Friday, April 11, 2014

Give Away! Massage Melts

1 oz Sample Size
Our very popular Lally Broch Farm Scent Shot Tarts are created with organic soy wax and cosmetic grade fragrance oils and are available in over 20 delightfully yummy scents.

We've been hard at work all winter creating and testing a new product in response to feedback from folks sensitive to fragrance oils.

We are so pleased to introduce our latest product, Lally Broch Farm Massage Melts. These fabulous little cups are filled with happy-body-making goodness. Made with
organic soy wax, sweet almond oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and a blend of essential oils, these massage melts are very nearly heaven sent.

Regular size 2 oz cups
Use them in any scent warmer to provide a light background scent to fill your senses with a relaxing aroma. Once they are nicely warmed and melty, pour them directly on your body and massage away the cares of the day. You do not need to make the wax hot, just warmed enough to be able to enjoy smoothing into your skin.

Each 2 oz cup has enough for several uses. We have these scents available and in-stock: Sweet Dreams (lavender), Breathe, (peppermint and eucalyptus, Cleanse (sandalwood and lime), Garden Lemonade (lemon, lime, and peppermint), Woodland Breath (spruce & eucalyptus), Home Baked Hugs (cinnamon), Orange Spice (orange and cinnamon), Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca), Yasameen (jasmine), and Citrus Mint (lemon and peppermint). New scent combinations will be added as the year progresses.

We're so excited to be adding these to our line of quality products made here at the farm. We know that you will love them as much as we do and we want to give you a chance to try them out for yourself. Enter our drawing to win one of two gift packs of 9 samples. Too excited to wait to see if you win? You can find them available exclusively at Silkweeds shop in Searsport, Maine or visit our Etsy shop online.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Around the Farm

The SMASH~CRASH~THUMP of the dogs playing, chasing each other and barking from our front entry down the hall is not the soothing sound of silence I hoped to enjoy while detailing our last week for you. Since the alternative is an over-active bouncing bundle of puppy energy well past my bedtime, I will suffer through without too much complaint. Molly dog is nearly four months old now. Inquisitive and bright, she is trouble with a capitol T. Her training is coming along nicely, though I must admit, while she is the picture of obedience, she still has some work to do towards being the well-trained, submissive dog we hope to raise. What's the difference? Well, obedience is doing what you are told when you want to comply. Submission is doing it when you don't. Training takes discipline, attention, and reward. We're all working on Molly's training- including the goat Mommas, our yellow cat, Tas and Fenn dog.

Talon has taken to sleeping inside an empty dog
crate during the day. I suppose it offers him some
protection from Molly. It also has no alternate
escape route. Jury is still out as to its utility.
Molly was convinced that the cats made delightful squeaky toys until she was debased of that notion. She gets tons of enjoyment from chasing the cats up onto the backs of the chairs, the counters, or onto shelves. All of our cats have experience with dogs. Mostly, they simply puff themselves up, hiss a warning, and run for the safety of higher ground. Except Talon, my nephew's tom we've been cat-sitting for the winter. Talon is completely unaffected by anything. Molly using him as a chew toy? Not a concern for Talon. He just lays there and lets it happen. Of course, we put a stop to it. Molly is little and only playing, but allowing her to drag Talon's limp and compliant body around to chew on is not a healthy precedent for anyone. And, Talon will not even attempt to defend himself from chew-toy status. I have never seen anything like it. Tas, on the other hand, is confident of his ability to take on Molly and teach her some manners. He doesn't run. He doesn't puff up. He doesn't hiss. He does slap Molly with a volley of rat-tat-tat claw-less thwacks to her head when Molly decides to try it on with him. Their first encounter ended with a shocked and bewildered Molly running for protection and the safety of our laps. Did she learn her lesson? Not quite. Molly has learned the art of stalking with some success. Now when she spies Tas sunning himself, she drops to a crouch and sneaks close to him until she is within pouncing. Tas smacks her Rat-tat-tat and resumes his nap. Molly wanders off to find something to chew up or Fenn to annoy until she settles for one of her naps.
Nap time is a lovely thing! ♥

Fenn is taking his turn in schooling Molly's behaviors. He plays with her until he is done and then, lets her know playtime is over. He also eats first and will take her toys when he decides to. Just as I have learned to deal with squabbling children, I ignore them when they can sort it on their own, and defend the wronged party if things escalate. I don't blame Fenn for putting an end to Miss Tyrant's Teeth when he's had his fill of her chewing on his face, tail, or general fluffy-goodness with a quick and decisive snap of his teeth. It is all part of teaching Molly her place in our pack. We love her very much, but she is learning that the world does not revolve around her.

The goat does are doing their share to teach Molly manners, too. To the goat kids, Molly is just another play-pal to romp with. They walk up and sniff this funny looking kid and then, with a happy foot jump, bound away to play. To the goat Mommas, Molly smells like a predator, pure and simple. When she enters the pasture, they immediately turn to face the intruder in unison, like a well-trained militia line. I keep myself between Molly and the does to avoid any kind of mishap, be that in the form of her teeth or their horns during this initial introduction phase. It is my hope that in time, Molly will be a safe protector for the goats and their kids. In time and with lots of work and training sessions under us. 

 I am so happy to report that the weather is finally returning to normal and our snow is just about gone. Sean and I spent a few minutes before dinner "walking the land" last night. As we noted things that needed repair or replacement for the coming year, we were happy to see that last year's raised beds are workable and ready to be top-dressed with compost to prepare for the seedlings Cameron is growing for us.

The assortment of organic non-GMO tomatoes and sweet and hot peppers are already beginning to sprout. We left lavender, chives, and mint planted in the raised beds in front of the house to winter over. The chives have begun to come up. No sign of lavender or mint yet, but we're hoping they survived. It is exciting to see the land come to life again. 

The chickens are especially appreciative of the end of snow. They are beginning to wander the yard in search of bugs and creepy crawlies to munch on. I see them wander through the field, scratching and pecking as they meander. This was such a hard winter for everyone. It makes me
smile to see them in the sun. 
Charles leads his ladies into the buck pasture to search for goodies. 
Jesse and one of our young Leghorn hens. Jesse gets so excited when he sees the chickens in his field. 
Jesse is the largest of our bucklings in size. He still enjoys snack time from his Mom, Jane.
Delilah (white) and Cassie hunkered down next to the manger to enjoy the sunny day.
Rachel, Keziah, and Elisha
Ellie, Delilah, and Samson
Ellie has continued to add weight and gain her strength back over the winter months. Her coat is shiny and her eyes are bright. She is very often the first one to the manger. Ellie is sweet tempered and accepts the new doelings the best of all the does in our herd. She is often found snuggled up with Cassie and Delilah at night and does not seem to mind the kids presence at all.

Our siblings, Rachel and Leah are another story. They share kid-sitting responsibilities and will allow each other's kids free access to nurse, but they are quick to push away any of the other kids wanting a snack. And, they are neither shy nor nice about their spot at the manger during feed time.

Haddie and Amos
Haddie is making slow, but steady progress in fighting her worm load and subsequent anemia. We have her on the same diet as we used for Ellie during her bout with them 2 years ago and Haddie is responding well to it. In addition to her grain each day, all the hay she wants, and fresh water available, Haddie gets 3 cups of fresh greens to help bolster her system and provide additional vitamin and mineral support. It is a balancing act. The goal is to get the worm load back down to the level that her body can manage without killing off so many worms at a single time to cause massive and potentially lethal internal bleeding. Our ultimate goal is to have healthy, happy goats. We believe that food is the medicine you take before you become ill. Grain is important and is processed to help to supply many vitamins and minerals necessary to our goat's diets, especially in the winter time when foraging is unavailable. But, while grain has it's place in our feeding, we do not believe that it is the best source of vitamins and minerals. We believe that comes from raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies- from our garden when we have them in season; from the store when we don't.

Our research over the last couple years led us to find some super foods that in our experience do wonders for our goats. These are: kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, bananas, raisins, and peanut butter. (It is important to note that all feeding should be done in moderation. Overfeeding any food to your goat, it can upset their rumens and could lead to their death. New foods should be introduced slowly and in small amounts.)

Kale is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, and Calcium. It is also a good source of Magnesium and Protein. Broccoli has an abundance of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Potassium, Selenium, and Protein and it has a notable amount of Calcium. Peas are high in Magnesium, Potassium, and Protein. Spinach is full of Vitamin B, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium.

Why are these vitamins and minerals so important to our goat's diet? You can easily find what effect these have on a body through research on the Internet and in books. This is what we found. Combined and balanced, they lead to healthier goats. Inadequate amounts of Vitamin A can lead to blindness or difficulty seeing, dull or scruffy hair coat, lower fertility and diarrhea. B Vitamins are broken up into several categories and are water soluble and may need to be replenished with this in mind. Vitamins B1 (Thiamine) is essential to carbohydrate metabolism and neural health. Vitamin B 12 is essential in the treatment of anemia. Vitamin C is used to help bolster a body's own immune system to assist in fighting off diseases. It helps with the absorption of Iron into the body. Vitamin K helps blood to clot and prevents excessive bleeding. Calcium is essential to bone and muscle health. Iron is helpful in transporting oxygen to all parts of the body through the blood. Anemia from a lack of Iron can cause fatigue and weakness. Magnesium helps to support milk production and maintain a healthy weight. Potassium is important for strong, healthy muscle development. Selenium is important to a goat's health as its deficiency can cause White Muscle Disease and lead to weak legs which cannot support a goat's body weight. Protein helps build strong muscles. Many diseases can be prevented and/or cured with the right balance of vitamins and minerals.

We were deeply concerned about the pale color to Haddie's eyelids and gums, despite her Spring worming and follow ups. Our course of action was to administer Ivomectin via an injection at the rate of 1cc/100 pounds initially and add fresh veggies rich in vitamins and minerals to help fight off her anemia. We followed up with an oral dose of Ivomectin at the same rate one week later and continued with adding leafy greens to her diet in the evenings. When we checked her eyelids and gums last night, the color was improved to a soft pink. She is not out of the woods, yet, but with continued support, we anticipate her return to good health in the weeks and months to come.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We are sure glad for the company.
Sean and Sonja ♥

Monday, March 31, 2014


Sean here.

After running a farm for a couple years now, I've come to a few realizations.  Now, I realize that I'm still a "newbie" compared to many of our readers who have been farming for decades or all their lives. But even with the little time I HAVE spent caring for our various wards, certain instincts have started to emerge. While I don't have experience in being a father to a baby, I suspect it's a comparable experience. We currently have 14 goats of breeding age plus 5 kids, and I swear I know each of their voices by heart.  Not only can I tell who it is that is calling, I can usually tell what it is they want.  Whether it is a hungry goat, or an angry goat, or a pained goat, or just a lonely goat.  It's not a difference I can explain, but I suspect other farmers, parents, or anyone who has spent a great amount of time with another living being that they care for very much and who cannot communicate to them in words has felt.  When I got home from work on Friday, I was about to go pick up my wife when I heard something from the barn that got my attention immediately. It was a cry I'd only heard a couple times in the last few years. It was desperation and panic. Fear.

Haddie with Amos just minutes after kidding March 2014
I raced to the barn through the closest door available, which put me in the turkey stall looking into the doe stall over the half wall. Haddie, one of our new mothers this year, lay on her back in the stall with her legs up in the air and her neck craned back underneath her in an almost morbidly comic pose; as if someone had just pointed a finger pistol at her and yelled "BANG!" Because she only let out one cry while I was outside the barn, when I saw her laying there, my first thought was that what I heard was Haddie's last exhausted breath.

"Oh no! What could have happened? She was perfectly fine this morning." my mind churned as I ran around to the other door to enter the doe stall.

I knelt beside Haddie and ran my hands over her looking for injury, blood, anything to explain what went wrong. Feeling the life in her body under my hands almost had me in tears with relief. But, something happened, may still be happening. No time for relief yet! I carefully rolled her over to proper orientation. Haddie looked at me with bright, appreciative eyes and got up on her legs with some help.  She stumbled around the stall a bit and settled in the corner in a normal sitting pose.  After being seated for about two minutes, she got back up and walked around almost like normal.  I separated Haddie from the other does and examined her all over for injuries, but found none. I checked her eyelids and mucous membranes. These surprised me with being very pale, indicating anemia, usually due to a heavy worm-load.  We just wormed the herd earlier in the month and Haddie showed no signs of anemia then, so it was strange that her eyes should be so white now. I called Sonja to let her know what was happening. She suggested all the same things I had already done; check for signs of injury, check eyelids, look for possible causes of trauma in the stall. We decided to treat Haddie for worms again. It wouldn't hurt and was the most probably cause of the pale eyelids. I gave her a shot of Ivomec to treat for worms, and one of B12 to help boost her energy level. Her behavior had returned to nearly normal in the 15 minutes I was with her. I decided to offer some fresh water and grain. She shoved the other does out of the way with gusto and dashed for the grain bucket, tail wagging.

Sonja and Haddie hiking March 2013
"What on Earth happened?" Finding her in such a strange position puzzled me. My best guess was that Jane or one of the other does may have rammed her and knocked the wind out of her. She is the smallest of the does, so it would not be unheard of that the others were establishing their dominance. Or, perhaps she slipped off the wood stumps in the stall that the goats play upon? I cannot say for certainty. But, since I gave her what medicine I thought would be helpful and she was behaving normally and resting comfortably, I left to pick up Sonja, intent on grabbing some fresh spinach greens while I was out. (Spinach is a rich source of iron, which is useful to support anemic goats while they recover.)

We watched Haddie closely over the weekend. Haddie seems like she's doing well now, but we will keep treating her for worms and anemia for the next couple of weeks or until she gets some color back. We still have no idea what caused her to cry out so or to collapse, but in a way, it was a blessing. We check our goats regularly, but having just wormed the lot and without a history of paleness, warranting our keeping a closer eye on her than normal, Haddie might have indeed been in dire trouble before her next scheduled check up.

Trust your instincts, friends.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Minute in the Goat Kids' Stall

Do not be fooled. He is plotting his next escape!
Fenn broke his new tie out leash this morning. I attached the clip to his collar and he ran full speed to the end of his line. It snapped and he kept running down the driveway with it trailing behind him. I called Molly back into the house before she got the idea to follow our resident escape artist in his adventures. Then, I called Sean to inform him that his dog was running up the middle of the road, heading towards him. It must be Thursday.

Sean left work to spend the next hour driving around, getting close to Fenn, but unable to coax, coerce, trick, bribe, or run down his dog. Then, Sean and I spent the next hour trailing him from neighbor's yard to neighbor's yard. At 10 am, exhausted, freezing cold, and no closer to catching Houdini, (who entered the woods and was no longer in sight) Sean called our animal control officer, Daniel, to inform him of the trouble and went ahead to work. We worry about Fenn being loose, of course, but we cannot risk Sean losing his job to chase down our dog.

We tagged out to warm up. Kristen and Meaghan began foot patrol searching for Fenn. While they were out looking two different neighbors called in with sightings, but they were unable to get close to catching him, either. Around 11, the girls returned wet, cold and unhappy and without Fenn. As the morning waned, we had sightings reported of him being in one yard or another through the early afternoon, but no one could coax Fenn into stopping long enough to catch the wretched beast. Eventually he would tire of his game and if history is any indication, would present himself to be captured and returned home.

Around 2 pm, Meaghan caught sight of Fenn trotting up the driveway towards our front steps.

"Mom! Fenn is in the yard!" Meg called from the family room.

"Go open the door and call him. Maybe he'll come." I replied. Fenn beat Meaghan to the door and was whining to be let inside when she got there. My elation for Sean's dog's return was short lived as he ran inside covered with mud on all four paws and undercarriage... Right across my newly washed kitchen floor. He made a bee-line for my bed, but was prevented by Kristen's quick thinking to close my bedroom door. She grabbed his collar and dragged him into the bathroom to clean him off while I re-washed the floors and called Sean to let him know of Fenn's return and concurrent affront to my efforts to maintain a clean home.

Fenn spent the rest of the afternoon ridding himself of whatever he ate in his travels which disagreed with him. Though he spent the whole day outside, he left a HUGE, disgusting and smelly present for us in the front room. Probably the reason he came home- come to think of it! And, if that wasn't bad enough, he managed to get inside my room and vomit on my comforter just before bed time. There are days I enjoy having dogs and days.... well, let's just leave it there...

At least, the goats and their kids are behaving well. I spent a little time with them which helped sooth my ruffled feathers. In case you are in need of some soothing yourself, I'll share:

Thanks for stopping by for a visit, friends. We're glad you're here. :)
~Sonja ♥

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Coats My Goats

Father Time has declared that it is officially spring. Unfortunately, no one has passed that message on to Mother Nature. We are expecting another snow fall this Wednesday and between now and then, our forecast calls for evening temperatures to be near zero each night. Can I just get on the band wagon calling for winter's demise? I am so over this. I cannot tell you just how much this is so. I am ready for planting and clean up. Bring on Spring; I promise no complaints about the mud or black flies that accompany it from this quarter.

I have written of my concern for the animals tucked up in the barn. Winter is hard for everyone, particularly so for the small and young or old and frail. We have had our share of losses this year. Though I will always worry; it's genetic~ my concern has been alleviated somewhat by the kindness of a stranger. You know what a stranger in Maine is, right? Around here, that's just a friend we haven't met yet.

About a week ago, I saw a post offering goat sweaters on Caprine Capers from Cheryl Magee of New York. I immediately sent a message to Ms. Magee detailing my interest in them for our kids. Within just a couple days, a package arrived and inside were no less than EIGHT hand-knit and/or crocheted sweaters in a bright array of colors for our kids. Remember, Ms. Magee and I have never met. Out of the goodness of her heart, she sent us this gift. This life can be so hard~ back-breaking, heart-achingly difficult. It is not for everyone, to be sure. But, it is also so filled with blessings and moments like these. Moments that show that in this fast-paced, dog eat dog world, there is still kindness, goodness and love to be found.

I am so grateful for these goat coats for our littles. Thank you, Ms. Magee from the bottom of our hearts.

~ Sean and Sonja Twombly and ALL the Lally Broch Farm Goat Kids

Monday, March 17, 2014

Garden Planning 2014

Sometimes things fall into place.

Sean and I have talked a lot about what this year's busy schedule is going to mean for us; time spent in our ministry, time spent with our children, time to share with extended family, time for caring for farm needs, time creating products, time at markets and craft events, time to sleep if we get everything else cared for. Time is one commodity that is always on our minds. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. I suppose we are not alone in this. Regardless of your pursuits in life, your desires or focus, time is a commodity high in demand and seemingly low in supply. Mindful of our responsibilities, Sean and I are trying very hard to spend our time wisely. We've decided that some things can be delegated or hired out so that we can focus on the people and animals that require US without burning the candle at both ends, so to speak.

Last year, we approached a local green house owner to see could we pay her to begin some of our seeds for us? Her greenhouse was full and it was just not possible for her to do it. We started our own seeds and used some of our time to nurture them into seedlings. It was an enjoyable usage of our time, planting seeds and watching them grow into plants. But, let's be candid. The seeds we plant couldn't care less who waters them and makes sure they are getting the right amount of sun, water, and food so long as someone is. 

This year, by chance, we met Cameron Depaolo of Depaolo Succulents at the Krafty Flea in Bangor. Cameron grows some of the healthiest plants I have ever seen. I seized the opportunity to talk with him to gauge his interest in using some of his greenhouse space to start some of our seeds for us this year. Some seeds will be direct planted and we'll care for those. The direct planted seeds have an asterisk beside them in the list below. To satisfy this year's CSA plans, Sean and I have calculated that we need to grow this many plants in our vegetable gardens:

* 60 Bean plants
* 60 Beet plants
* 20 Broccoli plants
* 400 Carrots
24 Pickling Cucumber plants
12 Straight Cucumber plants
* 2 lb Corn seeds
* 40 Lettuce plants
* 200 Onions
* 200 Pea plants
30 Sweet Pepper plants
18 Hot Pepper plants
* 40 Spinach plants
24 Table Tomato plants
18 Cherry Tomato plants
24 Paste Tomato plants
* 200 Radishes
* 100 Garlic plants
* 30 Kale plants

In addition, we'll have several plantings of basil, mint, sage, thyme, dill, rosemary, lavender, and chives available in our herb garden. Through agreements with local growers, we'll again provide strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, cranberries, apples, and pears in season. 

It will be worth every penny it costs us for Cameron to start some of our seeds so that we can focus on other necessary spring tasks. Through the next few weeks and months, I'll be updating you on the progress, sharing the images Cameron captures.

We have one CSA share still available or two half shares available for the 2014 season. A half share portion for last year included an average of at least ten items each week and looked something like this: 2-3 med tomatoes or a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 head garlic, 1 med zucchini, 1 med summer squash, 2 cucumbers, 1 head lettuce, 10 oz kale, 1 pound carrots, 8 oz broccoli, 12 oz peas, 2-3 onions or bunching onions, 10 oz string beans, 6-8 radishes, 2 sweet peppers, 2-3 hot peppers, a pint of blueberries, strawberries, stalks of rhubarb, or other seasonal fruit and an assortment of herbs. The cost for a half share is $250 for the season (averages to less than $20 per week). A full share provides you with twice as much produce as the half share and should comfortably feed an average family of four. The cost for a full CSA share is $450 for the season (averages to less than $36 per week).

If you are interested in participating, please contact Sonja at 207-323-4982 for more information. 2014 Enrollment forms can be downloaded HERE. A deposit in the amount of $125 is due at the time of enrollment for either share. For a half share, the full payment is due before May 31st. For a full share the payment schedule is: $125 down payment, $125 due April 31st, $100 due May 31st, final payment $100 due June 31st.

Though the weather outside is howling and very, very cold. I am dreaming of fine spring weather and the garden planting to come. If you grow a garden, what are you most looking forward to growing this year? If you participate in a CSA, what has been your experience?

Thanks for visiting today, friends. We're sure glad you are here.
~Sean and Sonja ♥

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Remembering Llamas

Sean and Justin left this morning before chore time to help a neighbor get her car out of her yard so that a plow truck, commerical snow plow, or a miracle sent from above can remove the ice encrusted snow from her drive way. I am exaggerating a little, but not by much. Those boys have their work cut out for them. At least, we are hoping to climb back into the 40's today. That should help.

I should get out of bed and begin getting some things done around the house. But, it is early and the house is empty and quiet. Molly is snoring softly in my ear, head sharing my pillow, warm body curled in the crook of my arm. I am comfortable. I am also awake.

I don't know if it the excitement of possibly getting our Emus this spring and the worry that we might have a repeat of our bad llama experience, but for some reason, this morning I woke with thoughts of Dilly in my mind. Do you remember Dilly and the week we had a llama living at Lally Broch?

This is what we were looking for. Look how sweet this llama from Fiber Fields Alpaca Farm is! Unfortunately, sweet was not our experience.

Sean was on the radio program Bob & Sheri a while ago telling them all about his near death experience. Take a listen:

If you are interested in hearing more about Dilly, you'll want to read these posts:
Our First Morning with Dilly  and A Dilly of a De-LlamaOur research has been more extensive this time around. Our knowledge of caring for feathered animals has increased, too. We are looking forward to adding emus to our farm this spring and hope that our dream comes to fruition. But, whatever happens, we'll be sure to share the story with you all.

Rain in the forecast today means it will be warm enough to clean out some stalls before the temperatures dip back to 0* on Monday. C'mon, Spring! It's time to awaken!

Stay safe and warm today, friends. Thanks for stopping by.
~Sonja ♥