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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Horse Run-in & Sheep Shelter

Storm season in Oklahoma brings shelters to mind.  We've just added a few for our animals.  Barns are not typically needed here since we don't bring farm animals in for the winter.  Individual shelters in each pasture or pen are more suited to our inclement and sometimes severe weather. 

Our horse run-ins are not what you would consider typical.  After doing research on wind breaks for cattle feedlots, my husband decided to build shelters with a more open feel.  Since horses are claustrophobic, they don't naturally want to enter a confined space. (Anyone who has tried to put a horse in a trailer knows this.) But with slatted walls, the horses can see through the sides and do not feel uncomfortable entering. 

The amazing thing is this.  The gaps in the boards actually diffuse more wind than a flat wall.  I know it's hard to believe but it is true!  If you have a straight wall, the wind gets pulled around and in and then back out.  With ours, the small gaps allow air to pass through but reduce the wind to a gentle breeze. We only have two walls on them on the North and West sides since those are the directions that our bad weather comes from. It's amazing how much rain or snow the "open" walls block.  The first one was built over a year ago as an experiment of sorts.  Now, we have three of them each in their own small pastures.

The sheep recently had an remodel of the shelter in their new pasture.  It has an open air concept too but with more walls for added protection from the elements.  Gates to pen them up were put on too. 
{I still have to paint those}

Only the west half of this shelter is for the sheep though.  The east half was lined with sheet metal and will house hay for the winter months. We left one end open to the road for easier access. There is no need for hay right now so it's keeping our horse trailer out of the elements.

The other thing that is being built now is an equipment shed but I will have to show you that when it's complete.  Altough we have built most of the structures on the farm ourselves, the recent additions are being built for us.  :)  Hopefully this summer, we will complete the building of our farm!

I'm thinking an Amish barn quilt would look great on the side of the equipment shed. What do you think?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lambs No Longer Little







He acts like a herd sire already.


Such a cute guy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bloomin' Blackberries

The thornless blackberries are really producing this year.
A few are turning black already!

After last year's lack of fruit, I couldn't be happier with the promise of a good crop.  We did have a severe drought but I think the low production had more to do with not managing the blackberry canes well. 

After doing some research, I implemented a new plan.  The berries can produce to maximum potential when the shoots out of the ground are in their second year.  So last year I pulled all the canes in this row to this side of the fence.  Keeping them pruned to under 3 feet, I let them grow but they did not produce berries.  I didn't let anything grow on the other side of the fence.

This year, they filled out and then started producing berries ~ lots of them!  All the new canes coming out of the ground are being pulled to the other side of the fence to be next years canes. 

And so the cycle goes ~ every year 1st year canes are on one side not producing and 2nd years canes are on the other side producing blackberries like crazy.  After these canes finish producing they will be cut to the ground making way for the new canes.

I guess it's true we have to grow
before we can bloom.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Skirting a Fleece

I've completed one fleece and spun it into yarn
but this fleece, Ziggy's, is the one that I have been longing to dig my fingers into.

She has very crimpy soft wool
and it's so long for a Jacob Sheep
nearly 6 inches!

It takes quite a bit of work to get it ready to spin though.
First you must skirt it.
That means you remove any unwanted grass & hay.

It's also important to remove small pieces of cut fleece.  These are called second cuts and are produced if the shearer goes over the same area twice while he is removing the fleece from the body of the sheep.  There weren't a lot of second cuts in Ziggy's fleece but there were a few.

Some areas take a while to go through

and some are thrown straight in the trash.

You just take a handful and sort through it removing anything unwanted.

And you end up with small sections of wool that look like this.
Just look at that crimp!

All Ziggy's fleece is now ready to spin.
I'm going to card it together forming shades of gray for a special crochet project that I have been wanting to create.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Celebrating with Cowboy Cupcakes

What a week!  Life has been busy around the Little Red Farmhouse!

Yesterday our boys delivered the last of their steers the butcher.  They bought and raised 10 black angus and have now sold all the beef.  They were happy to bring their 12 months of hard work to a close.

Then we had a special family celebration
not only for Mother's Day
but also Graduation.

Both sides of our family at one long table outside

Our oldest son's 12 year homeschooling education is now complete.  We had non-traditional graduation starting with the fact there was no cap and gown.  When we talked about graduation plans, I was surprised that Jake wanted it that way but he reminded me that none of his schooling has been conventional. 

It ended up being perfect ~
a family barbeque with a western theme
in keeping with the plans he has for his future.

The graduation boy with his great grandmother
The kids rode horses and fed the sheep animal crackers.

And then we ended it all with Cowboy Cupcakes.
Two sweet teenage sisters, Daisy Cakes, made the cutest desserts ever!

Horses Cupcakes &
Black Angus Cattle Cupcakes
with hay bales

Cactus cupcakes in real clay pots

 and even
pasture poo cupcakes
complete with flies!

Some cowboy hat cupcakes for the cowboy himself
rounded up the dessert.

It was a sweet ending for
12 months
& 12 years.

And we even had time to squeeze in a family photo on the front porch.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bluebird Baby

Some of the little bluebirds have left the nest.

Springtime is busy in front of the pond.
We have 4 bluebird houses hanging on the back fence.

Today this little one was viewing how big and wide it's world was.
And while we were watching him,

momma & daddy blue were watching us.

Hope you are enjoying spring today!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Moving to Green Pasture

Yesterday was moving day for the sheep.

The boys finished the fence seperating the pasture
so the sheep would have their own one acre section for grazing in front of the house.

Some were more willng to relocate than others.

It's full of green grass.
After being in the pen by the sheep shed
the lambs didn't know what to think.

They quickly got the idea.

The horses were really excited about meeting their new neighbors.

After a little stare down,
They all went back to munching on green grass.

I think the sheep will be really happy there.

Construction materials are still in the drive.
More farm building is to come ~
I'll show it all to you when it's complete.


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