatures. We also purchased an Oriole feeder which also hangs on the front porch. The Orioles first tried the hummingbird feeder. It was funny to see them suspended by their feet, trying to fit their beaks in the small ports. Didn't take them long to figure out they weren't going to get anything to eat. They drain the Oriole feeder quickly.

New Oriole feeder

My planting project.........

It has become a habit to check the weather forecast early in the morning.......we won't be planting today either. It was cold last night. 34 degrees. They are saying the same thing tonight. Blessed rain on saturday we hope. After the storm they are predicting 45 or above each night for quite some time. Looks like we might be able to plant on sunday! I am sooooo anxious. I may find time to plant the glads today and a couple of other things. We need to put up temporary sheep fencing and put down more fertilizer before we can play in the dirt.

Finished project!

I finally finished a knitted project. These socks are for a childhood friend of mine. They are made from our finn wool that I dyed last fall. I'm hoping they will keep her feet nice and cozy this coming winter.

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sweet smells of summer......

The wonderful scent of lilac has permeated my entire house and I absolutey love it. My house hasn't smelled so good since our fresh balsam christmas tree. I've spent a fair amount of time inside today, doing bookwork and trying to catch up on housework. I don't really mind doing either but it's a sunny day and I would rather be outside :)

This beautiful bouquet was a gift from my neighbor. I would love to have a bouquet like this in my house all year long. The blooms go by so fast but I'm happy to enjoy them at least for a little while.


It's cool and windy today. Barney has spent most of the day inside on his sheepskin. Idid not plant a thing. The soil is still too cold and they are predicting yet another frost for tonight and possibly tomorrow night. Last year I didn't get my tomatoes in until the 15th of June because we had so many late frosts. Oh well - I really am trying to be patient.

Maybe this weekend.............

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bumps in the Road.........

We all have them............they show up when you least expect them. My Mom has been ill. She lives on the farm in an adorable little cabin. She's our rock. She's comes to the barn for evening chores and makes sure we do everthing right. She feeds the goats and sheep animal crackers. She is such an integral part of our family. We called 911 tuesday evening. She hadn't felt well all day. She's not a complainer. She's had two heart surgeries. She spent the week at Maine Med in the Cardiac unit. I'm very pleased to say her heart is fine. Further tests are needed but they suspect her gallbladder or acid reflux. WE are Grateful!!

Potted plants hanging on the barn (right side)

Potted Plant (left side of the barn)

We have been plugging along on spring projects. It's a tradition to hang beautiful potted plants on the front of the barn. Normally Mom and I shop together but this year she wasn't up to it. It wasn't the same but I did enjoy my day at the local Frugal Farmer nursery where I get my bedding plants and hanging pots. We managed to get a few more items in the gardens and spring clean up continues. Ferilizing and seeding grass pastures and cleaning out sheep sheds. We have even managed to get the rams sheared.

We've had very little rain and it's very dry again. We have been moving the sheep around, letting them eat the grass instead of mowing. Saves hay and keeps the dust down from running the mower.

Small flock mowing the grass

The lambs are growing rapidly. It's so much fun watching them jumping and running while their Mom's are enjoying the green grass. They are more daring now and leave the ewes for longer periods of time. Some are very friendly and come running when we go in the pasture. Folks have been coming to the farm to pick out the ones they want. It's always bittersweet when they go to their new homes but I'm always happy when I don't have so many to feed! We are all concerned about the price of hay this year due to the price of fuel. Normally our two large loads of square bales come from Canada. Not sure if that is going to happen or not. We feed lots of round bales as well and buy those locally so expect the price and availability will stay the same.

It's looking to be another beautiful day here - time to get busy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Farming stuff.............

We have been having beautiful weather for working outside. Cool days - high 50's to low 60's. We are very dry again and the fire danger is high. I have a feeling it's going to be another hot, dry summer. We planted broccoli and cabbages. Hopefully potatoes will go in tomorrow. I've had to water the broccoli and cabbage twice already due to lack of rain. The weatherman keeps promising rain but it either goes above us or below us and out to sea. We are hoping this weekend will bring us much needed moisture. Broccoli & Cabbage plants
We picked up our piglets (8) and kept them in the barn for a week. I like to make sure they are all healthy and give them time to get used to us before we put them in the outside pigpen where they can run in and out as they choose. These are the biggest piglets I have ever purchased. They were all the boys wanted to pick up and carry! They moved them with no problems and as always, we had fun doing it. They are good sports as you can see. The pigs have all settled in nicely and are doing well. It's fun having them back ( for awhile).

Tom & Dave moving pigs!
Between shearing, planting and other things, we are repairing fence lines. This one seperates the ewes from the cow pasture. The board fencing was ten years old and was in desperate need of repair. Our water table is very high here and it doesn't take many years for the posts to rot off at ground level. We have that part of the fencing finished. We had new ground opened up last fall and the next project is to get that cleaned up, fertilized and seeded. We will use electric fence and rotationally graze so we won't need permanent fencing for a year or two.

I've also been preparing for a speaking engagement this coming saturday at a local Spinners and Weavers Guild. We are taking our pygora goats for a demo/show & tell presentation. Should be lots of fun. The photo below is gray pygora/merino roving from our goats that I picked up from our local fiber processor. It's so soft and spins like butter :) Pygora/Merino roving

I hope everyone had a Happy Mother's day! My family and I planted a Purple Prince Crabapple tree in the yard next to our new home. I know it will be beautiful for many years to come. We did take a couple of hours off enjoyed a great lunch prepared by our oldest son. My nephew is living with us and we were all together including my Mom. A great day and and as always, a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lambs, piglets, veggies & sheep

Thank you to all of you who stop by to visit our's been a busier than ever spring on the farm and updates have been slow in coming. I think of so many things to share during the day but by the time evening rolls around, I don't seem to get here......I'm sure you all know how that is :) Some of the things that are keeping us busy around here:

Lamb's : 20 so far
Towhee - chocolate shetland ram lamb

Shetland and Finn's

Robin & Quail
Shetland ewe & ram

Chickadee, Pipit & Jay
(shetland/finn triplets)

We have such fun watching the lamb races in the evening when the ewes are having their dinner. The lambs all gather in one corner, someone says "ready, set, Go!" and the race is on. They leap, jump, twist, and simply enjoy life. You can't possibly feel down in the dumps living in an environment like this. :0)

Piglets are coming! We raise pigs each year. Normally only 6 but this year we are raising 8 - 7 for other people and one for our family. The concern about where food is coming from is certainly growing in our area and so the demand for fresh meat grows. I think they are adorable when they are little. Not so when they get big. I have a healthy fear of huge pigs and I do not get in that pig pen anymore than I absolutely have to. They are normally all friendly because we make of them when they are piglets but I still do not trust them. I love pork so I don't mind raising them. I'm always relieved though when it's time to take them to the butcher.

Jake & Penelope

We have started planting the gardens. I love to get in the dirt and was surprised at how warm the soil is after all the rain we've had. We put in 40 broccoli plants and 24 cabbage plants the other day. We are waiting on sweet potato plants and will plant greens and radishes tomorrow, time permitting. Our seed order from Gurneys should arrive any day. It's like Christmas for me when that box arrives!

We are shearing sheep and trying to get them all done before we get into the gardens full time. I think there are about 20 or so left out of 40. I did 6 this morning. If I could do that every morning, we'd be done quickly but some days my back complains loudly and I don't shear any. All in good time :0)

Thankful for the rain & Cold season?

Saco River
In the last few days we have received about 4 inches of much needed has been terribly dry and the fire danger has been downright scary. Red flag days for at least 10 days which means absolutely no burning of any kind. A $2000 fine if you get caught. We witnessed a very large brush fire a mile from the farm last year due to this very scenario. They were drawing water out of the Saco with a helicopter across the road from our house to douse this forest fire. Even though we had thought about it, this prompted us to devise an evacuation plan should this ever happen again. Thankfully no lives were lost to and no damage to homes. Several acres of forest burned.
Kayakers training in the Saco River
The water is very high and rising every day as the snow melt runs south from Northern Maine. It's not unusual to see the kayakers running the rapids on a daily basis. This part of the river is used by many EMT/Rescue organizations for safety training. The current here is swift and the river is very deep on a normal day. Obviously it's great to test their ability. Personally, I'll watch from the bank.
Old Mill remains on the Saco River
The village of Steep Falls used to be much larger than it is today, specializing in the timber industry. Everything was built along the river. The old concrete abutment in the photo is what is left of the saw mill dating back 40 years ago. The logs were sent down river from NH and upper Maine and then sorted and milled here. This is now a very sleepy little village that we have grown to love. I've seen wonderful photos of the old Inn's and Hotels and Boarding houses that stood here. Most of these building are gone now and only the foundations remain.
We are very happy the spring rains arrived. Along with them came cold season for us. I didn't have a cold all winter ~ obviously I bragged about that one time too many! All of the family has been downright miserable for the last week. Guess it was our turn :0)