Wednesday, February 20, 2013

a great flood and an ice age?

seems like a million years since I updated the blog, I apologize, but in the mean time I have experienced a great flood, over 11" of rain in less than 24hrs. This occurred in June, lost a 6 ft section of driveway on one side of the bridge and 8 ft on the other side. We literally walked the plank until we could get someone to fix it. This winter seems like an ice age or at least it's a fitting description of the driveway. Rain on top of snow will give you a lovely layer of ice, 2" to be precise. It's been real interesting bringing the hay down the hill to the pasture to feed. I have been calling it my 'youtube' worthy winter, lots of opportunities for videos that would no doubt be quite hilarious. Critters are all doing well. Goat kids are due in 3 weeks. Hoping for a spotted doeling, but only time will tell. the icy hilly driveway. Hope this finds you all well!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

change in the landscape

It seems as though all of the work on improving the pastures and in general trying to be a good land steward are paying off. First time this year we have a pair of Mallards that have been hanging out in the creek out front. There has always been a pair of Wood Ducks in the area but this has been the first mallards I've seen. Currently, as of at this minute there is a pair of Canada Geese out front, only seem them in passing. The Robin population as well as the bluebirds also seem to be increasing in numbers. Pasture rotation aka I'm not spending money on gas to mow with the tractor is working very well. Mowing with the critters has the added advantage of fertilizing and weed eating at the same time. My shortest cow; Shorty recently had what I think is the tallest calf we have ever had here, at birth he was already 1/2 her height. It was necessary to put her in the headgate for a few days until he learned that the nipple/udder was only 3" off the ground. If Shorty had side attached nipples it wouldn't have been an issue. Tomas, the Percheron and the goats enjoyed their pasture rotation past the house as the 'magic' window gave treats

Monday, March 12, 2012

Busy, loving the weather

The weekend weather was over 60* seems weird this early in the year, but I am not complaining. Baby goats are doing well, bouncing around everywhere. Frosty, their mom has been a fabulous first time mom.

Went riding on Saturday, it's been years since I had a long ride. A bit frustrating that 7 years after a bad horse crash that I still find myself, way too tense to completely relax. Riding an excellent horse, Daisy courtesy of my friend Mark is an excellent way to get back into the groove. Then we went target shooting, came home smelling of horses and gunpowder, doesn't get much better than that!!!! Hoping to ride in South Dakota in June ( anyone nearby who's interested let me know have room to trailer 3 horses) at the Holcomb Buffalo Ranch

Ruby, the red Dexter has become quite a 'pocket' cow, follows you in the pasture begging for treats and in case you didn't notice her, she trumpets constantly. I say trumpet because she really doesn't sound like a cow when she does it!!! More like a call to battle trumpet you'd expect to hear in a sci-fi movie.

Curious to see what the weather for the rest of the year will be like.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cold morning, warm udder

Yesterday morning welcomed another calf. I thought yesterday was cold, 10* I was very glad to see the calf up and nursing. This morning temp is 2* with a 'feels like' temp of -15*. Barn is much much warmer, no wind, lots of bedding. This little bull calf totally demonstrates the 50/50 90 rule, if you have a 50/50 chance of something 90% of the time you will be wrong. Had a 50/50 chance of a red calf and of course it's dun. Ruby, mom, is going to be a great milk cow. She doesn't mind at all having her udder touched and I had been working on getting her used to it, and yesterday was able to milk her ( just enough to be sure all teats were clear)I don't want to be taking any colostrum that the calf needs.

Government control of privately owned rural properties. Interesting and frightening article and news video. I urge all to check it out.

White House Counsel Takes Aim on Rural America

It appears that not a single department in the federal government was excluded from the new White House Rural Council, and the wild card option in number 25 gives the president and the agriculture secretary the option to designate anyone to serve on this powerful council.

(1) the Department of the Treasury; Timothy Geithner
(2) the Department of Defense; Robert Gates
(3) the Department of Justice; Eric Holder
(4) the Department of the Interior; Ken Salazar
(5) the Department of Commerce; Gary Locke
(6) the Department of Labor; Hilda Solis
(7) the Department of Health and Human Services; Kathleen Sebelius
(8) the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Shaun Donovan
(9) the Department of Transportation; Ray LaHood
(10) the Department of Energy; Dr. Steven Chu
(11) the Department of Education; Arne Duncan
(12) the Department of Veterans Affairs; Eric Shinseki
(13) the Department of Homeland Security; Janet Napolitano
(14) the Environmental Protection Agency; Lisa Jackson
(15) the Federal Communications Commission; Michael Copps
(16) the Office of Management and Budget; Peter Orszag
(17) the Office of Science and Technology Policy; John Holdren
(18) the Office of National Drug Control Policy; R. Gil Kerlikowske
(19) the Council of Economic Advisers; Austan Goolsbee
(20) the Domestic Policy Council; Melody Barnes (former VP at Center for American Progress)
(21) the National Economic Council; Gene B. Sperling
(22) the Small Business Administration; Karen Mills
(23) the Council on Environmental Quality; Nancy Sutley
(24) the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; Valerie Jarrett
(25) the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs; and such other executive branch departments, agencies, and offices as the President or Secretary of Agriculture may, from time to time, designate. Chris Lu (or virtually anyone to be designated by the 24 people named above)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The winter that doesn't seem to be

Well this is the first winter in my 11 years in Minnesota that we haven't had snow for Christmas.....or any snow for that matter. Last week saw temperatures in the 50's mind you I'm not complaining. Just commenting on the irony that the faucet in the barn is now fixed, no more hauling 200' of hose from the house to the barn to water the critters, no -40* days, been a remarkable amount of sun. It's actually been quite nice.

I have to admit that I'm glad am not a crop farmer as I would be getting worried about the field conditions, my hat is off to you crop farmers I would drive myself crazy with worry about weather and other issues I have no control over.

here's a new small/sustainable farmsite that I like

Frosty, the Nubian goat is most definitely bred. She seems huge already, she is due on or around March 4. I don't remember my other goats showing so early in their pregnancy, I'm hoping all goes well.

New heifer calf on November 30, wow that girl is a bouncy, jumpy one!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday and I wish you the best in the upcoming year.

Photo's; scooter the lab- think he has 'hoof and mouth' disease and some cows building a nest

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Ok, I admit it, I laugh often at the weather reports. Do they ever actually look out a window? No precipitation in the forecast for a few days and what is it doing? Trying to rain,snow or sleet, all precipitation in my book.

I attended the Small Farms Conference again this year in Columbia MO. Once again lots of great speakers and learning opportunities. I recommend looking up: Greg Judy, Holistic Management and learning about how to heal our deprived, nutrient poor, starving soils through all natural means. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how amazed I always am when seeing before and after photo's of neglected land that is now thriving with a very diversified group of critters. Embarrassed because I should have learned by now not to underestimate the healing power of nature.

Apparently the goats did not like my absence too much, were depressed and off their feed for the few days I was gone. It's nice to be missed but wish they would continue their normal routine while I'm gone.

Things are looking very good that my little black and white Nubian doe is indeed bred, no signs of coming back into heat. I'm excited for little floppy eared babies but also glad that the buck seems to have done his job in the short time that he was 'visiting'.

Annie, the 11 year old lab LOVES her raw milk. Make sure you don't set the bucket down or she'll eagerly slurp it all up. She seems to be less stiff and sore in the mornings now that she is getting raw milk daily. Yep, the other two dogs get their share as well.

Tomas, the Percheron seems to enjoy his goat friends, they are never far from each other and it is quite comical to see the goats dash underneath him or between his legs. He never even bats an eye at this. He is definitely enjoying the twice day feedings that he gets now that he is with the goats, if I'm too slow he paws the ground to let me know that he is ready to be fed and "hey, here's the trough".

Cows and the other horses are all doing well, enjoying the pasture rotations and I really enjoy not feeding so much hay, just moving them into different pastures that haven't been grazed lately.

Wishing you all a safe and warm winter

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How quickly the time passes

I remember hearing as a kid that time goes by faster as you get older; wow, they weren't kidding!!! Seems like we just had snow on the ground, now the leaves are turning & falling. Have observed geese migrating -which seems early to me this year. Wooly bear caterpillers are solid orange, what does that mean? Hopefully that it's a different type of wooly bear and not some evil harbinger of winter doom.

After 6 years out here I have finally visually observed what we affectionately call the monkey owl. Truly it sounds much like a monkey and certainly not what I expected an owl to sound like. I had pretty much id'd it from some audio but it wasn't until Sunday when the barred owl was finally spotted and the id confirmed.

We also this year have Northern Harriers, a very cool bird of prey that interestingly enough look similar to owls-and adaption to their hearing and hunting technique.

I lost my first and favorite Nubian goat last week to meningeal worm, a nasty parasite of deer that wreaks havoc on goats central nervous system. I have to thank Molly the goat, for her love patience and getting me back into goats. She's missed very much.

Prior to Molly getting sick I had been working on getting another goat so I could finally make cheese. I discovered a Saanen owned by a friend of a friend and now Princess Fiona makes her home here. She is currently producing almost 2 gallons of milk a day, a very respectable amount!!! Did you know that goats are capable of producing their own body weight in milk in just 10 days??

Fiona being shown at MN St. fair by Kirsten, a friends daughter. They did great.