Tomato Harvest Begins

Todays Harvest

This was today’s harvest. Wowzers! Now admittedly I hadn’t harvested for a few days but still. Tomato time is upon us.

Tomato Weigh In 1
Tomato Weigh In 2
Big Pink Ponderosa
Pepper Weigh In

I’ll add up the totals in a few hours or so but here’s the raw numbers for those who count along. Time to get making salsas!!

Yellow Copia

Here’s a bonus shot showing a Copia I took off while green. It’s been ripening up indoors pretty much at pace with the outdoor ones. What a nice color eh! Absolutely awesome. And they taste like gold too. If I wasn’t into farming for my sheep, I’d be in it for the tomatoes.

I Love WordPress, aka How I Make Sites

It’s about time for a blog post that has nothing to do with farming! And even then that’s a bit of a lie.

Today I’m going to talk a bit about how I administrate my websites nowadays and how that has changed over the past decade and a half.

This blog, my HPRF siteĀ  and my yarn blog all run on a content management system called WordPress. What is a CMS? It’s a tool that lets you manage the content apart from the visual display and functionality of the website. A good analogy would be to think of the way a pressroom works. Each writer works on the content of their story and hands it off to the editor, who wraps it up in the newspaper’s theme and presents it as one whole work.

This simple concept has changed the way I’ve chosen to develop websites.

I was a relatively early adopter of HTML given that I was like 8 at the time. Back in those days content and presentation were one and the same, you had one file with both things and to change one you could potentially mess up the other. Jump forward five years or so and while the adoption of the internet increased you still had one webmaster who was responsible for combining content and presentation. It was taxing work.

Nowadays though, with the adoption of the internet and blogging and social media in general, people are more confident with their abilities to create and manage the content. But it’s still a great idea to keep the presentation separated off in its own area, that way it can be changed independent of the content and vice versa.

Combine this concept with the open-source movement and you get a project like WordPress. Here’s another analogy for you, making a website with WordPress is a bit like going to a Build-a-bear store and making your custom stuffed animal. There are shelves of themes, tweaks, and plugins for you to modify your site with, and in the end you will end up with a website suited to your liking. As a designer I love this because I hate reinventing the wheel. If I want to integrate my Flickr pictures, I can simply install a Flickr plugin, authenticate the plugin with the Flickr site itself, and bam it’s done. Now with one click I can insert a picture from my Flickr account. The ease of plugins like this lets me as an admin improve my site constantly to end up with a great user experience.

This is what the screen looks like for writing a post on my blogs and sites. You can see I have my Flickr pictures loaded in below and clicking on them puts it right into the post!

And thankfully my skills as a coder and designer are not for naught. While there are tons of themes available for free and for money, having HTML and CSS skills lets you create and modify themes on your own. So I can still build you the exact site you want if you started out with a sketch, it will simply be powered by WordPress underneath, which lets you come in and put your content whenever and wherever you want.

Speaking of which, I have some time nowadays so if you’d like to have a website created or know of someone who does, give me a shout! From little personal family blog to serious money-making websites I can do them all for you.

In the coming days I’ll be posting more posts here about my WordPress love, such as listing out some of my most valued plugins and tweaks.

Lamb Clones?

The two lambs I brought home recently might look familiar to you. I promise I have not cloned them though. They just happened to come out like this!


Peebs at 3 months

Top: WillowGarden Sudbury (sire: North Wind Holiday, dam: WillowGarden Absolut)
Bottom: HappyPanda Power Blaster (sire: Ewenique Franklin, dam: WillowGarden Ginger Rogers)

Sudbury has nicer poised and thicker horns and a brighter expression. Peebs is a little chunky boy with a laid-back look with wide set eyes. Peebs is very friendly (I admit most likely too much so, but nowhere near as dangerous as his dad) whereas Sudbury is cautious. They have differences in their fleeces but both are that unique soft short Shetland fleece. Sudbury has a loftier and softer fleece, Peebs has a tighter dense fleece.



Top: WillowGarden Nepean (sire: Wintertime Red Velvet, dam Spring Water Eve)
Bottom: RuisDair Keelin (sire: WillowGarden Garnish, dam: Hopeful Maria)

Sorry for the lighting in the second picture, it throws off her color a bit. Keelin is a shade or two lighter than Nepean. Keelin also has larger brown stripes between her eyes. Both are deliciously soft and gorgeously tempered. I have no plans to breed these girls this year because I want them to spend their first year growing themselves instead of also growing a baby – that way their future babies will be stronger and better off. Just like with strawberries!

Shetland sheep are one variety which has so much variation in its colors and patternings. You see, most breeds of sheep were pushed to be one color only so that it was easier to process their fleeces. That color was commonly white because it could be dyed into any other color. Shetlands though have 11 main colors and each lamb can be solid or have various patternings in their fleece as well as face markings. I have a theory that because of these differences you can tell each sheep apart from one another, thus it’s easier to give them names and form closer bonds compared to say a flock of Merinos that look very much the same.

I’ve joined a new community built by the Derivas family called Barnyards and Backyards. It’s the first blog where I am a supporting writer instead of the webmaster and administrator as I often am, and my first post was about of course my precious Shetlands. I introduce the breed to folks who haven’t heard of them, detail why exactly I believe they are an ideal animal for the newbie or oldbie alike. Best of all I’ve illustrated it with my photos! Here’s the link to the article.