Sunday, June 29, 2008

A little of this, a little of that............

I'm not sure where the last few days have gone.............we've been right out straight, completing many little projects and tackling some of the bigger ones that need to be done this time of year.


This is our livestock guardian and farm protector, Chaco. Isn't he a handsome fellow? :) Chaco was given to me by some friends a few years back when I was having predator problems. He is a BLM donkey and has been in our area about 7 years. He has a great personality and will do anything that he feels like doing! He does do a great job keeping predators out of the pasture and letting us know if coyotes or anything else is around. He has a very addicting personality and I can't imagine the farm without him (well - maybe some days ) :) We have a new farrier that has come to trim his feet. It wasn't horrible but it definitely was entertaining. After an 1 hour and 20 minutes, donkey has nicely trimmed feet. The farrier has even agreed to come back and do it again.

8 Tons of Hay

We are still dealing with severe thunderstorms on a daily basis. Compared to the folks in the midwest, we have nothing to complain about but the storms are making it impossible for the farmers to make hay in the southern part of the state. It's sad to see the hay going to seed in the fields. With the heavy rains the hay is lodging and that makes it even harder. 100 miles north of us they are in just enough of a different weather pattern where they have had four or five days straight without rain and are making hay, mostly the big round bales. We drove north on Thursday and brought home four. 227 miles round trip. A long day for sure but we really needed the hay. We met a nice farm family and they make great hay. We are going back next week for a load similar to the one in the photo that we hauled last November. We will pick up 32 bales which will last us about 4 months. Hopefully by then the farmer we normally buy from 20 miles from us will have hay. If not, we know we can go North and get another load.

Tylerfarm's Robin

Our lambs are starting to go to their new homes. It always makes me a little sad to see them go. This sweet little ewe was our first to go. She went to a great home not to far away so I'll get to see her occasionally and watch her mature. Her new owner's were so happy to have her and I know she's lucky to live at their farm.

Hand felted goats milk soap

Friday is Farmer's Market and we will be open on the 4th of July ~ We are expecting many more people as most have the day off for the holiday. I make this felted goats milk soap and sold out at the market last friday. I made a few bars tonight after dinner and hopefully will have a good amount ready for friday. I'm really enjoying my friday mornings in the park and am getting to know my neighbors that I haven't met in all the years we have lived here.Easter Egg Radishes

The gardens are doing well inspite of all the rain. These easter egg radishes are delicious. Not too hot and spicy, but just enough zip to them. We are harvesting lettuces and greens and cabbages. Love that fresh coleslaw. I will take produce to the market for the first time this week.

Today I added winter savory to my herb garden. I'm not familiar with it other than what I've read. It's a perennial in our area and they tell me it's wonderful in soups, stuffings, herbal vinegars, cheeses, etc. It will be fun to harvest it and experiment with it. Anyone grow this?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Friends......

Meet Ozzy ~
This is Ozzy (Ozzy the Osprey). Ozzy is a triplet ram lamb born 2 1/2 weeks ago. His brother and sister have grown rapidly and are twice the size of this little guy. He's needed some special attention and gets a bottle twice a day even though he still nurses his Mom and is nibbling grain and hay. He's a real sweetheart and loves people already. We all LOVE him and enjoy carrying and cuddling him. He's also made a new friend to cuddle with.
Banjo & Ozzy
Banjo has always been very gentle with the lambs and this time is no different. They were hanging out together this afternoon while we were doing chores at the barn.

Ozzy looked pretty comfortable when I finished with chores. Banjo was just laying there - this is just the most special dog. He has such an intuitive nature about things. This baby doesn't get the attention from the ewe that the other lambs get. He sure is getting it from Banjo. How lucky am I to be owned by this dog!

Thunderstorms rolled through again today...............

It looked like the sky was at war.....

On one side of the house we had blue sky and on the other side, these clouds were billowing in and the sky got so dark. It wasn't long before the lightening began and did it rain! No rain tomorrow they are saying - we are taking bets.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Harvest begins......

We have been planting and weeding in between rain showers and downpours and it's paying off no matter how much the mosquito's try to discourage us. We do get a couple of hours of sunshine most days and so we try to complete little projects before the heavens open up again. Yesterday morning was foggy and cool. I thought it would be a good time to do some weeding and transplanting. The broccoli was definitely ready to be harvested and the tomatoes needed to be staked. We had just two hours before a nasty storm blew in. We sat on the farmer's porch and watched the rain and lightening make it's way up the valley until the lightening got too close for comfort and I came in the house. Guess I'm a chicken : it was incredibly loud! It was a spectacular light show for a few minutes.
I discovered last night at chore time that that light show blew up my electric fence charger. The company informed me today when I called them that I can purchase a lightening arrestor for $10 to prevent that from happening. Wish I had know that before hand. I had a small charger as a spare that I'm using for backup. That big charger isn't going to be cheap to replace. I'm hoping it's repairable
Our first broccoli harvest
The storm didn't last long thankfully and we had another lovely rainbow. Once the storm passed my Mom and I put 50 quarts of broccoli in the freezer. I am always so encouraged when I can start harvesting and filling my freezers and pantry. I'm one of those "worrier" types and I relax a little more each time I "put something up". I planted 40 broccoli plants. They will keep producing side shoots for quite some time that we will eat fresh.

I've had good luck with bush beans but my pole beans didn't germinate well so we will replant tomorrow. One variety of corn did well and the other did not germinate at all. I still have time for it to produce so will try again with that as well. Will plant a few more rows of Swiss chard, spinach, mescalin mix, beets, radishes and carrots. We have a very short growing season here but thankfully the things that need a long season are doing well.

The rain has also been great for the grass. Our spring lambs are growing nicely. Below are a few photos of our Shetland lambs.

Tylerfarm's Robin -2008 Shetland ewe lamb

Tylerfarm's Towhee - 2008 Shetland ram lamb

Tylerfarm's Woody - 2008 Shetland Ram lamb

They aren't exactly thrilled to have me follow them around with the camera. They want to eat! Hard to believe most of them are over two months old. They will start going to their new homes next week. I'll be sad to see them go but it's part of the process for us. They go to wonderful homes and I couldn't be happier about that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crappy weather does not make the garden grow.......

We have been in a funky weather pattern this last week or so. One minute the sun is out, the next we are getting torrential rain, golf ball size hail and 60 mile an hour wind. It's been difficult to accomplish anything outside. I can only work in short bursts between storms. The gardens are muddy and the plants very tender. Growth has been minimal. The rain is beneficial but we have had chilly temps along with it. They are predicting some actual summer weather the next few days and hopefully things will really start to grow. After a shower this evening, we had a brief rainbow.

We picked up a load of new hay yesterday ~ it smells delicious! I am always so eager to fill the upstairs of the barn with fresh, new hay. It's s a secure feeling to know our winter feed is in. The animals were very grateful this morning. They all got a taste :) I have a feeling we will be hauling more at the end of next week if it doesn't rain.

Today was our second farmer's market Friday. A smaller crowd but folks were as enthusiastic as last week. A few repeat customers which is great. It's nice to be remembered and to have a product that people are willing to come back for. I think as summer goes on, the market will be very successful. It's going to be great for our little village.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chocolate cherry tomatoes anyone?

Each year we plant a few unusual things in the garden just for fun......this year we came across these oddly named cherry tomatoes. I just couldn't imagine a chocolate cherry tomato? A little research revealed that these are port wine to chestnut colored Delicious cherry tomatoes that produce 1" fruit non-stop all summer long. Who knew? I have two of them planted in a milk can that sits on my front step with a couple of purple basil plants. Smells great each time I pass :)
Chocolate cherry tomato with purple basil

The baby chicks have arrived! The post office called at 7:30 this morning. Our chick order from Cackle Hatchery was "peeping" and could someone plllllllllllllllllease come and pick them up :) Can you imagine being inconvenienced by a few baby chickens? I mean seriously, just how annoying can 36 baby chickens actually be?
I think they are adorable!!

Day old chicks

This gorgeous Eastern Bluebird paid us a visit yesterday morning. He landed on a post in the front of my house as I was standing in the doorway having my morning cup of coffee. I was very happy to see him. I think they are arriving later this year than years past. We normally have a pair that nest and hatch their young here. I spotted him twice during the day in the big oak near the house. I hope his mate is nearby and that they are looking for the perfect place to build a nest.

We are off to the hayfields tomorrow if, and that's a big IF, we do not get thunderstorms. We had very strong thunderstorms yesterday and golf ball size hail in the next town over. Thankfully it missed us as is did quite a bit of damage. This hay was baled last week when it was dry. We just haven't had a dry day to move it home since it was baled.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our first Farmer's Market.........

6/13/08 Steep Falls Farmer's Market

Was a great success! We had four vendors, our farm included. One vendor was selling fresh baked goods. She did very well. A local fiber arts group had a booth set up and another local gal had perennials and herbs. She and I both plan to have produce as soon as the gardens reach that point. For a small town, we had many people stop in to look around and once your there, well, you have to buy something :) I wasn't sure how much lamb to take with me. Luckily the market is only about a mile from home. I had to call Tom and ask him to bring more sausage. It was a big seller.

We are running an ad in one local paper this week and another local paper called and they want to come and interview us at the market. A little press will surely get us more customers. It was fun and we are all looking forward to friday :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

A new Farmer's Market...........

Mom's Tree Peony
Today is the opening of the Steep Falls Village Farmer's Market. This is a brand new market in our little village and we have a space. We have been busy all week getting ready. Our booth will be full of farm raised items as well as our lamb. Wish us luck!!

After the intense heat we had all week, we had a frost advisory last night! Can you believe this crazy weather - fortunately our overnight temp was 40. Quite chilly for 6/13. Supposed to be 75 and beautiful today. A great day for shopping :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Year of the Ram.....

Lambing is officially over at Tylerfarm. We had a total of 38 lambs. 24 rams, 14 ewes. Not sure why we had so many ram lambs but I'll definitely have to have a chat with Mr. Finn, our resident ram, to make sure that doesn't happen again!

My favorite ewe, Penny, delivered QUADS yesterday. She started about 7 am and finished about 10. She delivered three ram lambs before chores were finished and I must say I was disappointed. I would have loved a ewe lamb from her. She's so sweet and friendly. Oh well - I needed to separate milk and finish my chores so I headed for the house.
Penny and her four babies

After chores I went back to the barn to take her a bucket of warm molasses water and to make sure she had passed her afterbirth. I was very surprised to find another lamb and it was a ewe! I was so happy :) They are all very tiny but seem strong and it didn't take any of them long to get up. Penny has a good milk supply and all the babies seem to be nursing and taking turns. I love to cuddle them under my neck. They smell so good. This ewe is 6 years old and gives us triplets or quads every year. Delivers on her own and raises her babies without issue. On top of that gives me 6 pounds of beautiful fiber each year. Her sister, Chammy, had triplets as is as good natured. The babies seem to inherit that good nature from the ewes. All are normally friendly.

Purple Bearded Iris

I've been waiting all spring for this beauty to blossom. My favorite color is Mom gave me two of these bulbs as a gift a couple of years ago. They didn't blossom last year. Once I saw the bud this spring, I've been watching it everyday. It was definitely worth the wait. The other should blossom next week sometime.

Yellow Lupines

We had a storm move through last night. Nothing severe but a thunderstorm none the less. It provided us with a good soaking rain, which we really needed as it's been 90 or above everyday for the last 4 days. Today it was cooler and drier and everything looked crisp and fresh. Beans were popping up all day in the garden. I know I sure felt better - I know that some people like that hot, humid weather. They can definitely have it!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Idle time............


We keep guineas for several reasons. I like them.....I think they are unique looking.....I enjoy watching them but the main purpose for keeping them is tick and bug patrol and patrol they do. They start at daybreak and they work all day long. They move in a group, picking and pecking their way along. They all head back for the guinea house single file just before dark. Before the guineas, the ticks here were terrible. We've had the guineas 10 years now. So far this year, I've found just two ticks on the dogs.

As you can see by the photo, even the guineas decided to take the day off. It was so still here today and the air was so heavy it was almost eerie. No usual sounds outside. All the animals were lying in the shade, sheep and cattle chewing their cuds. Chickens were panting, doing all they could to stay cool. The breeze picked up this afternoon and I thought a storm was brewing but not a drop in our area. Iwas in the barn early this morning and decided it was a good day for paperwork and errands. Too hot to garden for sure.

Painted turtle
This little guy showed up near the garden after dinner tonight. Not sure where he came from. We have never had a turtle here. He was right in front of the wood shed, not to far from the house. Didn't seem in a big hurray to go anywhere. We photographed him, made sure he wasn't hurt and let him go on his way. I love turtles and was very excited that he showed up. Not sure where he will end up but I'm sure he knows where he is going :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Odds & Ends......

Temp at 3:35 p.m. 94degrees........Nothing is moving. Animals and human alike have taken cover and are just waiting for the cooler temps of the night air. The heat and humidity are great for making hay, great for the gardens but it's too hot, too soon for me. The cattle actually prefer the barn to being outside when it's this hot. There is always a breeze in the barn and it's dark. I spend alot of time in the alley in the summer with an iced tea. Sometimes it's the ONLY place there is a breeze on the whole place......and it's quiet.

Yesterday we fenced the north garden. Danny loves to chase the barn cats. The barn cats love to frequent my Mom's multitude of bird feeders. The garden is directly in the path from the barn to my Mom's. The fence was necessary. I lasted outside until about 2pm.

North garden fence

The pigs have a mud corner and manged to stay cool. They were dirty at chore time but lined up at the feeders with their usual appetites!

Hungry pigs

Lambs sleeping under the feeder in the shade, trying to stay cool.

Hermit & company IN the feeder

The sheep and lambs were happy for a little hay in the feeders this afternoon even though they have a nice grass pasture to graze. They must have come in and out 3 dozen times today. Just couldn't stay out long in the intense heat. The feeders are in the shade of the barn by mid afternoon.

Somethings around here really love this heat:

Oriental Poppy
This beauty is the only one that blossomed this year in my garden. I love the brilliant color. It only lasted about three days. The heavy rains we had really damaged the bloom.

Lavender Columbine

Perennial garden

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lambs, cattle & mischief

It's been a strange couple of days. It's been raining on and off. Nice, gentle, soaking rain. It's been so long since we've had rainy days, everything around here is a little out of sorts. It's been wonderful for the flowers and the vegetable gardens.

My Rock Garden

Heliatrope (one of my favorites)

My children gave me this granite stone for Mother's day

The ewes and lambs are all out on pasture. I was checking fence this morning and found a break. Normally the sheep respect the electric fence but the lambs once they reach a certain age, test everything. Today must be test day. After they broke through three times, I put them back in the barn paddock. We bring the cattle in the barn at chore time when I milk and they get their grain. They eat on a round bale in a feeder in the pasture. I was checking that and found a break in their fence. We repaired that and repaired the sheep fence yet again and Tom plugged the fence in before we turned the cows back out. I forgot I attached the sheep fence to the cattle fence and yep, I touched it. Zapped me in good shape. Must have left my brain in the house! I've been feeling tired and I obviously wasn't paying attention.


I had to go to Scarborough yesterday to shop for DH. His birthday is this coming weekend. I really don't like taking the time to go to the city and especially to go shopping but he's worth it so we headed out about 9:30am. Returned home early afternoon to find these little cuties in the ewe barn with Mom, Chammy. All three were dried off and nursing. Two ram lambs and one ewe (white). My Mom named the ewe Ruby. The ram lambs are still nameless. This is one of my favorite ewes. She's friendly and a great Mom. Her sister is due any day now. She's the last one to lamb for this year.


The boys

There was another lamb born. A real surprise......a tiny little white lamb. I'll try and post photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Woodland beauty......

We are fortunate to live at the end of a long dirt driveway. In the morning I drive Tyler up to wait for the bus. Often Mom and I will walk up at lunchtime to collect the mail and we will walk up to meet Tyler in the afternoon when the bus arrives. Today Tom and I walked up at lunchtime as we had just finished planting the gardens and I was ready for a break. The driveway is wooded on both sides and it smells great and often in the middle of the day it's quiet here. I enjoy the walk. We happened to look off in the woods and saw these beautiful flowers - Lady Slippers
Once I started looking around, we counted about 15 or so. These are one of my favorite woodland flowers. I also love the trilliums although I haven't seen one in the woods here in Maine. We have very sandy soil and wild blueberries thrive. We pick quarts and quarts later in the summer. The lady slippers are often hiding among the blueberry bushes and we don't see them unless we are really looking for them. We will enjoy them now for a couple of weeks and they will be gone until next year.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ducklings, gardening, etc.

Proud Mama duck and her ducklings

Our proud Mama duck has a grand total of 11 ducklings! The eggs hatched sporatically over two days and this morning she pushed the last two eggs out of the nest. We assumed they weren't going to hatch and disposed of them. She is extremely protective and the zoom came in handy getting photos. Tom opened the door to the duckhouse to feed her this morning and before he knew it she had him right by the pant leg. Sure did take him by surprise!

Mama duck #2

Tom's other female duck is now setting on a nest of her own. We are going to be overrun with ducklings. We really don't mind. They are so darn cute. Mama duck #2 was more than eager to help "babysit' the new babies this morning while Mama duck #1 grabbed a bite of breakfast. The ducklings didn't seem to mind at all :)

North Garden

The weather cooperated today and we were able to get the north garden planted. Tomatoes, peppers, swiss chard, spinich and sweet corn. We received about 1/4 inch of rain yesterday. Not much but every little bit helps. We watered everything thoroughly after we planted. Hopefully all will do well. We have several rainwater collection barrels by each garden. They work well when it rains. West garden

We ran out of time today but hopefully we will finish planting this garden as well as the south garden tomorrow. We added mesclun mix greens in here today as well as cucumbers, melons, head lettuce and glad bulbs. I love gladiolas. I am normally good about pulling up my bulbs in the fall. Last year I simply didn't get to it. Surprisingly I have glads coming up. I guess they were deep enough and because of the incredible snow pack, they survived. I was lucky this time!

I thorougly enjoyed the day. We all worked outside together as a family. It doesn't get any better than that for me. Things get done much quicker too :)