Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday, But Not a Lazy Sunday

The guineas are early risers. A couple of them have found the roof. They are learning how to fly and have made the roof as a goal of some sorts.

They were noisy when we first got them and that hasn't changed a bit. As you can tell they are quite vocal. They have found the chicken gate to the pasture and are regular visitors there now. The sheep don't mind and Fuzzy the llama certainly doesn't care.

They were telling the world that Ted had put some round things in the goat pen and was making noise building something. As you can see Sophie is always willing to give a helping hoof or too to make the job easier. I could tell the next step in her playground experience was going to be Ted's back. I think like a goat.

We had discussed that the goats needed something to keep themselves occupied with. Ted had stopped by and spoke with an electric company just outside of Bangor about getting some of their wire spools to put together playground equipment, goat playground equipment. It turned out really nice and the goaties really love playing king of the hill. I think Bella and Sophie were playing Billy Goat Gruff under there.

I was inside with the wood stove going making soap. Today was a honeysuckle with calendula flowers day. I added a yellow mica pigment for fun. I had help with the setting up phase of soapmaking. Mo loves to help out. She keeps the quilt from coming off of the soap mold while it is heating up. Isn't she wonderful? She takes her job very seriously.

I have been complaining about the soap supply storage. No matter how I readjust things space is still a problem. My storage area inadequate. I NEED MORE STORAGE SPACE. Is anyone listening? I was afraid my scent bottles would break, my herbs and seeds were getting lost. I was whining. I know whining when I hear it, especially when it comes from me.

Yes my dear friend Alex was listening. She at least wanted to shut up the whiner. "Enough already," she said. "Enough of the infernal whining." "Do you know you are a whiner?" No, she really didn't say that. She is too nice to say that out loud. I know she was thinking it though. She started setting up the shelving in the staircase to our attic over the kitchen.

While I was making soap and listening to Nat King Cole's, "A Christmas Song" CD she was busy building a shelving system even Martha Stewart would be proud of.

I couldn't wait to move in. I started grabbing tubs off of the shelves in the mud room like a mad shopper on Black Friday in Walmart. I love my new shelving. I can see what scents I have and those I need. It looks so nice and neat. I can find everything now.

We have been so busy working the last couple of weeks that I have been remiss in my posting. I have been on reading blogs but just not able to post. I really miss it. I hope ya'll have had a wonderful Sunday. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Sheep and Goat Kind of Day

We have had that kind of day. It started off with a package from Tonya from Flat Creek Wool and Pottery. I had ordered some Christmas presents and they arrived. It's so nice to get packages in the mail. This mug is Ewenice and the ornament is Ewenice too. See what I mean about a sheep kind of day?

Now the goat part of our day.... It was time to trim hooves. I will admit that I have been a bad goatmama. The littles have not had their hooves trimmed. Honestly, I was afraid. Afraid I would trim them too close and hurt them. But now...I went to Goat School. I trimmed the hooves of the deceased goats so I wouldn't hurt my babies. And to be completely honest again, I was still afraid. Afraid I would take too much off. Poor Sophie was the first. We took our time. She was patient for such a little girl. Of course a little grain in a bowl of hay kept her busy. She was picking through the hay trying to get every last piece of feed with those little goatie lips. Her hooves may still be a bit long but I didn't cut her. Actually, I did a rather good job on all of the littles. They all look beautiful and have nice feet too.

After this harrowing experience I got to reward all of us. I sat in the stall and took a goat break. Even Carina got into the love fest. She has been a bit standoffish. I think she is starting to warm up to us now. We made some changes for her. All of the goats have switched over to a sweet feed rather than pellet food. Even the littles liked this change. Now Carina finishes all of her grain. Just look at those lips. Ain't she sweet.

Isabella wanted to get in line early for feeding. I didn't have the heart to tell her she was about 3 hours early.

Edward wanted to get into the Twilight/New Moon mood. Here is his Cullen look. Sensitive but a bit standoffish.

Now for a big surprise. We got a call from a neighbor last night asking if we would like to take 2 Angora and Cashmere mixed goats. We were ecstatic. Yes, we said. Emphatically, YES! They're mother and daughter. This is Mercedes (renamed Sadie, after my grandmother) and no name (renamed Curly Shirley). Nothing, and I mean nothing around her doesn't have a name. Except for food. We don't name food.

Carina and the group are getting used to the additions. After all, they were new at one time too. Now they are family. One big goatie family.

The outdoor flock came closer to check out the new arrivals. I'm sure that they will all get along in time. Right now there is a bit of pushing and shoving till the pecking order is achieved. Sadie seems to hold her own. I fear the littles will still be on the bottom of that order again.

Our farm keeps growing and changing. I guess that is how life is too. Forever changing. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Love Is In The Air

The day has finally come to put Truffles and Baby in with the girls. Truffles is a beautiful Icelandic ram and Baby his trusty side kick. Baby is a wether. Herd animals can not be kept as a single unit. They have to have a buddy to be happy. When we brought Truffles home we brought a friend with him. They have stayed separate from the girls so we would know when they were bred. The minute the gate came open and we went into the boys pasture the girls came tearing down the hill.

We thought we would try using a harness with a yellow crayon on Truffles. Supposedly this way we would have a physical indication that he had been there and done his business.

He acted like a little girl that had to wear a bra for the first time. Eww, this is uncomfortable... I can't move...Its too tight.

However, the minute he was turned in with the girls all thoughts of his "bra" were forgotten. I could just hear him. "Hi, my name is Truff...I live over in the next pasture. I have been keeping my eye on you. You sure are cute..."

The girls aren't sure if he is a good thing or not. They are playing interested but shy. Giving him come hither looks and then running away.

Inside the barn it was time to hang up the handy dandy "buck rag". Isabella and Corina had both been bred prior to coming to live on our farm. One good way to determine if they are pregnant, when you don't have a buck around, is to hang a rag that has been rubbed on the chest and face of a buck in rut. Evidently, this makes the girls go wild if they are not settled. Isabella took her time sniffing....

Corina took her turn next....
The littles even acted a bit interested. We weren't sure if they had come in heat this season yet. We know they are still too small to breed. Bella thought the buck rag was "interesting"....

......and it was soon forgotten. Evidently the bigs are with kid and the littles are a bit too little to care. Some things, like a new hay rack just seem more important.

The pups were out in full energy mode. What do labs do when there is a puddle?

Zoom.......through them at 45mph in full lab on crack mode.
All in all it was a fun day. We are very excited about the possibility of having kids and lambs in the spring. Now it looks like that is a real possibility. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Goats in the Garden

Every once in a while I do something smart. Not very often. Sometimes I crack myself up with my outcomes. I have found that with the best of knowledge I can not change the outcome. I have tried raising bees and I have tried raising Giant Meal worms. I have come the the conclusion that I can not raise insects. I must have a larger project. Larger mammal to be exact. Although, I do well with fish in a large aquarium. Go figure. After a brief visit to my two hives I thought the bees had left again. I knocked and they did not answer. When the weather gets cooler bees congregate into a cluster to stay warm. I assumed that mine had left for Florida for the winter. I had been following one of my favorite blogs Pink Porches. Lisa has a wonderful sense of humor and I love reading her blog. After a few conversations we realized that Alex and I had attended a Bee School with Lisa last winter. I emailed her to see if she would be interested in my empty bee hives and all of the equipment. Thankfully, she said yes so she was going to come this past Saturday to pick them up. Around noon Saturday I went out to disassemble the hives and clean them out. To my surprise I found the girls flying. The weather had warmed a bit and they were busy. I didn't have Lisa's phone number so I emailed her. Thank goodness she read her email. I asked her if she would like for me to wrap the hives and she could pick them up in the spring. She was so excited she wanted to take them anyway. She is a brave soul. Around dusk we went out and tapped up the hives to keep the bees on the inside. I repeat she is a brave soul. She rode home with 2 intact, but closed, bee hives in the back of her van. In hind sight I should have brought the bees to her. I was worried about her travels. Thank goodness she arrived without incident. The bees are in good hands. She was kind enough to make us this gift basket. The pillow is so beautiful and I am limiting anyone on the homemade ginger snap cookies. I want your recipe. Thank you again for the basket.

Usually goats in the garden is not a good thing. Today we brought our brood out to eat the leftovers in the garden. They were so happy to get some of the still green collards, burssels sprouts, cabbage, and greens. Edward made the best of his visit.

Jasmine was up and helped with the herd. Does 5 goats make a herd?

See what you get when you sit down with goats? Lap goats!

Again Oreo came for our walk. I think he found something stinky to roll in.

They all had a nice wander through the garden.

Everyone ate their fill.

Even Corinna was there. She isn't sure about leaving her barn. She kept looking back to make sure she wasn't too far away.

Alex ripped our scare crow up by the post. He did a good job this year. He will get new scrubs and new stuffing next spring. With pinwheel hands and bells the crows steer clear of the garden.

We are enjoying the few warm days we have. Such a blessing each and every one. Take care and much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

List Completed!

Whew! We finally completed the last "To DO" on the list. Now we have a Ta Dah List. We started this list mid summer. We have lived in Maine just over 2 years and have learned how winter can sneak up on you. The weatherperson forecasted a dusting of snow for Friday morning. I'm okay with that. It is November and not that unusual. I did have a bit of problem when we got snow in October. Now that is just too early. It felt so good to write the Completed on the list. I even used a Sharpie. No going back now. It's done!

Our last item was to change the light bulb in the well house. See, our well house is near the top of the hill in the apple orchard. I say apple orchard loosely. It needs a lot of work to become a true apple orchard again. We have plans. On our way we took a new picture for the blog. This is Mainely Ewes Farm in late fall splendor.

Ted drove the tractor up. You never know when you just might need a tractor.

How many farmers does it take to change a light bulb? 3-1 to take the picture, 1 to decide that she isn't going in there, and the 1 who gets voted as the light bulb replacer. I just love democracy.

Not the most comfortable spot. Kind of damp and ewwwy. Is ewwy a word? Nope, but you know exactly what I mean.

There, light bulb changed. Now the pump wont freeze up in a blizzard. Think maybe that happened before? Yep, now we change the bulb in good weather. See, we're learnin.
Now for a nice walk through our woods. The look on Alex's face says it all. When you are 5'4" you don't follow the 6'3" person through brambles. She just couldn't win.

He is deathly afraid of spiders. He finds no humor in our imaginary sightings. There...there...there.

We came across this old pair of pants, a belt and a vest. Ted was sure we would find a body. I think he has been watching CSI way too much. He wanted to send some of the dirt for DNA testing.

This fuzzy caterpillar was hiding out on a lichen. We almost missed him.

The log covered with lichens really fascinated me. Such soft cool colors. All natural, no dyes or preservatives needed. We need to take lessons from nature.

At one time the previous farmer had chicken pens in the woods. Such a cool latch. We plan on returning with tools to remove them. What an ingenious latch. Simple.

We never walk in the woods alone. Oreo loves to accompany us.

Emma and Lucy are getting so big. Getting a picture of either one of them still is a lesson in patience.

Got it...

Two dogs and millions of sticks in the woods. They have to have the same one.

Emma listening to a rustle in the leaves......

After a nice long walk in the woods we are greeted by the girls.

Oreo picks a different trail, away from the pups.

They can't stop wrestling all the way home and Oreo doesn't want to be a chew toy. They never hurt him. Just slobber all over him. How demeaning.

Our guineas have finally decided to use their outside perch. The get up but can't figure out how to get back into the yard. Like Bev from Bee Haven Acres says, "they have 1/2 brain split between all the birds". No joke.

What a beautiful walk in the woods. Now that the list is done I can begin making soap in earnest and Alex can start making her cheese. After such a busy spring, summer, and fall it will be nice to work indoors. Oh, I feel an Inside To Do List coming on. I am Virgo therefore I make lists. What can one do? Much love and prayers to all from Mainely Ewes Farm.