Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 10-5

Well, it’s October!  And boy, does it feel like it.  36* for morning chores. Pretty sure there will be frost out there on any pumpkins this morning!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

It’s been one of those rather dismal autumn weeks on the hill.  Lots of foggy mornings. Which got me wondering…if foggy August mornings mean snow in December…then what does fog in September and October mean?  Probably nothing…but, the speculations about winter weather are already flying fast and furious and they don’t sound promising (except for the snow lovers!) But, I’m trying real hard not to think about that right now.

morning glories provide a bright spot in the gloom

Monday’s fog continued for most of the day, so we took the afternoon off to research new flooring for the kitchen. All the years of Market baking, canning and just regular meal preparation have taken a toll on the floor and it really needs to be replaced. No real decisions made on that front (except we both know it has to be done). But, I did get a cool new feed bucket!

motivational and easy to spot

My new feed bucket reminded me that an update on the sheep might be in order.  It looks like all the ewes “took” and that they should all lamb somewhere between January 8 and January 31.  (with the majority of the lambs being born between the 8th and the 18th)  Yay...oh...Yay! The barn is going to be a busy place!

Good News!
no new marks

a foggy start to our day long roadtrip

Tuesday was a fairly uneventful lamb hauling day.  Although, as the Boss was positioning the truck for loading, I saw one of the Mbrook eagles.  It flew right through the farm and glided down through Mbrook somewhere.  I was too dumbstruck to do anything besides gesticulate wildly to the Boss and completely forgot about the camera in my pocket.  This is the time of year when the Mbrook eagles are spotted with some regularity and just last week there was a special event of raptor birdwatching up at Rockfish Gap.  While they are grand and glorious birds, I’m always glad when they keep on flying since they have been known eat small animals.  But, I must admit…an eagle is an amazing sight!
2013 eagle sighting

On our lamb trip, we made a stop at a producer growers’ supply house in the small town of Dayton. There is an upcoming hoophouse job that required some specialized parts and they have a great price on potting soil. Interesting side story...the owner of the supply house was attending the local produce auction.  He left the doors opened and a note to "help yourself ", knowing full well that anyone would settle up with him later. (which we did) Gotta love life in farm country!
I don't think I need THIS much potting soil!
And, it’s always pleasant to drive out through the beautiful Mennonite farm country in R'ham County.  It’s so different there, it’s mostly flat! Most of the farms are dairies, with their own grain, silage and hay operations.  Although, vegetable production is taking hold as the farmers look for different ways to keep their families in farming and there are miles of gardens along the sides of the road.
what a pretty farm

These rows of tomatoes, squash and melons looked endless
farm country traffic
We stopped by the produce auction and were astounded at the amounts of local produce! We plan to take a photography tour of the area later in the year. That should be fun.

With our trip to the processor complete, we’re down to just a few lambs.  We have one last “lambchop trip” to make in November and we’re going to keep three ewe lambs for next year’s breeding flock. The flock looks pretty tiny out there in the back paddock against the trees. But, the ewe lambs that we will be keeping are beautiful and I am really looking forward to seeing what kind of lambs I get from them. Yep, already thinking ahead to the lambchop crop of 2016!

And just in case you ever wondered...
The general consensus is that the grass really is GREENER on the other side of the fence!

The rest of the week was spent doing…well…the stuff we do around here. Nothing noteworthy or out of the ordinary.
even the sheep are decorated for fall!
(one of the ewes had leaves stuck in her wool)

the gum tree promises to be spectacular

more monarchs

But, it rained!

I have been trying desperately (and not being very successful) to overlook the lack of rain.  I know the dry conditions are great for harvest, but it’s extremely dry and dusty. Although, Friday night we got a half an inch of very much needed rain. We really (really, really) need a lot more, but we will have to be content with what we get.  At least it settled the dust.

The rain was part of a cold front that blew through…and when I say BLEW through, I am not exaggerating at all.  It was windy, windy, windy for Saturday’s Market.  I must say, I didn’t have great hopes for the day…it was incredibly dark, somewhat chilly…and that breeze…

it was still pretty dark at 7am

But, as is generally the case, the weather warmed with the rising sun, the townspeople woke up and came out to shop and the weekly music for the market added a great ambience.  The colorful, swirling leaves completed the fall atmosphere.  All in all, another great day.  The Market as a whole is on track to set a record this year and that’s always good news for everyone involved.

The temperatures fell throughout the day, and by afternoon chores, it was feeling more than a little brisk.  The time has come to roll down the sides on the hoophouses in the evenings. (then we will open them again in the daytime)

hoophouse #2 closed up for the night

…and that’s another week on the hill.

Hope you’re having a

Happy Sunday!
Thanks for stopping by.  Come back and visit us again real soon!


  1. Are you still growing something in the hoophouses which requires
    your keeping them warm at night?
    Another great thistle/ monarch shot! Our rainfall has been sporadic
    at best for the last 7 years so even the thistles hardly bloom. And I've
    only seen one monarch so far. Thinking of planting some drought
    tolerant milkweed for them next year.

    1. We grow year-round in the hoophouses, Sheila. By closing the sides at night, we conserve a little of the heat from the ground and allow the plants to continue to grow despite the cold outdoor temperatures. Growth slows considerably during December and January. But, with careful planning, we are also able to harvest year-round. Did you read this post?
      I have never seen as many monarchs as I have this year. They are so beautiful.
      Can't begin to imagine seven years of "sporadic" rain. I would lose my mind!
      Thanks for commenting. Have a great week!

  2. Love reading your posts - wish I had a farm like yours. Why do lambs give birth in January when it is so cold and bleek. I know it depends when they are bred but why this time of the year? Just curious.

    1. Thanks for the kind words!
      We plan for the lambs to be born in January when the ewes are in the barn for winter for a couple of reasons. This allows us to keep an eye on things to make sure everything involved with pregnancy and birth progress safely. We are also able to keep track of the lambs' health in the critical early days of life. The lambs are granted protection from weather and disease with careful monitoring. We use heatlamps if conditions are very cold.The early lambs are a good size when the first grass of spring is ready. Their size allows them some level of immunity to the parasites that are prevalent in the damp conditions of spring. We have found that they grow out much better than spring-born lambs. This may not be the case for all operations, but it works best for us
      You might want to read this post. It tells a little more about our sheep.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Have a great week!

  3. As usual I loved reading all your week's news and seeing your stall on the Farmers' Market.
    Are Mennonites similar to the Amish people?

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by, Pat!
      Yes, the Mennonites and Amish are somewhat similar. I am not certain as to the distinguishing factors. As I understand it, they are both follow the Anabaptist teachings. However, at some point one group followed Bishop Jakob Amman (the Amish) and the other group followed Menno Simmons. (the Mennonites) I do admire their farms and their stark and simple ways.