Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

< 1 second of fame

So I made it in the New York Times today. No, it is not for a scientific breakthrough, a humanitarian effort, nor environmental preservation. No, my contribution to the world is playing a computer game. Here's the link:

Here's my paragraph in the article:
“I was having all these deaths on the farm and hurting myself on a daily basis doing real farming,” said Donna Schoonover, of Schoonover Farm in Skagit County, Wash., who raises sheep, goats and Satin Angora rabbits (real ones!). “This was a way to remind myself of the mythology of farming, and why I started farming in the first place.”

So "all these deaths" refers to when I mowed the pheasant nest and Fern was killed by the dogs, both in September. "Hurting myself" referred to the injury updates while we were building the hay loft. I did mention that "We raise livestock: Shetland sheep, Nigerian Dwarf goats, Dexter-Highland cows and Satin Angora rabbits. We also have donkeys, llamas, and poultry (turkey, chicken, geese, ducks, pheasants, peafowl). And we have an orchard and make hard apple cider. And we have a large vegetable garden. " So that was edited- not sure why only Satin Angora rabbits were specified though.

Anyway, I will now bask in the glory of my fame and then go out to the barn in the rain/mud and trim goat hooves.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin food

This is food I cooked today from a pumpkin that I won as a door prize at our Northwest Shetland meeting on Saturday. This is an Amish pumpkin that John grows with the help of sheep pellets. His pumpkins are awesome so I was so please to get one as a prize. So today I made pumpkin soup. pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars and pumpkin bread, all from this one pumpkin. Most of this will be frozen as we cannot eat this much pumpkin food all at once!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

6 carboys of cider- a new Schoonover Farm record!

So we finished pressing apples and crabapples today and set up 3 more 5-gallon carboys. We almost had a "fermentation emergency" because we ran out of yeast nutrient Friday, were busy Saturday, and our local brewing supplies are all closed Sunday and Monday. But my stepfather and mom came through and purchased yeast nutrient for us yesterday and we are set! So now we just get to watch and watch for the yeasties to do their job.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again!

So this Aerosmith song has been playing in my head all day. That is because I am finally feeling like myself again. After almost 2 weeks of misery and inactivity from the "swine flu" I can actually start functioning again!

So we pressed apples for cider. This is my apple washing station:
Now I know you are wondering why a kitchen apple washing station when we usually hose the apples down in buckets in the backyard. The next photo explains why:
It was a torrent of rain today. And with all of our projects and illnesses we have not cleaned out the gutters yet. We will soon! Here's Tom pressing the cider on the back porch:
And here's three 5-gallon carboys of cider fermenting. Sunday we will press the rest of our apples and crabapples. We are hoping for another 3 carboys full. There's also 2 1-gallon carboys of plum wine fermenting. It looks kind of like strawberry Koolaid but hopefully will taste better!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Swine Flu"

I am sick with novel H1N1 influenza virus. I will resume posting when farm projects can resume again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finished hay loft and other chores

Without any fanfare, we finally finished the hay loft! Tom put up the last of the metal on Saturday while I was at work. We need to replace half of the barn's original walls next, but we are going to wait and recuperate a bit first. We do not think these walls are in eminent danger of collapsing.
So now back to our regular scheduled programming.

I finally got a chance to can pears this morning. A stump when we bought the place thanks to a beaver is now producing lots of gorgeous large pears. Most of them have ripened so I canned them today before they became overripe.
And then this afternoon I finally cleaned out one of the barn pens. This is usually a summer chore but was delayed because of barn construction. I managed to clean out this deep pen all by myself and overfill the manure spreader. Two more pens to go (one of which can be done with a tractor).
Meanwhile Tom went and got farm supplies and then worked on very overdue fence repairs. Next on the agenda is cider pressing!

And no more injury updates needed as construction season is over!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Barn progress

Tom and I (actually mostly Tom) are making great progress on the hay loft. Here's the south wall that Tom and his kid finished with a largish door for hay.
Here's the west wall that I framed and put windows in.
Here it is after Tom put the metal on.
And here's the north wall that Tom framed in a placed a window and a door. We just need to put the metal up yet.
So we are almost done with the hay loft!!! It just needs some trim and flashing. The downstairs needs quite a bit of wall replacement and some pole replacement done. But we are probably going to take a little break before we tackle that.

This is just a cute photo of our barn cat Missy hanging out on the manure spreader.
INJURY UPDATE: Both of us have unexplained bruises. My biggest issue now is that my right elbow is quite inflamed; I am guessing this is from all the hammering. It is now to the point that I cannot hold up a full cup of coffee. So we are going to take a week off from the barn and heal.


Yesterday our oldest sheep died. She was Primolana Gwynneth, and she was 13.5 years old. She was looking pretty skinny but was eating well. The day prior she could not walk well, and she died in the night. I am hoping she did not suffer and knew she would not make it through the winter.

She was a great ewe. I did not get her until she was 7 years old but bought her from Kim Kerley because she was thought to carry spots. And she most certainly did. As she was older, her fleece was never great, and she certainly was not friendly, but she and Lewis made the most beautiful lambs for us. I hope she enjoyed her life here and her retirement.

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"