Year End Summary

December 28th, 2011

We finished 2011 with some highs and some lows.

Highs - We’ve had more satisfied customers this year than ever before. We will finish the year with 42 groups or families having stayed with us. Overall, based upon days, we had a 55% occupancy rate. Our months of July and November were almost completely full. Our average group size is 8 people, and our average stay is 3 nights. (Can you tell that I am a statistician??) We’ve had some really great people come to stay with us, and have shared the farm with a lot of people. Those who choose to come see the farm are about half of the people who stay. All in all, we’ve been really pleased with how happy people are at the house. We’re hoping for another successful year in 2012.

Lows - We did have one unhappy family stay with us. At this point I think they were unhappy because they expected our Holmes County Amish country to be more like Lancaster County PA. Maybe they didn’t expect us to have such a rural farm location in the center of Ohio? We tend to think that most people who come to stay with us are satisfied with the house, and the location and occasional wildlife they see. Afterall, we do advertise that we are a farm and away from it all.

The Pidder-Padder of Little Chicken Feet

August 1st, 2011

We have a whole brood of little banty chochin chickens and they are just the cutest little things. Standing about 8-10 inches high, and coming in pretty colors from black, to buff, to black and white- speckled, they love to be talked to and fed bread. Their preference is that I come sit on the ground with them, and let them eat the bread from my hands. They are so crazy that sometimes they even fly up and land on my head when I sit, and when I run out of bread they pull on my shirt. It is so cute that they are so tame. Every time I walk out the door, I hear this little pidder-pattering sound as they all trot across my porch to come see what I have. They even come toward the car when I pull into the driveway. Cute, cute, cute!

Farm Events

May 17th, 2011

Wishing it would stop raining. The sky is always grey, and overcast. It can be depressing. Then I see the pretty trees, and the flowering dogwoods, and the trillium blooming, and it is ok if it rains.

Cool today, seems like to me it is unseasonably so, but I hope that it will warm up again by the weekend.

The lambs are all out on pasture, growing just like the weeds, but much cuter.

We also have a foal that was recently born to our new Percheron mare Ellie. She’s a great mom, the little stud colt a beauty.

Lambing Season is Upon Us

March 28th, 2011

The lambs have been coming in droves…. Not sure exactly what a drove is, but it sounds good anyway. As of yesterday 3/27, we had 59 lambs born. The barn smells very much like sheep, and the lambs are doing well, becoming more like popcorn every day.

This is the first time in awhile that I have been able to be home during the whole lambing season (thanks to sitting on the bench for work - which is a whole other story), and it is amazing to me to see all the little critters. I have been helping Frank this year with the lambs, which I haven’t done much in past years, and it’s an interesting experience. Each morning while we are out doing feed and water, he finds all the lambs that were born the previous evening, and must tag, weigh and record them. He also must make sure he knows which dam is their mother because that is how we track all of their performance statistics.

This year we’ve had a particular challenge with the little buggers crawling away from their moms and getting lost. That really shouldn’t happen, but sometimes when the lambs are strong they do wander. It becomes a bit interesting to try to figure out which mom they belong to. Not so bad if they’ve already been tagged, but quite a bit of a problem if they haven’t been. They don’t just stand up and say, “that’s my mom over there”.

Frank said yesterday we still have about 20 ewes that have yet to lamb, so we expect another 40 or so babies. Ah, the sounds of spring.

Katahdin Sheep Update

February 28th, 2011

Looks like we’ll be working on getting officially into “breeder” status, as we’ve partnered with a couple of other Katahdin sheep breeders who are working toward proving that worm resistance is hereditary and can be passed down from the sire. We’ve partnered with Mossy Oak Farms of Wooster, and Wade-Jean Farm of Loudonville, and will be doing more advertising and marketing of our sheep. I’ll keep you posted as to how that is going.

Texting at the Weston House with Teenagers

July 4th, 2010

“This is the worst thing in the world that you can do to a teenager!!!!”, said the 17 year old grand daughter of one of our guests when she discovered that there was no cell phone reception at our house a couple of weeks ago. This week, we have 4 teenagers and a single mom staying with us. I mentioned the quote, and immediately all 4 of them pulled phones from their pockets to see if they had reception. For this bunch, luck is with them, they all had service of at least 1 bar - thank goodness that’s enough to text!

I try to tell people that the house is remote - and that they may not get cell service, because even though this is the 21 century, and Ohio is one of the US’s most populace states (in people/sq mile), we don’t always have service at the rental house. We don’t have it at my house either (in fact it’s actually worse than the rental house), so even though Verizon says, “Can you hear me now?”, they haven’t tried that out here apparently.

I did offer to Verizon a few months ago, the opportunity to put up a cell tower on our third farm. They haven’t responded yet. I think I’ll apply again. Stretch the truth a little, and see if I can get them to come out. My neighbor says you just have to complain enough, and they’ll eventually get you service. I’m not sure about that.

For now, my philosophy is that getting out side and enjoying the great outdoors would be a better use of our teenager’s time. I actually think being without the phone while I’m at home is a peaceful break from the modern super-fast world we live in, and I actually hope that Verizon doesn’t get service out here until after my teenager becomes an adult. I think she’ll be a better person for not always having to be connected to people via the phone. She’s now writing to her friends as I write, “WTF is my mother thinking? LoL. TTFN”

Ah the Joys of Rural Ohio Living

June 28th, 2010

You will never believe the conversation going on at our house this morning. First you have to understand that we live in Rural Ohio, where in spite of the fact that it is 2010, we do not get cell phone coverage. We live within 60 miles of the city of Columbus but in such a low population area of Ohio that there aren’t any nearby cell towers. Verizon has the best coverage out here, but we must drive to the top of a hill (about a mile away) to get enough signal to make and receive calls.

Next you need to understand that we have no cable television, nor do we have city water. There are no cables besides the phone cables that run past our house - and the phone cables are old, and have static in them sometimes. So we have satellite TV and Internet at our houses if we want to connect with the outside world.

So, last night we had a thunderstorm that didn’t sound all that bad, but took out the power! The power at our house blinks every day - how do I know? Well, daily, I must reset the clocks and the message on the answering machine. Anyway, this morning, we awoke to now power in the house - which means - since we are on a well, that we can’t flush the toilets without power to kick the pump on. Well, you can, once! So, I was laying in bed this morning contemplating my options for using the facilities - when low and behold, the power comes back on.

In a rare burst of morning energy - I jumped out of bed, and said, “Does that mean I can flush the toilet now?” I said to my husband. “Yes”, he said. Then, after I used the toilet, when I hit the lever and it flushed I said, “That is just AWSOME.” Hummm, funny rural world we live in.

The Superbowl Ad on HomeAway

June 7th, 2010

Home Away from Home advertised on the Superbowl and all heck is breaking loose. The secret is out, and people have been “flocking” to vacation rentals, ours included. Of course, at our place you can really see sheep, cows and horses. You can check us out at www.HomeAway.com/184064 or on VRB).com/233794 or check out our calendar here on this website, under “Availability”. We’ve got a few weekends yet available this year, but they are going fast.

We’re starting some construction work in August - an expansion project as money and time will allow. We hope to make the basement into another large gathering space for scrapbooking or parties. Eventually, if it works out, maybe a separate apartment…. we’ll have to see what the reaction is to that.

What project shall we think of next?

Spring - I hope soon

March 3rd, 2010

We got hit pretty hard this year with snow. Right now there is still snow on the ground, and Frank started separating sheep yesterday for lambing. He’s got them all in little pens, about 4-6 per pen. Makes for more work, but it keeps the sheep gentler when he needs to get in with them for tagging and weighing, and heaven forbid helping! He’s even got so many that they are over flowing the barn into the shed he built on the garage last year. I’m glad we have it. Should be nice for those moms to have fresh air after all the sheep have been in the barn for the last few weeks.

Lambing is coming - the first lambs due about 3/10. Frank says they don’t seem to come early, and we’re hoping the weather will return to something more “normal” while we lamb. Last time we did this in March we lost several babies that just got too cold. Let’s hope we’re better this year, that the weather cooperates, and that the sheep are a bit hardier! Can’t wait to have all the little lambies running around. They’re so adorable.

Snow - in Feburary

February 6th, 2010

The snow just keeps falling and falling. We have about 8 inches so far that came down all in one day yesterday, and we are expecting up to another 4 inches today - although the flakes are way smaller than yesterday.

I am looking forward to going out and hearing the quiet that follows a large snow storm like this, and I am actually glad that we have no guests this weekend, although if we did, they would be able to make it out by Sunday I am sure.

The trees are all covered with snow - not quite as neat looking as after an ice storm, but hopefully less damage to the trees.

It’s a great day to sit by the fire and read… or nap…. Hope the day finds you all cozy!