Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ewe Ewe Pumpkin Eater

Who would have thought that sheep love, and I mean love pumpkins? Grass Pad of Olathe generously donated all their left over Halloween pumpkins to me. The sheep have been getting a pumpkin every other day or so the past week with their morning hay breakfast. Fauna enjoys the rind while Faith and Heathcliffe go for the seeds first. Gretchen and Heather are still not to sure about eating them.

I let my sleeping dog lie this morning.... he must have been in a deep sleep because he didn't stir when I opened up his crate this morning. He is getting old, but still trys to climb in my lap like a pup. Labs never grow up!

The sheep are getting wooly and I love rubbing my cold hands in their soft and warm wool in the morning . I'm already dreaming about what I can make with next year's fiber. This year's I'm sending to the mill and would like to get a loom soon to make some rugs and maybe a scarf. I'm taking a weaving class this weekend, so I hope to learn about loom types and how to work one. I'll be taking lots of notes. :)

So with Thanksgiving around the corner I'll let you know what I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for the warm weather we have had this fall as my roses are still gorgeous along with my snowflake pansies. I put the bird feeders out yesterday and already have a hungry group of chickadees and finches visiting me. I'm also thankful for my old horse, my old dogs, young horses, beautiful sheep and my hubby who helps me take care of all these critters. It's real blessing to be able to live this very fulfilling country life.

What are you thankful for this year?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sheep are Home!

My Icelandic beauties are home! I went and picked them up from Terri at Red Brick Road farm last Sunday. Boy is that a long drive! And I even was able to stay with relatives over the weekend to break up the trip.

I brought home 4 lovely ewes and a very handsome ram, if I say so myself.

The girls are as follows:
Little Black 6 month ewe - Heather
Moorit Badgerface - Gretchen
Moorit solid - Fauna
Moorit spotted - Faith
Moorit Grey Ram - Heathcliffe which means handsome boy in old English. Very fitting indeed.

They have settled in and are such a comfort to me after the death of my little rat terrier Danny the week before. Terri told me they are very calming and she is right... thank you Terri!

I know I'm not suppose to be overly friendly to Heathcliffe, but he really enjoys a good chin scratching. He also stands perfectly still for me to pull out a few cockle burrs and other seeds that I missed when fencing in the paddock.

Faith and Fauna are sweet hearts and loved being petted too. I was even able to touch Heather a little bit tonight as she is still not sure about me. Gretchen is coming around too even though I have to put eye medication in right eye. Her eye that must have gotten injured during the transport. She tolerates getting doctored fairly well and enjoys getting rewarded with a handful of corn for being so brave.

Major is still not sure about these creatures even though I had goats a few years back. Guess he forgot what a BAAAA was all about.

I have four bags a wool to skirt from the girls. I've never felt such soft, luxurious fleece before. I'm planning on sending two bags to the mill to be made into yarn and the other two into roving to drop spindle spin. I'm taking a weaving class in November, so hopefully I'll gain some knowledge about looms and the various kinds.

Here are pics of my flock... I love saying that!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fence Building

I'm nesting.... I feel like I'm getting ready for a baby! But instead of decorating a baby room, I'm building paddocks and buying fencing materials for my new Icelandic Sheep. Only a few more weeks to go before I go and pick them up. I'm so excited.... I look at the pictures of the sheep I purchased every day. :)

A few weeks ago my mom (pictured), dad, Greg (pictured) and I built another paddock for the sheep. I will have two paddocks for lambing and the ram's late winter home and two small pastures for winter feeding. And who would have thought I would have been able to find used T-posts so close to home. After two months of trying to get T-posts through craigslist ads, I was talking to my neighbor who just put in 10 acres of pipe fence for his horses. I said I was looking for T-posts and he said he had about 80 that I could have for $1.25 each. What a nice neighbor and a good bargain for me too. I am so thankful for the generosity of others.

Not only did I get a good deal on the T-posts, but I also bought corner posts from him too. Now to find the time to fence in the back pasture with sheep woven wire. This chore may have to wait; I'd like to get it done by a local fence builder next spring, so I'll inquire about what his labor will cost. May be worth it to wait since my right shoulder is not working too good! Greg has already cleared wild roses out of the existing 5 wire barbwire fence, so all we'll have to do is take down part of the barbwire and put in 80 T-posts to cross fence.

The pastures are looking great for this time of year. Nice and green and oh so lush. It may be awhile before I can turn the horses out back. Don't want any of them to founder on the green grass!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Redtail Hawks and Flower of the Week

While walking the horses out of the barn this morning I noticed the pair of redtail hawks had returned. This time they were sharing one wooden fence post in my North pasture. They were making their usual screeches. Kinda neat to hear, but their vocal chorus strikes fear into my hens. They start to cackle and head for the chicken house or underneath the horse trailers.

When when one of the red tail hawks took flight, so did my horses. Sultan, the grey horse in front is 27 years old - he's still the king of the pasture! The fog this morning was really pretty and left little droplets on cobwebs making them look like delicate lace.

A new feature to my blog until the first freeze will be flower of the week. This week's flower is a peach colored canna. These are really pretty and I will definately dig these up in the fall and plant again next year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birds of Prey in La Cygne, KS

No, I didn't see a Kling-On ship, however I did see the most beautiful bird of prey in America and most surprising was I saw it in a La Cygne, KS pasture.

Last Friday Greg noticed a "Big" bird sitting in a dead tree in the pasture next to ours. That "Big" bird was a majestic bald eagle. I was in awe! I had never seen a bald eagle so close in the wild. Sure, I've seen them in the zoo, but not in it's natural habit. We have seen gold eagles at Hillsdale in a far off distance. However, I have never experienced an eagle this close!

He sat in the tree for awile and then took off in a graceful swoop letting the wind current glide him over the fields. The shadow he cast on the ground was enormous... a good 6 foot wing span.
A few days later a red tail hawk pair roosted on a corner post. By the time I got my camera the other one flew off. But this one has been coming back daily screeching from several of our corner posts. I just hope he/she is not planning on having chicken dinner.

My collie was shaved this past Spring and her coat is starting to come back in. She is the furriest collie I have ever had. Lots of dense under coat for winter warmth; not so good in a hot, humid Kansas summers. Kinda like sheep. :)

We also had some beautiful thunderstorms this past week that produced rainbows and a movie style sunset. One of the reasons I love Kansas is the sunsets on the wide open horizon. And the view from my pasture can sometimes be awe inspiring. Mother nature at her finest. Moments like this make up for the harshness of winter.

Speaking of winter and those crying for cooler weather, I found these pics from January 2010. It was 2 degrees with minus something wind chill for what seemed like forever all winter long. I went through pounds and pounds of seed. The only real enjoyment I get out of winter are the birds that visit our farm.

Well, I've done enough rambling for one evening. Let me know if you like winter or summer better. I'll take summer any day!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

She is a HE

Well, I've been duped, bezwaggled, bamboozled, and mislead. Those cute little Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks are not she's, but HE's. That's right.... more roosters! Arggg!!! Only one out of the six is a hen. I already have 5 roosters that I can't sell because I'm attached to the little fellas! But these big roosters have got to go. They are beating up on my bantam roosters and my favorite rooster - Rock Star. That is a no-no!!

Luckily, a guy Greg works with wants them. So off to a new home they go next week. Next spring, I'll get 6 pullet chicks from the farm store. Hopefully I'll have better luck in getting girls. :)

In other news, I'm soooo excited. I contacted Red Brick Road Icelandic Sheep about some ewes. After much deliberation, spreadsheet galore, and looking at the webpage a zillion times I picked 4 ewes and a ram. My friend Marie, picked up some sheep from this farm in July and I fell in love with them. Beautiful wool and I like the fact that they have horns which resembles a goat. As most of you know, I have been sooo lonely the past several years without my pygmies.

I've contacted a gal in the KC Weavers Guild about taking a Triangle loom class. Probably going to sign up for the November class as October is crazy busy for me. In the mean time, Greg and I are redoing fencing and preparing several acres for the new gals. So I am hoping for cooler weather the next few weeks. Gotta go and pick up our square bales of hay next week... hope we get a cool front soon!! I said I wouldn't complain about summer last winter when it was so dreadful out, but I can complain about the humidity right? Afterall, it's the not heat, but the humidity or so I hear.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Farm Musings

It's been a long time since I last posted. Lots going on... mainly trail riding! Greg and I have been hitting the trails and highways going to trail riding camps. We went to Eagle Ranch the first of May with the KC Foxtrotter Club and then on to Big Creek Trail Ride at the end of May for a week long ride and had a great time. Then we have been doing weekend rides locally. We checked out J Bar S in Osceloa, MO over 4th of July weekend. Nice trails and campground, but the stalls need some work.

Last weekend we went back to Eagle Ranch in Collins, MO with some friends. I demonstrated the correct marshmallow techniques for the perfect mallow! I'm a certified toaster! Ha! One of these days I'm going write a short book on the various techniques for creating the perfect toasted marshmallow.

All the rainy weather has brought forth beautiful flowers. The daylilles are just gorgeous this year as you can see from the flower pics. Even the butterflies and bees are happy with this years abundance of nectar.

I've been busy on the farm too. Back in June I went and bought 6 more hens from a little gal in 4-H. I can't keep up with all the egg orders I receive from co-workers. The little hens are about 4-5 months old - 2 Rhode Island Reds and 4 Barred Rocks. I've never had the Reds before, but I hear they are super layers. I'm kinda impressed with their red color too.... looks like my hair! Rockstar (B&W Wild feathers) Really likes the new gals too. Along with Rocky (B&W tail) Tyson (not pictured) and DiMaggio (black) .

Our squarefoot garden is doing great. We've been enjoying the squashes, zucchinis, green beans. Tomatoes, peppers, and corn are on the way. I also planted gourds which are vining up the corn stalks. This technique is working out very well. I'm going to make gourd bird houses for all the bluebirds I have on the farm. I even have a few pumpkins growing.

Aldi (black kitty) and Windi (tabby) are doing great. I'm hoping to get them spayed and neutered next week. They are sooo lovable. I wish I could bring them in the house but I'm allergic to kitty dander and Hubby says NO.

When this weather cools off, I hope to start my search again for some ewes. Having a hard time finding young lambs. And I need to think about how to rotate pastures too. I have plenty of horse pasture, but need to fence off another section just for the sheep. Maybe I'm not meant to have sheep. :) I did find a great pair of body clipper/shears at a garage sale for $5. And they work too. Just needs to be cleaned and oiled. I love garage sales.

And of course, just when I get healed from my back issues last fall I went and pulled tendons in my shoulder. Ah the joys of getting older. And you know insurance sure doesn't pay what it use to.... but I'm glad at least to have it. MRIs are outrageous!!!
I'll post some pics later of our trail rides. Trying to figure out this blogging picture thing has worn me out. Hee Hee

Monday, May 17, 2010

Confused Cattle Egret

For the past couple of days a cattle egret has been following around my Top Knot rooster - Rock Star. Granted he is a handsome rooster with wild top knot feathers and a dashing tail. Although right now he looks like he has a hard run with the rock star life.... looks kinda ragged from moulting, but still has a few dazzling feathers to make him dashing. Ha!

The egret even follows him into the chicken coop area and stops short of going instead to coop. She just perches on top of the pen and waits for him to come back out. All the while the hens are cackling up a storm that an invader is in the area. I just love the unfolding reomance drama that is occuring on my farm! I'll try to get some pics of Rock Star posted later.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Aldi and Windy Pic and New Square Foot Gardens

Aldi and Windy are getting friendlier. They are going to be my horse barn kitties instead of the Hay barn. I'm usually pretty picky about what goes in my horse barn, but every barn needs a cat right???

Greg finished my square foot garden beds...AKA raised beds. I've never gardened this way before, but since the last several years have been sooo wet and I've actually drowned some plants, I'm hoping this method works better. That rich, black dirt came from my goat compost pile. It is lovely dirt! Ha! Hoping it will grow some great vegetables.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Aldi and Windy

Well, I've got two new additions to my farm. Aldi and Windy. I'm not much of a cat person, but circumstances today changed the lives of two little felines.

I went to Aldi's after work today to pick up a few items and as I was leaving the store manager asked me if I would like some kittens that someone dumped at the store... taken off guard I said huh? I guess I looked like a farm person since I had on my horse jacket, earrings and horse print purse or I just looked like a soft touch sucker.

So I took two, another customer took one, the checkout guy and the manager took one. Poor little things were sooo hungry. I can't tell the sex of them, but one is a grey tabby and the other is black. I'm guessing they are around 5-6 weeks old. I'll take pics tomorrow after they settle in. I have them in a dog crate so they'll stay safe. I made them a kitty den with old towels and shirts and made them a little litter box. Home sweet home for a few days until they get settled in.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Harlow Update

Harlow is coming along nicely with her ground driving exercises. Tonight I put the saddle on her for the first time in over a year. She moved right out, a little too fast at first and did a few bunny hops... not bucks, but tucked tail maneuvers. After about a minute she settled right in and we drove all over. She is backing up on verbal queue, just needs to stop quicker on the "whoa" command, but we'll get there. Her left leg looked like it was doing better today. Not as much "catch" in it as before. Well see how it is tomorrow. I worked her for 30 minutes with rests in between. Sure does take a long time to build up muscle and fitness.

Then we ended with some Clinton Anderson desentitization games. At least I can say that I am getting a good workout so maybe I can shed a few of those winter pounds. Ha!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Still Waiting on Sheep

Well as you probably guessed I didn't get my 3 sheep last fall. The owners of the sheep decided they didn't want to sell the ones I was wanting and I really wasn't too keen on bringing home the wild ones with horns they were wanting to sell. Then I had some back health issues last fall that set me back this winter, but I am getting better with the help of a really good chiropractor.

My little sheep pasture is getting very tall with nothing munching on the sweet grasses. So I'm on the shetland sheep quest again. I'm hoping to have some young ewes by the beginning of summer. I really miss my goats and nuturing of them... I need to nuture something little as I didn't have any chicks this spring and of course no foals since the horse market is not so great and there are a lot of unwanted horses right now. Maybe next year I'll look into breeding one of my MFT mares.

Harlow's surgery went well. She was diagnosed with Upper Fixation of the Patella. Basically an issue with the stifle and ligament getting temporarily caught on the patella (knee). I researched many options and did not do what one vet recommended... cut the ligament completely! Yikes!! That sounded so barberic and could lead to severe artheritis in several years. She is only 7 years old, so that was not an option I wanted to do. After reading a bunch of medical journals I came across a procedure where the medial ligament was spliced instead of cut. Then I had the task to locate a vet locally who could do it.

I called several vets to get recommendations and found that Dr. Mark Frees out of Peculiar was a board certified surgeon and had done the procedure on 5 horses with good results. So I took Harlow over last Tuesday. All I can say is WOW on the facility. It rivals any veterinary college hospital. All the most advanced equipement. I have seen improvement in her right leg, but her left was the "sticky" one and will take longer to show improvement. I hoping that this procedure will allow me to ride her again and that she will remain sound.