Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mid-Winter Ice

Here it is the last day of January and very little snow to be had around here.  Ice we have plenty of!

 We all shuffle and slide to get about and do the chores.

I give Vinca a tummy rub... "How many babies are in there?"

We had a little goat exchange today.  Ranger moved out of the pole barn where he has been co-habitating with Vinca and Daisy, and went to the bachelor quarters at the Winter Coop where he will be hanging out with his little buddy Billy-Dude.  Chicky has moved out of the Winter Coop yard and will be with mom Daisy and Vinca while they finish their pregnancies.

Comfortable in the house, Mickey takes a post-run nap. 
Be well folks, spring will be here before we know it!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Just saying hello from Ole Lake

Hi folks,  I just popped in here and I see from the "stats" that you've been stopping by now and then even though  I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.  Maybe between wood chores, a birthday bash, and the Superbowl I will get a post in here this coming weekend.  Everybody is good here; hens laying, does getting wider.. and us people keeping busy.  I just wish for some snow for snowshoeing! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


It’s been cold lately.  Beyond cold.  Cold is when the lake is 50 degrees when you jump in to it on a 90 degree July day.  This is something else. 

It’s cold.  Friday was 8 degrees below 0.   Earlier in the week colder still.  I think the lowest we’ve have seen this week was 15 below.  This morning it was a comparatively balmy 0. Sure, it could be colder.  It could be 30 below.  We’ve had worse but… damn, it’s COLD!

I commiserate with the other hardy souls that live in this frigid environment.  Low temperatures are compared... who had the lowest?  What about that wind chill? I complain.  I whine.  Then I berate myself for whining.  Aren’t I a tough Minnesotan?  Don’t I choose to live here?  Not originally I didn’t… my ancestors did.  What the heck were they thinking? Really, I want to know!  Maybe they were made of tougher stuff than me.

Cold makes us crabby.  Our language deteriorates into sniffs, grunts, pants, and occasional swear words.  Cold makes everything harder.  Especially water … har har har!!!  Ok, not funny.  Chores are more complicated but we hurry through them to get back into the house.  So far the hydrant has not frozen up.  When that happens, the real cussing begins.

Wardrobe selections have become limited.  Only pants baggy enough to layer over long underwear are worn.  Undershirts under turtlenecks under sweaters, sometimes with a scarf become daily attire.  Laundry is closely monitored.  Is there clean long underwear for tomorrow?  How ‘bout the Smartwool socks supply?

I can think of one (only one, mind you) upside of it being really cold.  It’s a thing I doubt many, if any people reading this will have thought about.  Ok, here it is.  Frozen chicken turds.  Yep.  Frozen chicken turds are (as Martha (I’m sure) would say if she actually had to tidy up her cold chicken coop at 5:30 AM on an 8 below morning) a Good Thing.  Easy to pick up and separate from the bedding with the manure fork.  This makes it  much easier to maintain the coop.

I’m beginning to understand (a little) why some of our retired friends and family head for other states in the winter.  I’m pretty sure Kevin and I will never join that migration though.  My retirement plans include plenty of poultry and goats, and possibly other livestock.  The logistics of packing up that kind of menagerie and heading for Texas or New Mexico just doesn’t warrant my think time.

Instead, I am thinking wouldn’t a tunnel out to the barn be nice?  Or maybe just add on to the house so the animal housing is attached.  Didn’t they used to do that in the old days (the really old days) in Scandinavian countries?

I could fill pages of lists of things that are bad about cold weather, but being an optimist, I got to thinking that there must be other good things about it besides frozen chicken turds.  Here is what I came up with:
1.        It feels really, really good to come in from outside
2.       There are no bugs
3.       The back-entry way (the part of our house that some would call a mud room) serves as an auxiliary refrigerator.  And we now have a LOT of freezer space.  An entire garage of it.
4.       Snuggling under a heavy pile of bedding is pure heaven.

That’s all I can come up with.   How about you?  Use the comment section below.

I'm adding some photos taken this  morning down below.  I'm not sure how to take a picture of cold.  
Stay warm people.
Chicky and Billy-Dood were so cute cuddled up together.  Of course they had to get up and come out when I tried to take a picture... so this is all you get of them. You can see we had a little snow shower going on at the time.

Hens are curious and opportunistic.  Here some of my flock are pecking around in the entry way of the Winter Coop while I am filling their waterer with the hose (a major pain in the winter).  I am not worried about them going outside and running off... They don't like going out in the snow.
After filling the water up, I gave them a bag of leaves to peck around in. 

Filling the horse waterer this morning, you can sort of see the steam rising. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Greetings!

Happy New Year to All who may happen upon this blog, whether on purpose or by accident!

So it's been a couple of weeks since my last post and Christmas has come and gone.  Our winter routine is pretty established now. We've had some pretty cold weather, but it could be worse.

Last weekend Kevin and I got in some quality couple time cleaning out the big goats' living quarters again.  I had to take a picture of the steam rising from the bedding which was composting on the bottom.

In years past, January 1 would be a day to stay in bed quite late, and then spend some relaxing time watching a little football on TV.  Not any more.  Today, Kevin took advantage of the day off from his "real" job (the one that pays the bills) and spent quite a bit of the day at wood related activities.  Kori was home to spend New Year's with us, so she joined in and all four of us worked together to buzz-saw up a smallish pile of wood. 

Setting up
It really is true that many hands make light work.  The pile was cut up and in the trailer in no time.
Because this beast and his brother at the North House are always hungry!
Speaking of beasts, they are all just fine.  The hens are laying better and Vinca is still providing milk, but just once a day now.  I didn't have any critter pictures lined up for this post, but here's a shot of my running buddy, enjoying the good life of a part-time house dog...
So, just a short update from me today.  It won't be long and I will be ordering seed, mixing up some soil and compost and starting some plants for the greenhouse.  You just have to be an optimist to be a gardener in Minnesota!  Winter is just a little stepping stone between harvest and planting, right?  The days are already getting longer  and the does will be soon getting wider as their babies grow.  Thanks for stopping by!