Thursday, January 31, 2008

More lambs

Since the first twins were born on the 16th we've had three more lambs born. A single ram lamb came in the middle of the night on the 22nd when it was about 12 degrees outside, and another set of twin ewe lambs came yesterday morning at a cold 17 degree dawn. It's amazing how hardy the little things are, coming into a below freezing world, soaking wet. This most recent mom is not quite as attentive and she's more skittish than the others. Also, one of her twins is much bigger than the other and we're a bit worried about the smaller one getting enough milk. So far, so good though--they survived the night last night and it was windy and bitter cold--single digits.

Here are the new twins: one big and white and the other smaller and black.

The white one has the classic children's book lamb look.

Scotty continues to be thrilled with the lambs.

Here is the ram lamb, spotted with cute little white rings around his ankles. He's a week younger than his older cousins but the three of them have an absolute ball out there together. It is so amusing to watch them play.

Ever since the first set of twins were born, Scotty has been wanting to go out and hold the lambs every day. Now that we have the ram separated from the flock, he feels comfortable going out with the moms and babies by himself (in fact he's out there right now as I type--I can watch him through the front window). He is able to catch the babies on his own and spends up to an hour every day with them. This will be great for husbandry purposes because they will be much more accustomed to being caught and handled. Scotty feels proud to be able to help out with the management of the flock. You can see the pride in his face here as he holds one of the two-week-old twins.

Look closely at this photo--he's getting a lick on the chin!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New lambs!

Just yesterday we had some lambs born! The ewe that had them is our best mother and most prolific ewe. In fact, this time she had triplets but unfortunately one of them was stillborn. The two that survived are both little girls! The timing was pretty bad, because we are into quite a cold snap, with daytime highs below freezing and overnights in the single digits, but the girls survived their first night just fine and are doing well today. Scotty is quite taken with them so we got one out today for him to hold.

Scotty took this photo while I was holding her.

Upgrading our water

We are installing a new, larger DC pump and much larger solar panel for our well. We will be drip irrigating a much larger garden this year and we also want to have backup pumping capabilities for both houses on the property.

Chris' dad is an accomplished welder and made this ginormous post upon which the new panel, with a tracking stand, will be attached. It is very heavy! It took three strong guys to get it into place, which was a bit of a trick because they had to hoist it up on top of the pump house and then drop it down into the hole. They couldn't place it directly because there are some obstacles in the way. It's nerve-wracking to watch, but all's well that ends "well." Ha-ha.

A little help from our friends

Last week our friend Gary of our hapa home came down to work on our old farm truck. The truck was a gift from our friend Terry--an old 1966 Ford F250, affectionately called Clem. Clem needed a new water pump and gearhead Gary was the man for the job.

I'm not so sure about his technique, but he got the job done!

Scotty enjoyed watching Gary at work, and he also had a good time with his pet jungle fowl hanging out in the cab. He's got these guys quite tamed now, and that will be good for us this summer because we will be able to release them into different garden patches to help control pests. In case you were wondering, the jungle fowl is the ancestor of domestic chickens. We are working on establishing a population here on the farm from the ones that Chris' mom breeds at her place.

Little helpers

The kids have been all about Daddy lately. They really enjoy helping him work on his shop. Here they are helping to paint raw linseed oil on some exposed framing that will need protection from the sun.

Christmas day

Just finally uploaded my photos from Christmas day. What a great time we had at my mom's house!

The best part was that her driveway was covered with frozen snow and made for perfect, fast, and scenic sledding!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Seed fever!

Ah, it's that time of year again! I've just been to Danielle's blog and she's posted this year's seed order with all kinds of good excuses for going crazy. I'm sharing some of her excuses, especially the idea that many of these seeds will be used again next year and that I will be saving a lot more seed this year. And Danielle alluded to the fact that the days of having anything we want shipped to us whenever we want could soon be coming to an end. We feel that it's a good idea to get a broad, diverse selection of seeds here while we still can. We are also growing for a variety of people this year, including the farmer's market, so we want a colorful, diverse offering from the garden.

Here's what I had left over from last year:
(And damn that Danielle with her list in alphabetical order! I had to put mine into a spreadsheet to sort it because I can't think that hard this time of night).

Arugula: our seed
Basil: Genovese sweet
Beans: blue lake pole
Beet: detroit dark red
Broccoli: Nutri-bud
Carrot: Japanese imperial long, scarlet nantes, dragon, red core chantenay
Cilantro: our seed
Cucumber: lemon
Gourd: bottle
Kale: dinosaur
Lettuce: ruben's red, merlot red, mesclun mix, cosmo savoy, green salad bowl, bronze mignonette, NY head
Mache (lamb's lettuce)
Parsley: Italian flat leaf
Peas: little marvel, sugar pod, pioneer shell, sugar snap
Pumpkin: sugar pie, jack be little, howden
Spinach: viroflay, bloomsdale
Watermelon: sugarbaby

And now for this year's seed order, which should help Danielle (and Jim) to feel better:

Artichoke: imperial star
Bean: pinto, genuine cornfield pole, christmas lima, king of the garden lima
Beets: chioggia, yellow mangel, touchstone gold
Broccoli: early green, waltham
Cabbage: red drumhead
Canteloupe: charentais, stutz supreme
Carrot: kurota chantenay, napa, yellowstone
Chamomile: german
Chard: perpetual, golden
Chile: NM sandia hot, NM big jim
Comfrey: (root cuttings from next door)
Corn: luscious sweet (F1, organic), popcorn TBD
Cucumber: mideast prolific, Armenian
Eggplant: rosa bianca, imperial black beauty
Hops: crystal, chinook
Jerusalem artichoke: (from next door)
Kale: red ursa
Okra: a gift from Pam G!
Onions: valencia, ruby ring
Peanuts: NM organic valencia from the co-op
Pepper: California wonder, Cal. Wonder orange, Stockton's select, ancho/poblano, jalapeno, cayenne
Potatoes: purple viking, all blue, laratte fingerling, red cloud, red gold, russet nugget
Pumpkin: Wyatt's wonder (Scotty wants to grow a big one)
Spinach: america
Squash: buttercup, yellow crookneck, black beauty, tahitian
Sweet potato: 100 slips, variety of heirlooms
Tomatillo: verde
Tomato: zapotec pleated, green zebra, roma, san marzano, ropreco, yellow pear, cabernet grape, oregon spring bush, brandywine, valencia
Watermelon: Malali

We've had a request for brussels sprouts, so I need to order those (any favorites to suggest?), and I still need to decide on a popcorn variety. I'm also working on a few additions to my herb garden which I'll pick up at this year's herb festival at the Nature Center. And I have a lot of flower seeds that I didn't mention here, but didn't get any new ones this year. I'll be growing some more bread poppies for sure--they were so much fun to grow and it was easy to save the seeds.

I already have onions and some herbs started indoors, and lettuce, cilantro, beetberry, spinach, broccoli, and mache coming up in the cold frame. What fun!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Twice tagged

Busy holidays! I'm sure there are lots of photos to share but I haven't found the time to even look at them. We've been gearing up for another farm season and trying to finish the shop.

For now, I must oblige two bloggers who have recently tagged me! Katy wants me to write 8 things about myself that others don't know, and Diana tagged me with the Archive Meme.

First for the 8 things. This is hard because I already did 6 things last year. Let's see:

1. When I worked in the reptile house at the zoo, it was all I could do not to stick my hand into the rattlesnake cage *just because I could*. I'd stand there with the cage open and think "I could just stick my hand in there...." I wasn't suicidal or anything--it was just glaringly obvious how easy it would be to do it. You know, kind of like when you are at the symphony and it's a really slow quiet part and you realize how you could just yell out "SUCK IT" or something equally inappropriate.

2. I used to race bicycles (road--I'm way too tall for mountain biking).

3. I can spin and jump on ice skates.

4. I have a bicornuate uterus. That means it is heart-shaped with a deep septum. Both of my babies grew in the left side of the heart. Marmosets and tamarins (small New World primates) also have bicornuate uteri. They usually give birth to twins, carrying one in each side.

5. I've never seen the movie Gone With the Wind. (ducking and running....)

6. As a kid I used to do those logic problems like they have in the GRE for fun.

An amusement park roller coaster includes five cars, numbered 1 through 5 from front to back. Each car accommodates up to two riders, seated side by side. Six people�Tom, Gwen, Laurie, Mark, Paul and Jack�are riding the coaster at the same time.

* Laurie is sharing a car.
* Mark is not sharing a car and is seated immediately behind an empty car.
* Tom is not sharing a car with either Gwen or Paul.
* Gwen is riding in either the third or fourth car.

Which of the following groups of riders could occupy the second car?
(A) Laurie only
(B) Tom and Gwen
(C) Laurie and Mark
(D) Jack and Tom
(E) Jack, Gwen, and Paul

Needless to say I did really well on that section of the GRE.

7. If I sleep on my back I get nightmares.

8. I have a crush on Ewan McGregor (shut up Kevin--not everyone knows this yet!)

And now for the Archive Meme:

1. A link about family. This was a really early post but one of my favorites. I have found out since then that the song I printed there was originally written for Rufus Wainwright.

2. A link about friends just has to be about my local homeschooling tribe. These are women who I know I could call at a moment's notice for anything. In fact, I've done it and they were there. I love you guys!

3. This one is supposed to be about me. I think this one is pretty relevant to what I'm doing now.

4. This one is something I love. I just love watching my kids shine.

5. This one can be about anything I want. Looking back, I just love the story about Hank. I still think about him all the time. Someday I'll get another Aussie.

Thanks Diana and Katy for the tags! I won't tag anyone else with the 8 things, because most everyone I know has already been tagged with this one. But for the Archive Meme, I'm tagging:

Mik & Mac
Sylvia (with the hope that she'll post something again soon)
and Jim

Archive Meme Instructions: Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you've written. ... but there is a catch: Link 1 must be about family. Link 2 must be about friends. Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are... what you're all about. Link 4 must be about something you love. Link 5 can be anything you choose. I think this is a great way to circulate some of the great older posts everyone had written, return to a few great places in our memories and also learn a little something about ourselves and each other that we may not know. Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be *newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better....and don't forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!

Wow, a whole post with lots of writing and no pictures!