What's New on the Farm
We are finally getting our snow, we have about 3 to 4 feet on the ground now. It is still staying cold, today is the first day above freezing we have had for 2 months. The animals had a great time outside today, kicking up their heels and running around in the deep snow.
The winter Spin-in was last week in Newport Maine, it is a good break in the winter. There were about 100 spinners working away on their wheels, and visiting the vendors colorful array of wools from an assortment of fiber animals. It is always interesting to pick up some exotic fiber, or different color wool to spin.
The sheep are ready to have their lambs within the next few weeks, we trimmed their butts and around the udder area so the lambs can find supper amidst all that wool. They have all had their CD&T's now we just wait impatiently.
The recalcitrant mule, Ralph is finally letting me do some trimming on his feet after a bad experience with a ferrier. It takes 3 of us to talk, and reassure him, while I nip and file like mad. It is quite a workout. We did the pony's and mini donkey's feet while we were at it, they need more trimming in the winter, since they don't wear them down as much in the snow. Blackie the pony is so good, he holds up his hoof for me while I use two hands to do the nipping.
The ducks and geese are laying eggs now, I told them it was too early to make a nest but nobody is listening. We would like to let the geese hatch out some goslings but I think they are going to have to wait for warmer weather.
Winter has struck, and we are having a cold one, Temperatures have not been extreme but steady about -10 to 10 degrees. Snow is still not very deep only about 12" on the ground but our snow days are still to come!
I have been going to market with butter and eggs every 2nd week, sales are brisk at the farm even after the holidays. I usually sell out within about 3 hours and head back home to keep warm.
The Made in Maine show with our farm aired in January, you never know how many people watch such a show until you are in it, we are told where ever we go that they watched "our show". It was exciting for local people to know someone that was filmed, so many of the shows are in Southern Maine. We were very pleased with the show, they did some beautiful pictures.
I have been trying to breed my heifer Clover for a fall calf but she hasn't taken yet, we are thinking of having her visit a bull down the road. It isn't very easy to AI a heifer especially for a beginner. Buttercup is bred for a Sept calf, she took the first time.
We took a day in January to trim all the sheep's feet before they get too big, they are all due in March, and getting bigger every day. There are 6 ewes bred. You know spring is just around the corner when you have lambs bouncing around the barn.
The goats are being bred now so we will have late kids in June or July. I don't like having too many kinds of babies at once so we breed later and it is nice for them to be able to go out on grass right away, they grow much better.
Well things are winding down for the season. The Animal Farm is closed for 2000 and the animals are being relocated back to the barn for the winter. Fall groups were treated to cider making and picked a pumpkin out to take home from the pumpkin patch.
I will still go to market with butter and eggs but all the veggies are gone and the garden is being put away for the winter. We pulled up all the plants and trellises spread ashes and then manure from the sheep pens to make the garden ready for next year. It was a good season even though the weather was cool and rainy. It was hard on some varieties of vegetables like corn and tomatos but others thrived.
Butter making has restarted, Buttercup had a bull calf in late August and is milking very well. We have had to put a 2 lb limit on butter customers due to the big demand.
The rams are out with the ewes breeding for next springs lambs. They are growing a fine coat of wool for winter, maybe that means a hard winter!
A new Toggenburg buckling named Sebell arrived in October. He will breed the 3 does for next springs kids. I hope we will have better luck then last year.
I planted about 300 bulbs for next spring, hopefully it will be a colorful one.
In September Maine Public Television came to the farm to tape a segment on Butter making on Goldenrod Farm for the Made in Maine show, it will air in January.
We are looking forward to slowing down for the winter.
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