Sunday, May 8, 2011

gutter sludge . . .

The past week, and the last couple of mornings, has been a a welcomed change for us.  We are in the process of drying up Janey (our milk cow) and went down to milking one time a day.  Last week the children (except for Nolan) stopped their milking chores in the evening.  Nolan and I still continued until Friday which became our last milking day.

We are drying her up because she is due to calf this July.  We want her to give as much of her reserves to the young one as possible.  This is all new to us, the cow, the farm, the everything, and it seems fascinating to learn how to do all this "farm" stuff.  At times I feel as though I am just making decisions "on the fly," and lots of decisions at that!

Since the chicken, cow, horse, and pig thing has gone good, thank God, we have decided to add SHEEP to the mix as well. It seems like a natural progression to add another task, and I am excited to get to know how to work with yet another animal here on the farm.

I sent in a deposit already, and we are waiting until the ewe's finish lambing for the season until we get our pick of the litter.  We were third on the list for sheep this year, so we will wait until all the people in line before us get the lambs they want, then we get to pick.  They are the Romeldale/CVM breed and we plan to use them for breeding, eating, and wool production.  Ildi is excited about learning how to spin!

In addition to adding sheep to the farm, we are also in the beginning stages of transforming our traditional homestead/farm to a more "forest garden" utilizing more permaculture ethics, principles, and strategies.  You can get a look at what permaculture is here.  Permaculture Principles

So to begin the process of this transformation, I transplanted some silver maple trees, that had sprouted next to the horse barn, to the front yard.  I had recently cut young saplings down and tried to work against nature, and now am trying to work creatively WITH the natural process and design how we want our place to develop.  I added the maple trees on the road side of the front yard and am planning to plant some nut trees closer in, and then finally some fruit trees even closer to the house turning our front lawn area into a beautiful fruit producing "woods" that provides shade, takes less maintenance on mowing, and provides a block from the road.  Today I spent most of the early afternoon fixing some gutters and digging out the leaves and twigs that have clogged up the downspout.  And then I used the gutter sludge as mulch for the newly planted trees!

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