Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Silvopasture (Latin, silva forest) is the practice of combining forestry and grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way. Advantages of a properly managed silvopasture operation are enhanced soil protection and increased long-term income due to the simultaneous production of trees and grazing animals.

Years ago we planted most of our fields full of pine trees, long before I acquired sheep and realized that I would need pasture one day.

So by default I have begun to practice silvopasturing - grazing my sheep in the pines.  I  mow lanes to set up the electric netting that I use to contain the sheep - and keep predators out.

I have also begun pruning off the lower branches of the pines with a polesaw.  This permits more sunlight to reach the grass and improves the value of the logs that will eventually come from these trees.

It also provides my sheep with a diverse diet of grass, forbs and leaves.

As well as comfort and shade. This is my ram Gunnar. I often find him lying under a thick spruce with low-hanging limbs, which seem to offer some relief from biting insects.

I put bells on a number of the sheep to better locate them in thick brush.

Interestingly, my sheep to relish pine needles during the winter, when they are on a hay diet.  They won't touch them during the summer however.

Momma and son.  The ewes and their lambs are usually found together.
I was wondering why the sheep had not eaten the leaves off these saplings.

Here is the reason.  If you've ever thrown rocks at one of these as a kid you know what I mean.


Monday, August 7, 2017


First strawberries of the season.

Marja-mummu enjoying her granddaughters.

We've got it made in the shade.

Our lakefront property.

Birthday girl.

Fi's birthday party at the Larsen camp.  The lake was cold, but the sauna was hot.

This little girl came too.

Her father had this same gaze when he was born.

First canoe ride.

I brought my friends with me.

Bringing in eggs from the chicken coop.

Vintage  steel Radio Flyer in the foreground, the modern plastic version in the backround.

Wait!  Come back and play with me!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Turning 63

This looks a lot worse than it was. Scalp wounds bleed.

Twas the eve before my 63rd birthday.  In commemoration of that singular event, I had signed up for a mountain bike race at the tech trails - ostensibly a 12.5 mile event.  So on the night before I took a little spin on my bike on my own singletrack and hit a  tree.  A little too much speed.  As I got up I saw blood dripping on the round and could only see out of one eye.  At first I thought I might have injured my left eye, but when I wiped the blood away I could see fine.  My helmet was cracked in two places, but amazingly my glasses were not even bent, although they were knocked off.  Fortunately my bike was not damaged so I rode home - only a mile.  I stopped at Sam's to get hosed off so I wouldn't shock Marja too much.  Once there I showered and Marja patched me up with some gauze and bandages.  At first I thought I would need stitches, but the gash on my temple wasn't that deep and stopped bleeding when the bandage was applied.  I had a stiff neck and a hard time turning my head to the right.  I wasn't sure if I could still do the race, but when I got up the next morning I put a hot pack on my neck and after a few minutes could turn my head - so I figured, hey I've paid 44 bucks to do this race, I'm gonna do it!
The MTU trails are very hilly and the course involved climbing to the top three times.  I had ridden the course a couple of times earlier so I knew what I was in for.

I started and finished near the back of the pack in around an hour and 37 minutes, but hey I did it!  Not bad for a 63 year old buck.  I think I finished 3rd in my age category.  The guys that are still riding in their sixties are mostly skinny dried up old coots that aren't pushing the load uphill that I am.
Sam finished second in the 25 mile event - in just over two hours.  I can't fathom how anyone could ride that course twice, but I guess it helps to be 50 or 60 pounds lighter and 32 years younger.

Post race.  A bit of red-tinged sweat dripped down my cheek, and several people asked if I had crashed during the race.

Sam racing in to the finish.  The kid has a motor!

Sam's friend Nate came up with his wife Becca once again to do the race.  We enjoyed visiting with them.  Welcome back! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My Father's Burial

It was a beautiful day in June.  Jonathan and Alina had just come back from Finland, so the whole family was present. 

It hit me pretty hard when they lowered the casket into the ground.  It was an emotional time for all of us.

Sprinkling flowers on her great grandfather's grave.

Afterwards it was time to enjoy the sunshine.

Ring around the rosy....

I am truly blessed to have these five beautiful granddaughters.

And doubly blessed to have these five beautiful daughter-in-laws. 

After raising five boys, these little darlings are a treat.

The whole clan together. 

A Rainy Morning

  Whoopee!  Puddles!

Splash splash

I can even see myself!

Cats don't like getting their feet wet.

I can see my tracks.

Rubber boots are a girl's best friend.


Now it's time for some breakfast.  I like to watch Mummu fry eggs.

She can draw nice pictures too!