Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wadena Tornado.......

Here is a slide show of the destruction and of the crews helping the people of Wadena.   This storm went through last Thursday, June 17.  I'm not sure if any of you have seen this but thought I'd share because Wadena is very familiar to many of us :)
I got the chills, such heartache

Take a look and Count Your Blessings: 
P.S. Turn the sound up

I'm impatiently waiting to make ewe pick up trips, concern this--

They called them crazy when they started out 
Seventeen is too young to know what loves about
they've been together 58 years now, that's c---r---a---z---y!
He brought home 68 bucks a week,
he bought a little two bedroom house on Maple Street
Where she blessed him with 6 more mouths to feed, that's c---r---a---z---y!
Just ask him how he did it, he'll say pull up a seat,
it'll only take a minute to tell you everything,
Be a best friend, and tell the truth, and overuse I love you.
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense,
never let your praying knees get lazy, never be to old to call her b---a----b---y,
and love like c---r---a---z---y!
Good advice
Lyrics from Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice

Till later


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Marooned!! And new perspective

My wife Paula is visiting her cousins in Idaho for a week, So I am baching it. I do OK,,,,,house is still clean!  Last night I send out some emails, watched a tv show, came back to check my email. The monitor wouldn't come out of sleep mode--just a black screen. So I shut down and restarted....still no screen.
I called our son Darren--computer whiz--- he stopped by. He checked out everything and said he thought it was the monitor. He would take it home and check it.  He called later that evening, monitor is shot!
Last night, after Darren took the monitor home, I would catch myself walked over to check my email.....I felt marooned. You can take away my postal service but not my email. (and yes my daughter works for the USPS-- so relax everyone) This morning Darren took me to town and we got a new monitor, so I am back!

My! how far we have come. Computers to surf the net and get emails. Don't know about something look it up--the world at our finger tips.  A cell phone in our pocket so we always have it handy. I remember back when I was a kid. We lived on a farm and had "party line" service. Three people on one line.......three short rings Its for us! Neighbors could eavesdrop on our conversations.

I was raised on a farm. A strong German extended family. We were careful with our money. Last winter my mom told me something.........to put our own kids actions in perspective. My parents were married at 18 and 19. I was born 9 months after the wedding. They had nothing. Worked hard for the security and property they have. Mom told me that in 1956, I was a year old,,,,,,,,,,remember they had nothing, they bought a brand new car!! I was dumbfounded- really,,,my conservative mom. 1956 Chevy Belaire, mom said with a smile Linden green and crocus yellow. I said you did?? Mom said "yes, two kids with a baby without a pot to___ in nor a window to throw it out of...but we have a new car. I know both of our parents were shocked." To me it seems so out of character. So everything time our three adult kids do something we wouldn't do or do a different way........ I say remember my mom's first new car!  I browse around the internet last winter and found it. Here is what my parent's first car---brand new!  looked like

Till later

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wet and Gloomy

All it seems to do is rain! We had a clear day and it was so humid, we stayed inside. AC is great!
The sheep are doing well. Bella's twins are monsters!Yes they are pure Shetland. The pasture is lush and they are hand fed a bit of grain AM and PM. And mom Bella is a great milker and large herself. May is putting everything into milk. Her twins are gaining fast.

The June grass in my pasture went to seed. With the wind and rain the seed shelled out.  All the moisture the June grass didn't go dormant but is sending out new growth. There will be plenty of pasture till late fall.

Till Later

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lost, wandering, afraid and very hungry!

Three days ago, our son Darren stopped by at noon to visit and we made pancakes. As he is walking up from the garage, out of the flowers comes a friendly, rub on his pant leg kitten! Not ours. All we have is a tan Siamese half wild cat( a kitten that was taming down and then momma cat moved her to the woods) Back to the new kitten. She is black/brown with faint pale orange mixed in. Darren brought her in. We fed her, played with her and I took to the barn. At chores time she was there for more food. She has make a nest for herself in the lamb creep. Just darling. Our Granddaughter Nessie has named her "Midnight"  We love cats. so a drop off is fine.  But what if we had been gone for a few days, the poor thing would have starved and been very lost. Too nice a kitten to abandon along the road to the elements........she had to wander her way 200 feet to our garage. So here is Midnight........not real big but a survivor and full of life
Yesterday we got wind and rain. A tornado was sighted 6 miles north of us, no damage. Two tornadoes hit the small town of Almora - 30 miles north of us.......several homes destroyed and an elderly couple escaped their collapsed home and took refuge in a road ditch. When found the  wife was dead and the husband died on the way to the hospital. Another tornado hit Wadena 40 miles to the north.......wiped out a few farmsteads, destroyed homes and damaged the high school.
(shudder) 'nough of that.
I will leave you with something inspiring. Taken by a friend standing on the Washington coast looking out at the isles of the Pungent Sound.

Till later


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well Laid Plans-----------

Ideal hatchery had January Special Pricing on Ameraucana chicks. I ordered 25 st run. They hatched on Jan 21 and arrived Jan 22nd on a warmer day, all hale and hearty. With the roosters gone, I ended up with 8 large colorful pullets. I have four 3 month old pullets in the group as well--- from our own hatch. I have 2 raising pens that I have to walk through the first one to get to the second. I put them in the first pen so walking among them twice a day,  they are fairly tame. Two weeks ago, a neighbor wanted to buy my older hens. I agreed to sell them with picked up on July 15. I thought by then my pullets should be laying as they soon will be 5 months old. Here's today's picture of my pullets

Yesterday I cleaned out their coop and put down fresh bedding--part of a bale of wire grass that no
respectable sheep will eat nor would I give them such hay. The last bale that ___ stuff. Only good hay for my sheep!

This morning I open the coop door and I find this................
A pullet egg. I photographed it with an adult hen's egg. Good size for the first egg, Now there are
Ameraucana breeders that only raise the best and get blue eggs. They scoff at the mutts that hatcheries sell as they are not to color standard ( I like the variety) and they lay olive green eggs.
Well in the picture above I tried to capture the sky blue color of the pullet egg.  My Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers --call them what you well. But they laid extremely well and are chipper on the coldest winter days.

I get asked what do you feed? I made a wooden feeder that the hens do not waste the crumbles. They can't scratch in out. Fleet Farm Meat maker 18% to all. Why buy Laying mash at 16% and the price is the same? They get cooked rice AM, I bake cornbread for PM, when confined I give them pulled grass dirt and all. Oyster shell, red grit and fresh water. In winter my sheep tub has a heater in the bottom and keep the water at 40 degrees (no change in the light bill) and no more lugging out frozen tubs. I read that sheep with a warm water source drink more....and that's a good thing. I drip out a pail out of the sheep tub so the chickens get warm water too.
Over the top, perhaps, but why not?
My grandpa told me "If you are going to have livestock, give them the best treatment, clean pens, good pastures and don't skimp of the feed either" "If you think your pasture will carry 20 only put 12 out there." He was right. My stock looks nice, is well feed and tame. A pleasure to be among.

Till Later


Monday, June 14, 2010

A Sliver of Sunshine!

With all this gloomy weather, everyone wants to see the Sun! Last night the sun broke out as it was
beginning to set. It cast a blaze of light that hit the grass and trees in an explosion of green. My pastures are high- over grown- PC word is "stockpiled" for late use. My ram Einstein is Big, and one spot all you can see is a few inches of his back! Bella her twins-- Tundra and Tulla, May and her new twins can't keep up. But in a few weeks we travel to good friend Gail  for some excellent ewes. My mini flock will grow and there will be plenty of grazing.

I have been reading your Blogs, reading every site I can find on color/pattern genetics and wool type/fineness. I am still a student but I am learning. Gail has been very patient with me, explaining Shetland color. 

In February, Garrett was a gracious host. He patiently caught the ewes I was interested in and I took a pictures. He explained their breeding and performance. He explained his feeding methods. I reserved six younger ewes for July pickup after weaning. It was a great visit. 
Patience is a virtue I have difficulty embracing--I am trying -- but it eludes me. So I am excitedly waiting till the rest of the ewes are here. Once they are settled in, expect lots of flock pictures

Look again at the pasture. Six years ago it was prickly ash brush and thistles. Using no chemicals, my goats to browse it for 5 years, it turned into a park. They stripped the ash and the next Spring I could easily pull out the dead small root. Slowly I have cut the thistles with a small scythe. A secret passed down 4 generations of farming-- Best time to cut is right after a rain or right before a rain. The cut thistle stem can't tolerate water entering it and the plant dies. So the goats cleared the brush, meat goats do not like grass, so the grass formed a nice sod. The last year of the goats, they would wander the pasture in search of browse. Last winter I sold my Reg. Boer goat herd to a new breeder. Now I am acquiring a select few Shetland ewes (no papers- just doing my own thing) for a small flock to enjoy.

Till Later

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Way to go May!!

This morning I fed the sheep a bit of grain.....where's May? Now I have open the pen gate and in she comes. But not today. I walk out the barn door and there they were! May had two strapping lambs, they show their sire a Border Leicester/Icelandic cross. I had a dilemma if May has a nice ewe lamb it will be late in the season, keep it or ship it. Well problem solved both are ram lambs. Lambs were cleaned up but damp and nursing. I put May and family in a maternity pen for a few days. May has a gorgeous udder, held high, large and very milky
Proud momma and her babes
I decided to take pictures of my older lambs Tundra and Tulla. Today they are two months old
They are huge and have gorgeous fleece, soft, good staple and crimp and lots of it.

Maybe my search for a ram lamb has ended, he's right in my barn! Tundra is White covering HST, Ag, moorit and modified.  He is blocky with great length, width, depth and presence.
Well finally some lamb new, May kept me in suspense for weeks!
Till later

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Views/ Randon Thoughts

We have our house sits on a 100 yr old rock pile--yes a very big rock pile. The construction crew started to dig for frost piers......solid rock. So we are on a rise and get good views in every direction. Since there is no new lamb/sheep news to report, I decided to take pictures out our windows. In summer it like we live in a tree house--green everywhere you look.  We are asked why on a hill? As you have to climb up a inclined sidewalk. When visitors get inside they remark "oh wow!" that's why we are up here. The views.  As I age and get less mobile--hopefully years from now!  I will have great views and remember out the back windows I can see my flock grazing. Being retired/disabled,  time is a commodity.......you have to keep the right mix of enough to do--but not over do--- too much free time and boredom can creep in. Why do you think I blog most days? its a way to communicate to you all  and keep my sanity! All the pullets I raised to sell have been sold. Buyers paid $8/for a 2 month old layer pullet! My old hens are spoken for, they leaving mid July. By then my 8 Americana pullets will be laying. I kept four younger pullets 2 Black production pullets and 2 home hatched Americanas.  Enough for the coop
As I get everything to my liking, barn setup works well, garden weeds are under control, bushes and trees are 6 years old and don't require watering, I have 200 bales of 2009 hay- enough for next winter.........so I am all set and have less projects/remodeling/planting to do. I like to stay active so I have to get real inventive with projects and time use.

Patience is not a virtue I fully posses--with the rest of my Shetland ewes not arriving till mid July.....I grow ansty to have them home
..so no adventures planned till then.

Till Later

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Peony, and May

Last night, Bella, her lambs and Einstein came in for grain. No May! So I walked toward the 
pasture door and in waddled May.  Shoot! still no lambs.......every time I go out I listen for new baby cries.
So no lamb pictures today
So I am posting the first of many peony bushes, the first blooms. We have single and double pink, 
sorbet, ruby red........still looking for a deep maroon peony.............hey anyone have one where we are get a start from next fall?
If anyone is cleaning out their garden and borders and has a large healthy clematis that they are just tired of, let me know!

Till Later