Monday, April 27, 2009

Preparing for Summer Gardening

This was garden prep weekend~and clean up winter dust etc.  I got my fleece prep room all ready for processing the spring shearing. I am itching to get my fleeces turned into roving and to do some dying.  Soon....very soon. 
     I would have started this weekend but the garden prep was calling my name~I am done with the big rototiller. This weekend I tilled all of the cover crop/manure  into the soil in the garden that I have been maintaining across the street.  Since this is only the second year on the corn over there we learned a few lessons from last year.  Since it is situated in the middle of the sheep pastures it seems to attract grass seed. I am using weed blocker between the rows this year and we are going to my soaker hose method of watering.  It will be interesting to see if they work with the high iron content in that water.  I am still deciding on what irrigation method to use. We will have 7- 40 foot rows of corn, with the first row dedicated to some tomatoes etc.
   

We turned the sheep loose in the pasture in front of the house. They loved it!
 





Below the Lambs are lounging in the shade of the tree.
This is Miss Angel.  She is the cutest little ewe lamb.
     Jon finally had time to clean the garage and organize it since we worked on Mindi's house.  It is a fantastic work space and becoming necessary since he was starting to clog up my work space in the barn!  It was a huge project but I can tell he is happy that he took the time to do it.

 I am still itching to plant but I must be patient we are still frosting quite hard between 5am and 6am.  I constructed a cold frame along the cosmos.sunflower/zinna garden to protect them. I have my other plants on the back porch ready to go out....I have all new liners for my hanging flower baskets.  I can get those ready-
Funny thing.  Alex and I saved seeds from all of our baskets last year and were going to start our own in Dad's green house.  So on Easter we planted this really cool hydroponic planting block with about 90 wave petunias and a whole bunch of my favorite yellow flower for hanging baskets.  So dad calls and says okay the bidens came up (yellow) but I don't think the petunias are going to come up.  So since the grange had them on sale I purchased three flats-100 or so petunias-he calls me last night to let me know that they came up!!!!  Oh gosh I am going to have lots of petunias this year.  And we have so many Zinnia's started in the house! It is fabulous.   

This was a fantastic weekend.  Not only did we get so much accomplished the evenings were spent starting to enjoy summer socializing with our good friends! Perfect endings to perfect days.  Like us their day starts early and they get a lot accomplished in their days.  I just do not know how people can live in the country and just sit around watching the world go by.  Lonely.  They must be so lonely and bored.  Life is passing them by at warp speed and they just do not realize it.  sigh....well off to do my morning chores

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gardening in Full swing



I have finally gotten the spring fleeces up on the ETSY site.  You can see them there or on our website at liongate.org under fiber or at liongate.etsy.com.    I have other fleeces that I am working with right now into roving and dyeing-I am planning that for this weekend- weather cooperating. It is supposed to be 90 degrees today (yeah!) but snow is predicted for the weekend.  go figure it is spring in Oregon.
We have been very busy with spring gardening chores.
     The garden is ready for planting and I am itching to do that. I have got 18 cabbages in.  the rhubarb split and replanted in a new location, spinach and celery is in and a few beets that I sprouted. Those may go to seed.  The artichokes are looking good, did not lose my sage plant!I did lose one of my thyme varieties though.  I am expanding the sweet pepper production this year because of how well the dried product went over last year with the family.

I do need to go over to the other garden and get it tilled and ready for corn.  Now that we have some what to do and what not to do under our belts we should have a fantastic season this year and be able to freeze a winters worth of corn.
 
We reconfigured it a little this year and moved one of the raised planting beds-so it will be a new layout this year.  I can already taste the salad. Here is a picture from 2006.
 I just know that it is safer to wait until at least the first weekend of May.  I have some of my cut flowers started in the house and then we are experimenting with some seeds for wave petunias that Alex and I saved last summer in my father's greenhouse. (Thanks Dad!!!) I have 19 hanging baskets that I plant with wave petunias and it gets expensive to do them all in waves. So we are trying this method.   I did get the cosmos/sunflower/zinna strip tilled and planted.  If it really cools off I am ready with some clear plastic to protect the entire strip.
I just need to get the herb area organized and want to remove some large oak tree branches that are adding some shad to that area.  I have also been spring cleaning the drip irrigation and the regular irrigation-have most of that running smoothly-have a couple of sprinkler heads that froze off and a couple of tees that split this winter-we had a couple of really cold spells this winter. 
       We are getting ready to do a major pasture overhaul.  We need to bury the irrigation lines -so we can use the drag harrow easily and we are preparing to re fence those pastures.
I have not been able to put any LGD with my lambs because -well-someone keeps letting them out of the pasture-and I need to be able to lock the gates and know that the fencing is secure.
For now we are locking up the ewes and lambs at night.  However Alex went over and found the barn door open again!!! We will have to check the security cameras to see who the culprits are This time.  Someday all the footage of the various people will come in handy :-) we are saving it for a rainy day.

     Jon has been steadily splitting wood for next season.  He has been accomplishing about a cord a weekend.  The new splitter is fantastic! What  a find on Craigs List!




Sunday, April 12, 2009

Shearing and Lambing!!!!!!!

 Spring time is shearing time.  Well so is summer time but those fleeces will come later.
Of course the day that we chose to shear it was pouring rain-and I mean pouring-luckily with the barn conversion and lambing everyone was nice and toasty dry in the barns.  It was a easy handling day. Even Esteban our four horned ram behaved himself-usually he fights the system-I think he has finally realized that his fleece is coming off-and there is nothing that he can do to stop it!  Little Ram Blackie however had different ideas and he was the very last sheep to be sheared.  It is only his second shearing and Jack had his hands full with him!

Now the processing begins!  Roving and dying and washing -I just get all inspired just looking at them!  My pelts are almost dry they will get sent out to be tanned.


 I am starting to post the available fleeces up on my ETSY site at liongate.etsy.com-make sure you visit if you are interested.  
















We are in the middle of Lambing . I have four ewes to go-All of Barclay's ewes.  He was a little slow on the ladies this year!
We have some beautiful lambs and with the reconfiguration of the Barn lambing was a breeze this year.  We are  at 4 ram and 5 ewe lambs.  

Mary had a little Ram. He has a beautiful thick fleece just like his mom.

Moon had a Ram and a Ewe. The Ram is the one with the white saddle.

Ginger finally gave me some brown lambs!!!! Yahoo.  One Ram and one Ewe. They are winning the cutest lamb contest this year! This is Gingers Girl 
And here is her little Ram-what a cutie!

We have been working hard getting the garden ready for planting and rejuvenating all of the flower beds.   I actually was able to accomplish some major chores a little early this year.  Yesterday we purchased 18 cabbage plants to go in for our annual sauerkraut production-a craft that I have been learning from my father who is the pro!  Now if I can just learn to reproduce his sausage!   I saved some seeds for all of my hanging baskets and I am going to start them in my dad's greenhouse.  (someday we will have a little one....just cannot figure out where we would put it!)  Jon has been busy splitting wood for next winter and has a fantastic new log splitter for the tractor.   He is able to split a cord in about two hours!  He has started on the big project of ridding the other property of all the dead snags in his quest for wood to use for the splitter.  Soon we are going to replace the fence over there so that the we can permanently place some of the dogs over there!   With the new security cameras in place we feel sure that if there is any tampering of the fences and gates that we will finally be able to take some action against the people that have been causing all of our problems.  They better smile because they are on camera 24/7 now!!!!!  They cannot lie on film!  
Happy Easter and  here is today's quote:

I get satisfaction of three kinds.  One is creating something, One is being paid for it and one is feeling that I haven't just been sitting on my ass all afternoon.  -William F. Buckley


 







Hard Work

 I recently came across a quote that describes our feelings towards life.  Especially with all that is going on in the economy

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
-Thomas A. Edison 
 
We may not wear overalls-but we work hard.
Our last few years we have been struggling hard to achieve our dream. We have people around us who have nothing better to do than throw roadblocks in our path.  Maybe I should say "farmblocks" haha. It is just beyond my comprehension how others can be so miserable that they must try to make everyone around them miserable. Well it is not working.   Instead of being negative and afraid of what they choose not to understand they should wrap their heads around the notion that if they educated themselves and came to terms with "green" farming practices they could accept the inevitable and move forward in their lives.  Not only that -is their life so boring and empty that our life has become their daily focus.  Com'on! get your own life. No matter how may farm blocks that you all throw up we will prevail because we are positive forward thinking people-we know how to adapt to any situation thrown at us.  Besides with our new security system-smile you are on candid camera!