Friday, December 30, 2011

A Family Affair

Charlie, Jonathan, Carrie and Jan; Charlie Bucket, too.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday in November two of our children were able to join us on the farm. 
Carrie and Jan (and Baby Ansell, too)
No snow for Jonathan the snowboarder so he happily worked with the machinery and helped dig post holes for the fence.  

 He also helped move the goat house to a new part of the pasture.
When he tried to lure the goats to him in order to hold one, the plan did not work out so well! 
Here, goat, goat, goat. . . 
Here's our daughter, Laurie, during her visit to the farm last year just before Christmas.  She was unable to join us  for Thanksgiving this year. 
If you look closely you can see Laurie's little dog, Sam, by her feet!
It is always a pleasure to have our family here, sharing in our experience of farming! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wreath on our front door

Happy holidays from Wings of Dawn Farm! And an early happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Layers

Our younger set of chickens have begun to lay eggs! Jan held out one of the eggs to the chickens.

 They had a perplexed look on their face, as if to say, "where did that come from?"

Chickens staring at Jan
 Two cockerels have begun to crow and strut around the yard as if to display their colorful plumage--which is probably just what they are doing surrounded by 93 females! These adolescent chickens are figuring out their roles as adults!

The pullets have rapidly matured into a group of proficient and productive egg layers.  Go team!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dancing Goats

After trimming the goats' hooves the other week, they seemed a little frisky from being penned up. Two of them, Gabe and Simon, began prancing and playing in the yard together.

There was some jumping:
 And head butting:
 More jumping:

 And they both were jumping and knocking their hooves together:

While it appears that they are crashing into each other it's actually very well choreographed.  They rise on their hind legs and come down, bumping heads in such a gentle way.  I call it goat dancing.  As soon as Tawny's hoof trim was completed, he joined in too.  Goats are very frolicsome and great fun to watch!  If they weren't guys we could put tutus on them.  ;-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Clothes Nibbling and Hoof Trimming

Goats need a hoof trim every month and the process is always an adventure.  Catching them is not easy--until they seek haven inside their house and then we block the front door.  Extra helpers are good to have around too.

 With the front opening blocked, we opened the back door of the goat house and grabbed one goat while the others were kept from escaping:
Mike and Charlie successfully extricate only one goat while keeping the other two inside.
Here comes Simon!  He always wants to be first--because he likes to eat and he always expects to find food.
Now it's Gabe's turn.

While one person was holding a goat, another trimmed the hooves. How this endeavor is possible without more than two people, we will never know!

First hoof and Simon is still patient.
Jan is still learning another new skill--goat pedicurist.

Once Simon was free and able to wander around, he had to see what Tawny was making a fuss about in the house.  As Gabe was now being trimmed, Tawny was alone and expressing his unhappiness loudly.

After checking on Tawny, Simon turned his attention to Gabe and the work in progress:

 Of course, with goats, there was a lot of clothes nibbling!

Did I mention that Simon is always expecting food?  Mike's shirt is tasty!
Charlie's too.
And now for just a little nibble of Jan's hat.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hard Frost

We had our first hard frost the other week. The temperature dipped below 30 degrees and frost even formed on the thermometer!

The rails on the porch had some great little ice crystals across the surface.

Winter is coming!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Row Covers

Plants under the row covers
With the colder weather finally upon us, we had to get the greens in the field under row covers. First, we loaded up with clothespins.
 This makes the process smoother by freeing our hands to hold row cover and attach pins! 
Then we put hoops of wire into the ground in order to make supports. 

 Then we covered the supports with a covering and pinned the tops of the supports in order to hold the covering.
 This will theoretically (and hopefully!) keep things from getting hit by the frosts and from getting too cold to keep growing.
Ah, theories and hope.  What we don't have pictured is what happened when the wind blew and tore the row covers, attracting Sofie's attention.  She was a very helpful puppy and enjoyed playing with the flapping white stuff.  (At night, maybe it's hard to see--maybe it was a run-a-way chicken needing to be rescued or a large owl needing to chased away.)  Such is the life of a farmer.  So we now have some plants covered, some uncovered, a lot of young lettuce in the refrigerator and electric fencing around what's left.  Fortunately, the weather's been warm the past few days.  We're due for some below freezing temperatures at night later this week--and just when the broccoli is beginning to head.  We'll let you know if we get any to eat.     

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Greens

We put some greens into the ground with seeds and starts. In the past few weeks we have been getting row covers on them as the colder weather approaches.
Lettuce greens
This will hopefully give us some greens to eat for the winter!