We were lucky to find a farm laid out just like we would want. One where there was attention to function as well as beauty. Still it doesn’t have quite everything we would need. So this spring is a busy season for us, not only with the normal set up of the season, but building. I am definitely developing a love of building though I must say. So this week is building week. I will hopefully be able to share pictures along the way but if not you know why. Here are just a few of the things on the agenda.
*goat doors to convert the horse barn to a goat barn
*separate housing for bucks (male goats)
*pick up and set up the greenhouse
*start prepping the area for our washing and packing shed
*build chicken tractors and housing to get get our chickens in the field
OK the last one is just for fun, but you need that a little to. Also I have permits to get and research to do on Nigerian Dwarf Goat bloodlines, and dog training and so much more. But you know I was just thinking today I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What a glorious weekend. I have always said that one thing nice about Minnesota is that the whole state can be put in a good mood just by the spring change of weather. We really look forward to our weekends on the farm and to spring, so this weekend was doubly blessed.
In our big long list of set up projects this year we can cross goats off the list. Yes Ginger and her babies came home this weekend. The kids (human) are super excited about the kids (goats), can you tell?
As I mentioned we have a long long list of set up projects. But now the snow is gone and things are getting crossed of the list quickly. May not actually be on the list but we can cross, “first barbeque” off the list relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
The youngest 2 in the family are really a pair. I am so surpised they stood still long enough for me to catch this picture. Hope you had a great weeknd.
This morning while walking to the mailbox to put a letter in I saw something lying on the road. At first I thought it was some trash or somthing dropped from a car but I quickly realized it was something else. As I walked closer I knew it was one of our wild cats that we inherited when we bought the farm. As I stood there looking at the poor cat that had obviously been hit by a car but mercifully died quickly a lump grew in my throat.
We moved to the farm for the good life, and I guess in some ways to protect our children. But I knew all along that both life and death are intimate partners of farm life. My children will have the privilege of cuddling and holding day old chicks, of seeing goats born and caring for them. But on the flip said death is all around us. I knew this from the beginning and also knew in time it would get easier in some ways, in many ways not. But I also fervently believed that knowledge of death, without fear of it is something that is important for a healthy mental state.
Yes this was Tiger. Named by the children on the first day here on the farm while they were exploring the place. Just yesterday morning I saw Tiger and the 3 other cats stalking off into the woods looking like a minature pride of lions on the hunt. Now this morning he was no more. We have 2 indoor cats. Honestly we keep them indoors mostly to protect them and ourselves of the suddenly loss. But Tiger lived and died free coming and going as he would.
I had to decided whether to dispose of him myself or tell the children what had happened. Knowing that death was now a part of our life like never before I chose to tell them. It was also important for me to get Tiger off the road. So I ran back to the house, told the children to get ready, grabbed a plastic bag and began mentally preparing myself.
I explained that death is part of life. That it was not meant to be that way but it is. “See the sparrows [read wild cats] see how little they’re valued, and yet not one of them dies without God noticing it.” (Matthew 10:29 ClearWord). I explained that like when “Good Dog Jack” died in On the Shores of Silver Lake By Laura Ingalls Wilder Pa explained that all good dogs have the reward and that Tiger though a cat was no different. I explained that it was OK to cry and be sad but that we must remember that Tiger will never be hungry, cold and scared anymore. So the tears are for us and that we will miss Tiger but not for him.
I always hated stories like The Yearling and Old Yeller but realize now the stories are about growth and ultimately life. Life isn’t perfect, there is death mixed in and I hope that my children will understand and not fear it.
A couple weeks ago we got a full foot of snow dumped on us. The only really significant snow fall of the season. Only 3 days ago there was still a good layer of snow cover on the ground. But this morning it looks like this
That isn’t snow but a very fine spring shower. Rumor has it that we can expect temps in the high 50s this week and maybe as high as 70?! in March?! While it was great that the snow held off until our New Year move I fully expected a normal winter once we moved. Now it seems like we have bypassed that and are headed into spring.
The weekend was great. My parents came up and had a sleepover. We introduced them to some of our Rush City Favorites including the fabric store/quilt shop (lots of dreaming going on there) and Firefly Bistro. We did a little outdoor work, it was great for the help, I got to cook with my mom again, and we took them over to our favorite St. Croix spot.
Alas they had their own projects at home, but after they left there was still plenty of work and fun. We got the chicks (now pullets complete with a fine layer of feathers) moved to what will be the winter coop. We completed the frame for our early winter greenhouse and made good progress converting the horse barn for Ginger. But none of the projects are complete, except the chickens, so no pictures yet.
But a couple of things came to mind this weekend, 1. mud season is here. Avril, who didn’t listen about walking in the grass, actually lost a boot in our field. 2. I really enjoy working alongside my husband. Our weekends are blissfully full of set up projects for the farm. When not doing that we have time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. 3. Sometimes rain days are good. I had a long list of tasks to do today getting ready for next weekend’s projects. But all of us are just a bit under the weather and I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Voila. . . Rain Day! Perfect excuse to relax, bundle up and enjoy some cuddling.
I have read in numerous places about the importance of consistency and routine for children. Some sources say it is best to bundle all errands into one town day and the rest of the week just enjoy a routine. But in the city I looked forward to daily or at least every other day errands. I also dreaded the thought of bringing my children to more they one or two stores in a day since that was about as long as I could push their patience. But living up here I find that it is neccessary and even desireable to bundle my duties to one day. So Tuesday this week was town (or actually city) day. We went and bought a greenhouse, went and picked up our bulk food order, went to Menard’s to pick up some lumber for weekend building projects and visited family.
We are lucky to have plenty of stores in our area to meet our needs, like a grocery store, print shop, library, thrift shop, etc all within 2-3 miles of us. But for the most part I still try to bundle my activities. This week I am feeling the effects of peace at home and it is wonderful. There is plenty to do, cuddling sick children, schooling the well ones, looking after the animals, keeping home, crafting, and reading (currently I am reading about soil improvement, bees, dairy goats, beef cattle and dog training). And this weekend I am looking forward to another weekend at home, yes I am reminded of other quotes about the importance of the home atmosphere to everyone’s mental state.
I feel like I am rambling but the fact of the matter is working at keeping the home nice and wanting to stay there is bringing me alot of peace lately. I encourage you to look for ways to improve your home environment and stay there.
Let me just say I really like goats. Maybe it is the trips I make frequently to the Wells Fargo Family Farm at the Zoo or my interest is heritage breed animals but I do really enjoy goats. And sheep as well but I have heard if you are new to the milking scene don’t start with sheep. So goats it is. It all started when we were clearing around our winter chicken coop and I thought “it would be really nice to have some help with this.” Then I remembered a friend who had successfully used goats to clear her woods of underbrush. I thought I’ll just check and see how much goats would be (I like them remember so any reason to get them seemed reasonable to me).
Then I found a wonderful little farm like 3 farms over from us that had fainting goats. Proeun had been particularly drawn to this breed and so it seemed so meant to be. We really hit it off with owner Connie and so have made arrangements to purchase Ginger, pictured above and
Ginger just had babies. Triplets for the 2nd year in a row–one girl and 2 boys.
So the little red boy, “Reddy” and little doeling “Faline” will be calling Crazy Boy Farm their new home in just a few short weeks. We are going to have 3 goats for clearing come summer and try our hand at milking. Then the next year we will have Ginger bred again. Though a fainting goat she has some dairy goat genetics in her, which I love, I love the look and usefulness of it. Then next year we will hopefully have another set of triplets and the following year we will see how Faline does.
Yes we are now happy goat owners. The kids can’t wait to bring them home.
We are so so blessed in so many ways but one way is with incredibly supportive and dare I say fun parents. The children love spending time with their grandparents and now that we actually have a guest bedroom love having sleepovers with grandma and grandpa.
My father is a brilliant man, who loves history and passed that love on to me. Our favorite time period is (you know you are a history buff if you know what I am talking about) World War II and it appears Two has caught the bug.
Another love of my father’s is model trains. He remembers his stepfather working on them, but never built any with him. So when my parents were building theirs and Two was totally enthralled Dad decided to take the time and some extras to help Two with his sans train.
So we took the computer table that the sellers had left for us and cut a piece of ply wood, also left for us, to fit the top. Then dad took the 2 inch pink foam and cut it to fit that as well. Here dad sculpts a river out of the middle and glues the pieces down. He used additional pieces to build and sculpt hills.
Next put tape down for the river and use tan paint to do the ground. Don’t forget to layout the road and where the buildings are going to go.
There are all sorts of cool tools for models like sand and tree kits.
Once the first coat of paint and plaster (for sculpting the rocks) is dry you can remove the tape and paint the river–we used left over blue from my bedroom and black. Then at wonderful model farm, or battle ground or both.