Friday, February 27, 2015

Beavers and Their Dam Activity at the Farm!

Hello out there to our fellow winter weather warriors, we hope that everyone is keeping warm and safe! Curl up with a hot cup of something (tea perhaps?) and read about this exciting discovery here at the farm!

Flora was not the only thing we observed while we were hiking the proposed nature trail recently, there was also sign of fauna in the form of freshly sharpened tree stubs and shaved branches from a skilled whittler. It quickly became apparent that beavers are settling into the creek near the old dam that once powered the mill! We were very excited to discover these fascinating mammals starting to build their home and will be eager to watch the progress. Although beavers are thought to be nuisances by many, their alterations of a habitat is natural and creates diversity and ecosystem enrichment found nowhere else. 

And so it is, beavers are building a dam near the historic man-made dam. Irony? Coincidence? We'll leave it to the beavers!

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nature and History Collide!

Marble we found near the trail
This week at Mountain Hollow Farm we embraced our inner nature geek and talked trail building with one of the fine educators at Lincoln Memorial University, Dr. Katie Benson. We are very excited to start the process of establishing a nature trail at the farm. Once completed, it will follow the creek to the dam then climb the mountain a bit to an old logging road and loop back to the beginning. It will be a wonderful opportunity for visitors to see rare and beautiful flora that is exclusive to the farm’s ecosystem!

A very interesting gall
Some of the flora we observed (even in winter!) on our hike with Dr. Benson was Walking Fern, Liverwort, Running Cedar, and Climbing Fern. We also observed several galls - an abnormal plant growth caused by insects feeding or laying eggs on a plant - a neat phenomenon that most everyone has probably seen without knowing! But the trail’s most spectacular beauties emerge in the spring, the wildflowers! 

A unique aspect of the trail is that it used to be the mill race that ran from the dam to the old grist mill and sawmill that were once here at the farm. Visitors will be welcome to take photos as they walk along the scenic creek side and will also be able to take part in history as they stand on the trail that was once an operating mill. We are very happy and grateful to continue a partnership with Lincoln Memorial University and look forward to working with Dr. Benson and her students over the coming year to establish our trail system. Check out our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter to track our progress.
Liverwort
(The leaves look like reptile skin)
Climbing Fern (Lygodium palmatum)





Running Ground Cedar (Diphasiastrum digitatum)
                                                                             


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Farm Chore du Jour: Doorknob Repair

This morning I found the doorknob on the store broken. Since Brett was a work, Sarah and I decided to try to fix it ourselves. After all, we needed customers to be able to enter the store.
 
Peeking through the hole in the door after we removed the doorknob.

You may be thinking that doorknob repair isn’t really a farm chore. That is true. However, when you own a farm, you have to be a handyman (or handywoman in this case) or you’ll go broke hiring people to fix all the things that go wrong on a farm.
The insides of a doorknob

Neither Sarah nor I had ever fixed a doorknob before, so we weren’t aware that the springs inside would cause pieces to fly out when we took it off the door. We nearly lost a couple of critical parts. It was a lot like doing a jigsaw puzzle to get it back together. Then we found the cause of the breakage in the hole that the doorknob fits in… two loose screws.

Between the wacky weather we’ve been having and the fact that the building is 83 years old, I guess they wiggled their way out of their intended places. There was no sign of vandalism.  

Thankfully, we had enough mechanical ability between the two of us to be able to put it all back together before our first customer arrived.

Success!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Never Thought We'd Do That!

This is the first installment of the new MHF blog category "Never Thought We'd Do That". You see, since we moved to the farm 5 years ago, there have been many things we've done that we never imagined we'd have (or want) to do. I thought it would be fun to start sharing those things with you.

Today, Brett cleaned our chimney for the first time. It took 3 tries moving the ladder to different areas around the house until we found a spot that he could (somewhat safely) climb atop the roof and get to the chimney.  But alas, he had success!

After cleaning the chimney from the top, he unscrewed the bottom of the chimney pipe behind the wood stove and cleaned out the debris.

We purchased a chimney cleaning brush and poles at Lowe's last winter. The poles come in 4 foot sections that screw together and the brush screws on the end. I think the whole package cost us about $70 - less than it would cost to have our chimney cleaned one time.

It's a messy job, but it only took about an hour. Now our chimney is clean and safe for another season of warm crackling fires.
 
Debris from the chimney

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Llamas, Goats & Jesus?

I just closed the store for the day, put another log on the fire and sat down to watch Sense & Sensibility while I work on our 2013 marketing plan. Sounds like a fun Saturday night, huh? Lest I sound like too much of a bore, last night was fun.

We took a llama and 3 goats to Clear Creek Bible College for their live nativity. No, there was no llama at the birth of Jesus. Llamas are indigineous to South America, not the Middle East. However, it is hard to find a camel in this area, so our llamas "stand in" occasionally. No one seemed to mind. Beatrice was the hit of the evening, but she stood still and quiet during the presentation so as not to steal the show from Jesus.
A Shepherd with the goats & llama, Beatrice

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How We Name Our Goats


Recently, we decided to start giving our new goats biblical names. This year we gave our goats names beginning with the letter “A”; next year we’ll do “B” and continue going on down the alphabet.

Since Violet was the first of our goats to give birth this year, we named her silver baby boy Adam – the first man. Mocha had two boys – Asher (silver) and Abed-nego (black). Eleanor was our only goat to give birth to two beautiful baby girls named Abigail (black) and Anna (silver).

Here are pictures of our new healthy kids. 

Adam and his mother Violet

Abed-nego (black) and Asher (silver)

Abigail (black) and Anna (silver) with their mother Eleanor


Friday, June 1, 2012

The Pavilion is Finished!!!


Yay! We’re so excited to see that our new addition to the farm has been completed. We started building the pavilion in the beginning of April and finished it on May 8th. Now we have a nice shaded area for tours and birthday parties complete with lights and fans for those hot summer days and nights.

Here are photos of the progress from start to finish.