Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lambing Season

A little over a month ago we added twin Oxfords to our farms, both of which are getting big and getting close to being weaned from their mother. Over the last 10 days we have added 4 Navajo-Churro lambs to our flock. We had two singles and then one of our ewes had twins. So far the 4 lambs are adjusting well and already starting to get big. We have one more Navajo-Churro ewe that should have her lamb in the next week or so and then we have another Navajo-Churro and a Southdown ewe that will not have their lambs until April or May. As usual, all of the lambs are coming in the middle of the night because when I go out in the morning to feed the sheep all the sudden there is a new lamb running around.

The Navajo-Churro that had twins caused some interesting moments for me. It was last Thursday and I have to leave for work early so I was hurrying to get all of the feeding done. I saw the ewe that based on her size I really thought that she would have twins. I fed them and she had one lamb with her and I looked around to see if there was another lamb, but did not see anything (although it was 6am and dark in parts of the barn). I was a little dejected that she only had a single lamb and went on to feed the other sheep and pigs in another part of the barn. While feeding them I heard a baah baah like a lamb was looking for its mother. I went back to the other part of the barn and finally found the twin in the corner. He is a very dark brown, almost black, and in the dark I could not see him. I hurried and separate the ewe and her two lambs into another pen that we had so she could adjust to having twins and I can give her a little more food. I took a few pictures of the twins, but they did not turn out so I will have to try again tomorrow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Planting

The 2010 planting season is starting early as we already have lettuce, cabbage and spinach starts growing in our living room. In the end we will have about 90 different varieties of vegetables growing over the next 10 months or so. Today we got a couple of hoop houses ready so we can put the lettuce out in a few weeks and then will follow that up with tomatoes, peppers and melons. Our hoop houses are pretty simple, just PVC pipe that is attached to the ground with a 2 foot metal rod that is stuck in the ground(we will put up pictures in a few weeks). We experimented last year with the hoop houses, but they were too long and we had the PVC pipes at 10 foot lengths which was too large of a gap. This year we are doing 25 foot hoop houses and we have PVC pipes every 5 feet to provide more structure. We also glued the PVC pipes together this year so we did not have the pipes coming out like we did last year.

Most of our vegetables come from Baker Creek Heirloom and Seed Saver's Exchange. Both specialize in unique varieties of vegetables. Potatoes we had to get from other sources because the potatoes we got last year were not available this year. We also are getting some corn and soybeans from a couple of Seed Saver members as we wanted a blue corn for flour and neither Baker Creek or Seed Saver's have a blue corn variety available. We will highlight some of the vegetables we grow as we go through the year. It will be an exciting year as we are off to a much early start and we learned a lot last year that we will apply this year.