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.


It’s Been A Long Time Again!

It’s coming down to the end of Spring around here. Let me update you on what has been going on at the farm.

Early Spring brought us the joys of lamb and kid births. So many little ones making it exciting and a little confusing too. We almost lost one of our ewes at lambing. Seems her little (gigantic) lamb didn’t want to come out easily and then we discovered she had been physically exhausted to the point that she gave up. We are very happy to say, she is doing fantastic now and so is “Wil” her lamb.

Then there was “Bella”! She was not really a surprise but I had miscalculated her due date of arrival. She and her Mom “Barga” are doing very well. The breeding that produced her was very accidental, which has now led to a 3/4 Angora x 1/4 Alpine Dairy kid. Her fiber is glorious!

We had a broody hen hatch 13 eggs and have 12, 3 month old chicks now.

We have since hatched another 11 chicks which are growing strong..and to our surprise, some of them are actually HENS!

The most exciting addition we’ve made to the farm this Spring are our Coturnix Quail. With the chickens, ducks and now quail we are rapidly becoming an “Egg Farm”.

These quail are actually mature and laying eggs within 8 weeks from their hatching and the health benefits from eating their eggs is amazing. There are now 36 of these little ones here and growing. This is the first week we’ve listed their eggs on our local co-op.

Aside from all of this we’ve just been working on the farm. Cleaning, growing, painting, sheep shearing and more.

Since the loss of Mom, I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of my time recreating pretty much my whole life (not just the farm). I am devoting much more of my time to the sheep and working again with fiber. We are working on a Virginia Grown/USA Grown organic yarn line as well as a line of naturally dyed yarns. Both of these projects are slow moving as it is quite expensive to have all of the fiber processed and natural dying can also be very expensive. Another thing I am doing is participating in special events to share (and sell) our fibers grown here on the farm.

Wow, I’m tired just writing! Until next time…

…and so ends 2009!

What a year! I can’t say that I’m glad it’s almost over because that would be wishing my life away and at my age, that’s not a good plan. I can’t believe how fast this year flew by. With Mother’s illness the first 3 months of the year and finishing out the last 2 months with illness again, most of the year has been a blurr.

Just trying to think..we’ve done some farm improvements, a few home improvements, added a couple of sheep and Beau-Cocks the rooster, birthed goat babies in the Spring, added on to our garden this past Summer, sheared sheep and goats in the Spring, took a couple of local trips to the mountains, and other wise it has been a fairly calm year..just the way we like it at the Farm. With the exception of Mom, it’s really been an OK year.

I guess there’s nothing more to say than…..

… be safe and all the best in 2010!!

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!

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.