Sunday Homestead Update

We have had a nice week.  We have been preparing for the return of the ewes from the breeder’s this coming week.

Barn Remodel – Part 1

We finished part 1 of the barn remodel.  We wanted to get it done while the ewes were gone so they weren’t in their big stall and thus in our way during the remodel.  As you see in the photo, previously we had one big sheep stall (left) and a big dairy parlor with a stanchion that we used to use to milk the cow (right).  (The stall the goats use is to the far right of this photo).

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We also had two small multipurpose pens (left) that were already half torn out in the photo below.

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Now that we have sheep and goats and no cows, the large dairy parlor and stanchion were a waste of space.  So we decided to add two permanent lambing/kidding stalls in that space instead.  Previously, we would build temporary lambing stalls with pallets inside the big stall each spring and take them down each summer.  The new stalls are permanent and will be very convenient for lambing and kidding, as well as closing the kids away from the does at night so we can milk in the morning.  Plus an number of other uses.  There are two, they are about 5ft x 5 ft, and they open into the big stall.

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The barn cats all used to eat up on a shelf that was on top of the old cow stanchion.  We did this so the farm dogs couldn’t steal their food.  Also, there is a screened window opening up there that is open during the summer and the cats love sitting in it.  So when husband tore down the stanchion the kitty area was gone too.  He build a new one, with little catwalks (hehe) to each of the hay lofts where the cats sleep and stay warm all winter.  Plus a ladder for the cats to climb up and for us humans to climb to feed them and climb into the right hay loft.

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There are still more little details to deal with, but the stalls are ready for use and we are ready for the ewes to come home now.

Tomatoes

We harvested all of our tomatoes at the first frost the first week of September this year.  Most were green and we put them on a table in our basement storage room to ripen (this is how we deal with tomatoes in our cold climate with a 10-12 week frost to frost growing season).  That room holds a temperature around 60-65F at all times.  Within a week we were beginning to eat and can the ripening tomatoes.  That continued for the rest of September and October as they all ripened.  By the beginning of November all that were left were the Long Keeper variety.  They have been ripening and keeping very nicely down there this whole time.  Here we are, the beginning of December, and we are still eating fresh tomatoes from our garden!  We still have about 5 lbs of them left.  Considering our climate and the fact that the tomatoes were all harvested the first week of September, this seems amazingly wonderful to us.  I have saved seeds from some of these longest keeping tomatoes so we can continue to grow this variety and have tomatoes from the garden into the early winter months.

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