I fed the sheep yesterday for the first time this winter. They have been out grazing the portion of the hay field that didn't get cut for hay last fall. They are all in good condition, ready to withstand our cold Saskatchewan winter.
This is our new cheviot ram Shrek. I decided to go with a bit of cheviot in the flock to add some vigor at birth. Some of the suffolk lambs are so dopey at birth that it can be a challenge getting them going. Cheviot lambs usually get up and suck on their own no matter how cold they are.
Larry the guardian llama eats with the sheep.
Happy New Year to all. May 2012 be healthy, happy and prosperous!!
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. We were blessed to have most of our family home this year; lots of laughs and good times. As usual, I cooked way too much and ate way too much. Got the kids Just Dance 3 for the wii so now I can workout and maybe loose my Christmas pounds! The kids have certainly enjoyed playing Just Dance, even Delaney and Sydney got in there and moved.
We got our first heavy snow of the Christmas season so now we can take the kids tobogganing. We have about 6 inches of snow in the yard this morning. The Chickens will not step past their front step into the snow so I had to put their water troughs right outside their door.
Jazz, my collie, doesn't mind the snow in the least! She's looking for new victims to herd.
Last night was Rebecca's (a.k.a. Warrant Officer Second Class Miller) last night as a cadet. She finished off her cadet career with their Christmas Parade. The first years have come a long way with their marching and the seniors were very impressive with Sgt Stevenson as the drill team commander. Rebecca is joining the Navy Reserves with her enrollment on January 10 in Regina.
We had a litter of baby pigs in the end of September and just weaned them last week. She delivered 9 babies and they are all still alive. She is a very good mom but I didn't want the her pigging until March so I left her babies on her for longer then I usually would. They are weaned now, living in a warm pen in the barn, and doing great on grain. Every day they get a treat of pumpkins, which they gobble up quickly.
We sold most of these pumpkins but there were still quite a few left over after Halloween so the pigs and goats have been enjoying them.
Once again we have been asked to provide the animals for the living nativity scene held at the auction barn. This year we took down 3 lambs, 2 goats and a bottle calf. The animals really add to the ambiance of the evening and make it come alive. It's also a good opportunity to teach the kids about agriculture. They love coming in afterwards and petting and playing with the animals.
Wow, I can't believe this fall went by so fast and I haven't posted in over 2 months. I've been doing Christmas craft shows every weekend, working at the auction barn, and have also been busy around the farm getting ready for winter.
We had a high-hoe in last week to dig a dugout for us. It will allow us easy access to water for the market garden and greenhouse. Although we seeded when it was really wet, by the time August came it was dry and we were hauling 3 1200 gallon loads a day to irrigate. It was dug in the draw where water runs during the spring run-off. The dugout will sit empty all winter, but by late next spring it should be full of water. Next spring we'll trench in water lines and add supply tanks at the garden. No more hauling water with the 3 ton!
Once a Mom, always a Mom. Spice, our Australian Shepherd is now retired. In her youth she was an awesome stockdog. In our busiest years, when we were calving out 800 cows and heifers, she was my best right hand man. She worked tirelessly moving cows, guarding gates and doing my every bidding. Now that we have sheep and goats, she doesn't get as much work. Which is good, because she is eleven, and her old body is worn out. She still comes out to do chores everyday and keeps everyone in line at the barn. However, she is softening in her old age. She never liked the cats around her, and still chases them away from the dog food dishes. Yesterday morning I caught her enjoying some early morning sun in the barn doorway, cuddling a barn kitten. She was letting it crawl over her and play with her just like she used to let her puppies do to her.
We shipped the bucklings on Friday along with a load of lambs and cull ewes to the Yorkton auction. The 3/4 ton truck and trailer were loaded down with animals and 5 large wool sacks. I wasn't at the sale so I have wait to get the cheque in the mail to see how we did for price.
The goats have decided that they can push the steer off his grain when he's eating. I can't wait until we have the goat pen done to lock up these pushy does. They are sneaky. They watch you until you turn your back, then they slide in and take whatever they want. I don't think I've ever met a smarter animal. So, anyways, I have to stand over the steer and guard him so he can eat in peace. Those goats can hear the chop bin open from 500 yards away, so I'm going to have to get creative.
Lyle's Dad Wally is smiling down on us today. He loved having the grandkids helping in the garden when we were harvesting potatoes and carrots. Today we picked the pumpkins and squashes as it's going to freeze tonight. Jenn and the kids helped Lyle and I pick the pumpkins. The pictures below show about 1/3 of the pumpkins we grew.
Today we had a visit from some of the residents of the Whitewood nursing home. Bandit was a big hit as was Reggie the deer. There were happy people with big smiles all around. Bandit went from person to person, putting her head on laps, looking up sorrowfully, asking to be petted. For such a large dog she is surprisingly gentle. She has been invited to visit the nursing home as a therapy dog. We might just take them up on their offer. Rebecca and Julia brought a lamb, a chicken and the goats for a visit as well. After the animals left we all had cookies and hot chocolate. The residents left happy and contented with a healthy glow to their cheeks.
The chop bin is empty so Lyle had to grind a load of barley for the pigs and chickens He redid the motor on this tractor last year and this is the first work that she's done since then. She just purred along.
We're finally done the Red Barn for the year. It was a good year, but I'm tired, so it's a good thing that we're done for the year. We made more new customers for which I am very happy about. So now we"re at Yorkton on Thursdays, Whitewood on Fridays and the farm stand is open every other day.
We have been picking cucumbers every day and this is the normal picking I have never had them produce that way. Everything has sold so far ( except for the uglies that go to the pigs) but now it's time for me to start doing pickles for us. Hopefully the frost holds off for a few weeks. We had a warning two nights ago but nothing materialized. Keeping fingers crossed, we need to make up for the late start this spring!
Last Saturday my friend Delores took me cranberry picking. I had no idea there were any around here, but in a bog 6 miles from Whitewood we picked 10 gallons in about 2 hours. Going to juice them today and start making jelly.
For the past few weeks, many times a day, this silly buckling has stuck his head through the page wire to eat the better grass on the other side. He stands there stuck and screaming. You have to drop whatever you"re doing and walk out to pasture - usually the far end - and fight with the strong little bugger to get his tapered head out sideways. Well, enough is enough. This is how I fixed the problem.
It's amazing all the things you can fix with duct tape!
I can't believe that I haven't posted in over 3 weeks. We have been incredibly busy with the garden, everything is coming on. The pickling cukes are really producing and I am trying to keep up with all the orders.
I have decided to stay home from the Yorkton farmers market until after the September long weekend. I just can't get to three markets every week. The Red Barn finishes up on the long weekend and then I'll be back for my regular customers in Yorkton after that.
This is the pumpkin patch. We have been irrigating them almost every day, so they are spreading out and growing fast.
Reggie usually comes out with me to the garden when I'm out there working. He enjoys browsing on choice market garden produce and is particularly fond of lettuce. I kept this old lettuce in for him, hoping he leaves everything else alone.
This family showed up the other day These old girls get pretty cagey when they go broody. In secret they start stashing away eggs in a strategically placed, hidden nest. When the pile is big enough in the nest they start incubating the eggs and in 21 days later this is what you get. I don't know where the nest was or how many eggs she had but she has 7 little peeps following her around the yard. They are all different colours so I think that has something to do with the different roosters from a previous post. :) She is a very protective mom too, don't get your face anywhere near hers, she'll jump straight at it and attack you.
Finally, the female pumpkin flowers show up! There have been male flowers for a few weeks now, but they just bloom and die off. We have a severe shortage of bees here, so to ensure that we have pumpkins this fall, I will go around and pollinate all the female flowers. Kinda like pumpkin sex. The pumpkin row is about 500 feet long, so come see me when you all need your pumpkins!
Went to Prairie Dome Strawberries the other day for some berries. It was the first time I had ever been there and I was impressed. The place is well planned and beautiful. And the berries were spectacular.
It was the easiest picking I have ever done. I picked 10 gallons in 1 hr and 5 min.
And I even saw the tractor I want to buy! International 234 hydro with 3ph and 540. It would be great in my garden. I have to start shopping.