~Feed My Sheep….Feed My Lambs~

 

Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?

 

Healthy crop of lambs enjoying the evening air.

Healthy crop of lambs enjoying the evening air.

We are almost finished with the lambing season.  As of this morning we have 79 live lambs.  There would have been 5 more lambs but we lost them, two born dead, three failure to thrive.  All in all we are super happy with the 2015 season.  Thanks be to God!

Isabella Angel is an exceptional mother :)

Isabella Angel is an exceptional mother :)

 There were four lambs that were pulled during difficult labor.  Four sets of triplets were born of which four were taken from the ewes to bottle feed.  The kids are feeding nine bottle lambs, two of which were given to us from a neighbor.  They know we have a milk cow to cover the babies.  There a couple more ewes that will be coming in within the next couple of weeks. 

Happy lambs playing in the evening.

Happy lambs playing in the evening.

Ewes and lambs being moved to their second grazing paddock.

Ewes and lambs being moved to their second grazing paddock.

I’ll never get tired of the spring time and the new life that comes along with it.  It’s hard to believe that I am a transplanted “city” girl after all these 30 years.  I love it here, on the land, with my family.  Life may not be easy but it’s certainly not dull nor boring.  It’s good, by golly!!

(81 lambs are born now as I never got this posted!)

 

 

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~Spring…… Chicks ~

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Meat birds and replacement layers have been here for a couple of weeks.  One night I was in a deep sleep, around 1:00 a.m. when something woke me up……..must have been my Guardian Angel.  The dogs were barking and the thought came to me that the lights were out in the baby chicken house.  I went to look out the bedroom window and sure enough, there was no light coming from that shed!

Baby chick housing where the lights went out!

Baby chick housing where the lights went out!

Out I ran in my jammies and coat because it was freezing and tried to figure out what was up.  The chicks were not making a peep which scared me.  Next I ran back to wake up Fred and we both went back out and found the problem had been a blown breaker in the shop.  The air compressor had been left on!  Anyhow, the poor chickies were so cold and we ended up losing 8 birds.  Not too bad considering they would have all been dead had not I been prompted awake.  Now that is pretty cool.

IMG_9888I ran in to Runnings  in Canby and bought some replacements!  I figure we were fairly lucky.  These chickens are being fed all organic feed which we were able to get from our friends who farm totally organic for Organic Valley.  Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

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~Ice Fishing In Minnesota~

 

Ice Fishing a Minnesota Tradition!

Ice Fishing,  a Minnesota Tradition!

So what if the fish didn’t bite that day!  It wasn’t for lack of effort on our part.  This particular trip was made on March 8 of this year. I was pretty nervous driving on the lake as I followed our friends ahead of us out to what is normally a great fishing spot!!  There was water on the lake and it was a lovely blue color.  I kept looking over to see if Fred looked nervous and he kept giving me a teasing grin which was pretty reassuring. (NOT)

My view driving on the frozen lake.

The view driving on a frozen lake.

When we made it to the fishing spot I was pretty excited to get out! I’m not sure but it could have been almost two  miles we drove on that frozen lake.   Don, our guide, immediately starting drilling all of our holes.  He measured the depth at 32″ of thick ice.  Nice!!!

Don digging our fishing holes in 32 inch thick ice!

Don digging our fishing holes in 32 inch thick ice!

Everything but the kitchen sink :)

Everything but the kitchen sink :)

Let the men do all the work setting up while we pose for some memories!  Not a worry in the world, after all it is Sunday, a day of rest.  Most of us like early mass at 8:30 a.m. so that the day is longer and we can plan some outings.  On this particular day we were on that ice by 10:30 or so.

Walking on water and loving it too.

Walking on water and loving it too.

Half or most of the fun is visiting and eating on the frozen lake.  Nobody complained that we didn’t catch any fish that day.  Secretly we knew that Don and Angela had some fish frozen for a soon to be fish fry……which actually happened last Friday night.  So, the pressure was off.

That's my niece Carrot sharing the marinated home made cheese and olives soaked in olive oil and garlic!  Can't you just smell it?

That’s my niece Carrot sharing the marinated home- made cheese and olives soaked in olive oil and garlic! Can’t you just smell it?

Fire up the grill, we’re getting hungry now!  This grilling on an icy lake was new to us but it sure smelled just like a picnic on a summer day.  The joy of modern conveniences; the smell of summer filled the frozen winter air.

Home-made hotdogs, home grown chops. My first time grilling on ice........wow this is fun.

Home-made hotdogs, home- grown chops. My first time grilling on ice……..wow this is fun

Where’s the beef?  Why in the meatballs of course!  I didn’t plan ahead so was unable to make Stromboli.

Meatballs with plenty of hot sauce to warm up a body on ice!

Meatballs with plenty of hot sauce to warm up a body on ice!

Not only do we eat well but some of us enjoyed a little home-made wine chilled to perfection!  If you have ever tasted Elderberry wine you will recall the almost immediate heating effect you experience from the inside out.

Home-made Elderberry wine on ice.  A very warming wine!

Home-made Elderberry wine on ice. A very warming wine!

Grilling and chilling....waiting too.

Grilling and chilling….waiting too.

Time for naps; anyone awake yet?

Time for naps; anyone awake yet?

I think we spent 6 hours out there.  The day was fairly warm and sunny.  Fairly warm meaning we only just barely froze.  There was a warming tent with a heater for some of us with wet feet.  My jeans soaked up the water like a wick………and I actually went in the tent to remove my shoes and socks, wringing out a bunch of water.  Even this was fun!

Beautiful, clean, fresh, cold out house view.

Beautiful, clean, fresh, cold out house view.  About a half mile hike…………

Bella Angel on ice!

Bella Angel on ice!

Almost time for chores.  The sun tells us so!

Almost time for chores. The sun tells us so!

By this time we were getting pretty cold and packed up to head home.  You could almost hear the cows as they waited impatiently for the kids.

The view on the way out only no Don to follow.  They stayed later to fish.  I followed the tracks of the other fisherman.

I followed the tracks of the other fisherman.

Another beautiful day, now only a memory.    Now fast forward to the Friday night fish fry.  Don and Angela put on a feast of all we could eat fish on our farm.  It was so delicious.

Angela and Don cooking up fish fried onions, mushrooms and cauliflower.  Delicious!

Angela and Don cooking up fish fried onions, mushrooms and cauliflower. Delicious!

Don cooking up a storm of very yummy fish.  Thank you so much......

Don cooking up a storm of very yummy fish. Thank you so much……

Now gone is the snow just a few weeks later and out come the rakes and summer clothing.   Now begins the longer days of spring farm work.  Out comes the aloe for those of us with sunburns.  Winter of 2015 is only a memory…………or is it?  You never know because we live in a land of extremes.  Better keep the boots around just in case.

Click the link below for a successful ice fishing trip!

https://callenshoneyfarm.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/ice-fishing-a-minnesota-tradition/

Life is  good  by golly!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise……

 

 

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~Bees In March~

We took advantage of a lovely day, March 10, to feed sugar cakes infused with essential oils to our bees. 

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The hives were weighed going into the winter.  In order to survive a Minnesota winter, the bees need at least 60 to 100 pounds of honey reserve.  It’s been a long, cold winter and when the weather warmed a bit, they were fed.  Who knows when spring will be here!

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Pollen patties were added later in the week, which was done to boost the queens, in order to get them to start laying.  If the queens don’t start laying soon enough, the bees within the hive become old and will just die off.  The average life span for a worker bee in the winter is six months.

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Fred and Mario have been busy this winter building boxes, branding and wax dipping them.  The waxing is something new this year that Fred wanted to try.   He built 50 new brood boxes and re-conditioned another 50 that were purchased last year.  Then he built 26 Nuk boxes out of  older  reject boxes and also crafted frames for holding queen cells.  He loves working out in the shop during his “off” season, winter. 

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Each box takes four minutes to coat with a mixture of paraffin, beeswax and mineral spirits.  The wax temperature is held at 300 degrees.  This will hopefully take the place of paint!  Like anything else in farming, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!!

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The day before (the above photos) we decided that pork sausage was greatly desired!! 

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Everyone was  thrilled with how quickly the processing part went.  It took an hour to cut the hog up.  My wrapping job took a lot longer.   I like to take my time and make the packages cute!  Then yesterday we cut and wrapped another hog for Clayton.   In a few days the bacon and hams will be smoked and packed.  If anyone would like to buy some excellent quality Natural Niman Ranch Pork, just let us know. 

Sometimes we play!  While my niece was here, we had a grilled pizza night.  Dreaming of summer helps make long winters pass!

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Last but not least, a little “honey” for your day!  Frenchy and Peter’s little Josie June!  Life is good by golly.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

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~Our Son, Clayton, Shears 72 Ewes~

Nice method of shearing.  There's a pattern to this shearing every time.

Nice method of shearing. There’s a pattern to this shearing every time.

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Yesterday was sheep shearing day.  I haven’t seen Clayty shear any sheep since this time last year and I have to say I was pretty impressed!! He’s gotten really fast.   He worked his tail end off because our sheep are large and their wool is super thick.  Caleb caught sheep for him while Mario and Fred packed wool.

Clayton shearing while Mario wait for the wool!

Clayton shearing while Mario waits for the wool!

It had started to snow a bit and we were glad the sheep had been locked in the barn early, before their wool was made wet.  Clayty first went to one of our neighbors to shear and set us up for a ten a.m. spot.  He has been so busy with no days off except for Sundays as far as I know.  April 1 will bring a load of horses in for Clayton to start training.  To be young again……………

Close up of the action.

Close up of the action.

 

Nice clean job of shearing.

Nice clean job of shearing.

 

A beautiful birthday suit for this bred ewe, due to start lambing around April 6!

A beautiful birthday suit for this bred ewe, due to start lambing around April 6!

 

Mario is in charge of packing the wool.  He does a great job!

Mario is in charge of packing the wool. He does a great job!

 

Clayton's job was catching for Clayton.  Fred hand packed the darker type wool.  That kind of wool brings less money.

Caleb’s job was catching for Clayton. Fred hand packed the darker type wool. That kind of wool brings less money.

 

This cat sat watching with her tongue out the entire time.

This cat sat watching with her tongue out the entire time.

When it was all said and done, we had a nice meal and Fred welded some extra part on the packer machine to improve the way it works.  I sent Clayton home with two apple pies.  Hey, what comes around goes around after all!

 

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~It’s A Girl!!!!~

Even the coldest of weather can’t stop the natural cycles of birth!

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The kids found this fresh born heifer in the barn, wet and shivering.  She was carried into the basement to be warmed up.  After a good morning in the house and some nice warm colostrum she was ready to be returned to her new home.  Her name has to start with an A due to her blood lines and there is still a good debate as to which name it will be.  It’s a toss-up between Amore and Ariat.  She is so pretty and will be a nice addition to the farm.

It is so cold here, hard to believe anything can survive such temperatures.  She is snug inside of a home-made bale hut in the barn and is thriving so far.  As always new life is always welcome and enjoyed over and over again through the years on our farm! 

 

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She is a mix of Ayrshire, Guernsey, Jersey and Holstein!   I bet she’ll be an amazing milk cow some day!!

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~ Winter…Down on the Farm!~

 

Silvana and Marisa giving some gentle therapy to the calf.

Silvana and Marisa giving some gentle therapy to the calf.

Poor little December.  She came to us with two front hooves that were bent.  Fred and the girls put splints on her when she came in on a bitter cold day in early January.  She was four days old, which is why her name is December.   The splints were worn for a period of three weeks. 

A crippled heifer calf.

A crippled heifer calf.

 Now the little calf wears a pair of horse wraps.  The girls tighten them every night.  She is perfectly healthy other than the feet and yes she does walk.

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I can’t help thinking how good it is for the kids to have to tend to the weak animals.  Honestly, this kind of work can only be a labor of love.  Patience and kindness are a necessity on the farm.  She will most likely be a butcher calf eventually and the kids all know this.

Mario before milking.

Mario before milking.  He turned 10 years old recently!!

Niman Ranch pork for sale locals !!

Niman Ranch pork for sale locals !! Best Pork ever…..taste and see!

Bella loves her goats and is very gentle with animals.

Bella loves her goats and is very gentle with animals.

Content cat in a cozy barn.  A good life for cats too!

Content cat in a cozy barn. A good life for cats too!

Bella with our three goats.  There were two more that have been sold.

Bella with our three goats. There were two more that have been sold.

Fred built this new meat smoker for our bacon, hams, summer sausage and hotdogs.  He makes something out of junk!

Fred built this new meat smoker for our bacon, hams, summer sausage and hotdogs in two days.  We final finally figured out how to make these goodies.  YUM    He makes something out of junk!

 

Well cared for hogs. For livestock they have a good life too on the farm.

Well cared for hogs. For livestock, they have a good life too on the farm.

 

This hog is now bacon, hotdogs and summer sausage.  I didn't get any plain sausage......some chops and roasts.....We took advantage of a few warmer days.

This hog is now bacon, hotdogs and summer sausage. I didn’t get any plain sausage……some chops and roasts…..We took advantage of a few warmer days.

 

Summer sausage in the oven before Fred built the smoker.

Summer sausage in the oven before Fred built the smoker.

Life is good, down on the farmMay your lives be blessed……………

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