Saturday, November 22, 2008

Last of the Fall Clean-Up

This morning the sun was shining & at least made for a more cheerful morning chore routine. Once I was done feeding everyone I started gathering up the last of the fall decorations to pack up and put in the attic or garden barn. I decided to toss the pumpkins in with the sheep and goats do they could amuse themselves.

Above and on the left is Lil' Country Acres Polly, a fawn kat ewe
and on the right is Windswept Savannah, a mioget ewe.
Lil'Country Acres Eliza is quite involved in her findings. That's Ethan, one of my black Cotswold wethers who is extremely wooly already.....I love his wool.....and he is a great hugger:) Silly Dixie is on the other side of the fence wondering what's up.

And then a whole new group needs to get into the action......such a simple thing that brings such pleasure to my wooly friends:)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bird is the Word Today

So the snow is flying for the second time this week in Northeast Ohio! Last night when I did my late night barn check at 9:00, it was like a mini-blizzard so this morning there was about 4 inches on the ground and my morning commute was just under an hour & 15 minutes. I stopped at the feed store on the way home to get shavings for the horse stalls & an extra bag of sheep feed & got a gallon of milk at the corner store because this weekend is the first Saturday in 4 weeks that I do not have to go to a Teaching American History class and I am not leaving the house till Monday morning!! And next week I only have school for 2 days!!!!

When I got home I decided to take a few photos of the snowy afternoon to share with those of you who have not been "blessed" with snow yet:)

I am a confessed birdfeeder. I feed thistle, black-oil sunflower, safflower (only if its on sale of course), and a typcial bird feed mix; oh and I forgot the suet feeders too. Actually, I have cut back on the black-oil sunflower because it has gotten a tad expensive in recent months.

I enjoy having the birds in the yard during all seasons but in the winter it seems to renew my faith that warmer months are yet to come.

I put this birdhouse up the first summer I was my house......that was 16 years ago.

Each summer I remove the roof to clean it out for the new residents.

Hey, and what about these birds in the chicken coop? Are we getting any special food this winter? How about a new heated water feeder?
Well, girls all I can say is that times are lean, you are eating Purina chicken feed, and Christmas is next month. I will let Santa know what you want when I write him my Christmas letter. Until then I promise to still feed all the birds, including you, some extra treats especially when it gets super snowy and cold:)
For any of you who are chicken people and reading this, do you have any recommendations for winter bedding for the chickens? Pine shavings? Straw? This is my first winter with chickens and I want the girls to be comfortable and still lay a few eggs:)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

S-N-O-W WAY!!!!!

Its a new day at Harvest Thyme and I am refocusing. I was hoping to focus on my school being closed this morning but not enough snow; actually there was no where near the snow at my school as there was at my house. My commute to school is approximately 50 minutes, give or take a few accidents, slow drivers, & what have you. This time difference often means a big difference in weather, particularly snow. The snow that there was at school had melted by the end of classes today. But not at my house, actually there was more snow when I got home.

ReRun is not the biggest fan of snow. He much prefers the couch with a fire going. Sometimes I have to literally give him a kick in the butt to go outside.
Okay maybe not a kick, but a toe nudge:)
Monique (the black mini appy) and Speedy were taking the snow in stride. They are definitely looking fuzzier these day and I believe that look means, "Its about time you got home to feed us." Grain time is like clock work for them, gosh forbid I am late.

Its amazing how some snow changes the appearance of the big barn and the chicken coop.
This morning I learned that metal chicken waters freeze quickly and you can't kick them like you can kick a horse bucket. Tonight I am bringing in the chicken feeder to avoid "fowl" language tomorrow morning.

The chickens must be depressed about the snow. They were cheap and I only got 1 brown egg today. Though yesterday I got 4 green eggs.
I wonder if there is enough snow to make a snowman?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is it Only Me that Worries?

The last 2 weeks has been filled with much anxiety and being as sick as I was did not help. Though I may joke about being single, it does have its draw back occasionally. It is frustrating being sick and not being able to physically do all that needs to be done in the barns or around the house. I am worried about the barn space as I have 10 more lambs than I did last year. I worry that the smallest ones will be warm enough for the winter. I worry that the sheep sit outside under the overhang of the barn instead of going inside out of the weather. I worry that I have not been able to fill the barn with hay because money has been so tight. I am behind the 8 ball because I was to get a supplemental check for work I do in the district in which I teach & did anyone who was suppose to get that money this weekend get it? No. And next weekend is Thanksgiving. Was that money suppose to get me 50 bales of hay? Yes. Am I stressed about it? Yes. Now of course it helped that today I got gas for $1.78, I filled my Town & Country mini-van for $30.30. Two months ago at almost $4.00 or more it cost close to $60. I always pay cash for gas, I refuse to charge something so disposal as gas, it makes no sense to me. I had to order propane today....another expense. I would like to get more wood, but money. Having to put all that extra money into gas for so long put me behind getting hay, propane, and paying for other things I needed for winter so now I am feeling the long term effects and its catching up fast.
Today I had to trim/cut some very large branches on the 2 pine trees at the end of my driveway so the propane truck can get down the driveway when it comes. Okay, excuse my language, but that was a real bitch as I am not that tall and there was some serious large branches that had to come down and I only have an electric chain saw & could not string 900 ft of extension cord down the driveway so I used a saw. Branches are down but sitting piled up on the side of the driveway. And then snow came this weekend, not the 12 inches like the Snowbelt got but it was snow and I am just not ready. I live in a secondary snow belt and if any of you who are reading this live in a snow belt plus have the "pleasure" of fully understanding "Lake Effect Snow" then you understand the power of the Great Lakes in the winter & the havoc they can create in your life and often, without a lot of notice.
I guess that's how I feel......havoc, stress, worrying that the animals will be okay this winter, that I will have enough money for Christmas, that my house will be okay, that things will turn around. Sometimes its just hard doing it all by yourself, sometimes I just worry. Sometimes it just seems like everyone else is doing so much better than me and I wonder what I am doing wrong. Oh, I don't know, maybe its just me being "emotional". I know I am blessed with what I have but I have worked so hard for what I have & sometimes it just seems like it is just not enough. I have been trying to be upbeat in my blog posts but today I just was struggling with it. So today, for those of you who read about me and my little farm, this is the other side. Perhaps its the "reality" side beyond the pictures. As the saying goes, "It is what it is"........tomorrow is another day, hopefully it will be better in the long run.

Lake Effect Snow last year....hopefully not this year!
Thank you for listening & for those of you who are so kind to always leave a little does mean a lot:)