Monday, May 26, 2014

::one year of sheep::

When Lily was starting her first year of 4H she decided that she wanted to try sheep.  I looked into traditional breeds but them seems so commercial that I wasn't seeing a ton of fun personality.  Not much of that homestead feel was left.  After sifting through 100's of breeds and checking my go to source for livestock - The Livestock Conservancy.  We settled on Babydoll South Down Sheep.  We bought a baby wether (a neutered male) and ewe lamb.  Since they where our only two sheep I wanted them to have each other for company.  We ended up just showing the black ewe lamb.  She was a doll and ended up getting a champion ribbon for Lily.  After fair we brought her home and threw her and her buddy out in the pasture.  All I fed them all winter was hay.  They got fat as little meatballs.  We are keeping them as pets, but if we were real homesteaders and where planning on eating them we would have a very massive carcass for the size of the animal and for the small amount of feed we gave them.  They would be economical as a meat source - if you where breeding them your self.  They are fairly pricey to buy.  The wether was $150 - on clearance as a runt and as a package with his friend.  The ewe was $425 - I think.  The breeder raised her prices to reflect what most other breeders cost.  Market value on my fancy black ewe would run you about $500 - if you could find a breeder that would sell you something of her quality.    

After a winter of growing wool and getting fat on hay.  
I had hand cut their faces with garden scissors just so they could see.

Handsome smile from Oz the Great and Powerful 
He sure out grew his runt status.  
He is super friendly and loves his chin scratched.  

Princess Annabelle is my little doll.
I give her way too much attention and she is beyond spoiled.   

So when we took her to be sheered she was not entertained. 

If we were raising them for wool they would have be good providers.  We got an entire white trash bag just off of Annabelle.

Her wool was 4-5 inches thick!

And she kept giving me lots of looks...
You are letting them annoy me?  I am your favorite.  Get me off this table now!

But look how happy she looks all groomed up!!!!

Oz looked pretty handsome too.

So after one year of having these fat little meatballs I am in love.  I would buy 20 and start breeding them as a side gig.  They are wonderful.  They hardly waste any hay and they look at food and get fat.  They are wonderful in their temperament and easy to handle.  They can't jump at all.  As long as their backs are and their legs are so short - they can't even stand up on their hind legs.  If your fence was 2 feet tall it would hold them in no problem.  They are small enough that you can throw them in a dog crate in the back of the mini van and take them to the vet.  I love these little guys.  

So basically opposite of these little lunatics.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

::OG planted 2014::

This is my back garden or my Orchard Garden (OG).
It is about 20 feet wide by 96 feet long. 
The thing is HUGE.
I outgrew my pretty front garden after one year and this is my work horse garden.
I don't keep it perfectly. 
It gets weeds.
It sometimes gets neglected.
It is where I experiment the most, because if it fails I just try again the next year.
This year I am really excited to see what I can learn about gardening from it. 

For the first year ever these kids really where a huge help to me. 
For real.
Not like the year where Max helped me by pulling out every baby corn sprout that he thought was a weed. 
Not like the year where Lily mixed a few pack of different seeds together cause they where pretty. 
This year they (mostly Lily) really cut my work load down and I enjoyed my time with them. 
I use lots of sticks in my garden. 
They keep the dogs from walking or laying on young plants and they remind me where I actually planted something.  Occasionally, they provide a visual barrier to toddlers to walk around instead of on seedling.  And sticks are in large supply around here. 
Sometimes little boys sneak off into the hay field and have sword fights with some of my sticks. 

Bruno was sporting his new summer do and looking very handsome.

We tried a new technique with the tomatoes this year.  Five on each side of a one foot deep trench.  Since this area is a bit hard to get water too I wanted a way to irrigate the tomatoes weekly instead of trying to water more frequently.  The sticks are just to mark the plants but the real bracing will be coming soon. 
Corn is new for me this year.
I always found too many other things I wanted to grow.
This year we decided to give it a shot. 
I looked around and decided to modify a few different ideas.  We took a small bucket and pressed it into the ground so it showed a perfect circle imprint in the soft soil.  Then we put six seeds evenly spaced around that circle.  Each circle is about 2-3 feet from the next one.  I don't measure and I only sort of plant in straight lines.  The lazy girl in me just can't be stopped to make row lines straight.
We mixed in pumpkins between a few corn rows. 
I'll keep you posted with how it all turns out. 

Look at that abandoned boot, sticks, and circles!  Love the barely controlled chaos. 

Look at that cute kid!
She kept saying the whole time that she couldn't wait to grown her own garden. 
Next year we may need to make her a little space of her own.  

Here is how the garden ended up being planted.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

::disney adult trip 2014::

We got to sneak out on an adults only Disney trip.

We visited our favorite candy shop.
The candy apples kill me every time. 

Here is Josh using our Magic Bands for the very first time!
This was really exciting for us. 
I tried a new brownie covered with chocolate.
I have lost 25 pounds in the past few months but I cheated a bit at Disney.
We loved listening to our favorite clean up crew and seeing our iconic monorail.
Since it was the Flower and Garden show we had fun checking out all the topiaries. 
England had a Peter Pan one that we loved. 

I had my three drinks at the same time at every meal.
It makes me so happy.
Water - caffeine - alcohol. 

Josh fell in love with Captain EO.

It rained like crazy on our Epcot day.
We wear poncho folk for sure, but it couldn't bring us down.

We heard great things about the Bacon Maple cupcake.
I wanted to love it but - it wasn't for me.

Josh took a big honest bite and it wasn't for him either. 

These fairy house that they had in the butterfly pavilion where for me.
I took a million pictures as inspiration.

It was just a three night trip, but a very nice sneak out for grown ups.
We where sad to go home but still ended up with this spontaneous photo bomb picture.


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