The Weekly Bleat: Grain Treat

A few weeks ago, Farmguy and I gathered our sheep for their spring shearing.  We’ve had a number of warm days since late March with temperatures in the 70’s, and the sheep were appearing a bit stressed by the heat.  I was happy to finally get a shearing date, but also a little nervous about the possibility of upcoming cold and rainy weather. On shearing day, the sun managed to come out and stay out, at least until all of the sheep were sheared, dewormed, and had their hooves trimmed.  However, cooler weather was in the forecast. Of course, around here, when it’s 70 degrees in March, go ahead and expect it to be 30 degrees in April, especially when you’ve just sheared seven months of wool off your sweet, lovely sheep.  I’m sure they were thinking, “We’ve been baking in all this wool, and now you think it’s a good time to remove it?”  Needless to say, I felt terrible.  But, I knew a grain treat would help. Typically, we only give the sheep grain in the cooler months as a treat and to increase their body temperatures.  Once spring arrives, the pastures are lush with lots of grass, and the supplemental grain isn’t necessary.  However, we made an exception recently due to the cooler temperatures, and the sheep loved it!  It doesn’t take long for them to get into a new grain routine as they’re pretty spoiled rotten. […]

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Force of Nature

  A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing.  You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist.  There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings.  I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard.  So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1.  Prune on a mild, late-winter day.  Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing.  Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2.  Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds.  Thinning is okay. 3.  Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle.  Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative.  Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4.  When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors.  Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents.  Change water daily. 5.  Celebrate spring early!  After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.    

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The Weekly Bleat: An Important Lesson

Apparently, huge temperature swings are something that we’re just going to have to get used to this time of year.  Lately, we’ve been experiencing what I like to call “yo-yo” weather.  Our forecast this week is 65 degrees F. today, 72 degrees F. tomorrow, and snowing on Saturday.  This weather isn’t great for people, but it’s especially not good for sheep and chickens.  Their bodies acclimate to the cold, winter weather, and when there’s an unseasonably warm day–they may feel overheated.  After a week of balmy, warm days, a 40 or 50 degree drop in temperature is jarring to these animals’ systems and may cause illness.  So, to help, Farmguy and I feed the sheep and chickens extra grain to supplement their diets, especially on cold days. Yesterday, I was feeding the sheep their afternoon grain, when I noticed the grain bin was getting low. Well, let me just say, getting caught with no grain on Green Hill Farm is definitely a no-no.  Anyway, it reminded me of a lesson I learned last year.  And, I thought I would share it again.  🙂 Last weekend, Farmguy and I gathered our sheep for their spring shearing.  We’ve had a number of warm days since early April with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s, and the sheep were appearing a bit stressed by the heat.  I was happy to finally get a shearing date, but also a little nervous about rain as […]

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The Weekly Bleat

A Prayer In Spring ~ Robert Frost *Read at the Dedication of John F. Kennedy Park, May 29, 1987   Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year.   Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; And make us happy in the happy bees, The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.   And make us happy in the darting bird That suddenly above the bees is heard, The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, And off a blossom in mid air sands still.   For this is love and nothing else is love, The which it is reserved for God above To sanctify to what far ends He will, But which it only needs that we fulfill.

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Friday Farm Favorites

Sending a little sunshine and cheer your way!     I don’t think there is anything more cheerful than a baby animal.  While I was visiting a relative and her family this week, I had the treat of meeting these darling ducklings, the newest addition to their menagerie of critters.     I would also like to express my heartfelt […]

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Signs of Spring

  “Daffodils” ~William Wordsworth (1770-1850)   I wander’d lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretch’d in […]

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