Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Iowa State Fair Wool Show - 2013

Over the last few years, our customers have commented on the beauty and quality of the fleeces produced by the Grace Valley Farms flock.  Their comments spurred us to begin entering fleeces in various wool shows. For the first time, last year, we entered two fleeces in the Iowa State Fair. We were encouraged by the results, Overall Reserve Champion and 2nd in class. 

This year we once again entered fleeces in the Iowa State Fair. This time, increasing our entries from two to four fleeces. When the results were in, our fleeces had taken 3 - 1st in class, 1 - 2nd in class, and Overall Reserve Grand Champion!  

An excerpt from the Iowa State Fair Website: Reserve Champion Overall was awarded to Grace Valley Farms of Mont. This is the second year in a row they earned the title.

Falcon's fleece won 1st in class as well as Overall Reserve Grand Champion!
50's-58's 3/8 and 1/4 Blood Combing, White

Frappe's fleece (center, left) took first in her class
50's-58's 3/8 and 1/4 Blood Combing, Colored

Edgar's fleece (center, right) also won 1st in his class
36's-48's Low 1/4, Common and Braid, Colored 

 Elizabeth's fleece won second in her class
36's-48's Low 1/4, Common and Braid, White

We are grateful for another wonderful year of wool shows! We would especially like to thank Rick & Dee, Aunt Martha, and Pat & Lisa for all their help and encouragement!

Psalms 35:18 - I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise Thee among much people.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Darcy's Beautiful Yarn

What beautiful yarn our customer, Kim, has created from Darcy's award-winning fleece!

I am loving all of the fleeces I have from you so far. - Kim from KY

Friday, August 16, 2013

Montana Fair 2013

Yesterday we headed to the fairgrounds to enjoy this summer's fair. It was a fun afternoon spent with family and friends.

Enjoy a tour of the fair as we explore the many buildings and exhibits.

 We enjoyed walking through the barns and inspecting the animals.

 This big guy was one of the grand champion steers. He is a Maine-Anjou cross.

 Our neighbors did very well with their sheep, winning three big awards! 

After we finished looking over the animals, we headed to the Heritage Arts building. We had entered items in the horticulture and culinary departments. 
 Our prize-winning yellow wax beans.

 Yellow squash

 Ben holding our winning zucchini  - heaviest division 
It weighed over 6 pounds. 

 Sally with our pickling cucumbers. They won the Heritage Award!

Here is a listing of our Horticulture entries and the results:
Pickling cucumbers – 2nd + Heritage Award
Cherry tomatoes – 3rd  
Zucchini – 4th 
Heaviest Zucchini -  1st 
Beets – 2nd
Green Beans – 2nd
Yellow Wax Beans – 1st
Dill Cucumbers – 1st
Fresh herbs – 4th

The results from the Culinary department: 

Emily with her winning pie crust.

Dried thyme – 1st
Dried basil – 1st
Dried marjoram – 1st
Dried sage – 1st
Dried parsley – 1st
Whole wheat pie crust – 1st + Heritage Award
Gingersnaps– 1st + Heritage Award
Chocolate cake (unfrosted) – 1st
Chocolate cupcakes – 1st
Cranberry bread – 1st
Chocolate chip cookies – honorable mention
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – 2nd
Pumpkin bread – 1st
Ginger cookies – 1st
Chocolate bread – 1st + Heritage Award 

With the Heritage Arts building behind us, we went on to find our other entries.

On the way to the Ag Building, we were tempted by these delicious goodies!

 Beautiful caramel apples!

 There was fabulous-looking fudge as well!

 Shiny, candy-coated apples
We all resisted the temptation and passed by the delicious-looking treats!

Outside, we saw many tractors, farm implements, trucks, and cars on display.

On to the Ag Building, we quickly found our entries.

 Our Indian Corn entries took 1st and 2nd in Flint Ear Corn competition.

Below are the results from the Crops department:

Ear corn (dent) – 1st and 4th
Ear corn (flint) – 1st and 2nd
Oats – 2nd and 4th
Shelled corn – 1st and 5th
Cereal grain hay – 1st
Grass hay – 1st
Grass/legume hay – 1st and 2nd
3rd cutting alfalfa – 1st

Our freshly-baled second cutting hay won a blue ribbon! 

We hurried over to the wool area to check on our fleeces. 

Darcy's fleece won first in her division plus Overall Reserve Grand Champion! Darcy's fleece also took Reserve Grand Champion last year! She's a winning ewe!

Ellie Mae's blue ribbon.

 Dorcas was first in her class.

Here is a detailed description of the awards from the 
Hand-Spinning Wool division.

White 58's to 62's - (Doris – 1st, Caramel – 3rd)
White 56's and Less (Daisy – 1st, Evelyn – 2nd, Delores – 3rd)
Black 56's and Less (Ellie Mae – 1st, Dee – 2nd, Fern – 3rd)
Colored 56's and Less (Darcy – 1st, Charity – 2nd, Sheila – 3rd)
Colored 58's to 62's (Dorcas – 1st)

Overall Reserve Grand Champion  - Darcy

 Evelyn's 2nd place fleece

 Sheila took third in her division

 Fern's fleece on the left and Daisy's fleece on the right

 After we were done in the Ag Building, we enjoyed watching the carnival rides.

 We are grateful to the folks who host the fair on and provide a place for us to compete and showcase our products. Thank you to all our friends and customers who support us year after year and help us improve our products! 

 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. - Psalm 69:30

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sheep Lawnmowers

 We recently employed our sheep in lawn-mowing the grass around our garden.



 The grass and clover was quite lush, so the sheep had a delicious day of grazing.





Cathy had some words for her people.




Our garden has been very healthy this year. We've had a mild summer, so the plants are thriving!

The melon and squash plants in the garden.

 Yummy green beans and garden goodies. 

 The watermelons are growing!

 Our gourd plants and Indian corn are doing well. The corn is 10 -12 feet tall!

These are our parsnips, Swiss chard, beets, green beans, herbs, and sweet corn.

The electric fence kept the ewes out of the garden. They did a great job of mowing the grass for us!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Homemade Pickles

Fresh bread and butter pickles made from homegrown cucumbers.