Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our new Livestock Guardian Dog

Here is a link to a new blog I started which is place where I will chronicle our experiences with our new Livestock Guardian Dog. She began as an 8 week old puppy and is quickly turning into a flock protector. She is a Kangal Dog and we named her Ariella which is Hebrew for "Gods Lioness". We will call her Arie for short, after Kelli's mom who passed away just over a week ago. Here's the link if you would like to follow our new adventure with this awesome little puppy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Curve ball

We're guaranteed that some times life is going to throw us a curve ball. Our family had such a time as that with the passing of my mother in-law this past week. She passed away early Tuesday morning and yesterday they had a beautiful funeral for her. With years long heart trouble and diabetes she went peacefully in her sleep.

The nice thing about it is all her kids were here on vacation and the night before, she passed, her and all her kids were sitting around our kitchen table well into the evening visiting telling jokes and having fun together. It really made her day. It was fitting for everyone to be here at the same time. However it wasn't quite the vacation they all had planned.

The funeral was here at the farm. My parents have a big mowed front yard and we put up a couple large borrowed tents. The day was perfect and a strong salvation message was given.
Kelli's mom was a Christian and especially the last year or so of her life she dwelled more and more on the Lord which gave her a peace that went beyond understanding all during the time when her daughter Doreen was going through her own heart trouble. By the way for those of you who prayed for Doreen she had a heart transplant a short while back and is doing very well now. A miraculous turn of events it was.

In the above picture you can see the joy Kelli's mom, Arlene had during the past week while everyone was here. The snap shot was actually taken by her young 2, 1/2 year old grand daughter who was running around with a camera.

We were awe struck by how our local community came together to help us out during this sad time. Sad for every ones loss but not for her since she is in a far better place. The town let us use the town hall for free for a dinner and also let us use 100 chairs to seat everyone at the funeral under the big tent. Then a bunch of ladies in the community cooked up all kinds of delicious food for the dinner. No one in our family had to do a thing. These angels of mercy provided everything. We've learned to love this small town community over the years and now we are just plain blown over at the generosity that was shared.

No one expected Arlene to live a real long life due to her many health issues but, no one saw this coming. It is a very real reminder that we all must pass through the valley of the shadow of death and everyone of us needs to make our peace with the Lord while we still can.

My mother in law wrote beautiful poetry so I will close this post with one that they printed for the funeral.

It's about her kids.

The Portrait of My Children
Eyes of blue and eyes of brown,
Dimpled smiles and eyebrowed frowns,
running feet and skinned up knees,
Chocolate kisses and hugs that please.
Hearts so full of simple faith,
The look of love on each small face.
A hand in mine so trustingly,
Has meant more than gold to me.
These treasures dwell where none can see,
They lie within the heart of me.
These memories will never dim,
They've become a Portrait of My Children.
I know the times that I have failed,
To earn their love, they still have cared.
I doubt that I have measured up,
to all their faith and love and trust.
Now that they've all grown up at last,
I wish that I could have them back.
To hold each one upon my knee
and tell them what they mean to me.
The earthly things that i call mine,
I cannot take, they'll stay behind.
But when Jesus calls me home to him,
I'll take the Portrait of My Children.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Turkeys, grapes and Ben

Here's some more scenes from our place here in northern Wisconsin. We got turkeys again this year and so far they are doing good. Thanksgiving dinner should be great, providing nothing happens. We are raising them in a chicken tractor. We give them boiled goose eggs as a treat. We have 16 turkeys in this pen.
We have four movable pens out on the pasture. The one on the right and below has some young chickens which just came out of the brooder to make room for a new batch of day old chicks. The two other pens are not shown. I build our pens out of what ever scraps we have on hand so they are all different. We butchered the last of our first batch of chickens of the season the other day. They ranged between 4.5 and 6 pounds cleaned and dressed.

The grapes we put in are coming along and are well established.
I have yet to get the trellises up however. I got two posts set a month or so ago and haven't touched it since. I hope to get them all up before winter. So far the grape vines seem to be doing well just laying on the ground. We have lots of green little grapes growing already.

One of our garbage customers, an elderly man,who heard about us putting in the grapes asked me if I was going to make any wine. I told him that I might give it a try at some point. He said he'd get some from me if I made any. Well, the next time I saw him he asked me how that wine was coming along. I told him we didn't even have any grapes yet. Somehow he got it in his head that I was definitely going to make wine because every time I see him now he wants to know how the wine is coming.

I came across this picture that my daughter took of our golden retriever Ben. I thought it was a nice picture of him so I decided to end this post with it.

Until Next Time

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some odds and ends from around the farm

Well, we finally named the two little billy goats we acquired last year. Didn't expect to have them this long actually. They were strays that wound up at the local pound. The town called us to see if we wanted them. I figured we'd find homes for them and that would be that. Well, here they are still mowing our weeds and as smelly as ever. They're actually quite the weed eaters, and do a fine job of it. I get a kick out of them, but their smell is probably their most "endearing" feature. So we named the little one Stinky, and the bigger one Stanky. Stinky and Stanky.

This is Stinky

This is Stanky.

These little guys are in heaven this year with all the weeds they have in front them after all the rain we've had.

The CSA has been under way for almost 5 weeks now. Below are some pictures of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th weeks harvest. I don't have a list right now of what it all is but, I'm sure you can tell what some of it is.

2nd Week Harvest

3rd Week Harvest

4th Week Harvest
In the above pictures I can say what most of it is. Lettuce, radishes, garlic, garlic scapes, potatoes, peas, carrots, swiss chard, peppers, onions, kohlrabi and rhubarb. There's probably a few more that I haven't named. We will add more produce as they come ripe.
In the pictures below you can see Ben and Tucker coming in from a romp out in the field. In the top picture Ben is on the left and Tucker is on the right.

Tucker is on the left in this picture. He had a hair cut a while back and his hair is now starting to grow out. They've been really good dogs. They're brothers and will be 8 years old next month.

Until Next Time

Monday, July 12, 2010

Doe and Fawn

You can almost see the fawn growing by the day. These two seem to think this is their own personal watering hole. It's interesting to see the time and day that they show up.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More pictures from the game cam

Nothing real exciting on the game camera, just the doe and fawn and a few crows. I enjoy checking it every couple days or so to see what might be on there.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Game Cam

Our neighbor loaned us his game camera so I could set it up by the pond because I've been seeing interesting tracks in the sand, what looked like coyote, fox, of course deer and one that I think was from a fisher.

Right away we could see crows on the camera. Every day all through out the day crows come down to the water to drink. Pretty much every hour.

Then it was exciting to see something bigger than a bunch of birds when we saw these deer, a fawn and doe who regularly return for a drink.

Check out how their eyes reflect into the water from the flash on the camera. I never would have thought that would happen. Kind of neat looking.

Soon the doe and fawn were showing up in the daylight.

We wonder if this is the same fawn that we saw laying by our green house a while back.

But, then the other day I checked the camera and finally saw something other than crows and deer. Check out this long legged coyote in the pictures below.

I wouldn't be surprised if this fella got in on the big slaughter of chickens and turkeys we had last year. Probably how he got so tall eating all that prime meat!

In two weeks we get our livestock guardian dog. I finally settled on a breed. It's going to be a Kangal Dog a breed originating from Turkey.

The picture at the right is what they look like in their native country. In Turkey they typically crop their ears and it is said that when one of these dogs kills a wolf it has then earned the right to wear a spiked collar. The harsh conditions of the Turkish countryside developed in the breed a rugged hardiness and a strong livestock guardian instinct.

With all the predators we have here coyote, wolf, bear, and the rare but, sometimes seen cougar, not to mention roaming dogs, that would prey on sheep and lambs, I feel that we need a dog of sufficient stature to protect our animals.

In America the ears of the dogs are not cropped as seen in the left hand photo. We are getting
a female so that we can breed it and get more Kangal Dogs. I've wanted to breed dogs my whole life and I figure I'm not getting any younger so I'm going to try my hand at breeding these Lord willing.
Many years ago I had acquired a female Brazilian hunting dog called a Fila Brasiliero, but she got hit by a car before I could breed her. As with any animal you never know what can happen that might sideline your plans.

But, I am quite taken with this breed and am eager to give it a try.
The pictures of these dogs were obtained from the Kangal Dog Club of America website.

I plan to write more about my search for a livestock guardian dog at a future date as things unfold. Don't want to jump the gun and say too much off hand since plans are often so easily changed.

Still getting plenty of rain here. We were going to get the rest of our hay today but, we decided we'd better wait until Friday as the forecast shows sunny sky's for then. The farmers were nice enough to put the hay wagon with our 100 bales of hay on it in the barn waiting for us until we can get it.
My garbage week is all messed up this week because of the 4th of July. Normally we pick up garbage a day late after the holidays but, this year the 4th came on a Sunday. I called the landfill and they were going to be open Monday and I looked at a couple different calenders to see if they said anything about Monday being an observed holiday and found nothing, so we decided to run and not skip a day. Well, most people had their garbage out but, a significant number of them did not. So alot of our Monday customers called us today wondering why we didn't pick them up today, Tuesday. So I basically ran our route twice, going around picking up the ones who thought we were going to be a day late.
After going through that I figure tomorrow we need to take the day off, that way the rest of the week will meet the rest of the customers expectations. We considered it but, after investigating we just didn't give a thought to Monday being a holiday. But, I sure heard it today. People were saying " But Monday was a holiday!!!" Ok, Ok I get it now! Hence taking tomorrow off. The longer we do this garbage business the more I don't like holidays. People have such a hard time remembering what the deal is, are we picking up or aren't we. This time we messed it up ourselves. Oh well. You gotta be able to laugh at yourself otherwise it just isn't worth it.
We've been picking up garbage for almost 10 years now. Never dreamed in a thousand years I would have been doing that before we got into this. But, it has taught us a lot and has been providing us with steady income. We are currently working on two new ways to make money besides picking up garbage and besides farm income. We see it as kind of an off shoot from the farm income but, it isn't anything we produce ourselves. It has potential to produce a decent income. This too I'll be posting about at a later date.
Well, this is a bigger post than I've been doing lately and there are other matters pressing so I need to sign off here.
Until Next Time

Sunday, July 04, 2010

An over due post

We've been busy this summer so that's my excuse for not making any posts last month. Lots of stuff going on, the CSA is under way and we are hoping to get the road side stand open soon.
This has been a great growing season so far, the drought is over for now, hopefully for a good long time. Rain has been the topic lately. Been getting plenty of it. Have hardly had to water the outside gardens at all. The weeds are on steroids it seems, but on the other hand the grass out on the pasture is outstanding. As deep as we've seen it in many years. The sheep and goats are well fed this year and the lambs are growing good. Had seven lambs born this year but, one died. I'll talk about that in another post hopefully.

With a good amount of rain comes storms often times.
Below are some pictures of a storm system that passed by us to the north a week or so ago.

These clouds caught our attention because of the rings and lots of movement. Not pictured were smaller clouds that were rapidly being sucked up into the main system. We thought for sure we'd see a tornado or funnel cloud form but, it passed on without us seeing any.
Daughter Ryann took all these pictures and the ones at the top and bottom are of some grass growing out in the pasture.
With the grass being so long this year I am reminded of how soaked you can get when you walk through it after or during a rain. Even with knee high rubber boots your thighs get totally soaked. But, I'm not complaining by any means, we definitely need the rain. Even as much as we've gotten the lakes have yet to return to normal levels.
After over 12 years of living here we still do not have any hay making equipment. That is something that is still on my wish list. So yesterday we went and got 200 bales from an elderly couple who farms down south of Rhinelander. There is still another hundred that we have to get yet. We had planned to butcher chickens yesterday but, when the hay people call you have to pretty much drop everything and go get it. They don't want to put it in the barn if they don't have to. We did get some chickens butchered later in the day so it wasn't an entire wash as far as our plans went. Hay time for us is usually when it is the warmest out. Makes a person perspire just a bit. After yesterday I think I know a little bit how it would feel to be tarred and feathered. All those little hay bits stuck to what ever skin was showing, especially my forehead. I looked totally ridiculous.
Well, how about what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico!!! BAD news!!! I feel so sorry for all the people that make their living from those waters. This thing has got me wondering what is going to come of it and how long will it take before the entire nation is effected. And how long after that until the entire world is effected. It doesn't look good at all. I thought it was rather interesting when I first heard that the color of it was a reddish color. If you've ever read the book of Revelation it sounds eerily familiar.
This Country needs to repent and get back to God that's all there is to it. We all do.
Until Next Time