Thursday, July 10, 2014

More random farm days


Happy to say I've got 3 hats & glove sets done for the farm store ,,, when I'm not to brain fried in the evening that's what I like to do ,,, crochet with my handspun yarns. I make up my own patterns for almost all my fashion items... I thought of doing a small book of my patterns, but they are so horribly written I dont think anyone but me could understand them!
While cooking down blackberries to can I worked on some speciality yarn for an order...
Draining sheep cheese!
Wild blackberry red wine jam! 
Soooo good!
All this, plus I've had a ram with a limp for awhile... It's not foot rot ,,, so confused I searched the internet and after another closer examination I found what the problem is,,, infected scent gland between his toes... Learning everyday! Let the treatment begin. It will not be pleasant ...,,
Random pic of our dogs, sheep and some geese,,,, 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Beautiful day for a harvest

Another busy day on the farm,,,,Morning milking... Here's sweet Annie.. Such a sweet ewe, she's my oldest girl , originally from Karras farm in NC. She is a joy to milk! And I love her fleece!
Time to move the ewe lambs! They love fresh pastures and browse . Friesians are such easy sheep to work with when you have good ones,,,and so pretty to look at,,,
Then is was time to fertilize the garden,,, some of my plants where running out if steam... Then had to shred and freeze the over grown squash from yesterday's harvest,,,
Random pic of one of our ponds. We have duck paradise here ....
While I worked on freezing the squash and some tomatoes the husband picked more blackberries! It's about time to can some red wine blackberry jam!
I had to package up another order from the farm store,, then I had to pick! Last night we got a large bag of dragon tongue green beans for fresh eating and the freezer,,, but this afternoon I  picked more providers ,,, so time to can more beans..maybe tomorrow.... quite a few tomatoes and peppers where ready ,,,, 
I have quite a bit of damage on some of my tomato plants now that I need to address ,,, always something else trying to eat the garden we've spent so many hours to grow,,,,
Late afternoon, I need coffee and to make some sheep cheese!
Then the usual chores.
The husbands got dinner tonight (and most nights) thankfully! Lamb burgers and fresh veggies!

Monday, July 7, 2014

So you wanna be,,,,

A farmer,,, homesteader,,, more self sufficient ,,,, well get ready to work,,, get dirty,,,sweaty,,, fight ticks, bees and other crawly things !
No romancing the farm life here ,,, I'm to tired lol!
Got up today around 6:30... Had lots of coffee and sheep milk,,, sheep yogurt,, milked the girls, checked to make sure everyone is alive and well,,,by 9 am we drove over to our part of the land that has massive amounts of blackberry brambles,,, picked for an hour,,, got over a gallon! Also picked off 3 ticks, treated multiple torn scratches and some poison oak.,,,
Then,moved my adult sheep and lambs to another area with dogs.... Let out ducks... Gathered eggs from all but a broody girl that hissed at me! 
Got lard and lamb tallow out and started rendering .... Sold Out of soaps again... And this stuff doesn't render itself.... More work than ordering processed oils... but makes way better soap and shampoo bars!! Animal fats are better for the skin ... Esp. Problem or sensitive types . 
The cracklings from the strained lard are a bonus! 
Picked some over grown zucchini and squash.... I didn't check my plants for 3 little days! So they will be shredded and used in breads, cakes and brownies. One little pepper too :-) 
Walked over gardens and checked to see if anything else needs picked ,,, it does ,,, also some things are needing a shot of fertilizer ,,, some need insect control ,,, some are so damaged I need to pull up the plants and plant something else,,, still time in TN to plant late beans and winter squash,,,, if I can find the time!
I have 15 Muscovy duck eggs ready to boil! I have to wait atleast a week to boil these eggs or they are just to hard to peel... I can't wait!
Little pic of my baby Muscovy flock foraging ,,, they are very very good foragers!

All this and it's just past noon,,,,
The rest of the day I will need to strain my fats... Package an order,,, pick a ton of beans and fertilize some droppy plants... 
Feed 50 ducks, 7 rabbits, bring the sheep ( I only have 12 sheep) and dogs back to the main pasture and barn areas  ( my husband feeds the dogs & hogs) 
It's dry this week so some plants may need water,,, fix dinner! ( I'm lucky my husband can cook!)
Praise God for the strength to get through it all,,, ask Him for the strength to  do what needs to be done tomorrow .

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Garden Greats & Romantic Notions

Harvest is here sooner than I expected... I have a run of provider green beans to can ,,, some dragon tongue beans, tomatoes , peppers and zucchini to eat ! Much more to come as long as i can keep the pests out of the way!
So I am beyond thrilled and highly motivated to tackle the next garden project now that most all main garden mulching is done...
Edging the raised bed section of the main big garden with old low tunnel plastic and torn tarps ,,, then mulching over that! Can I just say praise God for the saw mill and cheap mulch down the road again!  There are 4 raised beds in this part of the garden .
I am truly blessed that my prayers have been answered for the stamina and strength to get these gardens in check this year... A big part of that strength is my husband is home to help this year! Huge blessing! 

High tunnels and a more productive strawberry garden are on the list before fall gets here....
Gonna need more prayers for those projects too. 
Gardening is a huge project. It's so hard... Esp. The way we want to garden!
But it's something I have wanted to be good at for along time .... 
It's worth the work,,, even in the hot humid TN summer weather ... It's a thick humid day .... So I told my husband today , 'while we're working this morning let's just think of the outside today as our own personal sauna' lol!  We often giggle about the romantic notions people have about farming... So our own personal sauna,, yes, complete with dirt, dust, sweat bees and a few annoying biting flys! 
So romantic ! Lol! 
Not! 
But it's good :-) 
And I am thankful to be able to do it!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Just another day

Yesterday I cranked out 4 batches of different Sheep Milk hand made soaps... All made with hand rendered lard from our heritage breed American Guinea Hogs... Which makes the most gentle soaps! I love making soaps like this... 
And my 3 Friesian sheep milkers....6 months fresh... I am only miking once a day now because the freezer is full and there's only so much milk we need a day.... They are cranking out the milk on very minimum feed , primarily eating pasture . Just amazing sheep... So blessed to have them 
Well, more garden work I need to get too,,, have a very blessed day :-) 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Moving right along....

It's hot In TN! Humid... So humid... But the work doesn't stop because it's uncomfortable.  We've been doing lots of garden work and I'm seeing my first green beans forming!  
Things are going really well with the Muscovy reboot and we are enjoying their crazy good eggs everyday now and growing up several extra males for food this fall. 
Took time on a rainy day to get some sheep cheese made... Mexican chilli Cotija! Looks so good in the cave.... Needs 3 weeks to cure.
Got in a fun order from a wonderful lady. She dyes and sells beautiful bamboo and firestar I like to blend with my Friesian wool. Makes awesome yarns!
Tomato plants are loaded!!! This is one if my small garden beds....Amazing what coffee grounds and rabbit manure can do for tomatoes.
More garden work today....and hopefully time to spin a little yarn!
Hope u have a blessed day.

Friday, June 6, 2014

New yarn adventures and sweet ewe lambs

My girl Annie has such a nice fleece to work with... this is a 10 month growth. Its so easy to spin into any weight yarn really.. but I thought why not 'lockspin' it! See what happens....
 Plyed with a serger thread and antique silver beads I think it turned out sooooo pretty!!!!! Love this art yarn...
 This will make a luscious trim for hats and gloves :-)
 Cardi (short for Cardigan) Ashi and Sweater.... Friesian ewe lambs growing up the best way... raised by their moms and on pasture! Not on a bottle in as dry lot.
Thats the big problem with finding good healthy dairy stock... so many are raised in an unnatural , unhealthy way from the beginning....
They need a good start!
Its beautiful and getting hot here in SouthEast TN...

and I'm counting my many many blessings...despite being so tired I can barely keep my eyes open at 9pm!
I used to be such a night owl....

Y'all have a blessed weekend.