Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hunting Over - Let's Talk Turkey!

Let's Talk Turkey!  Usually when you hear or read those words at this time of year, they are followed by cooking advice... Not in my post!

With the activities of Hunting (yes, capital H) wrapped up, we've settled into an early winter routine.  You may recall from my last (pre-Hunting) post (October 29) that Penelope and her poults stubbornly refused to seek shelter at night, preferring to roost outside in the elements.  We had rounded them up (no easy feat) and locked them up in the Summer Coop for about eight days.  I had hoped that would be enough time for them to consider it home.  Not so, as it turned out.  They were pleased when I let them out and resumed roosting outside that night.  Humph.

We had another turkey catching event - this time joined by the young people that were hunting here.  They seemed to enjoy the exercise (something to tell their city classmates about I am sure) - much more than I did, and certainly more than the turkeys did!

We managed to catch all of the poults with only a moderate amount of trauma.  Penelope proved to be slipperier than her offspring and eluded capture for two more days.  Now they are all locked up together in the Summer Coop - still not thrilled about it but at least they are not out in the elements.

Speaking of the elements - we have had a bit of everything so far this month.  Warm, cold, rain, snow, sleet.... Not much snow left at the moment.

The chicken hens and the other two turkey hens have been enjoying the fact that the snow is gone.  These two were visiting the pigs during their nap time - not sure how the photo got so crooked but I like the red and black hens visiting the red and black hogs...

The two turkey hens here are the lucking winners in the "you get to live" lottery that sent their siblings to the freezer.  I am hoping they hook up with one of Penelope's sons next spring and hatch more poults for us.  They have names now - Dolly and Polly - interchangeable as they are pretty much identical. 

I was a vendor at an indoor market yesterday - it is a monthly event in Little Falls.  Had an enjoyable time with my helper Kori although it was pretty chilly in the former factory.  This is a picture I took of our farm booth - I didn't realize the wagon and other things under the table were so obvious - maybe will do something different with that next time.

So, that is probably enough for this post.  Happy Thanksgiving to all, and be well!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Season Wrap Up

Good Sunday Evening everyone, this is Kevin again with the report for week two of the MN Deer Hunt at Ole Lake FArm

It has been a very active week since I posted last Sunday Night. On Monday Night Grace shot her first whitetail deer. All the youth have now shot at least one deer this year; what a load off my mind. I don’t know why I worry so much about getting the kids shooting but I do. It is so cool that so many people have had an opportunity to harvest their first deer on the property over the years; we really have it good.

On Wednesday evening my uncle Gene Flowers shot a deer to make this his first deer shot in Minnesota in a whole lot of years. My guess is about 40, so welcome back Uncle Gene! This is just the first of many back here in MN. Then on Saturday morning Dad (Rollie) filled his tag and we were pretty much done. We had a total of 12 people hunting and we filled 11 tags, leaving only my tag open. We did sit in the stands on Saturday night, but this morning we did not go out, we just waited a while and went out and took down all the stands. 

And finally, some thoughts about the 2017 deer season at Ole Lake Farm. As a group, we saw over 90 deer, many were the same ones, multiple times, but that is still a lot of deer. We did not see many bucks, just the one Kori shot, and one Nick saw opening day that stayed in the brush. Last but best, we did not have to track any wounded deer, they were all one shot kills. I am especially proud of the four amigos, Nick, Kellen, Grace and Sammy, who really did an awesome job this year. It has been an exciting year for Kellen, Grace and Sammy who got whitetail here, and they all three harvested a pronghorn in Wyoming earlier this fall. If they go elk hunting, they would have a huge amount of meat.
So concludes deer hunting season for another year.  Debby will be back next week with a farm update - she seems to thing people might want to hear about the turkeys...

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Deer Hunting 2017 Opening Weekend

Good Evening everyone, you have Kevin here with the annual Opening of Deer Season Weekend report. Just a quick note, there are some pictures of dead deer at the end of the blog so if you rather not see them I will let you know when the post is done and the pictures are coming.

The hunting party this weekend consisted of myself, Kurt, Kori, Dad (Rollie), my brother Kent, my nephew Kellen, cousin Tim, Tim's son Nick, and friends Mike and Luke and Luke's kids Grace and Sammy.

We knew this year was going to be different, we were seeing a lot of deer every day out in the fields and this year our hunt area is Hunter Choice, which means you can harvest any deer, antlered or antlerless. 

Opening day everyone saw at least 3 deer, but Kori took the record sitting in her stand. She tried to recall how many deer she saw and her best guess was twenty.  I came in second with 10, all walking in a row in front of me. The weird thing is we have not seen any bucks except for the one Kori shot opening morning, and his antlers were so short, we had to call him anterless  The DNR say a buck has to have at least one polished antler 3" long to be a legal buck. Her buck only had about 1 to 2" antlers. She thinks it's kind of cute. There is a picture of it at the end of the post.

 The rest of the deer shot are all anterless, which is really strange, with so many does around there should be a few bucks but we haven't seen any.  So after the first weekend, out of 12 hunters we have filled 8 tags. We have never had so much meat hanging in the garage as we do right now, which is the other picture at the end.

So just a couple of other little things.  All 3 of Dad's grandchildren who are hunting shot a deer this year, with Kellen, Kurt and Kori all shooting deer. Kellen also did all the messy stuff on his deer, with tips and guidance from Uncle Kevin. He did a great job. It just so happened that all the deer shot today were by the youth, as in 14 and younger, so this evening we had a grand ole time with the next generation helping out with the skinning and splitting. Some were more enthusiastic than others, but they all helped a lot. They do seem to like running the Sawzall, who doesn't like using power tools? Nick got the messiest deer prize this year so far, and it will take quite a feat to beat it, he shot his deer at about 20 yards and his bullets sure did the job.

At our place, we skin the deer the same day they are harvested. I know there are many schools of thought on if the hide should stay on and how long they should hang before cutting, but for us, skinning the same day works great because the hide come off so much easier and when you have a bunch of youth helping out, it goes much better. It was really lots of fun to have everyone out helping and nobody got cut, which is always a bonus.

So now if you don't want to see the pictures, be well and have a great week everyone. If you would like to see a picture of a buck with itty bitty antlers and a garage full of hanging meat, continue to scroll down.

Next picture

See you next time

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pig and Turkey Adventures

Snow has arrived!

We knew it was coming and wanted to make sure all the critters were properly sheltered.  Penelope and the poults have been resistant to moving indoors so finally we had to force the issue.  Thursday evening we slunk out to the garden in the dark armed with fish landing nets.  It was pretty traumatizing for the turkeys but at least they are indoors.  I have them locked in the summer coop and will keep them incarcerated for a week or so before letting them out again.  Hopefully they will imprint on the little building as home.

Now the pigs - they sort of moved themselves.  Earlier in the week they went missing - their fence was laid flat.  After a bit of a search, Kevin found them over the hill north of the house at the edge of the the swamp.  Usually when they get out they are easily led back to their pen with a bucket of feed, but not this time.  They came as far as the front of the shop and stopped there.  Kevin had to put some fence panels together and "tow" them to get them moving so he just took them to where their winter quarters are, partly tucked under the haybarn roof. 
 The size difference is quite noticeable.  We've definitely had health problems with the pigs this year and three of the four are much smaller than they should be at this point.  On the up side, they are alive and seem to be recovered and growing again. 

The new pig pen enclosed a large mound of really old hay that Kevin hauled out of the hay barn earlier this summer.  It's been composting for a few months and the pigs are really enjoying digging into it.
Deer hunting season is almost upon us so the next two or three posts will be hunting updates from Kevin. Be safe and be well friends.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Random October

Subtitle:  A little of this and of that...

You may recall my post a couple of weeks ago.  I was crabby about all of the nasty insects on the laundry that was hanging on the clothesline; I described my efforts to removed them.  The post script to that story is that although I was able to shake most of the critters off of our clothes, I did not get them all.  I found a couple of the beasts on the INSIDE of my pants AT WORK, A WEEK LATER!!!  Ugh!

Let the randomness begin:

If someone calls you from my phone and meows... it's isn't me trying to be funny:

Kevin and Rollie ground feed for the pigs on Tuesday - they had a lot of helpers with the clean-up

and Kevin's hair ended up even whiter than it already is!

Penelope's poults are getting pretty big these days but they continue to be quite shy.

It was chicken moving weekend.  I have mentioned this event quite often over the years.  Each spring the hens and resident rooster move to the Summer Coop, then in the fall they move back to the Winter Coop.  It's hard to get photos of this because we all have our hands full of unhappy poultry, but Kurt did manage to get a couple this time:

Before the move - a sort of creepy shot inside of the Summer Coop:

And Kevin carrying a bird or two to the lit-up Winter Coop.

And there you have it - Random October.  Be well friends.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October happenings.

Another typical workweek has gone by followed by another busy weekend.  Kevin had the Scouts out for Flowers Funny Farm - an annual October event.  They camp on the other side of the woods so I don't see much of them.  Pretty quiet here so I get a little more done than usual.  Two batches of soap are in the molds, lots of laundry is done (no bugs this week, we finally have cooler weather!) and  I put in some garden time.  My main goal was to clear one of the beds to put in some garlic.  I did accomplish that with a little help from my friends - the feathered kinds.  There wasn't anyone around to take our picture, but my hens were such enthusiastic helpers that I had to be careful not to step on them as I forked over the bed!

I also got the pie pumpkins and squash out of the garden and into the shelter of the garage.  I will be cooking and freezing them over the next month or so. 

 The Carnival squash look too pretty to eat - each one is a little piece of art.

This big pumpkin is one from the Scout patch  It had escaped into the sunflowers but I found it in time for it to be sold.

I will share a picture from the greenhouse.  I am really looking forward to having my own fresh lettuce again - pretty soon.  Rollie has replaced the hail-damaged roof panels - Thanks Rollie!!!

More of Rollie's work - he has sided the shed where my sister Carolyn's camper and porch used to sit (it was just a roof).  At one time I was thinking new goat barn, but better yet, it will be housing some equipment and we can then remodel and enlarge the does area in the corner of the pole barn.  That will be very nice.

I hope you all are enjoying autumn - too bad it is such a short season. 

Be well friends.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Back from Vacation and ... Invasion of the Dreaded Beetle!

I am pretty sure that I whined a bit last year when the Asian Lady Beetles showed up - sorry, but I have to whine again.  They arrived yesterday and in such large numbers they could not be ignored.  If you have not experienced these insects for  yourself - you need to know that not only do they smell bad, they also bite.

I had to remove the clothes from the line in the late afternoon - normally a pleasant task on a sunny fall day, but not this time.  These nasty little beasts love to be in the sun and were hanging all over the wash and the garage wall, as well as just filling the air.  I had to resort to snatching a piece of clothing off the line and then dashing to the shade of the nearby pine tree. Then the garment had to be vigorously flipped to remove the creatures before being folded and dropped in the basket.  This procedure was then repeated for every item of the four loads of wash on the lines.  Tedious. 

We had a very nice little vacation up in the Bayfield/Washburn/Ashland area of Wisconsin.  We relaxed (although not as much as we thought we would), hiked, ate out (a lot), shopped, and even got to visit with some area farmers.  Here are a couple of photos from a hike we took to the sea caves.

Back at home, the pullets are starting to lay a few eggs and are now sporting blue leg bands.  The older hens will soon be joining them in the winter coop.

The wheat and rye are up and looking good.  This weekend was just beautiful in these parts (despite the wretched bugs!). 

And that is about enough for this week.  Until next time, be well friends!