Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer reflections

Today is the day before the annual workshops begin here at Long Ridge Farm taught by Michele Wipplinger, founder/owner of Earthues in Seattle. I am almost ready, save for a little more fussing here and there. Michele arrives mid-day and so I have a few peaceful hours before the real work begins. As I looked out across my desk and on into the back gardens, the hens cruised by looking for some early morning goodies in the grass. It is a gray and misty day with a bit of a fall feel and we finally are having rain after nearly 8 weeks of next to none. My mind drifted as I thought '8weeks ago' and mentally counted back, recollecting the spring and summer, and my jaw dropped thinking of all that has happened these past 4 months.

Mid-April we were lambing, I was vending at CT Sheep and Wool, April 24th and then onto NH Sheep and Wool, 5/8-9 and then May 10th promptly left for the trip to France with Michele and friends from Earthues for 2 weeks, arrived home for a week, taught two natural dyeing workshops, repacked and left for Seattle, June 20th for another week, then home again (super kudos to Jack and Katie for holding down the farm!!) to settle down (?) for the summer with a planned foot surgery scheduled for July 2nd. But that had to be postponed for a week due to a rotten cold I picked up on the plane from Seattle. Surgery 7/9 and after a week of behaving I started moving about more and more. I have healed well, it is still a long road and will be months til my dear foot is back to "normal".

Life moves at variable speeds although at this point in mine I find it is zoomier than ever! I would be remiss if I didn't apologise right now for not keeping in touch better these past weeks and months with you, my blogger buds. I suspect it is the state of hobbling that has thrown me off completely. But hopefully as things are now back to my normal zoomy, I will be able to catch up with blogs and all the other regular rituals I have missed.

The lambs and moms have now moved to pasture and joined the regular flock. Here they are coming up the road, with Kalie's help (mmmaybe!) to join the others.

It was a bit chaotic for the first day; lambs couldn't find their moms amidst the "who are you fest" and moms were trying to teach their young to stay clear here and there. Lots of baaaing and jockeying.

But now they are all settled in, grazing, sleeping peacefully by night and the daily chores are immensely easier. You can see Della to the left with three lambs in this picture. Della is all the lambs favorite. She is calm, protective and never minds an occasional jump on the back.

The fields suffered this summer with the lack of rain but they will manage to inch along until pasture season ends late September.

Thank for your continued interest in the goings on means a lot to me!
I hope you are enjoying these last few weeks of summer!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Where the boys are

The ram boys (now not so rammy) traveled north into the White Mountains with us on Saturday to their new home. It was a difficult extraction from the farm. I frankly hate it. At 8AM the farm was a hush. It was a very cool morning and the two groups were all happily settled in their morning routine: laying around chewing cud and waiting for us to come feed them, freshen water, open up the pasture gates for the day...same old, same old. And then in the blink of the eye, while Katie harmlessly did the chores, I gave Vitamin B shots for travel stress and Jack whisked them into the transporter. Wails came from ewe and lamb as we drove off into the morning sun. It is indescribable. I wept. And then we rounded the corner at the bottom of the hill and said " we are on the way". We had an uneventful three hour trip despite the baaaing from the rear. We laughed as we drove through downtown Littleton at a snail's pace, both lambs baaing quite loudly as innocent bystanders and shoppers spun to see the ruckus! My truck plate said it all Baaaa- Finally we found the entrance to Austin and Guthrie's new home.

We wound our way up the drive and on approach the Mountain View Grand heaved into view.

We found our way around the back of the hotel to the big red barn where the farm manager, Krista, and a few other farm employees were anxiously awaiting our arrival.

With speedy dispatch we offloaded the boys and got them settled in the barn in their own pen. Within short order they had met the llamas and alpaca.

We stayed and observed for at least a half hour and the boys eventually started eating hay, found the mineral salt and had a big drink of water so we were satisfied they would be comfortable.

Krista is the farm manager and her husband is the GM at Mountain View Grand and he stopped down to see the lambs and took a photo of us before we left.

We were invited to enjoy lunch at the country club. It was a yummy feast and of course we enjoyed the wine and view.

After lunch we took a walk up to the hotel, I on crutches with my walking boot. After roaming through the lobby we walked out onto the front porch which offered a vista of 19 peaks of the White Mountains and I met a lovely woman who began our conversation by saying "You shouldn't have kicked him!" after Jack had already strolled by. There she was, dressed to the nines, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, enjoying life. I had to take time to visit with her!

Since that day, the boys have had a breakout, made best friends with the smaller llama, and been chased by a Leister Longwool ewe a few times. I get daily reports as to their progess and believe they are in for a pretty good run there with lots of friendly guests to visit with and a superb farm staff. All the while bearing in mind I will have to go up from time to time for a sheep squeeze. I will always miss the ones that get away.

Meanwhile back at the farm this is the second harvest this week from the veggie garden. We have already put up 36 bags of green beans and broccoli and these baskets will put us up to 60! We have had little rain but with our evening watering the sunshine has provided a formidable harvest. Kalie, looks shy in this picture but she was just kidding!