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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Beauty of Butterfly

One of my favorite photos to date.


Tons of butterflies have invaded the flower garden this year, it's always in movement with at least 4 different species that I can ID. We also seem to have a companion Northern Harrier a beautiful hawk, that I had not seen previously. Orioles are still coming to the feeder another new event for this year, and a plethora of hummingbirds that are trying to keep my sugar supply low.

Goats are doing well although Maggie decided to somehow get out this morning and was having a good time gallivanting around the barn. She seemed VERY glad to see me come out to do the morning milking though.

Cows are currently mowing the front yard, I love this system, mowing and fertilizing in one step with no use of gas on my part. Weather has been absolutely beautiful lately, 80's and clear skies for about a week now.

Upcoming plans include extending the pastures permanently, and keep rotating the livestock through the current pastures to keep weeds down and the animals well fed.

Not much else is new although this seems to have been my busiest summer, a bull out for lease, cows coming in for breeding, a new heifer (traded heifer for heifer) lots of interest in the Dexters, the milking routine.

hope this finds you all well and safe :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I see spots

I finally was able to find a quality dairy doe with spots!!!!!

She's a yearling Nubian and came from a wonderful couple, the previous owners had the nicest, cleanest place I have seen in some time. All goats were friendly, well fed, shiny coated and everyone of them had their feet trimmed. I had been getting very frustrated in my search for another doe, but can recommend this farm w/o reservation.

Stumpy, our little bull calf for the year is absolutely adorable, suspect he may be a shortleg, but he looks just like a miniature "bob" his sire.

Pastures are looking great this year with all of the rain we have had. We've lost quite a few trees in all the storms but fortunately they have all been box elders or other 'crap' trees.

Currently getting a dozen or more eggs a day, really need to start taking them to the farmers market.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The new girls

Tuesday had me picking up some purebred Nubian does. Molly a 3yo had kidded 8 weeks ago and so was still in milk. Frosty the yearling doe came along for companionship. I've built a little milk stand and the girls (human) think it looks like a toy-in comparison to the cow size stand. I'm quite proud of my handiwork and it has made milking much easier. Currently I'm getting about a 1/2g a day from Molly. I hope to increase this with a twice daily milking routine. She's also very thin, probably a 2 on a 5 scale body condition scale. They both seem to be settling in very nicely. I don't think the yearling had ever been outside, she had been living with about 50 other goats in an old dairy barn. Molly I know had been in the barn for at least 8 weeks if not longer. Now that they have settled in they seem to be enjoying the sunshine (yes, we finally had a few days of sun )and the any time grazing. Initially they wouldn't seem to graze unless I was out with them but now they seem to have it figured out. I've never had goats that seem so hesitant to eat, I know this will soon change and they will be eating everything.

Last Dexter calf, bull, was born on Friday and all the little ones are a joy to watch jumping and playing together.

Pasture rotation is working WELL!!! The area that has been fenced off since late last fall is mid thigh in mostly grasses, appears as though at this point the weeds are being out competed

by the grass YEA!!!!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

enjoying the sun!!

Little Dominick was born on Monday, I don't think he weighed 35# at birth but he is making it up quickly. The fence that they are behind is 48" tall so you can see that mom is quite short
The plants in front of them are daylillies and Iris's so you can use them for scale on the little guy, I figure he's probably 24" tall.

Friday, May 20, 2011

hehehehehehe so excited!!

Calf was born on Monday 5/16 at 6:20 p. Shorty has had trouble with her last two calves not being able to find the teat because she is so short, I resumed training Shorty and began milking her tuesday and supplementing the calf. Had suspicions this morning that the calf had finally figured out the any time fast food situation so the evening milking was for us. Dominick the calf is definitely nursing off of mom and so I plan on continueing to milk her for our use, cheese, kefir, butter etc. I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

Still awaiting one more calf for the season. Broiler chicks are getting huge and will be processed in three weeks.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A sign of spring

Yea, saw my first hummingbird of the season this morning. Rose breasted grosbeaks are here also.

Fantastic news clip on Dexter Cattle!

this is a great little clip that tells about the breed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Having a tough time lately getting a photo to post, here's another attempt

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

warmer days

Well it seems that perhaps spring is possibly here. Today will mark the second day IN A ROW that the sun has been out.

Dexters are loving the pasture rotation and are super easy to move. In fact Ruby (pictured) will run 11 mph to keep up with the quad and the grain bucket, she manages to jump and buck at that speed also.

Shorty is still holding onto to that calf!!! I'm sure it just seems like forever as this is one of the most anticipated births, as I intend to milk her. She has practically turned into a lap cow, loves the brushings and scratches and allows me to handle/touch her anywhere.

A few brave flowers have bloomed, we are still having heavy frost in the morning, guess that is to be expected when the overnight temp is only 33*

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Work in progress

Oh, the warm sunny weather has been a blessing to me. The portable fencing is up for the pasture rotations, anxious to see how that works out this year, looking forward to allowing the pastures to get some rest in between grazings.

I have been halter breaking two of the Dexters, one a yearling heifer and the other a 8 year old. I am amazed that it is going so well. I can already after just a couple of days take the heifer out for 'mini' walks she is very curious and has been real pleasure to work with, she also very much enjoys getting brushed daily as does the older gal. I would like to be able to show the yearling later in the fall and the older gal is due to calf in the next couple of weeks and I hope to be able to milk her.

Take care, and enjoy the coming of spring.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Aaaaah, how nice the sun feels today. 40* bright sunny WONDERFUL!!!

Chickens seem very glad to be about as well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Melt

Dare I hope?  Hope that perhaps warmer weather is on the way?   Well,  I'm going to do it anyway!!!  The creek has already risen and gone back down, runoff from the north seems to be abating.   Ok, look back at my hill.... waaaaaa!  snow still over 6" in spots.   That's ok, I know spring is on it's way.  Birds are singing and returning, chickens are out and about.

I spent the last weekend driving to Iowa with Theresa, a  friend to pick up a dairy Dexter for her.   It was a long day of driving but it was nice to be out and about, the only downer was that I was unable (no money) to purchase another dexter that was already being milked.   I will have a dairy animal this year!!!!!!!   Met Larry Graber and his wife, enjoyed a nice cup of coffee with fresh, unpasteurized cream and a glass of milk also.   Theresa is also the proud owner of the little bull calf whose picture graced the blog in February.  He is doing well at ox school and is anxious to get a buddy/team mate.  

Monday, March 14, 2011


Well at least the sun is out today,seems like we haven't seen it much this winter.

We have a few Dexter Calves available for sale at this time, 2 dun heifers and a dun bull. Email for details

I love my little cows!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Although it's warmer here this morning than the previous days, the cows and horses seem quite comfortable outside of the barn. The little bull calf ( although huge for his breed) ended up in the house as I think he must have had a longer, delayed birth and was quite chilled when I discovered him in the nursery. Warmed up and full of food, he decided to help out with the laundry. Here at the 'funny' farm we have had; a rooster, a lamb and now a calf all spend time in the house recuperating. Elroy, the calf was quite fun watching how to learn to walk and then jump and even moo while in the house. He has gone to live with a friend of mine where he will learn to be an oxen. I wish him well

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thought for the day

Patrick Henry
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."