I cannot believe it's been over two months since I last updated. That must mean that things on the farm are pretty busy.
Jared attended WSU Shearing School April 4-9, 2011, in Moses Lake, WA. He learned a lot and had an amazing week. He even received a Shearing School Scholarship for an essay he wrote on why he wanted to attend shearing school. He arrived back home in Seattle, bought some shearing equipment and proceeded to shear our entire flock. It took awhile to catch the last few girls but he got 'em all sheared. Fleeces are headed off for processing soon.
|Tyr being sheared|
|Tyr (back) post shearing, Ithaqua (front)|
|Thistle gets her turn|
|Clover says one last "goodbye" to her fleece, post shearing|
|Jared holding Tyr's fleece|
At the end of April, we lost our Cheviot/Suffolk/Hampshire ewe, Scarlett. We found her in the pasture with a large vaginal prolapse and got her to the vet ASAP. The vet did what she could to help get the prolapse back in place but it wouldn't stay. On top of that, Scarlett had a large bump on her face, that when lanced by the vet was full of infection and wouldn't stop bleeding. She died overnight at the vet. In all honesty, Scarlett came from questionable breeding. Both her mother and grandmother had a history of prolapse and some issues with abscesses. Jared and I thought that with some great nutrition, exercise, and love, she could overcome it but sometimes there's no overcoming Mother Nature. We've learned a lot from this experience about the importance of excellent breeding, with a focus on culling those animals that have health/genetic issues.
|Scarlett Sheep April 2010-April 2011|
Our garden is doing well! After keeping most of the plant starts in the house for significantly longer than they should've been, they're finally outside. We still have a garden bed that needs soil and maybe another one to build before all the crops are in the ground. Beans, squash, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins are also growing!
|Oak Leaf Lettuce|
|Oregon Sugar Pod Peas|
|Hardneck Garlic scapes|
|Pink Lemonade Blueberry Bushes|
We've been working with a farmer in Kent who is looking to transfer his 8 acre berry farm to younger farmers. Since the farm has been in berries for a long time, we've decided, with intensive mentoring from Farmer Bob, to continue that tradition. Two weeks ago, we planted 6,000 strawberry starts on an acre of land. The weather hasn't been too favorable for getting the starts into the ground, which means a lot of extra hands on work and care to keep the starts healthy. Our plans for this farm, with this farmer, are far from finalized, we're just getting started!
|T & M Berry Farm, Kent, WA|
|T & M Berry Farm, Kent, WA|
|Sophie, Thea, and Justine working hard|
After months of waiting and wishing, our first lamb was born on June 1st. Jared and I arrived at the pasture to find Isolde's lamb had just been born, still sticky, active, and BEAUTIFUL! It's most exciting that our first lamb is a ewe, weighing in at 6 lbs., named Ylfa- meaning "she wolf" in Icelandic. She is quite wooly looking and growing like crazy. It feels like she's almost doubled her weight in 5 days!
|Isolde and Ylfa|
|Clover, taking a moment after all the excitement!|
|4 days old!|
|Tyr, Ylfa's father, seemed unaffected at the announcement of his daughter's arrival.|
We still have some pregnant ewes, so there are at least four more lambs to come!
|How much longer will it be for Isa?|
All of the chicks that hatched in late March/early April are pretty grown up. We will be tractoring them in the ewe's pasture once we get a couple of tractors/portable hen houses built. In the meantime, we'll be moving the smallest juvenile chickens over to the pasture to begin their role in our pasture management plan, in a temporary portable coop/tractor. Once we know for sure who is a pullet and who is a cockerel, we'll separate any little boys we're not going to keep for breeding and raise them for butchering in the Fall.
|A Wheaton, Copper Maran, Blue Wheaton, and Buff Orpington|
|Splash Orpington cockerel, Mr. Silver|
|A supposed Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Betty|
|Orpington/Maran cross, Ms. Smokey|
I'm heading to Monroe today to pick up more hatching eggs- Lavender and Black Orpington and Blue Laced Red Wyandotte- for our two broody hens. Because of our large chicken population at the moment, they'll be brooding on the back porch in pet carriers to keep things as organized as possible.
I've put in an application for our farm to participate in the 2011 Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour on Saturday, July 9th. Once we get the thumbs up, I'll be inviting all our friends down for a day on the farm.
Enjoy Spring, now that's finally here!