Saturday, December 15, 2012


Andrew has been encouraging me to blog again ... So much so that he set up the photos for me and all I had to do was add the text!
I love blogging, but lack of time and computer availability have been deterrents.  Once I stopped blogging it was much easier to forget about doing it again.  However, there's something very satisfying about sharing our daily activities.  I just hope my thoughts placed on "paper" are enjoyable to others as well. 
Today Andrew took some beautiful photos of the farm.  



Thanks for enjoying them with me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's No Longer Spring

The last time I wrote on this blog it was springtime ... Well, a lot has happened between then and now.  Fall is definitely here, along with all its activities. 

 Last week our family started processing tomatoes.  What a blessing it was to have everyone helping out!  There are still quite a few tomatoes in the garden and hopefully there will be enough time to let them ripen there before another frost hits.  Sunday we woke to a hard frost in the valley but thankfully not in the garden area.

 Jim was in charge of the celery.  We still have more in the garden, and hopefully we'll get them processed before too long.

Jonathan working diligently on my tomatoes.  He did that for me, and then the next couple of days involved butchering chickens for him.

When picking corn the guys discovered a hole in the ground in the middle of the patch -- and lots of holes in my sugar pumpkins.  A trap was set and a woodchuck caught.  We'll see if we can salvage the pumpkins.

Peter and David worked long and hard to bring David's Morgan horse named Darla to the point where she could be ridden.  So far so good!  Darla was used for a brood mare before David purchased her, and we are thrilled that she is ready for training in riding.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sounds of Spring

Yesterday morning I stepped out of the house after milk chores and heard a very familiar sound ... The grebe family has returned to the lake.  If you click HERE you can see one and hear what they sound like.  To the right of the photo is a spot that says, "listen", and click on the arrow.  

When we first moved up here I heard a grebe for the first time, and thought something was dying!

Another day I heard another very familiar and very welcome sound.   Click HERE and see what it was.  Every summer we have a family of these creatures on the lake as well.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sharing Special Music at the Nursing Home

Last Sunday our family was asked to share music at the Good Samaritan nursing home in Bottineau.  It was a good time to do it, before the farm jumps into full swing.  At times it can be pretty difficult to find time for everyone to practice together.

During one practice session I was surprised to hear my mountain dulcimer being played.  This dulcimer was made with tender loving care by Jim's Dad, who lives in New Hampshire.  Grandpa and Grammy B brought it over years ago on one of their trips to visit us in Fargo.  I was supposed to learn how to play it, but all the hustle and bustle of finding a place in the country and moving caused me to neglect this beautiful instrument.

I was amazed that it was so easy for Jonathan to play it.  He told me once you learn one instrument it was easy to pick up another one.  Well, he has added the mountain dulcimer to his list which consists of the banjo, guitar, mandolin and of course, the harmonica.

And now, for your listening pleasure ...

Thanks so much, GpB, for making us such a beautiful instrument.

Oh, and here's one more:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So Much for Spring Weather

There was some thunder and lightning during the night, and when I walked out of the basement and around the house on my way to do milk chores I saw that it had rained.   Good thing, because it's been a very dry winter/spring.

However, it didn't take long for the weather to change ...

We must hsve had 3 to 4 inches of snow.   This afternoon it is melting, and that is very good. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunter's Safety

This week David and Andrew completed 3 days of a hunter's safety course.  David is excited because he can't wait to start hunting.  Andrew would rather be working on web design or movie making.   In order to pass the course they are required to attend  a total of 5 classes -- each of which is 3 hours long.  The big exam will be next week. 

Jonathan decided I needed some hunter's safety as well.  I have my own private instructor!  Even better, my instructor is a shoot boss for the Appleseed Project .   The next  shoot is scheduled at the Minot gun club for April 28.  For more information, check this link.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blog Talk Radio

Please tune in tonight on a new Blog Talk Radio program, hosted by fellow blogger Scott Terry .  Scott  will interview none other than Jim Bartlett of Bartlett Farm !  We are excited for Scott's new program, which will air every Friday night at 9:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.  We'll be listening for sure!

Here's the link to Scott's blog and information regarding the broadcast:

Feel free to call in and ask Jim some questions!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

New Use for My Kitchen

Some day my main floor kitchen will be finished, but not for a while yet.  In the meantime, we find slightly different uses for the space.

Since the main and second floors are yet to be fully insulated they can substitute for a refrigerator -- or freezer -- depending on the weather. 

This winter Jonathan and David took up trapping.  Muskrats are plentiful this year, so they trapped quite a few.  They also discovered they could potentially receive more money for muskrat hides that had been skinned and stretched, so Jonathan proceeded to do the job and hung them upstairs to dry.  I guess there is a reason why there is "musk" in "muskrat", as there was a distinct odor up there after the deed was done.

Well, before the muskrats came beef.  This is the first year we raised a steer for our family, and Jed was very, very good.  I am sold on grassfed beef.  I've found that grassfed beef cooks faster and is so very tender.  Our family loves it!  We'll raise more beef again this year. 

And then came pork. 

Good thing our "refrigerated kitchen" stayed long enough for us to process all of our meat.

Since these photos were taken, the guys have installed some of the upper cabinets in the kitchen area.  Little by little, interior work is starting up again.   We'll see what can be accomplished before spring planting begins.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Coyote (and a Whole Lot More) Country

This winter we've seen a lot more coyote activity than in previous years.  It seems they are becoming a lot more bold. 

Late last week, Jonathan spotted a lone coyote halfway up the hill to what we call our big field.  He grabbed his gun, positioned himself and waited until he could get off a good shot.  I was curious myself, so I stood almost next to him and watched the drama unfold.  That was a dumb thing to do, as the shot was hard on the ears.

I thought Jonathan had hit the coyote, as it jumped just about straight up, jerked around and ran into the woods.  David ran up to where it had stood to check for blood -- and sure enough, there was something there. 

Now this morning we spotted another coyote.  The interesting thing to me is that sunrise is coming sooner each day, and these coyotes are out near the farm in the daylight.  Today Andrew spotted the coyote because he was jumping up and down as they do when trying to catch mice.  We also have some very good sentries down in the barnyard.  David's Morgan horse, Darla, stands very erect, with her head pointing in the direction of the intruder.  The cows had also stopped eating and were looking intently in the same direction, so we couldn't miss the telltake signs of something amiss.

 Jonathan, hoping for a clear view of the varmint

Here are our sentries:  Sandy the cow, and  Darla the horse

Jonathan, David and Andrew just outside the basement door.  The photos were taken through the window, since Jim was on the phone and I now know better than to stand close to where a gun is about to be fired!.
                         There are other things happening in the area, too.

Below is an excerpt from a news story found in last week's Courant, which is Bottineau's weekly newspaper.  The account is believeable, as we know the couple involved.

WOLF SIGHTED UP IN THE TURTLE MOUNTAINS, by Scott Wagar, Bottineau Courant

When Reno and Marilynn Strand awoke on Sunday morning, January 22 and looked out their front windows they probably thought they were looking at the PBS show "Nature" up close and personal, because what they saw out their window left them in amazement and with great concern
"At 7:15 that morning, Reno got up and let the dogs out," Marilynn said.  "I came into the kitchen about 7:30 and began making coffee when I noticed our Border Collie standing in his pointing position.  I thought that was odd that our dog was in that position.  So, I looked out the window to see what he was pointing at and there was a big animal 30 feet from our house going back and forth and back and forth.  As the animal was pacing I realized it was a wolf.  So, I called out for Reno and told him what I was looking at and he came running wtih his field glasses and confirmed it was a wolf.  From there, I ran to the door and opened it, and our dogs were very happy to come inside."

Once the Strands' dogs were in the house, Reno and Marilynn kept a close eye on the wolf, which eventually left their property and went toward their neighbor's house.  "We called over to our neighbor, Wayne Olson, who also has a dog and warned him about what we saw," Marilynn said.
With the wolf gone, the Strands went back to their Sunday morning routine, but seeing such an animal, with such a vicious reputation, they continued to look out into their yard.

"We watched imtermittently for some time and about a half an hour later a deer ran into our yard and stopped about 20 feet from our house.  What we saw was terrible because the deer's neck had been slashed open and the whole back end had been eaten off," Marilynn said.  "Then, out of nowhere, we saw a coyote come into the yard from the north, then another coyote came in from the south and one more from another direction."

As the three coyotes began circling the deer, the Strands called the local sheriff department to see if they could shoot the deer and take it out of its misery, which local law enforcement agreed they could do.  They also asked if they could shoot the wolf if it came back, which the sheriff's department told them they could, but only if it threatened their livestock.

With the phone call complete, Reno brought out his rifle and made an attempt to shoot the deer.  However, the animal was positioned in such a way that Reno couldn't fire off a shot because he would be shooting toward his neighbor's home.

As Reno stood there considering what he could do next, a police vehicle drove into the yard, chasing the deer and coyotes off the Strands' property.

"After that we never did see the animals again, but we did hear them for a couple nights after that, but we haven't heard them since," Marilynn said.

The Strands feel the wolf was in their yard because it was attempting to get their dogs.  Since that time, they have been careful when letting their two dogs and cat out of the house, because they fear losing them.. 

"I now go out with our animals and keep a close eye on them," Marilynn said.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Warming Up!

This is our balmy forecast for today:

Rest Of Today ...Mostly sunny. Highs around 10 below. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Wind chills around 40 below.

Tonight...Increasing clouds. Lows around 20 below. West winds around 10 mph. Wind chills around 35 below.

Friday...Mostly sunny. Highs around 5 below. West winds 5 to 10 mph. Lowest wind chills around 40 below in the morning.

Well, I could give you some jokes that start with, "It was so cold that ... " but it's no joke.  I rushed out of bed this morning because I overslept, a result of wearing a hat to bed and didn't hear my alarm through the knit material.  I now understand why in former days people would wear nightcaps.  They sure would come in handy!   I help Peter every morning and evening with milk chores, and was a half hour late getting into the milk room.

I'll have to post a photo of what we've been using my future main floor kitchen for, and it hasn't been to wash dishes.  Today it was 21 degrees up there.

And then I discovered there was standing water in the laundry tub -- when there was no plug in the drain.  FROZEN PIPES!!  Hopefully it will warm up enough today and the guys can figure out how to thaw the pipe.  In the meantime, I'm learning one more lesson in how to be flexible and figure out alternate ways to dispose of water.   Thankfully the septic drain field is still operational.  I have worried about that, because there's no real snow cover for insulation and we didn't have enough straw scrounged from area farmers to insulate the ground above the drain field.  Last spring was so wet that crops weren't planted, so not much straw was harvested.

I'm also in the market for a pattern to create udder covers for our 3 dairy cows.  So far so good, but we don't want to take any chances. 

The weather should moderate soon, and hopefully we'll adjust to a real winter instead of the mild temperatures we've had up until this week. 

Tomorrow we'll start butchering pigs!  Hopefully I can take some photos to share in another post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Looks like winter finally caught up with us.  After mild temperatures in the 30's and even 40's, we are now in for some bitterly cold days.










Time to spend the day making animals comfortable and as warm as possible.  Time for us to increase our wood pile, too. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Simply Amazing Weather

I guess you could call this our "January Thaw," although we haven't had enough cold weather yet  to give it that title:

Today ...Mostly sunny. Windy. Highs in the lower 50s. West winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts to around 30 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph with gusts to around 60 mph in the afternoon.

Tonight...Partly cloudy. Breezy. Lows in the mid 20s. West winds 20 to 25 mph.

Friday...Partly sunny. Colder. Highs in the lower 30s. West winds 15 to 20 mph.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows 15 to 20. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Saturday...Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 20s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday Night And Sunday...Partly cloudy. Lows around 15. Highs in the lower 30s.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 20s.

This balmy weather is not the best for the animals.  They are shedding some of the thicker hair they grew for winter.  I hope we have a gradual cool down instead of a shockingly cold Alberta Clipper or something else.

We've taken advantage of the warm temps to do a lot of butchering ... Not only chickens, but also our steer.  More about that next time.