Fox Trot Farm

Grass Fed Lamb, Fresh Eggs, Honey, Soap, Tours, & Farm Fun!

Hobart the Anatolian Shepherd

September 21, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
3 Comments

1st Day Post-op, Hobart, and spider webs

I’m so pleased with how Farmer Bob is doing today. He opted not to be put under anesthesia and so he didn’t have all the side effects from that, although the surgeon did say he talked nonstop during surgery and told him all kinds of golf stories. I guess the “truth serum” didn’t work! hahahaha The surgeon ALSO told me he was quite pleased with how the surgery went and that he should be out of the arm brace in a month, although he’ll have another couple months of weekly physical therapy after that. He’ll have to pace himself.

It was a very long day yesterday, but I got him home, settled in, fed, and went out to feed the animals as soon as I got finished with taking care of Farmer Bob.  Hobart was so happy to report that there were no new lambs, and he had scared away all the bad things so his sheep were safe.

Hobart the Anatolian Shepherd

Hobart’s on duty. Can you see that his tail is wagging? He’s so happy to see me!

Even though I hurried, it was still past dark till I got finished. I walked through THREE of these:

brown orb weaver 1 - Neoscona crucifera

(this picture is from Bug Guide)

She’s a brown orb weaver spider. Walking through their webs is bound to happen this time of year because these spiders are huge and spin giant webs between anything, even between two trees 20 feet apart, and they hang right in the middle of the web. Ugh. I’m glad nobody was videotaping me last evening because I sure did some screaming and dancing! I’m planning to get my chores finished before dark today, needless to say.

Farmer Bob’s up and dressed and had his breakfast and is feeling good. The nerve block is still working, so he doesn’t feel his arm at all. We’ll have another 24 hours that way and I’m hoping that the pain isn’t terrible once it wears off. We’ve got something for that if he needs it, but he’s planning to stay quiet (well, I mean he’ll be still…he can’t stay quiet, hahaha) and rest so maybe it won’t be so bad.

Thank you all for keeping Farmer Bob and his surgeon in your prayers yesterday, and also for my favorite aunt, who had a good report from her surgeon and will be heading home today.

EIEIO!
Debbie

September 19, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
4 Comments

Farmer Bob’s Surgery, Mac’s Speed Shop, & more quilting

***Due to Farmer Bob’s Surgery, we won’t be open for tours and hayrides Sunday, September 23rd or 30th,
but I’ll be here if anyone wants to come get honey or eggs.***

I must admit that Farmer Bob’s impending surgery loomed large in my mind while we were awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Florence and the possible catastrophic damage it would bring. Monday we met with the surgeon our doctor referred him to and instantly liked him. He spent a lot of time explaining the surgical procedure and what to expect afterward, so, now that we have that information, we can face the immediate future armed with knowledge instead of fear.

First of all, Flo just COVERED our farm with smallish bits of tree debris, so we got right outside after the appointment with the surgeon and began the cleanup. (Well, to be honest, we stopped for lunch on the way home from Charlotte and then took a nap when we got home. THEN hit the ground running.) There is a sense of urgency now to do things that I cannot do alone or cannot do at all, such as hauling hay and operating the big tractor. We got a lot of rain with Flo, but it came gradually over three days, so we had no flooding and the footbridge is still in place, thank goodness. I was really worried about that! For those of you who haven’t visited the farm yet, this is Farmer Bob and the bridge he built to get across the creek to the Back Forty.

Foot Bridge

I had planned to be in PA this coming week to help my favorite aunt recover from breast cancer surgery, and I feel so bad that I can’t do that now. If only I could clone myself! Her son will be with her for a few days and, after that, her girl friends will take over. She has a wonderful support system in her neighborhood and her church family. I’m not worried about her not having help. I’ll go visit her in a few weeks after Farmer Bob is able to use his arm a bit.

We had to go back to Charlotte yesterday for another appointment and we ended up having TWO appointments, so we missed lunch. By 5:00 we were just starving. You know, that kind of starving where you want to eat everything in site and don’t care if it’s on your diet plan? We stopped at Mac’s Speed Shop in Matthews. (There are several locations in the Charlotte area.) DISCLAIMER: Tempting photos to follow of good food that’s not necessarily good FOR you. (We shared all these dishes. Well, not the dirty martini…that was mine. Farmer Bob had a NoDa craft red beer that he pronounced delicious.) You’ll see the martini, smoked brisket taco, smoked chicken wings (not fried and DELICIOUS), bbq sauces (also DELICIOUS), and our veggies sides, which were onion rings, collards, and slaw. EVERYTHING is delicious at this restaurant, so make it a destination one day if you are close by. Continue Reading →

September 16, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
4 Comments

Wedding Present Quilt, Soup, Florence, etc.

Farmer Bob came in from evening chores yesterday and pronounced that “The storm is officially here. It’s blowing like crazy on the Back Forty!” 

All day yesterday we had blustery wind and just a few showers from time to time, but nothing scary, so I bagged up that quilt I’ve been working on for a wedding gift for a friend’s son and dropped it off at The Homeplace, where the wedding was to be later in the day. (That’s where I host our quilting retreats and is a wonderful place for a small wedding.) I’m really pleased with the quilt, and the bride and groom were, too. 🙂

Sticks and Stones Quilt

I did the quilting, too. It was so relaxing. Here you can see a bit of the detail. (I won’t show you any mistakes. haha) Continue Reading →

Trajectory of Hurricane Florence

September 13, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
0 comments

Prepping for Hurricane Florence Today

We’ve been checking things off our prepping list here at the farm, and I think we’re in pretty good shape. The generator fired right up, the weather radio has batteries and is working great, I’m charging our bank charger for our phones, my Kindle will be fully charged, we have lots of water (just in case), and are stocked up on first aid and prescription meds. I’ve taken down the flags and spent the morning outside either taking things down or putting them up. Everything that could be a missile is secured. 

Farmer Bob went out today and picked up extra feed and hay for the animals. I put fresh straw in the goat stalls. Those girls have no idea what is coming, and were just plain excited about getting fresh straw to rummage through for oats to munch on. Here they are:

Dairy Goats in Fresh Straw Continue Reading →

Tropical Storm Florence

September 12, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
1 Comment

Hurricane Florence & the Calm before the Storm

This is what we woke up to this morning, a drastic shift in direction for Hurricane Florence.  This puts us on the “worst” side of Flo, with forecasts of lots of rain, wind, and possible tornadoes. For my friends who aren’t sure where we are on this map, find the “M” in Myrtle Beach and look north to the state line, then west till you almost hit that dog leg, and that’s where our farm is. Just a couple miles south of the state line.

Wed5AMTrack_1536744034456.jpg

Of course, Flo could change her path yet again. That’s what Hurricane Hugo did way back in 1989. He was forecasted to come ashore in Savannah and head west. Instead, at almost the last minute, he decided that he would roar ashore in Charleston and race straight for us, bringing tremendous devastation to our area. Farmer Bob was out of town, the children were small, we lost all our fences and were without power for 10 days.

Ever since Hugo, we don’t mess around with assuming a hurricane heading anywhere near our farm will NOT impact us, so we prepare each time. We’ve upgraded our fencing, have a generator now, and are well stocked with oil lamps, batteries, flashlights, meds, fuel for all the vehicles, generator, tractors, chain saw, etc. We have a freezer full of goat milk, we have bread, LOTS of eggs, and cans of soup for quick meals. I’ve cooked ahead so we can reheat leftovers on our gas range. Almost all our county, if not all, has access to the county water system, which sure was a blessing during all those days after Hugo. It’s such a luxury to have running water to take showers, flush toilets, and for drinking.

Farmer Bob came home from his business trip last week with an injured arm, and now we know it is a torn bicep and he has very limited use of it, will have to have surgery ASAP and a possible long recovery. I’ve got something really painful going on with my ankle, and am going to see an orthopaedic doctor this afternoon.  I’m hoping he’ll be able to fix me up because, you know, a lot of farming is walking.

In the meantime, let me share a picture of my goat barn mascot.

Huge Spider

Those two boards are 2x4s, so she is a big girl. I’ve no idea what kind of spider she is, but she’s just been loafing around inside the feed room all summer. I really don’t like spiders but I’m not freaked out by them (unless they are on me), and I’ve been pretty much in awe of this one. I wonder if she is catching mice to eat? (Maybe big spiders do????)

I feel like this is the calm before the storm, and I guess it really is. I remember that feeling before Hugo hit. Now I’m walking around looking at things here on the farm and wondering what changes Flo will bring. Small and large things may change. This morning glory won’t see Flo, so I took a picture of this pretty flower decorating the old garden fence. You can see Carly in this picture.

Blue Morning Glory

Blue Morning Glory

I guess I’m trying to stay calm amid flashbacks to Hurricane Hugo. One of my friends who is a fabulous quilter says she goes in her sewing room and stitches to calm her nerves. I plan to do that because I have some projects to work on, and it helps to stay busy. I have Farmer Bob’s Grannie’s treadle machine, so we’ll be “clicking” right along, even if we lose power. I have knitting and crocheting. We’ll have fences to check and animals to keep an eye on, including those ewes heavy with lambs. I’m trying not to think about what we’ll do if trees come down on the fence, because Farmer Bob can’t start his chain saw with the injury he has. Thank God for good friends who’ve already offered to do whatever they can to help us! Let’s hope we don’t need that!

Soooo…..we have a hurricane coming to visit and she’ll hang around for 3-4 days. Ugh. And we’re both crippled. Double UGH. Oh well, you just have to take what life hands you and keep going, right? At least I have one good leg and two good arms, and Bob has two good legs and one good arm, so I guess we’ll make a pretty good team, right???? hahahaha

Batten down the hatches, say a few prayers for those along the coast, and I hope everyone makes it through this hurricane unscathed.

EIEIO!
Debbie

Premature lambs

September 8, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
1 Comment

The Ladies are Still in Waiting

Lambing isn’t an exact science for us. We have three rams that we put in with three different groups of ewes, and the girls definitely respond to the rams’ ability to woo them into coming in season and breeding. We’ve had one set of lambs born prematurely and they are doing great. Their mom is a very good, experienced mom, and the lambs are having races with each other now. They are so adorable.

Premature lambs

Then there are the ewes that are pretty much on target. We expect them to lamb later this month or maybe early October. See how dry it is here? Ugh. There is so much dust and all the animals look like they could use a shower. Between all the blowing dust and pollen, lots of us are having sinus issues. There is another group that looks as if they won’t be lambing till late October, but just look at these poor girls.

Scary news this morning when we watched the weather. A category four hurricane may be headed our way. It looks like it’s making a bee line to our coast. I’m getting flashbacks to Hurricane Hugo, when we had a ridiculous amount of damage here and all our fencing destroyed. The local media tends to get hysterical about “possible” weather events, so we’ll just wait and see what happens. But LOOK! (Our farm is just south of the line below the “a” in Hatteras.) Continue Reading →

Fat Ewes Resting

August 31, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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Evening Beauty on the Farm & We’re Open Sunday

***We’re open on Sunday, September 2nd. Market from 1:00-5:00. Hay wagon ride tours are 1:30 & 3:00. Please call or text to reserve your spot. (803-804-3541) Our wagon holds just 10 people at a time. Self-guided tours all afternoon. Eggs, honey, soap, and crafty things in the farm market!***

The long hot days of late summer seem to be dragging on, and our ewes are growing large and sluggish. I can relate. I didn’t have twins, but our son WAS almost 10 pounds and 22 inches long when he was born. I couldn’t get comfortable towards the end of my pregnancy, either. 

Pregnant Ewe Sleeping

Evening is such a peaceful time here on Fox Trot Farm. The heat of the day is waning and, on some evenings, distant thunderstorms send cool breezes our way. That’s how it was last evening. Continue Reading →

New Lambs

August 28, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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Look what greeted us in the Back Forty! Our first lambs of the season!

New Lambs

Our first lambs of the fall lambing season! They are so adorable, healthy, and their mom is a GOOD mom. Hobart cleaned them up and is watching over them, too. We have lots of big hawks, owls, and even bald eagles hunting right now. Oh! Coyotes, too!

Hobart glaring back

Hobart making that scary face!

He’s smiling in this picture because he’s so happy to see me. He’s an adorable pup with me and Farmer Bob, but BEWARE if you are a stranger (animal or human) thinking about hurting his sheep! 

We love our Hobart. He’s going to be very busy for the next few weeks!

EIEIO!
Debbie

Bee rug

August 26, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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A Trip to PA Dutch Country and Amish Quilt Shops

*** Our farm market will be open today, Sunday Aug. 26th, from 1:00-5:00. Guided hay wagon ride tours at 1:30 & 3:00. Please call ahead to make sure you’ll have a seat. Our wagon holds just 10 people. Eggs, honey, soap and more in the market!***

I took some friends to PA Dutch country this past week and it was the perfect time of year for them to see all the gorgeous farms there. We drove through the countryside and rode the narrow ribbons of paved road that snaked through what seemed like miles and miles of cornfields. Of course, one of the best treats in that area is to see the Amish working their fields. I was driving so I didn’t get many pictures, and that’s a shame because the weather was perfect, and the sun cast a soft, warm light on everything. I have LOTS of Kodak Moments in my memory: the farmer cutting his hay with a team of beautiful horses, the solid color dresses, aprons, and britches dancing in the breeze from high clotheslines, the open carriage of a “plain” family, with the girls all in pretty bonnets and dressed in pastels, the beautiful beds of tall zinnias in every yard, and the sunflowers that towered over them and, most of all, the tidy farms with yards of thick, trimmed green lawns studded with flower beds and perfect vegetable gardens, orchards behind painted houses with spotless windows, the big three story bank barns sheltering big holstein cows in the barn cellars, and the tall silos that will soon be filled with silage to feed all those dairy cows all winter long. Continue Reading →

Sheep grazing in the evening

August 18, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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Peaceful Summer Evenings on Fox Farm

***Farm Open Sunday 1:00-5:00. Guided hay wagon ride tour 1:30 & 3:00. Call 803-804-3541 to reserve your spot!***

Our farm is so peaceful in the early evenings when we go out to do our evening chores. All the animals emerge from their shady, cooler spots where they’ve spent the heat of the day, and even the birds seem to be breathing a sigh of relief that evening has come. I love the soft light of early evening.

Chloe goes for her slow swim in the warm water of the pond. I know it makes her old bones and joints feel good.

Chloe Swimming in the early evening

Chloe is a very old girl and she’s having hip trouble and moves more slowly than she used to, but she’s still a happy girl. Continue Reading →