Saturday, December 29, 2012

Are You Open? she asked

Yesterday, I got a call from a New Jersey woman, passing through Lexington, who asked if I was open.  After a long pause, (while I tried to figure out what that meant) I mumbled a bunch of stuff about the sheep being here, and then somehow asked what she was interested in.

When is a farm OPEN?    Or not OPEN?

Turns out she figured I had a little shop with wool items for sale.  I told her the fiber shed is in transition and not heated and there was no stash of product right now, so she said, "maybe next time".

She was driving through Lexington and checked the tourism site (probably from her iPhone) and found Cabin Spring Farm and gave me a call.  This is how it is suppose to work, but, we are listed under farm tours and cabin rental, so when she asked if we were open, I was a little confused.  I would, instead, expect,"could we get a tour of your farm today" or "is your cabin available tonight".

What do people reading the tourism listing of "farm tour" picture in their mind?  White farm house, surrounded by pastures with many sheep grazing and a little store that says "OPEN"?

Several years ago, I was in Tuscan and I somehow found out about a place on the edge of the desert where a woman raised a few sheep and I called and went out for a visit.  A small fenced habitat with six or seven sheep, a modest home and a little shop, is what I found.  She first introduced me to the sheep, which you could tell she loved immensely.  She gave me a little history of her dream- come- true and touched on future plans.  I checked out her shop in which she had some natural color homespun and some dyed with Kool Aid TM.  She also had a few items that she had knit, for sale.  She instantly became my hero and mentor.  I talked to her a few times between that day and buying the farm but just having the memory of that day to hold onto was special.

We have accomplished much this year.  Hopefully, next spring the fiber shed will be completed and stocked so that our visitors, after meeting our animals, can follow the processing of fleece and see and purchase something to take home.  I don't plan to have an "OPEN" sign, though.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Animal Senses

The snow is melting and sliding off the roof of the garage/barn down by where the hay feeders are and every once in awhile the sheep all run back from the feeders.  The interesting thing is, I couldn't figure out what was scarring them for quite awhile because they were running just before the snow crashed to the ground.  They were sensing it.

They say animals react to many weather phenomena and when we had the earthquake a year (+ or-) ago, some people told me their animals senesced it before it happened but I have not personally been in the right place at the right time to be a witness to this early sensing before today.  It was so interesting to watch over and over after I realized what was going on.  They didn't all jump every time, some were definitely more sensitive.  What was especially interesting to watch was that the sheep who kept sensing the snow slides are the ones who look up when I come from a distance.  Some sheep keep eating and don't look up.

I am not sure if Cher jumped, I wasn't as aware of it, anyway.  I know she has good senses though.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

Gramma's house isn't connected to the world wide web so Merry 2nd Day of Christmas.  A quick trip to be with family for 2 and a half days.  Oh the memories it brought back, including driving in a scary snow storm.  Fortunately, we were traveling in opposite directions so our trip down memory lane was fairly brief.

Back on the Farm the animals were glad to see me, especially since I had feed in my hand.  Our neighbor said the chickens stayed in the barn all day.  About and inch and a half of wet snow fell here while we were gone.

I am glad winter has arrived with the much needed precipitation but it is difficult when so many are traveling over the holidays.

Now to look back over 2012 and think about what to add to life on the farm for 2013.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Must Be GOLD in These Hills

Another gift, first thing this morning, a double rainbow.  

One end by Big House Mountain and the other in front of Short hill.  At one point you could see the whole thing but it was too close to photograph .

Amazing clouds all day.

 I was almost late to meet my walking buddies in town because I could't stop watching the rainbow change.  When I met some neighbors at the farmer's market, later in the day, we were talking about the incredible light and rainbow and they showed me their pictures.  One of them was telling me about seeing a rainbow once, that ended at one of their cows in the pasture.

The rainbow could have ended at any one of the sheep or Cher.  They are as good as gold, when they are not being difficult.  HA HA

A guy called us last night and said we didn't know him, but he was going to be turkey hunting on an abutting neighbors property and asked if he could walk across our property because of where he was going to park.  The end of the rainbow, on the above picture, is right where he was going to hunt this morning.  I wonder if he found any gold.

A few hours later, I came home and this

was the first thing I saw.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More Early Gifts

More Early Gifts, this time material.  I have been looking for a production spinning wheel for awhile.  I have spent 3 years over thinking the purchase.

This fall when John and I went down to the fiber festival in Ashville NC, I spun on a bunch of wheels. The one I really liked is a Matchless, made by Schact.  Unfortunately,  it is one of the more expensive wheels on the market.  I remembered my neighbor said, if I ever wanted to try her wheel I could, so I gave her a call.  When I went over to pick it up, I was surprised to see that it too was a Matchless.  Of course, I told myself that maybe when I spun a little longer on the Matchless, I would find some things I did not like about it. That didn't happen, so I went over to our closest spinning supplier to see if I could find one I liked almost as much, nope.  Last week I looked on ebay, which I check a few times a year.  And there it was, on the first page, another Matchless.  This one was used and missing a couple of parts.  Parts are not expensive and readily available, so the bidding began. On the evening of 12/12/12, I became the winning bidder at a very reasonable price.  It is on the way here and I am very excited.

Now, I thought to myself, I can spin hundreds of skeins of yarn.  I went out to the fiber shed, to card some Cotswold for some Christmas gifts, and soon became discouraged.  The locks are open but where they were shorn off the sheep, it was difficult to get the locks free from each other and the pre carding step became very tedious.

I remembered talking to a woman at Farm Day, this fall when I was spinning, who had a picker.  She gave me her number and told me I could come over and try it, so yesterday I did.  Wow, what a piece of equipment.  I asked her if I could rent it because I didn't think she would want to sell it and If she did, I thought it would be too expensive.  Turns out she wanted to sell it and gave me a great price.  Now I can spin hundreds of skeins of yarn.

We have basically 3 types of fleece here and all have to be treated and prepared differently, but this will really help.  It is a monster machine which I will say more about later but for now I am enjoying one early gift and waiting excitedly for the other.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Like They've Known Each Other All Their Lives

Mr. Black and Dodo Bird have come to live on the farm.  They spent yesterday in the coop getting acclimated.  The sheep and Cher were not sure what to think about all the crowing or whatever so they were a bit skidish.  I didn't see the rest of the chickens come around so don't know what they thought initially.

This morning, John went down to let the new guys out of the coop and they seemed quite at home.  A few hours later I went down and the chickens were all hanging out together like best buddies.

The chickens all stayed in the barnyard area and barn all day so I didn't know if the roosters knew how to fly over the fence until later in the day.  At dusk, I went to see if the roosters had returned to the coop.  They had not, so I went to check out the barn and found Dodo Bird perched where the araucana usually sleeps high up on a beam.  I guess he likes heights.  The others seemed to be on top of the barn closet.

I wonder why the araucana decided not to sleep on that beam and why Dodo picked that one.  More mysteries.  The mysteries are one of the things that makes farming fun.  Can't wait for tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The other day I took this ice off the top of a bucket and threw it on the grass.  It was on the grass in the shade of the fiber shade for a day and then I picked it up again-- How beautiful- What a gift.

I have always loved ice crystals, especially with the sun or candle  light coming through.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of walking in the woods on a cold winter day and finding frozen water falls and huge ice cycles.

Another wonderful early gift, is all the help I have had in the past week with hoof trimming.  Some people don't especially like the Christmas Gifts, often given by children (and other special people), that are gifts from the heart.  Coupons for washing the dishes, taking out the trash, feeding the dog, back rubs and such, but I DO.   Some of my favorite gifts from Lyndy, growing up, were the hours spent helping me in the garden on Mother's Day.

I would love to get coupons for hugging sheep while I trim hooves, or helping to further establish the hedgerow in the pasture.  John gives me gifts of time all the time.  The fiber shed addition is coming along nicely and yesterday the garden tool shed.  The last gift, is sponsored by the amazing "spring like weather" we have been having this week.  I love winter and I am ready but still I enjoyed the gift of the last couple of days warmth.