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!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Storm Damage

I hope that someday we can look back at the weather of 2017 and remember it as an unusual, strange sort of  year.  I sure hope this isn't our new normal.  Unseasonable cool or even cold days when it should be warm, now warm when it should be cool.  No serious frost yet - weird.

This has been a stormy week and we did not escape from damage.
Can you see the holes in the roof of the greenhouse?

Critter-wise, it's a lot quieter around here.  Mitzi went home today as planned; I will miss her but maybe not her loud voice.  Yesterday all of the young roosters and one of the tom turkeys became just chicken and turkey.  Both of the toms were supposed to make it to the freezer but one of them escaped the capture team (Kori, Rollie, and I) and gets to stay a while longer.  

Penolope and the poults have settled in.  I do not know where they spend the night - not in the shelter we provided for them.  I was worried during the storms but they seem to be just fine.  They like resting on this borrowed excavator.

The boy scout's pumpkin patch provided a bumper crop this year.  Today was pumpkin picking day. This is the field before the scouts arrived.
This is just some of them - many more left with the scout families to be sold and provide much needed funds for the boys to go to camp.

My view from the milking stand is a little more colorful.  The young rye field has really greened up.  That's a bit of Vinca's tail in the upper right.
There will not be a post here from me next Sunday - maybe Kori will do a guest post.  Kevin and I are taking a little vacation to celebrate a pretty big anniversary. Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oh no, she's talking about turkeys again!

The turkeys continue to amuse us - Kevin has taken to gobbling at them and the boys gobble back.  Most of the time that is - when they don't then he just sounds kind of silly!

They get pretty full of themselves sometimes!  Unfortunately for some of them, they are not destined for a long life.  We are going to keep a couple of them though, and our new hen - meet Penelope and her poults!
Poor girl, her feathery gown is rather soiled and tattered but underneath she is a princess - a Royal Palm. She came from some farmer friends who had lost all of their turkeys except for this little family to coyotes.  Hopefully she will have a long and happy life here.

News from the goat pen - Mitzi will be going home next weekend.  Her owners prefer to milk just once a day so starting tomorrow I am going to once a day for both does. 
She has a very loud voice and continues to be naughty on the milking stand, but I have grown quite fond of her.

We are done with the farmer's market for the season but somehow I don't think that will make life less hectic!  These days I've been trying to keep up with the tomatoes as they ripen, really enjoying having an abundance of cantaloupe to eat, and putting off dealing with the apples - after that it will be pumpkins and squash. Kevin is finished with the grain work now but is getting quite busy with scout activities and is trying to figure out winter housing for all of the critters.

We have quite a bunch of young roosters that need to go.  More on that next week I think.  Until then, be well friends!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Signs of Fall

It seems to be autumn all of a sudden.  We haven't had a noticeable frost but may have had an un-noticed one or else the plants just know it is time.  The pumpkin, melon, and squash vines have started dying down revealing a pretty good yield.

These are the eating pumpkins in the garden. Winter Luxury and Rouge Vif  D'Etampes (some people call it Cinderella) are my favorites to cook up for pie and muffins.

The Troop 52 pumpkins are plentiful and HUGE this year.  I order the same kind of seed for them every year, a variety called Howden that has done well here.  There is also one called Howden Biggie and I wonder if we didn't get those by accident - all of them that I can see are really big!  Hopefully there are some smaller ones out there for the people who prefer non-behemoth sized jack-o-lanterns!

Remember we had some chicks hatch about three weeks ago?  Here is what they look like now.

Meanwhile, out in the summer coop there are three more hens that want to set!  Sorry ladies, wrong time of  year for that.  I keep taking their eggs; I sure hope they give it up soon.  I don't know if there is a way to re-program hens to set in the spring instead of the fall or not, but I hope so.  Guess I will have do do some research on that this winter.

With the grain harvest complete, Kevin and Rollie lost no time and got busy replanting rye and winter wheat.  Kevin is doubling the amount of winter wheat planted over last fall.  This is a photo of the no-till grain drill he rented for a nominal cost from our local NRCS office. This will be the first year we try no-till, he ran the disk over the fields to knock the stubble down and then planted with this. Some research has shown better yields with no-till so we will see what happens.

I will close with a little winter color from the goat pen.  This pine tree has a red vine that has climbed all the way up - not desirable I suppose, but festive!

No turkey talk this week!

Until next time, be well friends!


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Mystery Bird

So, do you know how long our country has celebrated Labor Day?  Since 1894!

I will get right to the the topic referred to in the title of this post - we have a a bird here that does not belong.

About two weeks ago Kurt added a board to the top of the wire fence to assist the turkeys to get back into the coopyard - saving me from having to run out and open the gate for them.  I think it was the next day that Kevin mentioned that one of my young birds was out - we assumed he had flown up to the board and then jumped out.  I saw no sign of him and when darkness came and we closed up the coop, there was no bird huddled up next to the building or near the gate.  We figured it had gotten it's self in and thought no more of it.  A week passed, and one morning I heard crowing in the woods to the north.  We don't have neighbors close by who have chickens, and of course I was curious.  I went out there  and caught a glimpse of what I took to be one of my own young cockerels who took off at first sight of me.  No way would we ever be able to catch that bird!

This story is getting kind of lengthy, but I am getting there.  The next morning, when I went out to the Summer Coop where Julio and the mature hens live, there he was, on the window sill, pressed against the hardware cloth covering like he would very much like to be in there.  This was 5:30 in the morning so it was dark and he was pretty much blinded by my headlamp.  I took him down to the Winter Coop and put him in with the other youngsters.  I thought he looked a little different, but I had to get to work.  At afternoon choretime, the sunlight revealed a handsome fellow, but definitely not one of my birds! Very odd - we have no idea where he came from.  Do you suppose people drop off unwanted birds in the country like they do with kittens?  Makes me mad - although that is how we acquired Roye.

So, here he is (the one on the right):

Hard to believe these are the same birds that hatched this spring! 

Can you stand any more pictures of the turkeys? 

Our house is a split level and the framing there is to run a rain-gutter away from a lower roof so it doesn't come down right in front of the front door.  That is our bedroom window up there - Sure hope she doesn't think that is a good place to spend the night?

We had a good day at the Farmer's Market yesterday.  We have been bringing sunflowers - people really like them.  
 Couldn't resist having a little fun though...

We have completed the grain harvest. Kevin reports a good yield of oats and spring wheat.  Next he will be planting winter wheat and rye - next weekend's work.  With the grain comes straw to be baled.  The folks are always so helpful - here Ardis drove the tractor and baler.  She hasn't done this for many years but you wouldn't know it - she did such an awesome job of it!
The view from the milking stand was hazy this afternoon.  That brown area was in oats and is prepared to be replanted. 
Iron Man has come to Ole Lake Farm!  I call him Pete though.  An all metal scarecrow made by metal artist Mathew Hurd - he will last a lifetime!

Enjoy your Labor Day everyone, please be safe.  Be well.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

More Fowl Things - weather and turkeys

We sure have had the rain lately!  Following  a very soggy and dismal farmer's market, yesterday afternon the Greater Mille Lacs Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota had our first Farm2Families event.  And it rained some more.  We put up canopies, cut back on the activities some (no hayrides), had our speakers and meal as planned and it was all fine.  Just not as many people attended as we would like, but considering the rain it was good.  I didn't take many pictures but did have my sister Carolyn take this fun picture of some of us members posing with our photo board.  My relatives who see this post will recognize cousin Mathew Nix there in the front.  I claimed the goat of course.

 Wandering turkeys continue :

There are lots of mushrooms around -due to the damp conditions I suppose.  I find them so interesting - this leathery looking one was in the yard.

And this is not a mushroom at all.  It's Monotropa Uniflora - also called ghost pipe or indian pipe.  It's a plant that doesn't have chlorophyll, sort  of rare I guess.  I wouldn't know anything about it but I saw it just the other day on facebook.
In garden news, even though it's a mess, the jungle is producing quite a few tomatoes!  I will be making sauce this week I think, and I am looking forward to a good melon harvest.

Be well folks, I'll be back next week.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fowl Things

So the turkeys are messing with me.  Plainly they get a kick out of flying over the fence, then standing around by the gate and calling loudly so I run out and let them in.   Over, and over, and over again.

Kurt added a board to the top of the fence near the gate so they can just jump up onto it and from there just jump back in.  We parked the wheelbarrow with some wood suggestively close.  And added a ramp.  Oh, that's working well!

 While they are roaming around, they have a great time - checking out the roof of the woodshed and pole barn, followed by a little greenhouse trashing.
 The gentlemen turkeys are gobbling these days and doing that poofy display thing which is kind of neat to see.

Enough of turkeys.

Thursday I found a little surprise in the coop!

This hen has been setting for a while but I was expecting the chicks on Saturday, not Thursday!  I actually have two other broody hens but I am ruthlessly taking their eggs away daily.  This is not the time of year to be having chicks.  I did let this one though because we have a thing (event) coming up where it will be nice to have some little ones to show folks. More on that next week.

No futzing with the incubator, fretting if the power goes out, trying to manage the humidity, making sure the turner is working and getting the temperature just right.  This hen does it all, and better.  Mother Nature knows best.

Until next time, be well friends!