Tag Archives: pigs

A Good Day

I found an old ball of bulky yarn that I’d spun months ago when I got my first batch of wool from Bonnieview. I decided to try dying it with a packet each of the blue and purple kool-aid. Turns out that the purple overwhelmed the blue but the end result is a fairly nice light purple yarn with flecks of cyan here and there. I like it much better than the crazy “Caution Orange” I made a last week, to say the least.

I knit another pair of baby shoes using the Babystovler pattern from Handmade by Calista. The process of working my way through the leftover bits of yarn and through the yarn I don’t like is fairly addicting and baby things are small enough that I can bust through a walnut-sized ball of yarn and wind up with a pair of useful and sweet little shoes! That is my definition of satisfaction.

Joe and I slopped our way down to the farm to empty our compost bin and we stopped by to see the new piglets! The second pig just had her litter of piggies yesterday, and you can see the other sow in the background with her litter. In amongst the new piggies, there’s a wee black one with white socks on his feet. They are so tiny and wriggly that it was hard to get a good picture. The sow never pulled her head out of the hay burrow she had made, but her grunting got louder when she heard us come in. Oh mama-piggy, your babies are so tiny and sweet! Still, I know what they’ll look like in a couple of months: big piggies.

The Sterling Farm

Joe and I walked down to the farm to off-load our compost bin into a large, more impressive compost barn and since it was such a pretty day I decided to take a picture of the animals that are still down there. First up: horses. 

These are the two new Belgian mares: Brandy and Lady (in some order, I can’t remember which is which).

And here are Rex (white) and Lincoln (brown). I caught them this morning on my way to the post office.

And then again later when we went to the farm.Silly faces…

And here is Bronze, one of the oxen brothers. Chrome is chilaxing just out of sight behind Bronze’s rather large rumpus.

The three lady pigs, resting in hay divots. They actually have perfect pig-shaped impressions about 1-2 feet deep in the straw that they’re crammed into. When they got up to snuffle about and see if I had any food, you could see perfect outlines of where their legs and snouts rest a good foot into the straw.

And here’s Peanut, the pregnant milk cow. She was a calf last spring and now she’s ready to start the whole cycle all over again.

And of course, none of my farm visits is complete without a peek into the hen room to see if there are any warm eggs to cup in my hands. Lay hennies lay!

Farmtasm

It’s officially been two weeks! It feels like so much longer though… I’ve started milking the sheep on my own in the mornings. Usually the same person only milks the sheep maybe two days in a row, but this week I did three and when you’ve seen that many udders so early in the morning everything can start feeling a little crazy. You’re by yourself with sheep in a cold milking parlor for about three hours… what can happen, right?  DSCN0366

You can name a sheep Madonna because of her crazy-shaped udders. I mean, c’mon look at those things! Just look back to my other post about sheep udders and you’ll see how they’re supposed to look, essentially it’s really unusual that their teats point straight towards the floor from pyramid-esque udders.

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And this udder/tail combination looked like a droopy nose face to me. Do you see it too? I giggled for a while when I was milking her… it looks so sad!

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Tressa came out to help me feed the piggies and collect eggs from the hen house the other day. She brought one of her babies just like her Mommy does but it got pretty cold so we went inside before her little fingers dropped off. DSCN0382

And I’ve got a wood stove! It’s called the “Intrepid II” and it’s a teeny, sturdy little thing. It’s not hooked up yet because we need a super insulated pipe so that it doesn’t melt the yurt bits. It’s going to be so nice. My Aunt Carol gave me some extra blankets and I’ve been camping out under them and staying nice and toasty when I do. But whenever I pop my head out in the night I can see my breath so the wood stove is coming none too soon.

I baked an apple-zucchini bread and made some applesauce on the stove this morning. It’s a good day to be huddled in the apartment, out of the rain with a new bunny and the warm smell of cooking apples.

One Day

It’s been one week since I started at Bonnieview and I’ve gotten to milk sheep, make cheese, harvest sunflowers and potatoes, collect eggs, feed chickens and pigs and live in a yurt. It doesn’t sound like much… but it adds up to a long, happy week. I found my camera yesterday so I took some pictures throughout the day yesterday so you can get a glimpse of farm work in rural Vermitt.   DSCN0288

Liza and I milked the sheep yesterday morning at 8. I start milking them on my own next week. These sheep are a mix of several breeds, one of which is a Tunis (I only remembered that because one of the Tunis rams is named Tuna and has one of the coolest faces I’ve ever seen).DSCN0290

Here are twelve sheep standing on the milking stand. You can milk six at once with the setup we have. The sheep put their head in the headlocks where the grain is and the whole thing slowly (oh so slowly) pushes them back to the railing so that we can reach them. We wipe their udders and then stick the cups on and then spray them with a disinfectant after wards to keep their udders happy.

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Here’s an udder before it’s been milked. Liza and were joking that we should make a memory game where you have to match the pictures of their udders to the sheep’s faces because we know them all by their udders but there’s no way we could recognize who is who when they’re staring us in the face. DSCN0293

And here it is post-milk squeezing. Saggy baggy udders…DSCN0294

After milking I herd them back to their field about 1/4 of a mile away on a dirt track. You can see the guard llama in the background there guarding his sheeps. DSCN0298

Everything you see here is Bonnieview farm land, it’s so pretty and rolly out here. After I herd them down I head back up to the farmhouse for breakfast (which usually turns into an extended lunch) and then out to do the piggies!DSCN0334

Penny and Roger eat everything that we don’t plus the whey from the cheese making process and a wee bit of grain. I try to avoid them at all costs because they’re very tall (up to my waist) and I’m more than a little afraid of being eaten.

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Penny was trying to suss out whether my camera was food or not… turns out it wasn’t.DSCN0308DSCN0312

One of my other chores in the afternoon has been harvesting sunflowers. That looks like me attacking them one at a time with a pair of hand clippers then gathering in bunches of about ten and tying them together with bailing twine then hanging them in the greenhouse to mature and dry. They’ll use them to supplement the chicken feed in the winter.DSCN0314

These are all the sunflowers I’ve done so far. It’s about three afternoon’s worth of work and about 1,000 sunflowers. There’s still 1/2 a field left to do and it’s so overgrown with weeds that it can be a little tough to negotiate.DSCN0320

I found this spider when I was tying up a bunch of flowers yesterday. I have no idea what kind it is but it looks very much like a mushroom and a spider were amalgamated together to form a wicked cool little critter.DSCN0333

And here are the babies! These little guys just reached their official birthdate the other day and they’ve been so cute and squirmy that it’s been hard not to sit there and stare at them all of the time.DSCN0340

And here’s their older sister, Tressa helping us harvest three bushel baskets of potatoes from the garden. She’s been so helpful and sweet, you’d never know that she just gained two little sisters and one brother just a few weeks ago. DSCN0345And my favorite chore of the day is collecting the eggs from the henhouse. I usually get about 20 every evening which then get washed and sold at the farmers markets in the area. There are about 50 chickens but some have gotten out and successfully made several batches of baby chickens. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’ll be one of my jobs to round up the chickens for winter so they can roost in the greenhouse where it’ll be warm.

That’s it for now. I think we’re making cheese on Monday so I’ll try to get some pictures of that. Until then you should close your eyes and imagine all of the smells and adventures with poo that you’re missing because you’re not here with me.