Saturday, January 31, 2009

Work & Play - winter style

We were up before the sun this morning with a long list of extra chores that needed to be done. We've had inches upon inches of snow and now they are predicting inches of rain and 42 degrees on Tuesday. Go figure.......First order of business was to get all the snow shoveled off the roofs. You never realize how big a building is until you need to remove three feet of snow off the roof :) A group of us worked on the barn while hubby roof raked the house.

Once both sides were shoveled off, I used the tractor and the blower to move the snow away from the barn. The snow on the top roof generally slides off once the snow/ice melts off the bottom roof. Thankfully the snow wasn't heavy and it came off fairly easy. We then shoveled the chicken house, wood shed, Mom's porch, the camper, sheep feeders, rabbit hutches, the backporch and hubby roof raked the garage. Thankfully it was about 25 degrees and the perfect temp to work outside.

After our chores were finished, hubby invited me to take a walk with the snowshoes. Gosh, I can't remember the last time I was on them. It was Great! Below are some photos from our trip. We walked down the south pasture, along the east pasture, back up the north side to the house. Bear and Simple Boy wondering what we were doing ........

Looking back toward the farm from the south/east pasture...

Even the snow can't get rid of them.......

Pitching over the rise, heading east............

Potential new pasture...............

We didn't hang out here long ........this section of fence is on the spring "to do" list. Didn't want to think about work :)

We saw many different sets of tracks - this one near the edge of the woods

Looking east.........

Another view looking back at the farm from the east tree line......

A great afternoon trek in the snow......hope you enjoyed it :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

~ The View from my window.....

I've put a lot of miles on my tractor this winter, mostly moving snow. Lots of hours on the arms and snow shovels too. We were very lucky last night - only a foot of new snow instead of the 22" that they were predicting. For that we are grateful ~
A beautiful, sunny morning and a big cleanup job ahead. Thought I'd share the view from my workplace ~

Just heading out to plow - sun was just rising

Headed towards the guinea house, right to the barn

The blower doing it's job

Waiting for the blower to make a path to the feeder - heaven forbid they had to get their feet wet :)

Heading south to the rams and my Dad's house

Everyone was so worried about their toes this morning ~

I'm looking in - they are looking out.....
Another winter storm is over and it will take most of the day to clean up. As always, I am thankful that we all came through it safe and sound and I hope everyone else did as well.
~ Have a good day ~

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

~ Wordless Wednesday ~

All photos courtesy of S. Prosser

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blue sky, sunshine & sheep

The major storm that has wreaked havoc on so much of the country is headed our way. Another 18" of the beautiful white stuff :) I'm grateful they are predicting all snow and not ice. I can deal with snow but ice causes such devastation and there seems so little we can do to prevent it. One good thing about snow is that it has to warm up around here before that can happen. It was a gorgeous day. 20 degrees and clear blue sky with lots of sunshine. The animals were all outside today. The sheep all felt especially energetic. They were playing headbutting games, running around the feeders and jumping in the air for no apparent reason :) I love to watch them play together when they are so happy. Sunshine and warm weather will do that to you.

Danny Dog kept running back and forth around the sheep pens trying to get in on the action. None of the sheep wanted to play with him. He found a way to amuse himself by hunting for frozen poopsicles. He had quite a pile stored up before we came in this afternoon :) He finally tired himself out, stretched out on the porch in the sun and had a nap.

Bert and Ernie spend most of their time inside. If they veer off the paths into the deep snow, they sink right up to their armpits! Both were born last spring, each one from a group of quads. They were victims of "barn bullies" and didn't grow as I would have liked them to so they have a "space" of their own and are doing great. They will go out with the others in the springtime ;) They love hugs and chin scratches, and oh yes - animal crackers :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

~Looking ahead.........

You know those weeks you have when the best part of it was when it was over? I'm happy it's it's Sunday night and that tomorrow is the beginning of a new week.
It's been rough without our Barney dog and then a dear family friend passed away. On top of that it's been dam cold again..... -20 this morning. You all know I love winter but I'm joining the whiny bunch - I'm ready for spring :)

I have a long list of things I want to get done before kidding and lambing starts. Our pygora babies should arrive around the first week of March. I'm beginning to check and replenish lambing supplies and I always have sheepy help in the barn. These are my two best girls, Chammy and Pennyroyal. No matter how lousy I feel, they love me and are always happy to see me for a snuggle and a chin scratch. They will not be lambing this year. I decided after five years, they have earned a year off. Both of them have either given us triplets or quads since they started having lambs. I just love these gals and I'd like them to be around a good long time. They were trying to get those noses in my coat pocket, looking for animal crackers, their treat of choice :)

I am working towards overhauling my pantry, re-replenishing what we have used and storing more bulk food. We have a very large upstairs storage space in our home. We are going to install shelving in that area for my canners, stock pots, extra jars, etc., so these items will not take up valuable food storage space in the pantry. I've been researching food storage containers on-line. I would love to know what you all use for bulk food storage. This is going to be a project but well worth the effort. I'd love to have this completed before we start planting.

We had to make a run to town and while we were there, we stopped at the bookstore. A favorite stop for all of us and not one we make often. I found this new magazine and thought you all might be interested. It's called Mary Janes Farm. This issue is devoted to Bee's. Everything bee's as well as no-knead Artisan Breads, Bee mind homemade valentines, etc. Lots of fun and interesting things.

Some of the articles are a little fussy and won't apply to everyone and it's totally organic. Good reading. Check it out :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

~ That ain't no Bull...........

It's no big secret that the world of farming has made drastic changes over the last 100 years. It used to be when farmers needed to breed their cows, they turned them out with a bull that they kept on the farm. If they didn't keep one, they borrowed one from their farmer neighbor. Now technology has made herd management as easy as sitting on your couch, browsing through a catalog. Using Artificial Insemination, it is not necessary to keep a bull and it is an inexpensive way to breed your cows, using the bull of your choice.

Last years catalog is 82 pages. Each page contains a photo of a bull of a specific breed. The page also contains lineage for three generations; calving ease rating; production ratings, maternal statistics, etc. There is also a descriptive paragraph, with important information that breeders and farmers need to know in order to make the right choice for their herds.

We choose not to keep a bull on this farm for many reasons. Safety being my main reason. My Mother as well as my children are always in the pastures with the animals without fear and I don't want that to change. I can call Genex, who is the company we use to AI our cows, and they will arrive within a couple of hours. We know the technicians and they are very efficient and gentle with our animals. The deed is finished in about 5 minutes - and the waiting begins.

This is the Red Angus bull, Paradox. We have used this bull to breed Jan the last three years. The combination of the two have produced lovely, black, beefy, heifers each time :) Nothing to complain about that combination.

This year I've been debating about which bull to use. Truthfully I would like to raise a bull from my cow and I wouldn't mind a little color if that's going to be possible. I believe if I hand raise a bull like I do my heifers, I could keep a bull here that would be safe. Not that a bull doesn't always bear watching, but at least one I could feel comfortable around. I've been researching three different bulls:

I've always loved the Hereford's and would be thrilled with a little red/white bull calf! His stats say he produces cattle that adapt to harsh environments, cows that calve easily and the calves are naturally polled. "This is the breeds "all around" sire whose influence will be felt for generations".

I'm also considering this guy

LT Bluegrass is a Charolais. I've never bred to Charolais before but I' ve been reading some interesting things about this breed and he's definitely a beefy guy. They are naturally polled as well which is a plus. I'm not sure about their disposition and still have a little more reading to do.

I still have a few more days to make a decision but it's makes for good reading over my morning coffee :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

~ Wordless Wednesday ~

B/W photos courtesy S. Prosser

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BARNEY (May 1994 - January 2009)

A Dog for Jesus
(Where dogs go when they die)

I wish someone had given Jesus a dog. As loyal and loving as mine.

To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes And adore Him for being divine.

As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog,Would have followed Him all through the day.

While He preached to the crowds and made the sick well And knelt in the garden to pray.

It is sad to remember that Christ went away.

To face death alone and apart.

With no tender dog following close behind, To comfort its Master's Heart.

And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn, How happy He would have been, As His dog kissed
His hand and barked it's delight, For The One who died for all men.

WELL, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine,The old pal so dear to me.

And I smile through my tears on this first day alone, Knowing they're in eternity.

Day after day, the whole day through,Wherever my road inclined,Four feet said, "Wait, I'm

coming with you!"And trotted along behind.

Rudyard Kipling

Rest in Peace my faithful will be sadly missed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

~ 16+ inches

........And the white stuff continues to beautify the northeast ~ the best part of this storm, it had to warm up 50 degrees to snow from the early morning temperatures three days ago.
"Froto" playing in the deep snow. Not sure if he realizes he's a sheep and not a rabbit :)

I plow a swath or two for the cows to get to the feeder

It's getting deeper ~ before long it will be over the fence! The snow has been falling off the trees all day long. Not a good omen. According to the old timers snow falling off means there is more coming. Chances are - their right.

No visitors at this bird feeder -

The bird tree has been a haven to the chickadees and the junco's. The branches are so heavy with snow that the little birds have been darting in and out, playing chase. I so enjoy watching them from my window seat. They have eaten a good portion of the bread dough ornaments.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wanna win something?

How about this beautiful sheep? Don't you love it? Wouldn't you love to have it? All you have to do visit Katie's blog at Chronicles of a Country Girl and leave a comment. Simple :)

~Ornament exchange.....

During the holidays, I had mentioned doing an ornament exchange on a previous blog post. Several people e-mailed that they would be interested after the busy holiday rush. Michelle thought it might be fun if we did a "regional" theme which is a great idea.

EVERYONE is welcome to participate!

If you would like to exchange, you can post your e-mail address in a comment on this post or send it to me @ for privacy. I will put all the addresses in a hat and ask Tyler to draw names for me. I will then let each person know in a private e-mail whom your recipient is so you can e-mail them and ask for their mailing address. This way, no participant has to give out their private address to more than one person.

I'll leave the invitation up for a few days. I'll set the mailing date by February 1. That way everyone receives an ornament around the same time. Once they are received, it would be great if everyone could post a photo and the region that it's from.

No need to spend a lot, or any......home made is wonderful in my book. Whatever you choose is great.

The more the merrier - again, all are welcome!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Great Attitude and/or Gratitude Award

Country Whispers has kindly given me this award. I'm honored......I visit Country Whispers daily - she has the best recipes :)

The rules state that I'm supposed to pass it on to 10 blogs that show Great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
Here's the Deal:
1. You must add the logo to your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show Great Attitude and/or Gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link this post to the person from who you received your award.
I'm bending the rules a little this time around: I thoroughly enjoy all the blogs in my blogroll and try to visit them daily. They all show Great Attitude and/or Gratitude and each will give you cause to smile - be it a great photo, recipe, helpful hint or a little self reflection. Please check them out if you get the chance.
~ Have a great weekend~