Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Apple Cider vinegar

It has been awhile since I've posted any farm activity. I've been trying to get all my winter weaving, spinning and knitting projects done because I know as soon as it warms up I will be outside starting the garden.  I have been very busy with lambing and kidding. One big doe kid from my 3 year old alpine doe needed help, but all are well and the doe kid is one of the nicest we've had from our alpines. We breed for milk and dairy soundness, which means sound legs good udder attachment, teat placement and size and a good sound structure to produce milk. We've had 1 ewe lamb out of a Shetland mule bred to our texel ram and a ewe and ram out of our shetlands bred to a BFL. Pictures in next post. I'm posting a picture of apple cider vinegar I bottled up in January after fermenting since September from apple cider from our own apples. It turned out very good and with 2 1/2 gallons I shouldn't run out. I put a mother in the cider  I got from an amish friend, and let it work for about 4 months. Raw unpasteurised cider vinegar is high in potassium and can be sprayed on your animals hay daily for about 2 weeks before lambing or kidding to help with easier births. Adding it to the water is another way to get it in their systems. The Robins have returned and the Blue birds too so Spring is not far off.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Arctic Vortex Projects

What am I doing to keep myself busy during the freeze? I bought an Irish penny whistle and am learning to play. This is something I have always wanted to learn. I also play the violin, guitar, and mountain dulcimer. It is fairly simple if you can play by ear. What fun!
My next project is spinning small amounts (30-60yds.) of Shetland wool into a fine yarn to knit Kate Davies, Sheeps Heid Tam. I need 9 colors and so far have 5. I am combing the wool and blending some to get different colors. I am mostly using the neck wool which is very soft.
And last but not least is THE PROJECT. Sarah is a pup out of our male border collie Craig and our Ruby who is a Jack Russel-Heeler mix. She is 12 weeks old and very smart. If you notice the light yarn in the above picture, that is her doing. While I was on the phone, she found my basket and thought this skein was so much fun to play with. No damage done but it will take awhile to unravel.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Old Saint Nick?

I was caught kissing Santa Claus. We weren't under the mistletoe but who could pass up an opportunity like this! Even Saint Nick knows the reason for the season. For born this day in the City of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rooster's in the Hen house

Our new chickens are in the chicken house finally. A couple of weeks ago on a 50 degree day we butchered our old hens for stewing and moved our young hens and rooster out of the chicken tractor into the chicken house. Just in time because the weather turned very cold. The breed of rooster is a Partridge Plymouth Rock with a Speckled Sussex hen in front. Behind the rooster(who I haven't named yet) is a Partridge hen and a Delaware hen(white). I have 9 hens in all which make for a handsome group. These heavy breeds were chosen because they are dual purpose, good for laying, foraging for food and for meat. The hens can become broody and hatch out chicks, at least that is what I hope for next summer. We haven't got any eggs yet but the hens are approaching 5 months so I expect some at any time.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Open Pollinated Corn

This past week was spent gathering in more of the seasons bounty. All of the open pollinated corn was stripped from the stalks and hung to dry. The pigs were put in the field where the corn was grown to root in the remaining corn stalks. In Gene Logsdons' book "Small-Scale Grain Raising", the practice of hauling bundles of corn shocks to the barn to be husked at the farmers leisure during the long winter evenings, became a pleasant custom known as "husking bees". The husking was merely a by-product of a social evening. The husker who found a red ear in the bundle was allowed a kiss from a boyfriend or girlfriend. And in those days, corn did not have the dull sameness of today's hybrids so there were quite a few ears that would turn up red.
In the "old days" there were more chances for people of different ages to mingle and understand each other. The work of food getting was turned into fun; neither love nor labor was lost. We could do far worse today.

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Texel Ram lamb

This our 5 year old texel ram Grover loaded and ready for his new home in Knox County, Ohio. It's sad to see him go but he will have a nice flock of texel ewes to greet him when he arrives at his new home.
Eric and Kate Helt have a small organic sustainable farm where Grover will be hard at work continuing the texel breed known for their double muscle and conversion of grass to meat characteristics.
Here are the two ram lambs we brought home. One for ourselves and one for a friend. We chose the texel to cross with our Shetland mule ewes, because they produce lambs that finish on grass and grow fast. Oh, not to mention the meat is so tasty.