Bedded and Shedded
November 19, 2016, 9:11 pm
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November 19, 2016

After a cold rainy day, the snow is starting to swirl on the wind. The icy pellets stung my cheeks as I did chores tonight. It was nice to be in the warm barns feeding and caring for the animals. The pigs were all nestling down into their straw beds as I shut the doors and turned out the lights. The horses quietly munched on their hay as they stood knee deep in fresh bedding.

The cats were licking their paws and our dog laid in the hay watching me as I finished chores. I swept the aisle and hung up the broom. I sat down next to the dog and petted him on the head. I sat in silence, reflecting upon the last several days.

All of our farm equipment has been cleaned, lubricated and put away. Even the equipment that we will be using in the coming months has been given a space indoors for winter. I managed to store my horse drawn farm tools all together in my shop close to the horse barn. I can easily get out the pieces that I want to use and put them away when done.

The cows and sheep have been moved to their winter pastures. The horses have now started their rotation where they are inside at night and outside during the day. These cold nasty nights, when the winds and snows buffet the buildings , it is very peaceful to watch the animals enjoy the warmth of stall and stable. I listen to them chew, pet the dog and take comfort in knowing they are all bedded and shedded.

Comfort Food
May 15, 2016, 8:20 am
Filed under: May 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,


May 15, 2016

This morning’s temperature is in the lower thirties. I put the summer annual flowers inside last night. The horses spent the cold rainy night in the barn. The sow herd was all snug in deep bedding. The cattle and sheep were tucked into quiet groves of pine trees. I was dressed in flannel and all of us were wondering where the heck spring went?

When the temperature drops, even after a couple of days of almost 80 degrees F, food seems to make us all feel warmer. The animals all get a little bit more grain. I eat a few more potatoes…in any style, but love mashed best! The comfort of warm food and a warm bed on a cold night, has got to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The horses continue to shed their winter coats. I have been working steady helping them rid themselves of it. My clothes smell of horse dander, mud and perhaps a little manure. I laugh because when I am working on them, I just smell the nice smell of “horse”, but when I grab them to dress in the morning all I smell is the manure part coming through! So, I take “clothes” off the horses and change mine daily too!

Our new to us filly “Abby” continues to fit in. She has a ways to go, but we are making great progress. She too gets a daily brushing as we work to shine her up. She loves the attention as I use the time to introduce her to clippers, harness and all things new. She is kept safe as I introduce these things to her slowly, yet steadily. I want her to know, that as long as I am there, she is fine. The “boogyman” won’t hurt her…even if he does sound loud or buzz like a bee.


Abby is cleaning up good. She will match up to my boys very well. She has to finish growing and learn all sorts of stuff, but she is doing well. Last night, in a warm dry stall, dining on a scoop of farm raised speltz and a manger full of hay, she found the same comfort on this farm that I enjoy. The kind that makes you want to be here, more than any other place on Earth.

Living the Good Life
Part of the pig herd enjoying dinner

Part of the pig herd enjoying dinner

November 13, 2015

These hogs have been out on pasture since July 4th. They get supplemented with ear corn, but forage for much of their food. It is no accident that they are in this good condition. I grow red clover and fescue pasture for them. I look after them and nature provides a bounty of nuts and wild apples. I also supplement their feed when needed. The stock is fattened by the eye of the master.

These hogs are, like me, very content. They are not bored. They are not standing in manure or swill. The mud on them is usually because they choose to put it there. They make wallows to cool themselves. They push up leaves and brush to create a warm bed. They snuggle together and slumber. They do root a little, but the damage is usually done to quack grass roots that I want to eradicate anyway!

I think about my livestock often. It is my job to keep them safe and fed. I choose to raise them in a stress free environment. I know that, living with minimal stress is better for all of us. I do many repetitive things. I feed at the same time. I use the same gates. I call the pigs different than the horses. Each specie knows when I am calling them, the rest barely look up. I am resistant to change, much more enjoying the status quo.

In my off farm job, change is constant. On the farm, when an animal leaves, the rest get more room, perhaps a bite more of food. When someone disappears from the workforce, it is unsettling for everyone. The poor person is now looking for work and everyone else gets a bigger share of job duties. They have great names for it like; cost cutting, down sizing, team initiative, lean manufacturing etc….sounds like freezer camp to me…anyway you put it, someone gets axed and the herd goes into disarray. The dynamics change as the next “herd leader” picks out his favorites and beats up the rest 😮

I prefer the order of things. If the axe must fall, it is done humanely. I don’t talk about it for weeks, stir up a rumor mill or threaten the animals with the phrase, “You might be next.”. I do what needs done swiftly. I don’t put on a show and I comfort those left behind. There are many lessons to be learned on a  good farm. I am glad to have learned, listened and watched, but most of all I am glad to have this haven to call home. It truly is what it means to be … Living the good life!

My Wife is a Scraper!
March 29, 2015, 10:34 am
Filed under: March 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Some of Connie's handiwork

Some of Connie’s handiwork

March 29, 2015

My wife is a little sweet thing. It’s hard to believe that she likes to scrap. Okay, she’s not a fighter. She’s a quilter! She made the quilt in the picture all from scraps that she had saved from other quilts she has made. I can say, being frugal sure paid off! It is a work of art.

This winter was so long and cold with ice everywhere, my wife spent much of it in the house. While some would read or work on puzzles in between all the domestic chores like cooking and laundry, Connie makes quilts. I am the benefactor of many of her creations. I understand where the material and thread comes from, what still amazes me is how much love she sews in!

She makes quilts for daughters and sons, grandchildren of all ages and for us to enjoy. She puts thought into every one that she makes. She has the person who will receive the quilt in mind while she sews. She approaches this job with great joy. She loves this craft and it pleases her to make the quilts. Her talent is obvious. She works the cloth with skilled hands and a grateful heart.

Connie also sends quilts to wounded veterans, premature babies and cancer recovery patients. Her heart is big enough that it even includes strangers of all ages. “There are no strangers, just friends we haven’t met”, is a saying that she holds dear. I am very proud of her accomplishments, but more importantly, I am thankful for her love for me and all of our family!  ………… And that’s no cover-up!


February 4, 2014, 3:54 pm
Filed under: February 2014 | Tags: , , ,
Well, there was a bird here!

Well, there was a bird here!

February 4, 2014

   I don’t think there is any place I’d rather be than … home. I snapped this picture of a small bird, all fluffed up, safe and warm, hidden in the bush. The bird flew the coop as the camera flashed… much like teenagers leaving the nest!

   I am getting ready for another winter storm. I’m making the animals as comfortable as possible. The cold may stay away some this time, but the snow is expected to pile up. I hope to be snug in the house tomorrow, working on a few writing projects and researching a few more. Sure, I’ll do the chores and check on my animals, but I plan to stay indoors, watching the storm out the window 😮

   Once my chores are done for the evening, I walk towards the house at the end of my work day, the soft glow from the house lights on the evening shadows, beckons me and fills my heart with joy. The smell of supper fills my nostrils as the warmth from the furnace feels good on my face. A house full of love is a home…and mine sure is 😮

   They say, when we die, a bright light will lead us. I don’t know if that is true, but I do understand why we refer to Heaven…as Home!

Baby It’s Cold Outside!
January 28, 2014, 8:57 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , ,
Frosty Muzzle

Frosty Muzzle

January 28, 2014

   The coldest day and night of the season is upon us. The thermometer says zero as I write. The overnight low is expected to be minus 15 degrees F. The snow crunches under my feet and my fingers stiffen in my gloves… Baby it’s cold outside!

   I really like winter. The whole ice and snow thing thrills me. The starlit sky tonight looked awesome as I went about evening chores. The horses ran around and played a little on the snow covered feedlot, but did not hesitate when it was time to come in.

   I fluffed up all the beds and gave a little extra feed tonight, as I did my evening chores. It was peaceful and the wind was not blowing. The animals ate and drank and quickly found a warm spot to settle into. I likewise headed for the warm house, thankful that I have one 😮

January 27, 2014, 9:24 pm
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Knight and Duke sipping water

Knight and Duke sipping water

January 27, 2014

   This cold snap makes it a tough job keeping all the animal’s water thawed. I have a tank heater that works overtime to keep things de-iced. I dip water from the tank to water the rest of the animals. I have to swing gates so the cattle can drink from here free choice too, but it all works out.

   I also keep a spare tank heater, just in case. It has proven a good thing to do. The one that I am using always breaks during a cold snap or when I’m working my off-farm job. There is peace of mind having a few spare parts!

   I have a plan and design for a solar powered chicken water heater. I just need some time to build it and a few solar pieces to make it all work. The hens will be grateful. I carry warm water to them twice a day, but nothing says refreshment like free choice!

   We are bracing for another dip below zero. The snow is quite deep and drifts abound. The wind howls and rattles many things. The piggies are all buried in straw, snug and warm. The cows are in their shelter and only peak out to see what I’m up to, but keep chewing their cuds as they lay on a straw bed.

   The sheep couldn’t care less about the cold. They simply chew and watch whatever is going on, as they lay warm in their wool coats. The cats sleep snuggled up in a ball, on the hay. I’m thinking full bellies and warm beds are good for everybody…of course a good refreshment now and then doesn’t hurt either.  😮