Monday, May 31, 2010

Around The Farm

Saturday's are full days for our family! We keep busy all day with projects of various types. Here is a glimpse into some of our projects.

We started planting the cold weather crops in our garden a few weeks ago. A good portion of the vegetables have already come up! We covered the garden in large sections of black plastic to helps the ground stay warmer, to keep the weeds down, and also to help the soil hold moisture.

The sweet edible-pod peas are growing nicely! We planted 30 feet of peas so we are looking forward to tasty peas in a month or two!

Our lettuce row is growing and the little leaves look promising for future salads.

We planted four varieties of potatoes this year. So far they have sprouted nicely. The potatoes had a little set back one night when their tops frosted. As you can see, they have recovered!

The rhubarb plants have grown nice and tall this spring. Sally harvested numerous stalks and diced them to put in the freezer for future use.

New bushes were planted in front of our house on Saturday morning.

We planted Burning Bushes. The foliage will turn brilliant red in the fall!

We also planted a new tree in the front yard and finished the landscaping around the tree. A Honey Locust tree was selected for this location.

Ruger, our playful Lab, kept us entertained with his puppy antics!

While the people at the farm are busy working, the sheep are busy grazing! They love eating the long green grass that grows along our ditch banks.

Here is a picture of the beautiful white lamb wool Dixon is growing! His crimp is very defined and he already has an excellent staple length. Dixon is one of our Edison (grandfather)/Foreman (father) full-blood Romney lambs. So far we have been very pleased with these lambs! We are looking forward to seeing the finished fleece at shearing next year!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Carmen's 2010 Coated Romney Fleece

Carmen, who was born to Rachel in 2009, grew this black fleece. Her fleece was very soft with a nice even crimp.

Carmen's staple length was over 7 inches long in places! All of Carmen's wool characteristics come together to make an outstanding lamb fleece!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Grace Valley Farms Orchard Gets Underway!

Before we started planting our orchard we did quite a bit of planning and preparation. We researched different varieties of fruit trees so we'd be sure and plant types that would survive our cold winters and late spring freezes.

The site for the fruit trees was graded in order to form a wide ditch for irrigating the trees.

The planting area was accurately measured so the trees would be appropriately spaced.

We carefully marked and numbered spots for the new trees. There are 25 places for fruit trees along our driveway!

Ben digging out a hole for a pear tree.

Support posts were driven into the ground to hold the trees up straight until they can get rooted (1 to 2 years).

The trees were loaded in our ATV wagon and driven to the planting area.

We plan to plant apple, pear, plum, apricot, and cherry trees. So far we've planted three Comice pear trees, three Honeycrisp apple trees, two Sweet 16 apple trees, two Zestar apple trees, and one Haralred apple tree.

Ben and Doug after planting a pear tree.

We put 5' tall fencing around each tree to keep deer, sheep, and llamas from sampling the buds. 

Each day the trees are watered. The trees were purchased as bareroot and need plenty of moisture until established.

Ruger, our little helper!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Corinna's 2010 Coated Romney Lamb Wool

Corinna is one of our full-blood Romney ewe lambs who was born last year to Rachel. As soon as she was born we could tell there was something different about Corinna! Her fleece color (gray with charcoal spots) was considerably different than we typically see Romney lambs displaying at birth.

The majority of our colored lambs are black when they are born. As the colored lambs age, their fleece typically gradually lightens into silvers and grays. Corinna already manifests the gray colors as a lamb.

This is Corinna's lamb fleece. The many shades of gray in this beautiful fleece are very appealing!

Corinna's staple length reached 7 inches in places and her fleece weighed 3.5 pounds.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Baby Dempsey and Mama Cinnamon

One month ago, our last lamb of the year was born. Dempsey made his arrival late at night on April 6th. His mother, Cinnamon, was a first-time mommy! She did a great job caring for him! Dempsey weighed 13lbs. 2 oz. and is all white except for a little black spot behind one of his front hooves!

Dempsey, one month old.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Snow? In May?

This morning we awoke to a fresh layer of snow at Grace Valley Farms! May snow storms are quite rare in our part of Montana. In fact, our neighbors said it hasn't snowed in the month of May for 27 years!
The view from our front porch.

May I come in?

The barn was quite crowded with sheep this morning! Almost all of the mamas and babies where inside seeking shelter from the snow storm.

Doolittle & Dusty


Some of the lambs ventured out into the snow.



Our dogs always enjoy playing in the snow. They run around like crazy, chasing each other through the snow banks!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cutest Lamb Contest

Each year at our farm, we select the cutest lamb! The lamb maintains the title for that specific year. In previous years, our family has selected the winner; however, this year we allowed our readers to vote on the cutest lamb! The contest ran for one month and ended on April 30. Here are the results of the 2010 competition as well as the results from previous years! Thanks to all of you who voted and helped us pick the cutest lamb!


And the winner is ... DONARD !!

Runner up winner is ... DonnaLisa!


Cordelia was our "cutest lamb" in 2009!

Clover was the runner up.

Bluebell took top honors in 2008.

Bubba came in second.

Amanda was the champion in 2007!

Astro was a very close second!

Angel was an honorable mention!


Our very first year of raising sheep...
Roy Rogers took first place!

Dale Evans took second!