Greener Pastures Farm - Current News

Jon kneels down to let the pregnant Cascade Farmstead ewes check him out. Visit our website to learn more about these great little low-maintenance, no-shear, meat sheep!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Life As We Know It

We have 14 lambs on the ground thus far, with about half of our ewes left to go. Very exciting!!! None of them have needed assistance, which is as it should be with this breed, and we've been sleeping through the night. That's my kind of farming!

I just came in from checking on my bees. As mentioned previously, I'm beginning again with bees after a 6 year hiatus. They appear to be doing well, despite the fact that we've had so much rain. Some hardy little worker bees have been getting out there between rain showers to forage and pollinate all the fruit trees and other blossoms. I added another super to each hive, and moved the small entrance hole up one level in the process, giving them more room, but confusing some of the worker bees returning with their loads. I stayed to watch for a while, and noticed that while most of them were returning with yellow pollen, I saw two with white, and one actually had some bright orange pollen. I wonder what flowers that came from?

Did I mention that I find this all fascinating?

And the lambs... so very cute, and some very interesting colors as usual. I just LOVE this breed of sheep! I need to take photos once we get some dry weather. Wet sheep aren't at their prettiest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First Lambs of 2010

It doesn't matter how many years have gone by and how many new lambs we've seen (hundreds), the wonder and thrill never diminish. Our first lamb of the 2010 season was born before we woke up this morning, arriving without assistance from anybody. Lamb and dam are both Cascade Farmstead sheep; the mother is a week shy of being a year old. Both are wet... it's raining here. They will be even prettier when we get a bit of dry weather!

I'm still tinkering with my camera; I know I can get crisper photos than this.

And so it begins... I'm smiling as I look forward to many more lambs in a variety of colors. To learn more about Cascade Farmstead sheep, visit our website, which has loads of information and photos:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Moving My Quilt Stuff to Another Blog

Which seems appropriate... I've moved my quilting supplies from one room to another in our house before getting settled into it's very own room!

Because this farm blog is for farm stuff, and because quilting is one of a few subjects I'm enamoured with, but that may not interest most farmers that visit my blog, I'm moving such topics over to Momma Made This.

If you are a quilter, I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, April 9, 2010

To Bee, Or Not To Bee

Yeah, I know... lame title. But I'm in a lame mood.

I messed around with my bees today. I've been absolutely twitchy in my desire to check on them and see how things are going. And... to get those queen cages out that I really shouldn't have left in when I installed the hives.

So I went out in my bee suit and veil, my brush and hive tool, completely forgoing the smoker. Feelin' pretty proud of myself about that last part.

First I visited Hive #1, now named Aphrodite. Gotta love Linda's Bees... she's got so much useful information, and she names her hives. What a good idea! It's so much easier to remember a name than a number or "that hive that used to be in the orchard but is now over here on the east side of...." Yeah, that works well.

Anyway, I visited the Aphrodite hive, and despite the chilly weather, they sounded active from the outside. I managed to rummage my way through the hive and clumpy, sticky bees and found the queen cage on the bottom (not where I'd left it) and it looked empty, but these blasted bifocals have failed me before, so I'm not exactly reassured. When I picked up the queen cage again, there were 2 bees inside, so I peeled back the wire and let them out. All I could do was put it all back together and watch and wait.

On to the Persephone hive, which was so quiet that I was sure they were all dead. When I opened the hive, I didn't see much movement, but I carried on, and found the queen cage on the bottom (not where I'd left it), removed it, realized that my bees were alive but just cold, rearranged a couple frames, closed it back up, and prayed that I hadn't inadvertently set my queen free. And watched and waited. Test flights began as the sun came out. Good.

But I'm still twitchy. Hub says if I don't make this work this year, I'm done. Which isn't fair at all. He didn't get a deer last fall, so by the same token, he shouldn't be allowed to hunt again. Riiiigghht.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Farmville? Really???

I cancelled my personal Facebook account last year because I was sick of hearing about a lost virtual cow from a person I barely knew at school over 30 years ago. And similar stupid stuff. Sorry, but I was looking for real relationships, about real things.

So when I heard on the radio news this morning (cable is no longer in our budget, and we don't have a TV antennae) that people are spending real money to play this dumb game, my hackles rose and I thought about all the real farmers who are struggling to make ends meet.

Yes, a fool may be parted with his or her money however they please, but good grief! If you have that kind of money and want to spend it on farming, please.... support your local REAL farmer!

a Real Farmer

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Soothing the Soul

I have so many activities that soothe my soul, that really make my heart sing.

A row of canning jars full of something yummy that I made for my family.

New lambs that arrived without help or incident. (Cascades, of course!)

Spinning fleece into yarn.

Watching geese protect their newly hatched goslings.

Monitoring my bees as they build their colony and create honey.

Watching my garden grow, and won't that be nice once my Jon has put up some fencing to keep the sheep and chickens out of it?

Watching my son flourish at school; he's Salutatorian, and just a few days ago received an acceptance letter from his first choice University!

Making quilts that warm our hearts as well as our bodies.

But today's "Soothe the Soul" is about spinning fleece into wool. I have to admit that I have not done much spinning of our Cascade Farmstead fleeces. While the Cascade fleeces are far superior to the breeds we've had in the past, I'm so caught up in quilting at this time in my life that I just have not been able to get back into spinning for the time being. Someday.

However, I'm hoping that "someday" comes a little sooner... I have the bags of fleece from Greener Pastures Lavender that are truly gorgeous and so nice that after my attempts to spin last year, I decided I needed to refine my spinning skills a bit before working on a fleece this nice. Maybe this summer when it's too hot to have a quilt draped over and around me during the quilting process!

I keep telling myself that, while I want to do everything, I need to whittle down the "want to do" list into a very practical "these are the things I want to do MOST" list, so that I have finished projects to show for my efforts. This seems to be the stumbling block for creative people, but I'm working on it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We have bees again!

With the economy showing small signs of improvement in our area, I managed to convince my husband to fork over $180 so that I could begin keeping bees again. And they arrived today, and I installed them with no difficulties.


I began beekeeping in 2004, and the photo shown is of my lovely English Garden Hives, when I had done nothing more than cover them in linseed oil. It seemed organic, it was sure pretty, but it wasn't practical. My hives are now painted a lovely and subtle green, which looks great with the patina the copper roofs have acquired.

I've been taking a refresher course in beekeeping in recent days. Links about organic beekeeping are now provided at left. I've been following the Organic Beekeeping forum since it began, and I've recently learned that Michael Bush has a wonderful website to share his expertise in small cell (which he, quite rightly, refers to NATURAL CELL), as well as all the good reasons why to go the route he's gone. I've practically lived at his site in recent days while boning up on what I need to do and not do.

Like me, he wants his operation to be easy, and smaller hives are the ticket to that. I bought mine (back in 2004) from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, all 8-frame medium supers, all uniform, all small (4.9mm) cell. I highly recommend them (the hives and the company), and if you want to go all natural and organic, then definitely get small cell foundation.

I'm so happy! More to come in my toxin free adventures in beekeeping.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


It's Easter Sunday, and I boiled eggs this morning and didn't color them.


A) I didn't need to; our eggs come in a variety of colors including blue, green, blue-green, white, brown and dark brown.

B) We've outgrown that for the time being. Our son is graduating from high school shortly, and received an acceptance letter yesterday from his first choice university.

Life is pretty good right now. But bring on the scholarships, because my brilliant boy needs 'em.

In the meantime, I'm going to peel some really colorful eggs and make something tasty with them. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010


I recently finished my first bed-sized quilt. This may seem astonishing considering that I've been an avid quilter for 20 years. But I began with miniature quilts, took several detours along the way, and made a number of what I call "nap sized quilts" for kids and adults. These have been loved and worn and loved some more by my family.

While I've designed many bed-sized quilts, and have dozens in various stages of progress, it took this long to finish one for our bed. I can't begin to describe the feeling of accomplishment, the appreciation of the beauty of this quilt, and that it's finally on our bed. Finishing any project brings such a nice feeling, but this is huge, not just in size or impact, but in the emotion it brings every time I see it or touch it! I'm so inspired, and can't wait until I can get the next quilt into my quilting hoop; this one for the kid.

As an artist with so many quilts in varying stages of progress (or lack thereof), I'm in a hurry to finish a few and get them on our beds before I spend the extra time needed for intricate designs. So the "utility quilts" are currently getting nearly all of my "quilty" attention, and I'm investigating something that I never thought I'd resort to... big stitching. I first heard of this technique back in the mid-90's, and dismissed it. But now, I'm thinking big stitching will be faster than tiny quilting stitches, but more personal than machine quilting, and may be just the ticket for the twin-sized quilt that I pieced for my son.

In my research about big stitching and whether this was a technique that would last, or shrink or or or... I discovered that the books on this subject are old and hard to find, and I'm currently in no position to purchase any. But I did run across a blog written by a woman in Australia who is currently enamoured with big stitching, and posted what works and what doesn't work. Yay! Her lovely blog is Quiltsalott. And she helped me determine, through her own trials and error, which thread to avoid. I've got some idea which route I'll take, and will post on that in future.

Hoping that these midnight ramblings due to insomnia do not come back to haunt me...

Post Script
I moved my quilting stuff to a new blog: Momma Made This. If you are a quilter, please follow me there. Or follow both!