Sunday, November 29, 2015

Early Rise on Black Friday?

Who me? Well not to go shopping! We got up at 4:30 AM to take a ram lamb and a mutton ewe to the butcher's. The sheep are done first and they needed to be at the butcher by 6:30. We had never been to this butcher and they are about an hour and a quarter away. Surely if we were pulling out of the driveway at 5 AM we would make it there in plenty of time! Apparently there are a couple of roads with the same name in that area and we were pretty lost. The butcher thankfully was able to take our two lost sheep and we had an uneventful ride back home. Now we are looking forward to some mutton. With the historic reenacting we do I am always looking at old receipts (recipes) for new ideas for meals in camp. Mutton was used heavily in the 17th and 18th centuries and I am eager to try some. Wonder how our group will feel about mutton ham? I also asked for the ram lamb's head so I could make "A Sheep's Head Soop." Yum?
I hope this butcher works out since they are USDA certified so I will be able to sell individual cuts of meat to buyers, instead of a whole or half lamb. This should increase the number of buyers I can attract, especially ones without a large freezer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November Gardening

The weather has been amazing for mid November. The hoses are still out for getting water to the animals which is the latest we've ever had the hoses out. Today I planted strawberry runners given to me by a friend.
The garlic is up and I also mulched it today.
The second oat cover crop I took a gamble on planting is coming up (foreground)
In October the long range forecast looked pretty good for a second planting of oats and I am glad I gave it a chance. The garden in late fall is much greener than it ever was in the past now that I am doing more with cover crops.

The greenhouse also got some attention. I have been adding composted sheep manure by the wheel barrow load and the soil is much improved. Today I planted spinach, and three different varieties of lettuce. There are also some volunteers coming up of Red Russian Kale, spinach, and red mustard.
I don't expect much from the seeding over the winter but I will get salad greens super early in the spring, way earlier than I would ever think to plant seeds.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Meet Mercer

We needed to find company for Elwood for the winter since he won't be with the ewes after breeding is done. Suggestions included another ram or a wether. I like the wether idea as I learned that wethers have the nicest fleece in the flock. But I couldn't find any nice wethers for sale and I would eventually need another ram anyway. We found a nice ram for sale in NJ (no long trip this time.)
Enter Mercer.
He is a handsome dude and very calm. He was raised as a 4H lamb and is halter-trained. It was so nice to be able to put the halter on him and calmly walk him into his quarantine pen. We were going to have him in quarantine with Elwood but I decided to put him in with one of our ewes (it would be too stressful for a flock animal to be alone.) Mama Sadie was the easiest one to separate out so she won the job of companion for Mercer.
We thought Mama Sadie was huge, but Mercer is even bigger! Can't wait to see the lambs we get out of him. He weighed 14 pounds at birth and 45 pounds at 30 days old. That's an average daily gain of 1.0 pound for the first 30 days. His breeder told me his mother has a great milk supply.

Once Mercer is finished with his quarantine period we will work on getting Elwood and him acquainted.

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Good to Get Away, But

Sometimes I need to get away, but the work involved before leaving and then when you get home sometimes makes it seem not quite worth it. We went camping at a little historic site in MD this past weekend. It took me most of Thursday to pack. Then I worked 8.5 hours on Friday, came home, finished packing, and drove three hours to Historic Londontowne. We had a great weekend and got to spend time with great people. I grilled some lamb chops and marinated lamb kidneys and liver strips.
Everyone tried everything. The kidneys were interesting and the liver tasted like pate. The chops were delicious. I also made parsnip and leek fritters from a 1690s receipt (recipe) from William Penn's first wife, Guilema. I tried to only use food from my garden and freezer. The garden at the site contributed some chard for a 17th century "boiled sallet" receipt.
It's always fun to hang out in 17th century clothing in a beautiful 17th century site eating food of the period. Today was all about 21st century laundry and putting everything away. Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Glimpse of the Future

Sometimes the hardest part of a renovation project is the waiting. I have become a lot more patient over the years but it's nice, every once in a while, to see some progress and see your vision come to reality. We reached that milestone this weekend on the garage wall. Alan hung the new doors he made using the cool spear strap hinges and the latches. And he hung an onion light fixture we had leftover from the old house. I think it looks pretty nice.
The decision making on paint colors has been rough but I think we have finally decided on something like this house:
But I need to figure out the windows we will be using since I want the clapboard color to match the color of the exterior of the windows. It will be some variation of a taupey/grayish color. Hopefully the stink bug frass will blend in better than on the white.