Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Years!

Knitting socks, watching bowl games and having a little vino,
a perfect New Years Eve for me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

An Old Fashioned Christmas

Family arrived from Nebraska, along with more wintry weather - a combination of snow, sleet, and rain. Branches iced up, lights flickered, and the power went out. This is a common occurrence around here, so we were well prepared. A kerosene heater and lanterns, lots of candles everywhere, a gas stove to cook, plenty of great food and wine on hand, and we were set. Games came out, books to read, wool to spin, how could anyone be bored? As the evening settled upon us, we were entertained by music in the parlor, which included piano, guitar, violin, french horn, baritone, and lots of singing. I don't think the kids even missed their video games or TV.Day two, with the house getting chillier, we decided it was time to bring out the generator. It won't run the whole house, so we switched back and forth between the furnace, refrigerators, and freezers. We even lit up the Christmas tree. Christmas morning, and we were back to full power, which was certainly nice. The novelty wears off in a hurry when you're in need of a showerSeveral more inches of snow on Christmas Day, and it was a wintry wonderland. Belle & I took a little walk on the road.

The ewes come up to the fence to greet us,
hoping for an afternoon snack.

Beautiful Emily in her full fleece.
Happy Holidays from Red Brick Road Farm!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seed Catalogues

If you haven't received your Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalogue for 2010, go online and order it right away! It's free, but there's a very limited supply. The cover doesn't look like much, but just wait until you look inside. Gorgeous photos (bursting with flavor) and such a wonderful selection of seeds. I order from them every year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The comfort of sheep

I love the holidays -cooking, decorating, yet, no matter what the situation, it is always a stressful time of year. There are so many expectations, mostly unrealistic. It's times like this when I especially love venturing out to the barn after dinner. Even though the temp is near zero, I can't resist the allure of a cozy barnful of sheep. I don my coveralls, hat, mits, and head out. Belle, our great pyr is always the first to greet me, my demanding polar bear of a girl. The ewes are all well fed, snug, and for the most part, settled in for the night. I find a comfy spot to sit, and it's the yearling ewes that come up first for a visit. My loveliest F girl, Fionna settles in at my side, tail a-wagging, and along comes several others of the same "rank". Ewe lambs, the G girls hang back, waiting their turn. My older girls, secure in their position, don't always seek me out, though Charlotte always comes up for a pet. Comfort & Joy, this is it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ready or not...

Winter is here!! Our first storm of the season blew through this week, bringing us freezing rain, sleet, heavy snow, and wind chills of 20 below zero! My Shetland sheepdogs long to go out and romp in it.
They are in and out, in and out throughout the day. The windows in our old farmhouse, each a frosty masterpiece.Rams and ewes have been separated, which will make winter chores much easier. We had 6 separate pens, and we're down to three. These little rammies will be going to the butcher soon.
I hate the thought of that,
but just how many rams does a person need?

Two year old Elodie and her daughter Fionna,
two of my most easy going girls.Handsome FableHappy Deidra Fuzzy Belle
It's amazing how well the outdoor animals adapt to such weather swings. As long as there is plenty to eat and drink, and a warm bed of straw, everyone is content and settled in
for the long winter ahead.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Boys will be boys...

Breeding groups were put together in mid October. We used 4 different rams this year. The one thing they all have in common, is that they are very mild mannered around people, no matter what time of year. They get along amongst themselves most of the time too. Icelandic sheep are seasonal breeders. The hormones get fired up in the fall, ewes start cycling, and the rams are ready to fight for dominance! Grady is the only ram lamb we are using from this year's crop. His breeding group was penned next to Finn's, who is a yearling. Neither are full grown, so they don't do a lot of damage to the fencing/gates yet. They did some head butting through the fence at first. Now, they just ignore each other for the most part. Echo has a group next to Finn as well. At the start, hey did some ramming through the fence. Two year old Echo has more weight and experience, so he never did end up with battle scars like Finn. Echo is a gentleman, and eats peacefully with his girls. They all seem to be settled, now, so he spends a lot of time pacing the fenceline. He knows there is a non-breeding group of ewe lambs in the barnyard! Fable is the fourth ram with ewes. He had just a small group for a short time. It would be nice to have some more mouflons in our flock.Finn's battle scars are healing up well, and his girls seem settled. We weren't planning on breeding any ewe lambs this year. Grady had other ideas. He broke out twice into the barnyard. Dates are recorded, and I'll have to keep a close eye on those naughty little girls!