Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Memory

My great uncle, "Uncle Ed" would recite this poem at every Christmas program at the Otter Tail Nursing Home. He memorized it in grade school and when in his 80s, he would stand, fiddle with his cane, near blind and recite it in a clear crisp voice. A bit of a ham, when he was done he would recite another poem but that's for another time, this one is my favorite.

Little Breeches by John Hays

I don't go much on religion,
I never ain't had no show;
But I've got a middlin' tight grip, sir,
On the handful o' things I know.
I don't pan out on the prophets
And free-will, and that sort of thing,
But I b'lieve in God and the angels,
Ever sence one night last spring.

I come into town with some turnips,
And my little Gabe come along,
No four-year-old in the county
Could beat him for pretty and strong,
Peart and chipper and sassy,
Always ready to swear and fight,
And I'd larnt him to chaw terbacker
Jest to keep his milk-teeth white.

The snow come down like a blanket
As I passed by Taggart's store;
I went in for a jug of molasses
And left the team at the door.
They scared at something and started,
I heard one little squall,
And hell-to-split over the prairie
Went team, Little Breeches, and all.

Hell-to-split over the prairie!
I was almost froze with skeer;
But we rousted up some torches,
And sarched for 'em far and near.
At last we struck hosses and wagon,
Snowed under a soft white mound,
Upsot, dead beat, but of little Gabe
No hide nor hair was found.

And here all hope soured on me,
Of my fellow-critter's aid,
I jest flopped down on my marrow-bones,
Crotch-deep in the snow, and prayed.
By this, the torches was played out,
And me and Isrul Parr
Went off for some wood to a sheepfold
That he said was somewhar thar.

We found it at last, and a little shed
Where they shut up the lambs at night.
We looked in and seen them huddled thar,
So warm and sleepy and white;
And thar sot Little Breeches and chirped,
As peart as ever you see,
"I want a chaw of terbacker,
And that's what's the matter of me."

How did he git thar? Angels.
He could never have walked in that storm;
They jest scooped down and toted him
To whar it was safe and warm.
And I think that saving a little child,
And fotching him to his own,
Is a derned sight better business
Than loafing around the Throne.

The Best Christmas to you all


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Best of the holidays to you!!

This winter is sure a surprise....48 degrees yesterday! As you can see from the picture we can have Christmas without the white stuff. I have settled into town life. I can and have walked downtown to browse, shop and go to the Public Library..Large print books..I loved to read and have started up again. I read a bit each day till my eyes are tired.... The last two have been murder mysteries. I like a book to grab my attention, so I can't put it down. The other day--- induced by the warm weather I got out the nursery books...........what to plant where. I have a pickup load of perennials and shrubs to bring in from the farm.......but buying a few too......Definitely getting a couple Vanilla Strawberry  Hydrangea shrubs for the front yard

I will stop, as the list could go on and on


Friday, December 2, 2011

Decorating for Christmas

With a very meager box of Christmas decorations and no real room for a tree, I set around with what I had. An old large tree top angel with lights, 2 strings of mini lights and a red/green embroidered stocking. At the Dollar Store I bought some silver and red glittery balls 3/$1, silver garland. I had some red and silver glittery butterflies and two battery operated butterfly candles from LTD........

I chose my pony wall between the kitchen and living room to I set up the angel, strung out the mini I am winding the silver garland through the lights - I thought- I hope these lights work--I keep on with the silver garland- having a little faith. I took white thread and suspended the different poses and heights from the ceiling, the 2 butterfly candles I set by the angel. I personally think it looks rather grand!
Patient and care free holiday decorating to you all

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today In the Mail ~~

They arrived Express Mail from Florida in one day! American Fantail Pair 
A Powder Silver cock
And a Silver hen that carries Powder....

so they will produce several Powder Silvers........

Later I will add the Ash Red gene and get Powder Creams....

Not unlike breeding Shetland sheep......gather the genes and produce all colors!

Till later

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have a Great Thanksgiving!!

Cous Sue is picking me up. I will be enjoying the day with my cousins, aunt and uncle! 28 of us talking, laughing and eating.
Aunt and Uncle 50th wedding anniversary with their family,,,,,,,,my cousins with families...

I am bringing my scalloped corn....not for the calorie counters, 3 can cream corn, 3 cans whole kernel corn, one pack of saltines crushed, 1 stick melted butter, 5 beaten eggs,  1/2 pound cubed Velvetta....I bake it in the corck pot cassarole for 3 hours... when done put it in the crock pot base on lower to keep it warm....its always empty by the end of the day!

Enjoy the day   I am thankful for family!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

All moved In !!

I have been here 11 days. I am all unpacked and everything is out.  Pictures are all hung and my chicken figurines are everywhere.  Its home. Its cozy, handy and I don't put on some many farm house was way too large for just me!  My dau Jess and her husband Dave are enjoying the big house and their 2 large dogs have room to roam. Now they are the land owners and I have a smaller yard to take care of, it all works.

I have been to concerts, plays.......and for the first time since I had to stop working I have a calendar planner! Concerts, birthdays, special events to mark down.........I carry it with me!  I have a camera bag with a long shoulder verison of a  "man purse".  Kleenex, check book, coin purse, cell phone, covered plastic cup to spit in Remember I can't swallow my salvia--- easy on the farm Spit anywhere - Now at a concert one must have a better solution! I was wearing cargo pants with lots of pockets, all that stuff in there, the pants got heavy!

My garden shed, now has two south windows. Its housing 3 pair of pigeons, 4 Silkie hens and Nessie's pet rabbit.  Oh 2 more pair of pigeons are coming in the mail. Pigeons like sheep you can't have just a few! They are such beauties. My four pair Of Old German Owls will have young is all most every color pattern!

Oh there is a fifth pair ---American Fantails.  I used to raise a lot of these. So I got a pair Powder Blue check cock and a Lavender hen  They will produce pastel colors

Winter is trying to start but so far.....40 degree days prevail  I still have to break down 40 or so cardboard boxes stored in the garage, so they can be put on the curb. At a late rummage sale I got a solid old holding table---8 foot long It will become tool bench for the garage.  I need to get it organized so I can find everything.

In my spare time I am browsing through old nursery catalogues  getting ideas. I am putting up my white fence from the farm, incorporating a walk through garden arbor.....with climbing arctic kiwi  yep hardy into zone 3

I found yellow shrub roses just like my Grandma used to have  I will plant some on the back of the lot...I can see them when I am outisde and standing at the kitchen sink window..then all the shrubs I am bringing in from the farm.........making my own garden of eden.........cooing blooming everywhere
You get the idea


Saturday, October 29, 2011

A country boy in town

My new-to-me home has a garden shed......renamed the mini barn. It will house my pair of Lilac Angora rabbits and 2 pair of Old German Owl pigeons. Small animal hobbies to keep me active and  to keep the cobwebs out of my head. My roses love the manure.
Old German owls are very tame and gentle. They are good parents. Their colors are crisp and distinct. I had a large flock years ago. Now a small flock for the fun of watching them. Oh I have 2 lawn chairs that will be in the barn so my granddaughter Nessie and I can sit down to pet rabbits, hold pigeons or just sit and watch them.
Yellow hen

Silver check hen
Red cock
Red check cock

I will keep my Blog just with a new twist-- pigeons, rabbits, shrubs and flowers.
** Definitely the wrong time of year for bunnies, but Bonnie is due shortly after my move. Not counting on a successful litter due to the chilly temps and the move, but Bonnie is an experienced mom so we will see**

"If you are in trouble and are smiling, you have someone in mind to blame"

Till later

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Big Changes

As you know my wife left Easter Monday. Our divorce was final October 10th. The terms are agreeable to both.
I have over worked myself here on my 5 acre hobby farm since my surgery 8 years ago. The farm work was my physical therapy. I recovered as well as I could. Since the Mayo surgery, my limited eye sight prohibits me from having a driver's license. County bus service is sporadic at best. I have visitation of my grandaugther Nessie every other Tues- Wed- Thursday in summer and every third weekend during the school year. My family is very gracious making sure Nessie was delivered and picked up for every viist.  My family, Ness and close cousins all live 40 miles west of here in and near Fergus Falls.
I had a couple health scares. I fainted and banged the back of my head hard. Was unconscious and rushed to the ER.  Recently I bent over to pick up a pail, and not seeing the steel T post in the fence row, received a full force blow to my right only eye that I have some vision. Most of the impact was the bone around the eye socket.  My sight was like when I first went blind 8 years ago, blurred and lights looked like stars. 
I tried to see my eye in the mirror with my strong reading glasses........I couldn't see it,
I called my mother, She came from Fergus and we went to the ER. ER  Doctor put in eye contrast, it revealed an abrasion on my cornea-- the white part of the eye..pupil was OK. Vision should return in 24 hours. I was prescibed an antibiotic eye drop to ward off infection. ER doctor advised me to see an Eye doctor in the morning. Mom stayed overnight, next morning we went to an Eye doctor.  He confirmed the diagnosis. My vision returned in 48 hours, OK now that was scary.  I need the sight I have to live alone  On Monday I have a follow up eye appt. to confirm all is well.

Three weeks ago I sold my beloved Shetland flock.....the entire flock to a great couple from Fargo. They have sheep experience and wanted a smaller sheep. It was an easy sell as all my ewes eat cookies out of my hand..tough day for me.  I sold my extra hay and chickens.With all my family in Fergus, I decided to sell my farm to my daughter Jess and her husdand Dave and move to Fergus Falls. They were thrilled to buy dad's farm. I feel like all my hard work is appreciated by Jess and Dave- meant to be.
After selling their house........Dave went to Afghanistan- They have lived in their apartment 2 years. Their 2 dogs  Abby a Husky and Tonka a Rottweiler/Mastiff have been living with friends 15 miles from town.  So they are getting their 'family' back.

I found a nice 2 bedroom home on the edge of Fergus. Big eat in kitchen open to the living room, main floor reason to go down the staris to the basement... Set back off a quiet street with a private back yard. Close to family. It has a small  garden shed/barn  in the yard. Fergus Falls allows rabbits, hens- no roosters. So it will house 6 silkie hens and a pair of Lilac Angora rabbits. I could say they are for Nessie and they are...but they are for me too.  With Jess' permisison- she said "Dad take whatever flowers and shrubs you want"......I moved this year's purchases of new variety day lilies, iris and shrubs to a fenced in nursery row and will transplant them next Spring to my new home.  My white fence is not Jess and Dave's thing so I will move it and fence in my backyard.

I am putting all my furnture and boxes in the first living room by Thursday Nov 3,  Sorting for our rummage sale in Spring  now stored in mom's garage, stuff to take, and stuff to throw.  I close on my house Friday Nov 4th and move in Nov 6th. Family is going to help paint a couple rooms before the move--all freshly painted but I want different colors in my living room and bedroom.. I told my daughter she could start moving as I am packing up she is bringing in her boxes.  I reserved a small U Haul truck. Jess and Dave will pick it up Saturday and move in here. On Sunday they will help me move out and drive the U haul to Fergus. They will drive it back here and return it.  Hopefully our fall weather will hold for 2 weeks yet. Get everyone moved before winter hits.

This is a good move. This big house was my ex wife's idea. Two living rooms, 2 baths, separate computer room 3 big bedrooms..much too big for just me. I really love my smaller Fergus house. Built in 1953 it is solid well built-- back when lumber was full dimension and siding was cedar. New shingles, exterior and interior paint, new rain gutters, facsia and soffit, new plumbing, hot water heater and  furnace.

A nice level back yard just begging for my perennials and shrubs.  I am happy.  I live alone but I am not lonely. Inner peace and all that. "Jerry, party of one"    Yes and I am having way too much fun!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

French Angora Rabbits!!

Gorgeous fall day to go rabbit shopping. My neighbor helped me pick out four excellent Angoras for breeding. I am going to clip the fanastic wool - use it or sell it. And raise bunnies of course.  All very tame and easy to handle. First one is a 3 month old Blue Tort doe. Played with by the seller's grandkids, so she very kid friendly, she will be my granddau Nessie's bunny  Nessie can name her

A Lilac Buck "Spiderman"  he was taken to the seller's book promotion, so is very calm  Born Summer 2010

A chocolate doe "Glenda" Born last year. Proven doe- raises a nice litter.
Yes Glenda needs a clean up clip..she has some matted wool

A lilac doe "Bonnie"  Born last year. Proven doe - she raised a nice sized litter this year.

My neighbor wasn't even going to bring a cage but she did.  She bought a Blue buck ad 2 white does.........oh and she has a Pearl buck (siamese look) at home.
Many years to trading bucks back and forth ahead.

My Ameraucana flock  18 pullets all blue with a pattern/other color,  blue/golden, splash, solid blue, blue red laced.......and two roosters........

14 junior silkies  Look like mostly hens

Gorgeous fall, a winter to relax and patiently wait for Spring........Spring lambs, chicks Bunnies, flower are back   Wow!

May all your troubles be mislaid, may joy rain down upon you


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Painting Project!

Two weeks ago, I painted  my dark stained deck/front step with Legends Oil based Enamel The dark satin was someone else's idea.  I gave it a second coat...not as fun as you don't see a dramatic change. On the floor of my deck I painted it with Tread Tek in the paint for a non-skid surface. Ghee my deck looked so nice.........faded green shutters looked awful. Today I painted my shutters white too.....
Wow what a difference.

I cleaned out the garage........where does all this junk come from.....whoops I am the only one here! Tomorrow afternoon my daughter is taking me and my pickup to the land fill.
I moved Iris clumps from under the huge chokecherry tree too much shade, so they will fair my front garden will be full. I got 12 pink-n-white Tulip bulbs.....I have avoided them as they don't last long, but they do get early color after the long winter.
Tomorrow morning.....neighbors are taking me to the Rabbit Lady.........French Angoras. We put up a run of 4 rabbit cages up in the barn. Icelandic wool, Angora wool.......going to try my hand at washing, drum carding, spinning and maybe a loom.......don't guarantee results........but we'll see

On a personal note at 56 well almost 57  I have my farm to myself. The divorce is final!  Over the summer I have become a patient man (never thought that would happen) I am working on inner peace. Today in WalMart I discovered the art of strolling----not shuffling of the feet, but a slow gait..back straight.shoulders square..taking it all in, at the same time I felt more confident. This afternoon I looked at my house with its white shutters...I can did!......given lots of time and patience........I have a renewed sense of confidence......strong self worth.....ah so this is what inner peace feels like..... Cool


Sunday, September 18, 2011

My ewe flock doth grow.

Three days ago, I helped my neighbor Carolyn, round up her Icelandic flock, I wormed them,  and we sorted out the lambs, ram lambs and rams to one pen, ewe lambs to another pen. A long but fun day, We stood looking at the ewe lambs - beautiful Icelandic lambs. Carolyn said "I won't be keeping any ewe lambs, so pick out a couple!"   I picked out 'Ashley' dam raised twin to my botle lamb 'Annie'. Ashley is black with the grey she is (fuzzy pic)

Ashley's bottle lamb sister Annie

The second was a spotted lamb. 'Bon-Bon' is a spotted ewe black lamb with an extensive white spot. Her body is covered in white fleece, with big black patches around her she is

Yesterday Carolyn had me stop by to take pictures of the ewe lambs, ram lambs and adult ewes for sale. I am to put on the ads and handle the sales.   One of Badger faced ewe lambs stood out- a Badger face should have dark legs and belly.... Prissy is a badgerface wuth a large white spot making her legs and belly she is.

Homebred ewe lamb Lollipop

Homebred Gem

And of course the ever flashy LRO Bling Sisters  Sugar and Spice

My adult ewes are all wormed. Adult ewes and ewe lambs are in the barnyard cleaning up the summer's growth. Ah they get some hay and corn too. Breeding season will began toward the end of October. 'Checkers' will breed my whole Spring beautiful spotted lambs everywhere...........I can't wait!
"Success is waking up in the morning, whoever you are, wherever you are, however old or young, and bounding out of bed because there's something out there you love to do, that you believe in, that you're good at — something that's bigger than you are, and you can hardly wait to get at it again today."
Till later,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Fun Day!


 A few days ago, after we got our hay hauled, I helped my neighbor Carolyn get ready to catch her Icelandic flock for worming and sorting. In the barnyard, we put up cattle panels where the old netting fence was down, I pounded in T posts where the fence could be stretched back up.
Yesterday we got most of the flock in the barnyard.  Later in the day we would round up the remaining 7 lambs.  Carolyn handed me the worming syringe and marking crayon, as I caught and wormed. The rams and the ram lambs went out a separate door to the ram pen. Of the 35 ewes, we sorted out some fine ewes to be sold. Carolyn will try to trim down to 15. We penned up the ewe lambs- all to be sold as breeding stock. It took most of the day but we had fun doing it. Frequent rests and ongoing conversation.  My payment for helping was to be the spotted ram lamb I got home last week. "Checkers" whose grandmother was the famous "Saddleback" ewe. Checker's sire and dam are both are the result of AI with imported semen from Iceland.  At the end of the day,Carolyn said pick out a couple ewe lambs to take home.  In the ewe lamb pen was my bottle lamb "Annie's" grey twin sister and a spotted ewe lamb.  So "Ashley" and bandit eyed "Bon-Bon" came home. Wow  fancy Spring ewe lambs.  Pictures in next post

Today is an official day of rest. Now I know what sheep shearers must feel like after a long day. But its good to work hard, have a good sweat.  In the words of my Grandma "Working hard never killed anyone, slowly rotting in a chair will!"   My sister and I were raised to work and keep busy, to this day I have to watch a DVD in sections........pause go do something else for a while, come back and watch some more. Only now at age 75 will my mother watch a movie from start to finish in one seating.........sometimes! She still does a lot. Huge garden and lawn.

May your day be bright, and your load light!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall is in the Air!

My neighbors, Lloyd and Carolyn, and I joined forces and got our winter hay. We hired a strong 21 yr old to help us! Man can Aaron stack hay! Lloyd transported the out-of-the-field loaded racks.......we stacked. I got 2 racks of beautiful 3rd cutting alfalfa/grass mix hay. it smells wonderful, my whole barn smells good. I got a little more than I need for the winter so we stacked some in the garage, yup I have room for the old pickup.  Since I can't drive, so 'old blue' see little action, unless my daughter takes it to town for me....a Menards or Fleet Farm trip.
Carolyn got one rack and three more yesterday

I put up a white fence around the yard onto the sheep fence I alaways wanted one,

So the white fence, made the brown deck look out of I slowly painted it all the while place looks good! The white deck shows of the white house trim ect


Friday, September 2, 2011

Blue Ameraucana Project

Not the best picture. But you get to see that my Blue Golden roo is throwing some nice blue pullets  The red is a blue splash...she carries 2 genes for blue all her future chicks wil be blue! These are the 3rd generation of my project. I got the muffs, beards, sky blue egg  now for the plumage......and its here!

Flash2 is sire of the pullets, the Red splash is out of one of his pullet and Flash2, A bit of close breeding

I have a outcross Blue Wheaton roo to go back on the pullets next Spring!  I will be hatching Gen #4. Its exciting....ya gotta be a chicken lover to understand!

Oh a Toby Keith Video that explains Why I am single now.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

babes to ewes!

Well they are 4-5 months old and look fantastic! Great additions to
my flock. Soon to come Black and White spotted Icelandic ram lamb!
From friends Lloyd and Carolyn. They gave me a house warming gift
Lil' Orphan Annie.   She's huge now! Polled Icelandic 4 months old
 Annie weaned herself from the bottle at 60 days There was more
important stuff to eat--Lamb Pellets!

The Bling Sisters  twins Sugar and Spice Finn/Shetalnd 4 months old
Both parents spotted!  From Gail

Huge Gem  massive and heavy soft fleece Shetland 5 months old
Parents are Butte and Nugget Both Gail  breeding

And lastly uncooperative Lolly wants to look straight at me, no broad side photos of her!   Flashy Lollipop Shetland 5 months old  from Butte and Poppy 

I am a big softy at heart  There is grass out there, but I think its lost
its feed value.......Ah a good excuse to put the flock on half ration of
hay. Trsut me they love the idea! I have had sheep for most of 15 years
and they snooker me early every fall!

Till next time  "May the wind always be at your back, the road rise up to
meet you, may the sun shine upon you and until we meet again may the Lord
hold you in the palm of his hand"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some searches take years!

I bought my 5 acres of rolling hills, oak and chokecherry trees eight years ago next month. The property has an approach and a flat acre of knee high deer corn. The corn got scraped off with a skid loader and stakes set where the buildings would set. It was my brain kid working with a vision, the house goes up on the rise, later I would find out the rise was an old rock manufactured home is not on frost piers but anchored to a $7,000 engineered concrete slab!
The farmstead took shape. I planted perrenial flower beds, pine grove to the west, shrubs and flowers along the barn, fenced my 4 acre pasture slowly with steel T posts and hog panel....I hadn't the strength to roll out sheep netting and stretch it......and then spend years every Spring tightening the woven I used hog panels, set up a few a day then rested, pulled panels through prickly ash/buck brush......up and down the slopes. My years of hard work.....for my weakned state. [my soon to be ex-wife never ventured out to help, my cousins came to help, she stayed inside.'nough said]   I have to say my place looks great.
Fletcher "Three Oaks" was inspired by my mom who was helping stake out the buildings, in the background of the farm stead stand 3 massive to the west, one north and one east. For 8 years I have been searching for nice shade tree to sit under..........neighbors Lloyd and Carolyn- they sold me the 5 acres-- came by a month ago, Carolyn said I found your shade tree..dumbfounded I said "where" That massive oak west of your house and flower garden. All you have to do is move back the sheep fence,  The light dawned in the dark abyss! How simple.   I moved 80 feet of sheep fence--hog pnaels and T posts back 16 I have "Liberty Oak". I picked the rock, mowed the tall grass........lawn. I planted shrubs along the fence...yes far enough away so my ewes can't prune them for me. Lloyd with his loader moved the rocks from around Liberty so it would be safe for my grandkids to swing from the new tire swing.  The rocks gone left a dirt patch so another flower bed was planted,,,lilies and hydrangea bushes......adding more next Spring as I divide up some older clumps in the other bed.  I bought a swing set. [ no one to veto my ideas, so I do as I like!]
Now way back when I was 12, we went to 4-H at a neighbor's farm. They had a white board fence around their barn yard. I was impressed and said to myself someday I am going to have a white fence. Well pricing on the fancy PCV fences are beyond the grasp of this frugal German.  So I studied on it. 10 foot sections of two 6 inch wide boards on 2x4 posts 42" high....with a 4 ft break between sections.....hmmmm and attached to the existing fence.  My fence by Liberty Oak........looks great - yes my opinion and everyone that sees it. So I bought for lumber to build more fence from my house to the barn along the existing fence--9 sections. It takes me longer than most as limited vision and my strength/energy allow, but I got the time and perseverance....

Project pictures