spring greens at Mountain Glen Farm

spring greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Comes To a Close - Counting Sheep


 

Yesterday, Glenn, Matt and Becky were separating and counting sheep.  Not because they were having a particularly difficult time sleeping, but because we were selling our first Mountain Glen Farm lambs; the first lambs to be born on our farm.

 

The flock was brought up from the pasture into the barn lot where the ewes were separated from all the remaining 2012 lambs.  This was not an easy task.  Sheep and lambs are smaller than cattle, so they are able to sneak under gates with ease to the opposite side of the working area than where they belong or they huddle in tighter groups in corners making division more difficult.  Some sheep go airborne; as I was able to observe quite a hefty ewe use another sheep’s back as a kind of trampoline, bounding up and over Becky’s head to temporary refuge.  Matt went flying across the muddy snow as he tried to maneuver a ewe to its new location.  Glenn opened and closed the gate the best he could, but those sheep were faster than his reflexes.   I stayed clear out of the way; away from flying hoofs and slippery ice. I know my limitations!




 

The best ewe lambs were tagged.  Only a few, nine, were chosen to stay on as future breeding ewes.  We are hoping that these chosen few are the healthiest, most resistant to parasites, and great producers.  Of course, only time will tell.

 

I thought sheep would be easier to move about than the larger cows and calves.  Wrong!

 

Twenty wethers (castrated male lambs) were divided off and placed into the barn.  These are the very first lambs to be sold from Mountain Glen Farm. 


 

The remaining lambs, wethers and ewes still to sell; the four breeding rams;  the’ keeper ‘ewe lambs and Ember (Becky’s horse) were combined and will spend  winter in the barn paddock.  Hmm….If I recall, this is the exact same location that I saw the red fox only a few days ago…I wonder if this is a safe prospect???

 

Polyface Inc, the farm that bought our 2012 grass-fed calves earlier this month, promised to buy 20 lambs.  Today was the day of purchase and pick-up.

 

The 20 lambs were loaded and left our farm, the remaining sheep none the wiser; a bittersweet moment, yet an appropriate end to the year.
 

truck leaving with the 20 lambs


truck rounding the bend in the driveway as the remaining lambs look on
 

As I reflect, I can honestly say that we had another good year at Mountain Glen Farm.  The ups far outweighed the downs.  We learned a lot and utilized new found knowledge. We made a positive difference.

Now, we will converse about the upcoming year; decide on our direction and any changes to be made; and how best to follow that course.  We want to continue to thrive as a family and as a farm.  We want our efforts to be constructive and beneficial and mindful.

 

Well….we best get moving as tomorrow is 2013!

 

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Foxy Friday




 

This morning, I was in the home office, sitting at the commuter, looking at my most recent emails and listening to Glenn who was sitting beside me.  All of a sudden Glenn jumped up out of his seat and exclaimed, “See the fox?”



 

No.  I had not as my eyes were on the computer screen; but, quickly I moved the two feet to the window and watched a lovely red fox weaving about the light snow-covered grass in the paddock besides the house. Every so often, said fox with an extremely bushy, beautiful tail would jump three feet or so straight into the air and come down on the ground with a pounce.  Glenn commented that he was hunting for mice.



Airborne!
 
The fox slowly meandered, nose to the ground, before moving to the adjacent pasture by sliding through a 6 inch by 3 inch square of the woven wire fence which divided the paddock into two sections.  Glenn did not believe an adult fox could fit through such a small opening; that is, until today.


 
 

Look at that gorgeous tail...



 


















 
So much for thinking a woven-wire fence offered some protection to our sheep…not!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

As Promised...


 

As the morning hours ticked into afternoon hours, the dark sky grew even darker. The faint view of the mountains through the fog soon became totally obliterated.  The usually clear panorama of our farm diminished with each progressing minute; resulting in a distinct vision of only a fraction of reality.

 

The forceful winds howled, rattling the windows and doors, shelling ice particles loudly against the panes of glass.
 

 

I was glad that I was cozy inside; sitting in my recliner, reading.  Occasionally, I would glance out at the winter birds trying to eat at the feeder without being blown away; many took refuge against the foundation of the house or in a nearby shrub to enjoy their plunder.  Eating, for the birds, was a definite feat today.


 

 
 
 
By late afternoon, the sheep braved their retreat from a clump of red cedars to nibble on the pasture.




Yesterday, Christmas Day was pleasant; calm and warm.  Amazing, how one day can produce such a radical change.  The forecast weather called for the change; so, I was not completely caught off guard.  But, a dramatic change for the worst is never really embraced or welcomed; just accepted.  Mother Nature always reigns.
 
 

Christmas Day at Mountain Glen Farm
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day


MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...




 
MY RED, WHITE, AND BLUE ORNAMENTS
 Some store-bought, some friends and family made, some I made - all cherished for many reasons!
 
 
...FROM ALL OF US AT
                               MOUNTAIN GLEN FARM


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Still Digging Potatoes


A long, sleek heron flew overhead late this afternoon. 

 

Matt was the first to notice it.  I, without camera, just stood still and adored the flight.  As it came directly over our heads, fairly low besides, this heron circled us before flying on; a greeting, perhaps. I enjoyed every wing movement, the rest of the body and stretched out legs maintained an unwavering line.

 

What a fabulous early winter moment….

 
 

Earlier, Glenn and Matt were in the garden digging the last of the potatoes.  Yes, in the garden; and, yes, digging potato.  A task I can finally cross off the ‘to do’ list…better late than never!


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
We had been eating potatoes freshly dug from the garden, since August, as needed; but now, with approaching snow and freezing rain in the forecast, today might just have been the last chance to dig. 

 

These potatoes are not as pretty as the early potatoes, but I am sure they are just as tasty…nothing like growing your own food; and, eventually, eating it- DELICIOUS!


Sam, our resident mockingbird, surpervised the afternoon chores.

 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012

WE SURVIVED DECEMBER 21, 2012...

     THE WORLD DID NOT END!

 THE FIRST FULL DAY OF WINTER IS HERE...

     ENJOY THE SEASON!

THE DAYS ARE BEGINNING TO GET LONGER...

     I RELISH THE EXTRA DAYLIGHT!


HURRAY - LET'S CELEBRATE!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Threes



 

They say things come in threes…sometimes good, sometimes bad; I just completed the third day of bad.

 

Two days ago, while decorating the first Christmas tree we have had in years, I dropped an ornament. (I guess I was out of practice.) I had just started to hang the ornaments; as I recall, this ornament was number two to go onto a branch.  The hook did not make it securely over the thin twig of the branch and the ornament started to roll down the feathery needles of the flexible branches.  I tried to make a catch…I missed.  The ornament, a glass accordion made in Germany, hit the floor and only slightly shattered.


 

I was sad.  This ornament was homage to my grandfather who lived upstairs from my family while I was growing up.  He played the accordion.  He had an old accordion.  One day, I remember my Grandfather buying a new, pearly red accordion with white keys.  My grandfather never bought himself anything; not until that accordion.  He was proud and happy.

 

Then yesterday, I dropped a jar, I was recycling, on the kitchen floor; that jar really shattered into tiny bits on that tile floor.  I did not care about the jar, but I had just vacuumed (yes, I was cleaning) the floor.  I had to drag the vacuum out again to make sure all the tiny slivers of glass were removed.

 

Today, while rummaging for a bowl on a shelf above my head, my small Texasware spatter confetti bowl fell onto the counter, then bounced to the floor and broke into three pieces.  DARN FLOOR!  That bowl was a fairly recent purchase, but it had become one of my favorites because of its color (you know how I like color) and it’s  size; perfect for mixing small amounts or for collecting my few daily eggs.  I will miss that bowl.

 

So, I am now surfing the web for replacements for the accordion ornament (tag reads:  Home For The Holidays on one side and Handcrafted by Glass Artisans in Germany on the other - this ornament is not old; I think I got in 1994) and my orange Texasware bowl (3.5 “tall and 7” across the top). Not the jar...I have plenty of jars.  I have not been successful, but I will keep looking.  So, if anyone out there comes across these two items, please let me know.  I would love to add them both back into my household.


the good side...
 
 

Now, I will keep my fingers crossed….

This Morning's Sky

 
Oh my, look at the sky…
Beautiful sky this morning.
 
Glorious pinks and golds,
Backlighting the mountain peaks,
Bringing joy to this lucky observer!
 
 
 







 
 
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Tree...check!


This morning, Glenn and I went to get our Christmas tree.

 

Over the years, we have patronized several of the local Christmas tree growers in our area.  This year we revisited Francisco Farms.  Glenn drove the back roads making a short trip a little longer.  I enjoyed watching the rural country side.  Unfortunately, I also noticed many  pastures abused by overgrazing and many old barns deteriorating with age which made me sad; but, one old greyed barn with a hand-laid stone foundation, sitting at the edge of a dirt road, sporting a wreath of greens and red bow was a joy.  I smiled.
 

 
When you no longer have young children...

When we arrived at the farm, we were the lone customers.  December 15th is not exactly a timely date in which to buy a tree, but it is pretty common in my family;  going back to my childhood when my birthday (12-14) was celebrated before Christmas decorations ever came out.

 
Nature's ornaments?  Bagworms...not my tree of choice!
 
 
Here  it is ...not too full, just tall enough!
 
 
back and forth, back and forth....

timberrrrrr

The weather was pleasant and enjoyable; none of the freezing temperatures, blowing wind and snow of seasons past to squelch our adventure.  Glenn grabbed a saw and off we walked onto the hillside of a plantation of white pine trees.  The trees were gorgeous; full and perfectly formed; not the kind of tree I was looking to cut.  I wanted a tree that was sparse; it had to have air space to actually hang ornaments from and between the branches.  We found one; open branches and a perfect height and width for the small area designated in our living room.  Glenn had that specimen sawn down in less than 60 seconds; then, back down the hill, tree dragging along the dry earth and hoisted into the back of the pick-up (no tie downs necessary), pay the twenty bucks (I will not pay more) and return home along different county roads.
 

 

At home, the tree was placed on the back deck, in a bucket of water until tomorrow…when the fun begins!

waiting patiently in a bucket of water..I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will still be able to have this beauty decorated by Christmas 
 

Note:   Growing perfect Christmas takes a lot of work; I know, but I still prefer the less-than-perfect tree.   Back in my college days, I had the opportunity (or should I say unfortunate task) to spend one day trimming white pines in our Forestry Club’s Christmas Tree Plantation.  I was a senior; club President; and evidently, it was my turn.  I went into the chore with zeal; I wanted the experience of trimming Christmas trees.  Well, about 30 minutes into the job, I had all the experience I needed or ever wanted - slicing off and shaping pine branches at an angle with a machete in 90°+ sunny, hot and humid air; walking from tree to tree  through 24” tall grass infested with chiggers (my body was covered with large, itchy bites for weeks - I looked like I had a skin disease so I wore long pants and long sleeves to cover up; and yes, it was still muggy and in the high 90’s); and profusely sweating with no relief (no one carried water bottles in those days)…I had had enough!  Twenty bucks…probably worth $100, at least.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Repurpose Our Silo?


There is a very nice silo on the ‘55’ farm.  It is not being used, except by a few pigeons; nor will it ever be used as a silo by us. Silos were used mainly by dairy farmers to store silage (chopped, green feed).  We are not dairy farmers.  We are grass-fed cattle farmers.  We rarely feed our cattle directly with purchased hay, and never with stored silage; they feed themselves, year round, on the grass and other growing forage in the pastures. 


 

The next best thing to an empty silo…is to repurpose the silo.
 

 

Becky decided that the silo would make a fabulous and very unique farm office.  Stepping into a silo to conduct farm business would be entertaining as well as functional.  I could see myself spending a lot of time in that office, just enjoying the circumstance.  

 

The three of us made a quick trip to the Fort Lewis Lodge in Bath County, Virginia to see their repurposed silo.  Their silo is used as guest quarters for the Lodge.  Since the Lodge is closed December through March, the owners were amiable to our pre-arranged visit.


 

John, owner of Fort Lewis Lodge, showed us the design for his silo renovation and gave us plenty of useful information.  After all, he has already been through the process.

 

We have a lot to consider if we are going to proceed with such a plan.  Of course, money for such a project is the biggest determining factor for not proceeding. But,…

 

Dreams do come true!

 

Note: The Fort Lewis Lodge facility is magnificent.   I have never had the opportunity to stay at the Lodge, but I did have the opportunity to partake in one of their evening buffets - such a wide variety; fresh, flavorful and plenty of choices to satisfy anyone’s preference.  The silo is only one of several accommodations available. Put some R & R on your 2013 agenda with a stay at the Fort Lewis Lodge.

Check out their website for more information at fortlewislodge.com.