Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's Getting Close

Hey everyone, you get a Blog from Kevin today.  My favorite time of year is getting real close, less than 2 weeks, so it time to start getting ready for the Great MN Deer Hunt!  Ole Lake Farm started getting ready today with putting up the ladder stands.  This is a job that requires helpers.  Dad and I took a trip across a swamp this morning to put up his stand.  Needless to say, I came back with boots full of water and wet to my waist, and he stayed dry.  It's just not fair.  With the help of friends and hunting partners Mike, his daughter Alexis, Kurt, Kori, Dad and myself, we got the last 3 up without any major issues.  

Kurt surveys his area for opening morning

Kori in her "house"

Then it was time to see if the guns are sighted in.  I'm just saying, if the woods was full of water bottles, they would all be nervous.  Everybody is sighted in and feeling confident.

Next week is the blinds and then on Thursday Nov 6th picking up Kellen and Kent to fill out the opening weekend group.  Till next time be well. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monsters and Goats

We have been having some amazingly beautiful weather this week, and today was no exception.  Perfect conditions for the 4th Annual Cross Lake Monster Dash.  It was my third time participating in this 5k and had a great time! 
 Kori dressed up as Paul Bunyan and came along!

The advantage of another birthday... a new age group and 2nd place

Chicky's new friend, I don't know his name yet...

This afternoon we did a little goat exchange.  Chicky has gone over to Righteous Oaks Farm to keep their little buckling company, and our buck Ranger has come home.

Getting reacquainted with the place
Daisy peeks coyly out of the pasture shelter

Compost, aka Black Gold!

Kevin has been busy with wood cutting activities for most of the day, but I didn't get a whole lot done myself.  I did manage to get out and dig a load of compost out of the bin.  This is the bin that was infested with yellow-jackets last summer, which very effectively kept me out.  They seem to be gone now.  There is a lot of long grass growing in there, along with a lot of great compost.  I'll be screening it to get rid of the roots and then storing it away for use in the late winter & early spring.  It is a major component to my seed starting mix.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Postcard from Ole Lake

Sundays are good days to spend some quality time with your partner, so this morning Kevin and I did just that.  Cleaning out the goat’s indoor living quarters is best done with more than one set of hands.  We followed that little chore with a hike out to Ole Lake.

We call our place Ole Lake farm, but there is no lake.  Ole Lake is a real place, and was a lake a few hundred years ago.  Now it’s a pothole surrounded by tamarack bog, making it pretty much inaccessible sometimes, and fairly difficult to get to the rest of the time.  Winter is by far the easiest season to get there, but only if it’s been cold enough to freeze the bog.

Crossing the bog this morning was quite a workout.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to traverse such a place, imagine walking across an enormous waterbed (the original 70’s version, no baffles) that is covered knee deep with poufy, yet firm pillows.  Got that?  Ok, now add hidden roots and holes filled with water and muck that apply suction to your boots.  Pure pleasure!

Pitcher plants growing in the bog

Ever get that sinking feeling?

You may recall from yesterday’s post that the plan was to move the hens from the Summer Coop to the Winter Coop.  I finally got a couple of photos to record the event.
Kori pauses for a dramatic moment

Kori came home to help with moving the flock.  She is our best and most skilled chicken catcher.  We wait until after dark, when the hens are abed on their roosts.  Javier made the move on Friday; it is necessary for him to be the first one moved, otherwise he can get a little .... agitated by the ruckus that the hens make.  Agitation is not a desirable condition to have in your rooster.
And the handoff!

And lastly, I will close with photos of Spot and some wood.   Just because.   See you next time!
Golden eyed Spot

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Just a few photos from this beautiful fall day here at Ole Lake Farm.

The Cub and buzz
 saw set up for wood cutting

Kurt, Kevin, and Rollie put in a lot of hours today cutting up firewood into useable sizes

 Just some of natures colors that I enjoyed on my way out to the woods to see how the guys were doing.

Seeds to save for next years pea crop
Here at the house, more applesauce was made, pea seeds harvested, squash cooked up to be frozen, and more corn picked.  We will wrap up the day with fall chicken moving; the flock is going back to warmer quarters at the Winter Coop.

Also today, harvested a supper's worth of brocolli, and was pleased to note a couple of very nice cauliflowers still in the garden.  It's just great that we can still eat fresh food from the garden this late in the season.  And there are still carrots out there too.

So, there you go.  Just an everyday weekend day here on the farm.  Until next time, be well friends!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Flowers Funny Farm

Every year, Aitkin Boy Scout Troop 52 gathers at Ole Lake Farm for a weekend of camping, planning, and games called the Flowers Funny Farm. This year, we split the kids into their new patrols to both complete challenges and play games to get them used to working together. They also spent some time planning for the various campouts and events for the coming year, and also held elections for new positions in the troop.

This year, it was particularly cold, so we spent a lot of time huddled around the campfire. The temperature on Friday night dropped down into the 20s, but everyone managed to stay warm. New this year we did an Amazing race in the morning with 5 stations where the scouts needed to work together to complete some tasks.  When all was said and done, 4 fiberglass fence posts were toasted and the spinning .22 target has all kinds of new marks on it.  In the afternoon we played a game called Jugger that a scout parent had found on-line.  It’s like paintball, field hockey and medieval games all mixed up. 
Spools are handy for all kinds of activities.  This year, the scouts built a tower with them!

Why are there canoes with no water in sight?  They are part of "The Amazing Race", Flowers Funny Farm style
Another part of the "Amazing Race" was the team skiing event.  Here the Flowers family tries it out

Sunday morning pancakes with Rollie's Special Syrup, provided by Rollie and Ardis

The site of the activities
Hobo dinners, a feast over the fire

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Getting Sidetracked

Getting sidetracked is not going to be the entire content of the blog, but I will start with it.  Even now, as I type these words which will be posted later in the day, I am on a sidetrack from cleaning the Winter Coop.  I had to come in to visit the powder room, and just sat down to jot down a quick note.  That’s all.  Really. 

Here is a typical sidetrack for me.  I am starting to clean the coop.  I take a couple of loads of bedding and poo out to the compost pile to layer in with the veggies trimmings and coffee grounds.  There is some long grass growing into the bin, so I pull the long grass.  Vinca sees me from the goat pasture and calls to me in her sweet voice.  I take the grass to the goats and am reminded that I wanted to put the bell back on Vinca’s collar.  I go to the house to get the bell, and remember that I need to get a load of jeans hung on the line.  So, I hung the jeans, belled the goat, then finally got back to the coop.  It’s a wonder I get anything done.
Vinca is fashionable wearing her brass sleighbell

The goats are still giving an adequate amount of milk, enough so that if we don't all sit down and have a big glass or two at suppertime, I need to make some cheese to use it up. The goats are venturing much deeper into their tree and brush filled pasture area these days.  That is why I decided to put the bell back on Vinca... sometimes they are hard to spot and frequently at afternoon milking time they are way out there so I call and call for them.  They come running, and with the bell I can hear that they are on the way.
I think Chicky wants one too, but it's a pretty heavy bell

Chicky attracts cockleburrs that stick tight in her coat.  The other does do not have so much trouble with them
You may remember that I was cleaning the coop a few weeks ago too.  That was just the “chick room” side of the Winter Coop.  Today I cleaned out the bigger, main room.  It’s time to get the flock moved back to warmer quarters.

Cleaning the coop is one of those repetitive outdoor tasks that, as I have mentioned before, affords me good think time.  Today I was thinking about getting sidetracked and making mental lists.  There is my MUST DO list, my SHOULD DO list, and my WANT TO DO list.  These lists will not get written down anywhere besides in my head.  Some tasks are on more than one list, but not always.  You might think that there would one of those HONEY DO lists too, but I try to avoid that one as Kevin has plenty to do without me coming up with more.

Speaking of Kevin, I am not seeing much of him or Kurt this weekend, even though they are just on the other side of the woods.  It’s Flowers Funny Farm Weekend, a popular scout event; Kori  was here to join the festivities too.  More on that tomorrow. 

For repetitive indoor tasks, I like to have some distraction.  Frequently this is ball game or an audio book of which I have many, thanks to my generous sister Carolyn.  Today though, I had something different and I want to share it with you.  Kurt listens to Podcasts that he downloads on his phone device.   I don’t have a fancy phone to download to (I prefer the caveman model with actual buttons) but our computer is right in the kitchen where I spend most of my waking indoor hours at home.  So, I just googled gardening podcast, and voila, I found    So today while cutting up apples for sauce I listened to Mike interview Jennifer Bartley who is a garden designer (dream job!) and has authored a couple of kitchen-garden design books.  It was great!  If you have internet service that allows you to do this, go for it!  Google your interest and see what you can find.  Hmmm, I wonder if there are goat or chicken blogs?  I wouldn’t be surprised.

So, what can I check off my DO lists today?  Well, Mickey and I got a run in, I made 2 batches of applesauce which will be canned tomorrow, made mozzarella cheese, started a batch of yogurt.  Cleaned the big room of the Winter Coop and put down new bedding.  Washed and hung out 2 loads of laundry, loaded the dehydrator with oregano, harvested some of the cornmeal corn. Mixed up a batch of goat kibble. Posted a blog. What didn’t get done?  Let’s not go there!
Future cornbread but it needs to dry more
and future pizza seasoning
The first batch of apples of the day before cooking

Most of the apples from the applesauce came from my co-worker Bonnie G.  Thanks for sharing Bonnie and thank you too to Duane who picked them!