Archive for the ‘Happenings’ Category

looking over gate

There are signs of life all over Ironwood these days…

little lamb

 … and those of you familiar with our farm, and the events of the past few months, will know how important it is for us to celebrate life.

March lambs

So as the days are lengthening, the seedlings are sprouting, and the lambs are growing, we look forward to the year ahead with a long list of things for which to be thankful.

sprouting chard

I know it has been many months since my last post, with too many happenings to recount here now.

However, armed with a new camera, the strength of friends and family, a foundation of memories, and a renewed dedication to live life to the fullest, I hope to spend more time here in 2014.

sprouting kale

I also hope you’ll come back to visit.  ~ hj

lamb looking over shoulder


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Farewell, Amigo

Ironwood Farm lost a valuable part of the landscape and atmosphere this week.

Napping last Christmas

Napping last Christmas

You may remember Pedro, having met him in the u-pick patch, or reading about him in a previous post

Pedro was a crowd greeter, cattle wrangler, world (or at least Kempt Shore) traveller, beloved son to Bebe, snuggle-buddy to Tiny, and constant companion. He will be greatly missed.
~ hj

Surveying his farm from the comfort of his basket

Surveying his farm from the comfort of his basket

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Lester’s news

Yep…it turns out that Lester did get a little busy in the summer, after all. These ewe lambs are firsts for both Lester and Scarlet (who has had an udder since shearing time last Spring, so she’s been keeping us guessing for months!).

Scarlet with her twin ewe lambs, one week old.

Scarlet with her twin ewe lambs, one week old.

And just to ensure there is no confusion, they have their dad’s long legs, and long locks!

(Note the snow on Scarlet’s back…the blizzard of yesterday and this morning reached into the barn, but Moms, babes, and observers all seem pretty content.)

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We hope you have had an appropriate mix of revelry and relaxation so far this holiday, however you spend your days – whether in celebration, contemplation or just vacation.

setting up lambing jug

setting up lambing jug

We woke up to a new lamb in the barn on Christmas morning, and twins born just after we returned from Christmas feasting in Seabright later that day.

pepper with her twins

pepper with her twins

This all serves to legitimize our decision to not go anywhere overnight and just do day trips to see the various relatives.

settling in for the night

settling in for the night

I think that will be it for a while – no more noticeable udders. It may be that we’ve managed to stretch our lambing period over several months! And we still don’t have any evidence that our new ram has done any work…good thing we still have Lukey.

We’re heading out now to put the moms and babes in together for company. Of course, all the other ewes get jealous when they see the nice hay and extra grain that Pepper and Ginger are having. I don’t think they’ve learned to associate it with popping out a lamb or two, yet, though.

I’m continuing to have troubles posting (technical and psychological), but if I get up enough momentum, I’ll have to fill you in on the rest of the holiday happenings (including Rupert playing the part of shepherd in the local live Nativity…).

Happy New Year, all. ~ hj

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Well, at least the infrastructure is changing.

Last week the Mennonite crew showed up to replace the barn roof…down, up, done in three days flat! And in that crazy heat, too!

When Rupert had a “break” between irrigating and haying, he diligently worked on erecting the new fence around the “parking lot” next to the raspberries. We keep thinking of this as the “ram pasture”, but for the next little while it will serve as space for the small flock of Luke and the Spice Girls (yearlings acquired in January), as Rupert’s goal is to have lambs born over Christmas this year.


Note the outhouse in the background…fencing off this area meant fencing in the outhouse (we’ll move it eventually, but it was more of a priority to get the sheep moved to their new space). While the yearling ewes are quite sweet and timid, the workers seem a little dubious about jumping the fence and making a run for the loo as long as Luke is in there! For his part, Luke seems quite happy with the company, although he is just as eager to get a scratch from any visitor or berry pickers that pass by. It’s been hard to tell if the girls are jealous.   ~ hj


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pig bath

The big pigs have been enjoying themselves on pasture (we haven’t introduced them to the new little pigs, yet). Other than their first day out, they have behaved themselves quite well (although they are starting to nip at your feet when you go in to  feed them – I find you can distract them by pouring some water into one of their mud holes. What pig could resist that?).

Rupert turned a significant age at the beginning of the month and received a couple of rose bushes for his birthday. They have taken to their new surroundings quite well, providing lots of colour in the front garden.

moving the cattle

The spring had been generally quite dry, and Rupert had been running between irrigating and haying for a few weeks in mid-June. Our herd of cattle includes a  friends’s jersey cow this year, just grazing here for the summer.

With all of the irrigation, and lack of rain, the level of the pond was reduced significantly, exposing a few of the muskrat tunnels; the plethora of frogs didn’t seem to mind.

turtle eggs in the driveway

The range of wildlife has been quite interesting around here lately, from skunks in the raspberries to salamanders in the strawberries. Unfortunately the turtle who tried to lay her eggs in the driveway was interrupted before she could finish her work.

ram lamb having a snack

Despite Rupert’s comments that it is time to wean the lambs (he’s never been a fan of the late night feedings), there are still 4 babies that come running at the sound of our voice, but feedings are down to just three times a day now. Figuring out how to give the 23 growing babes their lamb-grower without getting trampled in the pen is another matter altogether, and also involves trying to keep Crystal Gayle (the smallest of the ewes) from following the fat lambs in to their “creep” and stealing their supper. Some days it can be quite a workout in the barn, between bounding over fences to beat the flock, to dodging an over-stimulated ram lamb, to wrestling an insistent thief.

We’ve been eating well these days; in addition to the wealth of delicious produce coming from the greenhouse, tunnel and field, our intern, Kayla, has a propensity for cooking and an interest in creating recipes based on the CSA veggies each week.

dusk at the irrigation pond

With the first of the hay in the barn, and a good dose of rain in recent days, the focus is now on fencing – in preparation for putting the yearling ewes in with the rams (2 groups – one with Luke, and one with our new coloured Border Leicester). Although, there is the little matter our shearer pointed out…a developing udder on one or two of the yearlings. We may end up with some unplanned summer lambs at this rate!

the end


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one of the 5 “bottle lambs”

Think you can forgive us for being a little absent on-line?

(more stuff to come, including an exciting new addition to our CSA programme, I promise!)  ~hj

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