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Showing posts from December, 2008

The Great Flood of 2008 #3

Sigh...
As I posted earlier, we had 2" of heavy rain on top of record-high temperatures on Saturday. This melted all the snow (over 50" in December) and proceeded to flood areas that shouldn't flood, yet again. This is the THIRD 100 year flood in calendar year 2008, and I am quite sure I'm not the only one who is tired of it. 

Many people had flooded basements, again. People who don't live anywhere near rivers even had flooded basements--the water simply could not percolate through the semi-frozen ground fast enough. Fields were flooded, again. Fortunately, not much is actively growing at this time. Doesn't this look like a lake? It's a hayfield. 

To add insult to injury, a wind storm overnight Saturday left many without power, exacerbating the problem by preventing basement sump pumps (standard equipment in former-swampland western Michigan) from running. All this on top of extremely difficult economic circumstances, and we wonder, "How long?" and…

Shearing Day Update

Despite the incredibly high temperatures which caused all of our snow (approximately 50" in December) to melt within 24 hours PLUS about 2" of fresh rain which turned everything to mud and swirling water...
We had a great time shearing sheep Saturday. 
We had wonderful help. Lee helped with herding sheep. My father helped with herding sheep. The younger kids also helped with herding sheep and giving annual vaccinations. The sheep all have to be coaxed up a narrow chute/ramp while waiting for their hair cuts. Mary helped by answering questions and narrating the process. Teresa demonstrated spinning in the workshop. Becky demonstrated how she made her wool hooked rugs, also in the workshop. My mother and our two older girls helped with refreshments and purchases and questions. It was wonderful to have all this great help!
After we finished shearing, I fed the help and visited with the hangers-on in the workshop. They were having a little fiber pow-wow out there. An Indiana etsian

What's a little mud?

Well, the temperature here in Michigan is a record high of 55, and most of our snow is melted. What remains is MUD. 
We are still planning to hold the shearing day today, so all you brave souls come on out! Wear mud boots and plan to wash your car afterward...

Certified green

Our farm has been MAEAP verified for several years. MAEAP stands for Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, and it's a voluntary, rigorous third-party certification that assures our customers and neighbors that we're doing the best we can to be good stewards of the environment. I found this news article about another MAEAP verified farm:
"With reindeer, horse-drawn wagons and Santa Claus on hand this time of year, Trim Pines Farm in Grand Blanc resembles other choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms scattered throughout southeast Michigan. 
"But behind the merriment of the season, owner Mike Yancho takes the business of growing 3,000 Christmas trees seriously. Like an increasing number of farmers across Michigan, Yancho is working to make his 80-acre tree farm more earth friendly."
Read more here.

Christ is Born!

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living the the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. --Isaiah 9:2
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. --Isaiah 53:6
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  --Romans 3:21-24
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. --John 8:36
My Christmas prayer for you is that you would fully know the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ, the Son of God. Merry Christmas!

Manly socks?

**Scroll down to see information about our shearing day on Saturday, December 27.**
Okay, so this weekend we got some more great press. Check out the article that ran in Sunday's Grand Rapids Press. Wow--two great articles in the span of a month. 
So the phone's been ringing quite steadily with requests (which we can't keep up with) for socks. Today, I had a delightful conversation with a woman who wanted to know why we didn't have any socks listed on our website that were suitable for her husband or son. You know, "manly socks". I had to laugh. I asked her what "manly socks" looked like. When she gave me some ideas, I told her we have not been able to keep up with the demand, and that all socks, manly and unmanly, have been flying out the door faster than my manly husband can make them. 
I chuckled good-naturedly about it all day. So, readers--what does a manly sock look like to you?

Shearing Day

Come on out to the farm this Saturday, December 27, to see sheep being shorn. Feel free to come anytime between 9 am and noon--we will be shearing the whole time. Stay as long as you like; leave when you want to. Dress warmly, and wear older clothing--we shear in a barn, and it smells like sheep!
We'll answer questions in between herding sheep and shearing and vaccinating and handling the wool. You'll be able to check out a display about the process of turning wool into yarn. We hope to have a spinner or two on hand to demonstrate the craft. We may even have a weaver here working on a rug!
Because we are passionate about educating people about farming and wool, there is no admission charge. Donations will be accepted for refreshments (while supplies last) and farm-fresh products will be available for purchase. This event is great for the whole family, though some of the wee ones are too small to appreciate the noise and smells and cold. Please use your judgment when bringing sma…

And Still More Snow

Church was cancelled this morning, due to the first rate weather. 

It's amazing that it's only December 21 and we've had all this snow. Must be that global warming...

The animals still need feeding and watering. These are the days that are very nice to sit inside and look out the window. But The Farmer (and a couple of the kids) head out twice a day to add fuel to the corn furnace, feed and water the animals. This is the type of day that freezes pipes and puts out furnaces. Steady responsibility and watchfulness are important on a farm. Also important is the ability to fix things when they break...

The Big Snow

***UPDATE***  The road's been plowed now. All clear!

Yesterday we got dumped on with snow. While the section of road in front of our house and all are driveways have been cleared (thanks to The Farmer and his equipment), the end of our road is NOT good. 
We'll still hold open hours in our shop today, but I don't know that I'd suggest braving our road unless you have 4WD and/or a shovel. Of course, the plows could come through at any time, and then we'd be fine.

Open Hours at Shady Side Farm

If you weren't able to come out to Kerstmarkt and still have some Christmas shopping to do, feel free to come this Saturday, December 20, from 10 - 2. We are located at 13275 Blair Street, just east of US-31. 

We'll have roving and coasters and yarn
and jewelry and cards and ornaments
and rugs and potholders and table runners

and a few socks available to buy. If you're a spinner and want to take your wheel along and just spin and visit for a while, feel free! I'll have the coffee pot on, and we'll make sure the radio is tuned to the Christmas music station.
For those who want to see the sheep shearing, save Saturday, December 27 and Saturday, February 28 on your calendars. More details to follow on the 12/27 shearing...

Kerstmarkt is done

Well the final day of Kerstmarkt is over, and we are just now getting our feet back under us. The Farmer has been moving out chickens. They are now living at a egg laying farm--we raise them from Day 2 of their lives to about 16 weeks of age. He has also started taking down the wooden booths of Kerstmarkt, but the weather does not look cooperative over the next few days for him to finish that job. 
We took time to set up the Christmas tree here at home. The kids decorated our workshop for Christmas. So many people are still interested in our products that I think we'll open the shop for a few hours on Saturday, weather permitting. The TV weather people are predicting over a foot of snow from late Thursday to Friday morning. Sometimes they're right. 
More info later about the Saturday hours. Work is calling me...

The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Okay, so the photos aren't the best, and there are bits of ribbon scattered everywhere. But perhaps you'll forgive when you hear that we just finished an order for 70 sheepy ornaments? 
The elves did most of the work. They are very talented fiber artists. Their creativity doesn't stop when the job is done, however, and so we present to you:

















The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies--oh wait--it's the Dance of the Sheepy Ornaments!




Reminder of the SHETeam Giveaways

Just wanted to remind you of the giveaways available through the Schooling at Home Etsians Team. Click on the button at the top right of my blog to be taken to the SHEteam blog, where you can learn more and enter to win things made by homeschoolers.
Today and tomorrow one of the things you can win is an ACEO print of a drawing done by one of our daughters. We're very proud of her and our other kids. Each one has great talents in his/her own areas, and it's fun to see the people they are becoming.

The Weather Outside Was Frightful

We did indeed have bad weather over the weekend, as forecasted. Friday night out at the marketplace was like being in a deep freeze. The diehard parade-goers came out anyway to see Sinterklaas and we had a fairly good night. Our sheepy display (you can see him in the photos here) was blown over and broke a leg. We took him home with us and The Farmer splinted his leg late Friday evening.
Saturday we felt as though we were in a wind tunnel, with swirling snow everywhere. The roads were pretty treacherous, and I would have stayed home, given half a chance. Again, the diehard Michiganders did not let a little weather spoil their fun. We put very little of our product out on tables and racks, due to the weather, instead choosing to display it inside the booth. Our big sellers were mittens and wool socks. Go figure.
After church on Sunday, I spent the entire afternoon catching up on entering the sales in the computer. The Farmer is feeling quite a bit of pressure to keep ahead of the buyers …

Wordless Wednesday