Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

After a long silence . . . I'm thankful.

2015 has been a pretty good year. I am thankful for all the friends and family that have made my life so full, for my sons, Alex and Neil, and the women they share their lives with, Kristin and Heather. I am thankful for the newest member of our family, Will. He's Neil and Heather's son (my grandson!), a big boy, too cute for words! Will is the happiest child I've seen! I am also thankful for my loving and kind husband, patient when I'm crabby and always willing to help!

I am thankful for our wonderful Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs): Andre takes his job very seriously; he is a little stiff these days but still out there mixing it up with the bad element beyond the fences. Emma, our sweet, shy girl,  takes good care of her ewes and lambs; and Seamus, who came to the farm last spring, is our LGD ambassador to the human world and Emma's companion and playmate. I cannot thank Dianne Kratville and Great Pyrenees Rescue of Eastern Iowa enough for the work she does with LGDs and for the wonderful dogs we have working on our farm.

We are still raising broilers and turkeys, but not as many this year as in the past. We added a new item: Cornish game hens. We will continue to feature them in small batches in the spring and the fall. The vegetable plot meets our needs these days, but we no longer grow marketable quantities. We do have a few fruit trees, but again, not really marketable quality or quantity. Most of my time and energy goes to the animals.

The sheep are doing well: we have 15 ewes in our little flock of Leicester Longwools, and I'm hoping for a good lamb crop in the spring. My wool business is going well--I'm using Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan; they produce lovely yarn, roving, and top from my Leicesters. Currently I sell from home, at the Downtown Champaign Farmers' Market sponsored by The Land Connection, and the CU Spinners and Weavers Guild Annual Show and Sale in November. Raw fleeces are also available at shearing time in March.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Almost Spring!

This morning it is rainy, just barely above freezing, and totally miserable outside. I looked out the kitchen window, and ten hens were wandering around in the mud outside the coop. Did I forget to shut one of the doors? No, both coop doors were closed. What a mystery: The chickens are always inside by sunset, and I closed the doors fairly late last night, well after dark. Maybe a little too late . . .

Mr. Opossum in the nest!
Egg production has been off over the past week or so, and now those hens are outside, but I haven't noticed anything else odd. Is it the cold weather causing a drop in production, or not enough space in the coop for everyone?

I went out and opened the coop doors for the soaking wet curfew violators, and went into the barn to feed the dogs, cats and sheep. Then back out to the coop to feed and water chickens and collect eggs. I looked in the first nest: No eggs! I looked in the second nest: No eggs! I looked in the third nest: A furry hen?!? What?!? And she has big teeth!!

I will leave the disposition of the miscreant to your imagination, but I expect we will be back up to full production soon! Have a great day!