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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Walk Around the Farm

Wayne and I have always taken drives in the country even before we were married, dreaming about the day we would have a little place like the one we have now.  It's been a long journey that has brought us to where we are today.


Three years ago we were building our farmhouse, today we have finished building our farm.  Our family has gone from living in a neighborhood with two dogs and a swimming pool to having an old fashioned farm with all kinds of animals.  Life has changed so much.  We have grown in ways I never would have imagined!  It's been hard work because life is not all dreamy on a farm.  Animals get sick, fences need to be repaired, painting is endless!

The rewards, however, are great ~ simple but great ~ greater than I ever could have imagined.
Listening to the rooster crow while drinking coffee
on the front porch,
eating a prime rib from a steer we raised,
hand spinning yarn from our own sheep's wool,
sharing fresh farm eggs with anyone that comes to visit,
hanging over the fence and petting our horses,
discovering a daylily blooming in the garden,
walking back to the house from locking up the gate at night
& seeing the farmhouse lit up from within with stars overhead,
sharing all of this as a family ~
These are the things that make me happy here at the farm. 
We are blessed indeed to call this our home.



Let me take you on a walk around the farm...


From the front gate, our road leads to both houses.
Three pastures on the left and one on the right, each one being about one acre.


We try to leave one pasture open for rotational grazing with the horses. 


Bobbi, such a good mare.


The vegetable garden is surrounded by wisteria growing on the fence and knockout rose bushes. Gravel lined pathways help it look organized and make the veggies accessible without walking in the dirt.


Our new equipment barn is really a large three sided shed.  It has open tailed rafters and a roof to match the houses.  Someday I hope to paint a barn quilt on the side.


Mom & Dad's house ~ I just love that blue.


The cottage flower garden is fenced on the side of our house.  I love to spend time there.


Here is the barnyard.  Along the back fence we have lined up animal pens each with their own shelters.  A large animal barn is not needed in Oklahoma.  Individual mini barns allow each animal can get in out of the weather on their own if they need to.


Right now the sheep shed is housing our meat chickens and the rams are in the run-in.

Such handsome boys.


See, not everything on a farm is pretty!


At the end of the row is the chicken coop.


Down a little farther and still in the back, we have a 60' round pen and a riding arena for us to work & play with the horses.


The Jacob girls are running to say "Hello" ~ really more like "Where are our animal crackers?"
They are in the last pasture in front of the house where we can watch them from the front porch.

Daffodil ~ our first born on the farm and my personal favorite.




Next door to the ewes but soon to be moving in with them, are the alpaca guys.



And here we are, full circle, where we started.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him...




Monday, July 16, 2012

Jacob Fleece Flock


Since getting our first Jacob Sheep last fall and then me learning how to hand spin their fleece, we have decided to focus our flock in a new direction.

Unlike most breeds of sheep that have a very strict "standard", Jacobs have traits within the breed that can be emphasized within a flock.  Over the past few months we have set goals to grow a flock primarily for fleece.  Stong horns and leg markings are important to us as well.  We plan to focus on these traits while staying true to the heritage breed itself.  Doing this means making hard decisions about who stays and who goes.

In keeping with our new goals, we selected 3 ewe lambs and 1 yearling ewe that would remain at Rockin' S-Squared Farm.  The rest of the girls and some ram lambs have been moved on.  Some went to a small Christian school that has an agriculture program for kids to experience farming first hand. We were so happy about that! The others went to a guy who saw the breed years ago and has wanted some since.

The ones we have left are the best of the best in our opinion.

Daffodil ~ such a pretty four horn
& the first animal born on our farm

Daylily ~ her twin and adopted by our son, Jared
She has striped horns like her dam.

Zinnia ~ she's a complete pet and begs for scratches behind the ears and on the belly!

& Ziggy ~ the baby of the bunch we bought last year has grown up to be the leader of this little flock.  She has the most amazing fleece and personality to boot!

Daffodil's fleece

Daylily's fleece
As we evaluated our ewes, we looked for fleece qualities that were 
"open" (lays open when parted) 
"locky" (locks the size of a pencil)
 "crimpy" (like it's been crimped with a tiny crimping curling iron)
 "long staple length" (long length of the fleece)
 and "soft".


These fabulous four have all that and more.

We will be adding a few ewes in the near future to bump our flock numbers back up a little but for now they are hogging all the animal crackers and are happy to do it!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bombproof Bobbi


It's nice to have a horse that anyone can ride.  Around here, Bobbi is the girl.


Recently, J1 sold his horse and took ownership of Cowboy, our 2 year old paint.  Cowboy was to be J3's horse but he is comfortable with Bobbi.

As a former champion penning horse, Bobbi has the moves with an experienced rider.  However, she prefers an easy slow pace.  He rides her bareback with a halter & reins most of the time but sticks to the round pen and arena.  Since switching horses, you will find him most mornings out there "working her".


This week they have been working on ground tying.  That's when you "tie" your horse to the ground and they stay there.  Here he is gathering up the lead rope and putting it in a pile.  Then he tells her to stay.


They have gotten pretty good at ground tying.
If she happens to walk away, she gets backed up.  Horses don't like to back up so it's a punishment.


He has actually come in the house before to get a snack with her ground tied.  Of course, if she were standing on green grass, it might be a different story.

Notice her legs didn't move at all in the pics above.
"Good girl."


They have been working on some other things too.
Like flexing (that's the emergency brake)


and this...


Yea, I think it's safe to say she's bombproof.


Now if he can get her to move as fast as he wants to go...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Canned Pico De Gallo

Did you know Pico De Gallo means "beak of the rooster"?
Hmm... I wonder who came up with that!
There are no beaks in this recipe
and it is oh so good.

I haven't made it in years but we had a bumper crop of grape tomatoes so it was time to break out the jars.  Chopping the peppers and onions can be a tearful process but those tears will turn to joy when I pull a jar of pico out of the pantry. 


Never canned anything?  Come on, you can do it!  It's not that hard. There are only a few tools you need to make it really easy.  A jar lifter and a canning funnel and jars and lids of course.


After the veggies sit in salt in the refrigerator overnight, they are rinsed, mixed with a little vinegar, water, and sugar, and cooked.

I know, pico de gallo is not supposed to be cooked but this has to be hot when it goes in the jars.  We will still call it pico.  No one will know.


Spoon into the jars, put on lids,


and into a water bath to seal.


Did you know Ball makes labels that dissolve in water.  I was skeptical but they really work ~ in, like, 5 seconds. No more scrubbing stickers off. Sweet!


In the pantry ~ 6 jars sweet pico de gallo.
Really only 5 made it to the pantry.  The other one we have eaten already. ;)


Here's the recipe.
Note: this is about as mild as you can get.  If you want more kick, double or triple the jalepenos or pour in the hot sauce.

Sweet Pico De Gallo
8 medium tomatoes, diced
3 medium onions, diced
2 large sweet red peppers, diced
2 large green peppers, diced
2 large sweet yellow peppers, diced
4 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
2 large jalepenos, finely chopped (more if you want it spicy)
1/2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. Louisianna Hot Sauce (I omit this)
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c. finely snipped cilantro
1/4 c. pickling or kosher salt
1 c. apple cider vinegar
2 c. drippings from veggies
1 c. sugar

Mix tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro, and oregano in large non-metallic mixing bowl.  Sprinkle salt over vegetables and stir.  Cover and let sit in refrigerator overnight.  Pour off 2 cups of liquid from veggies.  Rinse and drain off what is left.  In a large pot, combine drippings, vinegar, and sugar.  Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Stir in vegetables and bring to a boil. Use basic canning directions to can pico in jars.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meat Chickens Venture Outside


The two week old chicks have taken their first steps outside. They have been cooped in a small pen inside the sheep shed.  The little door in the side is just right for them to go in and out.  This yard is not very big but will be just right to raise these guys.

"Quick!  Someone's coming.  Get inside."

We held the chicks the first day but haven't handled them much since then.  Being detatched is going to be important when it comes time to butcher. 


It makes my heart happy that we are able to raise them this way enjoying fresh air and freedom.  They are growing so fast!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What a Day!

The peaceful pictures of the calves that I took today do not reflect the kind of day we have had on the farm but still we count ourselves blessed.


This picture almost looks like a watercolor but it was just out of focus on my iphone.
The rancher was bringing up the cows with calves for us to choose our 10 steers.
Then the rodeo began.

Once the calves were seperated, we had to sort them out according to which ones we wanted.  One bull calf was not happy at all and wanted to take us out. Everyone got pushed around but Wayne took the hardest hit ending up on the ground with the calf trampling on top of him.  Thank goodness he wasn't hurt.  We didn't bring that calf home!

Shots, eartags, and banding proceeded and then to the farm we went.


All the calves checked out their new pasture.


They didn't stay together for long though.  One got out of the four strand barbed wire fence and was nearing the Expressway near our house when we found it.  There is still another one not accounted for.  We are praying it is hiding in the tall grass licking it's wounds.  Animal Control and neighbors are on alert though.


We've stopped looking for now, since it's 100 degrees, and will resume the search in a few hours.  Until then we are trying to get the water to the property back on.  We awoke to four feet of water in the storm cellar where our pressure tank is.  Between rounding up cattle, the boys have been bailing water.  What can I say?  Holiday or not, it's been one of those days!  Hopefully I will be bathed and in bed by the time fireworks start.  Hard or not, I'm thankful we have the freedom to live the way we want to in our faith and on our farm.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Finished First "Sheep to Shawl"


I have finished my first project.  A "sheep to shawl" is a work of fiber that is handmade from sheep's wool.  In this case, it was from our ewe, Ziggy.

Of course, we had to have a special photo shoot in honor of the occasion!


Remember this fleece?
So crimpy and soft and straight off Ziggy.


I skirted it,
washed it,
spun it,
plied it,
& then crocheted it,
to make this gray and white messenger bag.


I ordered a button made from a Jacob ram's horn from Kenliegh's Acres.


Ziggy didn't know her fleece could be made into something so useful.
She thinks she needs a small bag to carry animal crackers in!  Guess I will have to work on that.


 And now I am on to making something else,
 a coordinating item for the bag.


For this I decided it would be fun to spin roving that has been processed at a fiber mill.
I bought 8 oz of beautiful medium gray from Meridian Jacobs.  Just look at the size of that ball! I will spin and crochet this and trim out my next project with the remaining varigated yarn from Zigs.


This much roving should keep me busy during the Tour.
What? You don't know about the Tour De Fleece?
While the best cyclists in the world are spinning their wheels around  France, 5,500+ handspinners from around the world are spinning their wheels too.  It's a online event on Ravelry.com  It keeps us motivated to reach our spinning goals.  My goal this year it to spin this roving and complete my project.  See you at the finish line!  I'll be the one in the gray hat with the matching bag. ;)

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