Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our First Shearing Day

was yesterday.  It was exciting, interesting, and fun.  Mostly though it was a learning experience.
As you can imagine, we had friends and family here to watch.


Our shearer, Frank Schwartz, set up his equipment in the goat shed (hawk hut, right now) and we brought them in one at a time.  Tiny was first.  She set a good example for the others to follow.


It's funny how they give up and just lay there after putting up a fight to come in.


Frank shaved off the fleeces in one piece. 
There is an art to this, I'm thinking.  He told us that he went to
shearing school in New Zealand and used to, when he did this
full time, shear close to 20,000 sheep a year.


The wool seemed to grow as it came off of the sheep!  We couldn't believe how much of it there was.


Look how black that black is! 


We separated the fleeces in bags and labeled them by the sheep's name.  A few of them, he said were really nice and would be good for spinning.  I'm glad because I have my first lesson on Tuesday and am taking some for her to see.

Tiny was walking out the door and turned to ask,
"Do I have to go out there? They are going to make fun of me."

As they each came out, they surrounded and sniffed the one just sheared as if to say, "Who are you?" or "What happened to your coat?"  It was funny!


The girls look a lot different now!  You can really see their pregnant bellies.  It's hard to believe that we will have lambs in one month.  Just another step in our adventure!



Today we are going to skirt the fleeces and then have a crab & shrimp boil for New Year's.  Should be a fun way to spend our 23rd anniversary.

Ziggy wishes you a Happy New Year and a blessed 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pink Skies

A warm front moved in yesterday and brought with it magnificent colors.  The sunset was just stunning!


And then this morning there was a glorious sunrise as an encore.
The sheep said they had never seen such a pink sky.


The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftmanship.  Day and night they keep on telling about God.  Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world.
Psalm 19:1-3 , The Living Bible

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lost Wilbur

I like happy posts, fun posts, inspiring posts.
But life on a farm is not always happy, fun, or inspiring.
Somedays, life on a farm is hard. 

Yesterday was one of those days.
During the afternoon feeding, we discovered one of Jonah's pigs was injured.  He was laying down unable to get up.  Off to the vet we took him. But apparently once a pig is "down" it won't ever get back up. 

It was the little one that we callled Wilbur.  Although he was from the same litter as the others, he has always been smaller.  I suspect that he ended up on the bottom of the pig pile or they were playing too rough.   There was just no way to save him.

Wilbur was a feeder hog not a pet.  But the investment of time and money in animals, even those that will end up as meat, makes this a considerable loss for Jonah.
Plus, we all liked the little guy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spinning

My head is spinning with sheep stuff!  Our first shearing day is on Saturday.  We are excited and anxious because once again this is new ground for us.  Remember, two years ago we had two dogs and now we have 80 animals on the farm!  It's all a learning process and right now we are learning about sheep.

Ziggy's just a gorgeous girl.

We are really enjoying our Jacob Sheep.  They are just pretty!  I wonder how they will look after shearing with their big fat pregnant bellies. It should be fun to find out.

Tiny is not so tiny now.  In fact, she is as big as a barn!

And then there is the question of what to do with the fleeces.  There's so much to learn in that area! 

image from wikipedia
Skirting
Roving
Carding
Picking
All this terminology I don't know.

But there is one thing that has always intrigued me ~
Spinning!

The closer we get to shearing the more I want to figure it all out and do it myself rather than sell the fleeces or send it off to be made into yarn.  I know it won't all be good.  Actually, I look at them with all the hay (vegetable matter ~ yes, I have that new term down) in their coat and wonder how any of it will be good.  I am assured it will be though.

And so, I am making an appointment to try spinning and I'm dreaming about wheels.  I love this little number right here.  Ok, I know I shouldn't pick a wheel according to looks but wouldn't this be cute tucked away under my staircase with a comfy chair?  It even has a little ladybug on the wheel somewhere that will fly around and around.  Never mind the fact that it is RED! 

image from schachtspindle.com
Anyway, my mind is spinning and hopefully my hands will be too soon.  It's inevitable really since I have been crocheting for 20+ years and now have fiber sheep.  Right?

If you are a spinner, please feel free to comment or email.  I would love to know what you use and how you prepare your fleeces!  And if you don't spin, well, tell me that I'm not crazy for trying something else new!

And since we are talking sheep, just take a look at this cute little thing that Shannon at Kenleigh Acres custom made for me to give Wayne at Christmas.  Isn't she cute?
She looks just like Ziggy, spots and all!

Thanks, Shannon!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing you a blessed Christmas!



The boots are by the stove.



The wreaths are hung.


The presents are wrapped.


The tree is trimmed.



The house is in lights.


All in celebration of the Savior's birth!


from: the Little Red Farmhouse

Friday, December 23, 2011

Easy Christmas Cookies

Let's face it, preparing for Christmas isn't always easy.
And as we approach Christmas Eve, there is one thing we need ~
Cookies!


We're gonna make these easy though
by using a mix. {Shhh! don't tell}
Actually, I use these all the time.

I know, you expected more; afterall I make pancakes and biscuits and bread from scratch.
But let's not make this into a big deal.
Betty's got it all figured out.

Not what I'm using today but these are our favorite!
Yes, Mountain Mama, this is why we have so much butter in our fridge!

All you need is a couple of bags of her sugar cookie mixes,
two sticks of butter, and two eggs.
The rest you probably have in your pantry.
So let's bake!

First, I have to tell you~
there are two tools that I use to make my cookies look perfect~
a cookie scoop and parchment paper.  Girl, if you aren't using parchment paper to bake with, well, you are just working too hard!


Ok, now let's bake.

Mix up both bags of cookie mix being sure to used softened butter and eggs straight from the coop if you've got them.
Divide in half.  Melt 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips in a bowl and add to half of dough with one Tablespoon of flour.
Roll in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

Let's make the pinwheel cookies first.
Roll out half of the chocolate dough on plastic wrap into a small rectangle.
Next do half of the sugar cookie dough.
Flip one on top of the other.


Now, roll up using the plastic wrap to press gently as you go.


Once you have a log of dough,
it goes back to the fridge to chill again.


Next up, snickerdoodles!
Mix up 1/2 cup sugar with one teaspoon cinnamon added.


Scoop up dough into balls and roll in cinn/sugar.


Bake.  Sprinkle with more cinn/sugar as soon as you pop them out of the oven.

Now for chocolate!
This chocolate-sugar cookie combo tastes like Nestle's quik to me.
And if you ask me, that's not a bad thing.
Scoop, bake.
Sprinkle 1/2 with crushed candy canes
the other 1/2 with powdered sugar.

{Note to self: add the candy cane after baking.  It melts.
This is not the first time I have made this mistake.}

Easy, right?
3 down, 1 to go!

Slice the pinwheels.
I use a pastry cutter. 


Reshape into circles as you lay them out on the parchment paper.


Bake.
Ok, that's it!  Didn't I tell you that was easy? Santa will think you slaved away forever.
And I bet he won't leave even a crumb. ;)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The pecan grove

on a neighbor's ranch is one of my new favorite places.


If Jake is going there to hunt with his hawk, I try to tag along.



It's a place that seems to say,
"Slow down.  What's your hurry?"


Can you find her in the tree tops?

It's a place to stroll,
hear the crunch of leaves under your feet,
& enjoy the wonder of God's creation.


And the photo ops ~
well, you can't beat them.


It's peaceful
and quiet


and perfectly lovely


even in winter.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Seven crows til Christmas

Seven more crows til Christmas, everyone!

What? Only seven?

Oh my ~  It really snuck up on me.

But, some of my packages haven't arrived!

Christmas, yummy, Christmas.


I wonder if we will get extra hay?  Or maybe some alfalfa!

I'd be happy with that cute blonde chick.
 
I would like a new ball to add to my collection.


Guys, guys, we live on this sweet farm.
What else do we need ?


Cookies!  We need cookies! 


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