Monday, November 12, 2018

Wintery Weather and Hunting Wrap Up

On this day after Veteran's Day, thank you all who have served or are currently serving.

This post has two parts - first a farm-life update, then a deer-hunting update.

We are in our sixth decade (yikes!) of life in Minnesota (well okay, one was in Wisconsin, but it's pretty much the same) so winter should no longer be able to sneak up on us.  So why are we not prepared for 10 degree nights and snow that needs to be shoveled? 

Cold and snow does not curb Hoover's enthusiasm for an outing!

The view from the milking stand this afternoon.

Water is always a priority for the animals, no matter what time of year - it just gets more difficult to provide with the cold weather.  The pigs in particular present a problem with that. 

The chickens are all together in the Winter coop now, and their waterer is moved indoors. The three adopted hens, Barak, Speckles, and Rocky are always the first on the roost in the afternoon - kind of funny how they hang out together although they came from two different homes.  Many of the hens are in various stages of  moulting so the coop is full of feathers and egg production is very low.

The goats have had some changes with their living arrangements.  Periwinkle has moved in with her big brother Forest and is none too happy about it, while Ranger was most pleased to move in with the does.  He is an expert at pulling the hay out of the feeder.



After Opening Weekend Report by Kevin:

Last Monday was a pretty productive day for us with three more deer added to the hanging rafters in the garage, one six point buck and two fawns. Then on Thursday I was able to harvest a fork type buck. Then everything seemed to shut down. There were 5 of us hunting Saturday and we saw a total of 1 deer. Not sure if it was the cold and snow or what. It snowed Saturday night into Sunday morning and all we did Sunday morning was go out and pull stands down. With all the traveling we did on our property to remove stands we saw a very few tracks in the snow.

We were very fortunate to harvest a total of 13 deer, so we have the freezers full and ready to provide us plenty of great meals through the year. In our case here, Ardis and Rollie did most all the cutting up of the venison, which I am so grateful for. But once again the very best part of this year was getting together with family and friends. We continued some traditions and may have started a couple new ones, only time will tell, right, because that's what traditions are all about. So we are all done hunting for 2018 and thoughts and talking about what we will do different in 2019 has already started.

We may not have a post for a couple of weeks, but we will be back - until then, be well friends!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

2018 Deer Season Opening Weekend.

Good Evening everyone, you have Kevin posting for the annual opening weekend deer hunting report. For those who are not interested in seeing dead animals, I have put those photos at the very bottom of the blog.

We have a group of 11 hunters this year, 5 of them under 18 and two of them for their first hunt.  The rest of the group are old hands at hunting at Ole Lake Farm.

Saturday morning started with a little bit of a sunrise, but it went cloudy and the deer started moving. By the end of the day we had eight deer. One was a buck, two fawns and the rest does, and one of the does by a young man who got his first.

I get asked why we allow the harvesting of anterless deer and the reason is that we have so many deer around we really need to thin the herd a bit. I would rather have the deer in the freezer to use to make great meals than to see them hit by cars, or worse, starve in the event of a bad winter. I have seen starving deer and it is not a pretty sight and I feel a huge waste. 

A best guess of total deer seen by our group on opening day was over 40 deer, with one seeing 28! That hunter gave me grief about my herd management since they were all anterless other than 1 buck seen a long way off and in a big hurry.

Sunday was rainy and had a little snow spurt and the deer just hunkered down. One of the young men was able to harvest one in the morning and then movement slowed down to nothing. Since we had so many on Saturday most of us were just looking for antlers. Total deer seen today was around 6 and most of them were during non-shooting times in the morning and evening.

Most of the group will be hunting again Monday and then the out of state group will be heading home to Wyoming with another successful opening weekend. Our numbers will drop to 6 hunters starting next weekend. Because we are in a bonus area we have 7 tags that could be filled, but if we were to fill just a couple more we will be done.

Enough for this week, I will leave you with a picture of the opening day crew and then a deer picture below, be well and have a great week.









Sunday, October 28, 2018

Last Days of October

Major accomplishments for the week - for me anyway - the garlic is planted and the Winter Coop cleaned out.  Then, more rain!  It is pretty muddy around here.

Otherwise, I don't have much to report, so will just share some critter photos and call it a night.  Last week it was a turkey on the combine.  This week:

Turkey on the Cub...

Turkey in Rollie's truck...

Turkey on Silver!  Bad Turkey!!!

The pigs are hard to photograph since they always want to come right to a person, but I tried!  They sure are getting big.

Caught the does spending some time enjoying the sunshine today.
Next week - the good, the bad, and possibly the ugly of deer season opening weekend.  Until then, be well folks.



 See yah!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fall Farm Happenings

During the two weeks since our last post, the weather has run the gamut: rain, snow, cold, warm, cloudy, sunny, windy, calm... you name it.  Just a day or two after the last post our morning chore-time was one of the most miserable yet... just above freezing, driving rain - unpleasant at any time but at 5:30 in the morning just plain nasty.  It sure made that first cup of coffee very welcome I can assure you!

The view from the milking stand has changed quite a bit.  Kevin's combine has been squeezed in - just clearing the rafters.  Due to my complaints at this obstruction, he removed a fence panel and moved the milking stand over.  I will adapt.   

You will notice the hunting blind on the wagon of course - it will soon be moved out to the woods onto a platform.  And beyond that, feasting on field, are some deer.

Getting ready for fall, the lads and the pigs have been moved to the barnyard.  The pigs are on short time these days; just a few more weeks to go.  Ranger will be moving in with Vinca and Echo around Halloween and Periwinkle will be moving in with Forest.

It will be an adjustment for Periwinkle but I think she will be glad not to have to sleep in the crate every night!

The pigs left behind some pretty big craters in the front field!

Six of the turkeys have gone to the freezer, and more are scheduled for that next month.  In the meantime, there are still ten of them roaming around the place - this one is checking out a roosting spot on the combine.

I have been spending quite a bit of my home time working on soap.  With the holidays and fall markets coming up, I need to get my inventory up.  Like my new label?

Last, Kevin is sharing a few shots from one of the trail cams.  It doesn't take the greatest pictures but they are interesting...

So that's enough for this evening.  I'm not sure if we will have a post next Sunday or not but two weeks from now I know Kevin will be posting a deer hunting report.  Until next time, be well folks.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Grey October Days

Greetings from Ole Lake Farm!

The view from the milking stand changes daily in autumn.  It seems like it's been a while since we've seen the sun for more than five minutes at a time, but at least it's not raining.  If the image seems a little hazy, that's the smoke from the wood stove drifting by.


Kevin's new (to us) combine came home yesterday.  I didn't have time to go along for the ride but when Kevin said there had been some exciting moments getting it on the trailer, I decided it was probably a good thing that I wasn't there!

Rollie says he can't drive it - it's too high -  he might get a nosebleed!
The boy scout troop trailer came home with new signage on it.  Rollie generously donated this trailer to the troop years ago when he retired from his construction business. From then until now, it's been unmarked.  Recently the family of five brothers, all Eagle Scouts from the troop, lost their dad.  The troop had meant a lot to them and they donated memorial money to the troop who then used that money for the signage on the trailer.  It looks so nice and is very meaningful to everyone associated with it.

 Kevin found more mutant vegetables growing out of the composting manure pile.  One of them looks like cross between a Carnival acorn squash and something else - I think I'll cook it up and see what it's like.

The turkeys used to be two little flocks but have lately joined forces and roam around together.  Quite a few of the youngsters are toms so there is a lot of gobbling and strutting going on around here these days.  Some of them will be going to the butcher next week with the young roosters - how many depends on how accessible they are when it is time to catch them.  Some have taken to roosting on the roof of the coop.  I won't mind having a few less of them - while I do enjoy the turkeys they eat a LOT and poop a LOT - and ALL OVER the place (no complaints from the Labrador tribe though - dogs are so disgusting!). 
You can see Dolly in the picture, looking rather unimpressed.  She has given up on her eggs - maybe she figured out that it's just not the right time of year for hatching eggs anyway.

That's about it for the farm update this evening.  Until next time, be well friends.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Last of September

My last post was just two weeks ago and I believe that I was whining a bit about the heat and humidity.  The very next day, it was gone.  Since then, it's been cool, sunny, cloudy, frosty, cold, mild, and rainy in turn but the heat and humidity are gone, as are most of the bugs. 

This post is going to mostly be pictures- beginning with an updated View From The Milking Stand:




If you look closely, you will see some additions to the  machinery inventory (more on those some other time) and about six tiny specks out in the green winter wheat field that are deer.  The autumn colors are coming along here but are not so pretty as some other places. 

We traveled to Washburn Wisconsin and back today - a lot of driving but the fall foliage in some areas along the way was stunning.  We picked up this fanning mill - an antique to be sure, but we will be putting it to good use cleaning grain.

Dolly the turkey hen stoically sits on her eggs through all kinds of weather - I did get a chance to candle the eggs and took away all but seven of them that do appear to be developing.  Time will tell.  We also have a chicken hen that wants to set - is something messing up these bird's sense of timing?  Rocky, the American hen is molting away a good portion of her beautiful feathers!

The cockerels will be going to the freezer in less than two weeks.  Some of them are quite handsome but there are just too many of them!

Remember the pumpkin growing through the fence panel in the hayshed?  The thing has gotten very large!  Now that the vine is frosted I think it is done growing. 

Another major sign of the season:

And that is about it for this post - I will close with a picture of our sweet doeling Periwinkle.

Be well friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Soggy September - bits of randomness

The title of this week's post is a weather reference, but not because it's been raining all week.  Those of you who live in this neck of the woods know what I mean - it's been warm, muggy, humid-downright uncomfortably hot at times. 

I would like to share a photo of Aitkin's Patriot Day display - it was very sobering and emotionally moving.
 We had a storm Friday night - hail about marble size.  Not too much damage to the tomatoes, peppers, or pumpkins, but these flowers that were looking so nice were pretty shredded. 

This squash is Speckled Hound.  I think it is so pretty I just wanted to show it off before we eat it - I can only find a couple of them out there in the jungle.

This week we separated most of the  young cockerels from the rest of the young chickens and turkeys - they are a bunch of thugs and are currently in poultry jail until I can get a fence up to partition off the coop-yard.  They will be in the freezer in about a month.  The rest of the  youngsters have been liberated from the pen and are cautiously exploring their expanded world. These are the turkey poults that came out of the incubator just a few months ago - they've grown a bit!

In other turkey news, Dolly has decided to set - she is on 15 eggs and the mystery is where did they come from?  They just appeared yesterday.   They are on a slope downhill from the edge of the woodshed where it is weedy.  We think they could have washed down from that area on Friday night when it was storming.  Anyway, Dolly and the eggs are just out in the open so we put some straw bales around them just to give her a little protection and to keep them from rolling downhill any further.  Not sure if they will hatch or not but we will give her a chance.

Today we had the pleasure of attending a family gathering - we have not done much visiting this summer and it was very nice to take the time to reconnect.  One of our hostesses, Talitha (probably not spelled right) introduced  me to their donkey - his name is Ole!

Come on fall weather!  See you next time, and be well friends!