Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday December 09, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
New Farm Store and Meet the Sheep Dog and Tractor

So, the move went well - all four days of it. All Ways Moving in Pittsfield
has the greatest crew of guys - each one taller, stronger, more handsome and
nicer than the next! The red little house I rented for the winter in
Pittsfield is packed full, the garage at my ex's is packed full and the
contents of my farm store has even spilled over into his office space. Boy,
it is amazing how much stuff I have! I guess that is what happens when you
add up the four bedroom house with basement and attic, a barn, a greenhouse,
a shed and a farm store.

Speaking of farm store, I'll be setting up a new "farm store space" at the
office/garage on S. Merriam St. in Pittsfield this winter. It will be open a
couple of afternoons a week or by appointment and I'll have all of the
wonderful cuts of lamb, gorgeous hand dyed yarns and luxurious silky
sheepskins everyone loves, available for sale. There's even enough room for
me to set up my big loom! Check my website sometime in February for more
information. Maybe, if life is settled in nicely I'll even be able to have a
couple of fiber workshops there in March!

The sheep are all doing well. They are still out grazing in the pasture -
this little bit of snow hasn't slowed them down a bit. The nice thing about
snow is that I don't have to bring them water every day. They much prefer to
eat the clean, fresh snow and don't bother with the water in the tanks. Of
course, snow means I have to slog through it as I reset the fences to give
the girls fresh grazing, but I would rather slog through snow, than mud.

Dolly, our Blue Heeler who was born and raised in North Carolina has been
having the best time in the snow. She loves to bite it and go sniffing
through it after moles in the grass. Jynx, our Border Collie is an old hand
at snow, and he doesn't play in it as much as she does. He would rather just
get to work. The dogs and barn cats are spending the winter at the barn
where the pregnant ewes will be. The rental house is "no pets," but the
landlord did allow us to have Pumpkin Kitty, so he is an indoor cat for this
winter. I think he has gained 2 pounds this week alone since all he does now
is eat and sleep.

Nancy, the ultrasound technician is coming to pregnancy check the ewes on
the 13th. Then we'll have an idea of how many ewes will be lambing, when
they will lamb and how many lambs they are carrying. Knowing this helps us
feed them properly, provide them with adequate shelter before lambing and
gives me an idea of what my farmers market sales might be looking like next

Today I reached the 500 hour mark on my tractor. My sweet little Kubota has
only worked about 100 hours per year, what an easy life for a tractor! Today
it worked hard. I cleaned out the bunk silo at the farm I am renting for the
winter for the sheep. I'll store their wrapped bales of hay in it. The first
load of wrapped bales arrives tomorrow. I better remember to bring my
checkbook with me to pay for them. I purchase all my wrapped bales from the
Leabs at Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock. Don Leab knows how to grow good feed
and it makes better business sense for me to purchase my winter feed than to
make the capital investment in equipment and still have to worry about the
weather; than to try to harvest it myself.

Until next week, I'll be unpacking boxes and readying the barn for the