Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh I forgot to.....

I have had a number of replies, both email and other, about yesterdays post on grass fed or grain. Of course everyone agreed with me :-) That would probably be because most people tend only to read those blogs that are similar to their own leanings. Kind of like choosing friends like yourself-- I mean who wants friends your always mad at?
Anyways-- one thing I did forget to mention/post about was Joel Salatin in that article. I thought of it after I had shut down that night and wanted to come back and put it in. Since he is one of the original people to outspokenly advocate grass fed/pasture raised he definitely deserves to be mentioned. More than likely most of you have heard of him. Just in case someone hasn't though you take a look at his web site Polyface farm. For those of you who have heard of him---did you know that at one time he tried to do a bit of blogging? Obviously--he couldn't commit the time to it but the one post that I read is very interesting and here it is: Polyface Farm Blog
By the way Joel Salatin has an "open farm policy". Anyone can call, get directions and stop by his farm. I think if anyone doubts the ability for cattle and other animals to be sustainable pasture raised---that would be a good place to direct them to view for themselves.

AND an update: I "got" 3 (yes three) more dump struck loads of leaves yesterday!!! Now I have a whopping HUGE pile out there. My son has moved in and now has a buried fortress underneath said pile. Whoopee----let me do an Indian dance since this is the easiest amount of collecting of mulch I have ever done in my entire life! Yes, in my entire life. My shoulders appreciate it too :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Grassfed or Grain

Today I stumbled on this: zero carb daily oct. 8th 2006 Now I have to say that is the biggest load of &*%$ I ever read. --O.k. I will apologize for word use and maybe its not the biggest load I ever read but still let me say some things that bug me immensely about this particular posting. I am going to disregard the part about it being healthier or not since I am not a scientist. But here goes on the other things:

1. Are they happier---well my animals would tell you yes, being in a pasture makes them happy. Just try keeping them in for a month or more (has happened for various reasons) and you won't have seen such joy as when you let them out. Jumping, kicking, twisting and running around. They aren't that stupid.
2. Feeding of hay : What do they think that cattle in confinement eat? Sugar cubes? Cows HAVE to have a certain amount of grass or hay everyday---it's the fiber in their diet. Their system won't work if they don't have some. Besides--growing corn (which makes them grow faster) to feed confinement cows creates more problems than growing a mono culture of grass--over use of chemicals, petro based fertilizers, WATER, gas consumption in its own right, soil erosion. Also, mono culture has never been advocated by the grass fed industry---they like to have a variety of grasses. Yes, I will agree that FARMERS have a tendency to grow only a few different types of grass. Human nature there. How many tomato varieties make it to the grocery store though???
3. The form of E coli that recently caused deaths by eating the spinach ----that form of e coli is ONLY found in confinement cattle. IT is a form that was discovered in the 70's I think (could be early 80's) and "developed/grew/mutated" into that deadly form because of the un natural environment created in the cattle's stomach from feeding it grain. Its called acidosis---a cows stomach is suppose to have a neutral ph--and grain basically give them acid reflux. To this day---that is the only place that form of e coli comes from.
4. Grass fed cattle pollute streams and foul springs. ---HAH! not nearly as badly as the build up of manure and the HUGE cess pits of foul fecal matter at confinement facilities that seep and run off into the water (of course they aren't SUPPOSE to seep and run off). Also let's not forget that so much chemical fertilizer/nitrogen is applied to the corn grown for cattle (which by the way doesn't allow for native grasses to be grown where it is) causes build ups of nitrates in well water. Check out this post: November 19th 2006.
5. Grass fed are vulnerable to predators---Well, if you ever saw or read anything about those cattle in confinement and their life: You to would rather be eaten by a cougar. On the other hand there are such things as great Pyrenees (like we use) that EFFECTIVELY help with livestock predation.
6. Grass fed interrupt natural processes including wildfire: hahahahahhahahahaha AS IF man hasn't already done that well enough himself and in such a manner that has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with cattle/sheep/hogs or any other animal run on pasture.
7. With knowledge of how to run an effect grass fed/rotational grazing operations---stocking density can be controlled so that wildlife is not unduly effected. As a matter of fact some places leave some areas underutilized during times when birds are sitting their nests to help allow for egg hatching and chick growth.

As with anything man does---all things can be done incorrectly, including grass feeding animals. BUT---if I where to choose one thing done right over another done the way it was meant to be: I would choose grass fed done right any day of the week. Done right---confinement is still a nasty nasty way to live and definitely the wrong way to go. Why do you think antibiotic use is so high----if you lived cheek to rear end with someone day in and out you would need constant antibiotics too.
If you are curious about the "other" side of the coin here is a place to start: Stockman Grass farmer. Good monthly paper that advocates natural/organic/grass fed. Another is Acres USA


Barn Gate

Here is a quick picture of the great metal gate my husband made for me. It is to replace the flimsy "jury rigged" gate that was there and then was torn down by one of the rams. This one is plenty strong and will take great effort on the part of any of the animals to tear up. My brilliant husband made it out of leftover metal for me. Now I will have to buy some new metal so he can make me a matching gate for the entrance about 10 feet to the left of this one since I would like them to match. So many things to do, so little time (and money sometimes)

Buffet Style

Here is an update on the post from Nov. 27, 2006 "Garden Mulch and other digressions" As I had mentioned in that post I needed to dump out the leaves from their plastic bags. That way I wouldn't have to worry about small plastic bits inadvertently getting eaten by the sheep. Once I started dumping the leaves--they all lined up to do the leaf buffet. In this picture the black sheep closest is the original bag ripper culprit. Also note two are not doing the buffet. Guess they decided they were full while I went to get the camera or maybe they were worried about buffet germs.
The second picture is of all the leaves in my front yard since yesterday evening. Doesn't look like much in the picture but it is quite a large amount. My local town has decided this year they would help me in my quest for more leaves and are emptying their dump truck in my front yard. 3 loads so far in this picture, but rain has come so I will have to wait for more. I like to think they are doing it because I am nice or have influence but in reality----I live closer than all the other places they dump. But hey---works for me. I might just come out of this not only with enough to do my garden but to mulch all my shrubs and flowers too. My son isn't going to like it as well as I when he finds out he is the "volunteer" to move all of it :-)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Today I have officially made it 3 days without drinking a soda aka: coke, soda pop, a carbonated beverage, soft drink, or in more relevant (to me) terms: DR PEPPER. O.k, I know--not a very long time yet but.....It is the LOVE of my food eating life! It already seems like an eternity. Of course after listening to my husband go on (and on and on and on ) about corn/farm commodities, I of course had to decide if I was going to walk the talk. That is not even including the guilt over the LARGE amounts of chemical fertilizer and pesticides used on corn. Nor the HUGE volumes of water needed to irrigate said seed. And then there's the GMO problem and also by drinking "coke" I am inadvertently supporting Monsanto (scourge of the earth---I rank them in line with halliburton and some other companies AND people if you get my drift). The whole health benefits and diseases associated with consuming corn syrups are also involved. And of course there is always the empty calories, which didn't bother me at 20 but I don't want to linger around with me as I move into my forties. I would just as soon leave them in the 30s. They'll be happier there anyways. Anyways---not to say I will never never drink another dr. pepper BUT for 6 weeks I will try to break my addiction.
Things I have trouble currently imagining without dr pepper forever though are: Mexican food, Chinese food, chips, popcorn (oops there's that corn again), sandwiches, my lunch,all food, a stressful situation....... Eventually maybe I can just make my own homemade carbonated beverage, with cane syrup or something like that but not for 6 weeks. Part of the "addiction" for me is the carbonation and the yummy yummy sugar. If I make up a good one though I could bottle it and call it M&M. Oh yeah--that's already taken. Well, I don't think my other "moniker" of MOKE or MONK will look as good on a bottle though. Oh well, another business dream dashed.
As you noticed in the beginning of the post I named a few names by which sodas are called. Where I grew up for part of my younger years in Texas---everyone (except transplanted Yanks) called it coke. Now how funny is that? Since Dr Pepper is a Texas discovery and Coke is a Georgia discovery (which is where I am now). To be asked " what can I get you to drink" is to respond with " a coke please" "O.K.---which one will you take? We have root beer, grape, orange, coke and dr pepper" But then of course when you move or travel---you can get into all kinds of trouble saying "Give me a coke please" "No, not a coke---a dr pepper" At least they never generically called it pepsi---YUK. Double Yuk. Of course they could have called it canada dry which would have been o.k. with me too---but a bit of a mouth full I suppose. By the way check out this for a funny little sideline:

Wonder who wanted to spend money to do that? By the way: Don't forget to scroll around since the "colors" will change.
Good day allLink

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dabbling in Normal

Oh---a whopping two post in one day. Of course I missed a few days so this is just making up for going so long.
I came upon this blog: --her November 22, 2006 post titled the same as this posting is. The posting really hit a nerve with me since that seems to be my perpetual struggle. Dabbling in normal. Katie speaks of being grateful that there are those that live outside the main stream without apology. My husband and I have always been "outside the normal" compared to our family and friends that we grew up with. I don't ever remember a time when I didn't want to have animals or garden. Though no one in my family did. Some of the things my husband and I do are no longer considered fruity any more but were at one time: organics, recycling, conserving fuel (we owned a geo metro that got 45 to 50 miles to the gallon when they first came out in the early 90s---and we weren't commuters) but some of the things still are. Does it bother me anymore? Sometimes. Especially when you are at the company xmas part with a group of woman that all live in the current accepted way. The idea of living primitive doesn't appeal to them at all so anything like: "I would love to build our next house with a composting toilet" just really doesn't go over well nor is it understood. How about "yeah---we butchered our hog and we spent all saturday cleaning intestines for sausage making" (something I would like to do but haven't yet). The funny thing is this: most of the things we do outside the norm are good for us, our economy, ours and others health, and the environment. At least we are trying to walk our talk. I wish more people would. Disregarding whether you believe in global warming or not---organics makes our water and soil healthier. Eating local saves gas and reduces pollution. Eating grass fed gives us healthier animals in turn being better for us. Organic milk (raw of course) is better for us contrary to what they like to try and force us to believe. Isn't this all reason to be a bit "un-normal" Since when did being normal have to be bad for you and everyone around you? The funny thing is: there are plenty of us who would choose to be un normal and grow all this food and help save energy and overall make it easier for those with less interest to be able to help also. But instead of accepting and supporting us, people and our government work to make it very difficult sometimes to be this way. They must be scared of us. Too bad for them. Maybe I should learn to frequent the mall more---at least I would have something to talk about at the next time I am out somewhere with the "normal" crowd.

Garden mulch and other digressions

Here are some pictures of part of our garden area we will use next year to plant all our vegetables. Originally when we first moved here we put beds in this area and planted all the plants I brought from our other home (peonies, roses and clematis). The areas up by the house were you normally would put flowering plants were overgrown with shrubs, weeds and poison ivy. We have cleaned up most of it around the house, driveway and backyard in the 3 summers we have been here but still have a bit to do-- in between the million other things we need to accomplish. We will move the last of the plants out of here this winter and hopefully be ready to plant peas and other cold lovers by early early spring. When we put in the plants I originally brought with me we also tilled and put in 4 rows (about 100' long) of lavender plants--all purchased as liners so they weren't very expensive. Unfortunately 3 summers were all we got from them. I am not disappointed at all, they were wonderful to pick and have in the house and I would plant them again --but three summers of Georgia weather were all they could stand since it is usually so rainy and humid here. By this summer all were pretty much dead. Most died last year since we had so much rain-- unlike this summer which was dry dry dry and they would have lived lived lived.
Anyways we have started collecting leaves from our own and others yards for mulch and fertilizer. The bags are from the leaves we collect from other people throwing them away--I am definitely not finished collecting but Thanksgiving side tracked me. I have mixed feelings about people bagging leaves. On the one hand it makes it extremely easy for me to drive up and throw them in my car or truck, but on the other hand---the use of plastic bags to throw away a completely beneficial product bothers me. At first I laid all our leaves from our maples and the bagged leaves we collected on top of the beds that are there in nice NEAT rows. I wanted to try and smother out the grass that had grown into the beds with our lack of care from the end of the summer. BUT when I put temporary fencing around the area and let in the sheep to graze---they messed it all up (bad goats) hence the disorganized look to it. As a matter of fact---one ewe found an open bag and decided "hey--there's some good munchies in here" and proceeded to teach the others that not only the open bags but the closed ones too had good stuff. So now none of the bags are reusable (we reuse them for our trash if they are in o.k. shape---you know: recycle as much as you can) The sheep have pawed all of them open, even the untied ones, and proceeded to dig through and eat what trimmings they found and liked. They just "pop" a hole into it with their hoof and then gingerly dig around to find what they want. No, I am not worried about them finding something poisonous in there, though at first I did worry they might accidentally eat the plastic--which thankfully hasn't happened. Later today or tomorrow I will make a point of emptying all the bags and getting rid of them though--just in case.
The sheep have done a great job of eating down most of the grass and of course "fertilizing" it for me. The cows are adding their leftovers to this project too of course---I just have to bring it in instead of them helpfully depositing it there for me like the sheep are :-) The soil in this area of our property was one of the best but is still not very fertile or well drained in spots. We have added leaves and compost every year we have been here but we need to take a soil sample to decide exactly what and how much of other amendments we may need---kelp will be one we definitely use since we love it. We are pretty sure not only will the soil test say we desperately need lime but we may also be low in selenium and some other minerals. We have had our pastures tested (but never this area of the property) so we imagine it will be similar anyways. I am so convinced of the benefit of yearly soil testing and it's impact on animal health that I will blog about that when we retest everything in Feb.
My goal---BIG ONE---is to can/freeze most all of the veggies we eat next year. We have canned, frozen, and dried our produce before, but mostly the basics. You know--the standard tomato sauce, grean beans, applesauce----but not an entire years worth or the whole cornucopia of produce. I understand some things will have to be grown under cold frames to eat during the year or that we will have to "root cellar" them but.... we will see how this works out. It is a lofty goal (for me personally) and maybe by blogging I will stick with it since others will be expecting to see how this worked out. Hopefully I will be able to fill our pantry with a years worth of better tasting food. If nothing else we will have more healthy produce for part of the year, even if I end up not able grow/store enough to eat for the entire year. Other people do it so I am sure I will eventually be able to accomplish this---practice makes perfect they always say. The problem will be the days when its already 85 degrees at 8 in the morning---that's when the lofty goals have a tendency to get thrown to the wayside :-)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Heifer Project

Have you ever thought about helping to feed the hungry?
Try this web link out. Heifer International doesn't just give people food---they give people the means to keep producing their own food.
"Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime"
Heifer not only helps people get livestock but they teach people to sustainably raise their livestock. They also "give" gifts of trees to help people replant erroded areas and re create sustainable agriculture that doesn't deplete and over use these areas.
Click on the words Heifer Project above and it will take you straight to their web site. Check it out for yourself, I don't think you will be disappointed :-)

Ram Pen

Well, looks like tight quarters to me---but this is roomy compared to how they slept last night. Yeah, I know it seems cruel but after being split apart for a couple months with their own harem of ladies---well....they hate each other. Actually they don't hate each other as much as they have a hierarchial "thing" to work out. A bit of blood was spilled before we got the pen small enough but by this afternoon they were out in the pasture doing pretty well together. After all day yesterday and last night without room to eat or drink---hay and water were pretty much the first thing on their mind when we let them out. The picture has hay in it but we had just squooshed them to that end to temporarily re confine them while we got the pen undone and moved them out of the barn. The oldest ram had cowed everyone by this morning so except for some small squabbles between the lesser rams in the pasture everything is fairly smooth. If two start to bicker for 2nd place it just brings the biggest ram running to beat the others up or chase them around, so everyone seems to be settling in to their new positions. All except the smallest/youngest ram---he has always known were he belonged :-)
By the time we leave out of town for Thanksgiving they will be doing fine together---which is the reason for putting them back together. We didn't want our helper to have to water 5 different pastures of animals while we were gone nor did we want to wait and try to put them together the day before we left (just in case you know). Now we are down to two pastures of animals. One for the ewes and the cows and one for the rams. will be easier in the morning when I feed that is for sure. Unfortunately when we get back---Ike, our moorit spotted ram--goes in for "clean up" on anyone not bred. Which means we will either have to pen everyone together again so Ike doesn't get picked on for being in with the girls OR every day we will have to walk him over to the ewe pen, let him stay a few hours and then put him back for the rest of the day with the rams. The rams aren't quite that smart so sometimes they have trouble picking up on that trick bit I am unsure if my oldest ram will fall for this trick---so we will see how it works out. That will probably be the topic of a future post.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Asparagus Seeds

Today I bought the seeds to start my asparagus bed. I know most people buy crowns but I was determined to try a variety that is not so commonly grown anymore--something different. We have had asparagus beds at previous houses, but for some reason haven't started one since we lived here. Probably because of all the other things we have been doing but that is another post. Since I recently decided that next year I would like to try and produce all the vegetables and much of the fruit we eat, it was time to get serious about the asparagus. It takes 3 years to really be able to start harvesting asparagus spears from the crowns---though you can take a very light harvest in the second year depending on how well they have done. That basically means that I won't be harvesting this asparagus bed until the spring after there is a new President. Ack--so long.
I really like open pollinated and heirloom varieties of seeds so I set out on a search to see what types of heirloom asparagus I could find. Not many I found out. Most that are listed in old journals and plant lists seem to be long gone now, or else they are just very very hard to find. There were a number I would have liked to try but finally settled on the french heirloom variety --Precoce d'Argenteuil -- both because it interested me AND because it was one of the few I could find seeds of. I ordered the seeds from Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds (link in post) and now will wait impatiently for them to get here. I am excited to start them from seed since I have always purchased crowns previously. They say it is very easy to start asparagus from seed---no 6 month sprout rate or anything like that---which is nice to know since some things can be notoriously difficult to grow from seed. I am not the best seed sprouter so that is a factor I consider when deciding what new things to try. (I have never yet gotten any Agapanthus seeds to sprout for me)
Precoce d'Argenteuil is still widely grown in France as a variety suited for blanching before it is picked. The French supposedly favor a blanched (covered while it grows so that it stays white) asparagus. I personally have never had white asparagus which supposedly has a different/milder flavor than regular grown ie: green asparagus. Some like it and some don't--however it is obviously I will have to wait about....ummm... 3 years to find out.
The discussion of color leads me to the second variety I will purchase and grow---this time as two year old crowns--"Purple Passion". I love fruits/vegetables that are a different color than they are "suppose" to be. People now seem to be more aware of the fact that vegetables don't always come in standard colors-- but it is fun to surprise people periodically with a reddish purple broccoli or purple asparagus or even a red carrot. I really look forward to harvesting both varieties. At least this one will be ready sooner than the other :-) One last variety that I might try eventually---another heirloom variety--is Conover's Colossal Asparagus sold by Bountiful Gardens. Though I would imagine by the time my original two varieties get going-- I will have plenty of asparagus to eat fresh, can, give away and hopefully sell.
One other great thing about asparagus---it looks beautiful during the summer time. I love looking at it since it is so exotic---almost like some Caribbean plant came to vacation in my yard. --- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds -- Bountiful Gardens

Monday, November 13, 2006

Those bad animals

Guy---looking a bit ratty here since he is in rut--their fleeces don't grow the best during this time. He's busy eating here and not walking the fence. All this pacing causes him to be a bit on the slim side right now.

A close up of one of the culprits.

There's the bad beeve in the back. That is Caragh (our biggest cow) and Dare our 7 month old bull laying in the front. Rose is about 36" tall.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rams and cows

Well this evening (Sunday) our oldest Icelandic ram got through the gate and into the cow pasture. We actually didn't have to chase him down as much as we thought we would when we first noticed he was in there. We caught him without much problem. Put his halter on and led him out of the pasture. He was a bit tired but no damage was done to anyone. I know you are wondering what problem there could possibly be with an Icelandic ram in a pasture with cows. In this case: big problems--for us anyways.
It all started last fall as rut approached. If you have never seen Irish Dexter cows---they are short. So short in fact that when a female is young she might not be much bigger than an average ram. Heavier but not much taller. Well, last year I made the mistake of bringing the ram into the barn to shear him as he went into rut. I wanted him to be cool as he started well....getting physical. I chose to do said shearing in the back stall of the barn. What I forgot when deciding this was that Rose--the cow---loved that stall and considered it hers and hers alone. She practically dances when she gets to go in it. Perception is everything when you are a cow and as far as she was concerned I "ruined" it when I took the ram into it--made it all stinky or something. She stared at us the whole time but I never gave it a thought. I just figured she was interested in what was happening. When I let the ram out though, she immediately started harassing him. Since he was coming into rut he felt inclined to defend himself against this supposed encroacher of his territory and so, of course, at that point war was declared by all involved. Butting, chasing and bashing ensued--with us running around trying to stop it--yelling the whole time. Up and down the hills of the back pasture, never quite able to get close to one or the other to catch them. They were so evenly matched that no one true winner could be declared. Finally the cow decided she was tired and wanted to give up, but the ram---well he is a ram and victory could not be declared until there was a true winner and the looser was no longer around. It was quite funny now that I think of it---My husband standing with the cow hiding behind him with his arms out, Rose keeping my husband between her and "guy" --peering (literally) out around my husband to watch were the ram was so she could keep my husband between them, Guy circling them both like a shark and me running in circles after him and just never quite able to catch hold of the brat. It took about 45 minutes all told but seemed like hours.
Since that time---we have always had to keep those two separate. They (or at least he) will fight every time. He picks at no other cow but her. She is his arch nemesis. Raminski vs Dexter Rose.
During the summer it seemed to have settled down and we didn't have too much of a problem--though we made sure to always keep them separate. But now that rut has started again, Guy sees his competition on the other side of the gate and is sure that Rose (the female cow) is going to steal his "harem" from him and purportedly breed them :-O. I am about 100% sure she is not interested--but he is not so confident no matter what I tell him. He spends quite a bit of time along the fence line protecting all from Rose. Pacing, making threatening "nickering" noises and guarding the fence line.
We have been told by friends "oh you should get a picture of that" when the two get together and fight. But to this day---we are so surprised and thrown out of whack by this dilemma when it infrequently happens, that we forget to get a picture. Next post I will try and get a picture of each one individually so that they can flaunt their mug shots here for all to see.

Christmas cookies so soon?

Saturday night I decided I just had to have pfeffernussen cookies. They are one of my favorite since I love any type of ginger snap cookies and spice cakes. They also remind me a bit of egg nog which I also love and could drink by the gallons if it wasn't so fattening. These are also easy to make cookies and bake up quick and crisp not soft. Well just a bit soft in the center but not very much, and they are supremely better than any store bought cookie. I would have added a picture to show how attractive they are but they were quickly eaten by the family. By the way these are great cookies to add to a cookie plate for gifts. They balance out all the vanilla sugar cookies and chocolate things in Christmas "sampler" gift.

Here is the recipe that I enjoy--give it a try.

1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (to shake cookies in)

Preheat oven to 350 and then mix dry ingredients into a medium size bowl:

2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (it is best with freshly ground)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda

Set aside. In a bowl (electric mixer is easiest but you can do it by hand) blend:

1/2 cup butter room temp.
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

Blend until fluffy. Then add 1 large egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

With mixer on low add dry ingredients, beat until just combined.

Either use a small "ice cream" type scoop (one of my favorite cookie tools) or scoop out and roll dough into 1 1/4 inch approximately sized balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. I actually use the silpat liners which I think are great. They make clean up a snap and are reusable. If you didn't have either of these I think you could probably put them straight on the pan and they wouldn't stick. Arrange about 12 on a regular size cookie sheet. Bake until golden and firm to touch---they will be slightly cracked on the top. Let cool a bit then shake in a bag or container to coat with powdered sugar. I actually shake mine straight from the oven but I don't suppose it matters since it is personal taste. You can freeze this dough too if you want to make it ahead and bake and assemble your cookie plates the day of or before "gifting".

Oh yes, last thing---eat with milk. And don't feel guilty!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Well here is princess. She is one of our Icelandic ewes. See the hay in her fleece? That is because we have had such a drought this year we needed to start haying sooner than normal. Hay in the fleece is a no no to those of you who don't have sheep. But a problem we couldn't avoid this year. We will have to work harder to pick through the fleece and to clean it up when we are ready to sell it, spin it or get it processed. I wanted to add some other pictures of the sheep---but when I bend down to get good pictures they get so close all I get are pictures of noses. White, pink, black and brown noses. And bit sometimes--they have very sharp bottom teeth and they think the camera is a treat I am trying to give to them --so sometimes I get nibbled which can be painful to the fingers.
We have 16 Icelandic sheep altogether. They are spotted, mouflon, solid brown and black, one badger face moorit (brown) ewe, and some solid white. Some are polled (which means without horns) and some have horns. We like both though some like one or the other. There are pros and cons to both. Disregarding all the theories you hear about why they should or shouldn't have horns---we think horns look neat and polled are much easier to shear. They don't poke you in the legs when you flip them on their rump to shear their bellies. That's why we have both.


Finally--my first post. I have been waiting to get new batteries for my camera so I could add a picture with my first posting. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to post---but I imagine I will get rolling with time. Anyways--here is my beautiful black maple with a little view of my neighbors house behind it. I hope to have postings of more than the tree in the future: gardens, sheep, cows, the work we do on our house. We have lots of work to go. We purchased our house a bit over 2 years ago and have been working on it ever since. Two bathrooms done--completely tiled floor to ceiling, one left. Kitchen cabinets built--no doors or drawer fronts yet. Stairs with almost finished stair railings. All new windows (boy that was a great project since the old single pane aluminum windows leaked like a sieve) Yes, we flip flop around---but eventually we will finish it. We do the work as we have the money and we do it ourselves. Sometimes we procrastinate if we are unsure how to do a project hence jumping around. Some other things I would like to blog about in the future: pasture restoration, organics, environmental things, raw milk, sheep, fleeces and wool, making cheese, canning and gardening, heritage/open pollinated vegetables. I could go on but will leave it at that for now. :-)