Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review

Well, we've made it through another year on the farm. Here's a quick review of the highlights of the year.

January is always a time for reflection, and at our house, it's also a time where we see the projects of the year piled up on us! We ended 2009 with a hardwood flooring project that had barely gotten started (we're still working on it!!) and we had the shell of a greenhouse waiting for us in the snow.

January is when we plan what to grow, how many chickens to get and when and what we are going to do for the year. February is when we start making it all happen, and this year, March seemed to be the month when everything DID happen.

In March, when the snow had cleared, and it wasn't too much of a mess to work in, we finally got our greenhouse plastic put up. We put the call out to neighbors and friends, because this was a job that could not be done by two people alone. We got started early, to beat the afternoon wind, and managed to get our greenhouse all put together in one quick day. We celebrated with cinnamon roles! it was a good start to a new year.

In late March and Early April is when the farm started filling up with babies again! We had 10 pregnant sheep, who gave us 16 lambs all within a 2 week span. The one pictured above was little Freddie, one of the first. We were also blessed with Ginger, Trouble, Sparks, Angel, Pebbles, BamBam, Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Arlo, Betty, Wilma, Annie and Simon. Simon shared the same birthday as our other little Lamb, Shannon. Daddy had a busy week running between birthing sheep and us in the hospital. But that's what spring is about! Aside from lambs, and babies - we also filled the brooder up with baby chicks.

And, boy, with the Farmer's Market and everything else on our plates, spring and summer just flew by. No pun intended, the next thing we know, our turkeys are growing big, and have found themselves perched on our patio furniture!!

And since we always have to try new things, we found ourselves a cast-off dairy bull calf to bring home. He was a scrawny little thing. We named him Marlow, and bottle fed him for most of the summer. He's a big boy now!

Summer proceeds to fall, and before we know it, it's time for the sheep to mow the lawn again. We didn't even get out our reel mower once this year. Why would we? These guys mow for free! In this picture, you can see 3 of our ewe lambs that got spared from the BBQ to stay with us as breeding ewes. This is Pebbles, Betty and Trouble. We also kept Angel, she's such a sweetie!!

We had another surprise this fall. Velma, the only sheep who didn't give birth in the spring, must have made "friends" with Charlie Brown or Linus before they went to the processor in spring. She gave birth to lamb number 16 this fall. Shaggy is still with us! Most of the other sheep look to be pregnant again, and hopefully ready to give birth in the next month or so. I just love baby sheep!

This year wasn't all smiles and giggles, though. We said goodbye to our old friend, Grish. The house is much quieter without that grumpy old man, and dare I say a little bit empty, too. We also struggled a bit with our turkeys this year. But it's lessons learned that hopefully we can do better next year. The recession hit us again this year, with Larry losing his job in the fall. He's still looking, but we are hoping for some more activity on the interviewing front after the new year.

So as we round out the end of the year, we had a successful run with the greenhouse for our first summer. Our orchard trees are growing bigger, and Shannon got to eat some fresh pears right off the tree! The flooring project is almost done - we just need to finish the doors and the trim and put our room back together...

From all of use at Long Shadow Farm - Larry, Kristin and Shannon, and Marlow the cow, Atlas, Goliath, Hobbes and Athena (our dogs), Schroediger, Klondike, Boo and Pinky (our kitties) and Shirley, Laverne, Lucy, Velma, Daphne, Alice, Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Gertrude, Trouble, Angel, Betty, Pebbles and Shaggy (our sheep) and all the chickens - HAPPY NEW YEAR!