News

The Nursery is open!

Just needed to put our incredibly adorable lambs on here. This year we tried something a little different – lambing in winter. We have learned a lot and it has been an interesting experience, but I am not sure we will do it again quite so early. Having said that, look at this fuzzy cuteness!

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The first group of mums and babies are all hanging out together. THis group are all within 2 weeks of each other. Talk about play dates. All the lambs love to run and jump across the area. As the remaining few ewes from our finnsheep group lamb, the nursery will get bigger and be moved. In the next month, this pen will be used to house the rams until lambing is done.

It is really interesting to see what kinds of lambs the breeding Homer, our finnsheep/gotland ram and our purebred finnsheep produced. All the lambs are cute, but there are 3-4 stunning lambs so far. One is a set of twins – the ewelamb has a tigh, curly even fleece just like a finn, and her brother has an even open gotland fleece just like his dad.  Lamb sizes are varied, but all are gaining weight well.

Trying to tell them apart is a bit of a challenge though – they all look so similar!

On another note, we did loose Lily. The second time she came in she just didn’t do well. It is always sad to loose a lamb.

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Simple Lamb and Lentil Stew

As the days get shorter and the nights longer, we often find ourselves doing chores in the barn after dark. We don’t mind this, but it can be challenging to get motivated to cook an elaborate meal when you’ve just spent 2 hours hauling hay, water, and assorted other things. By the time we get in we are tired, dirty, and very hungry.

This recipe is for those nights when you want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, but still have a great meal. This recipe is very forgiving and great if you like eyeballing things. It is hard to go wrong.

It is really easy to do this in a slow cooker, it is also great if you still have things to do while dinner is cooking, as it can simmer on the stove and just be checked in on every so often.

Prep-time: 15min, Cooking time: 1 hour

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1lb of ground lamb (stewing can be substituted)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (768ml or thereabouts)
  • 1 can of your favourite beans (540ml or thereabouts)
  • 1 cup of dried green lentils
  • 1 cup of dried red lentils
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp of medium curry (or your favourite curry)
  • 1/2 tsp of dried tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp of dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin seeds
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of ground cloves
  • salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
  • 1 tsp of fat (olive, bacon,lard,duck)
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 spoon
  1. 14496943688290Put your frying on medium. Add your oil (I used duck fat). Chop your onion and add to pan. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Unwrap your lamb and break into frying pan with onions. Cook until browned – approximately 5-7minutes. Take off burner and put aside.
  2. Add all of your spices into a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Rinse your can of beans with water to get all of the juices of them.
  4. 14496943805401To your pot add your can of tomatoes, beans,  and the lentils.
  5. Add 6 cups of water to the pot.
  6. 14496946213170Add your spices into the pot and stir.
  7. Place pot on medium-high heat and simmer for 20 minutes with cover on. Stir regularly.
  8. 14496957928630After the first 20 minutes, turn heat to medium-low, remove cover, and add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Simmer another 20minutes, stirring regularly. Make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
  9. After the final 20 minutes, a can of coconut milk and simmer on medium-low for another 20 minutes.

 

Serve on rice, quinoa, or in a bowl with some bread.

OPTIONS: We don’t think this version isn’t too spicy or overwhelming. You can change up the spices to suit your taste if you like it hotter, or with different flavours.

 

Winding down

 

It has been a whirlwind year, although we have only been here 8 months.

April saw us “lamb” into our new farm. We built things, moved things, torn down things to make sure it was ready to go for lambing, the best time of the year.

May was all about getting the sheep shorn, setting up fencing for sheep, rotational grazing, and keeping livestock dogs in the pastures as well as coyotes out.

June was planting dye plants, having more sheep arrive, getting ready for market, and another shearing.

July saw the ducklings arrive, our hay was harvested and put in the barn, our spring clip went into the mill and a tree came down in a storm that took power out to the barn.

August started with a trip into Toronto Makerfest, shearing lambs, and a trip to Haliburton to take a felting course taught be Pam DeGroot.

September meant ducks and lambs went into be processed, sheep breeding groups were being considered, and choosing which lambs stayed and which ones went.

October is when the majority of the ducks and lambs went in, finding freezer space for the harvest, teaching a felting workshop at the Woodstock Fleece Festival, seriously thinking about making things for the Christmas markets, the arrival of a breeding pair of Dewlap Toulouse Geese, and twin lambs born to one of the Finn ewes.

November is getting the barn ready for winter for the first time in over a decade (including getting power back to the barn!), thinking about where to store winter feed when the snowdrifts are five feet high,  how to keep the coyotes away from our animals and fully into the making of felt things, getting wool into the mill finally.

December is all about going into the Evergreen Brickwork’s Farmer’s Market and selling, selling, selling, and buying that winter feed we will need.

 

It will be our first Christmas here at the farm. We are looking forward to being able to go out into the barn on Christmas eve and sing carols to the animals as they ruminate away. There is nothing like a warm barn full of content animals in the middle of winter. We will be singing thanks to the year we just had. We will sing to appreciate the sacrifices our animals have made for us, and that we made for them, and each other. we will sing in celebration of the lengthening days, chores being a few minutes later each day, the roots regenerating under the blanket of snow. It is then that we will slow down, and settle in for the long mid-winter road ahead. On a farm the work never stops, it just changes.

How does that saying go? A change is as good as a rest?