Thursday, October 30, 2014

New fencing project started

Today we started on a new fencing project.  This time it is a new containment fence for a plot of land right next to the farm.  We are leasing the land next to us to add a couple more acres of grassland for the sheep / goat rotation.

The land this far has only had electric fencing,  and quite some time ago.  To change it to field fencing means mostly starting from scratch.  Today we installed the first corner post,  on the corner by the driveway.

I think it came out pretty good for mostly used materials recycled to create a sturdy fence.

Here is one end of the brace, cut into the post with a chainsaw
And here is the other end on the corner post.
Last touches!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weather station back online!

Just in time for winter weather,  we have the little sprouts personal weather station online!  You can now again check weather before heading out to the farm.

As you may recall,  the original weather station (accuweather brand) was destroyed in the chicken coop fire last winter.

This time we went with a little better quality brand,  ambient weather.  We chose the 1200 ip observer.  It adds not only accuracy but also uv and solar power measurements.

The widget on our webpage is updated every few seconds 24x7, or you can use this link to get to the details : 

Weather is one of the most important aspects of farming,  so we are very happy to again have a reliable way to track it!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One thing almost anyone can grow

Besides radishes,  zucchini seems to be the easiest to grow vegetable on this planet.  Drop a few seeds in the ground,  keep them reasonably wet,  and soon you have something like this...  Monster food!

Kaelyn proudly shows off a prize zucchini
These things grow big all summer long,  and grow fast.  A whopper like this is maybe 4 days from bud to this size!  It's a great way to feed animals or people.
If you haven't tried zucchini,  plant done next year.  They are amazing!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

How to catch a wild llama --- PRAY!

Today we went back to foothill property to load  our newest llama, affectionately called "mama Llama". What happened is nothing short of amazing!

Mama Llama is a female llama we brought on board just a few months ago to help guard the foothill property animals. She was purchased from a farm in bend, and moved directly to that property. Her exposure to any of us was very limited, and almost exclusively at a distance. In fact she has been living alone at foothill for weeks.  She is hte one that was constantly blocking our attempts to load the sheep sunday night.  So, needless to say, she was not going to be an easy catch.

Llamas are inherently different from horses. They are more like camels than horses. Their personalities are perfect for a guard animal... distrusting, alert, aloof, and difficult. We are by no means expert llama handlers either!  To make matters more difficult.. mama was out loose on 60 acres!  So.. yep.. here we go!

At first we tried to just herd her towards the makeshift holding pen we used for the sheep. No go. After running back and forth with 4 of us for an hour or so we decided that was pointless. So I tried to make friends... a bucket of grain and I could get within 3 feet, but no closer. Her hunger for grain didnt outweigh her distrust for me.

So what do we do?

At the moment of not having any ideas left... something interesting happened. I saw a vision. Walking across the pasture wondering if this was possible... I suddenly saw a movie in my head... a movie of us, walking across the pasture, holding a white rope maybe 50 yards long. We were stretched out in a semi circle, with the llama walking peacefully towards the open end.

WOW! What an idea!

So, we grabbed maybe 100 yards of white electric fence rope from the old sheep pens, folded it in half twice to make 4 "ropes" about 25 yards long, about aligned ourselves in a straight line evenly spaced out, and walked behind her.  At first she was a bit spooked and moved away quickly. WE followed, letting her set the pace. She walked towards a corner. At this point i realized the "rope" was too short, so we unfolded once to make it about 50 yards long. We were then able to circle around her at a safe distance with a half circle.  IT was WORKING!

As we slowly walked towards the holding pen, i realized that the holding pen was now behind the parked trailer and 15 passenger van (the "buggy"). I was a bit concerned thinking "how in the world do we squeeze past the trailer like this to the holding pen without loosing her? She seemed to repect the "rope" and wouldn't touch it, but arranging our half circle to get past the trailer looked impossible.
But then, as if hearing a voice in my head, the thought hit me... "Why are you going around the trailer... just open the back door".  Oh. Yea... lol.. why not!

So, here we are... I have one end of the rope, Brenda (now very pregnant) has the next corner, uncle Bradley has the opposite corner to me, and hunter has the other end. While holding the rope I made it to the trailer (we all move together keeping the rope taught at her back level) and open the rear door, then hunter moved to the other side of the trailer . At this point, her virtual "pen" only had one exit.. the trailer ! So we started closing in the pen, ever so slowly, to reduce her space until she was standing right at the open trailer door.

We gave her time.. a few minutes, and every so often closed the space a tiny bit more, everyone totally quiet. Finally, on her own, she just stepped right into the trailer! As we closed the door behind her, I was thinking "wow!" that was absolutely amazing!

SO yea, if you need to catch a wild llama, pray. Through divine inspiration we accomplished a seemingly impossible task in under 2 hours!

We owe so much of our success to our creator. Without His constant guidance, my inexperience would make this venture called farming wrought with mistakes! But fortunately, what He calls us to do.... He empowers us to complete!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The sheep come home

Never a dull moment around here!  

In the middle of Saturday deliveries,  I get a call about the foothill property....  Escape!  Apparently the sheep and goats had found that the grass truly is greener on the other side,  only in this case the other side is the neighbor!

It seems they got out and ravaged the neighbors small fruit trees.  So we stopped deliveries around 3pm to head out and investigate.  Sure enough,  it was true. We will be replacing quite a few trees for our neighbor.

The quickest solution was to pull the herd back home,  which we were planning anyway.  So we gathered the troops,  and spent the rest of the day with a bit of an impromptu rodeo!  By midnight we had all the goats,  sheep and one llama back at the farm safe and sound.

Grandma has the wire ties ready to build the holding pen! Notice her little blue truck in the background making part of the pen chute. Is that redneck?

Here is the holding pen, ready to go!

Ollie  is excited!

Bunch of cowboys herding them to the pen

Follow Uncle Bradley!

Rainey (the Llama) races into the pen to find the grain

Quick! Close the door!


Tighten this panel, open the chute, and ready for the first load into the stock trailer

Ollie misses Rosemary :) 

He keeps her entertained while we get ready

Now remember, when I tell you, pull the rope hard and slam the door shut!

Ok, well, Momma Llama doesnt like whats going in. In fact she was a real problem!  We ended up letting her out after a few hours because she insisted on blocking hte chute so the sheep could not load, on purpose! She is a smart one!

Trying to make friends, but she wast not quite ready

Little Shephards!

And here they are the next morning, happy and home in the pasture on the farm.