Monthly Archives: July 2012

County Fair

I know it’s a little late, but we had so much fun at the Chisago County Fair that I couldn’t resist sharing some of the highlights. I discovered the joys of county fairs 3 years ago when I came to this very same county fair to check out the area and try to make connections with farmers. We knew even then that this was the area we wanted to settle in. Little did we know that our dream home was just 2 miles north of the fair!

For those of you unfamiliar with county fairs, they are the prelude to the state fair. Ours is a free admission fair and you can buy a parking pass for $5 that gets you in all 4 days. 4 H (the youth organization) is still really big here and all the animals and projects displayed are the product of the hard work of one of these hard working young people. Two and Avril are “cloverbuds” for ages 5-8. Two brought a drawing of some young plantain leaves that he had drawn for one of his nature study projects and Avril brought “survival cookies,” a family favorite made from whole peanuts, honey, flour, vanilla and salt. On Sunday Two brought Jack to the pet show.

All the young people also have put in a 2 hour shift at one of the club’s food booths. Proeun took them since he has experience in restaurant work. When I went to get a picture of them at their first “job” I saw the kids sitting and visiting while parents worked in the kitchen. I’m glad he took them.

Children pointing out their projects.

Cow barn was a favorite.

Love this little calf! Sorry for the quality of the pictures. The children were very excited and didn’t want to be still a moment.

We did go on some rides. Especially on Sunday when grandma and grandpa, great-grandma and great-grandpa and uncle Russel came up. Little Effie is quite the character and insisted on her right to ride also, crying everytime it was over. Yes good times.

RIP Kojo

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post but I feel it necessary to explain my silence. We have had our first bout of illness on the farm and the loss of one of our most prized animals–Wren Hill Farm Kojo. Yes one of the bottle baby goats we got this spring will no longer share the farm with us.

The incredibly wet weather turns out is not only hard on the plants but the animals. And I am now gathering information that this has been a hard year with parasites requiring extra vigilance and expertise in dealing with the almost constant problems facing our animals.

So when he started getting a bulging tummy I called an expert friend of mine. I had just de-wormed him and his coat seemed in good condition (a shaggy coat being a sign of worms) she said maybe tape worm and to do it again, only and intensive 3 day de-worming. But I was having difficulty managing the other animals, weeds, county fair prep and pregnancy issues, so I delayed. Then I noticed him loosing weight and began giving him molasses and the intensive treatment. It didn’t help, he became weaker and weaker and then the diarherra began. I moved him closer to me. I started giving him medicine for the new parasite I now suspected and electrolytes. But it was too late. After several days he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

This is different for me then the death of Tiger in that while Tiger’s death was an accident this death resulted from my inexperience and unfortunately business. Yes I was too busy to research and treat promptly and now he is dead. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

Our friend Connie at Our Little Acres told me, “I know, the learning curve sucks! and unfortunately if you keep livestock this won’t be your last. You can’t beat yourself up about it.”

That is easier said then done. Since his death my days had been filled with cleaning, disinfecting, treating the other goats and making plans for a healthier environment for them–and attempts to move on. It gets a little easier every day and at least now I can write about it.

About Farm

Finally the heat has broken here today. I am so thankful for our central air! The fun business of summer continues but it was oh so nice to have a week off from swim lessons and almost a whole week off for Proeun from his day job. I thought I would give you a tour of some of current hotspots on the farm.

Here is the wash area/cooler/packing shed that Proeun designed. While the plan was to have all our building projects finished in May we are a bit behind. Still I told Proeun it is a really well designed building and I love it. Can’t wait till it’s done. I am glad we were able to save some of the gardens.

The bee balm plant we saved from the cooler area is now flowering and waiting to go into my herb garden–once I figure out where I am going to put it.

Jimmy and Blackie are growing nicely. At the end of the month they will join the boys in their separate housing and in September we will begin breeding. I have 5 female goats and that hopefully means 10 babies next year. Still deciding if we will sell or keep most of them.

Summer Squash finally! I hardly canned or froze anything last year because I knew we would be moving. It seems like ages since I have had good homegrown food. I can’t wait.

Other news around the farm is the chickens are laying!!! Yes, we are enjoying farm fresh eggs again and I am looking for new and interesting ways to cook eggs. There is really nothing like a good egg.

We are also learning about hay. We have a 2 acre hay field and have asked a neighbor to help us manage and bail it so that we can produce some of our own hay for the goats.

We also are putting in more pasture and once we can afford fencing will have alot of space for the animals to roam.

Our pollinator habitat is planted and growing. When you start with a new hive you limit the bees space so they will fully utilize their boxes. Once they fill up one box you add another. We have just added the 2nd box. These are considered the “hive boxes” and what the bees require to make it through the winter. Once they fill these up then we can start adding the “honey supers” which is where we can harvest the honey from.