This has been a burning question for days now. Every time we turn on the news, we see reports about flooding..every time we look out our door, we see flooding. There has to be a point where enough is enough. Our pastures are on the way to lush and green but any grass growth that happens to be under the taller stuff is rotting. Our garden spot is standing in water, not because the drainage is bad but because there is so much water it has no where to go. The sheep and goats are both looking for elevated surfaces to stand on..s.o.p. for a goat but sheep are typically ground dwellers.
On the plus side though, all of this moisture is making for an absolutely beautiful Spring. The herbs are growing by leaps and anything that could bloom, is blooming. There are many new Irises showing this year that we’ve never seen before..can’t wait to see what colors they are. For years we have only had one or two little Lilly of The Valley pop up and bloom. The year I’ve counted 68 individual plants coming up. So from the floral garden standpoint..the rains (and snows) have created a beautiful display.
Talked to my shearer yesterday and we’re scheduled for shearing in two weeks. I know my girls will be happy when that’s done. Two of my smaller (more Romney) girls were actually walking on their side fleece, so this weekend I trimmed up their sides..the fleeces are really nice. I still think that I’m going to do a “pool it all together” processing this year. Since the Alpaca fleeces that I have are so plentiful and our girls fleeces are looking so great, a blended fiber will be nice and something very different. The end result should give me a lot of fiber to dye, over-dye and leave natural, so keep a look out for those to be listed around May or June. I have several people on a waiting list to get samples and if any of our readers are interested in samples too, just email me or leave a comment. When they’re ready, I’ll email you to get your address.
While on the subject of fleeces, all of my little goat crosses (Angora x Alpine) blew their fleeces almost a month early. I wasn’t able to salvage any of it. The fleece that they produce is the equivalent of Cashmere with the luster of Mohair. It’s really pretty, takes dye very well and I love to blend it with my white sheep wool..but not this year.
Soap update..it’s curing nicely and I should be getting it out to my customers very soon. I have cut back on the variety of fragrances for the time being (until I get orders caught up) and am going to start a Garden Collection of fragrances later in the season. I am still experiencing a hold up on the lotions and butters but hope to get started on those soon.
It’s a beautiful morning. Grey, rainy and cooler temps. Love it! The late garden seems to be enjoying it too. I will probably can tomatoes this weekend. Those will be most definitely appreciated this winter.
This weekend, all over the country, is National Alpaca’s Farm Tour. Our friends, Lois & Ken Pocock of Shady Nook Alpacas here in Powhatan will be hosting farm visits. Also, our new friends Katy (you know her as Alpaca Farm Girl) & Stephen Spears in Fairhope, AL, will be participating too, so if you’re in their area, be sure to check out their farm. If you’re looking for something to do or are thinking about starting a small farm, it’s worth the trip out to your local Alpaca farm to see what it’s all about.
I thought in honor of these farm open houses I would share this website dedicated to handspinning. The site covers all fibers for spinning and even video’s. Never hurts to expand your fiber knowledge, even if you have no desire to learn how to spin. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t spin and would like to learn how, I am available to teach you. Did you like how I did that??
Well, I’m off to work. I haven’t milked the goats yet this morning. I thought in celebration of the rain, I’d let them sleep in this morning. Once I’m done with that and have made a batch of soap, I’ll be working on the grant proposal for our new endeavor on the farm. I can’t wait to share this with everyone but not yet. Don’t want to jinx it..don’t cha know.
Our weather is so odd in Virginia. Last week it felt like Fall and this week, it’s summer again. The weather forecast for last week included several days of rain..we didn’t see a drop here. This week was suppose to be rainy too..nothing! Our late garden is not doing at all well and our first attempt at tobacco is just yellow. I will honestly be glad to be done with gardening this year.
I kind of like this photo that was taken at the Green Market last Thursday. I’m in the red shirt (just excuse all my fatness) with the obviously messed up hair cut. You never know what the back of your head looks like..I am not amused.
By the way there is a spinning wheel in front of me and no, neither of us work for Gander Mtn., but it is good advertising for them.
As everyone knows from my Monday post, hay cutting and bailing was going on around here and we took the opportunity to get a couple of Border Collie shots. It was almost dark so some of the shots are affected by the flash.
See those eyes? Now we know why the sheep say "yes sir"!
Katie and her kids
Katie is clearly bored with this whole operation and please just don’t look at her butt. She has some of the worst allergies. Gael is our smiling BC (nose spasms) and Roy is just good!
Well I need to stop killing time and get back to work. Until next time!
Before I get too wound up in my Blog post I want to share something with everyone that I read this morning from Alpaca Farm Girl Blog http://networkedblogs.com/p10606724?ref=nf and it oh so true of the life of the farmer. Read it and maybe you’ll understand more about what our lives are like. Be sure to leave Katy a comment with well wishes for little Pippi, that she gains strength each day and will be in the pasture with her Mom soon.
What a beautiful morning! Nice and cool, 56 degrees to be exact, sun shining bright and low humidity. Can’t believe this is Virginia the 2nd day of September. Not to worry though, by the weekend it will be 90 degrees again. Don’t know why we’ve been blessed with this couple day cool snap but I for one could not appreciate it more. The prelude to Fall always makes me happy because that means Winter is not far behind! Between all of the acorns and how quickly the sheep fleeces have grown since shearing in the Spring, we may be looking at a hard Winter this year. These two things are usually a good sign of that.
The late garden is looking fantastic! Every tomato plant is covered with tomatoes that should be ripe by the end of the months and the peppers – Wow! Aside from the typical Bell Pepper, we planted Chocolate and Orange Bells and Jimmy Nardello’s. Lat weekend at a Farmer’s Market, I bought a couple of the JN’s to try…can’t wait for our to rippen. The early garden has pretty much finished it’s thing, except for the tomatoes. With this lul in harvest, I’m taking advantage of harvesting seeds for next year.
Well, our new sheep additions are getting closer to their arrival time. I can’t wait! Adding Icelandic’s to our existing flock should make fiber harvest interesting. These new girls will be ready for their Fall shearing when they arrive, so we should get several pounds of fiber from them. This will also be a new thing for us, our sheep are only shorn annually. It’s nice to add something new.
I’ve got to get goats milk soap and lotion deliveries ready for tomorrow and as of about 20 minutes ago, we have another new retail outlet, Ashwood Gardens & Nursery in Ashland, VA, so I need to get their delivery ready too. Welcome to the Breeze Hill Farm family Charlie & Terry Blair, owners of Ashwood Gardens!
There are still a few more days to make comments on the “Giveaway” post from last Friday.
There are many things that make me smile, this is just one of them.
I am so excited! Just went out and took a look at the garden. As many of you know, we put our garden in very late this year and I didn’t really expect to see much happening until September. Well, the 40+ tomato plants that we planted all have at least one tomato on them. I’m going to be one busy gal in a month or so making and canning sauces. Can’t wait!
Don’t forget to comment for the Goats Milk Soap and Lotion Giveaway! Drawing is Sunday August 23.