December 2010

Boy the year 2010 has just flown by. . . at least here on Smiling J Farm!  We have had events and changes and lots of accomplishments this year.   And looking back it was all fun and enlightening.  We look forward to another year of gardening, cattle and maybe a few new things to share with you. 

This year the ladies blessed us with 6 healthy babies.  Joe Lee was born in February. . . our first!  We were both at work but Mona, the neighbor next door, let us know when he was born.  The next three waited until late May or June. . . Louise, Spice and Schotzi completed  the births from our original herd of Dexters.   Then along came Southern Cross and Southern Gentleman. . . of S. Belle and S. Lady the two Lowline cows we bred.  They were born in August and I think Gentleman (Little Man) still has his baby fur under his winter coat! 

We also purchased Joe Lee’s daddy, Buzz, from the people who had him.  So now we can breed all the ladies here on the farm instead of hauling them to “visit” others.  I was very surprised that he and Mini-Mac get along as well as they do.   They appear to be buddies at least from our point of view!

In anticipation of all these births we made a few modifications to the farm.  We had a nice 20 X 16 barn built of aluminum to hold all the hay we need for the winter.  It’s a nice place which fits plenty of feed and hay for all.   In a weak moment I allowed my Dearest Husband (DH) to trade in his John Deere tractor for one which has a bucket loader on the front.  It was a Valentine’s Day “gift”. . . I know I”m such a romantic!

DH also got a few tools for moving hay and cleaning up the pasture… a hay-fork allows him to move round bales, a landscape rack for cleaning pastures, round bale feeders which prevent a lot of hay waste and . . . last but most important! ! ! !   three automatic watering systems for the cattle.  We no longer have to break ice in the winter and the ladies get plenty of fresh water whenever they want!  We have a great plumber who dug and placed 800 foot of piping for the water-ers.   So the “ladies” now have water fountains like we had in elementary school!  It didn’t take them long to figure out how to use them.  And once one did the rest just followed suit.  The babies can even use them!  Gee I’ll have to get pictures of the watering thingies. . . . They’re about the only thing I haven’t taken a picture of! 

About mid summer we found and bought a green house that can be hooked up to electric and water.   I’m a bit concerned about starting seeds too early in it as cold as it has been here.  But it’s one of those things we can learn as we go.  I think we have enough peat moss and trays to do one or two a week or so apart and see how it goes.  There is a lady around the corner who is a bit more knowledgeable about these things than I am.  I’m going to call on her and see what guidance she can give me.    She already recommended drip hose instead of the sprayers for the plants.  That way we could put a heater in there too!   I’m sure looking forward to a more extensive garden this year. . . 

This year we also had a few sad moments as with any life.   In August we lost DH’s Mother Voncile.  At least she had the opportunity to come up in 2009 to see our little farm.   It was a sad time.   We frequently think of her and wish we could call her. . . our holiday has been a bit melancholy.   In October we gave our dog Auggie to the Corgi Rescue so they could find him a better home.  He was bored here with us and because of that had become destructive.   They have found him to be a smarter dog than they normally deal with. . .

like I said he was bored with me!  And now Thomas is enjoying his role as “king of the world”; his world at least. . . .

We have plenty of plans for Smiling J Farm.  Please stop by and read about our newest adventures as we share them with you.  We look forward to the year 2011 and will use the time we have to continue improving Smiling J as we can.   Make a comment if you’d like, keeping them family friendly thank you! 

May you and yours be blessed in 2011 with joy and love from those you hold dear!


to all who don’t celebrate Christmas…. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ in our home. . . and we have a few decorations to enjoy through this season! Here area just a sample of them… DH took these pictures . . . doesn’t he do a great job?

Thomas likes to share Christmas with us. . . It means special treats!  And maybe a toy or two!


My friends Mayra has some great Christmas socks with Mr and Mrs Santa Claus on them. . . She’s such a hoot. . . You’d think we never grew up! 

We are lucky to have had Mayra come over and help us decorate this year. . . DH is great with decorating. . . but he lets me to the Christmas stuff. . . and Mayra helped me see things a bit differently this year. . . We used some of the trimmed tree branches to make things extra special . . .

Wishing everone a very happy and Holy Christmas Season. . . and praying that you have many blessings in the year 2011. . . .

 Our first winter here in the Carolinas was wonderful.   That Christmas Day I was out side walking with the dog (Caesar) in my shirtsleeves.  It was 70 degrees.  I decided at that time that I could get used to living here in this weather. 

Fast forward 18 years and we are living in a different Carolina!   this year has gotten quite cold very early.  Usually these temperatures don’t reach us until well into the New Year. 

We’ve had to add additional straw to the run-in sheds and feed the ladies much more hay to help keep them warm.   It’s a good thing we put int he automatic watering systems that don’t freeze.  We’d be breaking ice every 12 hours or so if we hadn’t.

It’s funny how weather affects us as we get older. . . or should I say how we get older changes the way we allow the weather to affect us?  I never liked the heat when it gets above 90. . . but now I find that I don’t like the cold when it’s below 32. . . one of those things that makes y0u go  hhhhmmmmmmm.

But winter on the farm doesn’t change the need to properly feed the animals. . . as I said before they need more to eat to keep them warm.  This week I’ve been helping DH get hay to the “ladies” and bulls so it doesn’t take him as long to care for them.   We get to eat quicker too because he then helps me get it on the table.