Wednesday, May 26, 2010

August in May ~ least it feels like August. 92 degrees yesterday, 94 today. Yikes! The beaches were packed with folks, daring to enter the cold Atlantic water looking for a little relief. It has been very hot the last few days and the humidity has been steadily on the rise. The animals were all in the shade, trying to get a breath of fresh air and no one had much of an appetite.

My garden plants looked absolutely dead last night. My peppers seemed to have survived and most of the cabbage but a few of the broccoli plants are looking lost. I planted basil seed on Monday - I noticed several of them have popped up through the ground when I watered them tonight. Amazing what that kind of heat does for seed germination.

A cold front moved through around 7 pm with an hours worth of incredible wind which brought us cooler, more normal temps for this time of year. Thursday is supposed to be a pleasant day and we will finish planting our seeds and our potatoes. Tomato plants will go in as well. I doubt frost will show it's ugly head again until fall (crossing fingers).

Our piglets are growing quickly and Friday is castration day. This will be our first time and a good friend of ours who has been doing this for many, many years is going to come and give us a hand. Not sure how much we are looking forward to it but it' s something that has to be done. From what I've read it's a fairly simple and quick process. I'll update after the deed is done :)

Hubby and I had a chance to purchase a few flowering annuals for the planters. This whiskey barrel sits on the stump on the corner in front of my shop. We usually do a red, white & blue theme but opted for something completely different this year. We hope to plant more this weekend :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

A new week ~ new projects

A gorgeous sunrise this morning......the start of a very warm day. 80's and near 90 this week in our neck of the woods. I remember an morning early last week when it was 28 degrees! The frost damaged my blueberries, bleeding hearts and hostas. I've never seen hostas so badly damaged in all the years we have lived here. I think they will come back but they look pretty brown and bedraggled at this point. Hopefully those temps are well behind us.

Planting begins in earnest today. Purchased all our bedding plants and will have them in the gardens by this evening. The soil has been setting fallow for two weeks now and is weed free. Hopefully it will stay that way.
I really enjoy working in the dirt but by noon the sun is right over head and just too hot for me. I'll do inside work and then after chores work in the gardens until sunset. We weed and work them after planting in the early morning before chores.

Our goat kids are really getting big and Mom's are ready for them to be weaned. Two of our babies will go to their new homes this coming weekend. Bluto, pictured below, has become our favorite. He has a great personality and would rather hang with people than eat. He loves to ride in the wheelbarrow when we hay the rest of the animals. He will jump into the wheelbarrow from their feeder and ride until we make him get out. They are great fun at this age :)

One thing we need to get is to shear the alpacas. I've been watching shearing videos on youtube. Looks easy but I have a feeling that's not going to be the case. They have adjusted to living here and are hesitantly social. They will eat treats out of our hand but really prefer not to be touched. They lead well once they are haltered and get along with the sheep just fine. Once they are sheared we will introduce them to the big pasture with all of the sheep.

They are very cute but they will spit at you if you piss them off. Scared the daylights out of Tom - he really didn't know what Scion was doing until he spit at him. The rest of us watching laughed because it really was funny. Deliberate and comical :) He likes them still and does very well with them. The fiber is beautiful and I am anxious to see what our yarn is like.

Sheep shearing is just about finished and we finished all the goats last week. Our goats look funny once they are sheared, especially Amos the Buck as he has really big horns and they look really huge on him without his fleece. I know they all feel much better and they look better as well.

My Dad and his two boys, Tom & Tyler are back at Wildwood Stables in Arcadia National Park, Maine. They will be there throughout the summer giving guided carriage tours through the park. If you get there, be sure to ask for "the old Cowboy". He will give you an awesome ride through that beautiful area with incredible views of the Atlantic ocean.

This is the top of my Dad's tack box. Tom sanded it all off and Sarah painted this beautiful picture of Tom & Tyler with my Dad. She is sooooooo talented! He absolutely loved it. Such a wonderful gift - we will miss him but I know how much he loves his job and that he will have a great summer :)

Time to get busy - wishing you all a pleasant, productive week ~

Monday, May 17, 2010

Final resting place.......

Some of you may remember that I lost my faithful friend, Banjo, last June. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss him at my side as we went about our routine everyday. . He left his mark on this farm and we all miss him still. We opted to have him privately cremated and he has been resting atop our big entertainment center, waiting for exactly the right spot to place his ashes.

Steve and my kids gave me a beautiful red maple tree as a mother's day gift. We celebrated yesterday as Steve has been away for a couple of weeks. We all, as a family, decided where to plant the tree and also decided it would make a perfect resting place for Banjo. It sits on our south lawn, and I can see it from both of the dining room windows which is where I spent most of my time when I'm inside. We spread his ashes in the soil and know that he will be watching over us everyday.

It's a great feeling to know he's at peace and not suffering. It's also a peaceful feeling to look out the window from my rocker and feel his presence around our tree and bring to a close that sad time in my life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Farm Funnies.........

A friend sent these along and they are too cute not to share. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Growing season.........

It has been a crazy, hectic week and we have been so busy with one project right after another. Fencing is taking up a lot of our time during the day. We hauled 6 ton of round baled hay home on Wednesday. I also purchased two bales of wrapped baleage. I have never fed this before but the cattle and sheep seem to enjoy it and it will definitely stretch our hay. It smells like vinegar - pickled long grass. The sheep will blatt and blatt until I give them a little of it during night chores. I'm hoping to head north again this week and pick up 20 more bales.

The unusually warm spring weather continues and it's wonderful to see everything growing and flourishing with the sunshine. The above photo is the new pasture that we put in and seeded last year. It is about 8 inches high and ready for the sheep. The sheep are in a smaller pasture right now to get them used to grass again and they are loving it.

Babies ate their fill and then crashed in the sunshine. They are all growing so quickly. Only two little wethers still look like babies. It's been amazing to watch as they mature, what type of fleece each one will have. Of course, I'd like to keep them all but I know that's not practical :)

Speaking of fleece, remember the new M&M's - when they came to live here they were in full fleece. Gorgeous silver fiber and lots of it! Below are the girls with their coats on.

Last week we introduced them to the shearing stand and gave each one of them a haircut and a pedicure. I really think they felt much better without all that wool. About 15lbs per sheep.

They have made themselves right at home, mixing with the other sheep and observing the lambs from a distance. They are beautiful sheep and we are delighted to have them. I hope to get it all skirted this week and up to the fiber mill. I am so excited to see what Diane does with it.

Our little piglets are also growing quickly. Charlotte feeds them about four times a day and they are now eating baby pig crumbles. They love to cuddle with their Mom but they enjoy using their creep area with the heat lamp. At just two weeks old, they have more than doubled in size and are a handful. They are also getting very curious. I sat in with them for about 15 minutes and after a minute or two they were all gathered around me, sniffing and nibbling on my shoes. It has been a wonderful process and we will definitely have baby pigs again.

The barn swallows have moved back in the barn, readying the nest to lay their eggs. As they are working on both, I'm not sure which one they will use. They dive bomb us as we exit the barn, preferring we didn't enter their territory. They will set on the top rail of the fence outside the door, and really give us the what for.

Scion and David, the newest members of the farm, are doing well and settling in. They are very interested in the sheep and from what I've read and been told, they will do well mixed with the girls. I have a couple of ewes whose lambs need to be weaned and I'm going to introduce them to the boys. They are very mellow and will come to the fence for a small treat. Tom has been handling them and is doing very well. He really likes them and I think from their attitude that they are comfortable with him as well. The next project will be to shear them. Another learning curve :)

This weeks project is to get the gardens planted. The soil has warmed up nicely and been mellow for a week now. The soil remains weed free and I'm anxious to play in the dirt. I did get a chance to drive to the seed store and purchase what we needed. We are ready to plant!

This is our flowering crab that hubby and the boys gave me last year for Mother's Day. It is completely covered with beautiful little pink flowers. It has grown so much in the last year and I can imagine how big and beautiful it will be in years to come. I love gifts that keep on giving and being able to enjoy the blooms of this tree from my rocking chair each year is a special gift.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mom's out there ~

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happenings around the Farm ~

I honestly do not know where the week went! It's been a whirlwind here with many things getting done and new things popping up. First a piggie update. These little buggers are growing so fast and they are incredibly fun to watch. They are just happy - content - precious little critters. Charlotte is an awesome Mom - thankfully everything worked out just fine. They had their iron shots today. How they squeal.....It was fairly painless and took just seconds. It didn't overly stress them as they went right back to rooting in the soil immediately.

They have a playpen area of their own with a heat lamp where they can nap and stay warm without Mom. Due to our warm weather they aren't snuggling quite as tight but we all know how quickly New England weather can change.
As you can see, they are surely loved :)

In other farm news, the gardens plots are tilled and ready for planting. Hopefully this week will find us in the soil planting cool weather crops. We will have to wait until the end of the month to plants cukes & tomatoes, etc. I've seen hard frost in May several times and I'm not going to push our luck.

New critters are moving in. We have been gifted with three beautiful romney ewes. These gals, Milley, Moxie & Maddie ( the M&M's as Tom calls them ) came from a loving home and we are delighted to add them to our flock. Thank you Elaine & Bob! The fiber from these gals will be fabulous! They are warming up to us and learning that animal crackers are a good thing. They will go out with the other ewes sometime this week.

It is a known fact among my friends that I am a wool snob. I love my sheep and I love wool and never really had any interest in owning any other kind of fiber animals. I do enjoy my little pygora goats and keep a small flock for their lovely fiber and the fact their antics would cheer up anyone. I've never considered llamas or alpacas. I know they have gorgeous fiber and they make good guard animals. I also know that they have been pretty pricey.
To keep this a short story, these two fellows are coming to live on the farm as well. The entire process was a whirlwind but we are going to give them a try.
Scion ( I hope I have spelled that right)

Aren't they cute? I love the colors and both have lovely fiber and pleasant dispositions. It will be a learning curve for us but we are willing and able and will certainly enjoy the process. Thank you Carol!

Anyone who has advise for newbie alpaca owners, please feel free to send along your knowledge. We are going to need it!

Have a great week everyone!