2016 Lamb Contest now closed

a storm is predicted, and the sheep have started lambing earlier than expected.

When I went out to feed this morning there was a ewe standing apart from the rest and at her feet was a gorgeous brown lamb. As soon as I fed, while the other ewes were munching away, I moved the new mom and her little one to the lambing jugs which I hastily set up.

First 2016 Lamb

First 2016 Lamb

Unfortunately, it was not only a single (I only keep lambs from multiple births) but also a ram. 20160130_101359_resized

While I was in the process of setting up the lambing jugs I saw another ewe start to exhibit behaviors indicative of lambing, and sure enough, when I got back from my second trip out to the barn there was another lamb on the ground being cleaned off by an attentive mom. While I was weighing the first ram lamb (a whopping 12 pounds) and dipping his cord, the second ewe delivered a second lamb. I moved mom and her twins to the lambing jugs and left her to finish cleaning them up before going back out to weigh lambs and dip cords. Photos to follow.

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Garden Tower

My Earth Boxes are great but. . . my breakfast room isn’t terribly large so my gardening efforts are limited. So when the Garden Tower Project was giving away a free Garden Tower at the end of the year, I entered. I didn’t win (no big surprise there) but I did get a good discount on a Garden Tower so I scrapped my budget and bought one of the new and improved versions of the Garden Tower to set up inside. Rather than a one piece barrel construction of the original version, this one is manufactured in pieces. The spaces to plant are larger and are easier to access; but the new feature I really like is that the new Garden Tower rotates.

The Garden Tower arrived last week so I went out and bought some casters and then went down to the local lumbar store and had a piece of plywood cut to use as a base for a dolly. I took the outer packaging to use as a template to ensure the plywood was the right size (but . . . forgot that the Garden Tower has feet which extend out from the base, oops). Once I put the casters on, I was ready to put the Garden Tower together.

First a tarp since this is inside and water and dirt is involved.

First a tarp since this is inside and water and dirt is involved.

Then the dolly. I was anxious to get the Tower assembled and was thinking it was going to be inside so the wood didn't need to be treated. Another oops. I should have painted or varnished it but too late now.

Then the dolly. I was anxious to get the Tower assembled and was thinking it was going to be inside so the wood didn’t need to be treated. Another oops. I should have painted or varnished it but too late now.

Then the base. Perfectly sized (as long as I didn't put the feet on.)

Then the base. Perfectly sized (as long as I didn’t put the feet on.)

As you can see, there is a drawer in it to catch water and to empty the compost tube. From the top you can see the center compost tube.

As you can see, there is a drawer in it to catch water and to empty the compost tube. From the top you can see the center compost tube.

A few more rings added.

A few more rings added.

The compost tube in the center.

The compost tube in the center.

The Garden Tower completed. The zip ties hold the compost tube in place so when the potting mix is poured in, the tube stays centered.

The Garden Tower completed. The zip ties hold the compost tube in place so when the potting mix is poured in, the tube stays centered.

The Tower ready to plant.

The Tower ready to plant.

I followed the instructions to the letter and found that the amount of water to add to the Garden Tower as potting mix is added is way, way too much water. I was emptying out the drawer fairly frequently to keep it from flooding the room.

I followed the instructions to the letter and found that the amount of water to add to the Garden Tower as potting mix is added is way, way too much water. I was emptying out the drawer fairly frequently to keep it from flooding the room.

I did have a few more acorn squash as well as some started radishes and lettuces, and some onions so I’ve started planting and photographs will be coming soon.

Dinner anyone?

My spaghetti squash has been dutifully putting forth blossoms over the last few weeks. Initially all the blossoms were male but I finally found a female blossom and set to work to hand pollinate it. Squashes, unlike tomatoes, have male and female flowers and in the absence of bees or other insects that travel from blossom to blossom transferring pollen, growing indoors means that the gardener (me in this case) has to do the pollination.

Female blossom

Female blossom

Male blossom

Male blossom

A few more female blossoms appeared but no signs of squash and after much worry on my part that I had not effectively pollinated them, I finally found three small squashes.

squash 1

squash 2

squash 3

First Naming Contest of 2016

Quibeyn Farm has two new additions. Although a storm was predicted for Northern New Mexico, the roads between here and western I-40 were clear so I and a friend and her two girls took a road trip this morning and came home with . . . 20160109_122018_resized

I’ve been researching various breeds of heritage hogs for a few years now and had decided I wanted American Guinea Hogs. I found someone who had a couple of litters on the ground and made arrangements to pick them up after the first of the year.

The mom to the littlest hog is in this photo:

Sow is the larger hog (horizontal) behind the two vertical ones.

Sow is the larger hog behind the front two hogs

While the hogs started home in half a dog crate, halfway home the dog crate got put in the trunk and the two finished up the trip on laps.

They are currently residing in a dog kennel in my barn, out of the elements with a dog crate stuffed with hay for sleeping quarters. Eventually they will spend their days on pasture and I will set up a pen closer to the house for nights.

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In the meantime the two need names so the first naming contest of the year starts now and runs through January 15th. Names must be posted in the comments to be counted. Everyone who comments will have their name put in a random raffle and the winner will receive a bar of handmade goat milk soap.

New Contest

As readers of this blog may remember, last year (2015) was not a successful year for the sheep. The ram I used did not perform well and I only ended up with eight lambs.

So the first contest of 2016 will be to guess how many lambs I will have this year. Based on when the ram was introduced to the ewes last fall, the first lambs are expected the first week of February. Ewes can have singles, twins or occasionally triplets.

These photos were taken on Christmas Day and I tried to get a photo of each of the 12 ewes. (I ended up with more than 12 photos so one ewe is depicted twice.) The individual(s) who get the exact number of live lambs at the end of lambing will get their choice of a bar of handmade goat milk soap. In the event that no one gets the exact number, anyone leaving a guess in the comments of the blog will have their name put into a random draw.

12 Ewes: 4 older experienced ewes; 4 2011 ewes, all have previous lambs; 1 2012 ewe that has lambed once; 3 2014 ewes (one lambed last year; the other two have never lambed)

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