Sunday, May 31, 2009

Appleseed Project Weekend

Here are some photos from North Dakota's first Appleseed Project weekend. Since I wasn't there (I was doing chores), I'll direct you to our son Jonathan's blog. He said he will be posting more tomorrow. (appleseedinfo.org)





I'm very glad they're home -- my weekend caring for the animals by myself was quite challenging!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Organization

It's been another day of getting organized ... I wonder if we'll ever be totally organized around here! Time is always a factor in putting things away like they should be.

Andrew just came in and announced he saw his first dragonfly. That must mean summer isn't far away. Yesterday we received about an inch of rain, so hopefully the grass will shoot up and the animals will be out on pasture. I need to get out and weed my herb garden but the soil is still pretty wet. Instead, Jonathan and I took time to figure out just what we have left for canned goods. Since we still live in our basement, we had to store my canned things all over the house. It was kind of like a treasure hunt, and we did find treasure.

Last year our tomatoes didn't do very well, so I wasn't able to can as many as I hoped. I thought I ran out of jars of them about two months ago, but during our hunt we discovered about three big boxes of jars. Wonderful! Now we can have the spaghetti and pizza sauce we really enjoy.


I was disappointed to find a couple of jars of lard that had lost their seal. Instead of trying to guess if the lard was okay I just threw them out. After I was done rendering lard last winter I had heard of a further step to canning it; after getting the lard in jars the rims should be wiped with vinegar to keep any grease from preventing a good seal. There was even one more step -- and that was to place the jars in a warm oven to help ensure a good seal. I need to find someone that knows at what temperature and for how long they need to be in the oven.
I pulled out a jar of herbs that were grown last year, and was reminded once again that herbs are for using and not just collecting. A friend once told me I would remember what various herbs are good for as I began using them, and I think it's time to get busy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More on the Farm

It's been a week since I started this post, and the animals are getting bigger by the day. This week has been a time of catching up, yet I still feel far behind.



Here is a photo of our two pigs. We had asked for three, but apparently our neighbors didn't raise as many as they planned. They are cute little guys, very friendly and curious. One really enjoys having his back scratched and likes eating out of my hand. Their snouts sure feel funny when they root around.


Grayg (named for his gray coat) and Lena enjoy resting in the flower box by our basement door. I wonder how I will keep them out of there when I plant my flowers!


Peter made a fence for the goats in the woods, and here is the gate. We need to get everyone out on pasture, but the grass just isn't growing as quickly as we would like. Peter brings them back to the barn for the night and has them eating hay in there. I can already tell by the smell of the goat milk they are eating brush once again. Peter is milking once a day now, and usually brings in a gallon of milk. I've been making a lot of yogurt.
This week a friend of ours suddenly lost her water to the house. Jim and our guys went over there to see if they could figure out what had happened and ended up pulling the pump out of the well, which was about 250 feet down.
I never did get all of the stains out of these jeans!

Yesterday everyone had to rush out of the house at the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. We've seen quite a few, but none like this one. Makes me wonder what was going on.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

At Last: Cabin #4


We received the call about 6:30 Friday night that Mr. Pedie was ready to pull the last cabin home. So, supper stayed on the table, and we left for the camp. As you can see by Peter's attire it was a very chilly evening, and the work was done with periodic episodes of sleet.

This was the first time I witnessed the payloader pulling a cabin from its original spot at camp, and it was quite interesting. This cabin was up on a hill, so Mr. Pedie had to pull it down the hill, across to where there had once been a cabin, and then back it down to the road where he could pull it straight up and out of the camp.
The road out of camp is quite narrow, so Jim had to direct the operation.


Every time we took out a cabin it behaved differently on the road, so once again the guys had to stop progress to cut down a tree that had caught on the roof of the structure.

Since it was Friday night and more people were driving around Lake Metigoshe, the decision was made that I would drive the station wagon a ways ahead in front of the procession; Peter was to sit on the hood and stop oncoming traffic. This was probably the only time in my life where I could legally drive down the middle of the road and stop traffic!

Andrew was photographing all of the events of the evening, with a little help from David.


As you can see, it was getting darker by the time we pulled the cabin out of the park. Mr. Pedie brought along a relative of his to drive the vehicle at the rear with flashing lights.

Now we are finally on our road. Jim spent a lot of time running in between the loader and pickup truck, so he was getting a much deserved rest.

On the homestretch -- just before getting stuck! The payloader bogged down in the field and reinforcements were needed, so the decision was made to unhook the payloader and get it out of the very wet area before it sunk any deeper. The work would continue in the morning.
By morning, the ruts made by the payloader were filled with water. We may have discovered a spring over in that area of the field!
Mr. Pedie's relative brought along his heavy duty pickup, and they hooked that up to the loader via a cable. It didn't take much to get the payloader going again, and the cabin was once again in motion.

Onward to the cabin's final resting place!
David, another of our very diligent workers!


Finally positioning the cabin near the other ones on the homestead.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Hope They are Planting Those Potatoes Deep Enough ...


WIDESPREAD FREEZING TEMPS POSSIBLE FRI NIGHT. AN UNSEASONABLE COLD AIR MASS WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION FRIDAY NIGHT AS COLD CANADIAN HIGH PRESSURE DROPS OUT OF CANADA. AS THIS OCCURS, TEMPS ARE EXPECTED TO DROP INTO THE MID TO UPPER 20'S ACROSS WESTERN & CENTRAL NO. DAKOTA BY EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. THIS WILL RESULT IN SEVERAL HRS OF SUBFREEZING TEMPS FRI. NIGHT. TEMPS THIS COLD WILL LIKELY SEVERELY DAMAGE DELICATE VEGETATION.


I'm wondering if/when spring will actually arrive!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Here We Go Again


Every time I think about putting away our winter clothes we come up with a forecast like this:

Rest of Today
Numerous rain showers. Windy...cooler. Highs in the upper 40s. Northwest winds 25 to 35 mph. Chance of showers 60 percent.

Tonight
Mostly cloudy in the evening then clearing. Windy... colder. Lows in the upper 20s. Northwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts to around 50 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph with gusts to around 30 mph after midnight.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Catching Up

We are down to the wire now, as far as getting the last cabin to our homestead. Everything is ready -- except for our friend that uses his payloader to pull it over here. Hopefully tomorrow the predicted rain will hold off until we are able to bring the cabin over.

Last week was a bit on the crazy side.

One morning about 8:00 we received a phone call from the post office, telling us to come and get our bees. With all the cabin moving Jim had forgotten to ask me to keep an eye out for mail that would tell him when his bees were coming. We weren't totally ready, but everything went fine.

Jim had planned to switch out the queens that came with the bees for Russian queen bees, so he quickly called the man he purchased them from down in Louisiana. I guess Russian bees are more hardy, and do not have as much of a problem with mites. They arrived by express mail on Saturday.

The day after the bees arrived we had another 8:00 phone call from the post office, telling us to come and get our chicks! Jonathan plans to raise and sell broiler chickens, and ordered 150 chicks.




Jonathan had converted the chicken barn into a brooder house, so that meant the laying hens had to be booted out. That night we waited for the chickens to settle down in the big barn as well as a spot in the woods, and then hauled 25 at a time in the back of the pick up truck to their new homes in movable pens in the field. In spite of the move they continue doing well with laying eggs.

Then on Saturday we received a call from our neighbor, letting us know our piglets were ready to be picked up. We have two males this year, and they sure are cute! I don't think we have any photos of them yet. These piglets must have had more human contact than the ones we had in years past, as they are much more friendly.

The weather has not warmed up as quickly as we hoped, and unfortunately our tomato plants are begging us to plant them in the ground. They must be over a foot tall already. Jonathan planted as many as he could in our hoop house, but the rest have been carted in and out of the hoop house and the main floor of our house. We didn't want to place all of our eggs in one basket, since due to cold nights the barrel stove has to be fire up and checked twice during the night. We didn't want to risk losing all the plants if something happened to the stove or someone didn't wake up in time to keep the fire going.

We've also had our annual visit of wood ticks. Those nasty things are everywhere! I decided it wasn't worth leaving my laundry basket out on the grass while clothes were drying. I did one day, and ended up cleaning off all the ticks before I could place dry clothes in the basket. Poor Samson (our German Shepherd) was loaded with the things, so we resorted to using Frontline on him to help keep the ticks away. Tonight at supper I watched two of the boys pick off ticks through the whole meal.

Here are some photos of the last cabin to bring over to our property:



Jim, working on getting everything in place before jacking up the cabin.



I always enjoy watching Peter and Jonathan working together; they make quite a team.
Peter was taking rides as he tried jacking the cabin on his own.
I wonder which one this is??

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cabin #3

This cabin seemed to take the least amount of time to prepare for moving -- or maybe it was just that it was the third time the men had worked on one of them. Even though this one was on a hill it didn't seem to be a problem.

I think it was determined that this cabin will be turned into our wood shop, and we will bring power over to the building. That means our future bedroom on the main floor will eventually no longer have our shop tools in it! Peter stayed at the back of the cabin, making sure everything looked okay. Those walkie talkies sure came in handy. Part of the time he rode with me in the station wagon, and part of the time he was walking, keeping an eye on power lines and checking whatever needed to be checked.


This is a photo of the building going by the check in station at the state park. Thankfully there was enough room between the stop sign and building.


Jim was hitching a ride with Mr. Pedie on the payloader, heading out of the state park.

No, Jonathan was not moving forward! Peter must have been checking for clearance of the power lines. Jonathan drove the truck just ahead of the payloader, with flashers flashing.

That's me behind the building in the station wagon. Driving behind with the flashers going reminded me of driving in one of the parades we attended last summer, when Jim was running for state senate.

Just as we turned on to our gravel road, Jim noticed some of the chains had loosened on the trip. The procession stopped while they were tightened up.
Up the hill on our gravel road we went. Good thing no one wanted to get by.

Mr. Pedie turned into our driveway and noticed his payloader was overheating, so we took a break. The rear right wheels were in the ditch, and that is why the cabin looks kind of tipped. Our driveway had finally dried out from the spring thaw and recent rains.


Cabin #3 entering the homestretch!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Don't Mess with a Cat!

video

This morning I had given our cats named Snowball and Lena a leftover pancake, and placed it on a soon to be discarded box; the chickens got wind of it and tried their best to help themselves.

Peter grabbed the camera and filmed the event.