Thursday, May 30, 2013


After giving the lambs almost a week to settle in, we decided it was time to get them to like us. They've stopped running away from us when we walk by  (it didn't help that we had to grab them on day 1 to check Ewean's gimpy leg - she had been limping but seems better now) but we want them to come running to us (and I want to pet them...and halter train them...). 

Day 2 of training and now when we go outside we see this: 

This was all thanks to the magic of Farmyard Crack. No, I'm not talking about my low sitting farm jeans: I mean sheep grain. We bought some to use for training and we started off yesterday by dropping a bit into a bowl for the lambs every time we walked by them.

Both Ewean and Oprah (her formal name is still Eweneequa but it's a bit of a mouthful) are still jumpy but are now eating out of our hands. Oprah is definitely the leader of the two - she is the first to stomp angrily when the dogs get too close to the fence, and the first to investigate anything new. Ewean doesn't investigate as much but she also seems less suspicious of everything.

The problem is, Farmyard Crack is equally loved by everyone. It's really hard to stay still and try to get nervous lambs to come over to you when you're trying to shoo chickens off of you. Especially when those chickens can get most of their bodies through the fence to try and eat the grain.

Sheep training helpers. 

That Farmyard Crack is something. When I stood up to walk down the driveway I saw this coming towards me:

This following me:

And I heard a pleading "baaaaaa!" next to me.

The cooler weather has slowed everything down in the greenhouse but it's still mostly looking good.

Baby cucumber

 Lots of Kale.

Cantaloupe. Apparently when you grow melons vertically they need to be supported in a net of some kind since they get too heavy for the plant. One YouTube video suggested using brassieres...I'm not sure if these tiny melons will need training bras first?

Itsy Bitsy Watermelon.

Not so itsy bitsy tomatoes. 

The tomatoes look fine but the folliage does not. I really hope this isn't Early Blight. I think the humid days in the greenhouse combined with cooler nights hasn't been great for tomato plants. Two of the plants in the grow bed have most of their leaves affected and the big Sweet Million plants have their bottom leaves affected.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rainy Days

It has been raining pretty much non stop for days. It's supposed to let up tomorrow - let's hope so because we are going camping this weekend at a surprise (to me) location for my upcoming birthday! 

Speaking of which, Nathan got me a Cuisinart as an early birthday present and it's been in constant use (and rain means stay inside more and eat). I love it! Throw stuff in, press a button.

 Note that we do eat a lot but that these photos aren't all from one meal...

Beef Wellingtons (homemade pastry dough)

Romaine lettuce from the greenhouse.

Delicious pork roast.

 Homemade bread and more greens from the garden.


Radish - we're harvesting them small and they're so tasty!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Farm Life

I think we showed our 7 guests this weekend a pretty good farm time. Highlights included:

-fresh eggs for breakfast (with ham and cheese on an english muffin) served with hot lattes. Nathan and I got a taste for what it would be like running a bed and breakfast.

-a bbq and campfire in the paddock - a 3 minute walk from the house but we drove over in the back of the truck for farm authenticity.

-target practice with Benjamin and some old coke cans.

-a sudden downpour right at the end of the bbq that lasted just as long as it took us to get soaking wet rushing everything inside.

-roast chicken, pork and veggies for dinner served with garden fresh salad and plenty of beer, wine, rum and whiskey....which led to

-a sheep naming contest in which the winning choices were Ewean and Eweneequa....

-a quick ride on Molly

 -multiple tours through the greenhouse (this basil made a big batch of pesto for all of us and barely looked touched after pruning).

-a taste of the first few ripe strawberries.

-almost everybody (including me) seeing a head of broccoli growing for the first time.

- chicken handling 101.

-an adventure hike along a creek to the ocean.

-4 extremely happy and tired dogs.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wake Up Sheep Dog!

No, really, wake up! 

Look at what we got you!

This is the view out the back window of the truck on the drive home:

And here they are at their new home, thanks to the wonder of the internet. They are Dorper ewes - or possibly Dorper crosses. Dorpers are a breed of hair sheep that won't (hopefully) need shearing. Whitey was born in January and Blackey was born in March. They will have more original names, I promise - maybe after a naming contest with our friends who are visiting this weekend.

So far they have settled in pretty well. They're grazing...and grazing...and grazing some more. The aforementioned sheep dog has paid them zero attention so far.

Ruffled Feathers

Meet Bully Buff and his ladies. 

They belong to our landlord and they out grew their city coop over the past 3 months. They moved into the hen house next door to the chicks a few days ago. Bully Buff and Buff Buff (maybe we need to get more original with names) might be pullets (our landlord still wants to think they are)...but I'm pretty sure they aren't.

Bully Buff marched right into the playhouse coop and took over. 

Luckily, even though Bully Buff is all brawn, he can't get up onto the roost. Even giant Zebra Head flew up there to get away.

 Yesterday we cracked the first double yolker!

Oh, and we borrowed a lawn mower to go over the bits we missed with the weed whacker. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Farm Guests

We had a long weekend full of visitors. First we had Erika and adorable Maelle come stay with us. Maelle is such a great baby - she was happy the whole time she was here and she didn't have any trouble sleeping in a new place.

What were they watching??

 Then we had Emma and her dogs, 7 and Odd, visit for the day. Odd thought the chickens were new friends for her. She tried to get them to play with her (until they started charging her).

7 was more into staring at the chickens while vibrating slightly, waiting for his chance to get in there with them (he never got his chance).

Ever since we started letting the chicks free range, they don't listen to their "recall bell" anymore and they don't seem to have all that much interest in us, except when we're refilling their food. They really are teenagers. Tonight when I lifted the last little (not really so little, anymore) rooster up to put him in the coop he grabbed my finger and gave it a good shake! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tomato Tomahto

Today Nathan (with his Australian accent) asked our landlord's daughter how her 4th birthday party was. She looked very confused and asked him, "what's a birthday potty???". I almost fell over laughing.

Back to Tomahtos - one of the best parts about being new to all of this is how exciting everything is.

For example, OUR FIRST TOMATO!

It's a Sweet Million tomato - they're the seeds that I started at the beginning of March. Apparently the plants can grow over 8' tall. Good thing they're tied to the roof of the greenhouse (they're about 2' right now).

A mesclun mix started from seeds in one of the grow beds is doing well (the 2nd row).

Thai Dragon hot peppers like the greenhouse heat.

 Watermelon growing vertically.

The strawberry tower.

I guess we do have pollinators in the greenhouse (I still want bees).  

I'm pretty confident in my chicken sexing. 




WTF x2. What ARE they??