Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Pond Hockey Season Opener

Sunny days + clear, cold nights = good ice

The bucket serves as the goal.


A future star on our farm club.

By noon the ice had developed a number of crossover cracks.  The pond is only four feet deep, but the prospect of a polar bear dip held little appeal.

Daylight in the Swamp!

This tree blocked a little too much of the sky from our kitchen window.  In the winter time you want all the sunshine you can get during a short day and a low sun.

So, since I had extra hands available, down it went. "Daylight in the swamp" was a term loggers used in the old days when a big tree went down and opened the canopy overhead.

That evening we burned our brushpile....(yes, those are Christmas lights on that big spruce)

...brushpiles, that is.  I told Mik to flash his headlamp at passing cars so nobody would call the fire department.

A little too big for roasting marshmallows.


Somebody had raspberry jam with her breakfast.
We had pretty much the whole gang together ....
Grandpa  cleaned his plate...
Cranberry sauce this time.

While we were putting away chow....

...something really important was happening at the hospital.

Momma happily resting after a job well done!

Our second grandaughter.

First Snow

Hmmm...I wonder if my paws will get cold?
Home on the range
So where is the grass?


Being a grandpa is not hard to get used to...

We planted all these trees as small saplings....

Sampo finally got grandpa's old tractor fired up.  Tractors are a only a very short step from the sandbox.  Every boy wants one.


A touch of frost on the grass.

These four guys were turned into delicious, nutritious, grass-fed steaks and chops a few days later.  And yes, I know that they are cute and that I am heartless.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Despite a late start and wet ground, we got quite a few pumpkins.  Having a frost free, unusually warm September helped.  It was an extra month of summer.

Our quality control officer...

...inspecting the crop.  No pumpkins can be sold without his approval.

The green ones will turn orange within a few weeks also.  We wound up planting a second crop on a higher, dryer section of the garden.  Here the pumpkins ripened, but were small - actually the perfect size for indoor decorating.

Washed and ready for the end-of-driveway pumpkin sales.

The Blood Moon - August 30, 2015

It was a warm, breezy evening, perfect for watching the show.

The earth's shadow encroaching on the moon

I had to keep adjusting my camera as the light diminished.

The blood moon.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sheep Shearing, Take 2

I was all psyched up to shear my sheep the proper way, by standing them on their rumps and shearing them the way the pros do, but after one sheep I was sweaty, tired and my back was sore.  So I put away my pride and illusions and put the rest of the sheep in the head gate and sheared them the way a duffer would.

I learned a few things along the way.  Next time I'm going to put a halter on the sheep and tie them in place with a rope on each side.  It would make shearing the necks much easier.

I still had to plop the sheep on their rumps to shear their bellies and their necks.

Here is the second "blow" up the neck. The first blow is the hardest because you have to plow through a thick tangle of wool.  The big advantage of the traditional shearing method is that each position stretches the sheep's skin so that the shearers ride through smoothly.  Note that here for instance the sheep's head is pulled back so that there is a smooth line from the brisket to the jaw.

I sheared Gunnar last of all.  By this time I was getting the hang of it and minimizing second cuts,  which create strands of wool that are not good for handspinning.

Turns out that Gunnar was my best customer.  He stood still and didn't flinch.  I really had to wrestle with him to get him on his rump, but once there he was docile when I sheared his belly.  I heartily thanking him afterwards.  After all those flighty, jumpy ewes and lambs it was great to have a calm customer.

Marja helped me throughout.  She held the shears while I repositioned the sheep, gathered up the wool, swept sheep berries off the board, and took these pictures.

Uh, oh....who let the cat outta the bag?