Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 6-26

grazing lambs on a June day
It’s that time of year when a status update of “the same old, same old” would probably be sufficient.

I can assure you I am not kidding.

Do you get those Facebook memory things? It’s called On This Day…and every time I take the time to read one, it is always uncanny how very similar it is to the present. And, if you review the history of this blog (back to 2009) it’s pretty much on constant repeat, too.
heading out to do chores
every morning
every afternoon

So, if it’s June, we’re picking up that first batch of lamb, digging the first of the potatoes and anxiously awaiting the first green bean. (tomato, cucumber, onion…well, you get the picture)
tomatoes are coming...

Every. Single. Year.

While I do indeed find it somewhat comforting, it certainly creates a challenge for writing new and interesting copy about the farm.

So, you’ll have to bear with me as I try to come up with something other than “ditto”.

The week started off with a family get-together in the Draft. Toughchick made supper for the rest of us in a combo-celebration of Fathers’ Day and the Man’s birthday. There was also cake and icecream and lots of baby snuggles. I can’t believe how our family has grown!
Father's Day 2016

look at these big boys!

Monday afternoon we did indeed head to Edinburg to pick up the first installment of the 2016 lambchop crop. The freezer is well stocked once more. Some customers had been requesting L’il Links since Opening Day!  Li’l Links are indeed lamb sausage…seasoned with traditional breakfast link seasoning. YUM! …and oddly, enough, lamb sausage is what got us going in the retail lamb business nearly 10 years ago.  
Good eating!

We didn’t become shepherds to be trendy or adventurous. We were actually looking to add some variety in the protein portion of our diet after giving up pork.  (did you read this one?) We were thinking a couple lambs to put in the freezer every year. But, borrowing a line from Kenny Chesney…“Life has its way of movin’ ya on, don’t it?”  ("Don't It" by Kenny Chesney)

 And, now, we find ourselves scrambling around looking for more sheep to make more lambs. But, that’s going to be next week’s story…

Nothing finer than home-grown
Lambchops, new potatoes and cabbage
(ok, so we didn't raise the wine...)
Speaking of variety on our plates…this is the time of year that our “foodie” selves live for. It’s difficult to say just what we like best. Every night we have some new seasonal delight.  Honestly, THIS is why we farm. It’s certainly not money or notoriety…it is quite simply…THE FOOD.  Which is a good thing, because very few farmers ever attain huge financial success or any sort of fame.

I admit it...
green beans are probably my favorite
Next week!

And, raising food for yourself (and others) means that you must be constantly thinking ahead at least one season, quite often two or three. To that end, I spent some time seeding the fall crop of broccoli, cauliflower, etc… 
newly seeded flats

5 days later
look at all the seedlings!

When I finished that, the Boss and I spent a couple of hours processing the leftovers from last week’s Market for Winter Sales. In short order, we had trimmed, blanched and frozen more than 75 pounds of broccoli. This will go a long way toward feeding us (and our customers) and providing some much needed cash-flow during the off-season from the Market. See what I mean about thinking ahead?

trimming broccoli

broccoli ready for blanching

packing to freeze

With the threat of thunderstorms every day, and two entire days of rain, it’s safe to say that our outdoor activities were greatly impacted. that gave us a chance to work in the hoophouses, which were in desperate need of re-planting. The Boss did some pulling and tilling and I did some planting. (yep, back to “same old, same old”) While things are looking neater, there is still a lot of work to do. And, the spinach is just NOT cooperating…the constantly changing weather caused the early plantings to bolt and slowed germination of the succession plantings. But, currently, there are hundreds, if not thousands of tiny seedlings coming up in the greenhouse and we received the order for the winter crop just yesterday. We will have spinach again, soon!
spinach seedlings

I guess he's still guarding the lambs
the freezer is full of lambCHOPS!
The constant threat of thunderstorms brought a new concern. No, not storm damage. Gus control. Gus has developed a complete and debilitating fear of thunder. (apparently this is common in male Pyrs…our first dog, Jed, would attempt to run in the house and hide behind the couch!) so, every time we went outside, there was Gus, clinging to us. He tried to open the back gate in order to stay with us when we went to the hoophouse. He hid out in the shop if he could get in the door. He even followed me INSIDE the cooler! Needless to say, we’re all hoping for better weather this week.
yes, he DID follow me into the cooler
(I don't think I was supposed to notice)

The storms did indeed cause real troubles in the surrounding area. Parts of West Virginia have been devastated by the flooding and many lives have been lost. It’s just awful.

The mountains to our west (that run along the VA/WVA line) often cause storms to dissipate before they hit our part of the Valley. So, we didn’t see much damage at all. (unless you count the peach tree behind the shop---time has come to give up on that one) And, since we are on top of a hill, flooding is not generally a concern. Although, when we got home, Neighbor was doing some repair work to the lane bridge. And, I must admit, the sight of a backhoe in the middle of the road between me and the only way home freaked me out just a little. (pretty sure that was just a little routine maintenance work)

working on the lane

But, the weather didn’t seem to impact customer flow at the Market. It was incredibly busy and I’m pretty sure we could have sold a WHOLE lot more potatoes. However, the rain meant the garden was too soggy for the tractor, so the Boss dug all the potatoes by hand.  Slogging through the mud on his knees precluded a major harvest. 
Yet another reason to hope for a drier week.

Then there was the message from the hay guy that started, “Tom…I got a real nice load of hay in the barn…”  So, you can guess where we are headed, again!

And, the Boss had a message from Angus’ home farm that said, “the ewe lambs are sheared…you can come look…” That means another fieldtrip of sorts. Yippee! I’d much rather go livestock “shopping” than go to the mall.

Looks like we're going to be off and running in the upcoming seven days. (and just maybe that will give me something new and interesting to write about)

Thanks for stopping by. Come “visit” again real soon.

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Oh, wait...We did have a unique event this week. 

The full moon appeared on the Summer Solstice. This won't happen again until 2094! Here is the Boss' shot of the Strawberry moon. 
Strawberry Moon
-TLWomack photo


  1. Barbara, the farmer looked at this post with me and marvelled at the size and quality of your lamb chops - I scrolled back and showed him the lambs in the top photograph - 'they're jolly good lambs' was his comment. He wants to know if they are Suffolks or Suffolk Cross please.

    1. I do like that the farmer thinks they are "jolly good lambs"!
      We're pretty happy with the flock we have developed. They are just Suffolks. I don't know that they would qualify as purebred. And, they are not registered.

  2. I am seriously going to consider buying some lamb chops this summer, and it's all down to you! I will try to find locally grown. (Ontario) What is the best way to prepare them, in your opinion? Your poor giant dog is looking a little guilty about following you where he doesn't belong. The dog we had when I was a child did not like thunder storms either. -Jenn

    1. I hope you will find that lamb chops are truly delicious! We like to cook chops on the grill. (gas or charcoal) They don't take too long (overdone lamb is not good at all) and need very little in the way of seasoning. (salt and pepper is really all you need)