March 25, 2014

Thank a Farmer Today!

March 9, 2014

PG or not PG - That is the Question

Buttermilk and the Girls. South of the Gnat Line. Copyright 2014

When I was a little girl, I was often scolded for pointing - especially when I observed a woman who was preggers.  My mother would just about die a thousand deaths, grab my index finger and lecture me with, "Young ladies do *NOT* point!" 

Since I am an only child (and a curious one), you can well imagine my fascination with other families who had children and their Momma was expecting [again].  My mother told me many times that when she was growing up, Nana called it being "PG" (almost in a whisper). That when any woman was "PG" she did not go out of the house after she was showing. Wide-eyed, I imagined the word pregnant - and it's condition - was something that existed in the realm of scandalous.

Fast forward to Chapter 50+ and my now life with sheep.

Last March, we acquired our first official flock of sheep (ewes).  This does not include Buttermilk; Buttermilk is my bottle baby who came home with me in November of 2012 just hours after he was born and found abandoned in the barn of his birth.  He's just my pet sheep - er, third born. (Shhhh. Please don't tell him - not only does he believe I'm his Momma, he believes he is an Ovine stud.)

Where was I?

The ewes. Right.

We borrowed a ram and hoped to successfully breed our ewes for what we have planned to be our first lambing season this Spring.  This was to be our first ever attempt at animal husbandry.

The ram arrived at the end of October.  The ram had an extended stay with the girls.  The ram departed the Dirt Road Farm in January.

It is now March.

I readily admit, I am an anxious sheep owner. Since no one bore witness to the actual "husbandry act", not only am I pondering in my head, "Did the visiting ram do his job..." I managed to reinstate my childhood bad habit: the one of pointing.  I've also been reduced to bribing them with treats so I can rub and feel their tummies - thumping them like a watermelon.  I stand and stare looking for any change in their milk stations; I even squat and crawl on all fours to try and see up underneath them for any evidence of "PG".

I've read the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book for all things Sheep and oddly enough, there are no hints or real time information on how to know if a ewe is preggers until the lamb is basically falling out of her backside.

There's a tell-tale sign.

Since I prefer a little more heads up and "the sheep book" was of zero help, I moved on to Google where all modern-day farmer wannabes get their most up-to-date and reliable information. I must have typed forty different search versions of "How do I know if my sheep are pregnant?" Apparently, Al Gore's internet doesn't have much pregnant sheep experience or at least no one is sharing the scandalous details online. I considered searching: "How do I know that the man-ram did his job?" But I gave up instead.

As we eagerly await the first day of Spring - having survived Snowpocalypse, the ice storm that followed taking our power for some days along with it, the Valentine's Day earthquake and the on-again, off-again cold/warm days of early March, I find myself in the pasture continuing to point my index finger, now having added squatting and staring to the mix. While I have only their best interests at heart, the girls are not real big on my efforts. They all glare at me and look as if they would love to collectively scold me as my Mother often had to.

Patience, while a virtue, is not my strongest personality trait. (sigh)  However, I have no choice but to wait for Spring's official arrival and see in the weeks ahead if, in fact, the man-ram performed his gallant duty and the girls will be gifting us with our first lambing season.

South of the Gnat Line
Copyright  © 2014
All Rights Reserved.

February 24, 2014

Daffodils: First Sign of Spring


While less than a month away, March 20th seems only visible in the distant view of a collapsing telescope in the grimy hands of a pirate. But nothing shouts, "Spring is almost here!!!" like daffodils blooming.

Given our recent winter weather and ice storm - they are such an uplifting sight to see!

Some years back on a neighboring dirt road not too far from our own, I discovered daffodils left behind from a family farm long forgotten. The old home place no longer remains - but the annual blooming of the faithful daffodils appear year after year as if to remind us of Spring's annual return and for us to always keep hope that life cycles around to all things beautiful.

No matter how many times I make my way back to this secret spot, it never fails to surprise me. Dirt road riding is well worth the breath-taking view of thousands and thousands of daffodils.

February 21, 2014

Upcoming Backroads Events!

If you want to experience the Real South, you'll want to make plans to attend one or all of these small town festivals and events.  Spring is almost here, the weather has been calling us out to play, and the greater Augusta, Georgia region has a vast amount of geography to explore (known locally as the CSRA).

The local organizers will greatly appreciate your attendance and support as proceeds from these events largely support the hosting communities.

Be sure to follow South of the Gnat Line on Facebook, Twitter and find more backroads discoveries with SGL's little spot on the Augusta Chronicle blogs as well.

February 4, 2014

Map Skills Required

Stay away from this detour!

Can't help but love the Ziglar!

January 30, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

DSC_0083DSC_0080 2DSC_0077DSC_0109DSC_0108DSC_0104

Snowpocalypse 2014, a set on Flickr.

Despite my having to serve Crow Casserole over my disbelief of a "snow-slam" - I enjoyed the 24 plus hours of scenery and wanted to share this year's snow that arrived here at the Dirt Road Farm.

January 27, 2014

Meteors Are Falling From the Sky

February 13, 2010 - Dixie, Granny Rox & Mildred during the last snow
here at the Dirt Road Farm!

They may as well be.

Fewer things strike fear and stupidity into the hearts and neurotransmitters of Southerners than that dreaded winter forecast that screams out the "S-word."

Do I  need to spell it out for you?


There. I said it.

It's a weather expletive in my giant book of all words bad.

All Southern children love it because the very moment the word develops into a minuscule whisper, the schools will send the kids home early and just up and close for the remainder of the week.

And as if we need one more thing for the balance of our countrymen to poke fun of us over, this time seems to be no exception.

By 4 o'clock this afternoon, all the local schools in the 6 county area had announced school closures for the next 3 days. (Parents, I shall commence praying….)

My Facebook and Twitter feeds are shrieking the "S-word" - one after another.

Dare I imagine the milk and bread isles at our little IGA?

Photo By L. A. Jenkins
This photo was taken at the Wal-Mart in Grovetown, Georgia at 7 p.m.
I. Kid. You. Not.

And if it really does snow followed by the usual community shut-down, we could easily experience a population explosion by October! (can you spell 'scandalous' ?)

Stranger things: it was 65 degrees on the front porch this morning while I drank my coffee, rocked in my rocking chair and blinked my eyes open while the sun warmed my face.

So in the next 24 hour window of time, I'm fully expected to believe that up to 4 inches of snow will arrive here at the Dirt Road Farm to greet me first thing in the morning… 

That ain't even funny.

At. all.

Y'all know I don't do mornings.

And now I just broke my "ain't rule"…what's this coming to?

Sounds like I need to be more cautious when citing the Dirt Road Snow Globe for matters of geography.

While I shudder at the thought of snowfall, it's not that I am anti-snow fun.  I watch the Winter X-Games and plan to watch the Winter Olympics.  I'm a fan of Carrot Top, er wait,  Shaun White!  If I want to see and experience snow, I am fully capable of traveling to the snow regions UP in the NORTH - the Northern territory that is.

But this is the ever-loving Deep South, People.  We simply don't. do. snow!

And besides, snow was not in Gone With the Wind.

Therefore, snow is a myth.

A diva named Scarlett said so.

South of the Gnat Line
Copyright  © 2014
All Rights Reserved.

December 4, 2013

21st Century Dirt Road Math


365 days x 1 year ago today = 0 Door Mats