Dog Days

Well, another week of weather that is NOT the friendliest to our Icelandic sheep.  Temperatures are to peak in the 90’s all week, so we’ve been busy getting our barn ready for the sheep.

When we built our barn, our design was centered around the bank barn that is so common in my home state of Pennsylvania.  The basement of the barn which we use for the animals is like a walk-out basement, so 3 sides are mostly underground.  This keeps the temperature inside much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Monday we cleaned out the old straw from when we had the sheep in there earlier this year.  Nice excuse to play a little with the hose and cool down while we scrubbed the floors!  A couple of loads of compost removed and we were in gear to let the floor dry out for a day or two so that it would be ready down there just in case it really got unbearable for the sheep later in the week.  We had set up a nice big floor fan down there, and we wanted put it to use.

Today I noticed a couple of the sheep panting with open mouths.  I don’t like to see that.  When they’re panting that hard I know they are stressed, and we don’t want stressed mamas!  Nobody likes stressed-out overheated moms!  When they’re panting like that it’s not easy for them to eat!  At first, to cool them down quickly and buy a little time, I caught the two dark ewes who tend to get the hottest, haltered them and brought them over for a good soaking with cold well water from the hose.  They didn’t particularly like it, but it certainily had the right affect.  They stopped panting and started grazing again.  Of course I ended up soaking myself in the process!

After lunch we saw everyone laying down in the shade, looking ever so hot and miserable, so it was time to bring them into the waiting barn.  One of the boys grabbed a scoop of corn and the ewes and lambs played follow the leader, right into the barn.  After they were settling in and munching on hay I switched on the fan and it didn’t take them long at all to find their way over to it!  So funny to see the fan hogs standing facing the fan as close as they could get!

 

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Otherwise things are pretty low key around here most of the day.  We head out every couple of hours to refresh water troughs with cold well water, as they keep heating up in the sun.  We make sure everyone else out there is finding shade when they need it.  Garden chores must get done in the early morning – otherwise we’d melt out there during the day!

Which leaves me here…in the house…in the air conditioning…spinning yarn, preparing and storing veggies from the garden, and ignoring the fact that my house needs cleaning and this would be the perfect opportunity to get stuck into it!  Nah…I’d rather blog!

Apart from the day to day farm stuff we’ve enjoyed a couple of fairs,

 

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Can’t forget the cotton candy and fried dough!

 

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And after a lot of prep work…

picking the choicest veggies, flower, herbs…

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baking blue ribbon winning cookies and making blue ribbon winning candy…

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Printing photos and mounting them…

 

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and last minute final touches on a step stool that now graces my kitchen…(believe it or not, this took second place because the judges didn’t realize the white paint was supposed to be crackled to make it look antique!)

 

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the kids cleaned up at the North Stonington Agricultural Fair and brought home lots of ribbons and cash prizes, including best chocolate chip cookie with a $10 prize!

 

Herbs…

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Flower specimens…

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My yarn and scarf, which unfortunately got a second place because it hadn’t been blocked…I think I made that mistake last year, too!

 

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Our eggs are now 2 years running blue ribbon award winners!

 

 

 

 

This summer we’ve also enjoyed the birth of our newest critters on the farm – 2 litters of bunnies!

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Contact us if you’d like any of these little cuties to come home with you!   They’ll be for sale in late August!

 

This critter, a rhinoceros beetle, wandered onto our deck the other day and provided a source of amusement for the kids…

 

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We’ve had bonfires

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and beach trips, one of which included a view of Taylor Swift’s moving vans parked in front of her house!  Yep, that’s her garbage can…

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And of course July wouldn’t be complete without fireworks!

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We’ve enjoyed loads of our fresh produce!

 

 

Two types of peas…

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Our purple carrots, that sometimes like to grow together in peculiar ways…

 

 

 

 

 

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Plenty of beets, lettuce, onions, early potatoes, kale, asparagus, a couple of tomatoes, lots of cucumbers, rhubarb, and tender green beans…

 

And our most recent big harvest was our garlic!

 

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We’ve helped friends with haying and harvesting wheat the old fashioned way, gaining a whole new appreciation for modern farm machinery!

 

Here are some of our haystacks that we made…we were fighting afternoon rain storms and doing a lot of double  handling to be sure the hay was dry before storing it in the barn…

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Stay tuned for an awesome video of the hay harvest!

 

And so the dog days of summer roll by…the sun is beginning to set over the barn and that means that it’s nearly time to let those ewes and lambs out for their evening graze…which brings us full circle in this blog post for today…and means that I’d better get back to work!

 

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