I apologize it has been so long since we last updated, life has taken over here at the farm. Between me working and the snow storm we have been bogged down. I am not sure the total snow fall, the first storm was somewhere between six and eight inches, the second- or maybe it was the third I seem to have lost track- was wet and rainy good for making snowmen.
The animals all seem content, I am not even sure the sheep are sleeping in the shelter at night. They have a pretty think layer of wool. Earlier this year we bought ourselves a ram. The last couple years we had been able to find a ram, but then you have to wait until that person is done using him, and then there is the whole trying to find the right breed. This year we were able to put our ram in early enough that we should be lambing by May- perfect! We have spotted him doing his job a couple times. Some farms choose to use a marking harness (a harness that you put a big crayon in that leaves a mark once he has mounted the Ewe) we bought one with every intention of using it, but really in the end who cares. Either they get bred or not, not all gestations are exact they range from 144 to 152 days so in the end you can not really predict the exact date, and if you leave him in with the girls long enough everyone should be bred. And to be honest do you really want to try and put a t-shirt type thing on a ram, I don't think so.
This spring we are thinking about adding on. I know, I know, is 384 square feet not enough, well as it turns out we could use just a little more space. A few weeks ago Chuck purchased an old grainery. When the weather allows he will take it down, move it here and attach it to our existing house. This new addition will be for the bedrooms, it even has a loft, we are thinking this will be where we sleep. It is very exciting to think about, our very own bedroom!
These last couple weeks I have had some interesting conversations with people about our food system. Last week at work a guy said to me 'I heard you were into health food,' well not exactly I told him, I consider us into real food, and believe me that is a lot different than what people consider healthy food. I think sometimes people get this idea that we are some sort of purists. In the traditional sense of food, we are into healthy food but unfortunately people think of healthy foods as skim milk, even soy milk, tofu, fat free and low fat this and that. Anyway as we were talking he said tell me why I should buy, for example eggs from a local source. Now this is where I have a problem, sure eating eggs from someone who lets their chickens roam free has many health benefits- for you and the chicken, and I could list them (and have) but what really gets me is if you go to some stores you can get a dozen eggs for under a dollar. Lets break this down, the farmer has to purchase the hens, raise them for 5 to 6 months before they start laying, then once laying has to harvest the eggs, clean, weigh, candle, grade, package, then ship them to the stores where someone stocks them, scans them, and bags them, oh and did I mention the feed and water costs. All for under $1? I just can't figure out how this is done?? Oh, yeah our tax dollars subsidize farmers for growing and raising food at a loss. But if you buy from lets say us or some other local grower- that whole $2.50 goes to us, who raise, feed, water, collect, clean, package and sell. It is not only good for your health it is good for the environment, the local economy and those farmers that are stuck in a rut of producing things at a loss. I bet they would love to be able to actually make a profit from their hard work. So what can you do- remember every time something you buy goes across a scanner that is a vote- a vote to keep producing that item. I know I have said it before but when Walmart customers stopped buying milk made from cows given hormones - Walmart stopped carrying it. Your voice and your dollar counts. I am not sure I convinced the guy at work, he then proceded to tell me he bought a 5 pound tube of ground beef for under $5 and it was great- it did not even cook down, I felt like my lecturing for the day was over so I skipped telling him that was because ground beef in the stores is from old dried up milk cows- it is so lean because they have no fat left in their poor little bodies.