Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Winter

At the end of last Winter this wood shed was completely empty.

With all the woods clearing the Commander has done this year the wood shed is now full to bursting. I still don't think we have enough to make it through the Winter but we have more wood stored outside underneath a few tarps.

Nothing is nicer on a brutally cold Minnesota evening than sitting in front of the wood stove and getting nice and toasty.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What do Chickens do during the Winter?

The Commander went out to close the Coop last night and discovered that the Guineas had not gone in, but were settling down outside in the rain. He caught them one by one and put them away. This got me thinking, why would the guineas not go into the coop even though it was raining? Could the rooster have kicked them out?

This is the inside of the coop, there is room for all the chickens and guineas to bed down at night but what happens during the winter when it can get as cold as -20 degrees? Do chickens and guineas go out in the snow during the day? Are they still fed outside? If they don't go outside is this too little room for them? (I have 10 guineas and 9 chickens)

What do you do with your chickens and guineas during the winter?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Paint and Mud

This is what the site of the sheep barn looked like in May. Notice the snow covered woodpile on the right, it is the same as the wood pile in the picture below.

It is hard to believe how different things look. The trees are mostly gone, the chicken coop and the fencing are new, and of course the sheep barn is now in place.

The goat barn is off on the right of the picture. The dirt mountain has finally been spread over the sand road but I'm not sure if there is enough time before winter for the grass seed to take. We may spend this Fall and next Spring wallowing in mud.

The painting of the sheep barn turned out very nice. Notice the leaves in the background turning color, we are already deep into the Fall season here in northern Minnesota.

Some of the grass planted on the sides of the sheep barn have sprouted, hopefully they will stop the soil from eroding around the barn this coming Spring.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lawn Mowers

We ran out of pasture way earlier than we ever expected, the sheep have done an excellent job of deforesting the areas that we had prepared for them. This meant that we had to resort to putting them into the emergency pasture, the front and back yards. Look at how well they keep the grass trimmed.

The top area was on the other side of the electric net fencing. Needless to say we have not had to mow the lawn since the sheep arrived. Note, the goats won't have anything to do with the grass in the lawn.

Since the leaves have started falling the sheep and goats have been chowing them down. I wonder if we won't have to rake this year as well?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goat Doctor

Little Gidget had lung congestion and a cough for about a week so I knew it was time for me to do something. I opened my medicine kit and broke out some LA 200 (an anti-biotic). LA 200 was designed originally for cattle and stings when injected. When I purchased the LA-200 from the feed store I didn't realize that they had a non-sting version. I can't remember the name of the non-sting version but it would have been worth while to purchase and would have saved me some heartache.

I gave Gidget a 1/2 cc shot for four consecutive evenings, twice under the left foreleg and twice under the right. The "sting" made Gidget cry out every time. Sara did not like that at all, in fact she did her best to jump up to get Gidget out of my arms in attempts to stop her from crying. Sara thinks Gidget is her baby and is very protective of her. Remember that when giving injections it is best to have a shot of epinephrine on hand in case the animal has a negative reaction, luckily in this case it was never needed.

After the shots I gave Gidget some Probiotics to keep up the good bacteria counts in her tummy that help in the digestive process. She is now no longer coughing and her lungs sound clear. Both Sara and I are happy that Gidget is back to her happy self, healthy appetite and all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Watch your fingers.....

Old lettuce, stale bread, and expired yogurt, all topped with minced garlic - yum!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Foxy Lady

Today while I was outside with the goats a black fox decided to stroll right up the sidewalk and into the yard. Sara gave one good bark at her and ran off to the deck. I ran to the driveway to see where the fox was heading just catching sight of her heading down the road. We are going to have to keep a close eye on the guineas and chickens.

Sara may not be much of a watchdog, but she knows how to sit down like a lady with her legs modestly crossed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Star Award

I would like to thank Grandpa for nominating me for the Star Award. Please visit Grandpa's blog and follow his adventures in the rain forest as he tries to live side by side with critters like wild boars while growing exotic foods like bananas! Life on The Farm

To accept the award I need to do a few things; discuss why I blog, discuss how I choose my topics, and pass the award on to other deserving blogs.

OK, why do I blog? When the Commander and I decided to start this homestead we knew we had to do our research before we committed to anything. We had all kinds of questions. What type of animals should we get? What type of shelter do we need? Fences? Is it too cold here? Medicine? Storey's Guides were great, as were various informational pages on the internet, but we found that we needed more, and it was then that we discovered blogs! I couldn't believe all the adventures that were taking place out in the wide world that dealt with the mundane chores associated with farming. The great thing about blogs was that I could ask questions, and I often found I was finding answers to questions that I never even imagined asking. That is why I decided to blog. I figured I could share my experiences with other folks who decided to take the plunge and start a homestead from scratch, just like us!

How do I decide what to blog? Things just seem to happen here. Projects get started or completed, problems arise and get solved, hilarious situations occur at the drop of a hat and sadness is always looming - life happens. The seasons turn and I am enjoying it in new ways and I am experiencing life in ways that I never imagined. We are so blessed to share our lives with these precious animals and I want to share my adventures with my family, friends, and my blogging brethren.

Who to pass the award on to? There are so many good blogs out there and some of my favorites are listed on the right side of my blog. If you haven't experienced the Ohio Farm Girls humor you are missing out, Critter Farm tells wonderful stories via pictures, GoatGirl from Beyond the Sidewalks has the most beautiful Goats in the country, but these blogs are already heavily awarded so I will alert readers to two other wonderful blogs.

Lemonade Adventures is wonderfully inspirational and always chock full of hope for future generations.

Cat at Egg in my Pocket has a great sense of humor and is always full of surprises. Please read her older posts to learn about "flax spikes" and "knitting like thunder", it will be time well spent.

Once again I would like to thank Grandpa for finding merit in my blog.

Wake-up Call

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Room with a View

This is a view from the window in my living room. Peaceful.

Until the boys see me, then they cry for treats!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Day of Joyous Labor

This handsome fellow was back (Parading Around) on the campaign trail and marching in the local Labor Day parade in support of his favorite candidate for Congress. "Vote for Chip!"

Once again Chip was a big hit with children and adults alike. Chip marched happily along the route on his leash all while wearing his new outfit.

Chip has been on TV, on the local news, and even has Face Book posts displaying his image, but his most important impact can be seen in the hearts and shining eyes of all the children who he allowed to pet and hug him this parade season.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Fall is definitely in the air here as the temperatures have dropped to the upper thirties the last few nights. The leaves are turning and in some instances falling so we thought we should put some winter hay up in the lofts. Our neighbor normally does round bales, but at our request he provided us with 50 square bales of second cut hay. The skylights really light the place up.

I raked up the hay droppings and gave it as a treat to the boys, they loved it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weight Watchers

I needed a way to get the weights of my goats (and next years new lambs) so I ordered a hanging scale from Hoegger Goat Supplies. It works great, I just secure the top to a cross bar in the barn, attach the scale, and I am ready to go.

Gidget loved hanging in the sling, she reminded me of a baby hanging in a swing. Gidget was 13.5 pounds, up 2.5 pounds from four weeks ago.

Becka Boo weighed in at 29, up four pounds. She was not sure what to make of the hanging sling and was happy to get down when she was finished.

Chip loves trying anything new, he weighed 34.5 up from 31 last month. He is so handsome and easy going.

Addison (not pictured) gained one pound, coming in at 39 pounds. Addison wouldn't let us take a picture of her because one never shows a ladies weight.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Talking Turkey

"What the heck, are those goats?"

"C'mon up here girls, look at these crazy goats."

"I don't see any hatchets lodged in these stumps so it should be safe."

"Stop looking for bugs between all that wood, lets go take the goats grain."

"All we have to do is sneak up this driveway...."

"Why do girls always have to travel in groups?"