Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wagon Guests

Fall has made an appearance here at Serenity Sheep Farm and Jack Frost came with it. We've had 3 mornings of frost so far. Lots of things in my garden have suffered, but I've convinced myself that it is what it is and next year is another year!
We were fortunate here to have both wagons rented for 2 nights this past week. Such fun! Newlyweds in the Winona, which we pulled over to the neighbor's yard. Their daughter and new son inlaw were gifted the stay.
The Brusett was rented for 3 nights by a man from France and his 2 children. I had a bit of a language barrier with the children, but we still shared lots of smiles and laughs. I hope they had a wonderful and memorable time here.
Both wagons were a bit chilly and required extra blankets with fall arriving.
I can now say I've had guests from all over the world!
This is what Serenity Sheep Farm Stay is all about.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Fun

The lambs here are growing by leaps and bounds, literally.
The baby goats are of varying sizes and still so much fun.
The turkey poults are getting big, meat chickens are all out on free range and I can't seem to keep enough room in the fridge for all of the eggs!
Guinea keets are still in the brooder box. They will be let out when they have their feathers.
The pigs are showing some growth spurts, first width-wise and then length-wise and back again.
The wool for the CSA is currently being worked on at the mill. Soon I will be able to send it off to my customers in the form of yarn.
A few fleeces were shipped off to a wonderful customer in Oklahoma, who has introduced them to a spinning friend.
Lambs have been sold along with their moms to a young couple in a neighboring town for a starter flock.
Other lambs from last year have been delivered to Big Timber and will return for the dining pleasure of 10 lucky customers.
Kids camp tomorrow!
Life is good. So much to share here at Serenity Sheep Farm Stay.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Simplicity in all Things

With the high waters this year, it's really put pressure on my pasture. I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to reduce my flock a bit and help relieve that pressure. That and the fact that if I need to buy hay to supplement, I can use the extra money.
Yesterday we sorted sheep and I was able to send 10 wethers off to market. I am thankful for buyers for most of them and feel confident that I can sell off the extra one or two. In addition to that, I posted sheep for sale on craigslist and had a nice, young family contact me from Deer Lodge, MT. They were looking for a starter flock and wound up buying 12 yesterday. I am very thankful and actually quite shocked that it was this simple. Thank goodness for the internet. Before craigslist and facebook and all of this technology, it was very difficult for me to sell lamb or sheep. I am feeling good about my flock size and it's quite a relief actually.
I still have plenty of fleeces to sell from the spring shearing. Maybe that should be my next goal set. Again, the internet is so helpful.
The mill is currently working on my wool for the CSA and it shouldn't be long before that's all ready to send off to customers. I can't wait and I am sure they are getting anxious as well. I am very grateful, once again, to have customers who makes a purchase months in advance of receiving their item. Truly a leap of faith on their part and I promise not to disappoint them. They are part of my bread and butter in this operation.
We have been fortunate to have guests in the wagon for 2 weekends in a row. This endeavor has been quite slow, but all good things in time, right? The local paper did an article on vacations on farms and ranches and I was fortunate to be included in that. You can read it here.
Have a great week! I plan to.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flooding Woes

May 25, 2011
My sheep pasture just beginning to sub.

I must admit, I've been a bit preoccupied the last couple of days with flood waters. We live about 300 yards from the East Gallatin River. With so much rain and snow pack at 200% above normal, we knew we'd have some water coming this way. My sheep pasture is about 90% covered in water. Up until today it was just water from it subbing from underground. Today it is actually coming from the river, into the neighbors and now into our field as well. For now it's ok because we have higher ground we can move the sheep to. Tomorrow we will need to let them into the pasture behind the house.
We had high water here back in 1982. We didn't live here then. My in laws were still living here. There was water up to our sheep pasture fence, which is just adjacent to my barn. None of that was here then. No barn, no sheep. Actually, this house was not here either. We built it in 1994. I have not been under the house to check on the crawl space, but tomorrow I will check that out.
This is really nothing compared to what lots of folks are experiencing right now, even folks right here in Montana.
It is unnerving and unsettling, but we can live with it for now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It's arriving in its own due time, but it does say Spring on the calendar! We are now allowed to call it that. I love Spring. I think the fact that I was born in the Spring helps with that fact.
There are signs of Spring all around us. Aside from the wet, heavy snow, mud and general "slop", we have beautiful signs of Spring as well. The Robins have returned. I've seen and heard the Sandhill Cranes, today 2 pair of Snow Geese flew above me on my walk down to the river. My tom turkey is strutting his stuff and the ducks have begun to lay eggs along with an abundance of lovely chicken eggs! All wonderful signs of life, hope and things to come.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's the little things!

I have a garden cart I bought at a garage sale probably 10 years ago and I use it every single day. I haul hay in it in the winter and I haul veggies in it in the summer. It gets a workout! Well, it fell apart on me. It didn't take any convincing for Chris to put new wood on it for me. He knows how much I use it. He even straightened the wheel he bent about 8 years ago.
It's the little things that make me happy! Here it is with new painted and oiled wood!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In the News!

I am very excited to report that we have been featured in Zone 4 magazine this issue. As a matter of fact, Serenity Sheep Farm is the centerfold! As I told them, it's the only centerfold I would ever wish to be.
I think Rilla did a lovely job telling our story. She and her husband stayed out here last summer so that she could write the article. I saw him recently and he said, "She didn't sugar-coat it. We had that much fun!" Music to my ears.
If you don't live in a zone 4 gardening area and would like to see the article, you can order it direct from them. I've already bought more issues than I care to tell you about. I had to send them to friends and family, don't you know.
Plus, the folks at Zone 4 are just awesome.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Exciting Farm News!

If you garden in zone 4, you probably have access to the magazine by the same name. The magazine is based here in Bozeman. Last summer they came out to stay in the wagon and then attend the kid's camp the next day. The current issue came out this week and I am happy to report that Serenity Sheep Farm is the centerfold! Three awesome pages of our story, right in the middle of the magazine.
Ordinarily I am not one to toot my own horn, but they did such a lovely job, I just had to share.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Last year I put in for and received the 4% grant available from our local food co-op. The chose Serenity Sheep Farm Stay as the recipient of their 4% day in February of this year. Our day will be the 25th.
The reason I put in for it was to spur Kelly along in his mushroom growing operation, so the grant money will be used for that.
A poster needed to be created and taken in to the co-op by Jan. 31. It needed to represent our farm stay. Where does one begin and end? So many elements I didn't want to leave out. Being a "tad bit" of a perfectionist with my work that others will be viewing every day led me to about 10 hours into this project from selecting, editing, printing photos to the end result. I am pleased with it and plan to re-use it for a summer camp round-up at the Emerson in April! Dual-purpose!
So, if you don't happen to live here and can't swing by the co-op to see it, here are some pics for you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yarn Giveaway!

I have it on good authority that Suzanne is giving away some soft and warm yarn on her blog! Head on over and leave a comment to be put in the drawing.
Thanks, Suzanne for the plug!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Farm Stay Guests

I am so excited to have the first guests of 2011 booked in the new Brusett wagon! They are a father and his 2 children from France! I explained that it might be a tight squeeze in the wagon, but we will do our best to make them comfortable!
Looking ahead!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Are You Kidding?

I am so excited to have my goat girls back home! Chris and I went over to my friend Sarah's and picked them up today. They've been on a month-long romantic rendezvous with her buck. She has a great set up with separate pens. I didn't expect it to take a full month, but it did. Cycles repeat every 18 to 21 days. Sarah would keep an eye on them and when their tails got twitchy and they started acting all silly, she'd put them in the the buck, one by one. This way we know for sure when they were bred. Sweet Pea was the last one. She was bred on Thursday, so after Kelly's birthday in June, all of the goat should have kidded. Perfect for the start of kid's camp!
BTW, I love the online gestation calculators available, such as this one. All you have to do is type in the breeding date and the due date pops up.

Tasha is due May 13.
Mama goat is due May 23.
Sweet Pea is due June 6.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Farming Frustrations

For the most part farming and raising your own food is a joy. There are times when your patience gets tried and you begin to wonder why you do what you do. Most of these times are brought on by human intervention.....or the lack of.
Today we picked up 11 lambs from the processor. Several were pre-sold, but I had a couple of extras that weren't spoken for. I generally don't operate that way, but I had these females that I didn't want bred. When I say pre-sold, this means that someone has confirmed verbally that they want one. For the most part, people keep their word and I am paid without any problems. For whatever reason, this time around I've had a couple of "no responses" and an actual "can you hold it for me for a month?" HUH? Do these people know what we go through to get this fine product to them from start to finish? I won't even go into the work involved in raising animals. I'll just start at the day they need to travel the 80 + miles(one way) to be to the processor for slaughter the following day. They must be "rounded up", which means fed in a small area so they are easier to catch. It typically takes 2 people to catch, hold and man the gates and doors. Once they are all sorted and loaded, a stop at the local farm supply store will get us a $2.00 trip permit, which is required to take sheep across country lines. Hefty fines await those who don't have the permit! The 80 mile trip typically includes a stop at the gas station and lunch along the way somewhere. Sheep are delivered and the farmer has just taken a farmer vacation.....gone and back in the same day.
Then the waiting begins. This time it was almost a full month. Granted, we did have some pork sausage made this time as well, but a full month? In the mean time you're answering emails and phone calls from customers wondering when their lamb will be ready. You are totally at the mercy of the processor. Do I call and ask? Shall I bug them again? I hope they don't think I am being a pest.
Finally! The day has come to pick up the lamb! Your hope is that you can deliver most of them on your way back home quick enough so that the GIGANTIC check you just wrote to the processor won't go through until you've collected enough from your customers to cover it. Barely slipping by yet again, you sit and wait and wonder why the rest of the customers won't return your emails and phone calls and be very thankful it's darn cold outside.
From here on out, a deposit will be required. I hate to do it, but that's what it has come to.
Did I mention the $1200 worth of hay I had to buy to get us through the winter? Maybe I just need to sell my ram.