Surviving Sandy



We were pretty shocked to see that the bolt was still in the latch, completely sheared off of it’s holding on the wooden side of the gate!  




I tried to pull the gate shut against the wind while Roy was checking out the sheared piece of metal and could hardly budge that gate against the gusts that were blowing!  Pretty awesome!  Thankfully Roy was there to push it from the other side!


We did lose power, but were thoroughly prepared this time around!  I even had it worked out how I would spend my evenings!



When the going gets tough, the tough start spinning!  I was able to start spinning the grey roving I had processed by Fibers 4 Ewe earlier this year from our spring shear!  I’m very excited to be making yarn for the first time from our farm’s wool!


We thank God that we were spared serious damage or loss of life on our farm this time around, and we offer our prayers for those who were not so blessed and suffered losses of life or property from Hurricane Sandy.  May God be with them as they heal and rebuild.



Ready for Sandy

Well, I think we’re as ready as we can be!

The winds are whipping – probably at a steady 30-35 mph now witih gusts over 40.  The rain is relatively light.  

We let the sheep out grazing for as long as we thought we could today, but eventually made the call to bring them in to the barn.  

That was the LAST thing they wanted to do!

Here I am with a treat for them – and here they are, going the total opposite direction they’re supposed to be going!  


Gee – the barn looks warm and inviting to me!

But finally they got tired of running around in the wind and rain and decided to check out that pile of hay awaiting them inside.



Whatever you do, boys, DON’T open that door!




We then proceeded to bring in the rams to their small barn.  As soon as they got in the barn, Drover started butting Boomer, so we’re giving them some space and leaving them have access to the barn or out in the pen.  They’re tough guys, I’m sure they’ll be ok.


The main reason for confining the animals is two fold.  Last hurricane we ended up with a fence badly damaged.  Had they been out in the pasture, they may have escaped.  Also, having them out in the pasture puts them at risk of injury from flying debris or trees falling.  


The  hens are still in their house, oblivious to the outside conditions!  We’ve brought them some snacks to keep them busy indoors all day, and they’ve been kind enough to keep providing us with eggs today!


Here in the house we’ve filled bathtubs, got the generator fueled and ready to go, we’ve filled pots and pans with water and hurricane lamps at arms’ reach.  We’re expecting power outages worse than our 5 days without power with hurricane Irene, as the damage will be much more widespread in this storm.


The yard is cleared.  The bunnies are in their giant hutch in our garage.  


One of our ornamental pear trees has already suffered some heavy damage and will probably not survive the 90 mph gusts tonight.  I keep thinking that our whole town’s — state’s landscape will be tremendously altered by this storm-of-a-lifetime.  


So we shall see what we will wake up to tomorrow, but for now we’re signing off the blog!  We pray for all in the northeast and mid Atlantic region to be sensible and safe!




The Vigil

Setting:  Morning Star Meadows Farm, ram’s pen, top corner

It’s pretty much any hour of the day (unless it’s chow time), and the rams are keeping vigil of their precious ewes in a nearby pasture, gazing at them longingly.

Background music:  Standing on the Corner, Watching all the Girls Go By



BOOMER:   Hey, Drover…Dude… I’ve got my eye on Fatima, Millie and Molly…how about you?


DROVER:    Well, Boomer my boy, Millie’s my mom and Fatima’s my twin sister, so they’re all yours.  And ya better treat ’em right!  We may have a fight on our hooves, though, over Molly.  But non-negotiable “mine” are Bruna, your twin sister, Shirley and Daisy, your half sisters, and Roxanne.  She and I were an item last fall, if you remember.  Nice twins we made together!






BOOMER:   Well, after I finish chewing this dang cud, you and I may have to have a tussle or two over Molly.  She was my one and only last year.  Anyway, my horns need some realignment, and butting heads is good for the soul — makes you know you’re alive, know what I mean?


DROVER:   Yeah, Boomer.  Not sure why it feels so good to run at you full force and bang foreheads, but we keep doing it – and those humans keep telling us not to!  Just can’t figure it out!  Must be this time of year when it gets cooler and the leaves start falling.  Maybe it’s something in those leaves we’ve been nibbling?


BOOMER:   I don’t know.  The shepherd keeps saying to everyone we’re “feeling our oats” but I haven’t had oats my whole life so I don’t know what he’s talking about!  

Hey!  At least Monty’s not here any more to tell us what to do!


DROVER:   No kidding!  Hurry up and finish your cud!  My headache’s nearly gone now…I’m not seeing double any more, so I think I can hit you on the first go!


And so the sun sets on another episode of “Days of Our Ruminants”


Congrats Monty!

Monty has been promoted!  




He did all he could here at Morning Star Meadows Farm, and so when a call went out for a major stud muffin ram with great genetics at Birdseye and Tanner Brooks Farm, Monty knew that he’d fit the bill and had to bid us all adieu.  


I am sure he was terribly sorry to leave, but an opportunity like this doesn’t come around too often!  


Birdseye and Tanner Brooks Farm is owned by no less than Sam Waterston of “Law and Order” fame!  As well as being an amazing and very famous actor, Sam is also a true Gentleman Farmer, in the very best tradition of the old fashioned urbane and scholarly farmers of times past like Jefferson and Washington.  He was delight to deal with and farmers in Connecticut should feel honored to call him one of our own!  So although we thought twice about letting Monty go, the fact he was going to someone like Sam made us feel more at ease about our decision.


So late this morning Monty had a drink with Boomer, head-butted Drover in a friendly fashion, and jumped into the truck with a little help from Roy and Mark (Sam’s very able, and friendly farm manager) ready to “do his duty” at his beautiful new 250 acre home in Litchfield County, CT. 


Sam’s farm has over 100 Icelandic sheep, so Monty knows that he will be “working” hard for his keep.  


We will miss him at Morning Star Meadows not just because of his terrific genetics, great appearance (very regal), and parasite reisitance, but also because he was a consumate gentleman with us humans.  He was always very respecful and gentle to handle despite his very real capacity to do damage with those beautiful horns with about 150 pounds of mass behind them!


So congralulations Monty.  Sam’s gain is our loss.  And I am sure that Boomer and Drover will be competing now for “top dog” status on Morning Star Meadows Farm.  


Bye Monty……don’t forget to write! 




Squashed squash!

A minor tractor accident yesterday while breaking down the garden.  We were pulling out T posts with the tractor and doing some tilling to put in the garlic and Roy drove through the squash cemetery and missed seeing this ripening beauty.




No loss, though.  It’s being chopped up right now to add to the crockpot with our chicken dinner!


Nothing wasted at Morning Star Meadows!

Big Sky Country


Well, maybe we’re not “Big Sky Country”, but we do have a big sky…and we do live in the country…and we are at the highest inhabited point in North Stonington!  So when we saw that the North Stonington Citizens Land Alliance was looking for a venue for a telescope night here in town, we eagerly volunteered Morning Star Meadows Farm as the perfect locale!


We are blessed with very little light pollution here, although even since we moved here 4 years ago, we have noticed more and more on some of the horizons each year.  We have had visitors here from the big cities who have actually been unnerved by the lack of artificial light out here!  They’ve sat at our dining table, enjoying truly fresh food from our farm, glancing through the dining room window at the waning light as the sun sets, wonding how in the world they’ll drive back to their hotel in DARKNESS!


I like to remind the children frequently how blessed we are to see the stars on clear nights…how their cousins who live in big cities have to drive an hour out of town to see stars because of light pollution.


It is with a grateful heart for this blessing of an awesome night sky that we cordially invite you to share our blessing in conjunction with a night skies event this Saturday:



High On A North Stonington Hill,













Important weather alert for all: if any question about weather on 13th, between 1-4 pm, call 860-599-5517 to hear a quick weather alert, “Yes, it’s on,” or “No, it’s off”, rain date tomorrow October 14.)



Weather alert for all: call between 1-4 pm, on 14th, 860-599-5517, to hear a quick weather alert, “Yes, it’s on,” or “No, it’s off.” Future date on hold.




The North Stonington Citizens Land Alliance, a land conservation group in its 25th year, is proud and happy to welcome Larry Krozel, lecturer at The Treworgy Planetarium of Mystic Seaport, as he sets up a planetarium telescope for an evening of looking up at the heavens at the home of Roy and Robin Kerlin and their children at 307 Wyassup Road, North Stonington.  The program is called, “Exploring The Night Sky”and offers all of us an opportunity of looking at the heavens through a Planetarium Telesope as we talk with Larry Krozel high on a hill at the Kerlin’s sheep farm.  We invite you to come!


Gorgeous fall fleeces now available!

We’ve updated our Fleece page with photos of our wool harvest!


This year we have our biggest fleeces, as we expected, with our smallest ones yielding more wool that some of our largest in the past!  


Yesterdays shearing adventure netted over 46 pounds of skirted wool, not counting the dirty wool that we keep back for mulching, etc!  Our largest fleece was from Shirley at nearly 5 pounds!


And best of all, these fleeces have the longest staple length of any of our fleeces so far!


Here is a sampling to whet your appetite with some inspirational Aussie shearing music to entertain you!




Yes sir, yes sir, 13 bags full

A picture says a thousand words, so a bunch of pictures must speak volumes…and I’m way too beat to say much more at this point!


However…I MUST say a big thank you to professional sheep shearer Melissa HIggins who mentored our shearing today through a American Sheep Industry sponsored mentoring program, in cooperation with the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association.  


Melissa steered me through the shearing of the rams this morning before lunch.  Then, after a tour of the farm she left us on our own for the ewes (MUCH easier to shear!) and we thankfully got through the shearing JUST before the rain started to fall.


13 bags of truly gorgeous fleece now fill my formal dining room!  The wool was skirted as it came off the sheep, so the fleeces just need to be weighed and they’re ready to go!  We’re looking forward to meeting some new fleece customers tomorrow afternoon when they come to visit the flock!


Packed up and ready to go…





Drover takes the lead…

Before…what a handsome lad.








Do I really have to go next?




No turning back now, Monty!





Nearly done.





Who are you?!





Melissa was incredibly helpful.  And Boomer’s fleece is incredibly black and luscious!





Satiny black boy.





The girls await their fate.




Bruna’s first.  Before…












Shirley think’s she’s next, but she ends up being last.




Freshly mowed fleece.




Drifa’s all set.




Daisy’s next.












Fatima’s finished




Must be Millie




Still soft after all these years




Lion’s mane




Only the black and greys left.  The sky is darkening as a storm approaches.  Will we finish in time?




The other girls are happily grazing




Molly’s ready




Peeling off a gorgeous grey fleece




What a difference!






Quick lube.  The kids were my pit crew in between sheep.  They did a great job!




Kemba’s a black beauty




This photo doesn’t do it justice!




She’s a real cutie in her after pic!




See?  Told you she’d be last!




Here’s Freyja’s coming off, with such nice contrast!




Looks just like her mom, Molly, now!




The girls are all getting to know each other again with their new look!




Takin’ the girls home for the night, JUST as the raindrops begin to fall!  

It’s all good!



All tucked in for the night



Roy and I are calling it a day (wearing our matching Carhartt socks!), resting up for the big day tomorrow.  


The sheep are tucked in for the night in the barns — girls in the big barn and boys in the smaller one.  We’ve separated the flocks for now because with the cooler fall temperatures, the boys start getting ideas, and the girls will soon follow suit.  Since we’d rather not have lambs in February or March, we keep them separated for a bit longer.


We generally don’t put them in the barns at night, but to avoid them being wet from the dew overnight, we’ve got them in so they’re dry and fluffy in the morning…


They don’t know it yet, of course, but tomorrow they will get their fall haircuts!  


More photos to follow, if we’re not too exhausted by this time tomorrow!


Nighty night…

Morning Star Meadows Farm


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