Sunday, January 29, 2012


I wasn't feeling too well today so once the morning chores were complete the Commander and I settled in by the wood stove and watched Pollyanna. Pollyanna is one of those classic movies that is great fun to watch even if you have seen it several times before.

Old movies are so fun to watch especially when the story is familiar so one has the opportunity to notice the background and the settings. The old kitchens in the movie were great, I loved the wood stoves and hand pumping sinks. The cars were all classics while the woodwork in the homes was breathtaking. I was just engulfed by the atmosphere, so many frilly dresses, decorative hats, ribbons and bows, when did we as a society stop dressing so nicely?

I was entertained for just over 3 hours watching this movie and there was none of the following; no murders, no gun play, no love scenes or nudity, no swearing, no car chases or crashes, nor any infidelity. I did see (or hear) numerous direct references to God and patriotism, I wonder why movie audiences at the time weren't offended the way that we are TOLD (I don't believe it) that folks would be offended today?

The movie (and book) was so successful that the title became a word unto itself.
Pollyanna — n: a person who is constantly or excessively optimistic

[C20: after the chief character in Pollyanna (1913), a novel by Eleanor Porter (1868--1920), US writer]

Since I'm talking movies, if you enjoyed Pollyanna then be sure to check out Auntie Mame. I will never forget the sick feeling I got when Patrick alludes to Mame that he is embarrassed to introduce her to his snobby fiance. A truly great movie.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The tax code in Minnesota has changed this year so everyone's property taxes will be going up. This has made me wonder, would I be better off claiming this place as a Farm instead of a normal residential property? Does anyone claim their Hobby Farm as a "Farm" on their taxes?

I have read that if I do go the farm route that I would need to sell something for a profit within three years. I'm sure I can sell something but making a profit doesn't really seem possible in the near future. The cost of hay, grain, minerals, medicine, new stock, equipment, fencing, clearing land, etc..., really puts the "hobby" into the "hobby farm".

The chickens have paid for themselves and the goats may reach break even territory this year as well, but the start up costs won't be made back in my lifetime. I figure that having some physical assets guarding against hard times my be more useful than a little extra money in the bank.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Meet Hoss, he is my new Icelandic Ram. He has great horns and Leader Sheep bloodlines, he also has a very gentile personality.

He was introduced gently to the other boys, with a fence between them for a few days. Hoss had a lot of "ewe" smell on him as he was used a the "teaser" ram at his old farm. He was kept in a stall in with the girls and when they stopped and wagged their tails at him the girls were removed and placed in with the breeder rams. I can imagine that this had to be a bit hard on Hoss....

As a result of all the stress from being the teaser ram Hoss isn't very fat, and he may even be a bit thin. I still think he is very handsome.

After a few days he was mashed into the ram pen with the other three boys. The Commander threw a few extra bales of hay in with him to prevent any full blown charging from happening. By the time they were released into the ram pasture everyone was bruised and bleeding from small scratches, but fortunately no one suffered any serious injuries.

For the next few days the other rams followed Hoss around and tried unsuccessfully to mount him. Next year at this time Hoss should be the biggest ram on the farm, I hope he has a good long memory for paybacks!

I know rams can be dangerous and they shouldn't be pampered but Hoss is such an attention hound. Whenever he sees me outside he calls and calls until I go over to him. I usually give him a bit of grain that the breeder left for him and then I rub his head or side. He wags his tail and gets so excited, a real cutie. Another oddball to add to the farm, welcome aboard.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brutally Cold

Temperatures approached almost -20F last night, you could hear the trees popping. When I opened up the goat shed only Becca Boo was there to greet me.

Note the igloo to the right in the picture, it isn't too big. As I called the goats they slowly made their way out of the igloo until only Addison was missing.

My heart was in my throat as I imagined the worst, but then she appeared - whew. I was afraid she had frozen to death. The goats were all shivering so I gave them a good rub down while they ate their grain on the milk stand.

I made sure they had a healthy helping of hay before I left them, they may have been cold but they were still hungry!

When I put the goats up for the night they were hedging their way toward the igloo, it must have been nice and warm in there with the body heat of five goats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Random Acts of Artwork

Another wonderful drawing from my daughter, I love the way she did the eyes in this one.

Molly the Fearless proved last night to not be too fearless after all. My dad came to visit last night and when Molly saw him she ran away and hid under the ram shed. It took the Commander and I 30 minutes in -5 F weather to get her out from under it. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guineas Dreaming

It was 6 degrees F this morning and will be dropping down to -2 degrees F tonight. That is cold, but it gets a lot colder here.

The Guineas normally stick to the coop area on cold days but when the sun is shining they sometimes venture out into the trees to dream.

Guineas are indigenous to Africa (excerpt from Wiki): The Helmeted and Vulturine Guineafowl generally reside in open or semiopen habitats such as savanna or semideserts, while the remaining species of guineafowl mainly inhabit forests.

Not much resembling that kind of habitat here.

They are lovely, entertaining birds to have around your farm. They simply eradicate ticks and provide a summer supply of eggs to supplement the chickens production. They are excellent sentries and call out whenever a stranger or non-farm animal makes an appearance. Once one gets used to their "singing" they are wonderful additions to the homestead.

That being said I'm sure today they are thinking that it is COLD.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Molly is growing up fast and is totally fearless. I can't turn my back on her or she will be off getting into some mischief.

She has no fear of the sheep - none. She runs into their pen and hops at them, then she seemingly gets distracted and turns her back on them - no fear. I have to watch her around the rams as she runs right in with them as well, and they can be dangerous.

Today the goats were out and Molly was right in mixing it up with them. Addison was trying to headbutt and ram her but Molly was too nimble. She was no help at all, all she was doing was creating havoc. The Commander had to pick her up so Sara could herd everyone back to their pen. It is amazing to watch Sara work, she gets right under the hind legs of any goat who tries to hold their ground and literally lifts their hind quarters off the ground and runs them to the barn (like a wheelbarrow race).

Sometimes fearless crosses the line to death wish, and that line is crossed when Molly tries to herd the cats!

Molly got the drop on Chai Chai here, but since that time the claws have been out!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Friends

The loss of Jeepers and Alma had me very sad for quite a long time and I really questioned the idea of having sheep here on the homestead. Their tragic loss was followed by Kia getting very, very sick, I thought she was a goner. I gave her a full cycle of Banamine, pro-biotics, iron shots, and wormer. I had the vet come out and examine her and take a blood sample. I was afraid she had some kind of wasting disease.

The blood tests came back clean, the fecal sample showed no worms, and Kia has slowly recovered. At one point while Kia was sick I gave here a small injected dose of Selenium, that is the only thing I can think of that may have saved her. I plan on getting a bit of loose Selenium and adding it to their minerals. I am told we are not in a Selenium deficient area but I'm thinking a little extra may not hurt.

I don't think Kia is pregnant, and her baby Ava is questionable. That leaves Gardenia and Azalea who may have lambs, that just wouldn't cut it for another whole year of production so I made a big decision to add a second flock.

I added two (hopefully bred) Icelandic ewes from Sunrise Sheep, they specialize in leadersheep.

The black and white badger faced girl is Zoe and the Black and silver girl is Lara.

The purebred Icelandic sheep are about 25-33% bigger than the Cascade sheep and I'm worried about being able to handle them. They sure are beautiful though....

We really had a difficult time getting them into the barn the first night.  The girls were skittish and it took three humans and little Molly (that one is fearless) to put them away.  Since then they have marched right into the barn every night no problem. I hope they are as intelligent as advertised and I am looking forward to having lambs from both flocks this Spring!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Year....

The spool in the goat pen January 10th this year....

The spool in the goat pen last January. Notice the difference?

The lack of snow this year has me worried about a drought come this Spring, are you worried as well?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Molly the Mutant

Molly is a mutant. She has one brown eye and her other eye is 1/4 brown and 3/4 blue.

She has somehow discovered some non frozen soil to dig up, a true miracle in Northern Minnesota in January.

She is growing faster than wet gremlins who are fed after midnight.

...and she has a mutant EXTRA toe on her back foot! It is very odd, loosely attached to nothing but skin and it even has a sharp claw.

Molly tries desperately to herd the cats, Chai Chai is not impressed. Molly will try to get on Chai or Mocha's back and usually gets a "slap" for her troubles. The goats on the other hand don't usually fight back. The Commander reported to me that he caught Molly actually riding up on Mavericks back! I knew it was true because she smelled like stinky goat buck for the next several days.

Patch does not like the new dog at all..."raspberry sound"!

"I thought the dogs were supposed to play OUTSIDE!"

Nope, the floor is littered with dog toys, gloves, shoes, anything Molly can get her mouth on. Sara is going crazy as she started out jealous and is a compulsive retriever. The extra toys and puppy love have poor Sara wound up tighter than the core of a golf ball. It doesn't help that Molly follows Sara everywhere and emulates her every action.  (Note the huge bag of dog food in the background, food consumption has gone WAY up!)

Patch finds the whole thing a bit amusing but he doesn't have time for their frivolity. As the oldest he has to set the example.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Random Artwork

Better eating a sandwich than one of my chickens!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Making Candy

My daughter got a candy making kit for Christmas and has had a lot of fun with it! I told her she could make a few batches so long as she didn't make a pig of herself.

She loved the whole process of stirring the mixtures and laughed throughout the entire cooking process. I had an odd feeling that she was making funny faces at me while my back was turned.

This one tasted best after it had been refrigerated, especially the pink candy center.

I was surprised how good the homemade candy tasted, it was quickly eaten up. I missed my chance at this delicious morsel by a whisker, I was too slow to the fridge!

The kids hogged most of the candy but the entire creation and cooking process was very enjoyable, a real mother daughter project.

On a side note I purchased a carton of Large eggs during the Christmas cooking season as the hens production had slowed down to a trickle. I had two Large store eggs left over this weekend and decided to use them for breakfast...can you tell which two are home grown and the two that came from the store?

When I was cooking with the store eggs I felt that they were so much smaller than what I was used to that for every recipe that called for two eggs I used three. If these eggs are classified as Large I would hate to see anything smaller!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Love Stinks

I have been keeping a close eye on Addison and it looks like she isn't going to come back into heat, I think she has been properly bred!

Seems Maverick has done his job to perfection! The day he arrived Addy was all over him, wagging her tail and flaunting herself.

The girls don't seem too interested in him anymore, in fact they seem to try and stay up wind from him.

Sometimes Love Stinks!