Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008 was a wonderful holiday. Due to my company having a 'holiday shutdown' every year, I was off the whole week. As evidenced by the previous posts, the farmer and I have been working hard on the farm. We used the beginning of the week to get a couple of projects in full swing. The display pen has already gotten some attention. My favorite project is the barn walls and doors, stay tuned for more on that.

Here's our tree with all the presents under and around it.

Christmas eve we had Tim, with puppy Rei-Rei,

Andy, with girlfriend Karol and Karol's pup Snuggles.

We all snuggled around the beatiful fire, put up our stockings and waited for Santa.

Christmas morning we got up, took down our stockings, and then had a tasty breakfast of cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, and biscuits & sausage.

Then we all got dressed and started opening gifts. I have to say everyone in my family has a talent for choosing thoughtful and fabulous presents for each other. There were some big presents. The biggest suprise came from Tim, who decided to give me a plasma TV! Incredible picture, great sound, all the fancy inputs!


We also invested in a big family gift. We now have a Wii console, and to go along with it a Wii-fit balance board. With this we are able to do all kinds of fitness work in the living room. Yoga, strength training, aerobic training, the list is endless as to what you can do with it. It came with Wii-Sports, so we can golf, bowl, play tennis, etc. In addition, we got Rock Band, and Rock Band 2. Rock band came with a guitars, drums, and a microphone. We spent a lot of time playing with this over the remainder of the week.

We all worked on fitness this week, we are all planning on making use of this to help us get back in shape! Here you see Tim and Andy rocking out!

Another Christmas Break Project.

More farm work. This week we also had a goal of getting another pen put up. This one is in the side yard. The idea being that noone really know that we have goats for sale, so now they are on display.
The day we put this up, the temps were in the freezing range. The only thing that was good about that was that all the muddy ruts were frozen solid.
Now that the leaves have all dropped, we can see our shitake mushroom logs! They are dormant for the winter, but come rainy spring, we will have mushrooms galore!

Barn Work

All during the Christmas break, John and I have been working on getting the big barn finished. As of this writing, we have the back wall completed, with a solid wall and two large rolling doors. This will allow us to drive the motor home in, which is the major reason for this barn.

The first part of the job was constructing the beams, with 2 x 6 x 12 braces, and a double set of roller tracks. Once this was constructed, it needed to be lifted into place and bolted in. Huge undertaking. John ended up borrowing a block and tackle from a farmer friend, totally the right tool for the job.
In this picture it kind of looks like Farmer John was confused, was he trying to grow panels? Wrong crop! The point here was that we set up all these panels and the 2 x 4's below and prepainted them with their first coat of barn red paint. We will go back and roll them again, but we wanted to get a first coat on before they were up.

Next we constructed the doors out of 2 x 4's and panels. The first 2 doors are up, and the solid wall. In the daylight I will go out and get some more pictures.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Tree 2008

Saturday, December 13th, we went out in search of a tree. Of course we headed north into Virginia to cut our own. Tim came over Friday night, and first thing in the morning, we headed out for some breakfast at Clarks. It was pretty cold out, we all had gloves and hats on.

After breakfast we hopped back into the truck and headed north. Christmas tree farm, here we come. We watched the temperature fall as we went further north. Finally at our destination, it was 23 degrees. We wandered over hill and dale until - yes - this is the one! I know you suspected it, but now you know, I'm a tree hugger. Yes, I confess to signing work email with a "please consider the environment before printing this email."I just know you are thinking, if you are a tree hugger, why are you cutting this tree down? At the close of the season, this tree will become winter foodfor all the goats. Browsers have to subsist on hay when greenery is out of season, so before the first of the year, they will be chowing on this tree!The final pick - let's take this one home!

We set it up and gave it a big drink.


And before Tim headed for home, he cut the twine and let the tree fall open.These trees always end up being bigger than I thought they would be. Couldn't wait to get the lights on this one.

Oooooo, ahhhhh, lights!You can also see (sort of) that I have lights strung outside as well. John got my Moravian star working too, and it hangs over the very front entry to the porch. Looks fantastic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mini-Vacation

The farmer and I took a little mini-vacation. The Friday before Thanksgiving, we got in the motorhome and headed north. John wanted to take me to Amish country to see where he went for the exotic animal auction.
We had a great time. It was a very peaceful vacation, slow paced. We got a lot of sleep. Friday when I got home from work, I hopped into the motorhome and we got on the road. From that point on I was relaxed. It started snowing the evening before we went home, so I had to get a picture.
Thanksgiving dinner was really nice. We had Ken and Val, both boys, and Andy's girlfriend Karol. Just today polishing off the rest of the leftovers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

First Snowfall of the Season

Last night it snowed! It's cold enough that it stayed on the ground! The whole airfield at Smith Reynolds was white.


Ski resorts are starting to open for the season!






Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tinkerbelle & Daisy

Daisy, the brave guardian dog is no match for mighty little Tinkerbelle. Daisy spends a lot of nap time stretched out on the back porch by the back door. Tink knows that Daisy is a big warm fuzzy and keeps trying to climb up on top of her and settle down for a snooze.
Daisy just can't seem to hold still long enough for her to get settled in, so it's a constant wiggle ballet. Eventually Tinkerbelle will go find her own spot, but if Daisy decides to get up to go investigate something, Tink is her little tagalong. So until Tink grows up, she'll be Daisy's little nosy assistant.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Loom Work

Today I got a little further on my latest project. I have gotten the loom warp threads strung, and am ready to start adding the weft. For those of you non-weavers out there, the warp threads run longitudinal, while weft runs selvage to selvage. This is probably going to be one of my last projects with acrylic yarns. I've stuck with them up to now, using up stuff I have, practicing my skills. I am looking forward to working with wools, and trying patterns and felting.

Here is my looming spot, looking out the front window.
Partially knotted. You can see that I have not filled the entire headle, this piece will be narrower than the last. There is also no pattern to this piece, I thought it might be interesting to do something a little more abstract. These are all my favorite colors. Cranberry, hunter green, navy blue, celadon -- should come out really pretty.
I got to this point and the cat could no longer contain herself. All those lovely yarns hanging down, begging to be played with. I had to lock her up for half an hour, during which she was pretty vocal. You can see below where I have a pattern stick wedged in the shed. This is a rigid headle loom, and the headle is also used as a beater.

Now I am ready to load and throw my shuttle.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Work some, and then play some!

Saturday October 11th was a work day on the farm. All the goats got hooves trimmed, brushed, sprayed with flea/tick spray, checked for worms. It took all morning and into the afternoon. John worked on cleaning out the baby stall. The farm keeps us pretty busy.

Once all the animal maintenance was done, we put breeding pairs together for our fall breeding. We are becoming pretty selective on breeding, not wanting to be overrun with babies to sell. We put Petunia in the honeymoon pen with Yoel. She has the blue eyes and the flashing black and white color that we love. Then Rosebud and Buttercup went down to the buck pen to visit Buddy and Rascal. That's about it for breeding. In another month we may add Cheyenne into the program and put her in the honeymoon pen with Buddy.

So that was the conclusion of the work day, then it was time to play!

Since our work was done, we wandered down to the fair to check out the Youth goat show. We seemed to have missed that, so we watched the tractor pull and split a funnel cake instead.






Sunday morning we went out to breakfast, and then went to the Dixie Classic fair again to see the Dairy Goat Show. We were able to see all kinds of goats; Oberhasli, Saanen, Alpine, LaMancha, and Nubians. The Saanens and the Alpines have tremendous udders, and some can give up to a gallon a day! Can you say cheese?

Monday, October 6, 2008

MOVIETIME!

Get out the popcorn, folks, it's MOVIETIME!

Saturday afternoon we got back from the Dixie Classic fair and the barn was hopping! Vivie was down in the dirt busy having babies. Of course we were prepared with birthing kit and plenty of old towels. John snapped on the gloves and got right in there.

It did not take long before the babies were up and playing.

We sat out on the front yard Sunday and played.

Less than 24 hours after birth, they are pretty coordinated.

So we are back to having babies around the farm, which is so much fun. So glad we've pretty much finished all the buildings this summer. Now we will spend the time getting everything in proper shape so things are easier to maintain. I say we, but it's mostly John who spends every day on the farm working away.

When people visit and say, "Wow, you've accomplished so much", I have to say it's all Johns' hard work!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We've been working on the last shelter this fall. Here I am putting a coat of barn paint on the structure. There are two more pieces, which will be added to the front to close it in. John will be cutting a door into it and a window in the second floor. This barn is for all the does/weathers that are not breeding. We will use the second floor for storage.
You can see also that we are putting the finishing touches on the new chicken house. It has a roof with hinges that can be opened from both sides. It is connected to the chicken aviary and the birds access it from the end using a wooden walk. It did not take them long to move in, and now production has increased. We have 16 hens and more eggs than we know what to do with.

Here is John demonstrating how easy it is to check for eggs. Check out the view inside the chicken house. You can see individual roosting boxes, which are lined with hay. Very easy to clean, just pop out the old hay and replace it with new. We can even hose it out if need be, the bottom in made up of hardware cloth.
We've started our little orchard out on the power line, operative word being "little". We're using dwarf strains of trees. We have two moonglow pears, and a golden delicious apple. There are now three blueberry bushes too. Tim was over one weekend with Rei and helped us do the planting.
John and Andy did most of the work. Andy grew impatient for the water to make it up to the end of the hose, as you can see, he started listening and looking for the water.
Yesterday John and I went to the Dixie Classic fair and volunteered in
the barn with the market goats. Had a great time, and then met up with Tim and his buddy Jason who came in and bummed around the fair for a while.
We also got a suprise when we got back from the fair. When we got back John went right up to the barn and Vivie was in labor. She had two does. One is a tri-color. The other is a black and white with lots of frosting and blue eyes

At the end of a busy weekend, John and Daisy hang out in the back yard watching over all the critters. If Daisy has a choice she will be snuggled up to John.



Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall is Coming!

I can't believe almost two weeks have slipped by since my last blog. We have been so busy since there is a nip of fall in the air. 70's during the day, 50's at night, the A/C is OFF! Last week and week-end, John and I worked in the Livestock Barn at the Stokes county fair. One night we helped during the sheep show. The next night we worked the goat show, and the final night we worked the cattle show. Had a great time, talked to so many people.


Two of our good friends entered the market goat category with two of our little weathers. Here they are just worn out with excitement. (the goats, not the girls!) A little later Jack just had to have a nap, and who better to nap on than Papa John.


Here they are with the ribbons they won!


The extension agent was so happy with us, we got a nice thank-you note in the mail, and she volunteered us to work the Dixie Classic Fair. I put on my jeans and dairy boots and jumped into the ring with the critters, my clipboard, and the judge and 3-4 hours went by. John worked at lining up the groups so they were ready for their turn. It was great fun and we are looking forward to working the Dixie on the 4th of October.


Today we went to the Ag center, where the Master Gardener club put on a plant sale. We left there with three blueberry bushes and two dwarf pears. The blueberries will be in the side yard, but the pears can be on the power line with the dwarf apples. The Duke power man says dwarf trees are ok to plant out there. We have set up to get some signs to post so they will not spray defoliants on our power line property.


John has been working on a new chicken coup this week. We'd noticed that some of our chickens were roosting in trees. Seems like a lot of them are laying, since we are bringing in sometimes as many as 19 eggs at a time. Can you say egg salad, quiche, etc? Tomorrow we will be continuing to work on it, and hope to get it painted. We are trying to get the chickens into it by the end of the weekend.




Last weekend John and I also put the roof on the last barn, and painted part of it. So it looks like all the shelters we needed to have in place for the winter will be ready! That means we will be able to proceed with breeding plans. Hoping to breed 6 goats, 2 to sell as bred, and 4 to keep for milking and sell the babies. Trying to keep our herd under control.