General Catching Up

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.

Have a great day!

Things That Make Me Smile

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.

The Whole Garden is Finally In

Well we may be picking our last tomatoes and peppers as the first snow falls but our garden is finally in..now it’s time to think about fall planting. It will be interesting to see how well this garden does. If the rains continue to come every 4 or so days and it continues not to be so horribly hot, everything should grow well. Just can’t believe we took this long. Oh well, it’s been really busy here and there just wasn’t enough time to get everything done.

I am trying to get a rather large goat’s milk product order filled and it’s really slow going. Probably because I’m trying to fill other orders at the same time, while dying roving and yarns in between.  Also, I am making myself sit down at the spinning wheel everyday for 1 hour and spin. It’s good for the mental health and I have a custom spun order that I’ve been working on for several months now that is finally getting finished. Usually by this time of year I have completed the 12 items that I spin and knit each year to sell..I don’t even know where my knitting needles are!

All fussing aside, things are really going great. The animals seem to be doing very well, even though Boggie, my 18 year old sheep, gives me a good scare everyday with her “dead sheep lay”..guess she’s practicing or just exercising her Mommie.

 

"Boggie"

"Boggie"

She’s looking good for an 18 year old, we think.

 

 The goat’s are fat, happy, and giving lots of milk, with little to no incident. All is well for today.

Snakes In The House

I’m sure that everyone has noticed my absence, well there is a reason for that. We’ve had an in house snake issue and I have finally grown brave enough to go back into the office. Kinda hard to run the business end of a business when you can only use the computer when Hubby is home from work. For my entire life I have been terrified of snakes. I’ve grown to accept the fact that black snakes are good to have at the barn but when they decide to come in for some air conditioning, it’s too much. I’ve been told that we are “blessed” to have a black snake in the house..not sure on what planet that’s true! So, this is why I’ve been missing.

Aside from the aforementioned, it’s been crazy busy here. We shipped off all of the fiber Friday to the mill. I decided to hold back all of the colored fleeces this time to work on processing myself. When we first started out in 1994, I did all of the processing and did so for years. In some ways I miss having that control but it has become much more practical to send it off. There were some absolutely incredible fleeces this year. We have two white ewes that double any fleece produced by a ram and it’s almost Merino quality. Can’t wait for everything to come back.

We worked the St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market yesterday. Good Lord it was hotter than the hinges of hell! As always, I set up the spining wheel but could only spin in short spurts. My hands were so sweatie that I couldn’t get the fiber off of me. Fiber sales were off but the soaps and lotions did really well. I love the fact that this is a producers only market and they stick to that rule. There are so many F.B.N. (fly by night) soap people, that only use melt and pour soaps that are trying to infiltrate the market these days that it makes it hard for an honest producer to sell their product. You would think that something as pure and natural as soap making could escape all of the nasty back biting and unhealthy competition but apparently that is no longer the case. It’s really quite sad that many of us do our level best to be helpful to up an coming producers, then they come behind us with substandard products and cheaper prices than we charge. They are arogant and down right nasty and plow through us like yesterdays news. We can only hope that in the end, the consumer can see through the outward charm and realize that the quality and pride doesn’t exist with these people. OK, sorry about the rant but I know that many of our fellow producers know exactly what I’m talking about here.

A month or so ago, another producer accused me of being a “thief”. While I can understand her feelings, being called a thief was directed at an innocent mistake. For 15 years, I have worked hard to establish a strong customer base, been truthful, have done it on my own, haven’t stepped on a single person to get here and have enjoyed the fact that yes, it can be done this way. Maybe it’s the economy but it seems that all of the negativity and accusations are getting worse. In my “Pollyanna” way of looking at this I think we should be out there lending fellow producers a hand..not handing them a club or worse yet, using the club on one another. Well, I’m ranting again. I might just be dealing with some wounded professional and personal feelings today.

I understand that there are quite a few people in the Fall Line Farms Co-op www.farm2udirect.com that are looking for me and wondering what has happened. There has been a drop point mixup, that has now been fixed. Also, we had decided to only deliver once a month in an effort to justify the expense in deliveries to five drop points but we are changing that as well. We will be back on the list next week and starting the second week in July, we will be back every week (all five drop points). Sorry I wasn’t there but glad you missed us..we miss you guys too!

Make sure you always check out our website for additions of new products and changes www.breezehillfarm.com. Have a great day and say little prayers that we will not have any more house guest of the reptile variety!

Hello Again!

Wow, I cannot believe how busy the last, almost two weeks have been and how behind I am on blogging and just about everything else. It’s been so crazy, in a good way, I’m not sure what I’m doing! Just in case anyone really cares..business is really good. Since the introduction of the Fiber CSA, it’s been endless emails and phone calls and yes even some purchases. Also, once the offering was listed in the Local Harvest Store it’s been out of control. Who knew how well this was going to catch on. Be sure to check the CSA out at www.breezehillfarm.com, there are still shares available and the time is nearing for us to send the fiber off to the processor.

Let me share a little bit about what has been going on. It all started on Saturday, May 23, when we took off to the mountains in search of the magic “Heirloom Vegetable Seeds”. Well we found them; tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash, pumpkin and many more. It was a nice day for us to finish up shopping for seeds for the garden..the late garden. After lunch at historic Michie Tavern, in Charlottesville, we headed back to the farm. On the way we received a phone call from our friends at Shady Nook Alpacas www.alpacasinvirginia.com/, in Powhatan, they were birthing babies and wanted us to come out. So we diverted our trip to their farm. How wonderful to be included in this. I had spoken to Lois and Ken on the phone numerous times but had not met them. Our visit was two fold, we got to meet two of the nicest people and see one live birth of a cria. (Sorry, no photo’s today)

The next day we sheared our llama, Kosmo. Still don’t think we’re over that one yet. He is so big and so spoiled (don’t know how that happened!) and is such a bratty baby. First he had to have his hum and kick fest, that was fun. Then he cushed and refused to get up. The crowning blow though was when he got nose to nose with me and spit. He had eaten breakfast about 3 hours before, you know that was a really pleasant spit! He and I got in a spitting match while my husband just stood there and laughed. Finally, Kosmo was shorn. We were invited to a Cuban Party that afternoon, so after showers we left for the party. Didn’t stay very long but the food was to die for. We promised we’d come back later for fireworks but came home and crashed.

I’m glad we got good rest on Memorial Day because last week was the week everyone decided they needed to order soap and lotion. With it only being me doing the production work, I tend to get backlogged easily and now I am. We’ve got a Farmer’s Market this weekend at St. Stephen’s and wholesale orders coming in from all of our accounts. This is such a good and encouraging thing. Business is picking up for all of us.

Wow, I’ve been all over the map with this post. Look next week for some fun and exciting things we will be offering to our customers and readers. Have a great rest of the week and upcoming weekend..we’ll be back Monday!

Almost forgot to include that we sheared most of our sheep this past weekend. We had one ewe produce 22 pounds of fiber, with a staple length of close to 12″. I’m thinking that we might should consider shearing her twice a year from now on. She’s always been a big producer but this was huge. To add to that, she is over weight, so her diet started Monday.