Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dog toy and new pheasant pen

Yesterday Tom was taking a motorcycle driving test so I was on my own.  I spent a lot of the morning cleaning and doing computer stuff.  This included laundry and so I washed the wool thrums (leftover small lengths of yarn from weaving).  This makes a ring of felted wool with bits of yarn coming out.  It makes a great dog toy; for tug-of-war and just carrying around thinking you're cool.

Then I went to the barn.  I cleaned out the pen in the back of the feed shed and moved two of the pheasants there.  They had been sharing a pen with rabbits and don't think they were thrilled with the arrangement.  They have a little less room, but it's not shared, and it's warmer and lighter.  

When I was done with the animal chores Tom came home, and we cleaned the gutters and used plastic weld to fix cracks in a large (300 gallon) water container we have.  I like to have this container full of water in case our well pump every goes out.  That way we should have water for the animals to drink while we are fixing it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More fall projects

Wednesday we did more fun fall farm projects!  Tom picked up some free concrete chunks from old Edison, and we drove these into the field and placed them near one of our main gates to try to stabilize the soil there and prevent a large mud bog (like last winter's).  Tom picked up the firewood that was leftover from out tree felling/chipping day and brought them to our wood pile to be split and stacked (later!).  I worked on animal stuff.  After we were done we went boot shopping!  I don't know if you can tell from the photo but last year's two sets of boots (one of each pair on the right in the photo) have deep gouges through the neoprene leg, and each has a nail hole through the sole.  So we went to Oliver Hammer fall sale, and each decided on the same boots (Tom's are a little bigger than mine).  They are all rubber (no gougable neoprene this year) and have thick soles.  Hopefully they will last at least one year!

 Thursday I worked while Tom worked on his car.

Today we worked on the back ditch.  On the far east of our back ditch line the silt and blackberries had overgrown our ditch and cause it to back up and overflow onto one of our fields last winter.  So we went out there today with machetes and shovels (and the tractor!) and got it dug out again.  While Tom was doing the tractor work I picked some fruit in the orchard, did the animals chores and unloaded the feed sacks from the truck.  This is on top of cleaning up the house this morning and doing dishes.  Plenty of exercise for the day- wouldn't you say?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Farm Projects

I started a new job in which I work 77 24-hour days per year.  It's hard work but then allows plenty of free time for farm chores and fiber projects.  Friday Tom came home from his annual hunting trip, and we ground and pressed the crab apples.  They tend to ripen before the apples so every year they start to rot by the time the apples are ready for pressing.  So this year we got smart and pressed the crabapples first and have frozen the juice until the apples are ready.  I used a Cuisinart for the crabapples because the apple grinder doesn't do a good job on such tiny fruit.

Then we rented a large chipper for the weekend.  Saturday we took down and chipped about 10 trees plus assorted branches.  These were trees that had died or were falling over.  Sunday I had to work so Tom cut down and chipped about 4 more trees.  Now we have a lot of wood chips in front and behind the barn to hopefully keep the mud under control this winter.

Tom was laid off from his job Friday (not unexpected given the economy).  Today he repaired the back fence and dug out the ditches in the pasture.  I put up a barrier with chicken wire and hog panel to keep the animals from eating the hay stored in the barn (hopefully).  I put pieces of trim on the top of the goat feeder to try to keep the chickens from roosting on it this winter.  I also cleaned out the enclosed pheasant pen and put four rabbits in there with the two pheasants.  They seem to all get along, and this will give the rabbits more room to move around and more light exposure than the hutches.  I put away the summer furniture, picked some swiss chard and green beans and then put up patio lights.  All of this is in preparation for a long, dark, wet winter.

Happy Autumn!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Time this morning

I had a little time this morning, waiting for Tom to wake up so we can start using the chipper on downed trees and branches to make wood chips for the soon-to-be mud. I was lurking around the cafe press site and found these funny items for sale:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sheep, sun and dogs

These are Moll and Tanya- my relatively new Gotland-Finn sheep that I received as a promised Christmas present from my wonderful husband.  Tanya was small when I got her so they are in with my skinny sheep getting extra nutrition, and she is making good gains.  I am really looking forward to playing with their wonderful wool and maybe breeding Moll next year.
We have been having a very nice, sunny, warm September.  This is welcome because otherwise my green beens and corn would not have ripened.  I still am not holding out much hope for the tomatoes, cucumber and squash because of our incredibly cool, wet late spring.  We'll see.  In addition to the garden vegetable plants, the dogs are also enjoying the nice weather!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Washington Wool and Schoonover Farm products

I've been busy creating on-line stores.  It started out when I was having T-shirts made with the Washington Wool dot Net logo on them and I didn't order the right sizes for people.  So I decided to create T-shirts at with the logo and people who wanted shirts could order them with their own sizes.  Then I noticed you could create all kinds of products like cards, stickers, magnets, signs, etc. so I went wild, putting the logo on everything.  The result is at:

Then I thought about making these products with my favorite photos from my own farm.  I made up shirts, pictures, stickers, cards, etc. with these photos and created another store at:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to the Farm Blog

We have been busy vacationing and working, and I have been neglecting the blog.  I haven't been neglecting the animals though- just doing the daily chores.  Now it's time to get ready for winter- cleaning out the barn, spreading manure, fixing shelters, putting up the last of the hay, chipping trees, and harveting fruits and vegetables.  I also need to sell off the last of the yearling rams and wethers, or we will consider butchering them in the next 1-2 months.  So I took up to date photos of them to try to attract a Shetland fiber loving shepherd to take them in.  I hope this will work out since neither Tom or I like to eat lamb, and it's a shame to have such beautiful wool go to waste.  

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"