Sunday Homestead Update

Work in the garden has increased as the weather is warming up quite a bit. We have had a few rain showers, which is so wonderful in our drought area, and it looks like that trend will be continuing. A wet spring would be such a blessing!

The Flerd

Lambing season is officially over. Our last ewe gave birth this week. All the lambs are growing and thriving. We are working our way through the dairy ewe lamb waiting list currently – we will definitely not be making it all the way through the list this year. We do have wool lambs still available though, and dairy ram lambs.

Our first goat kids of the year were born this week. Our yearling doe had a beautiful little single doeling, and one of our adult does had twin bucklings. They are so adorable with their big Nubian ears on their tiny bodies. Photos coming soon! Our last doe is due this coming week, and that will end our birthing season for 2023. She is looking huge, so we are expecting triplets from her again.

Regenerative Farming

We are headed into summer #3 on the new farm and we are starting to see a difference in the pastures due to our intensive rotational grazing in an effort to bring life back to the soil and fields. Not a ton of progress yet, but enough to keep us going.

The rams got out on pasture this week. Previously we have only been able to pasture the ewes and lambs due to a lack of shelter and fences. So we are excited that the rams are able to get out this year and work one of our fields that hasn’t been grazed before.

We have about 6.5 acres of pasture that have been grazed 2 years now, about 6.5 acres that have been grazed 1 year, and 9 acres that have never been grazed. The entire property was mostly thorny weeds and tumble weeds when we arrived, with very little perennial grasses. There were a lot of bare patches of sand throughout the fields. The acres that have been grazed 2 years are showing a lot more perennial grasses this year, plus their “bare” patches have a grey mulch of dead vegetable matter over them. The ones that have been grazed 1 year have a little more grass this year with sandy bare patches, and the ones that have never been grazed are showing no difference at all.

It is encouraging to see a difference. It makes us eager to press on with the work, even though it is very time-consuming to have to move the electronet fences daily for the intensive grazing. And this year we have another set of fences to move with the rams out on pasture now. But – it is worth it!

We are brainstorming ways to get the poultry safely out to follow the grazing of the hoofstock. One step at a time!


Mama turkey hen, Scotch, is doing very well with her 13 little chicks. All 13 have survived their first week of life, which is such a blessing! They are still pretty impossible to get a photo of – Mama is very protective and calls them to her and blocks our view whenever we go near.

Our second mama hen, Bourbon, is due to hatch this week. We are very excited to see how many she hatches out – especially after this large hatch of 13.


We have been harvesting chives for a few weeks now, and this week we were able to start harvesting oregano and rhubarb. I made a delicious batch of rhubarb bread and the family was very pleased.

We have small sprouts coming up all over the garden – all sorts of leafy greens, plus the carrots and peas have sprouted too. The onion sets are not growing much yet, but they also don’t look like they are dead either. Hopefully soon we will see some growth with them. We should be seeing some garlic scapes coming on and getting ready in the next few weeks – we LOVE eating garlic scapes.

I am hardening off all sorts of warm-weather seedlings in preparation of putting them out in the next week or two. I am watching the weather predictions to see if we have seen our last frost. Once I feel confidant about it, and the plants seem hardened enough, we will get them out into the garden.

It seems like the garden is doing much better this year with the new boxes and soil. It is exciting and hopeful.


As I said earlier this week, we were so excited that our turkey hen had a 100% hatch of her 11 eggs. It has been fun having so many little chicks running around. We have never had such a large hatch before. They move a lot, they move very fast, and mama hen is VERY protective of them and very aggressive with us any time we even try to look at them, let alone go into the pen to change out feed or water.

Yesterday, Daniel was standing there looking at her and her chicks and all the little ones happened to hold still for a minute – which never happens. He counted them and got to 13. Huh??? She only had 11 eggs, there can’t be 13. So he counted again, and again. Still 13. How is that possible!? When he counted them originally, they were all under the hen and she was trying to attack him. He was trying to count as fast as possible, while also making sure there were no rotten eggs left under her. So it makes sense that he could have mis-counted, but what doesn’t make sense is how we can have 13 chicks when she only had 11 eggs.

It is possible, but extremely rare, for a two-yolked egg to hatch two chicks that survive. It is so very rare that there is no way it happened twice in one hatch.

So, we figure she laid two more eggs after we gave her the ones we gave her. Birds can lay fertile eggs for over a week after they have been with a male bird. So if she laid two more eggs in the couple of days following us giving them to her they could have been fertile and would account for two more chicks. And the turkey hens are so aggressively protective of their nests that we didn’t check on the hatch at all after we gave her the eggs.

Quite a wonderful surprise! A 118% hatch rate…who would have thought it was possible? 😉 I know, I know, it was still just a 100% hatch rate – but it is more fun to think of it this way. We will never forget our 118% turkey hatch.

It is definitely making us anxious to see what the next hen hatches out this coming week.


Our turkey hen, Scotch, just hatched out her chicks yesterday. We usually give them about 24 hours and then we check to see if we need to remove any rotten eggs and we count the chicks. We had already seen 6 chicks out from underneath her, but didn’t know what the total would be. She started the hatch with 12 eggs, she pushed an infertile one out at about 5 days along. So she set on 11 eggs – and there are ELEVEN chicks! We have never had a 100% hatch before with any of our poultry. A great first!!!

She is doing a great job mothering them and we are very excited for such abundance. We have another hatch due in a week.

Sunday Homestead Update: Tornado and Steeking

We had a cooler spring week, but not too cold, so that was nice! Tornado season officially started in our area. We had a tornado drop down (or rise up? It was a landspout tornado) about 7 miles from us. It headed solidly away from us and we weren’t in danger.


The storm that included the tornado lasted almost a full day, and during that time we had our last wool sheep of the season born – a very large 16.5# single ram lamb. He is just a tiny bit smaller than the triplets we have that are a full two weeks older than he is. Big boy. He is a Wensleydale/BFL cross and should have a very fun fleece for a spinner’s flock. He is also already very naturally friendly and already comes up to people to be pet. His mother is super friendly as well.

From our largest lamb ever, to a preemie…last night we had our first ever premature lamb born. Not exactly a first that we want to experience – it seems this year is having a lot of those kind of firsts. We are not sure the exact cause of the preemie birth, but we have a few theories. She is a dairy ewe lamb and thus far is struggling, but holding on to life. Time will tell whether this wee girl makes it or not. Her first-time mama is doing excellent with her.

We are heading into the last spurt of lambing/kidding season. We have dairy sheep and dairy goats left. Then we will be done for the year. The last group is all very tightly interwoven on their due dates, so it might get interesting. One last “push” of effort for birthing season and then we will move into a different season of life – milking-like-crazy season. 🙂


Surprising as it seems, I have been able to do quite a bit of knitting lately despite the crazy busy-ness of spring.

I didn’t know about steeking until several years ago when a friend at knitting club was doing it and told me about it. I didn’t think that I would ever necessarily be doing it – but then, when I decided to try a colorwork, seamless yoke, cardigan sweater I figured it would be nice to not have to do any purling and just knit the colorwork in the round. But to do that, I would have to steek it. Steeking is cutting your knitting in order to make a piece that is knit in the round, flat. But cutting your knitting means risking a major unraveling of all your hard work. So it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I used the sewing machine method to secure my edges and then dove in with the scissors. It was fun! It all worked out great and I finally finished this cardigan I have been knitting on for over a year. A worsted-weight wool cardigan…just in time for summer…sigh. Oh well, it will be waiting for me when the late fall winds start up and I will be looking forward to having it!

Blocking my cardigan

The grey yarn is an Alpaca/Merino blend yarn my daughter made for me a couple of Christmases ago. The turquoise is a CVM/Bamboo blend Daniel made for me many years ago. I have already made a few pair of socks with it and have been just trying to find ways to use what is left. I like how the colors turned out together.

I am now working on gauge swatches to start my next sweater project, using BFL yarn made from our sheep that is oh-so-soft and squishy.

I also cast on some socks this week. This yarn is from my beloved CVM/Merino sheep, Fiona, who died a couple years ago. Daniel mixed her white fleece with some bamboo that had been dyed purple and it made a really pretty heathered purple color. I have been holding on to this yarn for 5 years now – other projects just kept getting in the way. But I finally cast it on and am really enjoying the yarn and the last piece of Fiona I have left. I am looking forward to having these socks.


Mama hen and her chicks have moved out of the small brooder area into the small coop. It is fun to see the little ones outdoors enjoying sunshine and fresh air.

We are closing in on our first turkey hatch of the year. Mama is clamped down on those eggs, we will hear cheeping any day now. Can’t wait!

Sunday Homestead Update: From a clear 93F to Snow

We had quite the spectrum of weather this week. We had 2 days in a row that were sunny and hot, up to 93F at our farm. Those were followed by a morning of rain, then sleet, then snow, then back to rain. It was wet and cold. We are very grateful for the precipitation, we need it badly. We just had to work a little extra to be sure all the lambs were staying dry and warm, especially the youngest ones.

The Flerd

We are officially halfway through our lambing/kidding season. We have had amazing numbers this year, and broken several of our own farm records along the way. We have not had any single births yet. Half the births have been twins, and half triplets. A 250% birthing rate! We even had a yearling ewe, who we were sure would single due to her age and it being her first, give twins. What a blessing! We had 4 lambs born to 2 mothers in one hour – one of those ewes gave birth to the first and last lamb born, the other ewe gave birth to the second and third lambs that were born – we have never had ewes lamb at exactly the same time before.

We did have a scary, and potentially deadly, first on the farm as well – a transverse lamb. The ewe couldn’t dilate due to the transverse position, so the vet came out for a c-section. Amazingly, the sedation and moving the ewe into position on the ground for the surgery moved the lamb’s position enough to dilate her and right before he started the c-section we had natural delivery start and were able to deliver the lambs without the c-section. That ewe then almost died in the days following from the trauma of it all, but, thankfully, pulled through and survived. She accepted all her lambs and they all survived as well. So it was a happy ending. But, I hope and pray we NEVER have a transvers again. It was very stressful and traumatic for all, and very likely could have ended with ewe and lambs all dying.

We have a little 2-week break now from birthing before we start the second half of the flock/herd. We are soaking in the chance to get some rest.


Our broody hen hatched out 5 healthy little chicks and is happily mothering them.

They are a barnyard mix and it looks like we have some fun colors, including a splash.

We have two turkey hens setting on eggs and we are looking forward to those hatches in the coming weeks. The turkey hens are SO protective of their nests and chicks. We do our best to just leave them, and when we do have to interact with them for something, we wear long sleeves and gloves because they attack like crazy. They have perfected the don’t-mess-with-me stare.

The Gardens

We finally took the plunge and are trying out some apple trees. All the neighbors in our area have struggled to get trees going, and most say it is pretty much impossible out here. We have tried to learn from them about what didn’t work, and we waited until we could do it up as best as we know how, and now we have planted 5 apple trees. Hoping and praying we can keep them alive and that they will be productive.

The drip irrigation systems are in all the gardens now. At our previous homestead we learned how much better plants do with drip irrigation and were anxious to get it set up here too. It makes watering so much easier, lasts longer, and is so much healthier for the plants. I am so excited for this new addition to the gardens.

We have been planting seeds, some seedlings, and the onions in the gardens over the last couple of weeks. I have a bunch of seedlings being hardened off each day on the patio in hopes of getting them moved out this week. My herb pots are out hardening as well, even though they won’t go out permanently until after last frost.

The barn cats enjoy sleeping and sunning themselves on one of the carts in the container herb garden. By the time my herb pots move out there it will be too hot for the cats to want it anymore, so I am happy to let them enjoy it for now.