I’m counting down the days ’till we bring home our flock. We have found a breeder of Coopworth sheep, conveniently near us. Shearing day is soon, followed by lambing, and then, after the lambs are old enough to wean (around 60 days) we’ll be bringing our small flock home.
The farm was kind enough to have us all over to meet their sheep and answer our (many) questions. Struggling_along managed to snap some photos and carry Molly around while I got a bit more hands on with the ewes, and Ezra made fast friends with their dog.
Slowly the days are growing warmer. A patch of grass is emerging high on the hill. Although, to get to it, you’ll have to cross a field still covered in a good 2 feet of snow. Some days we still get occasional flurries and brisk winds but they are starting to be outnumbered by “warm” (around 45F) sunny days.
The list of Spring chores grows: daily milking has begun, chicken and goat pens need a deep cleaning, hooves need a trim, and soon there will be a garden to cultivate -once the snow melts.
And some fences need mending….
Despite the growing workload and the general muddy mess spring brings we’re just happy to be spending a little more time outdoors.
And just because she’s cute….
My Shalom cardigan is done! Well, except for the buttons. I used up every last bit of the Twiggy with just enough yarn left to weave in the ends. I found one never used skein of the same yarn – but its no where near enough yarn for two sleeves. So my Shalom will stay a vest. Since Spring has yet to show its face around here, and to use up that last skein, I decided to make a Shalom inspired cowl.
Using the same twisted stitch pattern as the Shalom I cast on 78 stitches. After 3 ridges (of garter stitch) I knit 25 rows and ended with 3 more ridges. I used larger needles -size 10 rather than the size 4 I used on the Shalom. While this cowl won’t keep the stiff winter winds out it will be perfect for the (hopefully coming) warmer, but still chilly, Spring days ahead.
sharing this post with KCCO and Yarn Along
As seen in previous posts this spring has brought us: bees, kittens, chicks, baby goats (1) (2), and oxen! Thanks to Struggling_along for struggling along Fried Farm has its first fenced pasture and a garden is under way. It feels late to be just starting on the garden but around here the cold temps linger – not even a week ago we had an inch of snow!
Sadly not all news has been good news. Yesterday we had a vet out to turn the oxen bulls into steers. Turns out one of the oxen (Will) may end up in the freezer due to testicular issues.
A few photos:
There’s a lot to do!
Earlier this week the boys and I took another trip back home, this time to install a package of bees. The weather was fabulous (at least while I was working with the bees, not so much for the drive); the leaves were finally budding out and everything was starting to look green.
Finally, I was able to see what progress had been made on the barn. Amazing! It’s really coming along. See The Parker Dexter Barn for lots of photos of how the barn used to look and the first stages of barn removal. There’s also this postcard of the barn Long Ago.
Here’s the barn in it’s current, nearly skeletal state:
The barn removal is progressing nicely; the bees are in their hive…
it’s finally spring! I think I can safely say we are all pleased.
A window was knocked out in the goat barn. Really it was only a matter of time; goat hooves and glass windows don’t mix well. Coincidently the rest of the windows in the goat barn were already covered over with plywood when we brought the place. Hmmm. Luckily it’s a little too high for anyone to leap out to freedom. Although it was the frequency and number of heads poking out that caught my eye.
I quickly took a few photos, taking advantage of the rare lighting, before fixing the window. If you are wondering why the title says The Goats in French that’s because, even though I don’t actually know French, I like to talk to the goats in a mixture of English and “pretend” French. It just seems fitting. The goats with the horns are our bucks – or Monsieur Manson and Monsieur Lenin. The girls are Ellie and Rita (mother of Lenin). Ellie should be kidding this spring.
Last week Struggling_along brought me home a surprise – a stack of metal syruping buckets with lids and spiles! It was like Christmas. I had resigned myself long ago that metal buckets were too expensive. Luckily Struggling_along just happened to be at the feed store at the right moment (ordering this year’s chicks) and he was able to snatch up the last of these previously used buckets sold by a man getting out of the business. Score!
And it was perfectly timed too as this weekend it finally warmed up, and even rained!
We went from this:
So the boys and I went around identifying our maples and fighting over who got to drill which tree and whether the person who drilled also got to use the hammer to tap the spile in. There was also much sap sampling- straight from the tap of course.
Since then I can’t count the number of times we’ve crossed the field to check on the sap levels. We have 4 buckets on each side of the field. It’s quite the journey across because it’s a ways, plus, every step has to be taken with caution. Sometimes the crust holds us up, or we may sink an inch or two, but the next step may send us suddenly lurching forward, sinking us down past our knees and potentially onto our faces, or alternatively, stuck like a turtle on our backs. It’s all good fun though.
our first full bucket. Those buckets are deceptive – they hold a lot! It just about filled my 5 gallon pail and with the little bit from the other buckets I had a slow return journey trying not to slosh sap over the sides of the pail.
I was excited to find some eggs and some thyme growing.
Thanks for coming along!