Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's Sheep Shearing Day!

Here's the sheep, now they're cute.

Here's the best shearer ever! Clayton Callens.

The first victim!

This is my old crabby ewe with the best fleece ever!  Even if she didn't lamb, I'd keep her for her fleece.

The poor black one was walking around and the beige one was almost afraid of her, but the ram must have thought, "hey, who's the new girl?"  He loved her even if the other ewe's suddenly didn't want her there.

If you could see her face, this was Petunia, or as I call her Tuner who had a ginormous look of shame on her face.  Like, "Put my clothes back on!"

As long as he had 'em down, I trimmed hooves. 

After all was said and done, Ron and I thought three things;

  1. They are all bred - hopefully...it's a nail biter.
  2. Ten bags of wool seems like more than it is
  3. The lanolin stink is all over us tonight and won't come off!

A very smelly Fairchild Farmgirl

Monday, January 30, 2012

Two Babies In One Day!

I'm going to warn you...no pics yet.

The first baby born today (by a measly hour) was a cutie named Stevie, he's my new nephew. 
 My second baby born today is a cutie named Sassy! 
Yes after 12 months of straight bull calves,
I finally got another heifer calf.


Fairchild Farmgirl

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Check Your Pockets Before You Go To Church & Other Useful Information

If only I'd listen to my own advice. 

This morning, I was out doing chores and I broke open a few bales for the sheep and other critters, then put the baling string in my pocket.  I continued on with my chores, got changed, threw the jacket on again and went to church.

I didn't realize this until I popped off my coat while trying to sing a hymn and the twine sprang out like a jack n the box. 

Although another time I went to the NRCS office and realized that I had a dose of LA200 in my pocket in a syringe.


The Check Your Pockets Fairchild Farmgirl

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Classified Ad


Readers for this blog.
No prior experience necessary.

Must be able to put up with this blogger's
writing.  When met with writer's block
she will have the dog fill in for her.
"Woof, woof."
(Dog will be addressed as Fluffbear)

You must obtain an imagination
for the situation being written about.
See the cow chasing you, feel her hot breath on your neck or
feel her quick hoof on your leg.
 Or feel her big furry head in your stomach as she's trying to
make your spouse a widow.

Said persons must have the stomach for the
pictures that are on the blog.  Farmer wants you
as the reader to "come along" on jobs and adventures
that she will be working on. 
Like you're right there in the middle of it, but with clean hands.
Puss. Testicles. Stomachs. Mummified calves.
Prolapses. Blood. Limps. Abscesses.

Said readers must also have the stomach for:
cute kid pictures, sweet looking sheep, as well as a
(Dog will be addressed as Fluffbear)

Quite frankly, the pay stinks.
But, the satisfaction of a blog well read will warm your heart
and sharpen your farmy skills. 
Also gives you your daily dose
(or almost daily)
of humor.

Here's how to apply:

Click on the blue box that says
"Join this site"

There will be a pair of barn boots in
the Internet mud room left for you.

Fairchild Farmgirl


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Farmer's Amazing Race

Well, not really.  It involves me, a sneaky hog and a gaggle of geese.  With some onlookers....an energetic dog, a snooty horse and a crazy calf. 

I live on the edge.

First of all, lets start by talking about the picture above.  It's a nice summer day in the photo, but it's 1 below windchill this morning.  What gives?  Well, I went to use the camera a couple days ago and it didn't work...the little girls were throwing it on the floor and it broke. 

A Facebook friend said, "Put it around your neck on a string". 

Honey, if I put everything worth any value around my neck I'd have choked myself by now since our kids are into everything.  Case in point; they stole Ron's glasses from his hiding spot (guess it's not a secret anymore) they broke them and hid them in our closet.  Right now they have their baby sister in a laundry basket with blankets stuffed around her, pulling her with their little ride on cars and scarves as tow ropes. 

Quite the imagination.  if only I had a camera to take pictures to show you. 


Okay enough.  Back to my story.  So for the last week, each morning I go into my sheep/goose/duck/chicken/calf/horse barn and it looks completely ransacked.  Everything is messed up and thrown around.  Heat lights broke, feed everywhere, I don't know if they were trying to tie the geese up or what...there was twine everywhere. 

Now I actually debated scanning in a map of my barn to show you what the layout is since I have no camera, but then thought for the sake of looking like a complete dork, I better not. 

I know, I need no help to show off my dimwitted side.

Anyway, I blamed these shenanigans on the dog.  "That stupid dog is wreaking havoc in my barn," I said to Ron after chores a few mornings ago. 

"I'm sure it's her stealing the eggs too."  He said.  "I always see her going out of there."

The next morning I walk outside already knowing the mess I'm going to find; the chicken water dumped upside down and froze onto the cement floor, the geese's gate knocked down and their feed scattered all over, again - the twine....

As I walked out, I heard the geese squawking like someone was threatening them with a Christmas dinner menu.  But.wait.a.second...the dog was right by the steps.  More clanging ensued and the geese' squawking was so loud that you'd have thought the devil himself was in there.  I started running, thinking that it's got to be some wild critter in there or something that was wrecking the place.  As I ran I pictured something killing the geese as loud as they were. 

I opened the door and I saw....

One pig, about this size.  He had knocked down the goose gate, the geese were in the corner screaming and he was blissfully eating all their feed.  The dog had a look on her face like, 'SEE!!?!' I was wondering how nine ducks and geese could go through a five gallon pail of feed every two days.

So I shoo the pig back out I find where he was getting out, he was smart, going through his pen pushed a panel down between the horse pen and his, went into the barn, underneath the mangers and into the goose pen.  Pretty smart. 

Smarter yet was the fact that by the time I cleaned up everything, told Ron and went to go fix the panel, he was back in there and the geese were telling on him again.  But the second time was the charm, and I got him out of there once and for all. 

Apparently the corn is more yellow on the other side of the fence? 

Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I don't talk much about my sheep, frankly don't know why this is.  They're cute.  Even though I'm totally a goat person and miss my goats every day.

They will get a lot of attention in the coming months...hopefully my little ram got his job done and my ewes are breed.  When I first put him in the first part of September, the females went up to him, sniffed him and were not impressed. 

Pretty funny actually.

Throughout the breeding season the temps were warmer than usual, but October was colder, which always seems to make everybody in the mood...even my old crabby ewe.  It would have been easiest to breed her, she's fat, slow and she's got so much wool covering her face and eyes, that she wouldn't have known what hit her and he would've been done. =) 

Sorry a little sheep breeding humor.

 This is what those cute little sheep look like sheared.  SO ugly and funny looking!  Notice the white/pink one in the background.  It gets me every time I walk into the barn and look at them sheared.  Funny!

I'm sure you're asking what I do with all that pretty wool, right?  That's what this picture is about.  I'm boiling water to hand wash the wool.  It's filled with a yellowish sticky oily substance called lanolin.  The hotter the water, the better to get that stuff out. 

This is from last year off my old crabby ewe.  She's got beautiful white wool. 

My good sheepy buddy, Jody Fuller of Hamps & Downs http://www.hampsanddowns.com/ graciously gave me a large sack of her wool. 

Very large. 

Like so large, when I went up there to pick out my ram, I heard the tractor start so Bill could put it in the back of our pickup.  That's big folks.  But thank you Jody and Bill, I'm having a blast with it. 

This gray above came from them.  This is washed, but its not picked or carded.

Yes, this wool thing is quite the process.  You get the cuties sheared, you laugh at their nakedness, they give you a look back that says "I'm going to ram your knee so hard that you'll have to get a replacement...."

Seriously, what I do is hand wash it in water that someday is going to cook my hands.  For one fleece I do this 4 times, with a grease fighting detergent, rinse, then use some fabric softener.

I then dry it for about 4 days, then I card it.

This is that gray fleece carded and blended.  Now I have to pick through it to clean all the little bits of hay etc that are still in there. 

Yes, hand pick it. 

Yep, it's a long boring job that if I even mention it, it will send kids flying to do homework that they don't have, messy rooms that were just cleaned an hour before, etc. 

It sucks. 

After I get ten pounds clean, I will send it to Mountain Meadow's wool in Buffalo WY to get it spun into yarn.  I'm excited about that part.  Wouldn't this gray be pretty yarn?  I would like them to try to dye it dark colors like navy, black or purple. 

One fleece takes about 2 weeks from start to finish to wash, card and clean. 

Why am I telling you all this? 

Because, this year I'm more determined than ever to get our van.  I looked through our books and right now I don't have any wiggle room to start saving for one.  SO...I'm using MY farm money from my stuff off the farm to save for at least half of the van.  I really don't want to get a loan at all in case some of this land around us would ever come up for sale.  We need our credit for that. 

So with that said, all you knitters out there...come see me in a few months.  I'll keep you in supply!

The ever determined,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beddin' Down The Cows

This morning was early...and cold.  Big D took some of the kids in to town early so they could catch the bus to their FFA meeting, and while it was still dark, I got Grace and Levi ready for the bus and on it.  Since the babies were still snuggled in their beds asleep, I went out to do my chores so I didn't have to bring them out in the cold.

I watched the sunrise from the sheep barn.  It was pretty cool.

After Big D came back from doing his brother's chores then finishing his, he needed me to come down and open gates so he could bed cattle.  It was below zero out but as you could see, the sun was out and the air was crisp and I love those mornings.  Of course I'd do it.

As Fluff and I contemplated the day while opening gates, I thought "this is the life".  I know it isn't every body's idea of a good time, but it sure is mine. 

Stay warm everybody and until next time,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You're Taggin' Along With Me Today.

Well, to be different and since I don't have that helmet cam (hee hee), I thought you as the reader could tag along with me to see what a Fairchild Farmgirl does each day.  I'm going with my trusty camera.

I start early.

Once we get the kids off to school and Ron comes in from feeding cattle, I go out to feed every other critter on the place, our calf (ves), horse, sheep, geese, chickens and my partner in  crime...Fluff Dog, pictured above.

After I come inside, I meet a pile (PILE) of dishes and a grody messy house to clean. 

This is what it looks like 2 hours later.  This is my favorite.

We walked down to get  the mail before lunch.

Then we checked for calves since I had my wranglers with me.

After we have lunch made by Big D, we get the kids to bed and I help in the shop. 

There...finished.  Many people do not know this....

But the lady behind this scary mask...that'd be me...does 85% of the staining jobs around here. 

Just sayin'. (What's scarier, the mask or the eyebrows?)

After I got the staining job done, the kids were still asleep, so I did some more work with the horse with ground training, hence that's why you are looking at her butt.

Since I knew nap time would soon be over, I decided to get in a half hour work out and then fold clothes.  I also found a mill to spin all my roving into yarn...yeah!  That just means I have to clean.over.30.fleeces.


After the kids got up, we rode the rig down to check for calves.  None...of course...it's way too nice.  60 degrees in January and we are in Minnesota.  Those old cows are waiting for 2 feet of snow and a blizzard that paralyzes our farm.

After all the kids got home, we finished up homework and went outside to play in our sweatshirts.  We worked with the horse, I had every little kid on her and she did great.  Then Kara wrapped up practice with Grace while I went to the house and made this for supper.

After we ate and read books, I gave the youngest five baths, cleaned up the kitchen and will soon be putting kids to bed.

Soon, I will have my headphones on ready to work on my painting! 

A "good tired" Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

T-H-E-E Painting


Why am I showing you my two beautiful daughters coloring pictures in a dimly lit room, with toys scattered about behind them at approximately 6:40 PM?  To tell you that I enjoy living in clutter?  That I expect my kids will all be in glasses by the time they hit middle school?

OR that it is 6:40 on one clock and each clock is saying a different time?

No and maybe and I have strategically set clocks in the house to fake myself out that I'm running late all the time when really I'm on time?

The time thing is a lie.  Ask anyone.  I'll be late for my own funeral.

But, I digress.  Onto the subject at hand:  The Painting.

The truth be told, I have not painted since spring planting began last spring.  Not a brush stroke.  It's sad. 

This is the last painting I finished.  It's the first painting in a series that I call, "30 paintings in 30 miles" and it's 30 abandoned farms within 30 miles of our home.  It's really sad to think that there are so many just with in a 1/2 an hour drive from here.  I really think they these old structures have such cool stories.  For those who have not seen this painting, notice the six deer in it?

This is painting number two before I started on it last night. 

This was afterwards.  Each night I get one glorious hour to spend on my painting.  I seriously look  forward to that hour all day.  I bought  the latest Josh Groban CD, which is weird, because I'm more of a Nickleback, Steve Earl, red dirt country person than anything but he has so much passion in his voice and in the instrumentals.

I think it makes me paint better.  Really.

So I pop Josh Groban in and sit here in the little messy corner of the living room (we actually clean it before the kids go to bed) with the bad lighting and paint to my hearts content.  For one hour.

I painted furiously last night, while Josh sang in a different language that was the most beautiful thing ever and I imagined running through a field in the french countryside with my painting and...

a bag of chips.

This diet is killing me.  And it's only the third of January.  Not good.

By the way, to all of you who have a separate place to paint, sew or create of some kind, stop reading, (I'll wait) go in there and kiss the floor and hug a piece of furniture.   Then come back.

And look at my pathetic 3x2 foot space I share with 9 others.

Awwww shucks, I still love it. 
Fairchild Farmgirl