Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

I like to post this picture during or around patriotic holidays. We took this picture a few years ago. It is fitting to post it at Memorial Day. We've had this flag since the first Gulf War, got it during "Operation Desert Storm" and put it on the front railing of the house where we lived in the city back then. Now that we live in Northern WI we put it on our shed.
At present this flag has seen better days as it catches the strong winds that we get that come across our 40 acre field. In the above picture it still looks pretty good. I'd like to get another flag just like it one of these days. This was a good quality flag when we got it. It is sewn rather than printed and has held up exceptionally well over the years.
Have a good holiday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A fawn

On Tuesday I was removing the plastic panels on the end of our big green house and was stacking them around back when I looked down and to my surprise was this little fawn curled up next to the bottom board on the green house. I could have stepped right on it. The little thing looked just like a pile of leaves.

The family and our friend Kristine were all out working in the garden so I called them over to see the baby. It seemed very unusual that it didn't get up and run away so we were beginning to think something was wrong with it.

We were all gathering around speculating about the fawn. Were was it's mother? And why wasn't she around? Then our daughters started asking if we could keep it, then started citing instances were people raised abandoned fawns. But, I was not easily won over to the idea and held my ground, "no we aren't keeping it!" I insisted. " The mother must be around here someplace". I've heard of many instances were people think fawns are abandoned when in fact the mothers are not that far off.

We were all standing around chatting about the cute little thing. Ryann was bent down taking pictures. Kristine mentioned about how it was not skittish at all with us all standing there gathered around just a couple feet from it. Then no sooner did those words leave her lips when the fawn let out an ear piercing shriek jumped up and ran off on wobbly legs. Obviously being just hours old. We all jumped at the sudden sound and movement. As it went off Shalea spotted the mother which had been no more than 60 or 70 feet away in a thick growth of balsam trees. The mother went towards the baby and that was the last we saw of them.

I was amazed that I had carried those panels right past the fawn and hadn't even seen it at first. Pretty neat how they blend right in to their surroundings. We were all relieved that the fawn was not an orphan and that the mother was fine and would take care of it.

It's funny how baby animals make a person forget about what a nuisance the adults can be. The mother may very well be one of the deer who helped mow down part of our garden last year. And this little cutey may well do the same later on. Oh, well by Gods grace it all works out in the end anyway.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer like Weather

As I write it is 82 degrees F at 9:10 pm. Earlier today it was 89 degrees in Rhinelander. A big contrast to just a few weeks ago when we had snow! The snow is but a distant memory with it being almost 90 today.

During the day while I was out doing my route, when I would hear people almost, but not quite, complaining about the heat I reminded them of the snow we had just a few short weeks ago. One guy laughed and said "we were complaining then about the snow and now we're complaining about the heat, ha, ha". For the sake of any southerners reading here, you might be wondering what the big deal is but, up in this part of the country we think 90 is hot. When ever it gets warm here I remind myself of how cold we feel when it's 20 or 30 below zero.

All of our ewes had their lambs by May 16th. All together we had 7 lambs. And of course the baby stealer made life more interesting. When she had her own baby she did what we hoped she would NOT do and that was to reject her own lamb. Two years in a row now she has complicated our plans.
As I mentioned in a previous post Sophie, pictured at left stole one of Tess's twins. Sophie being more dominant than Tess was able to easily take the female lamb. Of course Sophie didn't have any milk yet so we had to bottle feed the baby for a number of days. At least we were glad that she was taking care of the little one in every other way, keeping her close by and watching over her. As Sophie approached her own birthing day her milk came in and the lamb was finally able to get real milk. We stopped bottle feeding her.
On the 16th when Sophie gave birth it was heart breaking to see her reject her own little one. It was a male. We only had two males out of the 7 lambs. He went from momma to momma seeing who might take him but, none would. He was still wet from being born so we restrained Sophie and let him nurse from her. We even rubbed his wet body all over her nose trying to get her to bond with him but she would have none of it and continued to reject him. So we began bottle feeding the little ram and continue until now. For days he kept trying to get one of the mommas to take him in. It was sad to see it. They kept butting him away.

By now though he has adjusted and eagerly awaits his regular feedings from one of us when we go out with a bottle. I think he might steal a drink of real milk from time to time though because I still see him try to get a little from the other ewes if they happen to come near enough. It was encouraging however, during those first few days when we saw a couple of the un-bred ewes letting him attempt to nurse them. They kind of acted like surrogate mothers and hung out with him.

Anyway, the rest of the ewes had no problems at all and the lambs are all growing fast. Whew!

So far the movable sheep pen is working well. I'm still a little anxious that the coyotes or wolves might find a way to get them though. And we have meat chickens on pasture, another group of young chicks in the brooder and turkeys in another up close to the house. We got 20 turkeys but, 4 of them died early on. They got chilled at the post office but, the rest seem strong now. The hatchery refunded our money for those 4 that died which was nice. The 16 remaining turkeys are 10 days old today. This warm weather is a plus for the young birds.

But, the predators are always lurking, always looking for an opportunity, an easy meal. I'm glad to say that in 8 weeks, if all goes well, we will be getting our LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog). It will be an 8 week old puppy however. But, I am eager to spend time training the pup to guard our place and flocks. It will take time to develop it into an effective guardian.

Until Next Time

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our daughter playing the piano

This is our daughter Shalea's piano recital for 2010 that she did last night. We all are very proud of her and her natural talent for playing piano.

She memorized this in about 4 weeks or so and did not have much time to really get polished. At about the half way point she forgot where she was and bobbled a bit. It took her a little while to get back into it but I think she finished well.

Shalea's piano teacher always gives her hard pieces to do but, is a real good teacher and has a style of teaching that really encourages our daughter. Shalea now is a piano teacher herself and has several young students that she teaches.

Classical music is her favorite. We all love to hear her playing her baby grand at home. We feel blessed having a home full of music.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Uncle John

Below are some old pictures that our cousin Jerry sent us of John Myers my great-uncle. They were taken in 1968. Uncle John was my Grandma Nellis' brother. He worked in construction as long as I can remember. In the below pictures he is building a barn. Uncle John used to dig basements as well. With a shovel. They don't make them like him anymore. Born in 1907.

This man had a big influence on my life. He was the closest thing I had to a grandpa as I grew up. My Dad's dad died before I was born and my Mom's dad died when I was very young so Uncle John played a role in my life much like a grandpa would. Both my parents and I and both of my grandma's and Uncle John all lived in the same house most of while I grew up.

I have many memories of both Uncle John and my Dad working in ditches and holes like this when I was young. This was a common site for me.
I remember well the stories Uncle John told about living through the great depression and how once while he was traveling around looking for work he was so hungry he ate grass. Which, he said was a big mistake because he then came down with a terrible bout of diarrhea.
Watching Uncle John straighten bent nails taught me to be frugal. I heard someone once say in regards to raising kids, "it's not so much as what is taught as what is caught". I picked up on those kinds of things when I was a kid and to this day it drives me nuts to throw out bent nails or things that still have a lot of life in them.

I don't have time for a long post here. I could write a ton about days gone by and of the people I loved and who are now gone. Uncle John passed away in 1991 the first of all his siblings. An entire generation of our relatives passed away beginning with Uncle John. They are all greatly missed.

Maybe sometime I will tell about the others.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


This is what we woke up to this morning. About 4 or 5 inches of snow. But, by this evening it is almost completely gone.
We had one more lamb born this morning as well. Right in the snow. No problem though, it's momma clean her up good and she is bigger than the twins born on Thursday. Wool coats are hard to beat.

Thanks Mom for more pictures!

Thursday, May 06, 2010


The lambs are coming. We went to town today and when we got back my Dad told us we had a couple lambs out in the pen. So we ran out and sure enough Tess had two babies. A black male and a much smaller dark brown female. But, Sophie the baby stealer from last year is up to her old tricks. She stole the little dark brown female. So we spent some time observing them. And sure enough Sophie is not about to give up her stolen goods. Also by now Tess is turning her nose up at the little orphan. Wouldn't be so bad if Sophie had milk for the little girl. We checked, her bag is full because she is soon to have her own baby or two, but nothing is coming out yet as far as milk goes. So what we are doing is leaving them as they are and are bottle feeding the little girl lamb. We are hoping that when Sophie has hers then she will have milk enough and will hopefully keep this little stolen baby.

We moved all the ewes to the movable pen. You can't tell in the picture but, I fashioned a roof for them that goes between the ewes and the rams.

In the picture above is Sophie with her stolen merchandise.

This black one is the male. You can already see his horn nubs growing.

And here again is the little dark brown female. She is much smaller than the male. Both lambs are just hours old in these pics.

My mom took the pictures. Thanks Mom!