Farm Stories - January 29, 2022

January 29, 2022

Although we are running low on lots of things this time of year, the cycle is beginning again. Lambing has begun!

 

In the past couple of weeks a handful of lambs have arrived, and of course, at least one on the coldest night of the year. Luckily our 100+ year old bank barn was designed for animals in winter as it doesn't get down below -10C, even with -35 windchill. A heat lamp, and some dog coats help the lambs for the first 48-72 hours. 

A new little lamb not sure what to make of the person taking the picture

 

This means the nursery has begun. Lamb zoomies are in full swing. We do have one little one that likes to yell the entire time she is running around. She can't seem to decide if she wants to stay with Mum or run with the other lambs. She can be heard from outside. There's been more than once, when on my way up to the house, I've heard her, turned around, and gone back to check on her, just in case, she's in trouble. But no, she's just yelling at the top of her lungs.

lambs taking a break from playing to look at the camera

 

Lambing means the whole cycle will begin again. In the not to distant future, the weather will warm, the grass will stir underneath the snow, and milking will begin and we’ll be flush with milk once again!

Alas, we’re still in the depths of winter, so no milking quite yet. Instead, it’s focusing on other aspects of the farm. Winter is an opportunity to really explore farm potential - the perfect time to flex creative muscles, so, that’s what I’ve done with a couple of backburner projects.

 

Barn swallow fledgling greeting card on seed plantable seed paper

As an artist, creating cards seems like a no-brainer, but, I have never found it that simple. I love the images on cards, but can’t stand the wastefulness of them, one can only upcycle so many cards. I just couldn’t justify a supporting temporary sentiment against the damage of the printing industry, and the shiny (possibly plastic covered) waste cards that are may be difficult to recycle. Cards were out, until now! The cards are on post consumer paper that can be PLANTED! Yes, they are seed paper! The cards themselves don’t have to be thrown in the garbage or recycling, they are paper wildflower seed “bombs”. I also get to share some of the wonderful images I find on the farm too.

Bees and pigment, a natural fit

Bees aren’t something that we really talk about, but we have a couple of hives, and this past year was our first honey harvest. Like any harvest there’s always some waste. What to do with that waste? Another of my back burner projects has been making paint. Yes, bees and paint are connected, promise.

January has seen the creation of that paint made from sustainable, non-toxic, eco-friendly pigments, and our very own honey! The honey used is the last drips and drops from the extraction and cleaning process form different batches. Nothing is wrong with it, it’s just not something I’d want to eat, nor sell; so, when life hands you waste honey, make paint.

Handmade natural watercolor paint made using our own honey

As a watercolourist myself I had to actually like the paints, and I do. The colours are vibrant, colourfast, and nice to use. I’ve focused on traditional colours such as yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, and burnt sienna as those are foundational colours. The paint sample card is an easy way to try out the colours. A primary and medieval palette are the first two to be created, but more are coming! Watercolour pans are in the works, too. The paints are on, you guessed it, seed paper, so when the paints are all used up, the paper can be planted. How cool is that! I even made a bee Valentines Day card combing both projects, just in case you’d like to send it to your own honey.


Bee Valentine's Day card on plantable seed paper

 

Asha update!

Asha, the barn cat, waiting for 2nd breakfast

Asha is doing wonderfully! She is out and about in the barn, watching for mice, and generally making the place her own. Pinky, the livestock dog, thinks Asha is just THE most interesting thing to come along since lambs…although he’s not allowed to meet lambs until they are older. Although I still can’t touch her, she will happily sit beside me when I’m tending our new barn cat, currently named Mama. Mama arrived last week, and despite being friendlier than Asha, is far more cautious. She liked her foster home, and didn’t really want to leave. She arrived with the rescue with kittens, thankfully, have all been adopted. It was Mama’s time to make space for another mama expecting kittens in the foster home. She’s a spayed, tiny black cat who welcomes pets and scratches. She’s slowly warming up to the idea of being in a new place. It’s so nice that she at least finds some comfort in kitty massages. The hope is that she and Asha will bond and form a team. Let’s hope!

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