Old Home Farm

Getting Our Hands Dirty

farm signMarch has arrived and came in like a lamb! Last weekend we began to prepare the garden beds for planting.

In the past, we have always bought bags upon bags of dirt for the beds and containers, but this spring Greg decided he wanted to dig from my father's old garden plot. It has lain fallow for almost 20 years, so we took the trailer up to check out the soil.

The grandkids came out to assist, and Josiah grabbed a pick and told Greg he would dig to loosen up the soil, and Greg could shovel it in. The dirt turned out to be very rich and full of worms, so we worked all morning to fill up the trailer.

digging new soil

After a short break, we transported the soil down to the garden and began to work on the beds I intend to use first. I had my chart laid out so I would know where everything was to go. I also had the mix I wanted for the soil written down by each diagram, so once Greg filled the beds, I began adding lime, bone meal, etc. where needed.

filling the beds

Then Greg and Joe made a trip to the barn for a load of seasoned manure from the stalls while Kaydence and I cleaned out the greenhouse. Our greenhouse is homemade from an old aluminum frame with plastic panels and a screen door. I keep tools in there, as well as gardening supplies. In the fall, when we put the garden to bed, I tend to just shove everything inside for the winter, so come spring it is a major undertaking to make it usable again. Kaydence and I took everything except the work table out and neatly replaced what was needed and threw away the rest. Now I can use the table to re-pot seedlings into larger peat pots and eventually use it to set the plants out to harden before planting.

the greenhouse

By the middle of the month, I hope to have my onions planted as well as cabbages, peas, turnips, and carrots. Then it will be time to start working on the next set of beds to get the soil just right for planting. Getting the beds ready is a lot of hard work, but I love it. Especially when Greg and the grandkids are helping. That is gardening as it was meant to be. A real family affair.

Becoming a Real Sheep

farm signRemember my bum lamb 'Baby Bea'? I am happy to report that she has become a 'real' sheep at last. It wasn't an easy process for her, and took some time, but she is now a full fledged member of the flock.

I'm sure that you remember that Bea was born in October just before my birthday. The 1st day of January, I moved Bea up to the barn and separated her with her two ram cousins to be weaned and creep fed. Bea was devastated. Not only had she become attached to us (and of course her bottle!), but Beauregard was her hero and closest companion. For several days she ran up and down the fence bawling and looking for a way out. She would have nothing to do with the other lambs at all.

baby bea

When I would go to the barn in the mornings to feed the lambs, she would run to Beau and stay right by his side. Several times she managed to slip out, but I just told Beau to go back into the lot and Bea went right with him. For a while when I would shut the gate, Beauregard would stay by it as if to comfort the distraught lamb. Eventually Bea began to take up with her cousins, and learned to play with them. She would still follow us to the gate, but she would stop on her own and watched us leave, then run back to her grain.

Bea alone

In our lower shed Greg designed a creep gate in one of the lambing pens just big enough for only lambs to go through. Inside we have a tub feeder for the grain and the lambs learned to go through this door to eat. This way when the adults are reunited with the lambs, they cannot bully their way in and eat all of the grain. The adults have their own trough in the upper shed that the lambs cannot reach.

creep feeding

This past Monday I reunited the adults with the lambs. The little rams galloped over to greet everyone, and Beatrice went right with them. She even recognized her own mother and touched noses with her. Now Bea is one of the flock. She comes to greet me with the rest, eats grain from my hand, and happily trots around to the creep feeder for her breakfast. Sometimes she still tries to sneak out of the gate with Beauregard, but she is easy to send back where she belongs. I have a feeling that when the flock is let out into the big front pasture for the summer that she will once more join us on our morning walks and I will probably even let her come into the yard for a visit with her best friend. It isn't easy growing up whether you are a child or a lamb. But my baby Bea has made it. She has finally grown into a real sheep.

bea with flock