Friday, July 22, 2011

Happenings on the farm

July 21, 2011

It's been awhile since i was able to sit at the computer and post the latest happenings on the farm.  Family and farm duties keeps us hopping and we are enjoying every minute of it.  With the hot and dry weather we have been having, it's been a chore to keep everything watered and alive.  We have been lucky to have gotten enough from our garden to freeze and do some canning as well. 

Besides putting up whole tomatoes, i tryed a batch of chili sauce, a sweet sauce that goes well over fresh butter beans.  It was a big hit with the family, they enjoyed it on blackeye peas also.

Our pole green beans and butter beans with mammoth sunflowers growing in the center of this circular bed.  It turned out better than i expected.

Our fig tree was generous this year, i had to work fast before the bees and wasp ate them up.  I was able to make a few batches of strawberry fig preserves.  By adding a few boxes of strawberry jello to the cooked figs, everyone thinks they are eating strawberry preserves.  Another item grown on this small farm that we are able to utilize, and by making this myself, I'm able to control the amount of sugar that's put into our preserves.
Figs are a good source of potassium and calcium

A few views of what it started to look like around here with lack of rain and record heat a month ago.
This cypress tree started showing some fall color, and the green pastures were slowly fading into brown.  This was taken about a month ago, and we have gotten some rain, but we still are in a deficit, and praying for more.
A view of the pond drying up, and the cows trying to stay in the shade.  Poor girls.............not enough water in the pond to keep them cool.

Some much needed rain brought greenier pastures
Our poor "Oreo" the Belted Galloway, we are still waiting for her to calf.  We thought it would be around early July, but was wrong.........she may go into August.  She has done well through all this heat.  They are a breed that does well up north because of their thick winter coat.  They do shed it during the spring here and she has surprised us and done remarkably well.  This breed is listed in the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) as recovering.  They are a very adaptable breed and they forage well, as you can tell by looking at her.  They eat alot of what some of the other cattle won't eat.  It's been fun watching her grow and we are anxiously awaiting the birth of her first calf.  Will keep you posted...........

Remember the baby chicks we got at Easter?....... Well, this is whats left...........The whites, turned out to be cornish hens, so those found their way to the dinner table.  I had two reds and this black one, which i turned out with the Barred Rocks when they got old enough.  One red didn't make it so im left with these two social ladies.  They are busy free ranging and chasing crickets and other insects to fortify their diet, which will inturn improve ours.

Ramsey and Rosey
Our latest additions to our little farm............Meet Ramsey (left) he is a four month old ram St. Croix hair sheep.  I have always wanted a sheep and we have been talking about it for months.  I did some research on hair sheep and looked into the Katahdins.  Last week we found a breeder selling a ram an hour and a half away from here.  The kids fell in love, so did I, with the pictures on the internet of these cute little things.  So do i need to say more.............he came home with us.  The woman told us he would bond with other animals but would do better with a companion.  The next morning my husband took off to the sale barn to see if he can find him a friend.  He came home with Rosey, a Katahdin mix ewe.....let me tell you, she is a Nosey Rosey......if she hears us walk outside, she makes her way to the fence and wants to visit.  We have discovered that finding a St. Croix ewe around here is tougher than we thought.  This breed is interesting to us and its another breed thats listed on the threatened list with the ALBC.  The St. Croix is well adapted to the heat and humidity of the south.  It has excellent forage ability and the breed has a strong resistance to parasites that other breeds of sheep lack, which makes it a easy keeper. No sheering needed, they shed the little wool they grow.  They have a high fertility rate and can breed at six months of age with sometimes two lambings a year.  They often have twins or triplets which Ramsey was a triplet himself. We are excited to learn more about this breed of sheep and will keep you posted on this journey with Ramsey.

                    Live simple.....................................Sheryl

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