Friday, June 29, 2012

The Great Escape

...and other fun on the farm

Coleman, Mary (great hat!) and Owen  
The first half of June saw a lot of activity at the farm.  The Benner boys, Owen and Coleman having recently graduated kindergarten, spent close to two weeks on the farm with their parents and grandparents.  A visit was also made by Mary Thomas, the last living member of the Walter Family who built the farmhouse and ran the farm for the better part of the 20th century.  Six year old Owen asked Mary if she wanted a neck message and she happily agreed.  Well into her 90's Mary is a real peach and full of spunk and a zest for life.  It was real pleasure to have her and her niece Jane and friends Marge Gregor and George Box over for a visit.

Our Icelandic escape artists
The Icelandic sheep flock was delivered by Mary Lake from Vermont later that day and for the first week all went incredibly smoothly.  The two ewes, Freya (dark colored) and Elska seemed to take to the land immediately after jumping from the back of the truck.  Their three ewe lambs and adopted ram lamb, following them dutifully about the one acre pasture.  Sheep browse almost constantly it seems, and our girls (and boy) seem very happy with their new home.

Farm Manager, Dave Campeau with lamb
Things changed however just a few days later when Al took his in-laws, Phyllis and Sheldon down with the boys to show them the sheep.   Just after he opened the gate to let his family in, Al was distracted by a visitor who stopped by to say hello and in his haste to catch back up with his family, he somehow forgot to securely chain the gate.  Moments later the flock decided to trot down to the gate and the next thing you know, six Icelandic sheep were seen trotting down Upper Woods Road, across the bridge and down onto a neighboring property with a pond.

Two and a half hours and a few games of "follow the sheep around the pond" later, and with the help of a very kind neighbor (Mario) and some area bicyclists (George and John if memory serves correctly) we were able to corral the sheep inside a section of portable fencing and transport them via pick up truck back to their enclosure.   The photos here document the heart pounding chaos that ensued during that time...

Sheep are finally corraled using portable fencing

Our good samaritan shepards

Other happenings at the farm included the installation of our solar powered watering system for the garden and sheep, digging of a small trout pond adjacent to our springhouse, and the digging of another small pond for water for the upper pasture  that we soon plan to reclaim with Scottish Highland cattle.

Mary Lake demonstrates how to properly hold a sheep and keep her calm

The vegetable garden is really taking off now, the chickens and turkeys are growing at an amazing rate, and the bee colonies are rapidly expanding - watch Dave's video clip to see some bee hive construction basics: 

boy size campfire
our hives and a smoker to keep bees calm 

Solar powered water pump system being set up

Small spring fed trout pond being dug next to springhouse

Benner boys and friend Maeve stock trout

Al with a "good pull"

Picking some killer snow peas
Garlic "scape"
A natural shepard

The boys cool off by hiking to the adjacent falls with their grandparents

Our friend Sarah harvests spinach for dinner

All is well at Old School Farm.    Enjoy the photos and we'll be back with and update in just a few days...things are happening faster than we can post the images :)  

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