Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unattributed Cartoon

I hate to include this because my source for this did not list the artist, but I still thought this was cute, so if anyone knows where it came from, let me know and I will properly credit the person and link to them.


We are having a new furnace put in right now. Our old one was from the 60s and spewed fuel oil soot into the house. We also got an air purifier and a heat pump so we will have central air! They threw in a whole house humidifier which is great for us because our house gets really dry in the winter. I will love the new thermostat that controls it all too.

Baby Pests

These little mice were in a nest under a shed floor. The nest was made of feathers and thistel seeds. They were squeeking for their mom who went scurrying away.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is Isaac Newton doing at Cabela's?

We left early in the morning when the fog was still on the lake.

After we got the kids, we had to get some shoes. REI did not have them, so we went a different way home and swung by Cabela's. This is a real stuffed elephant. If I remember correctly, this animal was confiscated from a poacher and donated to Cabela's. It is huge!

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Cabellas has a ton of stuffed creatures.
They arrange them naturally.
What is Newton doing with Hannah?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun at the Fair

We went to the little farm at the fair. It is one of very few fun kid things to do there that are free. Aaron had a good time, feeding the animals, milking the cow (it squirted water), planting the seeds, gathering the harvest, and selling his produce. When it was over he got to use his $1 he earned from the sale of his produce to buy something at the store. He chose Honey Nut Cheerios.

He's a pro.

Look at how strong he is! He can pick up a calf and only 6 years old!
Some of the signage.

Moving hay is hard work! We will have to get a photo of the kids in our hay loft.
These chickens do not peck at you.
Come on mom and dad! We have to pick vegetables!
My little guy is growing so fast! Look, he is taller than me!

A hearty thanks to the wonderful kids who helped out here and the companies who donated to make this possible.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Auction Madness

The local middle school had an auction. We got these two try carts for $15 and $20. We are going to turn them into seed growing carts complete with grow lights.

We also got 2 really nice toasters for $1 and 20 pie tins and 5 bread pans for $2. Someone else gave us a soap cutter out of their haul for free. A freind bought a bunch of band costumes and let us buy one from her for the girls for $2. It is pretty cute. It was a really good sale. In the end, I was walking away and no one was taking the corner table (it would make a nice sewing table, it was sturdy and in good condition) so I took it for $0.50!

Knitting along

The basket weave shawl made from my hand spun merino. It is so soft. My son wants me to wear it everywhere.

A few years ago I tried this pattern and I had a terrible time. I was too inexperienced at reading patterns. Finally, I feel I conquered this style of pattern writing. I am using a commercial yarn that my mother bought me for this sweater.

The hemlock ring blanket is so pretty. I am knitting mine up in some single ply 100% alpaca that I spun. Alpaca is a strong fiber and this particular alpaca had a long staple, so single ply works really well. It has a slightly fuzzy halo. I really like it.

The Garden / Weed Patch

The hard way to make hay (this is Dear):

Me using the brush hog (much easier):

Gotta spread all that manure (Chicken, pig, sheep, and llama)

The birdies are having fun finding crickets

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ARG!!! Knitting Lace

I am attempting lace for the first time. I saw the Hemlock Ring Blanket and loved it. Since I like trying new things and I like a challenge I cast on. So far I have ripped it out a dozen times, my husband (I will call him Dear from now on), Dear, has laughed and said, "Finally something you can't do perfect the first time! Ha ha!" He had to go outside so I would not throw something at him. I am now on row 25 and the center looks like cheese cloth. I do not know how everyone got theirs so nice in the middle using 4 double points. I hope someone has a hint on how I can tighten the center without ripping everything out. Pain in the rear, but I am going to finish it and make Dear eat his words.

This photo is from Brooklyn Tweeds.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sneaky little hens

We knew we were missing some eggs. With 11 Buff Orpington hens laying, we were only getting 6-7 eggs a day. We looked all over and found some hidden nests in the bushes, but still we were missing some. Barn pick up day came and we moved a stack of wood .....

Sneaky little buggers! These will get tossed. There is no telling how old they are and they were cold, so no little chicks growing in them now.

Pretty pest

Pretty pest on a milkweed, I am pretty confident it is a Monarch. You can find more pictures of Monarchs and other butterflies and caterpillars here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cute Little Winged Things

Although lacking in brain cells, these turkies are really funny. Watching them stalk a fly is more fun than Friday Movie Night.

When the camera flash went off all of the babies stretched their necks and opened up for food. We must have a dozen or more of these nests in this barn alone. Barn swallows raise a couple nests of birds each summer.

Maybe one day I will get up the courage to photograph the bats.

With / Without Sheep


With (notice the nice paths they make)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Getting the Barn Ready

After a long winter there is a lot of cleanup that must be done before the next winter. The sheep are housed in the barn most of the winter and we use the deep bedding method. Deep bedding simply means we keep adding bedding on top of the dirty stuff. It gets about knee deep by spring. Some countries make it illegal to house sheep in any other manner. Deep bedding creates a much warmer environment and is actually more sanitary because all of the moisture goes into the lower levels of straw and the top level stays more dry.

Dear already removed all of the bedding early this spring and it has turned into a pretty nice compost and will be tilled into the garden soon. But, we have to remove stantions, build new corals, build a place for the chickens so the pathway stays cleaner, remove siding, and build hay feeders. We will be working on that today, hopefully.

I will have to hang colorful sheets of material on the walls when I take a picture. Everything is monochromatic on this blog. I need more color! I will try and spice it up. I have some picture of colorful projects to post and lots of flowers. I am kidding of course about the material in the barn...gross! Oh and I will definately climb the ladder into the hay loft so you all can see all of the hay Dear and I moved. 4 tons of it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Trees Fall Down

This year we have lost a few tress and some branches.

(above photo) This is a cross cut of a branch, we counted 117 rings.

(above photo) This is a medium Oak we have here. We have some big and old oaks.

Here is a small tree, I am not sure what kind of tree it is.

The White Lilly

Isn't it beautiful?! It smells lovely.

The Suffolks

Here are some more sheep!

Suffolks are a meat breed of sheep. These girls are visitors that come and mow our grass. Keeping the grass low is very important. It keeps the tic population down! Later I will post some photos of our yard and our neighbor's so you can see the difference sheep make.

Other Winged Things

Ever since travelling to Pakistan and seeing fly infestions mirroring a National Geographic special, I have hated flies. Living on a farm with animals poses some problems, so tools must be used and measures taken to control the fly population. Left unchecked, they will spread disease and kill animals. The turkies and chickens help, but traps and encouraging barn swallows are equally necessary.

Twist Collective

A new online knitting magazine is here. It looks beautiful. These are 3 of my favorites. If you knit, send pictures, I would love to see your results.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Birds

We have 2 different types of chickens here. The white ones are cornish crosses, meat birds. They are larger than they should be for butchering. Their breast meat will be great, but the rest will only be good for soup. The hens are now laying.

The brown chickens are Buff Orpingtons. They are my favorite egg layer. They lay brown eggs all year long. They slow down in the Minnesota winter, but they do not stop. They are a very hardy bird, only for eggs and possibly soup.

The funny looking creatures are our Turkies. They are really dumb birds. We have to lock them up at night because they like to be caught by predators and killed. They run around saying "beep, beep, beep."

Next I will post about those other flying creatures...flies! My most hated, ok, tied with mosquitoes, flying bug / insect.