Our blog is to inform and entertain you as we pursue
our goal of starting a farm. Here we plan on recording thoughts, projects, farm additions and other
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A Certified Organic Ayrshire calf from
the Mike Lindquist Farm
Some days I blog w/o checking for
errors - you'll know it when you read it
April 30, 2009
- KSAX-TV news.
Kaylin Karsin of KSAX-TV Eyewitness News finally arranged for us to
get a digital copy of
the Easter Farm sales news story that featured Carol, Madison and a few
of the farm's animals. Here it is. This is the same piece
that aired on Good Friday at 5PM & 10PM.
April 29, 2009
- We got wet soaked.
When I got home from buying some raw milk from the neighbor, Farmer
Mike was down at the barn, talking with Carol. He was here to help
finish planting. We had the 3 acres of pasture remaining and
although we had light rain, Mike thought we could get it worked and
planted before it got too bad. I got the digger in the dirt and
right behind me was Mike with his grain drill. It continued to
rain, but that didn't stop us - we wanted it done to take advantage of
the rain. When I finished digging, I jumped onto the back of the
drill, making sure the wheat and pasture mix seed was flowing. We
had a bit more seed than we needed, so Mike made a few extra passes over
the acreage. By the time we finished planting, the field was
getting pretty slimy, but with the extra seed planted, the less than idea
soil condition shouldn't effect the seed germination too badly. It
was nice to have it planted. Mike even skipped breakfast to get
here early... what a trooper. Thanks Mike.
- Our new manure
After bringing daughter Chastiti' to the clinic, Carol and I ran a few
errands, including a quick stop to the farm store to pick up some chicks
that just came in. Once done in town, we made a run to Kandiyohi,
MN to check out a small manure spreader that some friends had in their
grove. When I saw the spreader it looked like the perfect size -
small. It is an old Lorenz brand with a PTO. It was in their
woods so I will need a 4 wheel-drive pickup to get it out, but first I
need to wait to get our truck back from the shop. The spreader
needs a little work on the PTO shaft, but other than that it should be
good to go... I'm very excited to have found this small unit. The
cost of the spreader is some garden produce from the our gardens. I
suppose I should spread a little manure on the garden with the Lorenz so
we can say that it had a small part in growing the food they will have
received from us. Because of their gift to us we will be able to
return the gesture by giving food back to them. Cool huh?
- Counting sheep.
The kids and I went to do chores tonight, while Carol stayed in the
house with Chas. After feeding the chickens, I decided to throw
another bale of hay in the goat manger. As I was taking the twine
off of the bale, I looked across the feeder to discover to VERY young
lambs struggling to stand amongst the pushing and shoving of the other
animals. "Madison, we have babies!" I quick climbed out of
the pen and let Carol know we had baby lambs (fyi: we have an intercom
system we use). Not knowing for sure if she heard my
announcement, I headed to the house. Before I got to the steps,
Carol was coming out of the door. She guessed that Babie was the
one that lambed.
We then moved Babie and her new lambs into a separate pen. It
was the first lambs born on the farm and we don't want anything to happen
to them. We have one male and one female. They look healthy
and were nursing before we finished chores.
The sad news of the day is that we lost one of the triplet bucklings.
Carol thought we might loose him when she brought the 3 home - he just
didn't look right. This morning he didn't take the bottle, so Carol
tube fed him... but it didn't help. The good new is that his
surviving brother and sister are doing fine.
April 28, 2009
- 40 acres planted.
Farmer Mike and I got some farming done. He got here about 10AM
and it didn't take long to get the grain drill filled with seed. It
was nice to see the field get planted. As Mike was seeding the 20
acres I dug yesterday, I set off to dig another 20 acres for wheat.
It didn't take long for me to get done with my work. I then
decided to see how far Mike was on the oat field. To my horror, his
rows were crooked. Well, they were straight, but at the wrong
angle. That means I measured them wrong and that all of the other
fields will be a wee-bit off as well. How the heck did this happen?
When I made the measurements, I actually measured twice. Crap,
crap, CRAP! Mike reassured me that I had plenty of time to make
them straight... next year. This will bother me for the rest of the
year. I like things that I do to be nice and neat.
Of the land set aside for the wheat, I saved a small section of it for
new pasture. When Mike was done planting this area, he offered to
plant this new pasture if I could get seed. He suggested I quick
call our local farm store for pasture mix. When I got to the house
I made the call. Ron at the store said they sold the last bag this
afternoon, but rest-assured, they would have more in... but not when I
needed it. Ron went to double check for more seed. After a
few minutes he was back on the phone with good news - the store had 2
bags. Within the hour, I had the last 2 bags in the car, heading
for home. Tomorrow morning (if it's not raining), Mike and I
will mix the pasture seed with the remaining wheat seed. By Sept,
we should have pasture we can use.
- Saanen triplets.
While I was in the fields, Carol got a call from a local goat dairy -
the owner was in an situation and needed a little help. One of his dairy
does had triplets last night and she wasn't doing well. Without
intervention, the triplets wouldn't have chance. In order to save
the doe, he needed to get rid of her newborns. He thought the
babies were able to nurse at least once. With that news, Carol
took-off to the dairy to rescue the new babies. After she got back,
she reported that the doe was doing better and it appeared that 2 of the
3 kids had full bellies... hopefully from mama.
the newest additions to the farm. 3 Saanen-cross goat kids - 1
doeling, 2 bucklings
April 27, 2009
- 20 down.
Am I a farmer yet? Probably not, but I am more of a farmer than
I was last year at this time. Farmer Mike was back from his family
weekend and wanted to get my fields planted ASAP. He called in the
morning wondering is the soil was too wet to work... my response was
something like, "Um... probably?" Hey, I've haven't been farming
very long, how would I know, right? Then he asked if I saw anybody
else out in the fields... That I did not.
After I finished running my errands, I checked to see if the fields
were wet. They were moist, but not wet. I jumped on the
tractor an quick dug the 20 acres, where oats will be planted. When
I finished, I gave Mike a call. I told him the good news and he
mentioned he'd be here in the morning to plant the oats... and if things
went will, we'd get the wheat planted as well. That sounded like a
April 26, 2009
Rain was all the rage today. It's been fairly dry, so on one
hand it was welcomed. On the other hand, it's planting season here
in MN, so a few more days of sunshine would have been nice too. My
gut tells me the rain was more of a plus than a negative. It's been
drought-ish for the last two years and I think the folks around here are
in too much of a hurry to get the seeds in the dirt anyway.
It was nice to see rain.
April 25, 2009
- Clean up.
It was a good working day today, kind of cool, but not cold. As
I waited for a gentleman from the Pipestone, MN area to arrive to buy one
of our LaMancha bucklings, I decided to do some clean-up. South of
the house, near our fire-pit area, was a large pile of brush - small
branches mostly. I was saving it for kindling, but thought better
of it. The unsightly statement that this pile of branches was
making, was more than I could stand... it had to go. Within
minutes, I had a blazing fire. As it burned, the sticks I fed into the fire disappeared nearly as fast as I threw
them in. They were past the point of being dry. Some were like
foam. They were gone in no time.
About ⅓ of the way done, my Pipestone guy drove up to the place.
We looked at a few of the small goats before going out to the large
outdoor pen. I pointed out the large of the animals and handed him
one of our large LaMancha buckling. It was Grasshopper. This
goat was as tame as he was big, immediately nuzzling with this bearded
goat lover. It wasn't long before I heard, "I'll take this one."
We talked a few minutes more and found we had several things in common
and upon leaving, I gave him a bar of our homemade lye soap to try at
home. Then it was back to the fire for me.
I worked on my little clean-up project for the next few hours.
As I did so, Carol and the kids planted potatoes in one of the gardens
near the vineyard. I think they mentioned they got all of the red
tators in and one row of some sort of a white spud. The whites were
left over from last year. The potatoes may not be all in, but it's
a heck of a start.
April 24, 2009
- Eating wild... in the city.
I'm not sure if many of you caught this news article on your MSNBC
home page, but in summary, the article is about finding and eating
or wild food (fish, squirrel, fruit, bamboo shoots, mushrooms,
leafy greens, etc...) in the urban areas of the US. Check it
. It also gives a little advice about being careful of what
you choose to eat - consuming the wrong thing and you may get sick.
April 23, 2009
- It was hot, hot, hot.
What a nice day to work on farm equipment. For the most
part, the farm's disk repair is finished. I ran for part after my
dental check-up. I found some disk blades half price at Steffen
Implement, in Raymond, MN. They had about 6- 18" blades and 4- 20"
blades - I bought the bigger blades for $15/blade. I also had to
run to Arnold's of Willmar for a bearing set And 2 additional blades...
the bill came to $130. Once home, I head straight to the disk.
By chores time, I had the beast done and ready for field work, once
Farmer Mike returns home. This year, we agreed to help each other
with field work... like an informal partnership. Well not really...
it's just one farmer helping another to get things done. This was
the hottest day of the year, topping out at 90ºF... yeah! It was
Carol gave another farm tour... it was a gal from Benson, MN, looking for
a 4-H meat doe for her son. She put some money down and said she
would return sometime soon. I guess she is interested in a bunny or
two for 4-H as well.
April 22, 2009
- Sheep shearing.
I starting working on the disk today. Farmer Mike has some
disking he needs done and is so busy that he has little time to fix his
disk, so I thought I would fix ours and do some field work for him in
exchange for him doing some planting on this farm. Last year he did
some planting for us exchange for me helping him put in pasture and
paddocks at his place. It worked well and it was fun working with
Mike. He's got a good attitude and I always seem to learn something
new when with him.
After working for a time on the disk, we had our sheep shearer stop-in
to give a hair-cut to some of our shaggy sheep. Our sheep
shearer made quick work of the task. Our 2 ewes still looked huge
... even w/o wool. The shearer though the ewes would be birthing in
the next week or so - Carol can barely wait for lambs.
Moments later, one of the neighbors (Farmer Mike's little bro)
drove up with his son and daughter. The little boy came to pick-out
a bunny. It didn't take long for him to choose a pet rabbit of his
liking. Madison then gave the kids a short tour while us adults
discussed a little of this and that.
It's always nice to have visitors here on the farm. For us, it
may be one of the best thing about living out here.
April 20, 2009
- Another farm tours.
Not much happened today. Our neighbor's wife showed-up - she's a
census taker and had to get some basic info so we could get our 2010
census form (whenever is gets sent out or hand delivered).
While I was busy with this official government business, Carol was
conducting another farm tour... ending in a bunny sale.
I had an appointment in Raymond. Some folks from the Montevideo,
MN area were in the market for house lots and wanted to look at some of ours.
Shortly after arriving back home, I got a call from one of the local
house moving companies. They had a house on blocks that they wanted
to move and asked if I would be interested in it. It was the same
house Carol and I looked at last week. We ruled it out after
looking at it, due to the price AND the numerous minor repairs it needed.
I came up with a figure of approx. $55,000+ to get it livable (including
the basement)... money we ain't got.
Well, the call went in a direction I didn't expect. The gentleman
on the other end of the line mentioned he may be interested in trading
one or two of our 4 building lots for the house and moving. OK...
I'm interested. He told me to talk it over with Carol and he would talk it over with his brother (and partner). If I
was still interested, I am suppose to call him back in a few days.
I'm excited about the prospect... Carol an the other hand, liked the
character of the old farm house we looked at with Austin, a few days ago.
April 19, 2009
- 3 farm tours.
We were busy with guests today. The morning brought a solo
visitor, looking for Lion Head rabbits. We have Loin Heads, but the
only ones for sale won't be available for a few weeks. They were
born recently, so Carol mentioned to this fellow that if he can't find
any of these bunnies... stop back in a 3 weeks. By then, they
should be ready for new homes. Incase you don't know what a Lion
Head bunny looks like, imagine a small rabbit with a mane, just like a
lion. They are quite unique.
Our next guests were a family here to buy some laying hens. This
was something Carol set-up. Originally, they wanted to buy 10 hens,
but then cut-back their numbers to 6. They wanted younger laying
hens that would produce for awhile. The eggs where for their family
use. Carol believes they were trying to establish a hobby family.
I think Carol mentioned they took some brown egg-layers as well as a few
green and brown. Their only requirement was "No Bantams."
They should be very happy with what they purchased from our farm.
We love to see folks taking-on the responsibility of food production.
People need to know what they are eating and feel good about it.
While Carol was busy with the chicken sales, I had 2 couples stop-in
from the Canby, MN area. They were interested in the farm's
Purebred LaMancha bucklings. They also wanted to learn more about
the meat goat market. They asked some great questions and I
answered the best I could. The goats they have, they bought last
Oct.-Nov. so they're newbies... but by the sound of it, they ad a great
start. One couple had half the herd, the other couple the other
half - plus a few milking dairy does. I gave them some of the info
Carol and I had learned in the last couple of years, as well. I
also gave them a lead on how/where to sell their goat kids and what to
expect to get for meat prices. They seemed eager to hear what they
were being told. It was fun to meet and to get to know them.
I hope to hear from them again.
For some reason, Madison approached me, wanting to clean the upstairs
of the garage. What a project. It is dirty and junky with
years and years of dust and debris. Madison and I found 2 stacks of
plastic plates, which, if I had to guess, are from the State Hospital,
that once was in operation in Willmar, MN. I'm sure they will find
themselves in the house. Anyway... we bagged-up 3 bags of
trash, with at least 3 more to go. Luckily, I had to leave the task
of cleaning for helping the neighbors with evening chores. I think
Madison was a little disappointed I had to go.
Yeah... it was a long day.
April 18, 2009
- Rock picking 101.
Rain was in the forecast and I had 1 acre of pasture to seed. It
was a pasture mix, consisting of 5 bags of different seed varieties.
All I had to broadcast the seed was a small plastic hand seeder. I
must have walked up and down the field 25 times, before running out of
seed. Hopefully, the pasture will sprout and grow in a uniform
manner. When I was growing up, I remember when my grandfather planted
seed he pulled a drag over it, to cover the seed with soil. I
do have a drag, but this new pasture ground seemed a little light.
I decided to use an old cast-iron packer/roller to push the seed into the
dirt. Since the packer/roller is so heavy, it also flattens the
ground, smashing any dirt chunks and ridges smooth. I hope I made
the correct choice. I'm sure as I was packing the soil, I must have
appeared to be a 'throw-back' from the 1950's. I was out there,
wheeling around on an old Farmall H, pulling a VERY old field packer.
I wish I would have taken a photo of the set-up to show that one doesn't
need shiny, new equipment. I must admit, there is a certain pride
working with some of this old machinery - most of which, was used by my
grandfather, when it was new.
As I was bringing the tractor back up the the place, I noticed Carol
talking with a guest. It was a gentleman and his daughter. He
had been a fan of our website and wanted to check out what we were doing
out here. He and Carol talked poultry for most of the visit.
He seemed most interested in our Bourbon Red heritage turkeys,
specifically, a tom for his farm. He was here for quite some time,
but mentioned he was interested in buying a tom... we are not to butcher
them... he would be back. It sounds like the only reason he didn't
buy one and take it with him was that he had his dad's newer Caddy.
I guess I can see why he didn't want the turkey in the car.
The weather was cool in the afternoon... good working weather, I
thought. And with this farm always coughing up rocks, Madison and I
set-out to do a little rock-picking. Again, the H found a place in
the fields. With a rock boat in tow, we started picking at 3:30pm
and ended at 6:00pm. This was Madison's first experience with such
a joyous task. The first 1½-2 hrs, Madison had plenty of energy and
did a great job... the last ½ hr, she was dragging butt. I wonder if she
will be as enthusiastic next time. Nonetheless, I was happy to have
the help and when it was all said and done, I figure we completed ⅓ the
acreage cleared. When I say "cleared" I mean we picked most of
the rock that was the size of my fist, or larger.
April 17, 2009
- That 70's show.
WOW! What a warm day we had today. The highs reached the
mid 70's. Let me be the first Minnesotan out there to complain
about it. LOL It was almost too warm... dare I say,
unseasonably so. Hey, who are we fooling here? It was
down-right uncomfortable. NOTE: For you non-Minnesotans out
there - we love to complain about the weather - we want it warm when it's
cool, and cool when it's warm. If it's a dry day, it needs to rain.
Need I go on? Nah, you get the point.
One of the things on my list for today was to fix/replace the fence
post that the cattle broke off, last December. The cattle by
themselves are lacks-a-daisy, but when chase by a llama they are a force
to be reckoned with. Since most of the frost is gone, this was a
project that had been on my mind for quite some time. I was able to
dig about 3½ ft before hitting ice crystals - good enough. With the
post installed, I moved the barbed wire and the 'hot' wire to their new
home. It looked good. I installed the new post about about
18" from the gate post, leaving me a passage-way, too small for cattle to
get through, but just right for a human. With this, we don't need
to open the gate every time we want to get into the pen.
Yesterday, I ran the 8' digger through the garden, to help break up
the soil after it's winter slumber. Today, I attached the 6' horse
drawn disc behind the little Allis-Chalmers C and ran that across the
garden. After going over it once, it looked ready for planting.
Carol mentioned that she wanted to start planting some of the cool
weather vegetables - it's ready for her. Before bring the digger
back to my grandparent's farm, I dug the garden by the house, here as well
as dug my sister's garden at the other place.
As you know, I have been readying the corn planter for the season.
Today, I put on the hydraulic cylinder. When I gave the implement a
test lift, oil sprayed all over the place - I blew a hose. I guess
I wasn't too surprise, but, man, what a mess. I replaced the hose
and all was good. The 2nd test lift did not have a hose rupture
associated with it. Officially, I think I'm ready to plant corn...
minus the seed. That should be here soon.
I noticed, when I was walking up from the barn, that the tire on the
'H' was flat. That sucks. I don't know what a tractor tire
costs, but I'm thinking I don't have the extra $$$ to find out. I
tried pumping the tire with air just to find out it was leaving just as
fast Always looking for a way to get by on a dime, I
scouted the junk tractors out back for tires. I was looking for a
12.4-38 and that's what I found. It still had air in it.
Saw----weet! I did a little switch-a-roo and now the 'H' has a new
old tire that holds air.
Tomorrow, I want to get the tilled acre of pasture seeded. It it
isn't too windy, I'll get that task done. And with the 'H' back in
working order, I'll use it to pull the packer over the field. I
want to get this done before we get rain.
April 16, 2009
- 1st in the fields... again.
I set out to prepare some ground for pasture seeding. It was
only an acre or so, so I thought I would take the farm's little Farmall H
out with the packer to flatten last year's weeds. After doing so,
it didn't look much different. I then got the bigger tractor with
the disc and tilled the soil. It did a great job cutting the weeds
into small pieces and turning the soil black. It looks as though I
was the first one out in the field this year. Unlike last year, the
ground was dry enough to be worked this year. I nowhere came close
to getting stuck. The next step is to broadcast the pasture mix
then drag it... then hope for more warm weather and rain.
Shortly after noon, Carol, Austin and I went to look at a neighbors
house than may be available for moving. Carol and Austin were
encouraged by the house, I had my reservations. For the age, the
house isn't in too bad of shape, but it does have some major faults.
There is some water damage in some of the rooms (upstairs and down),
the sill plates on the newer part of the house is rotted, as is the north
side of the house. There are dozens of minor things, but they can
be over looked fairly easily... like in some of the rooms, the only
outlets are located in the light fixture. The floors on the main
level are a little warped... I think that adds to the charm. As I
mentioned in an earlier blog, the size of the house is the best feature.
It is also one of it's worst. Carol and I will have to discuss the
pros & cons of the house. We also need to speak with the neighbor
who owns the property to hear more about his plans for the house.
April 15, 2009
- Getting ready to start farming.
Not too much happened, but I did do some real-life farming stuff.
I contacted Falk Seeds to order my seed corn, wheat & oats. It was
kind of exciting... this being my first year farming. Farmer Mike
had come over earlier to help identify the the planter plates that came
with the used planter. Mike looked at the plates, read the planter
manual and the hand written notes. In just a few minutes, Mike had
things figured out. With that information, I emailed the plate
numbers to Jim Falk. With Mike's recommendation, we are shooting
for 26k-27k seeds/acre of corn. The planter should be able to be
set-up to do that.
I then adjusted the planter spacing. It was presently set for
38" rows, but I need 36" spacing, in order to match Mike's combine and/or corn
April 14, 2009
- 4-H: Not just for kids.
We had a beautiful day here in west-central Minnesota, which meant to
continue to get the farm in order. When you sells products off of
the farm you talk to quite a few people... one gal who was looking for
pigs for her 4-H'er mentioned that where she was (MN/SD boarder) they we
in the fields - not just digging, but actually planting. Hearing
this, prompted me to go out and check-out the farm's finishing digger.
For the most part, it's ready to go. I need to grease it and pump
up some of the tires and it it'll be ready for the tractor. It is
spring here... finally!
It was 4-H night and aside from the kids getting together, it's a
great place for parents to networks as well. When I showed-up, I
had a mission. I needed to talk with the guys. I want to buy
cheap runt/small pigs. Carol and I have always had the mind-set
that if we can buy something cheap, we will sell it cheap. Our
thoughts also include the philosophy of, "If it will work for us, it
should work for others." Last year we raised a "runt" pig for our
family. It was a runt when it came to us, but it sure wasn't a runt
when it left... unless 300+lbs pastured hog is still considered a runt.
Anyway, we wanted to make this same type of animal available to other
area homesteaders. And since we have some folks who raise hogs that
have kids in 4-H, I wanted to make some deals. I think I did that.
Hopefully, in the next day or two, I'll get 3 pigs from Bill and a couple
of dozen from Eggman. I told them what price range I was looking
for and Eggman said, "How many do you want?" OK... I'm assuming he
has more than I can get rid of.
I also talked with Farmer Mike's brother about a house he has. I
asked if he had any plans for the old farm house that's sitting on a
vacant farm site that he owns. His responded by asking when we were
going to move it out. I was a little shocked, but without too much
fumbling over my words, I voiced a few of my concerns and why the house
had a less than ideal layout, but better than what we now have. With a
handicapped adult child, living at home, an old farm house isn't really
planned for anything other than practical function. The plus (and
negative) of the house is it's size. It's big.
The plus is that we may be able to set-up a room downstairs for our
special needs child. The negative is that this structure is going
to be a bear to heat it... and the bigger the house, the bigger the cost
for putting a foundation/basement under it. We need to look at the
house some more - we haven't even seen if it's structurally sound or not.
I guess a workable floor plan for Chastiti was the priority... perhaps
it's time to take the next step in the process. Mike's brother was
going to get back to us in the next couple of weeks. If anyone out
there is wondering what shape the house is in... rest assure - the
interior is not in livable condition right now. I think Mike's
brother implied that the farm site that house is sitting on would be
worth more if the house wasn't there.
The bottom line is this. The farm doesn't make much money - it's
too small. And if we ball-park the numbers (with the house
costing little or nothing), having a house this year may still be out
of our reach. This is how we broke the costs down - $10k for the
movers, $12k-15k for the foundation, $2k-3k for a furnace, $1k for the
power line guys and $20k-25k for repairs. That comes to
$45,000-54,000. I know, I know... those of you on the west cost are
viewing anything under $400k as cheap fixer-upper. But that's not
the case here.
April 13, 2009
- Our hogs are gone.
I did a little more cleaning around the place today. While
moving snow over the winter, some of the driveway gravel got dug-up and
deposited elsewhere. Until this day, I was kind of hoping the
gravel would walk its way back from which it came. I gave up hope
and did it myself. I think there must have been about 500 lbs of
stones. It was a relief to have it off of the yard.
Since it was so warm out, I decided to remove the rear drive shaft
from the farm pick-up. The U-joint was thrashed... no big deal.
I'll just get a new one and the truck will be fine. While under the
truck I checked the rear-end over. Oh crap! We have a major
problem. I gave Carol's brother a call and asked how much it would
cost to fix the axle bearing. He thought the parts would run about
$100. OK. That's doable. I told him I would bring the
truck to his house tomorrow. I'm hoping to have it back by this
The last of the pigs that we got on the 10th are sold. We sold
them for $20 each, with no guarantees. The guy said he didn't care
- for $40 he'd take the chance. We also sold a bag of feed to go
with them. Shortly after the pigs left the farm, I got another
call. The gal I talked to said that 40# runts in her area were
selling for $40 and the regular feeder pigs we selling for $60-70.
She wanted to be notified if/when we get more pigs in.
As some of you know, the farm was featured on
KSAX TV. Here are
a couple of screen shots of the webcast.
we like this one, with Madison's title
of "Future Veterinarian."
We think Kaylin Karsin of KSAX did a great job on the feature.
We want to thank her for doing such wonderful work.
I think this is worth mentioning. Carol & Madison hatched their
first Coturnix Quail chick. I was outside when Madison came out to
tell me the good news. She was beaming from ear to ear... it was a
very proud moment. Let's hope we see a few more emerge from their
shells, before the week is over with.
April 12, 2009
- Weird animals.
This morning, Carol came into the house after chores, saying Lamb Chop,
our little lamb, was nursing from Annie, our dairy goat. Ummm, OK.
Maybe, we can get a photo of the lamb nursing on the goat. Tonight,
I was able to snap a pic. Enjoy.
Lamb Chop is nursing on his adopted
These two act like mama and son. When Lamb Chop gets too far from
Annie, Annie has a fit. Once the lamb is back in her sight, the world is
once again good.
The new LaMancha goats are doing well and learning to nurse from the
bottle without too much trouble. In fact, we started to advertise
them. They sure are cute and should make for some excellent future
herd bucks. These goats are truly top of the line and should
improve nearly any herd they are put into.
Carol cooked a very nice basic Easter meal - ham, scalloped potatoes,
corn, etc. For desert, she made miniature strawberry cheese cake
thingies. They were so good, I had two of them. Happy Easter
to you all!
Opps! I just about forgot. Carol posted all of the photos
of the bee guy and his assistants setting up the new hives out buy the
farm's duck pond. Check them out
yeah... more news - The duck eggs Carol sold to a hatcher a few weeks ago
finally hatched. We saw the gal's ad online. We're very
excited to be able to provide a quality farm product to another
individual. It will be fun to hear from others who have purchased
eggs from our farm.
April 11, 2009
- KSAX News last night.
We have been getting some positive feedback from friends (see
yesterday's blog comment) and viewers of KSAX alike. We even
had visitors interested in a short farm tour. They were a lovely
family from the Wheaton, MN area. The wife (Carrie) commented on
our site and said she loved the page banner with me sitting on the
toilet. I LIKE THESE PEOPLE! LOL. Her and I both agreed
that folks shouldn't always take things so serious. And that is
what I try to convey though our website try to have a little fun and
never take yourself too seriously.
I answered a few of their questions, but Carol talked with them more than I
could. Madison and I had to get ready for our trip to the Metro to
get some purebred & pedigreed LaMancha bucklings. Before we left,
our farm guests purchased some basic farm animals (chickens, ducks and a
pig). They were also interested in a buckling when we get them in.
Their son is a first year 4-H'er and they wanted to get him involved with
some small livestock. The dad was an old school kind of guy... he
seemed very practical - he said if you're in 4-H you should have an animal.
I agree. The oldest of their boys (the 4-H'er) seemed a bit
overwhelmed with all of the animals running around. The other
little ones in the family just seemed to be having a blast. They
were running, chasing and petting nearly everything they could. Just
before Madison and I left, they bought some feed for their new critters,
I bagged up 50 lbs of feed for them and then we hit the road.
Madison & I arrived at the airport on time, to meet the nice folks who
sold us the 11 LaMancha bucklings. We didn't have much time to
chat, as they had a couple of goat kids coming in on a flight. They
were fun to talk with and like most conservative farm folk, we discussed
a few issues we can never change and condemned those who can, but refuse to
do so. Then back home we headed, with 11 earless goats in the back
of the van. By the time we got back to the farm, the van was a little stinky
and we found that both of our jackets got pee'd on. Oh well.
After I parked the van, we changed clothes and got the goats situated in the barn,
then fed. Today was a long day. Man, I'm tired!
April 10, 2009
- Buy in bulk, & save $$$.
Shortly after lunch. I decided to do a little house cleaning, but not
in the house. It was time to do some work in the Highlander pen,
near where the old hog barn was. Last fall, I started some clean-up
in that area, but didn't get much further than making piles - wood
here... steel and tin there. I thought it was a good beginning...
until all the leaves dropped from the trees. It was then when one could
notice, from the road, that the organized clutter actually looked worse.
Before that, much of the view was obstructed by the honeysuckle foliage.
The first step in the "house cleaning" was to do what I could with the
chainsaw. I thought I would be able to do all the cutting I needed
to do with just one fill of the tank. After I ran the chainsaw out
of fuel, I realized that I may have figured incorrectly.
Nonetheless, I set the saw down and threw all the freshly cut logs into
the trailer that I had ready for the task. I filled the trailer!
I had just piled all the wood into the trailer when my phone rang.
We got a call from 'The Egg Man' as Carol refers to him.
He wanted to let us know that our chicken/swine feed was ready.
Yesterday, when we were at his place to sell him eggs, we asked him to
grind us some feed the next time he grinds some for his chickens.
Today, it was done and waiting for us. It doesn't look like the
wood will stay in the trailer for long. We need it to get the feed.
When Madison & I arrived at his place, Egg Man said he wasn't able to get a ton
to fit into a poly-tank, that he put the feed into. I told him that that was OK as I only wanted a
1,000 lbs. LOL. No biggy. He loaded the feed on the
trailer with a skid-loader and I paid for it. By buying it bulk from a fellow farmer,
I saved the farm nearly $100. To make a good deal even better, he
sent us home with 3
pigs. Egg Man tried to convince us to get more, but at this time of
the year we
don't have a whole lot of room... that, and we like to pasture the hogs
on this farm.
Until we have grass growing, that deed gets a little difficult to do. Last
year we pastured a Hampshire gilt. She did VERY well. Even in the
winter months she liked her hay - not corn only. These new pigs are
Yorkshires. We hope they do as well as our Ham did. I wonder
if Egg Man gave us the pigs so we would use more feed... so he could sell
us more. Hmmmm! lol. They say there is no such thing as
a free/cheap puppy - I wonder if that holds true for pigs as well.
Madison & I arrived home to find Carol taking with someone. I
thought it might be a rabbit customer. Madison thought it to be an
hatching egg buyer. She was right. It was a gentleman from
the Olivia, MN, here to buy viable turkey eggs. It's egg-citing to
see so many people trying to hatch their own eggs.
Shortly after the egg buyer left the place, we set-off to run some
farm related errands. Our first stop was the local farm store to
sell them more rabbits. The store called while Madison and I were
at the Egg Man's place, asking Carol to bring in all the bunnies she had
ready. It seems many, MANY people are asking for rabbits, The
farm store sells pet rabbits nearly as fast as growers bring them in.
Our 2nd stop was the nearby town of Kandiyohi, where we arranged a
Humane Society farm animal pick-up. One of the board members had a
duck name Aflac & a rooster named Red waiting for us. With these
two, came some feed, a feed pan, an antique wooded small animal transport
and a small bag of oyster shells for egg layers - all unneeded extras
from the local Humane Society.
Red and Aflac - our newest Humane
Society rescue farm animals
The last bird we retrieved from this particular board member was a hen
who seemed to think she was a goat. The newest birds - Red and
Aflac are just as peculiar. When I let them go in our barn... Aflac
followed Red. Then one of the farm's drakes headed towards Aflac.
All of a sudden, Red spied what was going on and intercepted the drake's
advances and stood between the new duck and the old duck. Then,
after the incident resolved itself, Red walked off, through the open barn
door... with Alfac following him. It was one of the oddest things I have seen on the farm.
Time for chores... then good night.
April 09, 2009
- More Highlander folks.
Carol and I went over to a neighbor's to sell them some of our extra
eggs... we had 12 doz. in all. When we arrived, he and some other
folks we processing horseradish. WOW! Was that an intense
aroma. If you got too close to the grinder, your eyes and nose would begin to
burn. One of the guys (Martin) helping, lived just a few
miles east of us. They had processed about 10 quarts of
horseradish. In addition to eating this stuff, and using it for a
pork rub, Martin raises 30 or so Scottish Highlander cattle and
has been doing so for years. We had a short chat, then said he
would stop over to look at our cattle on his way home. Cool!
While watching the horseradish processing, we asked our neighbor if he would be interested in
grinding us some bulk chicken feed. They raise chickens for egg
production so I we knew he would know what kind of feed we needed. He
said he required more feed anyway and said he could easily grind an extra ½
ton. He would unload the feed in a used 275 gal. poly tank for me.
He would give me the tank, but if I wanted another, I would have to buy
it. Well... that sounds fair enough. He then told Carol and I
that if we wanted some of his pigs that we talked about, we could pick
them up at the same time we pick up the feed.
Martin eventually stopped by the farm to look at the cattle, more
specifically, our bull Sampson. In a nut shell, he told us that the
bull was a little young to be breeding and that was the reason we didn't
have calves on the ground this spring. He did say that we better be
prepared for calves next spring though, as the bull will be coming of age
this fall. The thing is... we were hoping for a few bull calves
this spring, since we have a waiting-list of folks who want to buy our
farm's grass-fed Scottish Highlander beef.
Martin also had lots of information about producing the type of beef
we wanted. He said that the meat from the Highland bulls is a lot
like buffalo meat... it's super lean and makes for the bead ground beef
you've ever tasted, but does not make for good meat for the grill.
There isn't enough fat. For the grill, he said a person needs to
raise a steer. One that is castrated at a very young age. The
steers produce enough fat for cooking on the grill. Martin also
said that when raising Highlanders, you need to be very careful when
feeding them grain. Most folks find that the steers produce too
much fat when fed grain... so don't give them much if we have customers
who desire the cattle to be finished that way. Do it just before
butchering - not for weight gain.
April 08, 2009
- Look Mom, we're on TV.
We all woke up early, hoping to get a little more cleaning done,
before Kaylin Karsin arrived to do her news story. We were
expecting her to show-up sometime around 11:00AM. After a phone
call from her, saying she may be lost, we got her back on track.
The KSAX vehicle arrived onto the property at noon.
Carol & Madison took Kaylin on a short farm tour so that she may get a
feel for what the farm has to offers her news piece. In no time at
all, Miss Karsin had her camera set-up and Carol in a spot for the
interview. She asked some general questions about farm sales and
the holiday season, but was able to keep things light and relaxed for
Carol. The subject of her piece was live animals as Easter
presents. I think Carol did quite good and Kaylin made it very
casual & comfortable.
Carol talking about Lucky being our
first rescue animal. We found her alongside the road during a snow
She then took some video of various animals, including rabbits,
chickens, chicks, turkeys... lots of the babies. She then asked
about rabbit care, since rabbits are the most popular live Easter gift.
She also shot video of Madison feeding our new little lamb. She fell in love
with our ducks, the sheep & llama. It turns out Kaylin had ducks
when she was growing up.
Madison feeding Lamb Chop. our
Kaylin Karsin talking with Madison
I think Kaylin wanted to interview
George, but he's too much of a diva-dude to do an exclusive
other than Ryan Seacrest... sorry Kaylin.
Madison & Carol doing a little camera
work for Kaylin while she held Bugsy the Mini-rex bunny.
Look at Kaylin's feet. She's wearing bedroom slippers. It was
fun having her here.
Kaylin Karsin was very nice and seemed to thoroughly enjoy her time on
the farm, interacting with us and meeting our critters. She told us
today's news story should air Friday, April 10 at 5PM & 10PM.
Unfortunately for us, we don't get that channel. We're hoping
she'll email us a copy of the edited segment.
April 07, 2009
- Eyewitness news.
This morning, started our day with a little excitement. We
received an email from
Kaylin Karsin, of KSAX - ABC Eyewitness News.
She was interested in doing a story about the giving of live animals (chicks,
bunnies & goats) as Easter presents. She asked us if we would
be interested in being interviewed. Without too much thought, I
emailed her back, saying
yes. Then reality set in. "OH CRAP!" What did we just
agree to? The farm is a mess - it's spring and it's muddy.
After calling Farmer Mike and nearly begging him to tell me that
everything would turn out OK. I then tried contacting Neighbor Nick, who once lived here.
I called his mom to ask if Nick was still in the area. She said he
was and that he would give me a call when she saw him later in the day.
About 2 hours later, Nick drove up with his work clothes on. He was
here to help us straighten the place up, for the KSAX interview. We
burned a bunch of brush, I cleaned a couple barn pens, then Nick and I
removed 2 large stumps from the goat pen. Carol, Madison, Nick and
I continued to clean the best we could, until about 7:00PM.
At 7:30, Carol & I went over to Farmer Mike's house to help celebrate
his wife Karen's birthday. It was a surprise get-together to
celebrate her _0th birthday. There were about 4-5 other couples
there and the food was excellent. Other than being super people,
this group of friends is known for fantastic comfort food. Out
here, we're very much a meat-n-potatoes type of people. For some of
you city dwellers, this may sound a little boring, but than again, you
haven't tried the food we get to eat when we all get together... it is far from boring.
After being at the party for about an hour or so, I got a phone call
from our son Austin. He called to let me know that the Sheriff's
Deputy stop to investigate the brush fire. It turned out to be
nothing... so that was a relief. Then, a half hour later, he called again. Madison was
in the house crying. Our little piglet, Zoey, was dead.
Madison heard Zoey squealing but before she could get into the
pig-pen, the piglet was dead. She got stepped on by one of her
parents. It was very
sad. Zoey was the first piglet of the farm, since we started
farming. She was kind of special to all of us.
Well, with these 2 phone calls, it was time to go home. Before
leaving the party, I talked with a fellow party-go'er who raises bees.
He said he would stop by tomorrow to scout-out the farm to see if it
would be well suited for his bees. My dad had bees on the farm for many
years. Honey is something we always had plenty of. It will be
exciting to have bees on the place once again. Carol is probably more excited
than I am about the prospect. She was actually contemplating getting some bees of her own, but
then thought better of it, thinking it would be too much work for a novice.
When we arrive back home, the small brush fire was still burning and
Nick was still working. I quick changed clothes and helped for a
while. It was just too dark to continue on... perhaps it was time
for a couple of cool ones. It was then that he caught me up to
speed to what happened with the sheriff's visit and what he got
tidied-up, while we were at Mike & Karen's.
April 06, 2009
- More goats.
Today, we added to our dairy 4 more does. The 2 milking does we
have, are all but dry. Together they produce approx. 8 cups/day.
These new does are said to be bred for June freshening, but with all
things in nature, there are no guarantees.
To get these new girls, we traveled to the New Ulm, MN area. It
was quite a drive but well worth it. We learned how yet another
homesteading family does things and how they set up their small farm.
It seemed well set-up. As we drove onto the place, Michelle came
out to meet us. Without haste, we were brought to the animals... to
give them a good once over. Carol was please with the animals she
picked out to buy, but we were impressed with all the animals on the
farm. They were well fed and quite friendly. As Carol talked
with Michelle, I spoke with her husband. We discussed his approach
to hay harvest compare to mine. It turns out, his endeavor turned
into a small sideline business... I was impressed... but won't go into
any detail... I don't want to ruin his good thing.
Towards evening, we went to Farmer Mike's to get some milk and to drop
off some eggs. Carol headed to the house to chit-chat with Karen...
I think she wanted Karen's delicious Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. I
did not feel the need to discuss cooking techniques, so I talked with
Mike. I wanted to get his opinion on my opening of our spring
pasture. Much to my delight, he thought it was a great idea,
especially for the type of cattle we have on the farm. Being a new
farmer, I often wonder if I some of the things I do is correct or
if it only seems correct, but is actually counterproductive or even
April 05, 2009
- April snow showers bring what in May?
We woke up to snow this morning, not much... maybe an inch.
Thankfully, it reached the above freezing mark on the thermometer. By
late afternoon, the snow was gone.
Later, we had 2 first-time farm visitors. The first family
wanted to buy a 4-H, show quality Mini Lop bunny. Unfortunately, we
are sold out of that breed of rabbit. Carol let them know that
another litter is on the way. These folks also expressed some
interest in our pot-bellied pigs... we'll see.
Another visitor, who stopped by around dusk, remembers this place as it looked 25 years ago.
He said after all these years he was going to stop by and see what was
going on. He said when he pulled into the driveway, he noticed
things were not as her remembered... all the junk was gone and there
weren't any old cars sitting around. He mentioned how different it
looked, then mentioned how disappointed he was. He wanted to
purchase an old car, but there were none to buy. It was a little
chilly outside and he wanted to learn more about what we are trying to do
here... but not today. I told him to stop in when the weather was
warmer. He said he would. We shuck hands and agreed to talk
April 04, 2009
- Not much happening.
As far as the cattle are concerned, they didn't come up to the place
again last night. I'm beginning to think I should have given these
critters a curfew. After lunch, the cattle were still not home.
after feeding our bottle baby goats, Madison and I took off for the
spring pasture to make sure the cattle were still on the property.
We had a nice father-daughter stroll along the creek. I did
sort of play a little prank on Madison. At the opening of a lane, I
pretended to hop over an electric fence where a wire once was.
Madison was walking behind me and when she came to the spot where I went
over the "fence", she stopped and looked. She looked and looked,
then finally told me that she couldn't see the fence. It wasn't
until I started laughing that she knew for sure that there was, in fact,
no fence there.
When we finally got out to the pasture, we saw the cattle - some
of them grazing, while others were laying down, sunning themselves.
Madison & I walked the fence line, chewing on blades grass and throwing stones into
the creek water. It was a nice time.
Carol's turkey egg customer showed up later in the afternoon. He
had ordered 6 hatching eggs, but decide to buy the 8 we had. After paying for the
eggs, he asked if he could order a dozen more. Carol let him know
that there was a waiting list - yep, he understood and was willing to
wait until his name came up to the top of the list.
Speaking of hatching eggs, Madison has been leaving some eggs
uncollected in a duck
nest, hoping our little Mallard would become broody. Well, today
Madison said the duck nipped at her when she reached into the nest to
check the eggs.
We're hoping she will set.
Oh yeah... here's some news for you goat people... more specifically,
you LaMancha lovers. We just got news that we be getting a minimum
of 10 purebred, registerable LaMancha bucklings from one of Wisconsin's
top breeders. The average price set by the breeder for these little
guys was $400-450. The bloodlines of the bucklings are incredible.
If you know us, it's safe to assume we didn't pay that much for them.
We will be making these bucklings available for budget minded folks.
The ages of these kids range from 4 weeks to 4 days. Right now, we would
like to hear from young 4-H families who are interested in raising a
top-quality buckling for possible future breeding stock. I can
guarantee you all that a finer set of bucklings will not come this way for
a long, long time. We will provide photos and fact-sheets as soon as we
have the goats in MN. Also, we have an overwhelming need for doelings. If you have non-registered or crossbred dairy
doelings to sell and are in need of a top-rated LaMancha buckling - we
April 03, 2009
- Where are the Highlanders?
The cattle didn't come home last night and they weren't in the cow
yard this morning either. Was I worried? Nope. I
figured that if I didn't get a call from a neighbor, we were in good
shape. But just incase, after chores, I decide to hike to the spring pasture, which
I also call the brown pasture. As I was nearing the end of the lane, I
could see our fold heading my way. Two-four-six head... hmmmm.
I wonder where seven & eight are. After waiting a few minutes I
could see Sampson and LaVerne making their way towards the lane.
A short time later, after getting a little water, they all headed back
to the spring pasture. I went out to check on them. I found
them sunning themselves in the old gravel pit.
The photo below shows 6 head, shortly after leaving the gravel pit...
the other 2 (Caitlin & LaVerne) were still resting and chewing
their cud in the pit.
this photo shows 6 of our 8 cattle
coming out of the new spring/brown pasture
April 02, 2009
- The cattle are out
With all of the snow gone, and the cattle finishing another round bale
of hay, I thought it might be nice to for the cattle to get out of the
cow yard, for a change. So, after breakfast, I opened up the lane
and turned them loose... a few hours later, I found them still standing
by the round bale feeder. So I grabbed a square of hay to help coax
them down the lane.
The cattle followed, with LaVerne leading the fold. Half way
down the lane, she stopped - meaning they all stopped. I circled
around them to help push them down the lane. As I did, Duncan, our
Corgi thought he'd help me. He helped for the first minute, then
got so excited he started chasing the cattle... and then chased them
right through the lane fencing. Some of the cows must have gotten
their feet tangled in the fencing. Every half second or so, I could
see them twitch/jump. In fact, Caitlin, our mini-Highlander
couldn't figure it out right away. She just let out a loud 'moo'
every half second. Before I could run up to the barn to unplug the
fencer, they figured it out and were back in the lane. Most folks
who have Highlanders will tell you they are one of the more intelligent
of the cattle breeds. If that is true, heaven help the rest of the
breeds. Because the Highlanders didn't seem overly smart today.
Before Duncan could chase the cattle through the fence again, I heard
a loud 'yipe, yipe, yipe" from him. He touched the electric fence.
That was the last I saw of him for hours. I finally got the cattle
to the brown spring pasture. Here's where the intelligence of the
Scottish Highlander breed shows through. Once in the tall grass,
the walked the perimeter of the fenced area. They always seem to
walk counter-clockwise... not sure why, but that's what they do.
Once they scouted out where the fence was, they settled. The
heifers were jumping and running as the older cattle just grazed.
That's the last I seen of them. At chores time this evening, they
were still out. I didn't get a call fro the neighbors, so I'm
assuming they're still on the farm.
A little goat news. We have been exchanging emails with some
goat breeder from Wisconsin and we think we have worked out a deal with
one of the farms. It looks like we will be acquiring their excess
buckling stock... more precisely, their March babies. These
bucklings are purebred LaManchas from a prize winning herd and can be
registered. Once we have them settled-in and eating well, the will
be offered for sale. If you are interested in learning more, we
urge you to contact us ASAP. We have seen their pedigrees and they
are VERY impressive, with Nat'l show winners in their lineage. We
would prefer these buckling to go to 4-H'ers who are interested in having
above average LaMancha bloodlines, for an extremely affordable price.
These bucklings retail, in the show/breeder's market, for $400-450 each.
Once the 10-12 bucklings are in our possession, we will release more
detailed information. You WILL be impressed.
Carol sold more hatching eggs today. The folks who bought eggs a
few weeks ago were back. I think they got turkey, duck and chicken
hatching eggs - approx. 4 dozen eggs in all. Carol will now be
filling egg orders for others on her waiting list. She's hoping our
birds will lay as much or more as usual, so she can start saving eggs for
us to hatch here. She's been selling so many hatching eggs, we've
been going without. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll
have enough turkey and duck eggs to put in the incubator. In the
incubator now is a few duck eggs, mostly chicken eggs and a few Japanese
Quail eggs. We're excited to see how well the quail hatch.
Later in the afternoon, Carol had a family come out to learn about
rabbits and rabbit care. They are new to raising rabbits and had
lots of questions. When they get a hutch built, they want to come
back and pick out their rabbits.
April 01, 2009
- April Fool's Day
Hopefully, none of you got pranked too badly.
SALE - Only
** We are now selling processed birds by the pound. **
(as outlined by the Dairy and
Food Inspection Division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture & MN
We sell all our birds skinless and frozen. If you want skin-on,
quartered or cut-up chicken, please let us know ahead of time.
Do we eat what we raise?
You betcha! We will be raising approx. 70 chickens for our family
alone. Why so many? Simple... we like knowing we are eating a
healthy chicken, raised with care in healthy conditions and we love the
way they taste.
contact us if you are interested in chicken or turkey in 2009