Spring Is In The Air..

Aaaah! Spring! It’s that time of the year when flowers are starting to bloom, trees are budding, the grasses are greening up and the garden is calling.

Now is the time to start moving manure from the barn up to the garden plots and to start tilling that “black gold” into the earth but this year things will be a little different in one of the plots. We have decided to grow potatoes for markets. Soil preparation for these beauties does not include manure as an amendment..so there will be less hauling than in years past. Can’t wait to see the lush green plants starting to pop up!

Each market season we have noticed that Spinach and Carrots are limited, so to do our part in answering the call for more of these foods, we have increased our garden area to add several raised beds for carrots and a second garden spot for spinach. Then of course there will be the usual cast of characters..tomatoes, okra, cukes, squashes, eggplant and lettuces.

On a different note, all of chickens seemed to be loving the warmer weather and longer days already. We have eggs everywhere! Our chickens are totally free range so as a result egg collection closely resembles an Easter Egg hunt each day. That’s OK though it is worth it when we are able to put together a carton of eggs that look like this…

Thank you girls…

Next on the list for our Spring “to do’s” will be sheep shearing. That’s always exciting too..when we get the chance to see what this years growth looks like. By the winter being mild, it doesn’t look like we will have the usual bumper of wool. We will be adding Cashmere this year to our fibers available. Friends of ours are getting out of the cashmere business but they still have 10 goats that need to be combed..so yes, I volunteered to do the combing. Payment for this job..we get the fiber! There will be some pretty cool rovings and yarns available in the fall!

Neeing Hair Cuts...Now!!

Maybe I’m wrong..look at all that wool!

Well that’s all for today. I’m afraid if I keep writing, I’ll wear myself out.

Advertisements

Container Gardening Fans Read This…

We have come up with a wonderful product for all of those Container Gardening folks out there. It is our new Natural Growers Pack.

What is it and what does it do you may ask? It is a water retention and fertilizer system that is made from 100% all natural and organic materials. When you container garden or grow house plants, you are always faced with watering your plants..even if you are on vacation. Using our pack limits the need to constantly be watering your plants as the natural sheep wool acts as a sponge absorbing water and holding it for longer than just soil. The added bonus..you get a pack of sheep manure compost to add to your soil as a natural fertilizer.

These are all of the supplies you need to use this pack:

The contents of the pack, a container, your plant or seeds, plus soil.

Start with an empty large to extra large container. Line the bottom of the container with the enclosed sheep wool. Now take the wonderfully rich in nutrients package of sheep manure compost and blend it with your soil..place in your container on top of the sheep wool. Add your plant. Water. That’s it..easy peasy!

It is a wonderful system for container vegetable gardening. By using this all natural system you eliminate the need to continuously fertilize your plants too. Your container tomato plants will be the envy of the neighborhood!

The Natural Growers pack is available in our ETSY store, through Fall Line Farms Co-op, Local Roots Co-op, The Great Big Greenhouse in Richmond, VA and more locations are coming soon as we fill orders. You, of course, can buy them direct through me and we will have them at local Farmer’s Markets this Spring and summer.

Do something good for your plants and make Mother Nature smile at the same time..oh yes, and each time you purchase/use one of these Natural Growers Packs you are supporting a small family owned sustainable farm business!

“The 5 Mile Long Post”

I am calling this entry “The 5 Mile Long Post”. There is a lot of catching up to do in many different areas, so let’s get started.

First, my Mother bless her heart. This is the main reason I’ve dropped out of existence for a while. Several weeks ago, things got very bad for her and I ended up moving in with her. As with how her health problems have been since November, things had gone from bad to worse. After yet one more ER visit, the ER Doctor got me on the phone. He told me that my Mother was in Advanced End Stage Lung Disease (this was news) and that I “needed to grow up and accept the fact that she is dying and that she and I needed to get use to it”. What a nice man..that I might add, last I checked is still on Administrative Leave! He sent Mom home saying that there was nothing wrong with her. Two days later she was admitted to the hospital for what would end up being a seven day stay. (nothing wrong with her, eh?) On the seventh day I took her to a Rehab Clinic for treatment of Steroidal Myopathy. She was there for 1 week and was sent home. Did I happen to mention that Mom has lost from 165 to 121 pounds since November and can no longer walk?

After 4 days at home, she fell. Now she is in a Skilled Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center. Her estimated time there is 6 weeks. I now have a little break.

I’m finally back at the farm full time. It is amazing how much has been lost over these past months since Mom started going downhill. My business has suffered to the point that there is no income being generated at all. Because of promising orders would be filled, then emergencies that took me away from the farm, I am a bit “gun shy” now about trying to promise anyone anything. There are so many calls to make, emails to answer and at this point I’m not sure what to say…sorry just doesn’t seem to cut it. So wish me luck with this task.

Even though Mom is in a facility, that doesn’t mean that my responsibility with her ceases – so I am still seeing how many directions I can go in on a daily basis!

I realized yesterday that I had not lined up a shearer this year. My friend, Kathy – Scarlet Fleece is taking a shearing class so I offered up my flock for practice subjects. She is just as particular as I am, so I know she’ll do a wonderful job. Thank God for friends.

Since Mom’s illness has been far reaching into our lives, we also had not seeded, limed or fertilized our fields in the Fall, so this past weekend we started that project and hope to finish this coming weekend. The time change will help out a lot with all of the projects on the list..like cleaning the barn (a usual Winter project for us). This year is house painting year too. We are very lucky that this project is only trim and shutter painting. Also, before we know it, it will be garden and market season and we haven’t ordered the first seed.

Last night my husband announced he will be going to training school in April, so I get to be both the woman and man of the farm. The dates he will be gone are dangerously close to that 6 week mark with Mom – more stress that I didn’t need!

So anyway, I am back! Keep checking back to see my Blog-I promise there will be less illness and poor me and more about the farm. It’s a wonderful time of year and I look forward to green pastures and dandelions!

Cheers!

Sorry I’ve Been Gone For Awhile

I’m sorry I keep sharing with everyone about my Mother. I know that it can become depressing after a while but she had taken a turn for the worst over the last couple of weeks and I’ve spent a lot of time with her and not much here at the farm. It is my pleasure to share with you that she is doing better. She has finally found a doctor that is very capable of reading her, reading test results and making diagnosis that are apparently correct. She seems to be on the fast track to recovery!

As you know, before this last bout with Mom’s illness, I had opened an Etsy Store. I am still very excited about that even though I have not experienced the joy of a first sale. Getting this Etsy thing right seems to be a full time job in itself but I think I’m getting there. Please, when you get a chance stop by and see what we have available. The plan, once I have everything moved over, is to eliminate our ProStores shopping cart and have our new website devoted solely to the Farm and our Etsy store devoted to all product sales. Here I thought farming was going to be about tending the livestock and gardens..ha!

Things here at the Farm have been fairly quiet. Everyone is enjoying this little heat wave (it’s suppose to be in the 60’s here today) and the sheep have made it their mission to seek out every new blade of grass and devourer it. We got a new round bale last week, so every time I look out the window there is a goat dancing around on top of it. Those girls are showing signs of being good and pregnant now..they’re not due to kid until the end of March, so my best guess is we are looking at a lot of twins (good work Antonio!). We didn’t breed the sheep this year, so their fleeces are to “dye” (hehe) for. Spring will bring a nice bounty. Even Kosmo’s fleece is much nicer than in past years. I can’t wait to have mounds of fluff to work with. We have a new processor in Virginia now and I’m definitely going to give them a try this year. The samples I’ve received have been first class.

Well it’s off to soap making! Got to get those Valentine orders out there on the shelves.

Until next time be safe.

A Hot Fall Day In Virginia

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.

IMG_1161

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"!

See those eyes? Now we know why the sheep say "yes sir"!

Katie and her kids

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!