Fall has officially arrived in the Rockies. We can hear elk bugling now, which signals the start of their mating season. The male elk bugle to attract females and tell other males they are big and bad. You can see and hear elk bugling by searching “elk bugling rmnp.” It is the sound that fills our fall days and nights here at Willow Creek Farm, and we love it.
Fall means putting up the harvest from our gardens, hunting and butchering to put up meat in our freezers, and getting everything prepared for winter. It is also a great time to work on outdoor building projects around the farm because the weather is ideal. It is a beautiful and productive time of year and my very favorite season in the Rockies.
We are continuing with our harvesting of the beans and carrots and canning/freezing them. As our first frost closes in we are preparing to harvest all the tomatoes. And we have been working on finishing the smokehouse and root cellar this last week as well (more on that later this week).
We had a bear visit the barnyard this week. It was about 3:30 am and we heard our farm dog, Finley, alarm barking from inside the sheep stall in the barn. Mtn Man headed out with his flashlight and thankfully, as soon as he stepped out the door, the bear high-tailed it over the barnyard fence and off into the woods. From the tracks and fur we found the next morning it seems he had been drinking out of the water trough and there was some minimal damage to the barn, on the sliding stall door that goes into the Mama Hen Pen, which was empty at the time. Thankfully, Finley’s barking deterred him from trying to mess with the sheep stall door. But the chicken coop is on the other end of the barn, and that is where we have previously had trouble with bears trying to break in.
I haven’t updated on Oliver in awhile. For those who don’t know, Oliver is my English Angora rabbit. He lives inside the house. He is a fiber-producing livestock animal for us, but he is also a beloved pet.
In my opinion, he is currently in the cutest stage of hair growth between being fully sheared and full length fiber. He is about 3/4 of the way to his next shearing and I just love this length. So adorable!
I have been collecting his fiber for two years now. Now that we have our own wool processing equipment, I have been able to start working with his wool and learning to mix it with the sheep’s wool to make soft, but strong yarn.
Looking forward to another beautiful autumn week on the farm.