Category Archives: Uncategorized

Playing in the mud

I must preface this post by saying I really have nothing to complain about, when you compare our weather situation to the devastation that has occurred in many parts of the world.  We have not suffered from wild fires, mud slides or tornadoes.

I’m still going to complain, though.  This has been a trying year.  I’ve been speculating that our new weather/climate pattern is: Frozen Tundra; Standing Water; Scorched Earth.  We’ve experienced variations on this theme for a number of years now.

We are currently in a glorious weather pattern.  Some might complain that it is too dry, but on our heavy ground, the .2″ or .3″ we have gotten here and there have been enough to keep the pastures convinced that they should grow rather than go dormant.  And, it has been enough to fill the rain barrels so I can water the hoophouse and seed beds with rain water, rather than from the well.

But, this spring was far from glorious.  We had standing water in places where I have never seen it stand before.  And, the earth was saturated so continuously by new rains, that even the garlic which was planted in my highest garden beds suffered.  I’m just beginning to harvest that now, and I’m hoping to have sufficient harvest to save for seed to plant in October.  If I have a bit extra to use and to sell, I’ll be surprised.

The “playing in the mud” refers to my many unsuccessful attempts to prepare garden beds for planting.  This year my planting window was July.  I’m very hopeful that we have a long, mild fall so that the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beets have sufficient time to mature.

I am more grateful for my hoophouse than ever!  While it was still very wet in there in the spring, at least the new rainfalls were not landing directly on those beds and I was able to start seeds there for melons, squash, beans, onions, leeks, flowers and greens.  All of those plants did get alarmingly large before I was able to prepare the beds in the rest of the garden to receive them as transplants, but it did eventually happen with fairly decent success.

Big beans in the wrong place

Big beans in the wrong place

I looked for pictures to illustrate the wet, muddy, weedy mess my garden was this spring, but it appears I couldn’t bear to document it.

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Filed under Farm, Natural world, Seasons, Uncategorized

Shearing Day

Here’s the flock – Before…and…After.  Rain was threatened, so I created a makeshift stall for them in the garage.  It got quite windy, so it was nice to keep the wool from blowing around.  This kept our neighbor Rick, the shearer, happy as well.

IMG_8884 as well

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I’m beginning to learn how to skirt fleeces.  I created another makeshift item – a skirting table – to help with the process.  My intention is to build an official skirting table at the right height and large enough to accommodate fleeces as large as our ram’s before the next go round.  The one I’m using now isn’t quite large enough and is tough on my back.

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The flock takes up a lot less space now.  They are taking a bit of time to get accustomed to their new look.  They don’t seem to recognize themselves or each other, so far.

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Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, Uncategorized

New girls on the farm!

5 lovely yearling Coopworth ewes

A particularly regal pose

We brought these girls home from Carol and Paul Wagner’s Hidden Valley Farm and Woolen Mill on Easter Monday.  They behaved well on the road trip and settled in easily here.  These registered Coopworth yearling ewes are the foundation for my permanent flock – an exciting step for me!

Coopworth is a longwool breed that was developed in New Zealand in the 1950’s by crossing Border Leicester rams with Romney ewes.  We wanted a breed that is medium sized, with good quality meat and wool for spinning and fiber arts and Coopworth fits the bill.

We’ll be raising our flock on rotationally grazed pasture and will be able to begin marketing their wool next spring and meat late in 2013.

 

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Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, Local Food, Sustainability, Uncategorized