Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How Sweet It Is...

Sometimes Sweet Noah Basking in the Sun

Now This is Sweet--an almost full barn of hay

I want a trailer like this for you hear me Santa?

My(sweet rotten) girls in their and Carly wrestle a stick while Ashley referees

Beautiful day...last of the fall color blowing in the wind

Two tired puppies resting on their platform (Carly & Ashley)

A woodbox full of dry wood...sweet

Container full of scavenged kindling

The girls again---yes that is a snowman on Minty's scarf

Over two cords of wood, covered and dry.

Warm fire...a large mug of coffee...sweet!

And an old friend curled behind the stove....very sweet
(I started this entry several weekends ago...then forgot to finish and post it....)

Last weekend was very productive if not exhausting.  I was able to locate 50 more bales of hay (via Craigslist) that was just a few miles away and also lined up someone to haul it for me.   After work last Friday I made a flying trip to the big city for cat/dog supplies for the next six weeks, and picked up a couple of chairs for my sis.  The guy hauling my hay was to be at my house by around 4:30 so when I say flying I flew, although I do get off at noon on Fridays it's a quite a few miles to cover. 

I made it home a little after four.  The hay and guy hauling it didn't arrive til 7:30 ish.  It was dark, maybe it was a little earlier.  Did I mention it was dark?   He had to wait on the people with the hay to get in out of the field where they were...haying.   Due to the dark, and an unfamiliar trailer they had loaned him to haul the hay, it was impossible to get as close to the garage as we wanted, so ended up having to carry the bales a little ways off the trailer to stack in the barn.  Some of the bales were very heavy.  I was very pleased it all fit, and because they had dropped the price of the hay from 7.00 to 6.00 bale I got 59 bales instead of 50.  Woot.  (Insert--how often does that happen--someone loans you their trailer to haul the bales and drops the price????)  Hay is still higher than it was last year but I'm very thankful to have more in the barn.  It has some weeds but it is green and mostly grass and the bales are very packed--you cut the string and the bale explodes like biscuits in a can.

So now I have appx.  213 bales in the barn, from various sources and of course various quality.  I'm thinking to feed about 1 bale a day when the weather turns cold so by my calculations this should get us through til May.  Of course there is likely to be bad bale here and there and other considerations, but it's the best I can do for now.  I've never fed out all squares so am struggling to figure out the appropriate amount.  Usually I feed out big round bales (lots of waste but very convenient) and some squares around lambing time.  There will be no lambs or pregnant ewes this year so that will help.

I have about three or four 'old old folks' that I'm going to put into a separate pen for the winter so they can have unlimited choice, but for the rest of the flock it may prove to be a long winter.  I'm not sure who it will be harder on--me or them.  They are very spoiled, but this year they must clean up the balance of what I feed before more will be fed.  I'm realistic and know that sheep won't eat certain types of hay, but I also know they are wasters.   Wish us luck.  I'm only feeding about a 1/2 to 1/4 a bale right now as I've opened up all the pastures to let them have room to roam and feed.  There isn't much left out there but it seems to be doing the trick for now.  

Since I haven't posted this yet, I'll add that I have 1 & 7/8 cords of wood already delivered and the rest on the way.   It wasn't me that figured out the 7/8 either, but my wood guy is very meticulous about explaining (as my eyes glaze over) how much he hauls and why he hauls that way.  He is a very good wood provider!  This wood will be mostly green, with about 1/2 a cord dry thrown in.  What isn't used this year will season over the summer and will get me started next winter. 

Winter is upon us and while I still have a few things to do, at least the main tasks are almost completed.  Rearing back a little and letting go of an expansive sigh my hay hauler said it all, simply,  'sure takes allot to get ready for winter'. 

Hope you all are making headway on your getting ready for winter list too. 


Tina T-P said...

Congrats on being so prepared! We only have room for 12 or so bales at a time, so The Shepherd arranges with his hay farmer to buy up a complete field (I can't tell you how long it took the sheep to decide that they only liked hay from that ONE field (talk about spoiled...) Anyhow, the hay guy keeps it cordoned off in his barn and only John can take from that stack. Luckily we have a gas furnace and it only costs about $40/mo average all year for gas, and that includes range, water heater & dryer!
Glad to see you are doing well. T.

phylliso said...

You look all snuggled in for the winter.I know that my goats are happy with the guy,Steve,who bought them so I feel good about that & the fact I don`t have to worry about hay.I couldn`t even get 1 bale from my farmer friends for my bunnies because it`s all 'wrapped",whatever that is,so had to suck it up & buy a small bale at walmart.Have a great weekend!phyllis

Marie said...

Been following your blog and am happy to see that after that terrible drought ordeal, things are fine and you're nicely getting ready you and your farm for the coming winter.
Very nice pics. Very nice blog.


Marie said...

My name is Marie-Louise, I'm french ..I signed Louise but I suppose I should have sign Marie or :

Marie-Louise :-)

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, yes! Hay in the barn and a big woodpile -- better than money in the bank!

Sue said...

It sounds wonderful even with all the planning and work involved. I think I was meant to be a farm girl, too.

I loved reading about Boone. I've noticed his photo and he looks like a sweet boy, reminds me of my Monty.

I have to admit I've fallen in love with Minty. I guess I have a thing for black dogs.

Sue said...

Good Morning Tammy,
We borrowed a photo of Minty as a pup for our new song. Hope that's ok. You can see it on our blog sometime today.
Morgan, Sebastian and the Porties

Tammy said...

Tina, It seems like it came really hard this year (getting prepared). The hay was esp. an issue, but I'm so glad that I'm 'ready'. ha
Phyllis, it is such a big deal to get hay anymore. Wrapped probably means they have baled everything into large rounds and wrapped them with net or plastic.
Marie, Thank you for complimenting and welcome! I'm so thankful we got fall rains, the whole summer was just a sad ordeal.
Vicki, Amen, couldn't have said it better! And after all that I don't have any money in the bank. ha!
Sue, thanks for visiting my blog. I love reading yours, even though you've had such a sad year. I love my puppies. I miss big Boone, but was so blessed to have him in my life. Yes, that would be fun for Minty to 'go visiting'. :-)