May showers and spring on the farm

Morning,

It has been a beautiful spring on the farm so far.  We started lambing in February and everyone is now born and enjoying the spring grasses.

We also had a wonderful Easter this year - delicious lamb roast for the feast after our late service!  Something you especially look forwards to after a fast.  

I have been going to the Roanoke and Beckley Farm Markets this spring. They have been going well but we're almost out of lamb for this season.  A few roasts left and that is about it.  (If you want to stock up - now's the time!)  We should have a full selection of lamb again this fall.

My sister  and niece were able to come down to the farm for a visit last week.  It is always wonderful to have them visiting. We enjoyed spending time on the farm, a(another!) lamb roast, and some fun new movies.

 

We did have a bit of an adventure one night with Roy.  Over the last month or so, Roy has successfully completed a transition to being a house-farm dog which he enjoys very much.  He has his rug by the door and gets to hang out all day.

However, during the family visit, on a walk up the hill in the evening, it seems he found, and decided to play with, a skunky friend. Needless to say, Roy is spending some quality outside time for a few weeks even after many baths and anti-smell washes! 

 Pre-skunk Roy hanging out with the family

Pre-skunk Roy hanging out with the family

I hope everyone has a wonderful spring. Will try to update again this summer. 

-All of us at Mountain Meadows Farm

Thanks to my niece Liz for taking some lovely photographs of the farm during their visit.

What a difference 11 days makes!

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It has been an interesting winter on the farm this year!  Luckily it has been fairly mild except for the big snow storm a few weeks ago.   Our trusty Massey-Ferguson was in the shop for the storm so we cleared the driveway the old fashioned way! Our neighbor very kindly plowed the remaining six-tenths of a mile lane. 

The farm is cozy in the winter even when it's cold.  We always prepare in case the power goes out - set up the generator, run extra water in case we loose the water pump and stack lots of firewood.

Luckily, in the past storm we didn't lose power. We had all the sheep down by the barn for easy feeding and shelter if they need it.  With all the sun, warmer temperatures, and rain, all the snow is almost gone.

 
 11 Days ago - on the way to 18 inches!

11 Days ago - on the way to 18 inches!

 Today - its almost all gone!

Today - its almost all gone!

Clear fields made it simpler to separate the first 12 ewes that are supposed to start lambing sometime soon after February 6th.  Hard to believe its almost time for lambing!  Aside from the big snow storm, its been a fairly mild winter so far.  I hope it stays mild for these early lambs!     While we can keep them warm in the barn when its cold, lambs always seem to do better when they're out in the field with their mamas and the flock.

Our spring market schedule is set! We'll be going to the Farm to Table market at Greenbrier Nurseries in Roanoke VA every two weeks this spring! We're sharing a space on the off-weeks with another vendor so let us know if you want updates about when we'll be there!  Our next market date is February 6th.   

We'll hopefully try to update our website more often, though, facebook is easier to keep up with these days!   If you haven't already, please visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/mountainmeadowsfarmwv for more regular photos and updates!

--Mountain Meadows Farm

 

 First 12 ewes ready to lamb next week!  Separated and close to home for lambing season.

First 12 ewes ready to lamb next week!  Separated and close to home for lambing season.



April on the Farm

It was supposed to rain this afternoon, but it didn't. After a night of heavy rain and overflowing creeks this morning, the sun began to appear now and then and by afternoon it shared the sky with lofty cumulus clouds speeding above my world. So Roy (my border collie) & I sorted out the few ewes that have yet to lamb from the young ewes that will not lamb this year. We added to them the ram and two ewes who lost both of their lambs this season and called them all up the hay field to where I let them through the gate into what we call the “top field”. I then did the same with the thirty mothers and their lambs in the south hollow letting them directly into the top field. They all eagerly set to work eating the lush new spring grass...

 

 

Returning to the barn I picked up a salt bucket and walked back through the hayfield and to the upper end of the top field. It is the “Sound of Music” spot on my farm. A warm but brisk wind was blowing through the green tipped trees to the south of the field and all around the ewes were purposefully munching the spring-green grass followed by their lambs. My border collie Roy was lying down but intensely watching the sheep. Our two big white Great Pyranees guard dogs were first frolicking with the energy of the wind and then lying in the grass basking in the sun. A big black and yellow butterfly drifted over my head when I laid down on a large flat rock to watch the clouds sail by. Sitting up to follow with my eyes the cloud shadows slipping down the mountains and out across the valley I said to Roy, “A sheep dog’s paradise, a shepherd’s paradise.”

 
 

It is for times like this that I live on this farm. The serendipitous moment that suddenly breaks out around me in the course of going about my ordinary tasks. The “goose-bumps” down my back not from the wind but from being immersed in the sheer beauty and joy of God’s creation!

-Farmer John

Lambing Spring 2015

New mama enjoying the sun!

Hello Friends,

Back at the farm again.  When I'm not working on the farm I sell rare books (www.stroudbooks.com) and this time of year we have an annual trip to Washington DC, and then to St. Petersburg Florida for bookfairs.  This year Liz was able to accompany me, we have not gone with just the two of us in a long time!  While we were gone, my daughter Annie and Jake stayed at the farm to watch over the sheep since we were in the middle of lambing.  Below is a lambing update from her week at the farm.

-John

 Roy enjoying the snow March 8th

Roy enjoying the snow March 8th

Spring finally arrived!   Jake and I went out to the farm March 9th and the ground was still completely snow-covered.   My folks had a great week away and got to miss the transition from ice & snow to MUD!   That's what boots are for I guess :)

Lambing is always an exciting time of year. Lots of hard work, new mamas and lambs have to be taken into the barn, checked for health, mamas checked for good milk production, mamas wormed, lambs tagged (we tag the twin female lambs to keep as Mamas!), banded, cords sprayed with anti-bacterial spray, fed, watered and sometimes dried off!  Once everyone is dry and looking good (usually a day- sometimes longer if the weather is very cold) then they get moved out to the big group of ewes and lambs in the south hollow!

 

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We had a bunch of lambs born in the week that Jake and I were out at the farm.  Here are a few nestled up to mom in the barn.

We had several days of rain and melting, so by the end of the week, the farm looked completely different!  Green finally visible and lots of mud.   The warm weather is much better for lambing though and the sheep seem to enjoy snow-free pastures even though we're still feeding hay! 

Here are a few photos from our visit/stay at the farm!  It was so nice to see the sun :) 

Rockstar mama with twins March 15

 My (Annie)'s red border collie meeting a new lamb

My (Annie)'s red border collie meeting a new lamb

 Look at that green! Can't wait till its the whole farm!

Look at that green! Can't wait till its the whole farm!

A watchful eye on the lambs playing around the feeder while the sheep eat their hay

Dopey napping in the sun (well, he was napping before I bothered him...)

Taste of spring

 Check out the color of the sky!

Check out the color of the sky!

February 8th, 2015 66 degrees out on the farm! Sure felt like spring, a beautiful day for everyone. A nice break before the temps drop again!

Today we had the most lovely Sunday weather!    We came home and enjoyed a nice visit with our daughter Annie and her partner Jake. 

They played banjo and fiddle in the sun all afternoon and I even tried out Annie's fiddle for a second! 

Things are good here. We're planning on being at the Winter Blues Farmers Market at the Small Farms Conference in Charleston on February 26th, and possibly at the Roanoke Farm to Table Market a few times between now and then! Check our facebook page or signup for notifications to find out when we may be near next!

Hope everyone enjoyed the good weather!

Take care,

Mountain Meadows Farm

 
 Annie's Red and our Roy competing for pets! 

Annie's Red and our Roy competing for pets! 

 
 John trying out Annie's fiddle - sure is different!

John trying out Annie's fiddle - sure is different!

 Playing music by the hayfield

Playing music by the hayfield