Our farm is going to grow yet again! I’m kind of nervous thinking about it but excited at the same time. When we bought the wool dryer balls from the sheep farmer we also put down a deposit on a breeding pair of sheep for our oldest son! We will get these lambs in the spring so there’s lots of time. It’s just fencing, shelter etc. We do not want to put much money into permanent infrastructure like stalls in the barn because we cannot take it with us. We will probably do temporary housing outside. I know the sheep farm uses calf huts, but I think those can be pricey so we’ll do something like our little hoop house over our raised bed.
The sheep in the photo above are from the sheep farm but owned by our neighbor. When I went there with my friend to look at their Dutch Belted cow, I snapped a photo of the Babydoll sheep. Our neighbor knows the sheep farmers, which is what prompted me to get in touch with them, remembering I had their business card from the Green Expo. I had inquired earlier in the year but never got around to calling them back because we were not at a place of being ready for more animals with all our delays in fencing and waiting for pasture to grow. But our son has been asking so we took the leap of faith and put a deposit down knowing we have to plan ahead for things like this, especially if we want unrelated lambs to breed. Thankfully, we do not have to worry about shearing wool until spring of 2015 and the ewe won’t be bred until she is a year or two old.
Our son’s sheep will be registered Babydoll sheep. He has his names picked out already – Atlas for the ram and Juno for the ewe. It’s always interesting to see what names they come up with. I questioned him gently making sure those were names he wanted before I sent them to the breeder. I just wanted him to be sure. I also asked him if he was going to be able to sell his lambs. He said yes, but we’ll see.
Babydoll sheep are a recovering sheep breed on the Livestock Conservancy priority list. We chose them because they are smaller, plus they are cute!
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I think I did better writing down funny things as they happened this week so it is officially time to laugh with the Goulds again! We have joined The Mommyhood Chronicles for Week #7 – for us – in the Saturday Top Five Laughs of the week.
5. We were talking about the Prince and Duchess of Wales and our Amelia Bedilia said, “They live in whales?” I believe she knew what we meant but was trying to be funny because she repeated it to her brother next to her and then they high-fived.
4. Love the honest laughs of my children. Nothing makes us smile more than to hear their genuine laugh.
3. The kittens were their playful selves again. Our three year old son was told to clean the crayon off the patio door and while he was wiping, Freckles was trying to grab Jr.’s cloth!
2. We had one of our sons get sick yesterday, which made our older son paranoid about getting sick. My son applied DiGize essential oil to help ward off a tummy ache. My husband pulled a fast one on him by asking him which way he applied the DiGize clockwise or counter clockwise. My son replied, “Counter clockwise.” My husband proceeded to tell him if he circled counter clockwise everything would come up, but if he had of applied it clockwise everything would stay down. My son goes, “Arghhhh!” And my husband comes in our bedroom laughing that he couldn’t believe he fooled our son. I chuckled and told him to go tell him the difference before he thought he’d be sick!
1. Last night while I was working on my laptop our children were all watching the movie “The Croods” next to me. I loved hearing them all burst out laughing. I was listening to their laughter more than the movie so now I have to watch it for myself! Gotta love the sound of children laughing! This is kind of a repetition of #4, oh well! I was doubly blessed this week to think of it twice!
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About a month ago my 14 year old daughter “B” and I went to a Green Expo to promote our farm. We collected a few business cards, one of which was a local sheep farmer. I finally got around to visiting their website and discovered they sold wool dryer balls. These wool dryer balls are handmade by M.
When my older girls were little I had to stop using dryer sheets because a couple of them broke out with rashes. I never liked the expense of liquid fabric softener so we’ve basically gone without. I have used a rag with vinegar on it to get rid of static cling.
That’s why I was excited to try the wool dryer balls come in as an alternative. We have been using them since the weekend and they are working. We do not seem to have to turn the dryer on for a second cycle on our larger loads so it is doing what I hoped they’d do in reducing dryer time by soaking up extra wetness. No one has said anything about static cling yet so I am hoping that will be rectified as well.
I think I’ll get my mom a set of dryer balls the next time she comes to visit.
Do you have any dryer sheet remedies?
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Ha! Getting into the habit of keeping track of our family’s funnies! These are not all necessarily from this past week though. Can’t believe I made it to six weeks of participating in The Mommyhood Chronicles Saturday Top Five Laughs! I think I’ve made it a habit or at least I hope so!
5. My husband was doing laundry and came out of the laundry room holding a skirt saying, “Really, we are keeping this?” It was “B’s” black skirt. It has a rip down the side. See the photo below. B said, “Yes, I need it” laughing. Then he proceeded to go on a tirade about how I throw out his holey clothes (I don’t throw them all out), but he’s right that I have literally ripped one of his old, holey t-shirts off of him in order to prove my point that it needed to be thrown out. Let’s just say B and I were more humored about the skirt than he was! He thinks it’s ridiculous that B wants to keep the ripped skirt.
4. I forgot this one on one of the other Saturday Top Five Laughs post. Padfoot, our dog, was barking so my husband went to the window of our room to see what he was going on about. Turns out Padfoot was barking at a caterpillar! The caterpillar was just out of his reach and he wanted to get it. Silly dog.
3. My husband has this particular way of raising and wiggling his eyebrows when he’s being goofy. Our youngest has started doing it. It’s very cute, though because his eyebrows are not as dark as his daddy’s it doesn’t have quite the same affect.
2. Our daughter “B” posted the above notice on a couple of our bedroom doors.
1. Bear in the house! We have a couple of those adorable animal hats with the mittens attached and my little guy kept coming up to us with it completely over his eyes growling at us.
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Just wanted to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! We are chillin’ at home as a family. We cooked our turkey overnight now we are in the throws of washing potatoes, making pie dough and preparing veggies. Robert is carving the turkey (which was homegrown and is so yummy!), I’m making cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls and the girls divided up the rest of the work among them and the younger ones.
Things I am thankful for this year are:
- Family – near and far – miss those of you in Canada!
- The ability to work from home and be here for our children.
- God’s provision – financially during this time of unemployment for my husband, leading us to the animals we have (I think we have awesome animals!), giving us solutions to life’s problems
- Living our dream. Living in the country, growing our own food, giving our children the privilege of raising animals. I was telling someone this week our children spend more time with our animals than with toys most days.
- Our health. So very grateful we are all healthy.
- Being nearly a week ahead in blog posts, thanks to my contributing writers’ help!
- Time with Friends. I went out with a friend yesterday to look at a Dutch Belted cow for a friend of hers at my neighbor’s (a new friend) and we had such a fun time with stimulating farm conversation! 4 hours worth! Grateful for my farm friends especially this year because they “get” us and what we are trying to do. They also lend a hand and are there for us. Makes me feel like we are finally a part of a community and it’s been a long time since I felt that way, since leaving my native Nova Scotia.
Wishing you a very grateful 2013 Thanksgiving!
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In light of Saturday’s Top Five Laughs post, thought I’d share this photo of Freckles at the beginning of her climb and Selene as she looks on because I think they look adorable!
Today the kittens were out in the snow for the first time and they batted at it! Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of it.
The kittens climbing all over the garage and my husband says they think it’s their own jungle gym and I tend to agree.
This week’s Wordless Wednesday is almost….wordless!
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Last Monday we had Miss Moo AI’d (artificially inseminated) again. We are hoping it sticks this time. Our vet told us if we see any signs of heat to call him to come back not rather than wait the 60 days, so we’ll do that. “B” is usually pretty good at telling when Miss Moo is in heat, thankfully.
For example, last weekend we had those huge storms with about 70 tornadoes being reported across Illinois. On Sunday, Robert had taken the four older ones to the Chicago Field Museum for the day. That left me with four children 10 an under. Robert had left our son in charge of chickens but we also had to get Blaze in because he does not like to be out in the elements. Remember he’s old. However, when I called Robert to get him to ask about “B” about Miss Moo, “B” told me she’d be fine. And she was. She just stood there chewing her cud in the wind and rain, not bothered at all. However, she did run around a bit kicking up her heals. Something she does when she’s in heat. There were other signs “B” said Miss Moo was exhibiting before they all left for the day too.
So we are anxiously waiting again to see if Miss Moo will be with calf. That means a 2014 late summer or early fall calf. As long as she calves before winter, I’ll be happy.
As a side note, our horse and cow have bonded. It’s been so sweet to watch Blaze follow Miss Moo in the pasture or hear the children tell me one or the other won’t go out or come in without the other one.
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I was a little lax this week with writing down funny things as they happened, but then Thursday and Friday I hit the “jackpot” so to speak and several funny things happened! So are you ready to laugh with the Goulds again? Once again we have joined The Mommyhood Chronicles for Week #5 – for us! – in the Saturday Top Five Laughs of the week.
5. I do ask my older children if it’s ok to share their funnies in my Saturday Top Five Laughs. They have even been known to say, “You know that’s going in mom’s blog post!” Hey, I’m making this my number 5 this week!
4. My daughter “B” came into my room on Thursday morning saying she had a bad dream. She called it a nightmare. She started by saying she dreamed she slept in until 9am. I interrupted her to say that most people would not consider that a nightmare, let alone a bad dream. But I knew where she was going because she’s our dairymaid and does the milking so sleeping in until 9am is definitely a bad thing, considering it’s 3 hours past milking time! Then “B” went on to say that wasn’t the worst thing, that I told her she couldn’t have chocolate forever!
3. Our kittens are getting big. Need another photo shoot. Anyhoo….They were up to their cute antics again. Freckles actually climbed the wall of our brick house! They tried during our SHEBA photo shoot but did not succeed. On Thursday, Freckles succeeded. I think her motivation was her mama, who was perched on the kitchen window sill, which is on that wall. The cats like to sit on the ledge and perch or watch whoever is working in the kitchen. Hoping for handouts!
2. We were having sandwiches for lunch the other day and my daughter, “Amelia” or “O”, informed my husband that she liked IF’s (grocery store in the town we use to live in) deli meat better than the stuff he bought at the “Pig” (Piggly Wiggly in our town). Then she said, “It smells like gas (but she used another term).” Sigh. Manners seems to have flown the coop with that child.
1. This one is just plain goofy. I’ve had a pain in my left arm pit most of the week. One day I blurted out, “Does anyone care that my arm pit hurts?” I was answered with a bunch of giggles. Then I said, “So no one cares if my arm pit hurts? Hmpfh.” They all proceeded to state they cared. Like I believed them. Hmpfh.
Guess that’s all I could come up with for laughs this week!
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This summer our egg business really took off. We could not keep up with the demand for our eggs, even at $5 and $6 a dozen. We allow our poultry to free range as well as feed them certified organic feed making our eggs a “premium” product. To accommodate the growth in our egg business we bought a couple of batches of 6 month old pullets from two other farms. Bad choice. We knew the risks but wanted our egg business to keep growing and not drop off. Our intentions were good but the result was fatal to our egg business, as well as our entire flock of poultry.
Our laying flock was healthy. There was nothing wrong with them. Then we started to notice sick chickens. The ones that were sick stopped laying. They showed signs of being lethargic, sleeping a lot, coughing, wheezing and like they had a cold in the eye. The pullets we bought obviously brought an illness to our healthy flock because this illness showed up within two weeks of bringing home the second flock of pullets. We were very concerned for the safety of our customers, our broilers and our turkeys. No vets in the area deal with chickens so we had to go to a university veterinary lab. The closest one to us is the University of Wisconsin. Two hours away – one way. We took the vets two live birds to help them make a diagnosis. Live birds allowed for fresh tissue analysis and a more accurate diagnosis. My husband made the trip on a Friday in September.
Within a few days we had our answer. Upper respiratory infection. Sometimes fatal, especially to broilers who have a smaller trachea (or esophagus) than laying hens. Good news? This infection is not harmful to humans. The eggs and meat could still be sold. Bad news? Even when the birds recover from the infection, they remain carriers of the infection and can spread it to any new birds we brought onto our farm. Results? We have to cull (kill) our whole flock of laying hens and turkeys. Even our breeding turkeys. Our turkeys never exhibited any signs of the infection but since they were exposed, they are carriers too.
We had sick chickens for about a month. The infection went through our flock quickly and usually lasted a few days. It was basically a “chicken cold”. Who would have thought, right? There was nothing we could do for them….other than separate the ones who were getting picked on. The vet told about an antibiotic but didn’t actually recommend it since the birds were now carriers.
This “chicken cold” has been devastating. Our egg business was to the point of buying all the feed for our animals, except our horse, dog and cats. We are hoping all our customers come back in the spring.
Our plan? We plan to start fresh with baby chicks in December and have eggs available in the spring.
We will buy more turkeys in the spring and choose some to keep for breeding purposes.
We will never, ever buy chickens from unknown farms again. And may this be a lesson for anyone considering purchasing chickens from another farm to add to your current flock…DON’T.
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Ok all you cat and kitty lovers….I couldn’t resist posting an all kitty post after the photo shoot we did for the SHEBA post yesterday. I just kept snapping and snapping hoping to get some good, non-blurry photos of them! They are at such an adorable age. I don’t get to observe them like the children do but I love it when the children come tell me stories of all the antics and things they are up to. Like tonight, my son came to tell me that Badger is sleeping inside one of my husband’s old ratty running shoes! Why wasn’t the old ratty shoe tossed when he got his new ones? Guess they were meant to be here for the kittens! Too bad the garage is so dark or else I would have taken a photo of the kitty in the shoe!
Freckles washing herself.
Sweet little kittens.
Severus is our Tom cat and you can see the resemblance between him and Badger, eh? Oh and Sevy is our only male cat now since all his kittens appear to be females!
Badger licking her lips.
Freckles sitting pretty.
Badger sitting pretty too.
Selene sitting pretty.
Amazing that I got a shot of each one of them sitting so nicely. Full bellies helped! So remember that as a photography tip! These are their six week old photos.
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