Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rustling Corn Stalks

         Every night for the last 20 years, I have a ritual of going out to the barn one last time for the day and checking on all the animals before we go to bed. I like to take my time during this "walk", if I can. I peek in on the goats, who now usually have a few call ducks tucked up next to them. I just quietly take a peek because if you talk to them they get up and start carrying on. (Which really disturbs a nice warm duck that was bedded down for the night) I can't sneak in on the geese however, now matter how quiet I am. I can hear them from a dark corner of the barn, where they are nestled down in some warm hay, start a low little goose noise down in their throats. It is a sound they only use for me. They know I am there, they trust me and they want me to know that they know I am there. You can sneak up on a sleeping goat but never a sleeping goose. By that time I usually have some sheep around my legs. Each one gets a scratch around the ears and a kiss on the nose. The big barn door has what you call a "dutch door" so I usually keep the top open in the evening and then close it when I make this last round. Then I quietly close the chicken door for the night. Most evenings I have the two barn cats, "Trouble" and "Oreo" rubbing and winding in and out of my legs while I am trying to do all of this. I usually end up tripping over one of them. After all the barn doors are shut, then I make my way back to the house. Now that I have a little Border Collie on my heels, we have started taking the "long way". Which means we meander out through the yard. Last night we stood and listened to the breeze rustling the dried corn stalks. Nothing says "autumn" like a dried corn stalk. There was a quarter cresent moon shining over the garden and I could see the skeleton stalks in the moon light. Megg sat down at my feet and it was like she was listening too. We could hear it, she and I. We could hear the sounds of fall but somewhere in that cool breeze last night, I could feel what is coming behind fall. I am so thankful to live in a place with 4 beautiful seasons. I love each one and look forward to each one. Even the one hiding behind cool, fall evening breezes...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boaz is here

         We had a beautiful day for our trip up into the mountains to pick out our new ram lamb, Boaz. Blue skies and puffy white clouds. As soon as we started to climb. you could see fall had already touched some of the trees. Every once in a while you would see one that was starting to turn the glorious colors of red, orange and yellow. When we made it to the top of Cheat Mountain, there was a beautiful red maple along the side of the road. It just gave us a taste of what is to come. Aurora is the most beautiful place I have ever seen and I want to go back in a couple of weeks when they are at their peak colors.
       Anita and Sharon had the 4 ram lambs in the barn waiting for us to choose. When we looked at their pictures, both Tim and I liked 1221 and it was the same in person. After we had chosen, Anita told me it was their pick too. That made me feel good because they have forgotten more than we know about sheep. We loaded him up and headed off the mountain, way too soon, I wish we could have stayed longer. When we got home, we called Esther, Naomi and Ruth off the hill and put them in the barn to meet their new husband. They started to talk to him, this low noise down deep in their throats. He wasn't impressed and went over to the hay feeder and started to eat. I am well aware that this will all change in the next few weeks to come. We are so excited for our first batch of lambs to come.
     If you click this link you can see Boaz as a baby and now. It made me cry when I first saw it.  He has grown into such a handsome ram and we love him already.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


        This Saturday is a day we have waited for all summer long. We are going to Aurora to pick up our ram. Our ewes are such a big part of our farm now, we can't wait for our first batch of lambs. If you click on this link, you can read about our choices. So far Tim and I have picked the same one but we will wait until we see them in person. Which one do you think we should pick?
        Megg is amazing. She already knows how to sit, stay, lie down and shake. I have never had a puppy catch on so quickly. I guess that's why they are the most trainable breed. She has been working on herding our call ducks. She does very well at keeping them in a bunch. I read that ducks are a good animal to start them with. She keeps my Mom entertained during the day while we are at work. She is quite the star at out farm right now.
        We can feel fall in the air every day now. The nights are getting quieter as the crickets and the frogs are slowing down. Most of the canning is done. I still have some sloppy-joe tomatoes to can and this year I found a new recipe to can your own pork and beans, so am going to give that a whirl. Last Saturday was opening day of squirrel season. It poured the rain down all day, so Tim didn't get to hunt. Instead we headed up to the mountains and attended the West Virginia Fiber Festival. It was all held in a huge barn, so the rain didn't bother us at all. We spent the day talking with lots of fellow sheep breeders and Emilee and I got to take two classes. One was on felting soap and one was on needle felting. We loved it. They had classes all day, along with sheep shearing and other hands on events with sheep, angora goats, alpacas and llamas. It was a great day. It sure did make me ready to get the spinning wheel going.  I need to start washing fleeces too.  When the canning is done, it will be the first thing I do.
        Hopefully, this weekend we will find some time to get a little hunting done. These cool fall days sure do make me hungry for biscuits and squirrel gravy. How about you?