Category Archives: farm fence

Holiday Weekend

It was a beautiful holiday weekend here in Wisconsin. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks were moved out to their netted pasture. They are about a month old now. They’re loving the fresh air, sunlight, grass, and insects. Our broody Wyandotte hen hatched out nine adopted babies, so that little family was also put in the electric netting for “safekeeping”.

In addition to moving the chickens around, Jeff and our Farmhand Extraordinaire, Dakota, got us caught up on goat vaccinations and hoof trimming, fencing, yardwork, hay moving, and a billion other tasks. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!

We had a great time at the Altoona fireworks with our friends, Dakota’s family. Dakota’s brother, Tanner, gave us a private fireworks show in his backyard afterwards. This is his stash. It was quite an impressive display!

We watched Tanner’s fireworks from the comfort of our friends’ new screen porch, which is the ultimate in summer comfort. What a great area to relax with friends! These guys are great hosts and it’s always great to spend time with them.

That’s Dakota there in the center of the photograph. We are going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. Jeff says that Tanner will have a job here on the farm as soon as he is old enough. Two finer young men can’t be found!

Knowing of our love for fishing, our friends generously invited us to access the Eau Claire River from their property. Chef Jeff and I had a lovely afternoon there yesterday. Though we didn’t catch anything, we enjoyed being out in the woods and seeing the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, the Chef prepared the catfish he’d caught last week according to a recipe from this beautiful book, which also included recipes for homemade refried black beans and great guacamole. It was an outstanding meal, though we somehow got our hands on a jalapeño that must have been grown near a nuclear reactor because that thing was HOT – and this judgment from people who use habañero sauce on a regular basis!

We are so glad that Otter is acclimating to her new home. The other dogs love her… well, Molly tolerates Otter, but Molly’s coming along (that’s just her way – growl first, make friends later.)

Otter has Lyme disease so she’s on antibiotics for a little while. She doesn’t seem to have had toys or chews before; she’s finally understanding that baked cow ears are a good thing:

When Otter was found she was suffering from heat exhaustion. We are so grateful to our wonderful vet for taking her in for us for treatment and boarding, despite her history being unknown. We intend to go to a town meeting to see how we may be able to change the policies and procedures of our township in order that stray animals may receive temporary housing and care in a more efficient manner; we are not served by the County shelter due to the lack of a financial agreement between them and our township. There has to be a better way, and we shudder to think what could happen if one of our own beloved dogs went missing.

So yes, now we are a five-dog family. I would think we were certifiably nuts, except that the entire vet staff said they hoped we’d keep Otter because they knew we’d be good parents. And Valentine is getting up there in years and has Cushing’s, so, after all, we may be back to a four-dog family in the not-too-distant future anyway.

But if I had my wish, there would be a loving home for every dog… until there is, we will take in whomever the Creator sends us, sharing our blessings.

In crafting news, I am this close to finishing up my Drops blue alpaca lace shawl… just on the final rows. I started a Koigu “mindless” sock for traveling-to-fishing-holes knitting, and I hope to do some sewing this week before Saturday’s MaryJane’s Farmgirls meeting, where everyone will ask me if I’ve made any progress on my current stitching project (not yet, and it’s already been three weeks since our last meeting!)

I’ve seen a cute sewing pattern made up on this blog, and I purchased a copy here. The construction looks super easy, and I think it will be a neat use for some of my Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit or 3 Sisters/Moda girly-girl, flower fabrics.

Have a wonderful day!



Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm fence, farm knit, farm recipes, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, summer, weather

Alive And Kickin’ (And Picture Heavy)

Been a while, huh?

Just like my knitting and spinning… sigh! What have you been up to?

The snow here has melted.

Spring sprang while I wasn’t looking and summer‘s in full bloom already.

Springtime on a farm is amazingly busy and there hasn’t been a moment to update you all, tho’ I’ve taken tons of pictures. Poor Jeff had the duty of cleaning the deep bedding out of the goat barn after the winter season. He had to borrow this manure spreader from the neighbor, and filled it – by hand, by himself – several times before he was through. Ouch!

Remember Eggbertina?

She grew…

And grew some more, and was introduced to the flock…

And now she’s doing just fine on her own with the other chickens – though she does still think she’s a human child, and tends to follow me around as I do chores or walk the dogs.

I think she looks just like her papa:

The sheep and Angora goats went from being wild and wooly:

…to being much more comfortable.

The fiber is at a local processor this time, and I’m expecting it back in just three short weeks, rather than eight or nine months.

And here is an update on little Elfine!

The little buckling’s name of “Periwinkle” didn’t go over well with Cheff Jeff, and now he is known as “Jack”. Probably a good thing.

Jeff successfully completed his certification at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and is now going to give exams to potential hockey referees throughout Wisconsin. That is, after his second knee surgery later this week. Go, Jeff! Not bad for a guy who didn’t start skating until after we were married (fifteen years ago yesterday!)

And the next post has to do with… donkeys!


Filed under farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm fence, farm goats, flowers, weather

Keeping Warm

ETA link to cookbook.

Frieda, Frieda, how do I love thee…

Let me count the ways…

Is it for your polka-dots?

The way you take your medicine so well?

Is it because you look like George Washington

and Worf?

No… I love you best for the .6 ounces of cashmere I combed off of you this week!

Yee-ha! I’m spinning it on my Tabachek Tibetan spindle and it’s gorgeous. Good girl!

Jeff made up a fantastic recipe and I had to share it with you.

Chef Jeff’s Cinnamon Shrimp

1 Tbs ghee
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ of a 3” stick cinnamon (simply split lengthwise)
7 cloves
5 green cardamom pods (crack pod shells gently, but keep intact, for flavor)
3 cloves garlic sliced
1 Tbs ginger chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 bunch scallions cut into 1” pieces
1-2 serrano peppers sliced (we prefer 2 – use 1 if afraid of heat)
salt to taste
¾ lb medium shrimp
¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat the ghee over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom pods to the ghee until the mustard seeds turn gray and begin to “pop.” Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the garlic barely begins to brown. Add the peppers, scallions, turmeric and salt and stir for about 15 seconds. Immediately add the shrimp and sauté until just cooked through. Serve over fragrant rice (recipe below) and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Fragrant Rice

1 c basmati rice
1½ c water
5 green cardamom pods
1 3” stick cinnamon (or use the other half of the split stick from above)
5 cloves
1 Indian bay leaf

Rinse the rice well, add water and soak for 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, turn down to very low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 20 minutes covered. Fluff with a fork and serve.

The above recipes go very well with Bean Poriyal (excellent recipe in Dakshin Vegetarian Cuisine from South India – Chandra Padmanabhan – Periplus, 1992).

Chef Jeff recommends a King Estate 2006 Pinot Gris (Oregon) with this dish.

In fiberarts… I’ve been on hold with Jeff’s sweater. (Argh! No more non-seamless items!!! No more man sweaters!) I had to do a test swatch for my steek because I wanted to see if I could crochet it, rather than machine-sew it.

Nope. Stinky steek. In doing further research, it seems you can only crochet steeks in very sticky, very fine, Fair Isle-patterned garments. Poo.

So I got out my machine, sewed the steeks, promptly had a renewed urge to quilt, and avoided any additional progress on the sweater by shopping for fabric online and perusing blogs of talented quilters. Sigh.

I really must get past this project and on to some fun (read: colorful) knitting. However, I have developed a sad condition known as “trigger finger” whereby the ring finger of my left hand gets stuck in a bent position hundreds of times a day. I have to wear a metal brace on it at night to keep it from getting stuck while I sleep. Very inconvenient for crafting, not to mention blogging. 😦

At the farm… we have had a bit of snow:

One day we found that we were missing some sheep. They were in the road. Jeff called them back in to the paddock and dug a trench to prevent any further escapes (they just stepped over the wire!) Hobby farm mistake number 732: calculate snow and/or bedding build-up in your fence plans… Pippin (seen above, next to Frieda) has been escaping from the goat paddock due to a mound of hay that grew beneath the goats’ feeders. When he sees me come out the front door, he nonchalantly jumps back in to avoid scolding.

The whitetail does, now pregnant, are getting very hungry and venturing closer and closer to the pastures every day:

I can’t blame them – it’s been very, very cold. But we seem to be collecting quite a few!

The donks had their bi-monthly pedicure and did very well. We, however, froze while the farrier was here. Thank goodness he works quickly (and gently… he’s an advocate of the natural hoof care method and does a great job.)

Mr. Boris is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed now that he’s cured of Lyme disease and the other problems he had when we found him.

And I think Molly has finally stopped growing – she’s almost as big as Dobie Emma.

Hope you are well and warm! Please say hi if you’ve stopped in today!


Filed under animals, farm animals, farm donkeys, farm fence, farm goats, farm knit, farm mistakes, fiberarts, food, knit, pets

Going Out In A Blaze Of Glory

Jeff walking Molly back up from the mailbox.

Oak tree.

Chicken brooder house.

Another view of the chicken coop.

Mini donkeys Eli and Jazz.

Our road curving away to the south, by the birch copse.

Hermione and Dexter’s kids, Sitka and Sequoia, now one month old.

Dexter arrived at our farm yesterday, along with Flower’s daughter, Pansy, and we’re glad to have them reunited with their families. They’re all Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats (not pygmy goats, which are a meat breed).

The kids venturing out into the “Big Goats’ Pasture” for the first time.

The Jacob sheep aren’t lambs any longer – one and a half years old now. They’ll probably be bred next year if Jeff can find a six-horned ram.

Jeff playing with Bordeaux (half Boer, half Alpine) and Frodo (mini-Nubian).

Jeff in conversation with one of our Quail Belgian D’Anver (or Antwerp Belgian) chickens.

Jeff has spent the last two months installing fencing around the five-acre sheep and donkey pasture. Thanks for the help, James!

Jeff is scheduled for knee surgery this Wednesday and was just diagnosed with sacroiliitis today. Good thing we went ahead and had that extra yard hydrant installed down by the sheep, because I’ll have water duty for a while. Moral of the story: just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it… especially if you are nearing 40.

The old “long barn” – it used to house pigs and hens on the lower level, which is lovely inside and has lots of light and separate rooms. The pigs used to come out little “dog doors” into a cement yard that has since crumbled.

Sadly, the foundation has gone and the building won’t be around much longer. A friend may “rescue” the top half for his own farm. Right now, it houses my wool stash, my looms, and my goat cart/sleigh. It was built sometime in the 40s.

Maple tree.

Max and AnnieYoda keeping warm. They have become great pals. Bottle-baby Yoda gets along with everyone. She can frequently be found riding on our shoulders like an owl. Speaking of owls…

Screech owl taking up winter residence in a hollow tree near the house.

The first snow of 2007.

AnnieYoda, cozy by the fire.

Current knitting: Malabrigo Pop-Top Mittens and matching scarf designed by Cindi Moist of Yellow Dog Knitting.

I think I’ll be needing these soon.

Sorry about the formatting being all askew; I don’t understand “floats” and I’m going to re-format for my next post (I hope).


Filed under farm animals, farm donkeys, farm fence, farm goats, farm knit, fiberarts, knit, pets