I've been a bit lax lately in updating the blog, but have been spending plenty of time on the computer, working on the new business website for our farm. A domain squatter wants $1500 for "bluebirdfarm.com", so we added the "andorchard" part to the domain name a bit prematurely (our fruit trees are all about as thick as my thumb). We're now officially open for business, and are listed on localharvest.org as well.
"Hayman Road Farm" just didn't have a ring to it, being a leftover name we used to differentiate this property from others before we bought it. Bluebird farm sounds a little generic, but it does have a special meaning for us, as the bluebirds really like fenced pastures. They returned to our farm when we returned the former cropland to pastures and put up our fences. They're always out sitting on the fences in the middle of the pasture, waiting for a bug to fly by. I'm not sure how many bugs fly by at this time of year, but they still hang out in the same spot. Our bird book says bluebirds shouldn't be wintering this far north. Guess we need the new climate-change updated edition.
Not knowing a thing about shearing before ours were sheared (sheep are a neglected reading subject for me), I turned to my trusty Youtube for guidance, where there are several videos of shearing competitions. I learned there that sheep have an off switch. Flip them on their back, and they give up and go limp. Armed with my new-found knowledge, I headed out to the barn to try it for myself. Sure enough, ours do it too. The tough part is catching them first, as sheep are always certain that us humans are out to kill them (maybe they're just really smart).
After they were sheared, I noticed Thunder (our ram) sniffing the ewes' behinds as if he hadn't previously noticed that they were female. Later I caught him displaying his manly appendage as he shuffled accross the stall all hunched up. I worried that he was just now discovering his sexuality when he was supposed to have done that about 5 months ago, but it appears now as if my concern was unfounded. One of the ewes is starting to "bag up" (her udder is getting ready for action), so she'll be lambing soon. Hopefully the other ewe will follow suit shortly.
Though there's still plenty of snow on the ground, we've had a few nice days lately, with temps climbing into the upper 30's. We have an old woodstove/kettle combination that I bought at an auction, hoping to use it for condensing maple syrup. I cleaned it up this morning, and then went to see if the maple sap is flowing yet, which it is. So all three of us visited each of the maple trees near our house and have about 15 buckets up now. We collected a few gallons, which are condensing on the woodstove in our house for the time being.