Monday, May 25, 2009

Sweet Scents

This weekend was a great weekend to be outside. The flowering trees around the farm were in bloom. The lilac, apple, and the crab apple trees.
The first of the Irises started to bloom too.
Friday, my Mom and I got the rest of the vegetable garden planted. We put in snap peas, peas, green beans, yellow wax beans, purple beans, carrots, purple carrots, golden beets, peppers, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, sunflowers, cucumbers, summer squash, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, lettuce, and spinach.
Chickens... A couple days ago I was saying they were doing so well. This weekend we lost one of our hens by a dog we were dog-sitting. They were in their yard when we let the dog out. But she noticed the chickens and barrelled through the fence and killed one. I was able to stop her before she got to any of the other chickens. It was very sad. We can't blame the dog, since she was in different surroundings and suddenly seeing tasty chickens excited her.
The other thing is one of the hens is laying a secret egg a day somewhere other than the nesting boxes. Luckily we know where her secret nest is and we just collect it when we go on the egg collecting rounds.
And the sheep got sheared on Sunday. Hurray! I'll put up some pictures soon of their new haircuts.

Baby Steps

Most of you know we are in the middle of a major kitchen remodel, and it has been a lengthy project. We started late last summer sometime. We are doing the majority of the work ourselves and the design and strategy has been changing all the way. Some people would be freaked out living without a functioning kitchen for a while, but we are making the best of it. (Having 2 sinks in our bathroom helps) :-)
Since the winter, our progress has slowed down considerably. With having the struggles of running a dairy farm in a poor milk market, exiting the dairy business, and trying to find new ways to make an income, our dear project has been put on the back burner.
We decided the next step in our project is leveling the floor. This is one step we recently added in our plans. We originally weren't going to worry about making the floor level and put the new flooring over the old hardwood. The more we thought about it, we decided we should. It will alleviate the floor transition problems to the other rooms and leaves any flooring option open to us. Might as well do it right. So this weekend we pulled up the old hardwood down to the original sub floor, which was a 5 hour pry bar session.
After the hardwood was removed, we laid down a new sub floor. The new plywood sure brightens up the place. It is a vast improvement from the old hardwood covered in black tar and tiles. Plus the random staples in the foot from the previous flooring won't be missed. (Kate, you can attest to that.) We have some small pieces to lay in yet on the edges.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Our chickens are doing pretty well free-range. They get let out in the morning and tucked away at dusk everyday. We did have an incident with the neighbor dogs cornering one of the hens a few days ago, but we chased them away and the hen was okay. Other than that, they are doing great. They sure put on the miles everyday wandering the farm. We barely have to feed them chicken feed anymore, since they are foraging for themselves. The farm cats and Maggie are "chicken-proofed" and leave them alone. So far they are still laying their eggs in the nesting boxes and not hiding them on us. We are doing better than we thought keeping up with the egg consumption. With the 4-5 eggs a day, we find ourselves having Brinner more often. (Breakfast for Dinner).
Recently we had the heifers and steers dehorned. We had 8 done and my Dad had about 16 to be done. We moved some of the older heifers to bigger lot and turned them out with a bull. We named him Napoleon. Even with the milking cows gone, this spring has been extra strange for all of us. Usually this time of the year, my parents and we are busy with planting crops. My parents have decided to rent out the cropland to area farmers this year. We don't need all the crops like we used to when we had the dairy cows, and we still have a lot of feed in storage from last year to feed up to our remaining heifers and steers.
The sheep are still waiting to be sheared. Been playing phone tag with the shearers and hopefully soon we can get them sheared and let them out on their pasture.
We planted gourds and melons last weekend and one the goals this weekend is getting the rest of the garden planted.
Zachary is been busy in the wood shop, building a giant arbor bench for my parents.

I think that is all the news. Maybe we should post more often...

Friday, May 15, 2009


The Daffodils have receded and the Tulips have taken the spotlight.
If I don't get my gardening act together shortly, the Dandelions will have the starring role next.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Flight

On Sunday evening, Zachary and I went for a dinner flight with our friends Kate and Jim. Kate has had her pilot license for around 10 years now and ashamedly I never went on a flight with her. Well yesterday we changed that. It was the second time I have ever flown, the first time was a ride in a Trimotor. Zachary has flown a few times, from airlines to puddle jumpers. We met her at the Clintonville Airport and helped move the Cessna 172 from the hanger and watched Kate fuel and do a pre-flight check.
After we took off, Zachary and I had our eyes glued to the windows, watching the great sights. We picked up Jim at the Appleton airport and flew to the Sheboygan airport to the Final Approach restaurant, a restaurant right on the airport. After a delicious meal, we flew back to Appleton and then Clintonville, in the night sky. It was so neat to see the night lights. I wish we took more pictures, but our regular camera is MIA and we just have our digital video camera right now and doesn't always take the best snapshots. We did take a lot of video and we might post up a clip soon of some of the scenery, as soon as we get a chance to process it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday: Chickens and such

Today was a nice day. Zachary and I went to my parents' house and helped put in their pontoon boat for the season. After enjoying a spin around the lake, we had lunch on their beautiful new patio behind the house facing the lake. It was nice to relax in the warm weather.
When we got home, we noticed 2 chickens out. About 2 weeks ago, we finished the chicken yard and most the coop and moved the chickens to their permanent home behind the garage. They have stayed put for about 2 weeks, until this weekend they found a way to sneak under the fencing. This afternoon we decided to let all of them out and see how they do free range. I am nervous about the highway traffic and the neighbor dogs, but if this works out, we might let them out for a few hours at a time when we are around, so we can keep an eye on them. They love roaming around. Our garden is right next to their yard and they were having fun tearing up the soil looking for buggy treats. Good thing nothing is planted right now. Stay tuned for further chicken updates...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tiny Surprise

Wednesday evening, I found a surprise while doing chores. We had a heifer freshen in the shed. We didn't think we had any pregnant heifers left on the farm after our auction in March. We are a little embarrassed missing her. Her baby is a heifer, but very small. She is about 30-40 lbs, she was born premature. An average Holstein newborn is about 70-100 lbs. Yesterday my Dad found a home for the mother on a local dairy farm, and today the baby went to my brother's house. My parents thought it would be neat for them to have a calf to care for, as she needs a lot of extra care right now because she was so premature. The girls are excited. Their house is also near my parents' house, so there will always be someone near to take care of the baby. During the week, our work schedules will not allow for the proper care for the new one. The odds of survival is against her, but these past few days she has been eating well. We hope she will pull through.
Today we finished staining the bistro set that we completed a few weeks ago.