Friday, March 30, 2007

Last night (or very early this morning) we had another set of lambs born here. Two black mouflon patterned ewe lambs. They are big girls too. One is 11 pounds and the other 9 and 3/4 pounds. Most would say that I am overfeeding my ewe since her girls were so big but I had this issue with Maple last year too. I watched her feed extra well this year because of last years lambs being large, but she just seems to grow large babies. Since she doesn't have a problem giving birth to them---I suppose it all works out in the end. They will stay in the barn until tomorrow just to watch them--then out to pasture they will go. Maple is a great mother and I don't worry much about her lambs. She feeds them well and she is extremely watchful of danger.

Here are two newer pictures of my triplets. The middle girl is missing since she kept moving around and I couldn't get a good picture of her. They are old enough now that they are starting to play---a bit of bunny jumps and a small amount of head bumping by the ram lamb. This group is in the barn in a makeshift larger area. The girls are still a bit smaller and I would like to make sure they are to big for the hawks to check them out before letting them out of the barn. The Pyrenees is suppose to watch for things like that---but he does sleep so....better safe than sorry. Isn't that ram lamb interestingly patterned? He's perfectly spotted for those that prefer a one color fleece since the face is really his only "spotted" part. If he were human I could see him as a heavily freckled little red headed boy---since his spots are more freckly than spotted.

Well--my next ewe isn't due until this next week. Possibly.
That's if she took at that breeding.

So it's out to plant potatoes this morning---the last batch. I have fallen a bit behind getting them in the ground but this is my very last batch. Some I have had in the ground for almost a month (I bought those local) and they are already up and are going to need some more hilling soon. Hopefully we will get rain soon. It's going to start getting dry here if we don't.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What's Blooming !!

These are pictures of two of my lilac bushes flowering. I grew up in New York so lilacs are one of the flowers I remember best---because really---who could forget the scent of them!
They are also one of the flowers I missed the most growing up in the south.
Then one day I was looking on line a few years ago---and I stumbled on the solution to my problem: a low chill lilac that was bred for California known as Syringa Hyacinthaflora (I think they are also know as Descano lilacs---but I could not remember for sure since I could not find the original story about why the man who bred them did it.)
Traditional French lilacs can be grown here in my area but some years they will not flower if we have too warm of a winter. The hyacinthafloras however, have flowered every year for us---warm winter or not. There are a number of different colors to choose from including dark, medium and light purple, dark and light pinks and white. Another plus for these lilacs is that supposedly these are pretty good about not getting mildew and are also somewhat resistant to borers. So if you live where it is warmer and would like to grow lilacs---the hyacinthaflora group might be the one for you.

Besides the lilacs blooming along our driveway we also have these other plants blooming:

Forsythia--so bright yellow!
Cherry, apple, peach and plum trees blooming (apple trees smell delicious!)
Dogwoods---we have white and a stunning dark pink
Maple trees (I think it is them dropping pollen EVERY WHERE--dusty dusty)
and of course a few tulips, crocus and dandelion---the guaranteed bloomers :-)

I also have buds of blooms getting ready on my clematis, peonies, hesperaloe parviflora,
pink double flowered poppies along with hostas starting to peek up out of the ground. Soon we will have quite a show going on flower wise.

Our pecan trees are also just starting to leaf out. We usually watch the trees to tell us when we have passed our last frost. Big trees---pecans, oaks, maples etc seem to resist putting out leaves until it is really really safe. What signs of nature do you watch for to tell you when warmer weather is truly here?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My first ever!

Here is Ms. Rosalie and she DID have triplets!!
The brown one with the white face is a boy---cute isn't he? The solid brown one and the other spotted are two smaller females. The little ram tried to kill them all by jamming himself up at the "door" but with some pushing and pulling on my part---they all got out fine. A bit of tangling had occurred as you can imagine when there are three sharing one small space :-) Let me assure you----Rosalie is one of my smallest ewes. It was definitely a small space to share! That is why I kept wondering if she was having triplets---she was so big!
This is my very first set of triplets. Not only am I excited about that but I got two spotted lambs too!! Cool huh? I will probably keep one of the ewe lambs since this was one of my most promising "worm resistant" breedings but I don't have room to keep all of them---so a ewe and the ram lamb will go up for sale. Precious though aren't they---makes you want to keep all of them.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spotted Icelandic Sheep

This sheep shows off one of the (beautiful) reasons why I chose Icelandic Sheep to raise.
Oh I could say it was the dairy reason or meat, fast growth lambs or hand spinning fleeces but I would not be being completely honest with you.

A number of other sheep might have been chosen by my husband and me. A variety of breeds could have done as well is some of those departments or even better: Laucaunes are better milkers after all....but of coarse not better at meat, fleeces or fast growth lambs.

But we didn't choose any of them: We chose Icelandics.

The tipping point for us was the color of the Icelandics---so many many colors--- and the SPOTTING. I love the spotting and the oddest part is, that even though Havvah was my very first spotted sheep, I have never bought or bred another spotted sheep! This year though Havvah has been bred to a spotted moorit (brown) ram ---so I have my fingers crossed for a spotted ewe, or even two, from her. We also have not gotten a ewe from havvah---just a ram. So a spotted ewe from her would be wonderful! She isn't due for a while longer---less than a month though. So I will keep my fingers crossed until then hoping against all hope that it is two wonderfully beautiful spotted ewe lambs :-D

P.S excuse all the posting about sheep for the next month----we are heavily consumed with gardens and sheep during the end of March to end of April.

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens

Shearing--Suri's Icelandic fleece

This is our ewe Suri who is not quite a year old yet. Please excuse her odd look her she was not happy about having her picture taken and so she didn't put her best smile on :-D
Those are two pictures of her fleece which is for sale. The bottom right picture shows the color better since the angle of the camera and sun bleached the color a bit on the second photo. This fleece is a little over 3 pounds and very very soft. Suri has a dense fleece---and gorgeously colored too I think. She is a black mouflon ewe but she is out of a line called "hynkill" which means her fleeces get a brownish cast/fading to some of the black ---adding dimension to the color. Suri's "hynkill" pattern also means that almost no "mouflon" pattern shows up--mouflon means her belly and chest can have white on them.
We were a bit surprised when we "snatched" her up to shear her. Her fleece was so thick and it came off like butter--yummy. She was a good girl too while we sheared and you can see she is a bit less tufty than the other shearing picture I have posted. By the time we get to the last sheep---we will be pros (until the next shearing session in the fall Hahahaha).
Anyways---this beautiful Icelandic fleece is for sale---$36.00 plus shipping. It is has been lightly skirted (no mats, no manure and most seconds taken out) but will have some vm in it since she was not covered. It is the second shearing from a ewe lamb so it is still very very soft . Suri's line seems to have nice fleeces overall anyways--young or old which is one thing we like about them.
I do not have this fleece listed on my web site yet, so please contact me through my email: alandtc (at) if you are interested in it. The "at" is really one of these "@". We have so many spams putting our address up that I try and write it that way as much as I can.

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens.

Busy busy busy

Well the chicken coop is finished and their area fenced. We just have to attach the gates and figure out a way to keep the hawks from eating them while they are still small. I think we will put in T posts and drape some mesh fencing stuff across so they will have a place to "dash" under. The yard is long ---50 feet x 25 feet---so if the young chickens are in the far corner they can't make it back to safety before the hawks can get them. We thought about a flight disrupter type thing for the hawks---but couldn't figure out a temporary solution that wouldn't end up being just a perch for them to sit and pick off the birds! So temporary cover will do I think. Anyways---I am glad this is done. Now the birds in the garage need to get just a bit bigger to go out with the others---they seem to be a bit slower growing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Passing through

A pair of wood ducks decided to stop by today and visit. They are so very pretty I wish they could stay---but they can't and wouldn't want to anyways. Besides the pyrenee who will try and catch them so he can smell them and look them over , we have never been able to get any "pond weeds" started to provide cover for animals along the edge or in the pond. The hawks then utilize the very open aspect to pick off any baby anything down there. Our ducks two years ago lost all 10 of their babies in a day and half to the hawks because of it.

Wood ducks I am sure are smart enough to find a better place to nest and then visit us for a bit of fun and frolic once in a while---which we enjoy immensely. Maybe I will break down and plant cat tails and/or equisetum this year to solve my cover plant problem, it's just that I didn't really want a "marsh" aspect where poisonous snakes could hide.
I was hoping for lotuses to get started---but my last one died (thank you drought---one more good thing about you). They wouldn't really provide cover for wood ducks anyways. Oh well. Another year---right now I will just enjoy their visits until they decide to start nesting.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Today my honeylocust trees and siberian pea shrubs arrived from the Kansas Forest Service.
They look really really good--so there's my recommendation. They were actually a better price and are a bit bigger than the seedlings I ordered last year. Hopefully these will be a bit more successful than those were. We will fence these in better --no lambs eating them through the fence or cows knocking over the fence. We also now have the 30 gallon sprayer to pull along with the John Deere to water with if we have another drought like last years. I am looking forward to planting them but I might wait just a few days and see if it rains as they say it might. We didn't get rain the other day that they called for so---it's not looking promising here yet. Another dry spring will really be a booger. Especially since I have peas and kale etc that would probably all like a drink of rain water, not that nasty ole tap water they may end up with.
One thing I have always enjoyed doing no matter where we have lived is to plant trees. I love trees. I know I should enjoy grass more since I have livestock but trees are just so beautiful and offer so much. Besides---I have lived most my life in the south and trees are welcome respite in the summer. We have a gorgeous black maple here that is a dream to climb---each branch is practically laid out like a ladder so you can get really high into it. When I was a child in New York there was a huge weeping willow in my friend's yard. We would use it as a fort since it was so thick with branches that touched the ground and bent over---no one knew you where in there. Except they probably heard us---since no playing child is quiet :-)
When we lived in Texas our older neighbor told us that to plant the 3 large pecans that shaded both of our yards, they had had to dynamite the holes in. That was in the early 40's and our neighborhood was on an old limestone "lake". How many times I wished I could dynamite a hole for projects we did there! I guess the theme of my post is memorable trees. I am sure most people have at least one tree---good or bad---that they remember well from their past.
Here's to all the trees that have shaded us, fed us and let us play in them. Also to those yet to come to do the same thing.

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Almost Done

So here is the chicken coop almost finished (does that seem to be a theme?). Finally! It lacks, as you can see from the picture, paint and trim. The trim is just to finish closing up the corners. Telephone post don't make perfect corners so trim is needed for the bit of gapping that occurs no matter how well you do the siding---besides it does make it look nicer.
Last-- paint is needed for the other three sides. I would have finished more yesterday but I knocked over my roller and tray and it landed "peanut butter" side down. Of course everything stuck to them and so they had to be rinsed off. Now they are calling for rain today ---which is fine with me since we can always use it. I think I will have my son finish it after it dries off though and pay him for it since he is always looking for ways to earn money. By the way---the building actually looked "cooler" when it was wood colored since they metal showed up better in a kind of contemporary way. We personally don't like the color BUT I was determined it would be cohesive with the other buildings. Someday a better color will come......(hear the song "someday, over the ......) My husband complains about it each time he looks at it though.

Lastly, the trim will go on, since I want the wood under it to be painted first. I hate putting on trim that is not painted on both sides and the wood underneath is also not painted. Seems like a warping waiting to happen---to me anyways. All in all I figure there is about 2 to 3 more hours of work, at the most, left on it. Not too bad.

Yesterday after I dropped my painting accessories, I went down the road and picked up some wood chips from the local sawmill. We have painted the floor of the coop but obviously the wood chips will make it smell better, keep the poop from sticking to the floor and also: fresh chicken poop is slippery.
So now the oldest batch of birds are ensconced in the coop. I think they like it---there's more room than their cage had. This weekend I will put up their fence and let them go out while I am working in the garden but for right now I have to wait for the paint (the fence will attach against the house) and also be out there since they are still walking nuggets. They have lots of room currently in the coop but it would be a bit tight for all of them to stay in (all day) once they are full size---even after we weed out the extraneous roosters. Good thing they will have a fenced yard to go out into and we have fairly nice winters.

I have to admit I am glad they are out in the coop now. I am also looking forward to when the other batch goes out. The second batch is not fully feathered yet though and who knows what the weather will do. Between hay in the garage all winter, then two batches of chicks and the last of the hay left in the garage, it has been a super pain trying to get to anything or do any work in there. I will be glad to be able to re clean and organize my garage in the next month or two. Yeah! I know it's odd to look forward to that but when you are constantly moving this, that or the other thing to find something or tripping around all the displaced items well...argh.

I will take pictures of some of the chickens soon and post them. Some of them are beautifully marked. The "mystery" hen we received and thought was an english game hen----I think we were wrong. She is very attractive with white on her breast. I will post pics and maybe someone will know what she is. One of my cuckoo maran roosters from Murray McMurray is gorgeously marked and most of the feather footed cuckoos from Ideal Poultry are too. The feather footed though are wild and flighty---I lost 4 of them as chicks (over a week old) since they would stampede just trying to get far away when I fed and watered. We will cull all of the feather footed roosters since I don't like the "personality" and breed the hens to the non feather footed cuckoos, including the nicely marked one from Murray McMurray.
The Delawares we have found are very good at foraging----they will practically take your hand off if they are hungry while you reach to get the tray out of the pen. I like them---we can even reach in a pick them up without really any fussing from them. Nice birds. Very curious and human comfortable. I have two roosters I like well out of them---both nicely colored and grew quick. So they will be my breeders. These birds will actually move down to the barn to live so they can eat flies, barn bugs and small feed room mice. After what I have seen of these birds in the pen: they will be great mousers. I don't think I need that barn cat now.
The wyandottes are a bit more reserved, but not really flighty, and very attractively colored. So much white speckling on them. Some of them look like they have freckles. Their pretty neat really. We will see how they are as foragers and I will decide if I am going to keep them or sell them as pairs.

Good day all

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Shearing: electric or blade?

Today we sheared a few of the sheep. We started out with an electric shearer and freshly sharpened blades but only finished two ewes. My husband hurt his elbow recently (he actually has tennis elbow though he does not play tennis) and so it was bothering him to help me with the shearing. I am not experienced enough to hold and shear the sheep by myself---I need more practice to do both at once--so we quit for the day and cleaned up. I can however hand shear (also known as blade shearing) and since two rams are penned along our drive eating the grass there I decided they were good candidates for the slower process. At one time or another I have hand sheared every sheep I own. Some of the sheep are easier than others to do it on since they don't "fidget" too much. I like doing the blades since I feel more comfortable getting some of the easier to cut parts (cut as in bleeding). Like near hocks,elbows and bendy places---which I have cut before.
Above are pictures of me shearing Guy with the hand shears. He is the easiest one for me to do out of all of them since he is an extremely calm ram. I do actually tie him while doing the job, but I don't have to. If I don't tie him he will snuffle in my hair and face while I bend over him. Then while snuffling in my hair or face he will turn towards me---which doesn't help when trying to get his rump or back legs. Guy's haircut was almost finished today but he will need to get a few parts done the next time the electric blades come out. Like on his belly, which I have never learned how to give a close cut on with hand shears.
Guy has the most gorgeous color fleece. People love it when they see it. Notice the grey under color. Guy does not carry grey---his brown is a special color that has a grey cast to it--like a taupe color but better. It is a color that seems to come from one of Barbara Webb's lines and I was lucky enough to accidentally get two sheep with it. Guy and my ewe Princess.
My sheep never do look as professionally done as those that hire people to shear--they always have head and leg "tufts" sticking out. Sometimes even slightly uneven sides. Oh well---nobody is perfect. We find it difficult to find professional shearers though---so we went to a school and had someone teach us. I think I need to go back since I have forgotten some of it though. Practice makes perfect I always say.... but I don't do it enough and I forget some of the technique in between shearings. It takes a couple of sheep just to get back in the groove each time, but doing it ourself is still better than worrying if we will get someone to come and do it at all.
Today was not a good shearing day as I started out with my finest wool sheep and my most aggressive newly sharpened blade (having forgotten not to do that from a previous time). So of course they both got a bit nicked up, which makes for a stressful shearing anyway. That is the other thing I like about hand shearing---much less able to take out a hunk. Though when they are really sharp you can still accidentally cut them.
Please don't think that all sheep are cut every time and bleeding hunks of flesh when finished---but sometimes they do get nicked up. And for as bad as they feel---I think we feel worse. Well maybe---they don't answer when I ask them. Though Rosalie,one of my ewes sheared today, must have forgiven me since she came over for a pet later that evening for no reason than to get a pet. So she either has a short memory (likely) or she forgave us (hopefully).
Here she is: sweet little Rosalie. We didn't photograph her "war wounds"---they are on the other side. We switched to a 20 tooth comb half way through her fleece---we were to dumb to catch on sooner.
Now that she is sheared I can safely say she is not going to have triplets. She just doesn't look big enough for triplets---but she does look bigger in "person" than in this photo of her. AND you get to see her "tufties" that I left behind :-D

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens.

Friday, March 16, 2007

We're back (but not in the saddle yet)

Well, we are back from our vacation and I can say we had a great time. We went to the "National Irish Dexter Show" and had a very interesting time. While we were there we saw many many different body "types" of Irish Dexters. Young, old and new babies---very interesting to compare all of them. Of course, some we liked and some we didn't but it helped us to figure out where we would like to go with our own eventually.
We also met some Irish Dexters. That's a dun heifer checking me out in the pictures above. She also liked my new bright yellow boots that I purchased at the show. I never could get a picture with her mid lick and her tongue out---nor the funny look on her face after she quit licking. Maybe the turquoise boots I wanted, but were not in my size, would have been more to her taste.


I also took some interesting (to me) pictures. I like the colors and structure of them so I may frame them and hang them on my wall. I have a number of them that I like so I will whittle through and cut and paste and see what I come up with. When we were leaving and the light was bad not far from where I photographed the "oxen rd" pic----I saw one just the same but it said "giraffe rd". To bad I missed it---I could have had a matched pair :-)

The weather was of course beautiful, balmy mid 70's with mid 60's at night and even better----it was raining when we got home! We need it so badly we are practically doing rain dances so what better way to end a vacation than to come home to something you need so much!

Well, I have lots to comment on this week plus a slew of things to do since I was gone of course. First of which is shearing my sheep---though now I have to wait until they are dry to do it. Painting my chicken coop will be the other thing----we now have fully feathered "big" birds in our garage. Birds more than ready to see their new home as soon as it is in move in condition. (of course today was windy AGAIN! What's the deal here???)

Hope everyone had a great week.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Sorry for not posting regularly this week but we are going out of town and have been trying to set everything up for the kids and others to take care of with ease. I more than likely won't be posting while we are gone since I do not think we will have internet access. Have a great weekend and week everyone---may your weather be exactly as YOU NEED. Notice--that may not be what you want hahahaha

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


So last night we went to the monthly city hall meeting. I found out that I should attend this meeting just hours before it started. Supposedly the subdivision down the road with 24 homes in it wants to be let into the city we are on the edge of.

Just so you can understand let me explain some issues. We currently live on a dead end road. To get out of this town we have to drive down our road and then choose which road to turn on. No matter which way you choose---you HAVE to go by the city school and through the city. There is absolutely no other way out but through the school zone. Now this school is "special" because they are 1. very small 2. don't have enough city residents to fill it (they actually bring in children from out of the county) and 3. have excellent testing in the state with only a 2% drop out rate and an extremely active principal. In other words--for a public school- it is highly coveted to get into. So much so ---that it can increase the value of your home by about 5% just being in the city limits. That's a lot.
Anyways--for some reason in the past 5 years three subdivisions (one about 5 years--Tenet, one 2 1/2 years old--Franklin and one putting in roads now--name unknown) have been built on the mile and a half stretch that is our road. Then there is my home plus 6 others all with acreage at the very very end. A few other small home with acreage are scattered in between.
We, along with the others with acreage and Franklin are not in the city. Franklin wants in bad --as do we up at the end. Most all our children attend the school (with an added cost of $500 set to go up to $750 next year) but you have to wait for years for approval (as some do) or "know" the correct person (my son's best friend's father in our case).

Last night--when all showed up---somehow it fell to me and my neighbor (both unprepared for this) to speak on behalf of the people wanting in. The answer---after 20 minutes of how expensive an individual house costs a city was NO! HELL NO! Basically said by one man---no one offered up a vote on it or anything. Of course statistically they had us since we were unprepared---which we won't be next month I assure you.
The two biggest "glitches" in their reasoning though are: One---because of special circumstances which I won't go into here, the city residents pay ZERO taxes. A business covers them and they don't want to have to make those (poor) citizens pay taxes so we (paltry little expensive us) can have the privilege of being in the city. "It wouldn't be FAIR" according to the "man in charge". These residents haven't been paying taxes since---get this---1990. What is funny is they have let some "well known friends" build subdivisions---all with $300,000 homes---to come into said city---including Tenet and this new un-named subdivision that are on our road. (Have we ever heard of Grandfather clause and add new/different rules for others??????)
Also the second reasoning is that if they let us in they would then have to "discriminate" (his words not mine) against other people wanting their subdivision or home to be let into the city. Discriminate---my ass. That's exactly what they are doing to us. I have lived here over 3 years so why is a yet un named subdivision being let into the "poor financially strapped city" when my neighbors and I can't be????? It's a load of mierda (that's the Spanish equivalent of shit if you didn't know). Apologize for the language but this burns me up to the top. I absolutely completely DETEST anything that smacks of "special treatment" for individuals. Don't get me wrong---I never said I didn't benefit from it once in a while----but I don't agree with it. I would rather my son got into the school because we lived on a dead end road a mile and half from the school than a friend had to speak up for him. As a matter of fact for almost two months I beat my head doing it that way. Then Joe called for us and the next day----literally---my son was in. The only other school was an 18 minute drive away---stupid huh??

Next month---we won't be unprepared. My husband and some others are helping us pick apart what was said and we will address EVERY issue this man brought up. His reasoning is unsound anyways. BUT we will point it out with efficiency. He also has a temper. When I pointed out that he was in turn discriminating against us by allowing the new un named subdivision in even though all of us were/are already there---he practically yelled at me that: "a man has a right to do with his property what he will" Yes, he does. I will wholeheartedly agree with that BUT---that man had to get permission to split that property into a subdivision for 24 homes FROM THEM. So who's discriminating????

Thanks for the vent---love this blogging for that reason!

National Public Radio

I listen to public radio every day. I think they have some of the better news since they don't do just local but national and international (without the weeks worth of angst over whether or not Anna gets to be buried in Bermuda).

So today when Liberty Ark sent me the following I was happy to contact NPR since I feel they would do justice to the issue AND it would help the cause.
Please contact them: it was an easy little form to fill out on line. Tell them to run the anti-Nais Texas rally story.


We’re starting to get national attention! National Public Radio’s (NPR) All Things Considered did an interview about Texas’ anti-NAIS rally last Friday. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to edit the story and it was not aired. But their attention is on NAIS, so now’s the perfect time to ask them to do a story!!! Go to, click on "Recipient: NPR Program" and then choose "All Things Considered.” Tell them that, even though the rally is past, NAIS is a hot issue nationally, and one that their listeners want to hear about!

And here’s the link for submitting story ideas in general -

News coverage of the Friday even is here:;

Monday, March 5, 2007

Are they really concerned with our health?

Here is a link that came up on the ISBONA chat that I am a member of: FDA rules override warnings on drug use.
Please read this and feel free to make a comment to the FDA if you like.
Obviously as many of us have suspected for a while---they do not care about us or the impact of their decisions on us. They may not officially have a public forum on this---but you can write. You can also right your representatives about this issue too.
Have a good day all.

What a weekend

So now you are wondering where is the picture of the finished coop?
Am I saving it to make you wonder?
Nope---it's not there because we had problems this weekend and did not get the coop finished. So much for making "guarantees" to ourselves.
What went wrong you ask? Well, it was nothing more complicated than---WIND.
Windy, windy wind
at that. So windy that things in the yard that seemed too heavy to blow around had to be chased down and weighted or strapped so they would stay where they were supposed to be. We tried working for a bit but ladders of course fell over and you couldn't carry anything that was flat---which was both the siding and roofing material. If my husband had attempted to roof I would have had to jump in the car to follow as best I could until he had landed some where probably miles down the road (actually he would have just gotten hurt --hence our lack of attempt.) Sunday morning was also windy---though not as bad. So around lunch time, as it died down even more, we were able to start and get a small amount done---but then it picked back up and added cold to the factor later than afternoon. So what you see is not even half a days work. We forgot a few small things that needed doing so we did those too. And of course we also realized we needed that quick "mandatory" run to the hardware place for something forgotten that was needed then---all and all a fairly unproductive weekend I would say. BUT--it's coming along and really doesn't need much more. If we can get some good weather it won't take long. Of course today is calm and quiet as a sleeping baby---now that I am the only one here to work on it. I will probably go buy that paint I keep forgetting and at least paint what is already up. We were going to paint the siding before putting it up since it is easier, but disregarding that I forgot the paint---it would have only had leaves and twigs and dirt stuck to it this weekend anyways so....
Well, it's funny ( in an ARGH! kind of way )how nothing ever goes as quickly as you anticipate.

Karen -- you asked me about my vines I spoke of the other day and unfortunately yes, I do have the same experience as you have had with the chickens tearing up the plantings. So this time (for once) I pre planned well enough to have an outside spot to plant the vines for the coop. The main door on the coop actually opens to my veggies and the side door for them opens to their own "special" area. So they won't be able to tear up my plants--like my neighbors "free ranging" chickens do currently around my house. My neighbors need to learn what free ranging really means---and range them freely at their own house and not mine. Maybe they could do that with their dog too.

The other picture up there is the door I found the other day. That is the side the chickens will see---my side is cream. It will eventually be painted brown on my side to match our new windows on the house. I know---crazy color scheme but until we can remove the gray blue vinyl siding put on by the previous owners off part of our house and then repaint a better color---that is what we are stuck with. What's so odd about that color is that-----we have orange/ dark brown brick! Obviously some people have different opinions on color matching than I do :-)

Last but not least---yes I spilled tea in my key board this weekend. Of course I got out as much as possible only to have the space key not work. I thought I would wait until it dried and then see if it worked. It didn't---first push and it stuck in the down position ( I guess from the sugar---I didn't think I used that much) So later that night my husband carefully takes off the space key to clean it and ZING out pop the springs and flew off into the carpet. Well to make a long story short---we found one but not number two. It won't work with just one so he got a mixed package of springs from our "crap"drawer and jury rigged one up for me. It is a stronger spring so now it is about 100 times harder to hit the space key. Until he gets me another keyboard----I will be developing my bionic thumb. So you better not challenge me to thumb wrestling---because I will beat you.

Saturday, March 3, 2007



Friday, March 2, 2007

And we have a door

A door for the chicken coop was the prize of the day. At a whopping $45 dollars from the salvage place it is only 1/4" too tall. It also has windows in the top half which are are not cracked or broken in anyway and it comes with a fairly decent paint job with cream on one side and natural on the other. Since I looked at a number of broken window doors and many in the colors of purple, bright yellow and fuschia ---I consider this quite the find. No cool 50's pea green or pink to match my inside color though--bummer. Lot's of $100 dollar and more doors---so I was happy with the price of this one. So... if all goes well the coop should be finished this weekend--or at least 90% I hope. Pictures of it, with freshly attached door, soon to come. Stay tuned: same blog, different day. (or maybe that's same chicken channel?)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My Chicken Coop

Well here is our chicken coop so far. We actually have it a bit farther along than this picture but it is raining and I forgot to take a newer shot the last couple of days. It actually has the extra rafter tails added to it and is ready to roof---except my husband has been sick. (some yukky stomach bug going around--glad I didn't get it)
Notice the odd paint job. All the grayish color is what will be on the outside and the pinkish color (yes, pink---it was $5 dollar oops paint) is what will be seen on the inside. I wanted to paint the rafters before the metal roof went on so I could be messy without worrying about paint on the metal.
That funny vertical box in the front will be the egg nesting area. It will have it's own mini roof over it and get sided with the rest of the coop. We were trying to save room inside so we set it outside halfway it's depth.
Since I purchased pink paint for the inside I thought I might paint some daisies on the walls too (maybe) and add some lettering that said something like:

roost here -->


Eggs here (no roosters allowed) ---->

My husband says I must have to much time on my hands if I am considering doing that. I know he is incorrect in that aspect so maybe it won't get done---but I could have my daughter the "artist" do it!
I also ordered some vines from Digging Dog Nursery to grow on it:

Clematis Montana "Freda"
Fallopia Aubertii "Lemon Lace" which is a form of silver lace vine but supposedly slower growing. I will plant one on one side and the other on the other side and see if I get a good meeting of the two. Should look neat in a couple of years.
I have moved some of the irises over there and have a rose bush to plant next to it also. I had been waiting to get the fence in place before planting the irises but I ended up having to plant them. They could only wait so long in a bucket and since then they are already starting to send up leaves.
If the weather works with us we should have it finished this weekend. Maybe not all the way painted though. And maybe no door---I still have to come up with a door. I would like to buy a used salvage door with a window in it for light. I just have not been able to get down town yet to the salvage place. The day that I had time to go---President Bush visited and the highways were closed down that day all the way into downtown near where I needed to go. I finally had to frame for the door since it was holding up the proceedings and left the opening 36". We can always make it smaller but it's a lot more work to make it bigger! I am sure I will find a door just fine. I found one at an antique store I liked---but they want $100 dollars for it. My roofing material won't even cost that much for heavens sake. So I am looking for a cheaper one currently.

Have a great day all ---we are getting some rain Yeah!

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens.


Here is a picture of Rosalie. (Doesn't everything look dreary in this picture taken in January? No green---you can definitely tell that's a winter picture)
Rosalie is the white sheep in the very front, the other whitish looking sheep is actually Aleda--a moorit badger face. Rosalie, I do believe, will be my first ewe to lamb this year. She is looking impossibly big even though she is supposedly not due until March 25th. She is already starting to bag up (which means she is getting a small udder) and she waddles when she walks through the pasture. She looks like a "wide wide load" compared to the others. One of my other ewes has also started to show that she too is getting closer. Maple sways when she walks and is close to having her lambs. She has a side to side swing about her as she nears the end and recently switched to her "pregnancy walk". Anyways---I am starting to wonder if Rosalie is just big or going to have triplets. I mean----she is HUGE. She is a smaller ewe but she looks about as wide as she is tall --though that may not be true!
I think it would be neat for her to have triplets but I would worry that one might be born too small. Most are fine---but there is the off chance. More than likely she will just have twins though since even larger looking ewes generally only have twins. Rosalie's family line does include a number of ewes that regularly had triplets so it's kind of a crap shoot---maybe you will and maybe you won't. Last year a friend of mine had white ram lamb after white ram lamb from her flock---so I am hoping that Rosalie will throw me at least one ewe lamb and not only rams. Color would be nice but since she is the dominant color of white---I expect it may be a white lamb(s). Overall---you just hope for healthy live lambs since dead or unhealthy ones are no use (that's a given isn't it) but we can always cross our fingers for the fun extras. This is the exciting part of the year now that lambing is getting closer. I am going out of town for almost a week soon and it is before Rosalie is due. I was o.k. with leaving that soon (and still am) but I have to admit now that she is so big I worry she is due sooner than I think so I will worry a small amount while gone. I will leave all my lambing books, phone numbers of experienced shepherds and the vet's number for "just in case" while I am gone. I told my son I might give him a quiz on what to do before I leave :-D
Another thing about lambing that is fun: it's basically spring when they come. Yeah! spring. Yeah! lambs.

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens

My fiber update

So Hope Spinnery called my back the other day---and since their machines can't handle the primitive type fiber, they will send it back to me washed and carded only. Argh! They should put on their web site that they can't do primitive fiber. I would not have spent my money sending my fiber in to them and waiting all this time if I had known that. Anyways---hopefully I will at least get back quality combed fiber. We will see. He told me that same day he would invoice me for the difference that I had not yet sent: I haven't seen a bill yet though. Obviously speed in customer relations, even when they disappoint a customer, is not their forte. I will post pictures when I get it.
Thanks Cheryl for the pat on the shoulder! I am a bit bummed but what's that old saying? "When life hands you lemons---make lemonade" I don't know what container my lemonade will go in yet, but that is what I am prepared to do! :-)