Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

This week I have just a short post with updated photos of the  youngsters.

The five chicks that had just hatched last week are growing fast - look at those wing feathers! 

 Another batch of just four has hatched.

The size difference is amazing! We should have a couple more batches of chicks soon.

The goat kids are all doing well and make us smile every time we are around them.  Here are Tulip and Daffodil - just a week old.

Everyone was outside for a romp today after the rain clear up.

We hope you all had a pleasant Easter Day.  Stop in again next week to find out what we are up to here at Ole Lake Farm.  Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

April Arrivals

Hello all - there has been a lot happening around here since my last post.

That hen that was setting now has five chicks, and there are two more hens setting.

Other news from the chicken department - we have a new rooster.  Since Julio was related to most of the hens, it was time for a new manbird.  This fine fellow is sort of a rescue chicken.  He was going to be abandoned by an owner moving away from the area, and another chicken fancier took him and his cohorts in.  Since she didn't need four more roosters herself, Jose came here.  He is somewhat scruffy looking right now, but once his tail feathers fill in he should be rather handsome.  What breed he is is anyone's guess.
That nest of turkey eggs?  There are quite a few more eggs in it, and Penelope seems to be setting on it.  I say seems to be because she gets off of it quite a bit.  Hopefully she knows what she is doing and we will have some little turkey poults soon.

Most of you viewing this post will know that we had a nasty storm this past week.  It was a weird one - thunder, lightning, amazing high winds, and snow.  Sometimes the snow was flakes and sometimes little pellets that stung when they hit any exposed skin.  Thankfully, it is melting now.
And now for the big news!  The kids are here!

Vinca was first, Monday afternoon.  She gave birth to twins, one doeling, one buckling completely unobserved between barn checks by Kevin.  Meet Tamarack and Poppy!
 Echo gave birth last evening.  We knew they were coming - she was fretting all day but didn't get busy with it until after 8 PM.  First out was Tulip, and for well over an hour we thought that was it.  Her other two births were both singles.  She strained a bit and just couldn't seem to pass the placenta - then finally lay down again and started pushing.  Daffodil  was breech; she came into this world hind legs first but pretty easily.  By this time is was getting pretty darn cold so we moved the little family into the dog kennel in the shop.  Echo was not thrilled with this arrangement, but with a low of just 15 degrees last night, it's a good thing we did.

This morning they rejoined the other does and kids.
 In the picture above, that blur on the left is Poppy trying to jump up onto the spool table.  No luck so far, but she keeps trying!

So there you have it - lots of exciting thing happening.  My photos of the kids are not that great; stop back next week, hopefully I will have better pictures.  Until then, be well friends! 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mud Season

It's been three weeks since my last post and things are changing fast; mostly for the good!  Warmer temps, only a little more snow followed by melting, and signs of spring are everywhere!  Everyone appreciates the longer daylight hours.

We had a lot of snow on the roofs and when it warmed up a little much of it came off all at once.  On the other side of the pole shed, the does' accessed door is completely blocked.  They really don't seem to care since they do not like to get their feet cold and wet anyway.

Kids are about  three weeks away now.

The chickens are happy because I have let them out of the confines of the snowy coop yard.  It didn't take them long to find the loose dry dirt at the end of the poleshed.  This looks like the chicken version of a hot-tub party!

In the coop, two hens were broody and wanted to set in nest boxs.  The problem with this arrangement is twofold.  Some of the other hens muscle into the nest and lay additional eggs there - and then sometimes the broody hen gets off the nest for a drink and snack and then she gets confused and goes back to the wrong nest because there are eggs there too.  I wonder if this ever happens to people who live in those suburbs you see where there are rows and rows of identical houses...  Anyway, one of the two allowed herself and her eggs to moved down to a crate on the floor.  She's pretty serious about this incubation job.  The other one was a youngster and would not have anything to do with relocating.

The turkey hens, Penelope and Peanut are laying eggs too.  We let the turkey trio out of the summer coop where they have  been locked in all winter and I am hoping the hens will keep going back there to lay their eggs and eventually set.

Meanwhile, Tom thinks that he's pretty hot stuff.  Penelope and Peanut just don't seem all that impressed. 

Hoover and I got out to the woods today for a walk although there was some water in the low areas to negotiate.  There is still quite a lot of snow in the woods.

This is the view from the milking stand from today.

Roye really doesn't care about the view, but is very hopeful for some fresh goat's milk soon!

I will share here a photo from yesterday's Sprout Growers and Maker's Market in Little Falls.  They had Vendor Booth Awards this month and visitors were encouraged to vote based on a number of criteria.  Anyway, I put some effort into this and it paid off - Ole Lake Farm won first place!  Pretty cool.

There is your farm update - thanks for stopping by the Ole Lake Farm blog.  I'll be back in two or three weeks - maybe with some kids news!  Until then, be well folks.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Spring will come, Spring will come...

Spring will come, Spring will come...My new mantra...

Every morning I greet the does "Good Morning little does! spring will come" I don't know if they believe me.  Sometimes I don't believe me...

Admittedly, the snow is beautiful.  Driving to work in a fresh few inches is no big deal.  It's the cold that is wearing us out.  We are just so tired of below zero chores.  This morning -13.  Tonight's low predicted -18; it just goes on and on and on. Today the high was 1 degree and the wind was biting.

Yesterday was better - sunny and calmer. Hoover and I got quite a workout walking the logging roads that haven't been plowed for a while. 

 Hoover would much prefer to run off leash, but I do not let him for fear of running across a deer.  

The hens are still laying well and out in the summer coop the turkeys seem to be doing just fine with their forced incarceration; Tom has been doing some gobbling lately .  I have no regrets about making them stay indoors for the winter.  I hope Penelope and Peanut like the coop enough to lay their eggs in there when the time comes. 

Back to the goats - they are enduring.  Bellys are getting big. Kids are about a month away.
Not the greatest picture but when I climbed up on the higher spool table they kept trying to follow me - probably because I usually have some kind of tasty treat in my pockets.  My fingers got cold trying to get a decent photo, but you get the idea!

The machinery sleeps but farm work chores continue,  just different chores.  I'll be back in a few weeks with a new post and some spring happenings.  Be well friends, and stay warm!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Mid-Winter Farm Happenings

Greetings from the farm!  Most everyone who will look at this post has experienced the recent Polar Vortex.  We got through it with no major problems like frozen pipes or livestock losses; it was pretty awful just the same.

Wednesday morning, the 30th = yikes!  And notice the indoor temp!

Thursday  morning, the 31st - no way, can that be right?

And it was even worse than that some places.  Anyway, we are glad it is over and temperatures are closer to normal.  I worried most about the goats but they seem to be just fine.  The does were dried up just in time!

Around New Year's, Ranger had some friends over - a couple of pretty young ladies - Maggie and Elsie!  They stayed for about a month and hopefully will have some kids early next summer.

We had to say good-bye to Mickey in January.  He was part of our family for many years and it was tough.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him from just a couple of years ago.

I'll never forget the time he ate that bar of soap!

Hoover is adjusting to being an only dog.  When I am home, he hangs out in the house with me and follows me around as much as he can - the laundry basement is off limits though.  He waits patiently for me to come back to the kitchen.

Despite it being the dead of winter, we are still keeping busy with farm related activities.  I've vended at some winter markets and just this last Saturday at an event called Back to Basics in Pine River.   Kevin has to keep cleaning grain and grinding the cornmeal and flour, and I make more soap at every opportunity.  Pretty soon we need to be thinking about planting too!

Thanks for stopping by the blog.  I'll be back with another update in a month or so - no doubt we will be getting spring fever by then!  Be well friends!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Happy New Year from Ole Lake Farm!

Today’s post is not going to be a 2018 “year in review” like you might expect – instead, this post is all about transitions.

From birth to death, life is constantly changing, or in transition. I was thinking about this as our last two pigs were butchered on Saturday – they truly have transitioned – from livestock to food.

Our outdoor climate certainly has transitioned – here is the latest view from the milking stand.
The snow is beautiful.  The temperature is not.  Milking this morning at -18 degrees was not the pleasant experience that it usually is.  This photo was taken this afternoon when we hit our high temp for the day, around -1 degree. 

Speaking of milking – the goats are transitioning too.  Echo and Vinca are down to just morning milking now and my plan is to have them dried up by the end of the month.  Ranger has moved back to his winter quarters shared with Forest, and Periwinkle is back with the does.

The Christmas tree transitioned out of the house – a traditional New Year’s Day activity for Kurt and Kori.  This year’s tree was slender (sort of skimpy actually) so shoving it out of the window was easier than usual!

Forest and Ranger got the tree to nibble on and Ranger found it handy for a good head scratch.
 I know that in my last post I reported that the hens’ egg production was picking up again.  It has continued to increase and now we have more eggs than we know what to do with!  

Today I put some old hay out on the snow for the chickens to step on and peck at – they like that and it gets them out of the coop for some fresh air. 

One last transition to share with you – the compost pile is cooking away, transforming chicken poo and bedding, coffee grounds and veggie scraps into wonderful black gold for the garden!  Pretty neat to see the snow melting over the pile when the temps are sub-zero!  At least I think so anyway.

We may not have another post for three or four weeks again, but we will be back.  Until then, stay warm and be well friends.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December Blog Post #1

Sometimes it's hard to come up with a title for a post.  I am calling this December Post #1 so that I will be obligated to do a Post #2 later on in the month.  Hopefully it will be interesting - come to think of it, I hope this one will be interesting!

I will start with a photo of my stand at yesterday's Sprout Growers and Maker's Market in Little Falls.  Looks pretty good I think - as expected for a holiday market, I had a very good day.  Soap does make a good gift.

The market had at least three excellent bread makers.  The folks behind me sent me home with a box of bread for the critters.  The chickens enjoyed it quite a bit.

The pigs declined to be roused from their mid-day nap when I brought it out at noon today.

They did get up to nosh a bit later.  These two are the only ones left now.  The other three completed their destiny last Saturday and now reside in a few different freezers. These two are the "little ones" and they will be with us for a couple more weeks I think.

Good news from the coop.  Two posts ago I reported that egg production was low.  Two eggs a day, then one, and one day none at all!  I actually had to buy eggs!

I begged, cajoled, shamed, and threatened...

Finally I caved in and we started turning on the lights at 5:30 AM when we do chores and turning them off again at bedtime - for us that's sometime between 9 and 10 PM.  After a couple of weeks of that, they gradually started up again.  Yahoo!
Rocky is on the job!

Just a couple of weeks now until Christmas - I am not sure if I will get that #2 post out before or after the holiday, but whenever it is, until then, be well friends!