This season when everyone’s crowing about holly, our chickens are especially happy because their big holly tree blooms just before the hard freezes set in. It’s the last flower that our honeybees forage, too, before retreating into their hives for the winter. These flowers are just beautiful, and their aroma is strong and floral. The bees go crazy over them!
It’s unusual for the chickens to hang out in the tree when the weather is sunny, UNLESS they are stealing honeybee “snacks.”
The blooms are gone now and the honeybees are tucked into their hives for the night. The chickens are roosting in the holly tree, and Farmer Bob and I are bottling honey and making Christmas treats.
Soon we’ll say goodbye to 2018 and welcome the new year. I’ll be getting my cast off, there will be retirement for Farmer Bob, new buildings on the farm, a new companion pony for Clarence, a new batch of laying hens, increasing our honeybee hives, and we’ll be adding hogs to our farm menagerie. I’m looking forward to fun retreats with my quilting friends, old and new, family vacations and a bit of exciting travel with Farmer Bob.
We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with many blessings. We look forward to your visits to the farm, too!
Farmer Bob and I LOVE Waxhaw. We love the shops, the restaurants, the natives and newcomers from all corners of the world. You already know that we love theWaxhaw Farmers Market, too! I also love spending the day in Waxhaw with girlfriends, strolling through the historic railroad town to shop and have lunch and explore the galleries. So, when a long time good friend from Greenville came to spend the day with me Friday, of course we went to Waxhaw. I just had to take a picture of Gail on the railroad bridge. 🙂
Gail is a gifted potter, although she would never say so. I was surprised and so very happy that she brought me one of her beautiful creations. I’m going to use it to hold my tools when I quilt on my Q20, so it will sit right next to it in the sunroom where I can see it every day.Continue Reading →
Oh my! I have wrapped and labeled 48 pounds of fresh honey & beeswax soap and will bring it all with me to the Waxhaw Farmers Marketon Saturday! Get ready….one…two…three….
Oh my goodness! We’ve got four of our most popular: the manly, spicy Country Gent, fresh as a spring morning Country Clean, nourishing to the skin Goat Milk & Oatmeal (let’s thank our Nubian dairy boat Trist for the milk!), and Achiote, which is naturally exfoliating and leaves winter skin feeling so clean and lovely without any added scent. New for this season are the gilded bars of Spiced Pumpkin (wait till you see the shimmering swirls!), the bright Berry Luscious, whose very aroma will make your mouth water, and the very rich and subtle aroma of Midnight Pomegranate, which is absolutely beautiful with its dark green and burgundy swirls, perfect for the holiday guest bath. We KNOW there is something in this selection for everyone’s taste. I’ll even put your soaps in one of our pretty gift bags so you don’t have to wrap your gift!
I was able to get these bars all labeled this afternoon after my good friend, fellow farmer and soap maker, and neighbor Beth treated me to a fun outing for lunch and shopping. (I have orders from the doctor not to drive so I appreciate my friends taking me out more than they can imagine!) We had lunch first, then I introduced her to two of my favorite shops. (More details later about the first shop.)Continue Reading →
***Our pony Peanut Butter is still missing. Please pass the word to be on the lookout for him and call me at 803-804-3541 if he’s spotted.***
We went back to my ortho doc this past week and the bad news is that I’ll be wearing this cast on my right wrist till the first week in January. The good news is that I’ll only be wearing this cast on my right wrist till the first week in January! I’m getting used to maneuvering through my days one-handed, and I’m planning my future quilting/sewing/knitting/crocheting/beekeeping/homemaking projects since I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, it takes me 2x longer to do the things I CAN do, but I slog through them.
I am so glad that I had my soap-making marathon just before I fell and broke my wrist. Now the soap is cured, and yesterday I spent several hours stamping and shrink wrapping each bar. I found this acrylic stamp online, and it leaves a cute little honeybee on each bar of our honey and beeswax soap. It’s an extra step for me, but I think it’s extra special!Continue Reading →
Help! Our pony Peanut Butter has gone on the lamb! Seriously! He’s not in the pasture and Clarence has been calling for him. Here are some good pictures of our pony. Please pass the word and my cell # 803-804-3541. If anyone has seen him, we’d like him back home. No questions asked. We’ll be happy to come get him. He doesn’t care much for adults, but he sure does love the children who come to visit our farm, and we love him.
Clarence & Peanut Butter greeting me in the morning
***Sold out of all lamb cuts except Bones, Heads, and Offal. Will be fully restocked December 1!***
If you follow us on Facebook, you know that I broke by wrist about 3 weeks ago. If you don’t know that, then you’re no doubt wondering why I haven’t made any new blog posts in such a long time. The truth is that it hurts to twist my arm to even hunt and peck with one finger on my right hand, and typing one handed with my not-as-smart left hand is cumbersome. I’m doing well, though, and have about 5 more weeks in the cast and then 4 weeks in a brace, so I’m not complaining. (No exciting back story to the break, just a klutzy fall!) With all the truly scary illnesses some of my friends and family are facing, I’ve got this covered!
Our sheep aren’t pets, you know. We haven’t named most of the ewes, but we couldn’t resist giving a few of them names due to their outstanding personality or physical characteristics: Margaret Thatcher because she was always the bold leader as she was a young ewe; Chesterfield because her voice sounds like she’s been smoking filterless Chesterfield cigarettes, S’Mores because her coloring reminded Farmer Bob of the graham cracker, chocolate bar, marshmallow treat, and so on. We love all our ewes and take good care of them, even those without names.
This girl doesn’t have a name but maybe we should give her one, because she’s given us the prettiest lamb I think we’ve ever had. Just look at that little white one. Look at that little pink nose!
If this is a little girl, I think we’ll keep her!
We’re going to be starting back to the Waxhaw Farmer’s market soon and I need to get busy making soap to build my inventory. It’s supposed to be a rainy day today, so I’ll spend the whole day doing that. I have a quilt to finish for a friend, and I’ve been invited to join another good friend at her family’s beach house for a few days’ escape next week, and no way am I going to pass that up. Farmer Bob is doing better every day with his arm and is able to drive his tractor now. Yay! Life is busier and more blessed than ever, it seems!
We’ll be open for business tomorrow, Sunday, from 1:00-5:00 with our guided tour at 2:00. It’s supposed to be a lovely, sunny, cool, autumn day so we hope you’ll come for a visit and we’ll show you all our new baby lambs. They are getting more independent and ganging up for races, and hopping all over the pasture with the joy of living.
In the meantime, here’s my favorite recent picture of the Back Forty sky. It’s just magical and is a new gift every day.
We have baby lambs! Boy, do we ever have baby lambs! Twenty-three at the last count! Some are bouncing all over the pasture, and others are just wobbly newborns like these.
Hobart, our Anatolian Shepherd, is doing a great job guarding his growing flock. He eats all the afterbirth and chases away all the buzzards who are attracted by the scent. They would kill newborn lambs, but not when Hobart is on duty.
Mommas get their newborns up and moving within 10 minutes of birth, and they get strong quickly on their mother’s rich milk. See them running to keep up with their momma?Continue Reading →
What a fun week we had with two private group tours! Friday, a delightful group of homeschoolers came for an educational tour. They learned all about animal husbandry and had loads of fun in the process! Here, Farmer Bob is teaching them about the predators we have in our area. A visit to our farm counts as a “school day” for homeschoolers. We give the parents handouts to help them follow up with their children when they get home about all the things they learned about at the farm.
They get to make the run across the pond dam. I’m thinking this may be a highlight of every group tour of school age children. I remember when I was their age, and a clear downhill stretch of lane was an invitation to run just for the joy of it!
Farmer Bob’s arm is healing and he says that sometimes he feels like he has a 9 volt battery under his skin as the cut nerves mend. I’m so grateful for friends that help me do things that Bob would normally do. Here, our friend and farm sitter, Amy, helps me worm the sheep. We had another guy friend come and help with the heavy lifting of fence panels. Farmer Bob filled the drenchers and his friend passed them to Amy and me. Amy and I even got in the pen with the three big rams! I didn’t get any pictures of that because we were in a hurry to get the job finished and get away from them.
In case you’re wondering what the blue stripes are, we mark each sheep as soon as we finish worming them so we know who hasn’t been done.
This past week I hosted a luncheon for our friend Mary, who has had to disperse her flock of Leicester Longwool sheep. (When you come to our farm you’ll meet Martha, who was one of Mary’s flock of these heritage sheep.) We girls are part of a wonderful group of friends who are always there to support each other when life hands us challenges. I love being part of such a happy, giving group of women.
We came bearing gifts for Mary to cheer her up and let her know we have her back. I’m learning how to use my embroidery machine, so I stepped outside my box of knowledge and figured out how to do machine applique in the hoop of my machine and made her a tote bag. I love these sheep, and so did Mary! I’ll be doing more of this because it was so much fun to make. I put a different sheep on each side of the bag.
Other news from the farm:
-We have more new lambs! I think the count is 7 babies now, with 16 more ewes due any day. Our flock is growing quickly! -We’ll be back at the Waxhaw Farmer’s Market on October 27th with honey and soap to sell. -We’re gearing up to get some more meat processed and will have it for sale at the Waxhaw Farmer’s Market on Saturday, November 3rd, and at our farm market here on Fox Trot Farm on Sunday, November 4th. We can’t wait to put lamb chops, racks, legs, kabobs, and all our favorite dishes back on our own menu, and we hope you will enjoy our lamb, too!
Call or text if you’d like to come by and pick up some of our farm goods during the week or to schedule a private group tour for 10 or more. 803-804-3541 is my cell number. We are open to the public most Sunday afternoons from 1:00-5:00, with a guided tour at 2:00. Hope to see you soon!