Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gardening with a View

So many of my flowers are ready to blossom in just days due to the very warm weather. I spent much of the week weeding the gardens and checking things out.

The garden pictured above is right off my screened in patio. The lavender blossomed this week. The hanging pottery is actually filled with water and provides a very, very slow water drip for the butterflies that come to the garden. Once all the pink cone flowers open up, I get many butterflies & hummingbirds:)

Pictured above is a weeping pussywillow tree. I call it "Cousin It" because I am constantly trimming it as it grows like a wildthing. This area is a favorite napping place for the cats. That is Linus in the picture. He turned 15 yrs. old in April!! He loves a good stroll in the garden esp. in the morning:)

This evening I was weeding in the cauliflower and broccoli beds and when I went to pull some weeds, Alvin attacked my hand. I had not seen him crawling among the plants so needless to say I thought he was something else! I am so enjoying having the time to actually work in the garden this summer and today I noticed that there are green leaves starting to emerge in the potato bed!!!
Life is looking good in the Harvest Thyme gardens:)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let's hear it for a Poll-Carrying Ewe!

As a relatively new breeder to Shetland sheep, I spent many late hours scanning the Internet for what I felt was the best breeding stock out there in the Shetland realm of the U.S. Last year and this year I am seeing the true results of my endeavors.

Pictured above is Harvest Thyme Sally Ann, a 4 year old fawn kat. ewe. She is a twin ewe sired by Windswept Yankee ( a mioget, yuglet ram) and Lil' Country Acres Eliza Jane (a fawn kat). She is, I hate to say it, the flakiest ewe I own. Her twin sister, Abigail, however, is my favorite ewe. Sally, however, in the 2 years she has been bred has produced the following:

A moorit, smooth polled ram. He apologizes that he was camera shy today, it was 92 degrees and did not want to smile for the camera.

There is nothing here except a smooth area.

His tail is not the most perfect Shetland tail, but I think it is workable. His hind quarters are looking nice and straight. Opps, gotta tilt your head for this shot, I forgot to turn it. LOL

This is his twin ram lamb brother. He is smaller in stature but is showing potential.

This is his horn area at just over 2 months of age. Very small button scurs. These boys were born on April 19th and were sired by Jammer, a moorit/yuglet/scurred ram.

This is Harvest Thyme Jasper. A smooth polled one year old ram who was sired by Lil'Country Jedidiah and Sally Ann. Jasper is a wonderful ramling with very good manners and a very nice crimped fleece.
Though Sally Ann has only thrown ram lambs, she is definitely a promising ewe for producing polled rams. I had considered selling her, though because of her personality, I am concerned on how she would adjust into another flock.
Anyways, I just wanted to spotlight some of what I have here at Harvest Thyme and that polled genes are slowly working its way into my flock:)
Both of the moorit ram lambs are available for sale at $100 plus $10 for the registration.
$75 as wethers.
They were given Bose at birth & have had their first CD&T shots.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hobby Farming 101 at Harvest Thyme

When I bought my first 3 Nigerian Dwarf wethers 9 years ago I remember how excited I was to get my first 10 bales of hay to put in the 10x16 barn that I had built by the Amish. The Hobby Farming bug had bitten me. A lot has evolved over the past 9 years: I have learned a lot through trial and error, add animals, lost animals, started gardening BUT the one most important thing I have learned is this:
Find a reliable hay man with good hay & who can deliver it!

Last year was the worst year for me & hay. To say I was stressed was an understatement. The guys who I had been buying it from went off to college, got married etc and their Dad decided to cut only for their farm. That was in July and I could not find a replacement at a price I could afford. It was just awful. I finally found a man at the end of March who was selling 1st cutting timothy/orchard. It was $3.50 a bale & he had 80 bales. That helped me out a bit and it turns out I knew his sister-n-law from working at the vet. Anyways, he is now my official hay man. He brought me over 120 1st cutting timothy/orchard hay this weekend. He is going to bring over another 150 in the next week as he is busy cutting & baling more, lots more. Two best things about this......I will have a stocked barn come October and he is only charging in $3.00 a bale!!!!!!! And they are nice, big bales!! I am so happy!! I was so excited I hugged him.....I think he thinks I am slightly "strange":)

The LaManchas Liberty & Sweet Pea have approved the hay.............

........and sheep have approved the hay also!! Life is good in the barnyard:)

As I mentioned previously, gardening was a smaller factor when I started "Hobby Farming" 9 years ago. This is the first year I seriously planted a large garden. I was very concerned about the tomatoes as I planted the garden like the 3rd week of May. I think because it was so cool the tomatoes did not take off right away. But this past week & half I have seen much improvement.

Now I think the cooler weather benefited the broccoli & cauliflower as they are doing great!! Last year they never looked like this 'till the end of July!!

Last year I planted cucumbers and got ZERO. This year I almost fell over when I saw this.......there is hope in the cucumber dept. & there are about 8 others starting to grow.

Early cabbage is looking good too. The late cabbage is coming along to. Notice the leaves on the cabbages in the first row.........they were violated by a goat named Cubbie: a 9 yr. old Nigerian wether who often follows me around the yard. He also sampled the brussel sprouts.

I just love this little ram lamb.......every time I look at him he looks like he is smiling:)
Hobby Farming also brings issues of trying to sell animals, who to keep, who is worthy of breeding. Next year I will be concentrating on the LaManchas as I have my foundation buck now and will be breeding 4 does. I will only breed a very small, select group of ewes ,perhaps 3 or 4 girls. I am very concerned about having too many sheep.

And of course when it comes to Hobby Farming, I have found having a wonderful companion dog to be your barn buddy and helper like my Dixie, makes it that much better.
Sometimes I think too much and sometimes it gets to be a lot but it is my choice and its a choice that brings me happiness and satisfaction. I have made mistakes, I have learned, I have changed my mind a lot, but it seems to be getting there slowly. Being home this summer is going to really help get things taken care of and give direction to things I want to do.
But today its hot and I just bought this cotton candy ice cream & I have a new issue of Hobby Farm Home so that screened in patio & deck is looking good right now:)