Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Heat Wave

Summer has finally arrived in Montana! The other day the temperatures soared to 103 degrees.

Since the temperature was so high, we set up a fan in the barn to help cool the lambs off. Delores thought the fan was so nice. She kept standing in front of it and looking at it. Later on, Desibelle came and positioned her whole body right up against the fan!

Grace Valley Farms 2011 Garden

Our garden is a little behind this year due to our cool spring, but the summer heat is helping the plants catch up.  We once again covered our garden with plastic to keep the weeds down. We planted in slits that were cut in the platic. This is the third year we've used plastic to cover the garden.
We planted two varieties of sweet corn this year. Between the two varieties, there is a total of 400 feet of sweet corn.

Our pepper plants are still small, but they are blooming.

Tomatillo plants

The zucchini plants are blooming! Before long we will be swamped with zucchini.

This year we planted 39 tomato plants.

The potatoes are beautiful, lush, and green! We have 200 feet of potatoes.
The green beans are looking nice too!


The winter squash and gourd plants are growing rapidly.


The herb plants are still small. They are growing slowly and surely. Emily planted parsley and sweet basil.



Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon
 The plants are looking very healthy and we are looking forward to fresh, juicy melons!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Look Back at Elizabeth

Elizabeth and her twin brother Easton were born on February 25th.  It was a cold morning (5 - 10 degrees) so we paid extra close attention to them.  Minutes after Elizabeth was born, we knew she was a very special lamb.  We remarked over and over again about how cute she was.  Our whole family quickly agreed that this little lamb should be named Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, shortly after birth.
To watch a video of her, click here.

Emily made a little coat for Elizabeth to wear.

Elizabeth and her brother Easton

Interesting Fact: Elizabeth's mother, Bluebell, won our Cutest Lamb Contest in 2008.
Good looks must run in the family!

Kisses for Easton

Bluebell and Elizabeth

Elizabeth earned a special nick name this spring.  Her mother, Bluebell, had a difficult time producing enough milk for her twins.  As a result, we taught Elizabeth how to "snitch" milk from other ewes.  After a few lessons, Elizabeth became rather proficient in the art of milk thievery!   From time to time we would assist her with her snitching business.  Almost every time we came out to check the sheep, Elizabeth would come over and look up at us like she was asking for our assistance. Before long, we gave Elizabeth a nick-name, Snitch-A-Beth.

 Elizabeth is now weaned from her mother, so her milk snitching days are over. We still call her Snitch-A-Beth or Snitchy!  Elizabeth is a friendly little girl who loves her shepherds!

John 10:1-4

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.  And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice."

The Winner Is ... Elizabeth !

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, last year and this year, we allowed our readers to vote on the cutest lamb!  The contest ran for one month and ended on July 9th.  Here are the results of the 2011 competition as well as the results from previous years!  Thanks to all of you who voted and helped us pick the cutest lamb!

Elizabeth - 2011

Exxon - 2011 runner up


Donard - 2010

Cordelia - 2009

Bluebell - 2008

Angel - 2007

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Playful BueLingo Calves

Our BueLingo calves were quite enthralled with the lawn mower. They followed Doug back and forth as he mowed the grass. It was cute to watch them bounding after the mower (on the other side of the fence)! Afterwards, the calves got a tasty treat of lawn clippings.

A Shady Resting Place

Summer has finally arrived here in Montana. During the heat of the day, some of our little lambs have been coming into the front yard for shade.

Elmira, Evan, Emma, Exxon, and Esau rest in the shade of our quaking aspen trees.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. ~Psalm 23:1-2

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The First Hay Crop of 2011

Grace Valley Farms first cutting of hay has been successfully harvested!

Due to all the rain we had this spring, the grass in our hay field was lush and green. After the grass was cut, we had perfect hay-drying weather. Three days of hot, dry, windy weather meant the hay was ready to bale three days later.  

Our hay is a mixture of many grass varieties as well as birdsfoot trefoil, alfalfa, and sainfoin.

Rocket, our border collie, by a windrow of hay, just before it was baled.

The hay bales in our field.

Benjamin picked up the hay with our tractor. First he speared a bale on the back of the tractor.
He then speared a bale with the front loader.
With both bales now loaded on the tractor, Benjamin heads for the hay yard where he will stack the bales.

There are many more bales to pick up. 

Approaching the hay stack with both bales.

Positioning the front bale  

Benjamin stacks the rear bale before heading back to the field for another set of bales.

The hay is stacked!

We were blessed with 90 round bales and 37 small square bales of hay from our first cutting!

Cocoa's Special Bed

When the sheep come in from pasture in the evenings, Cocoa almost always heads for her special bed.

She thinks the hay trough is a very comfortable resting place!