Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday February 17, 2011

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Lambing in Full Swing!

Triplets, twins, triplets - lambing is in full swing! Thank goodness no
bottle babies (yet). I'm not getting much sleep, but then again I don't
expect to this time of year. Twice nightly barn checks, then work all day
either cleaning the barn, feeding, fixing or dealing with what comes my way.
The warmer weather is nice to a point, and now that the snow is melting we
are dealing with flooding in the barn/ice at night when it refreezes.

The forecast for spring is wet and wild - Oh boy!!!

Thursday February 03, 2011

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Let the Lambing Begin!

Our first little guy was born this sunny afternoon with some assistance. Mom and ram lamb are doing fine. He weighed in at 13.5 pounds - a big boy!! Here he is taking his first nap.

Our hoophouse collapsed due to snow load the night before I was going to clean off the roof - does that coiunt as adding insult to injury or just bad timing? No injuries, but we'll have to dig it all out and replace it asap. The critters out in that pasture will just have to tough it out until then.
Shearing tomorrow! If you want to volunteer and come help, drop me a line. The more hands the merrier.

Thursday January 27, 2011

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Bale Slicer

Well we managed to get through the cold and the snow and more snow. This is
a hard winter. I am looking forward to spring...but not the mud...countdown
to lambs has begun. Jenn said she "smelled" lambs last night once we were
finished cleaning the barn and had the girls back inside. She can usually
detect that scent up to a week or so away from the first lamb being born. My
nose isn't that good. I have to have a newborn right up to my face in order
to catch that scent.

The new bale slicer works great! George came and fixed it, we hooked it up
and whoosh....it cut the "mostly" frozen wrapped bale right in half! It was
so easy to pick up a section. Think of a wrapped bale as an onion. Stand it
on end (stalk up, root down) and cut in half. You can see the concentric
layers of the onion as the two sides are separated. The bale slicer works
the same way as the knife in this situation, except this is a 1500lb.
onion...made feeding the sheep their evening meal so much easier and faster!

The BCAE class with Chef Michael was a smash hit! All of the attendees were
thrilled to be able to work with such a talented guy and loved my lamb and
the Pretty Things Beer it was paired with. Here is a link to the photos
Many thanks to Leise Jones for sharing the photos!

Thursday January 20, 2011

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Snow and Cold Challenges for the Sheep Farmer

Snow, snow, snow - are we caught up yet? That fatalist in me says we must
have been due. The artist in me says slow down and look at it, it is
beautiful. The sheep are not impressed, but they are very funny. If I don't
clear away the snow for them with the tractor, they stick to a single file
little path and no one wants to go first to break a new trail. So I shovel
the step and the walk and I plow the barnyard and the sheep paddocks with
the tractor. The dogs however, leap and bound through the drifts like
gazelles. They think the snow is great!

I still haven't been able to use my new bale slicer, even with the new
fittings on the hoses. So I finally put on my reading glasses since the
connection was still not right. I didn't know if I was cross threading or
what and I was getting very frustrated!. Turns out the male fitting on the
hydraulic cylinder is bad. It is all chewed up - not anything I could have
accomplished, so it must have happened at the factory when the original hose
was installed. It is amazing what a person can figure out when they have the
right equipment for the job (yeah, I know, I should have put my glasses on
when I first started working on it). Anyway, the salesman is arranging to
have a new cylinder shipped out, he will fix it and then I will be in
business. I hope. This weekend is forecast to be seriously cold and it will
not be fun having to deal with frozen baleage. That slicer would have made
it much easier.

Today is barn cleaning day (still by hand). After digging around in the snow
for a bit we found some parts and pieces we will use to construct part of
the unit. They need a bit of pounding and welding before we can actually use
them, so once that is done we'll be making headway again. We might even have
it all installed and working before I know it; this is a job in progress.

Speaking of jobs in progress...the other day my Mom came over and helped me
get rid of the rest of the boxes that were in the house. Thanks, Mom!!
Without the clutter, I attempted to vacuum the cat hair which has been
building up and of course my hand me down grandmother's Electrolux died. At
35 years of age, I felt it died too young, was missing out on so much more
of life. It was painful for me, so many memories, so expensive to
replace....but I have to say the new Lux is AMAZING!!! Crazy expensive, but
boy can that thing suck up cat hair! No hair, no dust, no more wheezing
mother (she's allergic to cats) - I vacuumed everything is sight. Now to
tackle the boxes in the garage....well, soon.

Monday evening I will be in Boston for an American Lamb Board cooking class
with "my" Chef Michael. He will be cooking my lamb, and I will be the one
getting "grilled" by the attendees about the lamb, how it is raised, what
the farm is like and anything else the students/attendees care to ask. It
promises to be another amazing eatfest and lots of fun! Chef Michael has
been so generous every time we have seen him, sending over plate after plate
of wonderful things to eat; I really must reciprocate. I'm going to bring
him some of my "Personal" Egg Nog. I'm sure he will love it. Here is a link
to the event:Fans of Lamb

Have a great week and stay warm, the forecast is for bitter cold!!

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