Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Flat Creek Wool and Pottery Ornament

One of my favorite blog friends is Tonya at Flat Creek Wool and Pottery. She is a very talented artist.  This year she had a giveaway on her blog.  I won and did a happy dance.  She was giving away a Rustic Wool Ornament.  It came in the appropriately labeled box. 
She felted this round natural wool ornament from her own sheep's wool.  How cute is this? I am one of those people who is so amazed with someones talent. I have none. I think that is why I am so in awe of someone who does.
I had to wait until we got a new tree.  The old one went kaput.  I cheat, we have a fake tree which is already prelit.  I think with all of the kids gone I just don't have the energy to get a real tree, string lights, decorate it and make sure it has water.  I always forget the water and then the needles all fall of and it kinda looks like Charlie Browns Christmas tree.  I digress..... this is the beautiful ornament on the tree.
This is Tonya's ornament from 2010. Ewenice sporting a bell.
Last year I emailed Tonya a copy of our farm logo.  She was able to recreate it in this lovely ornament.  I was so pleased I gave all the kids one for their tree. Oh, and the secretary at the hospital. I wasn't sure if the mailperson would appreciate one so I did practice a small amount of restraint. 
We were able to find a 6'5" tree that would actually allow an angel to top our tree.  Our ceilings are a bit low.  Folks were a bit shorter back in the day.  The angel will have a Crick in her neck because she is sort of jambed up there.  As I look at this picture she sort of lists to the side. Is that port or starboard?
Now all lit and cozy. 
Thank you Tonya for such a special gift.  I will treasure it and it will grace our tree for many years to come.  Christmas is such a special time of year.  Tonya can also make mugs with your farm logo.  Feel free to follow the above link and contact her.  Like I said she is one talented lady and has the cutest little son.  Well, not so little anymore but he is still cute.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration this past weekend at our daughter Sue's home.  It was filled with love, family and of course fun.  I hope that everyone had a happy and safe holiday. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  We hope that you all are with family and friends this day enjoying a very special holiday. Today I will be working and spending the day with friends. We always bring a dish and have Thanksgiving dinner in the break room.   We will have our Thanksgiving this weekend down at our daughter Sue's home.  We find that it doesn't make a big difference what day it is observed. The most important thing is family and friends. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guineas on the Porch

Guineas on the porch. Why are there guineas on my porch. Where there are guineas needless to say there will be poop.  They are strange little birds.
This flock was hatched out this past spring in our incubator. They haven't gotten their red cheek flaps nor their cone head.  Very noisy birds.  Why do we have them?  Slugs and bugs.  Guineas are avid bug eaters. In summer the pasture will have thousands of grasshoppers.  These little voracious eaters will walk the yard and pastures in side by side formation eating every bug in sight.  They will loudly announce when you have a visitor.  Actually, they will deafen you when you have a visitor. 
Our guineas were raised in the same brooder as our chicks.  The were moved into a pen with the pullets and now roost every night in the coop. Dark comes to us around 4:30pm.  We leave a light on in the coop during the day.  As dusk deepens all the birds gravitate to the light in the coop.  We go in and feed every evening and close the coop and all its inhabitants up safely.  We have noticed that the older guinea flock and the young guineas are starting to patrol together more often. We have one lone smaller guinea who seems to think that it is a chicken and stays with the young hens all day.  It may have been a later hatch and is younger than the other birds. It even comes up to me like the young hens wanting an occasional pat. Not guinea like behavior at all.
I have watched the guineas as a group chase a fox up the farm road while making the loudest chatter you can imagine. The fox looked appropriately frightened.
I enjoy these birds immensely.  They are entertaining to watch. If we could only train them to stay in our yard.  They are roamers. They will debug the neighbors yard across the street, the cemetery across the street and of course they will also debug the side of the road.  Can you see where I'm going here? Occasionally we will hear a honk or two as the birds leisurely walk across the road.  I am very thankful for those who stop.  Once in a while someone will hit a bird or two.  Another reason we put up the board fence with wire.  Attempting to keep guineas home can be a challenge. Oh, they always come back home but they love to roam.  If you are thinking of getting guineas I can give a few words of advice.  Be aware that you will loose a few. It is sad and breaks my heart.  They are not bird that can be locked in.  They are independent. So that is one of the reasons I have guineas on my porch. Because they can.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Corner Doorway Fan

Our farmhouse is 160 years old and was a drafty old gal.  This past spring we had an energy audit that said just that. We were able to have the whole house insulated.  We hope to have a much warmer winter this year.   We don't heat with fuel oil.  We have a furnace in the basement but it is disconnected.  We use this wood stove in the kitchen to heat as much as possible.  There are gas logs in the living room to keep us comfortable in the front part of the house.  Problem #1, the gas logs.  They are efficient but propane is still expensive.  Problem #2, the wood stove is in the kitchen and about 30ft from the rest of the house.  How to solve this problem?
I had seen an add for a fan that helps circulate warm air to other rooms.  Of course, I Googled it.  That's what we do now, we Google it. Well, this is what I found.  The Entreeair.  A little fan that is mounted in a doorway and brings the warm air from the kitchen into the dinning room and then the living room. 
Prices vary as is expected.  The cheapest price I found was at Home Depot at $19.97 and the most expensive was at Plow and Hearth for $39.00.  Same fan and shipping was extra.  I figured for around $20.00 it might be worth a try. So home it came.  Mounting was easy.  Two screws and a template. 
They advertised it as quiet. Well, it's a fan. It makes noise. Not a propeller level of noise but it is noticeable. It has a 10ft cord so it is relative easy to reach an outlet.  There is a roller clamp on the cord for easy on and off. 
The big question is....does it work? 
YES!!! For such a small fan it does of very good job of moving the air into the living room.  The logs are on a thermostat and remain off most of the time.  Well it was down to 19 last night so they did come on when needed. I used the enclosed clamps to make the cord more secure and to the side. Did you notice that the dog crate is gone?  No? Well, Emma and Lucy are old enough and behave well enough that their crate was taken down and put into the basement. I felt a bit like we took the crib down because the kids were in big girl beds now.
Well, maybe beds is the wrong word. How about big girl sofa? I guess Emma got a little sleepy after reading the Thanksgiving issue of Food Magazine and took a nap.
Silly dogs and we love them.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Monday, November 19, 2012

Summertime Comes to Our Farm

What? It's November. How can Summertime come to Maine so soon?  Well, Summertime is a doe from a neighboring farm and she needs a boyfriend. She came to our farm on Friday.  She is a bit skittish and will not come within 15 feet of us. I don't think I have ever met a goat that didn't try to sit in my lap and check for treats.  This girl has trust issues and won't let me near. She does seem like a sweet girl though.
Teddy on the other hand is a big mush.  A smelly mush at this time of year, but a mush none the less.  He is the boyfriend in this love story. 
Summertime is not too sure of this arrangement.  Teddy did a lot of chasing and Summertime did a lot of running away. At first.  
Saturday dawned sunny and cool.  Teddy and Summertime were ignoring each other.  In goat terms, Teddy had done his job.  Summertime went back home to her family.  Edward and the little bucks came back into the bachelor field with Teddy. 
Life was back to normal.  Grain, hay, laying around in the sun. Yes, back to normal.

Everyone has their winter coats on.  We have to replace the back of the boys shelter.  Evidently, Teddy decided to redecorate and push down the back walls.  Silly goat. It will snow soon and the boys will be uncomfortable. It never ends.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back In Maine

I made it back home from my trip to visit my mom in Florida. It took a bit of work and time but Delta came through.  The Nor'easter after Sandy gave the mid-Atlantic states another wallop.  LaGuardia was again at a snails pace.  I got into Bangor at 2:30am. I called into work from LaGuardia.  No sleep and ICU just aren't a good combination.  The weather change was a bit of a shocker.  Ted brought my jacket to the airport so I survived. 
The weather has definitely took a turn for the colder here.  I found this Woolly all curled up and barely moving. The grass has started to freeze nightly and the ground is beginning to get hard.
Poor little guy. It is kind of sad but they will be back with a vengeance next fall letting us know whether our winter will be aggressive or light.  This year they were everywhere.  They were making mad dashes, for a caterpillar that is, across the roads this fall.  So I guess we know what to expect. Heavy snows and cold temps. Yehaw!  I will explain the yehaw in a later post.
The big change for the animals is Frozen Water Bowls. Not good. 
Even the troughs have a thick layer of ice every morning.
We now have the seasonal event of adding the heaters to the tanks. Yes, the electric meter begins to whirl.   Even Emma and Lucy's dog bowl has a heater.  The barn cats have to get fresh water too.  It was kind of fun removing the ice sheet and breaking it up.  Okay, I still have a bit of kid in me. I'm weird too, I take pictures of it. 
We bought heavy duty extension cords because our breakers kept tripping and going off last winter.  We learned that the snow would hit the connector where the extension cord plugged into the heater and trip the breaker. Last winter we covered the connections with electrical tape.  It worked somewhat.  There were still a couple of mornings the troughs were frozen.  Well there is a very special fix for this. 
Yep, liquid tape.  It can be found in the electrical department, of course, and comes in different colors.  We painted the connections with the tape and it dries quickly.  It smells like the old airplane glue from my childhood.  You know the glue that were weren't suppose to use in small spaces because it gave you a wicked headache and kind of woozy. 
We couldn't leave the cords on the ground.  The goats would have a fun time pulling them apart and getting all wrapped up. That is just what goats do. It's in their nature.
Then we ran the cords across the top of the fence and secured with zip ties.  Only time will tell if this system works. We will find out during a good snowy Nor'easter.  That is just the way life is. It will never happen when the weather is sunny and dry.
We plan on running electric and water hydrants to the troughs in the future.  You know, the future when we have the money to rehab the barn and do these improvements that will make life easier.
Emma and Lucy seem to absolutely love the cold weather.  They spend their days wrestling and running around the yard. Then inside to sleep in the rays of sunshine in front of the nice warm wood stove.
Winter is coming. No, winter is here. A sense of expectation is in the air. That and a hint of wood smoke.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lost in Florida

Lost in Florida.  Will be home tomorrow. Having withdrawal from cold weather. Strange behavior noted.  Folks wearing shorts and flip flops.  Driving erratically even without snow and rain. Whew, found Starbucks and am feeling more like myself. 
Much Love and Prayers from Florida and my Mom.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Abbey Cat

Hi I'm Abbey Cat and I love window sitting.  I'm not a big outside cat. Oh, I visit a couple of times in the summer but that is about it. However, when I do venture out those guineas start a ruckus every time they see me.  So I just sit here and dream of guinea tidbits and guinea kibble.  Yes, guineas do have their place, just like me, window sitting in the sunshine.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Every Goat Needs A Clean Stall

Every goat does need a clean stall.  Winter is on it's way and the goats are still spending a lot of time outside.  Their stall is big enough for all of the girls to sleep in their pods.  Mother, daughter and even granddaughters sleep close and snuggle.  I love going out at night with a flashlight and checking on the animals.  They are all sleepy eyed and toasty even in winter.  We learned several years ago that the animals will stay warm if they are protected from wind and kept dry.  They even do better if they have good ventilation.  We even quit closing their door at night.  They can go outside at any time. No respiratory problems with good air exchange.  When I was a kid growing up in Florida we bought shavings by the truckload for our barn.  I can't find them that way in Maine so we pick up bundles from Tractor Supply.  They smell so wonderful.
We cleaned the old bedding out and loaded it into the tractor bucket.  It was back breaking work but it went quickly.  After cleaning the stall out last year we learned a very important lesson.  We feed the goats their hay outside year round.  The hay makes the shavings very difficult to remove.  Almost impossible. Now the girls are required to go out into the fresh air air and eat.  Better for them and us.
The old bedding was at least a 1 1/2 feet deep. After the big dig  I then spread a good 20lbs of diameticious earth to kill any mites that might get a foothold.  We have never had problems with mites while keeping with this practice.  We do have free range chickens and no problems so far. While looking at these pictures I see how horrible the barn looks.  It has good bones.  We are waiting until after the tractor is paid off (a couple of years yet) to rehab the barn.  It has some rotten sills that need replacing and a whole face lift.  I have a view in my minds eye of what it will look like when it is completed.  Beautiful one day!The house had to come first. 
We have cob webs that need to be blown down.  The barn has  many orb weavers and they help to keep the flies down in summer. So we never pull down the webs or kill any spiders.  The goats don't mind at all. It looks kind of like Halloween decorations. Spooky.

We added about 10 bales of shavings.  All nice and toasty.  As the winter progresses we will add additional bales.  The goats urine and goat berries will break down the shavings and produce a warmth in the coldest winter months as it packs.   New shavings are added for freshness and the process continues.
It smells so good.
The goats had a fresh bale of hay and were not even interested in coming in and giving their comment. When asked they looked at me and went right back to eating. Typical goat behavior. Stomach first!
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm