Thursday, December 21, 2006

He's got a name!

We finally decided on a name for our newest little alpaca. It will be Finley. Finley is Scottish for "White Warrior". A perfect name for our little white ball of fluff. Here is a photo of him taken a dusk a few days ago...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My seeds are here! My seeds are here!

I was so excited to come home from work today to find the package from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds waiting for me! I have started my planning for my raised beds (that haven't even been built yet) for the new house. When I first opened the box my first thought was "OMG what have I done... I will never plant all these!" It wasn't an hour after sorting through all the seed packets that I was placing another order online with Heirloom Seeds for the few things that Baker Creek didn't carry or didn't have in stock.

Here is the list of seed I got from Baker Creek:
Russian Tarragon
Broad Leaf Sage
French Summer Thyme
Common Chives
Slo-Bolt Cilantro
Siam Queen Thai Basil
Fine Verde Basil

Purple Tomatillo
Golden Greek Pepperoncini
Mini Red Bell Sweet Pepper
Charlseton Belle Sweet Pepper
Thai Little Red Chili
Homestead Tomato
Amish Paste Red Tomato
Riesentraube Red Tomato
White Currant Tomato
Gold Medal Striped Tomato
Yellow Brandywine Tomato
Catskills Brussels Sprouts
Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli
Snowball Cauliflower
Brunswick Cabbage
Lettuce Rocky Top Mix
Iceburg Lettuce
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard
Giant Musselburgh Leek
Texas Early Grano 502 Onion
Red Creole Onion
Connecticut Field Pumpkin
Bush Buttercup
Baby Blue Hubbard
Yellow Scallop Squash
Black Beauty Summer Squash
Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash
Charentais Melon (Free Gift)
Bush Sugar Baby Watermelon
Thai Bai Khuen Chai Celery
Kuroda Long 8" Carrot
Green Globe Artichoke
Precoce D'Argenteuil Asparagus
Mayflower Bean
Henderson's Black Valentine Bean
Chinese Green Noodle Long Bean
Lincoln Garden Pea

Mammoth Grey Striped Sunflower
Mexican Sunflower-Torch Sunflower
Clarke's Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
Pink Panther Pansy

Birdhouse Gourd
Small Spoon Gourd

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A visit with our new boy...

The kids and I drove up to Abbondanza Alpacas to visit with our new little boy. He was very cute and up and bouncing around at five days old. Here is a photo of him in a brief moment where he laid down to rest.

Now we just need to think of a name for this little puff of fiber. I have thought of a few names that I like but Neil has been less then excited by them so I will keep searching.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is my favorite day of the year! I love Thanksgiving! Family getting together and catching up on each others lives, no pressure of gift giving, great food... what could be better?

Well, being on our own farm eating our own homegrown turkey and veggies would be great but that will have to wait until next Thanksgiving. That is my goal for next year... have the entire meal either grown on the farm our at least locally (as I don't expect to have cranberries or wheat our first year!)

But, for this year, we are going to be spending the day with Neil's family. His sister, McKay, is hosting the big meal at their home here in Anderson, SC. We will be having 2 Turkeys with stuffing, cornbread dressing, mashed potatos, squash, peas, cranberry sauce and rolls. I am bringing the rolls, squash, a homemade pumpkin pie and some snacky food as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Noodle's cria is born...

Got a phone call from Abbandanza Alpacas this morning to let us know that the newest member of our alpaca family has arrived! It is a little white boy out of our beige Pastina di Oro (aka Noodle). We don't know much about him yet and due to my work schedule we won't be able to visit with him until Sunday. I will post more then... with photos of course!

Our new Suburban!

While we were out and about visiting our cows and alpacas this past Sunday Neil spotted a Suburban for sale in a small car lot in Easley, SC. We stopped in to peak in the windows as the dealership was closed for the night. It was dark out but from what Neil could see of it he was very interested!

So, Tuesday, after class, Neil went up to talk with the dealer and take a closer look in daylight. He must of liked what he saw because he called me up and asked if I was ready to buy a car! He drove home to pick the kids and I up and we went to buy our new Suburban. Here it is still sitting on the lot:

We will be selling our Jeep and should break even on the deal. We are very happy to be getting a bigger vechicle to have around the farm. It is also great because Neil is very familiar with this vechicle and will be able to do most of the repair work himself.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cherry Blossom is here!

Went to visit Cherry Blossom today at Dr. Parrish's farm.

Then went to Abbondanza Alpaca's to our alpacas and

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Playset Delivered

Our Christmas gift the the kids was a brand new wooden playset (a.k.a. swingset) for the Roxboro house. I had been doing some research about the safest/best/most affordable set we could get. I found the Play-A-Round sets from Cedar Works Company in Maine to be of great quailty at a price we could stomach right now. It is shipped in 9 boxes and we really wanted it sent directly to the Roxboro house not to the SC house. Our wonderful new neighbors Dan and Wanda agreed to be there for delivery since we could not be. It was delivered this afternoon.

It will stay boxed up in the barn for the winter and then next spring we will clear a place for it and set it up yourselves. Here is a photo from their catalog:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Good News and the Bad News

We spent a wonderful three days at the farm in Roxboro and just got home last night.

We took another trailer full of our stuff up the house and unpacked and found homes for more stuff then we brought. It is really starting to feel like home with our belongings around us. Neil got the lawn mowed one last time for the season. I spent some time in the pasture behind the barn picking up the broken glass, bits of metal and other trash to make it livable for the livestock next spring. Basically we just relaxed and enjoyed our stay while we could.

The turkey Claribell was still doing great. She spent a lot of time this trip over at the neighbors yard but I did manage to snap a photo of her this time.

Before we left Neil winterized the house plumbing system as we won't be able to come up and stay agian until the weather turns warm in the spring. For once I am happy that the winters here in the South are not that long!

So we piled into the cars (yes we came up seperately) and started home. It was a pretty uneventful trip home. We stopped for dinner half way home at a Longhorn steakhouse. It was some time after this that I started getting phone calls from As You Like It Alpacas in CA where three of our alpacas are agisting. It was pouring rain, I had both kids and a dog in the car going 70mph on the interstate... I was not about to answer the phone. Three calls later I knew it must be something important so buzzed Neil and we pulled off for a gas stop. I called Claudia back and she told me the terible news.... our 6 month old male cria Ben Nevis had died suddenly that afternoon! He was scheduled to be shown in his first show in three days! What a shock for me... he was to be our future herdsire as he was out of superstud Killimanjaro. He will be necrospied today and hopefully we will have some answers.

Meanwhile I am very sad we have lost our first cria born to our farm. Here is a photo of him only a few weeks old.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been a pretty low key holiday around our house. We are not really big on the whole dressing up and decorating thing. Odd... since Fall is my favorite season of the year. I guess for me the BIG Fall holiday is Thanksgiving so all my energy goes into preparing for that.

Regardless of that... I LOVE carving pumpkins! This year was the first year that our son Evan (he's 4 1/2) carved his own pumpkin. You have to have a Mother's eye to see the scary face he cut into the pumpkin but he had so much fun! But, the best part of carving pumpkins is roasting the seeds! Yummy!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This and That

We spent this past weekend at the Roxboro farm! Spending time there is so rejuvenating for Neil and I. Just being there, visualizing and talking about our goals for our future farm makes it easier to come back home to our hectic lives here in SC. Work and school is just something we both have to do for the next seven months to make our dream come true.

Neil finished up the railing of the deck. The deck looks so nice and big now. It even got compliments from our neighbors! I can just imagine us relaxing on this deck after a hard days work on the farm overlooking our beautiful alpacas and gardens. The other big job Neil got done was the mowing of the lawns to keep the house "lived in" for a few more weeks. Once we move there a large part of the current lawns will be converted to my raised bed garden and our small fruit orchard so it should not take so long to groom in the future. We brought two trailer loads of our things with us this trip. A large part of that was kitchen items that we can live without or was never unpacked in our current location. It was fun to unpack and find homes for it all in my new kitchen.

We had intended for this to be our final trip up to the farm this fall/winter. But, as the day went on we knew that we just had to return at least one more time before closing it up for the winter months. We are not sure when but we will be returning in the next 2-4 weeks.

Back at home I have been moving forward with our homesteading goals. We now have a second Irish Dexter cow! Cherry Blossom of LBI is a four year old RED cow that is due to calve in April from a polled red bull! She is currently in Ava, MO and will be transported here next month. Well, not to here, but to the farm of one of the vets that I work with about 25 miles from us. Blossom will stay there for the winter and calve in the spring. Our livestock family is growing!

Speaking of livestock... the turkey that Neil has named Claribell at the farm is still doing great! She is wandering onto the neighbors property to forage but they don't seem to mind. When going through the "stuff" in the barn that was left behind by the previous owners I found a bit of corn scratch. I spread it on the dirt floor of the barn in hopes that she will find it and supplement her insect/seed diet. Still worried about her over the winter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Garden Dreams

I'm not sure why it happened but I pinched a nerve in my lower back yesterday and I have been immobile since it happened. I actually had to call into work this morning to tell them I couldn't make it in. I never call in sick!

On the bright side, a bunch of books arrived yesterday from that I had been waiting for and I actually had nothing else I could do but sit and read for 12 hours. I have read or skimmed through all of them and had been pleased with them all. These are the books I got:

  • Goats, Small-Scale Herding for Pleasure and Profit by Sue Weaver
  • Chickens, Tending a Small-Scale Flock for Pleasure and Profit by Sue Weaver
  • Keeping a Family Cow by Joann S. Grohman
  • The Family Cow by Dirk van Loon
  • All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
  • Fruits and Berries for the Home Garden by Lewis Hill
So, all day today I have spent planning out our future cow & goat barn and have a plan for our homestead orchard all laid out! I feel so productive! I just wish I could order the plants now and get them in the ground so they would be rooted in by the time we moved up to the farm. Alas, the timing is not right and the trip we have planned next week doesn't give us enough time to order or plant. As with all our other grand plans I am just going to have to be patient.

Monday, October 02, 2006

How now brown cow.

I sent the check off for an Irish Dexter cow this week. She is a dun heifer from here in South Carolina. We got to name her which was really neat. Neil and I wanted an Irish name for her and settled on ST Riona Cailin. The "ST" part is the breeding farm code and had to be included at the beginning of her name. She is currently horned and I have asked the breeder if she could find a vet to dehorn her before she gets much older. Haven't heard back about that yet. She will be hanging out at the farm we purchased her from for the winter until we move to the farm in Roxboro, NC next spring.

ST Riona Cailin
Next spring.... only seven more months before we are free to move to our new farm. Neil and I get so excited when we talk about it! I am just overflowing with ideas and plans for the place.

We are planning a trip to the farm in a few weeks. Neil needs to finish building the topcap on the railing of the deck on the house. I hope to start getting the barn (this is a loose term we call what is currently a large equipment shed but will someday be our alpaca barn) cleaned out. Right now there is a lot of trash and bird droppings (chicken, turkey and duck) on the ground inside it from the previous owners. On one end is a chicken house and I hope to get that cleaned out as well.

We will have to see if Clarabell is still there too. Clarabell is a turkey that was left behind by the previous owners this past summer. She has been eating bugs every time we have gone to the farm but now that Fall is here and Winter is not far off I worry if she will make it through on her own. We hope so because we have become fond of her and would like to have her around the farm next year.

Friday, June 30, 2006

They're Here!

I drove up to Abbondanza Alpacas this morning to greet our newest alpacas. It was amazing to see these three alpacas in person after only seeing pictures of them on the computer.

They were all so perfect and so beautiful! Celtie and Joy became pals on the trip down and never ventured very far from each other (as you can see in the photo below). Peter was very handsome and regal looking and he sung softly to himself as he spied on the mature girls in the pasture next to his pen.

I am looking forward to the girls growing up and seeing what they produce for crias... if they are anything like themselves we are off to a great start!


Finally, after waiting for what seems like forever, this Thursday June 29th the last three alpacas that we purchased will be delivered to Abbondanza Alpacas in Greenville, SC where some of our alpacas are currently being agisted. I can hardly wait to see them in person! They are Heartsong Pure Joy (pictured above) of Heartsong Alpacas in New Jersey, and Enchanted Hill Celtic Woman and Ore Hill Peter Piper of Enchanted Hill Alpacas in Virginia.

The addition of these three brings our herd total to eight alpacas. Well, until next month when Fiore de Pesca is due with her first cria (can't wait for that event either!) and then we will own nine alpacas.

I will just have to wait four more days... four long days....