welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Saturday, August 28, 2010

so, it's been awhile...

I cannot even believe how long it's been since my last post! Chalk it up to being busy as well as not having much to show or say.

Recently, I was asked to decorate the letter "a". It's for the cover of "Fig" a local publication that promotes the downtown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

To celebrate the new issue, Fig held a launch party and since I did the "a", I was invited. I got to dress up, eat hors d'oeuvres, sample local beers and wines, listen to a couple songs from Opera Lancaster's upcoming show, and meet a lot of interesting and very nice people. What a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something so fun!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

an overturned (cast) sheep

Yesterday Mayapple's two lambs kept calling and calling. After about five minutes of that, I went out to see why they couldn't find their mother. Seeing her in the pasture, I thought she was laying down, but then realized that she was on her back, legs sticking up in the air, looking quite dead. A sheep can die fairly quickly if they roll onto their back and are unable to right themselves. Their rumen (stomach) compresses their lungs and unable to breathe, they suffocate. As I got closer, I realized she was still breathing, just very shallowly, and so quickly helped her onto her stomach. After trying to get up and failing, she laid there panting heavily for about 15 minutes. Finally, she tried again to get up, this time succeeding. A bit wobbly, she walked away from me to her now-relieved lambs. She can thank them for saving her life.

Mayapple is the same ewe that nearly died this spring from a bad case of pregnancy toxemia. Poor sweet girl, she's having such a bad year, I just wanted to give her a hug. But while friendly enough, she's not a hugger.

Friday, August 20, 2010

farm update

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted anything! I blame it on spending time with friends, both new and old; weeds and their desperate and evil desire to get the best of me; and lack of anything that seemed important enough to warrant a post on its own.

On the bee front:  
As you may know, with a hive of bumbles in the greenhouse for pollination and a hive of honeybees for honey and field pollination, I am a recovering bee-phobe. Not quite there yet, but making headway. Or, at least I was, until a few weeks ago. Deciding to clean up some old wood, I disturbed a nest of yellow jackets. After much swearing, running, arm flailing, and finally jumping into the shower to get them off me, I was stung five times. Not that bad you say? I beg to differ. I am still jumping at the sound of buzzing. That little incident probably set me back a year in my relationship with bees. At least. As a result, last week a friend volunteered to inspect my hive for me. He borrowed my jacket and hood, but the tyvek suit was too small. "Not a problem", said he, "I'm not afraid of bees". Long story short, the bees were in a foul mood and he was stung at least ten times. Never having been allergic, he didn't worry until he started having trouble breathing. I gave him three Benedryl and after about an hour, he started getting better. Come to find out later, after hearing his symptoms, his doctor said he nearly died. We can just consider this another year of set-back with bees, okay? However, my friend's not a quitter and so asked me to order him a tyvek suit. Now, armed with an epi pen he is ready to tackle hive inspection once again. Maybe this afternoon. God help me.

The flock is doing great. Everyone is healthy and thriving. Due to a reduced pasture size, heat and drought, I've found it necessary to feed hay. No lambs have been sold yet, so it looks like they may be going to the butcher at the end of October. If you like lamb and are interested in some for your freezer, let me know.

There are now seven remaining silky chickens here. Out of 25. Twice, I forgot to close their door at night. The first night, twelve chickens disappeared. The second time, another six were taken. I blame foxes. And of course, myself. I've been way too distracted lately.
The geese are doing well. Several goslings were sold and just one remains. Unless sold by the end of October, he'll be butchered.
To round out the year's supply of meat, my plan is to get some broiler chicks in the next week or so and have them ready for processing at about the same time as the gosling and lambs.

Market garden:
I've officially lost the battle with weeds in most of my new plot. Probably the best course of action at this time is to mow it and start prepping for next year while vowing to do better. The greenhouse is chugging along and producing well. Fall and winter seeds were ordered and have arrived. Planting will start up for those crops next week. A little late, but still okay.

So that's what has been going on here on the hill. I've been distracted in the best possible way, but as a result, things have run a bit amuck. Time to buckle down and get back to business.