Spring-like day on the farm

There is a lot going on on the farm when the weather in February acts more like spring than winter. So much life is happening. Lambs are being born, honeybees are out searching for food and pollen, flowers are beginning to bloom, and green is showing itself all over. Spring on the farm is such a glorious time of year.  

 

A set of twin Corriedales arrived this morning.  

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The bees are busy today! 

This is where our garden will be. Planning and preparing the garden for planting.  

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Thank you for checking out the blog today. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. We are happy to share what we are working on and towards here. We also love to hear about your stories as well. Have a great day! 

Honey Girl Farms is growing!

We recently purchased 13 new sheep and 12 of them were supposed to be pregnant. They were due February 7 and we had one born on February 4, a little ram and another born on February 6, a nice big ewe. Both lambs are healthy and doing well, but so far we haven't seen any other lambs since then. I'm really crossing my fingers and hoping more show up soon as I would really like to be able to show them. They are all beautiful sheep with what appear to be very nice fleeces. Ive sheared one so far and look forward to shearing the rest soon, which means fleeces for sale! It also means that I will be spinning yarn like a crazy person to get it up in my shop.

Other things going on in relation to fiber is the dyeing, I have some exciting themed color ways that I'm looking forward to putting out over the spring and summer. Some themes include Harry Potter, Art Through the Ages, and Music Inspiration. I am really looking forward to putting these colors together and seeing what everyone creates from them.

As spring is quickly approaching, that means the gardening must begin, and of course... The Honeybees will be making their grand appearance. We have checked the hives and we have lost two, but so far the other two look strong. We are planning to buy more bees to get the other hives going again, and we are really looking forward to see what our new farm can produce. To help with that we need to get planting, we have a bunch of native trees coming from the Missouri Department of Agriculture to add food and sustenance for the bees, ourselves, as well as some providing dye for the dye shop. The seasonal garden is also being planned and we look forward to see what we produce from there.

As you see, it's been a very busy winter and looks to be a very busy spring. We look forward to sharing our successes, failures and blunders with you throughout the year. The business end is slow, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and looks to be a promising year. Thank you all for your support and encouragement on our endeavors. 

God Bless,

Shannah

Who loves yarn?!

I have just finished my first set of kettle-dyed yarns! They are drying now and will hopefully be posted tomorrow. It was a blast dyeing these one of a kind yarns. No two are exactly alike. Let me know what you think? There will be close ups once they are dry, but you can see some of the colors now.  

 

Drying yarns

Drying yarns

Colors and yarn in the kettle

Colors and yarn in the kettle

Honey Girl Farms is Growing!

We have closed on our new farm! The moving process is not complete, but it is coming along well. There is a lot to do to get the houses ready and make sure the pastures are ready to house the sheep, after all we don't want any escapes (there is a trouble maker among the cute wooly critters). Half of the bees are moved and they seem to be enjoying they're new home and finding plenty to forage. There is a possibility of one of the hives being robbed, as there were characteristic signs when they were first moved and the last time we went near the hives there was a strong smell of honey. We didn't open everything up, but we will keep an eye on them over the next week and then open them up to give them a late last minute feed and candy boards for winter. Sadly we didn't have a great honey crop, I believe a lot of that had to do with the very wet spring and then very dry summer. However, there seemed to be a very good goldenrod crop this year, so hopefully that has added a lot more stores for winter, since natural nectar and honey is always better for the bees than sugar. Sugar is sometimes necessary for the bees survival on tough foraging years, but we really try to avoid using it unless needed.

Onto my favorite side of the business... My wool! I have officially made my first wholesale yarn order and I am super excited to start dying it up and having it available on the website. This is what I've been working towards for 3 years now and it's finally here! Any of you that know me, know how much I love color and in the past have attempted other ventures involving color, such as cosmetology, makeup artistry, drawing and other things that just didn't quite hit the mark for me. With the fiber, I think I have found my home. My love of natural fibers really began about 6 years ago when I worked for an outdoor company that sold a base layer brand called Icebreaker. I've known wool was special, but I didn't realize how special until they taught us about its properties and why it was so much better than synthetic fibers. They didn't just tell us how much better it was, they let us try it... I was sold. That was the beginning of a fiber snob, haha. After that I started reading about wool and learning about different breeds and that each breed was used for different things based on fineness and durability. I also researched about other fiber animals such as , rabbits (angora), goats (cashmere, angora, mohair), camelids (Alpaca, Llama and Camel), and others (Bison, Yak, and more). You can really get lost in it all, but when you can see, feel and touch the difference, you really can't go wrong. With that I've also started to learn more about plant fibers, such as bamboo, cotton, flax and others. All have a purpose and the histories are truly fascinating.

With all of that said, I'm going to be dyeing my little heart out soon and wanted to give you all a chance to throw out some colors that you would like. So please let me know if you all have any favorite color combinations that you'd like to see me offer.

Spring Planting Festival at Baker Creek Seed Co.

May second and third we headed down to Mansfield, MO to a fabulous little festival called the Spring Planting Festival. We have been there a couple times now and every year it seems to get bigger and bigger. There are many artisans and plant vendors and of course you cant miss the Baker Creed Seed Company Store, which is filled with thousands of non-gmo heirloom seeds. The selection is downright amazing, but also can be overwhelming. Another must stop while in the Bakersville is the bakery for their fantastic cinnamon rolls. There is truly tons to see as well of speaker presentations and live music. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly suggest it.

While there, I picked up some garden hand tools, three chickens,  some plants and of course I couldn't pass up some handspun yarn to add to my stash (if only I could figure out what to use it for). The best and worst part of going to events like this are all the ideas and wants that you start developing, so it makes that already long list of wants and to-do's even longer.

We were blessed with a beautiful weekend to visit and we look forward to more visits in the future.

Source: www.rareseeds.com

The Beginnings...

We started this adventure when we decided to purchase 10 acres in the middle of Missouri. When we first moved in we planted a bunch of fruit trees, that was when we encountered a problem, there were no bees flying around. That fall we dove in to becoming beekeepers. The first hive did not make it, it was a combination of our ignorance and the way our hive was set up. So that spring we took a class and purchased more bees with much better luck. During this time we learned a lot and continue to do so. One of the most important things I learned is that everyone has a way of doing something and their way is best. I've learned that I needed to figure out what was important to me and what my focuses are when it comes to the farm.

When we started to have some success with the bees, we added chickens. I will tell you that chicks are only cute the day you get them. After that moment the start to smell and make a mess, and in the case of the first ones, get eaten by something that thought they were walking chicken nuggets. The most important thing I learned about chickens is that they die. I don't mean to sound harsh or morbid, but it happens. It may be a hawk, fox, coyote, even your loveable dog. It's a good idea not to get too attached to them or you might give up. On the other hand chickens are a blast to watch, they make me laugh and I love watching them out in the woods trying to dig up all the bugs. Our chickens our truly free-range, they are free to roam anywhere to find food (except the garden, we keep that fenced). When chickens are truly able to forage for their own food, they are healthier in many ways due to the diverse diet of bugs, seeds and greens that they love, our chickens are also given access to a non-gmo (non - genetically modified organism) feed that they eat more of during those times of the year that there isn't as much around.

After a couple years of having chickens, we decide it's time to tackle the next step in our adventure... Sheep. The sheep has been my favorite addition to the farm so far, they have such wonderful and amusing personalities. Some of you may be wondering "Why sheep?", we decided on sheep because they had more than one purpose. They can be used for meat, wool, lanolin, leather and other things. My personal reason for choosing sheep and particularly the Corriedale, is the wool. I have a deep love of yarn and the color possibilities for dyeing are endless. I have started learning to spin my own yarn with a good amount of success. I'm looking forward to offering lots of yarn to you all for purchase.

Well this is the conclusion of my first blog post on this wonderful new website and I look forward to filling you all in on all the adventures and misadventures as we continue to learn this "farming thing". Until next time...

Shannah and her sheepy sheep