Sometimes you have to take time to appreciate the small stuff.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sometimes you have to take time to appreciate the small stuff.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The dust has settled
I have gotten about half of one garden weeded to the point where I can actually distinguish rows. Wooohooo! Well, I do still have the other half and another whole garden to go.....baby steps.
Another thing I can cross off my list that I am especially happy about, is that we got our dust control this week. Perhaps I should explain. We have a gravel road on the west side of our property. If you've ever driven down a gravel road, or driven behind another car on a gravel road, you know that a thick cloud of dust bellows from the tires to the point of obscuring your view. Imagine that dust blowing into your house everyday. We can't open the windows on the north or west sides of the house unless we want enough dust on the kitchen table to grow potatoes.
Here is a photo of said dust.
So, the remedy to this distressing situation is to call our local co-op and order dust control. First they send out the county road trucks to grade the gravel (which was 2 months behind, by the way, because of the poor road conditions after the harsh winter and flooding in the spring), then they send this nifty little truck full of oil that sprays down the road for a specified distance that we mark off by sticking little flags next to the road. We had them spray 400 feet.
And here is the finished product. All for the lovely little price tag of $400 for 2 applications. Problem solved. Yes? Well, yes and no. This process does work wonders for keeping the dust down temporarily. The down side is that they can use several different types of control depending on what is available at the time. Sometimes they use tree sap, which works really well. Another product that they use is calcium chloride, and sometimes a soy bean oil byproduct, the latter is what I think they used this time. Effective? Quite. But it also has a distinct odor to it for the first few days. As my dear niece so aptly put it the other day, "Smells like Kung Pow chicken out here".
Sadly, I no longer have an excuse for having an inch of dust on my furniture.
Anywhoo, I have been waiting for "the dust to settle" so that I might get some of my barns painted. I didn't want to spend all the time and energy painting, only to end up with designer textured barns once the dust deposited itself upon my freshly painted surfaces.
Since the weather has taken a turn for the better, I was able to use some organic insect control on my fruit trees and it looks like my pear trees are going to have a bumper crop.
My flowers are just coming into their full glory. When we bought the house there were several beds of the "standard issue" purple echinacea (cone flowers) that most every farm in Iowa has. I removed a lot of them, but left one section around an old hitching post. Since then I have developed a fondness for the echinaceas and have found several other varieties that I enjoy.
This one is "Pica Bella".
This one is "Pink Double Delight".
Here are some of my Rudibekia (black eyed Susan).
My hydrangeas have really popped this year and are growing wonderfully. I think that they are some of the few plants that have appreciated the cool temps and abundant moisture.
Also a fan of the cool temps and moisture... my hostas. I have almost as many hostas as I have chickens....maybe as many hostas as I have sheep.
"Fire and Ice"
I must apologise for yet another post about chickens. You can blame Michelle for it though. She is always so nice to comment about my chickens, so now I feel like someone is actually interested! I promise this will be the last until they have all grown up and then I can post an update on how they turned out.
When I was ordering my chicks this spring, I initially spoke with Sandhill Preservation about acquiring a few Blue Orpington chicks. B.O.'s (hmmm) are quite hard to find and I love the temperament of the Orps. Sandhill was already sold out for the entire season, but since their farm is only a few miles from me, they put me on a waiting list in case they had extra chicks in any of their hatches this season. Well, since it had been so long and I hadn't heard anything, I assumed that they were not going to have any peepers for me. You know what they say about assuming?
I got a call yesterday, "This is Linda from Sandhill and we have your chicks". OMG.
These are some of the cutest chicks EVER.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Missing man parts
For those of you who wonder what we Shetland people are talking about when we say "fluke tail", here is a pretty darn good example of one. This is Willow.....errrr...Willow's hind end.
The tail is wider at the top with a wool covering and tapers down to a hair covered tip. This is an important characteristic of the Shetland breed.
The only intact ram lamb that I have left to sell in Duncan. He has really nice conformation, fleece and tail. His horns look like they are going to be wide set at this point. He carries spotting genetics....and obviously moorit.
I guess that I have been neglectful by not showing pictures of my newest chicks. Actually, I think I got them around the beginning of June, but I have been distracted by too many other things going on...monsoon like weather...flooding basement..whatever. So, here are some not so recent photos... just to introduce you.
This is one of my Barnevelder chicks. All of the breeds in this last batch ( last batch for this year)will lay the dark chocolate colored eggs. Here is my criteria for picking chickens;
1) They have to be pretty, or at the very least unusual....weird is good too, I just don't want anything that would be considered normal (notice I have exactly zero white sheep).
2) My chickens cannot lay white eggs. None. Ever. Blue, green, brown, light brown, dark brown, all acceptable. White? No.
I never did get a chance to post about all of the cats, but tonight Justin is picking up the Iowa City cats and taking them home (yeah), so we will be down to the usual 4 cats......hmmm..that always looks so much worse when I see it in print. Who has 4 cats in their house?
Monday, June 16, 2008
IT STOPPED RAINING!!!!!!!
Ande was the last one to test out the new pasture. At first he just stood there watching the sheep and Mama Llama grazing on the lush pasture, nervously humming for his mother to come back, and then pacing along the fence line. It seems as though Ande was afraid to venture out where he could not see his feet. After reassuring him that he was not going to be swallowed up by the invisible pasture gnomes, and that his feet would not disappear if he couldn't see them, I coaxed him out into the grass. It didn't take him long to decide that this was a great new place to play. Unfortunately Isabella was chosen as his playmate for his "chase the sheep with the longest tail" game, and she was not a willing participant, although she does have the longest tail. Look at that thing!
Some lambies enjoying their new found bounty.
Ram lamb ( soon to be wether) Oliver. He has yummy fleece like his dam. He and Briannah, pictured below, have been reserved and are going to live in Missouri. Briannah is beautiful, she is also super sweet and friendly. It will be hard to see them go, but I know they will have a good home.
Below is Aleena, Daisy's ewe lamb.
Duncan, Briannah's twin.
Of course Princess Fiona.
Below is Sophia. She is a yearling ewe out of Sage (she is less portly than her mom). She was my first solid Moorit (brown) lamb last year, now I have more brown lambs than I know what to do with!
Lovey's ewe lamb Guinevere. I love her dark brown coloring. Her tail is not the best, but otherwise she has very nice conformation.
Those were the only sheepies that I could get a picture of today, so that's a quick update.
Stuff I might elaborate on later: We have 6 cats in our house right now........kids live in Iowa City...apartment not really accessible right now (another Iowa water thing)...the kids' cats come to mom and dad's to stay until... I guess until they open the interstate again. Fun! The kids are quite safe by the way :).
Monday, June 9, 2008
Gee, what lovely weather..are you picking up a hint of sarcasm?
Friday, June 6, 2008
Brown girls and barn swallows
Briannah, in the center, I have for sale on my website....BUT......she is such a nice little ewe, also carries spotting genetics from her dam (Sheepy Hollow Red Trillium). I wouldn't be too disappointed if I didn't sell her, in fact, I haven't been trying very hard at all to sell any of them, they are just too nice this year.
Three brown girls, all born with minor krunet markings, all have great fleece and conformation....what is a shepherd to do? Perhaps buy more land?
And land on the beam below.
If this happened once, okay, but this went on for several days, different locations, but the same sad results. In their defense, I must say that it has done nothing but rain here for an eternity, so the quality of the mud was probably less than desirable.
Finally, they found a spot....alright, they cheated a little. There really was no way for the mud to fall out once wedged in this crevice.
After several days of hard work, the task was complete. Today I decided to take a peek inside to see if their efforts were fruitful. I was delighted to find 5 dainty, speckled, eggs, all in a cozy nest, that, to my surprise, was lined with feathers from the hen that we lost the other day. Isn't it interesting how life just circles around?
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