Over the last few days, we have been blessed with the arrival of several baby lambs. Two sets of twins and two singles. As I posted the other day, Golda gave us a nice healthy set of twins, one boy and one girl.
The next day we had a delivery from Gertrude. She delivered a nice healthy baby lamb on the berm of the pond. There was a scary moment when the baby rolled down the berm into the pond, fortunately, Hilary was there to rescue the little one and dry it off.
Then Blacky had her twins, literally a few hours after Claire lured her into her temporary housing area. The tarp is to keep their food dry and provide shade. The “A” frame is where they sleep.
This mom, had her baby yesterday, 2-23-2016, also. She is a first-time mother and is doing a fantastic job with her little one. It never ceases to amaze me when I watch how these beautiful animals instinctively know how to care for their babies.
Here’s a group shot of the rest of the Ewes. I suspect they will be delivering their baby lambs any day now. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.
Some more posts about our sheep for your enjoyment.
Calling the Lambs Calling the Lambs It is always easier to have animals that will come to you when you call them. Have you ever seen a neighbor chasing their dog? I have. Well, trying to catch sheep is even tougher than trying to catch a dog. Dogs and sheep are both trainable though. …
Fun on the FarmFun on the Farm There are so many things to do that are fun on the farm. The kids love to play on the giant hay rolls. Sometimes they climb on them to play king of the hill, other times to get a different view of the world. I asked my daughter …
Katahdin Photo ShootKatahdin Photo Shoot I took these pictures May 1st, 2015 shortly after I received a call from a man who wants to purchase all of my adult Katahdin Ewes. I was planning on replenishing the herd with new Ewes this coming Fall so this is a blessing. These first pictures are …
Katahdin SheepKatahdin Sheep We raise Katahdin sheep aka hair sheep. Unlike other breeds of sheep, Katahdin’s do not require shearing. They grow hair similar to deer. In the winter their coat is heavy and in the summer they shed off a layer or two.
It is a beautiful day and the weather is perfect for setting up the raised beds in preparation for planting next week. Today I will be laying out the garden and building the grown boxes. Tomorrow I will add the growing medium – a combination of sand and sawdust – along with the pre-plant and weekly feed fertilizers.
There will be three beds laid out in accordance with the Mittleider gardening method. That is 30 feet long and 18 inches wide. Two of the beds will have supports for growing vertically. The third bed will be used to grow bell peppers and other plants that don’t need vertical support.
The first steps in Mittleider garden preparation were taken care of earlier this year. You can see that post via the link at the bottom of this page. The first step in today’s work was to get some supplies. I went to Lowes and picked up the wood for the basic boxes. I already had the 4×4’s for the supports on hand. I also picked up the rest of the materials I need to make the watering system. I’ll write about that in another post.
Before I actually construct the grow boxes I need to prepare the ground where it will go. It is very important that the ground be level inside and outside the bottom of the grow box. That’s why I went through the trouble and expense of using the Kubota.
The second step is to stake out the corners of the overall garden and then establish the location of the corners of the grow-boxes with cords and stakes. For my garden, the overall dimensions are 20 feet by 40 feet. This will give me a five-foot aisle at each end and three and one-half feet between each grow-box.
Each box is thirty feet long and 18 inches wide. You can see the first one is complete in this picture. That’s as far as I got today – hence the change to the title of this post. It’s supposed to rain for a couple of days so I’ll work on this as I can.
These were my supervisors
The next two boxes were a little trickier to build because I needed to install the 4×4 T-posts. To do this, I laid out the boxes and then dug the holes for the 4×4’s. Then I assembled the T-posts, double checked to make sure the T-posts were level and plumb, and then screwed them into the 2×8’s. The inside of these boxes are prepped identically to the first one; level the ground and fertilize with pre-plant mixture.
Building the T-posts is not really difficult, but it is time-consuming. Digging the 15-inch deep holes in Arkansas rocky soil is a lot more work. I rented a one-man post hole digger from Home Depot and got the job done in 4 hrs. Here’s what the finished boxes with T-posts installed look like.
Building the grow boxes with the T-posts is definitely a two person job. It is possible to do it alone – I did these by myself. However, it would be a lot faster and less frustrating if you have a helper.
The next step for these boxes is to put pre-plant fertilizer in the bottom. The pre-plant fertilizer is a mix of Lime, Epsom Salts, and Borax in specific ratios. I mixed up a large batch using 20 pounds of Lime, 1 pound of Epsom Salts, and 1/4 pound of Borax. This mixture is applied one ounce per linear foot.
The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. Once the pre-plant is in I will fill the boxes with the custom soil mixture recommended by the Mittleider Gardening Method. This is 1/3 course sand 2/3 sawdust. You fill the box alternating between the sand and the sawdust and then till it all together with a light-weight tiller like the Mantis, or by hand using a shovel and rake.
I got my sand from a local sand and gravel company. The sawdust I got free from a company that builds pallets. For three beds, I needed one cubic yard of course sand and three cubic yards of sawdust. Sand and sawdust make the perfect growing medium for most plants. It provides all five functions necessary for healthy plant growth:
Anchor the plants – provide a firm foundation for growth and development
Retain and release moisture
Retain and release oxygen
Retain and release nutrients
Help control temperature – keep plants cool in the summer and warm in the winter
What sand and sawdust lack is nutrition and we provide that with the weekly feed. Before we transplant the seedlings we will apply the weekly feed fertilizer at a rate of 1/2 ounce per linear foot. The weekly feed recipe is:
25 pounds of All Purpose Fertilizer (13-13-13 up to 17-17-17)
3 pounds garden lime/gypsum or 1/2 pound of Perlite to control moisture
Once this is mixed into the soil, it is time to level the soil inside the boxes. Now these boxes are “beds” and ready for planting. However, before we do that we need to construct the watering system to ensure even watering directly to the roots of each plant. I’ll build the watering system later this week and post an update worth pictures and instructions. Until then, have a great day and thanks for stopping by the Ten Mile Farm and Market.
Other posts about Mittleider Gardening
Mittleider Gardening The Mittleider Gardening method is quite simply the most productive way to grow fruits and vegetables that I know of. I’ve tried dozens of other methods and none of them have produced the yields of healthy fruits and vegetables that the Mittleider method produces. Follow along as I setup a …
Mittleider Gardening Method If you have questions or comments about the Mittleider Gardening Method, this is the category to post them. Mittleider gardening is, in my opinion, the most efficient way to grow fruits and vegetables. Regardless of your climate, soil condition or season, you can grow fruits and vegetables to …
This short video shows what happens when my fan club sees me. I was walking around the farm getting pictures of Springs’ first blooms when I was spotted.I learned early on that it was important to have sheep who would come to me willingly, rather than make me chase them down. It isn’t often I need them to come near me – give them annual shots, check their health, get them on the trailer when they’re sold or going to market.
I learned early on that it was important to have sheep who would come to me willingly, rather than make me chase them down. It isn’t often I need them to come near me – give them annual shots, check their health, get them on the trailer when they’re sold or going to market.
A bucket of cracked corn is a very inexpensive way to train these animals to come running to you whenever they see or hear you.
It really is fun to be greeted with such enthusiasm. Some people have dogs that are happy to see them when they come home after work. I have that and I’m also blessed with dozens of chickens, ducks, and Katahdin sheep who are all happy to see me.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if your family and friends always greeted you with such enthusiasm? On second thought that would be weird. I guess this is what it would be like to be Johny Dep or Angelina Jolie wandering onto a public beach or something.
I think I prefer being mobbed by hungry animals at least they don’t stalk me and they can’t carry cameras.