After two weeks to the day, all of our Jacob ewes have lambed. Our solo Romeldale girl Calypso isn’t due for a couple weeks still, but we are calling lambing season done, for all intents and purposes.
First up, on April 12, Janus gave birth unassisted to a two horn ewe named Vienna, sired by Limerick.
April 17th brought a pair of four horned, blue eyed twin rams, Kolsch the lilac, and Porter is black, to Tanka, sired by Apollo. They were a little slow to figure things out, but got themselves together within half a day.
April 21, we called our farm vet to assist Citra with the delivery of her ram lamb Pilsner. He was all sorts of backwards, and on the small side with rather long legs. His sire is Limerick.
On Earth Day, April 22, Galena gave birth to twins. Schwarzbier the ram, and Corona the ewe. They are sired by Limerick.
On April 23, the second of our two original ewes, Haiku, had twin ewes. They were quite tiny, and still are the smallest lambs we have, got tangled up, and because of that, we needed to call the vet out again. In no time flat, she had the two tiny girls out, named India and Amber. They are sired by Apollo.
Sunday April 26, had two ewes giving birth. Up first was Hallertauer who had two lilac boys, Lager and Labatt, while we had some farm visitors. Cascade went into labor a few hours later, and had twins. The larger of the two didn’t make it, but the smaller is vigorous and growing well. This little guy has not been named yet. Both of those gals had their lambs sired by Apollo.
We are so excited to watch all these babies grow up! We will be keeping the majority of the ewes to add to our breeding stock, but may consider selling some later on. Some of the rams are destined for the dinner table, and others will be sold to Jacob breeders to continue the preservation of this awesome breed.
This post has been rolling around my brain for some time. But there have been many other things rolling around up there, and it’s been hard to string together coherent sentences. Finally, I have found myself at a point in Coronatine where I feel like I can adequately describe what we have planned for this year! And it’s a lot!
Up first, we will be raising MORE pastured chicken! We have 100 chicks arriving this week, and an additional 100 arriving in May. We are modifying how we will be raising them ever so slightly, so they will have more space to roam and find tasty snacks. This will result in more flavorful meat, and happier, healthier birds. We will do at least one more batch of 100 birds before the end of the season, possibly two.
We will also be raising more duck! We have a muscovy hen setting a nest in the barn, and we are pretty sure there is one under one of the coops (the same one who set a nest under there back at the end of summer 2019). We will raise these ducklings in the barn to start, and then move them outside with the rest of the flock once feathered. This gives them the best start on our farm. Because of our mixed flock, little babies can’t really keep up with mom amongst all the turkeys and geese and other bigger birds. The girls will join the ranks of the layers, and the boys will be destined for the freezer. We will also be getting some pekins to raise for meat.
In July, we will welcome 100 turkey poults. These will be a broad breasted breed, which is the same as what we raised last year. We are also hoping to have a handful of heritage turkeys to put on the table. Our friend Alyssa, from Tall Grass Farm, is incubating some turkey eggs for us, and so far they are developing well. We will have a post soon about how to order turkey for this year. It will be similar to last year, but with a few modifications based on things we’ve learned from our driveway mini market. They will be processed a little bit before Thanksgiving, and frozen so they can be served for other holidays as well.
It’s lambing season, and as of when I’m sitting down to write this, two of eight ewes have lambed. Janus gave us a sweet, beautiful ewe lamb. Tanka gave us a pair of robust 4 horn rams, one a gorgeous dark lilac, and one a lively black. And both those boys have the prettiest blue eyes. We will hopefully have lamb available before the winter holidays. It will depend on if the lambs grow fast enough to make it profitable to send them to the butcher at that point in time. We are planning on giving them minimal grain, and allowing them to grow on the rich pasture that grows here.
Finally, the thing SO MANY people have been asking about: PORK! We will be working with our friends at Ham Sweet Farm and starting with some American Guinea Hogs. For at least this first year, we will be raising them as feeders, and not breeding them. These are a delicious lard breed that is known for rich red meat, and melt in your mouth lard. Depending on their growth, we are hoping to process some before the winter holidays, and perhaps grow a couple of them out longer to allow for the most flavor to develop. We will be working with a couple local produce farms, getting their scraps regularly to enrich the diet of the pigs, as well as the rest of our animals.
In addition to all of this, we are going to hopefully have our yarn back from the mill in the next couple months. And we have the wool from this year’s shearing in the barn, waiting to be processed. Plus, we have our usual eggs and meat happening. If you want to buy into all this goodness, we have our Farm Share CSA available here.
We’ve been watching the weather quite closely the last couple weeks. Between wanting to have the windows open during the day, making sure we close them before the rain starts, to figuring out if we need to add more straw to the coops to help keep the birds warm, there is always some reason one of us will check the weather 73 times a day.
We knew there would be a storm last night, and we knew there would be wind. We made sure stuff that could blow away was put somewhere safe, and there wouldn’t be trash blown around the yard or something annoying like that. We woke up this morning and found nothing out of place, other than a few small twigs blown off trees, which is normal for any amount of wind here. And then I looked out the back window…
One of our shelters for the sheep and goats was blown onto its back side. Somehow, the wind was strong enough to blow something over that we couldn’t move without a tractor. But nothing else blew around or blew over. I am a little bit convinced the goats just had a raucous party, and knocked it over.
Thankfully, no one was injured, and nothing was damaged. You can even see an intact goose egg near the base of it! It was VERY close to hitting the fence, and we were quite worried we would have some urgent fence repairs to take on this morning. We got very lucky.
Thankfully, the fence was spared. The corrugated roof managed to hold up the weight of the shelter, plus the addition of some naughty goats bounding around inside.
We are very lucky that nothing was severely damaged. We hope all of you fared well during last night’s storm!
When we published our goals for 2020, I really wasn’t expecting to get started on them right on January 1. I was truly expecting to sort of lazily glide into the new year and start tackling goals by the first weekend. Unfortunately, that’s not the way life goes on the farm, and we lost one of our sheep overnight.
Verse was born on our farm on March 18, 2019 to Haiku. She was an adorable little lamb who was our only surviving lamb between the two ewes. For the last few months, she has been dealing with an unknown illness. We’ve had the farm vet out to take a look at her, Verse received some medication, and good food, and she continued to decline despite her extra TLC. Last night, she passed away due to an injury caused by the complications of the illness that she couldn’t recover from. I removed some of her wool to be used in a project in the future. It’s wonderfully soft.
We were both very upset, and sort of abandoned some of our plans for the day. However, as other farmers know, you can’t just give up when one thing goes wrong. We took care of some other chores, and then we headed north to another farm to bring a new ewe home. A Romeldale/California Variegated Mutant sheep fell into our laps recently, and we couldn’t say no to her. While picking her up from the farm about an hour away, she attempted to jump through a gate twice, and was generally quite rambunctious. That is until we got the halter on her and tried to lead her. Apparently, she forgot she has legs, and just turned into a bag of bricks. Robert carried her to the truck and loaded her in, where she happily rode the hour back home in a large dog crate surrounded by hay bales. When we got her home, we introduced her to the rest of the flock through a gate. The boys took an immediate interest in her, even though she should already be bred. We will see what happens in May when she is due! We named her Calypso, which follows our “hop variety” name theme for 2019. (We were supposed to pick her up in 2019, but scheduling just couldn’t work out)
As much as it hurts to lose Verse, she is no longer in pain. We need to continue to build the farm even when we suffer losses like this. We will continue to grow throughout this year, and we hope to share the ups and downs with all of you.
Finding inspiration from a bunch of other blogs, we decided to work on an “Uberlist” for Frontière Farm House. These are mostly my (Nicole) goals, with some that are for both of us to accomplish together. I am hoping that by sharing them with all of you, I will keep myself more accountable, and follow through on them. I may not update about the progress on each one, especially the more personal ones, but I will do my best to keep everyone updated on the ones that are farming related
My four categories are Self, Farm, Fiber, and Home. Those are four areas that I would like to see more personal growth this year. I will give more information on why we chose a goal, or what exactly it means, when we start updating. So, without further adieu, here is our 2020 Uberlist:
SELF get a drivers license
FARM blog 2x/mo for the farm
FIBER share another free knitting pattern
SELF/FIBER/HOME get her office functional
HOME put up closet door curtains in her office
HOME get his office functional
FARM get all the rest of the business licensing squared away for selling other meats
FARM get lamb in the freezer
FARM get another meat consignor
FIBER keep one Jacob fleece to play with
FIBER start playing with a spinning wheel
FIBER knit something for me with OUR YARN!!!
FIBER knit something for Bob with OUR YARN!!!
FIBER get other fleeces processed in a timely manner
FIBER make dryer balls
HOME get all the freezers organized
HOME get rid of upright freezer and replace with chest freezer
SELF go on at least one good walk with Luna weekly
FARM get to ??? posts on Instagram
FARM continue Tomorrow At The Market posts every week
FIBER finish up as many unfinished knits as I possibly can
FIBER frog any unfinished knitting projects that don’t spark joy/lost their needles/etc
FIBER knit enough items to do shows in the fall/winter
FIBER do at least two non-farmers market shows
FIBER consign knitted stuff somewhere
HOME get garage park-able
HOME get saws back to Todd
HOME organize spare barn stall
HOME/FARM get shelving in barn organized
SELF get eyes examine
SELF get teeth cleaned
SELF get tea cupboard under control
SELF drink tea at least once a week
SELF make cold brew coffee at least a handful of times in the warm months
FARM sell gravity wagon
FARM sell hoop house OR put it up
FARM get birds in movable layer coops
FARM re-seed south pasture
FARM/HOME build raised beds for personal gardening
FARM/HOME grow herbs on front porch in pots
FARM build new shelters for fuzzy beasts
HOME clean all the crap out of the attic
HOME insulate the attic
HOME fix moldy spot in ceiling from leaky roof
HOME finish painting the spots we never finished
HOME acquire baseboards and install them
HOME get all the art framed/mounted
HOME get all the art on the walls
HOME investigate new trash collector options
FARM get round pen cleaned up
HOME get two stupid trees in front of house cut down
HOME get junk pile at end of driveway cleaned up
HOME use gravel to repair driveway
HOME get new mailbox
FARM raise 20+ meat ducks
FARM raise 80+ meat turkeys
FARM raise 200+ meat chickens
FARM raise 5+ meat geese
SELF earn $1000+ through Amazon Affiliate marketing
FARM do another CustomInk campaign
FARM order another batch of StickerMule stickers
FARM figure out how to package and sell smoking wood bundles
FIBER attend two or more fiber festivals
FIBER vend/co-vend at one or more fiber festivals
FARM add at least three videos to YouTube
HOME get garbage disposal wired in
HOME get outlet on kitchen island fixed
HOME get kitchen wood shelf cleaned off and organized
SELF go on a date once a month and pay attention to each other instead of our phones
SELF see a therapist at least 4 times
FARM run some sort of giveaway on Facebook
HOME get thresholds installed throughout house
HOME get that stupid piece of trim attached to the kitchen island thing
HOME get dining table cleared off consistently
HOME/SELF eat dinner at the dining table 2x monthly
HOME/FIBER empty out current yarn storage
HOME sell/donate all the current yarn storage I don’t need
HOME make 1+ bread pudding a month while we are overwhelmed with eggs
FARM find a business to work with regularly to collect food scraps for the chickens
FARM/HOME organize all the egg cartons
HOME get vent grate for dining room
HOME get hutch into office if it fits/works with layout
FIBER knit at least five items with scraps
FARM get all the animal’s profiles up on the website
SELF get a tattoo
SELF go on a mini vacation (at least one night away from home)
FARM plant garlic
FARM/HOME harvest raspberries from patch/property perimeter
HOME/SELF make something with those raspberries
HOME can tomato sauce
HOME can apple stuff
HOME make five+ batches of sauerkraut
FARM investigate camelid acquisition
FARM have Doctor Walker out to the farm at least twice for general herd health
FARM/SELF write at least one article to be published elsewhere
HOME sell lawn sweeper
HOME clean all the windowsills/windows
FARM get gate wheels under gates that need it
FARM put welded wire on gates that need it
FARM figure out pasture rotation and stick with it
SELF join Jodi in some creative endeavor
SELF get personal email inbox under control
FARM/FIBER register the farm with JSBA
FARM register original three sheep
FARM register this year’s offspring
HOME clean out lazy Susan and re-organize it
SELF attend ??? DCFC matches
SELF intentionally hang out with a friend at least 10 times
SELF bake bread at least once
SELF ride a horse
HOME fill all the holes in the baseboards and trim
HOME fully organize master closet
FIBER make 5+ things on the weaving looms
HOME repair/replace downspouts as needed
FARM get Facebook page to 2000 likes
FARM get Instagram to 1700 follows
SELF take Luna to a pool/lake at least once
SELF read 10+ books
FARM/SELF milk a sheep/goat/cow by hand
FARM/SELF make soap/candles/something similar at least once
These goals may be removed, replaced, or modified at any time. If a goal will no longer assist in moving us forward, we will make adjustments as needed.
As you can see with goal number 2, we plan on blogging more in 2020. I already have a loose idea of what I want to share more of, and I am working on a posting calendar. We look forward to sharing this progress with all of you! And I would love to see your goals for 2020, please leave a link in the comments!
As of March 31st, I quit my off-farm job, in order to pursue farming full time. Robert is still working as an engineer full time, and he is enjoying his job. But with the way things have been growing at home, we figured having me available more often would be best for the business, and our animals.
Way back on March 18th, our Jacob ewe Haiku gave birth to a happy little ewe lamb which we named Verse. This little lass is quick on her feet, and loves running around with the goats and the chickens. She has learned that the geese are to be avoided, and if anyone gets in her way, she can easily dart around them.
We’ve been waiting since then for our other ewe, Tanka, to have her baby. We came home last night from Fiber Expo, and visiting family, and she had done just that. She gave birth to a beautifully marked ram lamb, who unfortunately was born too early and didn’t make it. If it hadn’t been so cold and wet last night, or if he’d had just a little more time in the womb, things may have been different. However, we cannot dwell on things we cannot change. We can learn from them, and hopefully be better prepared for next year. We talked to our sheep mentors, and after a lot of reassurance, we will have better plans in place the next time around.
This whole ordeal was a huge blow to my confidence. I want everything to be perfect this year, since this is the way I will be contributing to our household. But the only thing I can control is the way I react to things. I am trying to be really objective with everything, but it’s difficult. We have made a decision on what to do with the baby that didn’t make it, and hopefully that will work out. Either way, we will be sharing it here.
We have so many projects planned for the next few months, and we are looking forward to pushing forward and gaining momentum. Our first batch of meat birds is arriving this week. We have thirty brown leghorns in a brooder that are due to head outside any day now. Keep an eye out for more regular blog posts now that I am home more!
This time of year, there isn’t a whole lot going on here, but that doesn’t mean we are sitting around all day. Our fifteen fuzzy hay eating animals still need hay and snacks brought out to them at least once a day, and the birds still need their feed and water taken care of.
We have shifted the way we do our chores slightly this winter. We were both getting home after dark some days, so we moved all of our poultry feeding to the mornings. One fifty pound sack of feed is divvied up between several feeders, and they seem to be fine with that. If one of us is home, we will go out a couple times with Luna and throw some “snackies” out for the birds. Snackies are scratch, kitchen scraps, or whatever else we might have for them. This keeps them entertained, and allows us to check on them periodically.
As for the fuzzy hay eating animals, we still occasionally feed them twice. They get at least one full bale of hay in the morning, which is sometimes brought out in a wheelbarrow. The smaller goats seem to enjoy when that happens. If they eat most of that, we give them another half bale of hay in the evening. We don’t like to give them all of it at once, because they just like to make a mess of it, and leave it all over the ground.
The nice part about them making a mess is that it’s great for them to bed down in. This works well for us, until the hay and poop piles up. We have been managing to stay on top of things, and we scoop out the spent hay pretty regularly.
The wheelbarrow loads of dirty hay get hauled around the pastures and are dumped into low spots in the ground. These holes are mostly caused by chickens taking excessively aggressive dust baths. I don’t know what their issue is, but they apparently think bathing for 45 minutes and tossing every speck of dirt three feet away is absolutely required. Filling the holes means we fall less frequently, which is always a good thing. We also toss some of the hay into the bird yard for them to scratch through. It soaks up some of the gross mud we have been dealing with for a while, and gives them a little more traction when the ground freezes. If we have any hay left after, it gets piled on top of our compost pile.
This is the bulk of what we have been doing all winter. Soon, we will begin ordering our seeds for the vegetable and flower gardens, as well as ordering chicks to raise. We are looking forward to working back into our daily routines.