Friday, September 30, 2011

Emma and Lucy Apple Picking and Bears?

There are so many blogs out there with Autumn as their topics.  Well, why not it is the time of year.  We really get into the season here too.  The colors start to change and the temps start getting cooler.  It must be apple picking time.  The orchards are busy with families out picking apples, watching apples getting pressed into fresh cider.  Not to be outdone, Emma have developed their own technique for apple picking. 

I always seem to have my camera near, except this morning.  Ted and I were enjoying coffee on the deck admiring the beautiful morning when I looked up and saw a black bear loping across our field.  I know I sounded very articulate as I yelled "bear, bear, bear".  That was all I could get out. I ran for my camera and Ted ran for the gun.  I couldn't find the camera and when we came back out the bear had cleared our fence in one leap and was heading into the woods.  Fuzzy the llama was standing guard.  In no way is she any match for a bear.  She would have been his first target.  Ted went up into the woods and shot multiple times hopefully scaring the bear away.  I hope he was as scared of us as we were of him.  This is the first time we have seen a bear on the farm. We aren't delusional to think they haven't been here all along. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Goats Ready For Winter

One of the biggest jobs of Autumn is the preparation for the upcoming winter.  Winter arrives fast and hard in Maine.  Our lady goats are lucky. They get to stay in the barn during the cold weather months. The bucks share a shelter but remain outside.  Their base is full of hay and they stay warm.  The boys don't seem to mind this arrangement at all. They develop a woolly coat and snuggle with each other. More like a gentleman's club for goats.  In the barn we have been laying down a thick layer of shavings since spring.  Well, it's that time again. More shavings needed.  Before spreading another layer of shavings I, very liberally, dust the area with ditomacious earth.  This keeps the area  mite, flea and bug free.  No pesticides at all.  It helps to keep flies down too.  The layering is really import.  There will be heat generated by the breakdown of the fecal matter and shavings during the winter months.  The urine and nanny berries promote bacterial growth.  These bacteria breakdown with the shavings and produce heat in this process. In the spring we clean the barn out and let the pile mature over the summer months.  Late fall we will spread this black gold over our hay fields.  We don't think our fields have been fertilized in over 20 years.  This way we can recycle and reuse a pesticide free fertilizer. 
The Lady's were very happy to see the fresh bedding.
They even help with the spreading of fresh shavings.
We do the same thing in the chicken coop too.  The diatomacious earth works the same way for them too.  No mites for our hens.  With all of those warm bodies they generate a lot of warmth.  We still open the barn doors in winter and let fresh air in.  I do believe in fresh air. It deters so many pneumonia's, bacterial infections and adds to the general good health of our animals.  Oh, and it makes the barns smell so good. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guinea Freedom

This year was the first time that we were able to hatch out our own guineas.  Out of 98 eggs we had  89 eggs hatch.  That was a better hatch rate than the booklet said we would have.  We expected about 50%.  What a surprise for us.  All of the keets moved to the brooder and not a one lost.  That is a big difference from when we get them through the mail.  We may loose up to 10. Out of 15 turkeys we have 5 left.   These were healthy keets, no drafts or cold temps.  The incubator was a gift from my mom.  We look forward to hatching turkeys and chicks next spring.  I didn't even notice an change with the electric bill.  That will save us a whole heap of money in the spring.  I figure around $250.00.  We moved them from their brooder to an area in the chicken coop, made just for them.  The screen let in fresh air and sunshine.  They grew and grew.
Happy guineas.  Well, as happy as a guinea can be I guess.  They continued to act like we were the mad monster ready to bite their heads off.  I want to make a statement here. Guineas are not sweet pets.  They don't want to be touched. Notice how calm they are in this picture? They didn't know I was there.
The guineas have been turned loose in the yard.  The screen is down and so is the wall.  This fact comes with a sad footnote.  When we took the wall down they were freaked out.  Evidently, later that evening they piled into a corner and didn't come out.  We lost 21 guineas to suffocation or crushing.  I am still in shock.  Like I said before, small brains for such good little birds. So now we have 78 left.  I know that is still more than we need.  Why we thought we needed that many guineas I have no clue. We like birds too? Here they are out in the pasture for the first time spreading their wings and flying.

The pups have to be watched at all times.  The have expressed that fresh guinea is very tasty, no need for any condiments.  We have the training collars back on to reinforce the "NO PUT THAT GUINEA DOWN" command.  Emma is very vocal about the lack of fresh meat. After all they are RETRIEVERS! If you would like to have a guinea or two or three or four of five....well you get my drift.  Just give me a buzz.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Simple as Apple Pie

Alot of farming is a single job.  Mowing, tedding, raking, and baling is all one person.  I come in handy when it comes time to put the bales into the loft.  Ted really enjoys working on the tractor. I came along to  take pictures and enjoy the scenery.  I take this job very seriously. 
Emma and Lucy keep me company...
The apple trees are loaded with ripe green and red apples. They are so sweet and just a little tart.
The girls love to eat apples. Apples and carrots, two of their favorite snacks.
As the girls ate their share of the drops I started thinking about pies. I didn't come prepared with a basket shirt tail did nicely.
They may have a few knots and wormholes but that can be cut out.
Emma and Lucy waiting for anything to drop. I think their middle name may be Hoover!
The pie turnout great.  Ted loves homemade apple pie.  I should have watched it a little closer.  My apple cut outs got a little too brown.
I found these pie crust cut outs/stamps the other day.  I have to practice! The ones on the box aren't quite as brown as mine. Heck, let's be real. Mine were almost burnt. Like I said. Practice. Help me Paula.
Happy Fall.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Is Finally Here! Well, Early Fall.

Each year our long winters here in Maine leave us longing for warmer weather.  I am usually ready for spring about March. never comes until May.  Commercials on TV show warm sunny beaches, flowers blooming in abundance, and people trying to get the crab grass out of the lawn.  In March we still have snow on the ground for goodness sake.  Then why does Fall excite me so much? I start looking forward to fires in the wood stove, apple pies, spice scented candles. Fall also means there is an end to the non stop work of summer.  It means PUMPKINS!  I love the color, shape and different sizes that pumpkins come in.  The just mean AUTUMN is here. 

 I get to change my flag.  I actually have 2 Fall flags.  This is my early Fall flag. It still has to work out its wrinkles.

The grass is still green and the sheep are busy grazing, putting on weight for the upcoming winter months.

We are trying to save our second cut of hay.  Lesson 500 in haying:  cut hay early enough that the second cut gets done before September 10th.  After that we have heavy fogs loaded with water.  Hard to get the hay to dry.

The trees are just starting to get a little color to them.  Not as green as summer but just a noticeable yellowing to some.

Fall also means ripe crab apples.  Emma and Lucy both think they are the best snack around.  Well, that is until they eat too many and yack.  Sorry for the imagery there.

Our days are cool and our nights chilly.  Add another quilt to the bed and stay cozy.

Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

50? When Did That Happen?

No, no, no.  I must be mistaken.  I have been having so much fun and loving my life, that time has truly sped by.  Like in a blink of the eye.  I remember as a small child sitting on the front porch with my grandmother, swinging back and forth, and she was telling me to not wish away the days.  In time they would fly by and I would wish them back again.  In a childs' mind I just couldn't understand that.  I wanted summer to come and it was taking it's own sweet time.  Well, I guess that woman was wise and knew exactly what she was speaking of.  Here I am. 50.
The very best gift of all was having 2 of my sweet daughters here along with Jasmine and of course Ted.  They make my heart sing.

They know how much I love a homemade cake with icing.  No bought or boxed cake here. What wonderful people they are.  I didn't even have to ask.
You can never have too much help. Jasmine loves to bake and be in the very middle of everything.
                                                                    The exuberance of an 8 year old.
How about that color?

Yes, and the running joke is "if there were 50 candles on the cake the house would be in jeopardy of burning down".
I think everyone had a wonderful time. I know I did!
Thank you guys so much. I love you and appreciate all the wonderful gifts.  You really know me! And love me anyway! 
Now I can sit on the porch with Jasmine and tell her of long ago times, not wishing your life away, taking time for yourself and appreciating what we are blessed with.  Family and friends.  Cherishable gifts.  Okay, can you tell that I have been watching The Walton's reruns? We have to put a porch on the house so I can have my front porch swing.  I want to hear that squeak, squeak as we go back and forth.  Just like when I was a child on my grandmothers' front porch swing.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What Happens When Your New Refrigerator Dies

Can this be my rant for the week?  Let me at em! Long story short, July 20-fridge less than 1 year old, fan making noise, repairman came out, our fault, fridge set too cold, readjusted.  August28-fridge and freezer warm. Repairman came out, circuit boards ordered, four days later circuit boards installed, repairman left before checking if fridge was actually cold. Never cooled. Repairman out 3 days later, compressor dead. It will take 4 weeks to arrive because it is DC rather than AC. Whatever that means. Rental fridge obtained because it will take 4 weeks for compressor to arrive per technician.  Compressor arrived next morning. Old/new fridge repaired and now working.  I have a feeling deep in my gut that this is going to be a big fight with Sears because I had to pay a full month for rental fridge and they aren't going to want to pay for the whole thing.
Anything good out of this situation?
Yep, Chickens are happy. All the chicken edible food was placed into a bucket and taken outside.

Happy Hens

Happy Turkeys

Some ladies don't share very well. They like to use the grab and run technique.

Never a dull moment. At least we can find a bright spot to this story.  Chicken treats!
Now, I have to reorder my vaccinations for sheep, goats and cats. I think I had more animal medicine in the butter compartment than butter.  Come to think of it, we have never had butter in there. Only animal meds.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bangor State Fair 2011

We worked really hard this summer and I think we played hard too.  It just wouldn't be summer without fairs.  Each year we go at least one time.  Jasmine looks forward to the fair each year too.  I guess we do too.  I just don't tolerate the rides like I did when I was younger. They make me a bit dizzy....Yep that one would make me dizzy.
The lambs are more my style.  They don't spin me around or stand me on my head or shake me to death.  They are sweet and clean and oh they smell so good.

Jasmine likes to be spun around and shook up and down.  She is fussing because neither Ted nor I would ride this ride with her.  I think she was calling us chicken here.

What? the pony ride is too slow? Oh, come on when I was a kid I loved pony rides.  What? you think you are too old for pony rides? Make your Nana happy and ride the darn pony. Smile. No? Okay, I won't make you do that again. 

More like it? You want to spin Papa around and make him sick? Okay,go for it!

Bumper cars? I don't think they have changed too much.  Same concept.  Run into Papa and try to get away fast. 
Now this is Nana's ride.  The Ferris Wheel. I think Jasmine liked this one too.

Yes, now this is more like it.

Even Papa was having a good time.


No, the boat is just for kids.  I would loose my lunch for sure.

We all loved the tractor ride.  After all of that walking it was relaxing.
And you can't go to the fair without getting cotton candy.

Back to the animals.  Just look at this beautiful goat.

Is your fair small or big?  What kind of fair food do you eat?  Have you ever gotten sick after riding? What ride was it? I still love fairs.  They remind me of a time when I could ride the rides and not get sick. Have you been to a fair this year?
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bradford Days

Each summer for one Saturday in August we celebrate our town.  It may be small.  One blinking light.  One store, Bradford General Store.  A Town Hall and a Post Office.  That about sums it up.  Quaint.  Yes, that does sound better than small.  On this very auspicious day we have a parade and it passes right in front of our house.  I think that most of the town is in the parade.  If you want to be in it go to the vacant lot just down the road by 10am and you can be in our parade too. Jasmine wasn't sure if it was okay to pick up the candy that was thrown.  She is a city kid. Come on and enjoy our parade and celebrate our town.
There were muscle cars.  I remember these cars and they make my heart beat faster.

Just look at that horse power. 

There were tractors in the shade of green...............
Red......big and small.

Fire trucks complete with ladders and hoses. 

Search and rescue vehicles in wild colors....

 Our own EMS crew....

Our bush truck for going deep into the Maine woods and I do believe that Smokey The Bear is riding in front. 
I'll be darn....that is our neighbors from across the street riding in the parade.  They are heading to the show ring for the rest of Bradford Days.

I look forward to Bradford Days every year.  I come from a city of over a million.  I didn't know my neighbors.  I went to work and came home.  Every hear the term "rat race"?  That was how I felt. Spinning in my little metal wheel not looking left or right.  It's time to celebrate. Celebrate small town America. I hope you have enjoyed our parade.  Oh, and the fireworks are nothing to sneeze at either.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm