Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, 2008

I let the big dogs out to potty just at sunset tonight, and I was privileged to catch this sunset in action. It reminded me that this is the last sunset of 2008, so I captured it, just for you!!!


So as we say Goodbye to the old year and Welcome, 2009, please try to Forget the Bad Times, Treasure the Good Times, and remember this little ditty that I always say:

"Yesterday is History

Tomorrow is a Mystery,

Today is the PRESENT...

That's why we call it a GIFT"

God bless you, all.

p.s. drink sensibly, or have someone else drive...puh-leeeeze!

Tink and Tank

Do you know the difference between a Tink and a Tank? Well, look below and see!


Tinkerbelle is the smallest puppy in the litter. Some people might call her a ‘runt’ but since I do not appreciate that word I will just say that Tink is small for her age, but she is strong and determined! She will be just right for someone who wants an AKC German Shepherd who is 'smaller in stature' than most. On the other hand, there is Tank. He is enormous, the largest puppy in the litter! He already seems to be a big, loveable, cuddly mass of puppy love that just wants to eat and be held. He is very strong, too, but moves in a very easy-going manner. Just a big, bumbling sort of a guy.


These two are my favorite puppies out of the litter (in case you haven’t noticed.) This is a terrible thing, really, because I swore that I would not get attached to them so that it won’t be so hard to let them go when it is time. Why, I even crocheted little necklaces to tell them apart, so we could just call them “Green” and “Red” and “Purple” etc. Not ‘real’ names, just colors. (sigh)


Oh, well, I’ve gone and done it again, I guess. I just have to keep repeating “FOUR DOGS IS ENOUGH…FOUR DOGS IS ENOUGH….!”


Can't ya just smell that puppy breath???

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don is a GRANDPA!

It seems like only yesterday that little Heidi was destroying our home and tearing me to little shreds with her tiny, razor-sharp teeth. And here we are today, December 28, 2008, and Heidi has little puppies of her own!

It all started at 11:00 this morning, when Don left to take Lorraine to the Emergency Room in Westbrook. Lorraine has been yelping and screaming since yesterday morning, when she mysteriously ‘broke another bone.” This has been happening off and on for about a year now. She never shows any broken bones on an X-ray, her heart is in better condition than teen-agers, and her blood-work is fabulous. However, you would think that she was dying by the sounds of it. Amazing how this happens whenever somebody else in the house is hurting.

Shortly after they left I heard a tiny noise at the foot of the bed, and a licking sound. I have been spending most of my time in bed since Dec 20th, when I injured my back again. I tripped while carrying a bag of Christmas gifts, caught myself before hitting the ground, and smashed what is left of my discs together and crushed the nerve. I am on muscle relaxors and prescription pain meds and don’t get out of bed much. But today, I was up and turning on lights in a hurry.

What I found was Heidi, looking all embarrassed and curled up in a tiny wad in the POMERANIANS TINY BED, while the displaced Pom Sasha stood looking around in amazement and Gretchen stood over a tiny, dark, wriggling mass on the bedroom carpet. Her look of astonishment went from the ‘mass’, to Heidi, and back to the mass again, and said: “NOW look what ya did, ya NINNY!!!” And poor Heidi was trying to turn herself inside out with embarrassment.

So I hauled out several old bed sheets and towels, and got her ‘uncurled’ from the Pomeranian bed and shooed everybody else out of the bedroom, and showed her what to do with the little dark screaming thing. And from that point on, all went quite well. Heidi was due to have her puppies on New Year’s Eve, so she is 3 days early. But that is perfectly normal, as parturition can range 3 or so days either side of the due date.

I had gone up to the cities for an early Christmas at mom’s (see Christmas slideshow, below). I met up with a college chum whom I have kept in contact with. Becky and I used to study together, and spent many Tuesday nights commiserating over Applebee’s "PERFECT" Marguerittas, bemoaning our homework load, teacher’s expectations, and life’s other great tragedies. I don’t know as if we ever solved any imperative problems that way, but we sure had loads of fun, anyhow. So, Becky graduated and works as a Certified Veterinary Technician in Eden Prairie now. She made it to the big time! And I am so proud of you, Beck! And Becky brought us in for an ultrasound and an X-ray to see how many babies there were. The Vet –whose name, by the way, REALLY IS Dr. Doolittle – determined that there would be SEVEN puppies for sure, and possibly EIGHT. Well, as of this minute, there are SEVEN and we have FIVE GIRLS and TWO BOYS. Grandpa is very, very pleased!!! And, BTW, Lorraine is fine as well. She just needed more of those ‘happy pills’ again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I received an email the other day entitled “Silent Night.” It told of a true story, an event which occurred in 1914 during WWI in “No-Man’s Land” in Germany. This incident has been dubbed "The Christmas Truce of 1914".

In order to improve morale, the German High Command sent out a Christmas tree to every unit. It seemed like such a small thing, this gift of a tree. But this ‘small’ gift inspired the hearts of the German soldiers. When the British and French forces saw the lights of the trees, they thought that an enemy attack was eminent. But this was not to be the case.

In some areas, the Germans came over towards the enemy’s’ side and asked if they would join them in a concert that night, provided that there would be no shooting. The Brits met them halfway, and they shook hands in the middle of the field. In other regiments, the Germans held up signs reading “No Shoot” and began singing Christmas songs. Soon, both sides were swapping Christmas Carols in the cold, starry, night air. And in yet another area, the Brits and Germans engaged in a soccer match in the icy mud of No Man’s Land, after the German’s came out and offered them hand-shakes, drinks, and cigars. In every one of these cases, someone had to be brave, lay aside their differences and make the first move towards Peace.

I started thinking about Don, and the stories he has told me of the trenches during Vietnam during the war over there. His trenches were filled, not with snow and ice, but rats, snakes, and swampy water. But then, I realized that ALL trenches, no matter where you are, are filled with these same things: self-doubt, sorrow, and fear of the unknown. And that some trenches are visible only to those who are entrenched in them.

Yes, we have ALL been in a trench at one time or another during our lifetime. Sometimes, we have needed a helping hand to lift us out. At other times, we have been that ‘helping hand’ for someone else. But no matter where we are in our life’s journey, we must remember that we are NEVER ALONE. At this time of year, we remember The One who came to earth to assure us of that. Our friend and brother, Jesus Christ. He went to the ULTIMATE trench for us when He willingly took our sins and nailed them to the Cross.

We may not be able to personally reach our young men and women in the military who are in real-life trenches this Holiday Season. But we can reach our friends, family, and loved ones who are all around us. There just has to be one brave person, who can lay aside their differances and make the first move towards Peace.

Our wish for you this Christmas is plain and simple: we wish you the PEACE which passes all understanding. No matter which side of the trench you may be on.

Sincerely, Don and Jody


Friday, December 12, 2008

Gretchen's Big Adventure

I am beginning to wonder about this dog. Seriously. It seems that she is always getting into some sort of snafu or another. And I am afraid that one of these times, it will be her last big adventure.

Gretchen went with Don to the Cities this past week as he was having two more VA appointments, and we both thought that Gretchen would benefit from the change of scenery. Gretchen has been acting very depressed lately, and we can only attribute it to the fact that Heidi is going to have babies, and she is not. When Heidi went into heat awhile back, it triggered a chain reaction in our house that was just wild. First, we had Heidi running around, leaving red splotches everywhere she sat. We brought a red and black (saddle back) AKC male German Shepherd down from the cities, and we kept him for a week while they got ‘married.’ And within two weeks, we had Gretchen doing the same thing. Except, without the same end results. BUT WAIT!!! That’s not all! Little old Sasha, who is 13 years old and who will be 14 on January 28th ALSO went into heat! And she was far worse than the other two, combined! Sasha, who is a tiny Pomeranian, has had two pregnancies in her lifetime. Each pregnancy resulted in the birth of 5, large, healthy puppies, one of which is my little Jeremiah. “Jeremiah is a small dog, he is a good friend of mine….” Well, being the veteran and Grand Dame that she is, Sasha was actually running BACKWARDS up to the other dogs, and drove everyone in the house nuts for almost two weeks! So I told Don, “See, there IS hope for Lorraine, after all!” Lorraine is Don’s 88 year-old aunt who lives with us. (Tee, hee, hee). So anyway, Heidi is preggers, Gretchie is not, and Gretchen is now very, very depressed.

So Don went up to the cities and did the VA thing, all without incident. And then, he made the trip home.

They pulled into the McDonalds at St. Peter shortly before midnight last night. Don put his order in at the squawk box, and in the process or driving forward to pay at the first window for his food, Gretchen reached up with her head, and turned on the passenger-side light on the mirror. Don says that she wanted them to see how pretty she is, probably in order to get a dog biscuit. They get excited at the bank drive-thru also. But this is the first time she has ever turned the light on. So they got up to the window to pick up the food, and the guy waiting on them said “Hey! I’ve got a dog just like that at home!” To which Don replied, “Cool!” And then, Gretchie shut the light off again.

No, just kidding….

Don shut the light off, and they headed down the road. When they got to Mankato, Don’s intent was to stop at Cub food in order to purchase some cooking items for the Christmas baking. When he went to get out of the car, he noticed that his bootlaces were untied. So he hung his feet outside the door and tied one boot, and in the process of tying the 2nd boot, he felt a dog flying over his back from the passenger seat, and into the parking lot. Another customer was just coming out from the store with his cart full of groceries. Gretchen ran over near him. He immediately looked fearful, but Don called out that she is gentle, and would not hurt him. So he assisted Don in trying to catch Gretchen, who was racing all over the parking lot like her typical idiot self, totally ignoring them. Normally, the parking lot at Cub foods in Mankato is totally filled with cars, and the highway going past the store is a very, very busy street. Fortunately, at this time of night it is fairly quiet. Don was not seeing any humor in the situation, as he was trying to figure out just how he was going to explain to me that my dog got creamed in Mankato on the way home. Gretchen then turned around and ran toward the other guy, who was calling her by name. And when she got almost up to him, she raced around the car, and came over towards Don. When she got up close to Don, she darted around him and headed towards Cub Foods. Evidently, she had some shopping to do. She was on a mission. She went up to the entrance door, which opened just as it should. (This evidently is also a “doggie-door” besides being a human door.) She went inside the cart area, grabbed a cart (no, just kidding..) and then went to the inside entrance door, which also automatically opened. And then, Gretchen went inside Cub foods.

Don and the other guy looked at one another and headed into the store after her. Guess what department she headed for? You got it – the MEAT department! She had heard that there was a great sale on beef and pork… So, the other guy got on one side of the aisle, and Don got on the other side, and since she was in the middle of the aisle she had to go towards either one or the other. And she chose to go towards the other guy, who grabbed her leash and gave her back to Don. Meanwhile, there was an employee washing the floor, who was watching this whole event with interest, and laughing.

Don then took the detainee back out to the car, where she immediately sat down in the driver’s seat so that she could pick him up at the door when he was through shopping. NOT!

The proceeding story is all “According to Don” who was witness to the whole event…. And other than the places where we have said “just kidding’ these events are ALL TRUE. Folks, you read it here, first. Meanwhile, Don is taking reservations for those who want to take Gretchen shopping, THE NEXT TIME.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Decorating!!!

Ya know, I don't mind helping 'ma' out around the house and stuff, but GEEZ, this is rediculous!!!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Lotza Llamas!

Hey you guys! Since you are out cruising around on the internet anyway, why not take a look at another link on my page? It belongs to two wonderful people from Heron Lake, just south of us here on Good Shepherd Farm. Bill and Shirley Fisher raise Miniature Llamas, NOT ALPACAS or REGULAR SIZED LLAMAS! Yes! These sweet little creatures are as gentle as little doggies, and they did not even SPIT at me when I played with them! Take a look in my archive section at "Miniature Llama Play Day." These are the folks that I mentioned in that blog. I did a little research about Miniature Llamas, and this is what I found out:

The miniature llama has been developed from various llama bloodlines from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Canada and North America. In llamas’ native climate of South America it is believed that small llamas may have been products of surviving harsh natural climates. However, today with the knowledge of genetics it has made the possibility of breeding specifically for size a reality. Some of the most well known herdsires in the llama industry from years past continue on in miniature llama’s genes today.

Miniature llamas were bred from many different small llamas with various types of fiber. Today in the miniature llama industry you will still find minis of all fiber types including suri, light, medium, heavy and silky fiber. Miniature llamas can be found in a rainbow of colors.For the last couple of decades breeders have been selecting for llamas that resemble a standard-size llama in every way, but remain small in size. In 1999, several breeders across the United States decided to come together and form the American Miniature Llama Association (AMLA).

Currently, I am washing and combing some Llama fiber from Bill and Shirley. I hope to be able to spin it and do it some justice! The llama that I am working on is from their "Toby" and it is gray, white, and chestnut. The fiber is so soft, and so beautiful. When I am done with all the Christmas rush, I will try and get it done. AND, I will have pictures of the work in progress on my blog.

I hope that you enjoyed learning about Miature Llamas! They are so cute! And so friendly! Drop in on Bill and Shirley on thier blog! They EVEN HAVE SOME FOR SALE!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Something To Be Thankful For

About this time every year, we look around us and note all of the things that we may be thankful for. Our health, our home, food to eat, bills getting paid, clean air to breathe, room to run, the list goes on and on.

But this year, we have even more things to be thankful for. Last Saturday, November 15th, some very good friends came over and helped us with some projects here on the farm.

Friends/neighbors Norm and Connie came over to help out with making wood for the winter…we keep our home warm by supplementing the electric heat by using the wood burner in the basement. Connie donated her wonderful homemade French bread and helped by setting up the food situation in the basement. Meanwhile, Norm helped cut the lengths of wood into more managable pieces and ran the wood splitter. He also helped pile the wood onto the tractor loader and haul it into the basement and stack it.

Norm running the wood splitter.

Norm and Don stacking the wood.Photobucket
The growing stack in the basement.Photobucket
Connie sets up the serving table.

Look at that lasagna! JO made it! Read on...

ALSO, Darrell and Harry, both former teachers and coworkers of Don’s, installed the kitchen floor tile. Yes, folks, I am no longer walking on a TAR FLOOR! It has been such a source of embarrassment for me all summer long. And it has been a tiresome task, scouring tar off of all the other floors, washing the floor itself, the chair legs, ripping the chairs up off the floor when they attach themselves, etc. And I need to mention a great big THANKS to Darrel's wife Jo for donating a huge, DELICIOUS pan of lasagna for our dinner. I don't know how she knew, but lasagna is my most favorite food on earth. God bless you, Jo!

Darrell and Harry mix the mortar.Photobucket

The tar is covered with the cement board, the 'underlayment.'Photobucket

Darrell and Harry start laying down the tiles. Photobucket

The finished product: My kitchen floor. I used Mocha colored grout. Photobucket

Even Gretchie likes the floor!Photobucket

Aunt Lorraine, age 88 supervised the whole thing! Photobucket

Yes, this year we have two more things to be thankful for: wood in the wood room and a new floor in the kitchen. But more importantly, we have good friends that we are very thankful for. When you think about the BIG picture, it all boils down to family and friends. For these things, we are very grateful.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What An Exciting Day!

Today, Saturday November 8, 2008 I discovered that I had a special talent! I spent the entire day – from 10.00 until 5:30 - at a painting class in Windom. The painting we created was a copy of an original by Bob Ross of PBS fame. He had a show called “The Joy of Painting.” He developed a technique called “Wet on Wet” which allows you to complete a painting by adding layers on top of layers, without needing to let the painting dry in between. The painting that we studied today is entitled “Bright Autumn Leaves.”


We had nine people in our class, with ages ranging from a 10th grader (whose work was awesome) all the way up to a lady in her 80’s. Although we all copied the same painting, every completed painting was different from all the others. And they were all very beautiful.


When we completed our paintings, the teacher pulled out a box of beautiful frames. They were all different colors. And she would match a frame to every one’s work, which would actually pull you right into that painting. When I saw my picture up on her easel in that special frame, I almost cried! I could not believe that it was mine!


The teacher told everyone that I had not painted since 10th grade, and everyone applauded. I was so pleased with my painting. And the teacher hugged me and said I gave her GOOSEBUMPS because she loved my excitement over my work. I like her so much and I will take other classes from her. We have one coming up in January!
But, in the meantime, THIS painting is TOP SECRET. Because… It is Don’s Christmas present. I told ya I was making all my presents this year!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Claire and Matilda

I want to introduce you to two of my very close friends, Claire and Matilda.

Matilda Ashford came to live with us earlier this year. I just call her Waltzing Matilda.


She was born in New Zealand. Actually, her family was created in Christchurch New Zealand, and she is made out of New Zealand Silver Birch hardwood. Her family history dates back to 1938 and a man named Walter Ashford. She is my Traveller Single Drive Classic Castle Spinning Wheel. One of her unique features is called the Scotch Tension Flyer, which is an idea that Walter came up with. This allows her drive-belt to be left on her flyer whorl whenever her bobbin needs to be changed. She folds down with ease, allowing her to be placed in a vehicle and carted off to a friends house, where one can spend a lovely winter’s afternoon sipping Earl Grey and spinning away. Matilda and I have had great difficulty learning how to dance together properly, but I think that I am finally catching on. She has been patient with me: at least, she doesn’t yell at me when I mess up!

And this is my newest friend, Claire. Claire d’ Loom. ;)


Her maiden name was Claire Leclerc. Her family history dates back to 1876 and a man named Nilus Leclerc. She was created in I’ Islet, Quebec, Canada. The modern loom which may be used in individual homes (vs. a factory) was designed in 1924. Claire’s family line was created in 1936. She is crafted of kiln dried, Hard Maple (Canada-go figure!). She is a tabletop model. So far, she is a TV-tray top model, but as soon as I get the card table up here, she will be sort-of a tabletop model at last.

Claire is helping me make my Christmas presents this year. She and I have gotten to know one another quite week over this past week, thanks to my friend, Connie. I will have to check with Connie’s mother, but I believe that Connie may have been born with a spinning wheel in one hand, and a loom in the other. Probably had a bunch of handspun wool outfits and blankets, as well!

When Claire, Matilda, and I perfect our skills, we will show you some of our craftsmanship. But for now, everything is ‘under wraps’ ‘till Christmas. Shhhh!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The New Shed

The new shed is nearly finished. All that it needs now is: the roof cap to be completed, the electrical work done, and the large, overhead doors to be installed. The cement work in the shop/garage is finished, and Don is already making plans as to what tool goes where. I know that he will like his workshop once he has things in place and he can actually work in there.

This empty space is where the shed is now.


Holy Cow! Is it Noah's Ark?


Yes! I think it is Noah's Ark! It even looks like it from the inside!!!


Taken near the barn, facing the shed. This is where the tractor and Don's vast assortment of vehicles will drive in.


Taken from the back of the house, looking directly at Don's workshop/garage. This picture was taken before the cement was poured.


Don's workshop floor being poured.


Every crew that has come out to our place to work on this shed has been simply amazing. From the truck driver who delivered the rafters, to the 3 guys who built the frame and screwed in all those hundreds of screws, to the cement crew...they have all been courteous, very efficient with their time...I cannot say enough about them. And I do think that Don agrees. Both of us would highly recommend RAM BUILDERS for your next building project. They are THE BEST that money can buy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fugitive

Look closely at this face, folks. It might be the next one you see on a milk carton.


This dangerous criminal escaped imprisonment a few days ago, along with her ‘sister', Heidi. After 3 ½ hours of searching in vain and visiting all the neighbors in a 4-mile radius. a neighbor called and said that the two culprits were spotted cavorting on the highway 3 ½ miles south of the farm. I got in my truck and raced down there, and sure enough, they were play fighting in the middle of the highway, while trucks slammed on their brakes and went around them. They were oblivious to the fact that they may well have been creamed. Since creamed German Shepherd is not on the future menu around here, we have felt it best that we invest in a shock collar to put a little fear of God into the both of them. As a matter of fact, last week when they got loose they ran over to the Amo church and were discovered playing in the empty parking lot. Apparently, they did not get religion that time, either. Hence, the needed shock-treatment.

Who, me? You talkin' bout ME? I'm INNOCENT, I swear to you!


This dangerous criminal (aka: Gretchen) has also been known to eat toilet seats.


My friends, THIS is what guilt really looks like.

Keep on the lookout for future sightings of this detainee She may be seen in a neighborhood near you. Hopefully not!


*Truthfully, I will not enjoy using the collar on my baby, but it is a last resort and it may be a means of saving her life in the long run. This time, the Sheriff was involved. Thankfully, he was nice about it. She becomes 'deaf' when she bolts out the door, and is gone down the highway in a flash. I will try to show her the boundries of the yard (again), and what can and will happen if/when she runs out of bounds again. :(

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This n' That

Well, it certainly has been a long time since I was able to add to my blog! I have been having a GIANT hassle with my Sony Cyber-shot camera, and it has taken since August 27th to get it all figured out. I sent it to Sony twice, and the ‘repairs’ cost me $91.00, which I do not have (to spend in that manner). My bff Connie reformatted my memory-stick on her computer. And it still did not work, so I brought it over here to my computer and reformatted it –two more times- and the camera still said the stick was ‘corrupted.’ Hmmm. Well, after fighting with Sony and Precision Camera Repair all this time, I got on the Sony website, and read the instruction booklet (which I do not physically own) online and figured out how to format my memory stick by using the camera, itself. And Viola! The stupid thing now works! Now, I DID do all of this before sending it in the first time, so I am inclined to believe that there really was a circuit board problem initially, as I hate to think that my $91.00 and my precious time were in vain. So if you ever hear of anyone having an Error C:13:01 on their Sony camera, have them call me FIRST, before they go and send the thing out to Sony!

Meanwhile, our shed is finally going up! Hooray, hooray. I might actually be able to stop paying all that money on storage up in Shakopee! I am sure that they will miss me over at Canterbury Storage. They know my credit number by heart, bless them anyway. The shed will be 40x112. Here is what has been done, so far.



Last week, I took some Community Ed. Classes in Windom. I am learning the Norwegian art of Rosemalling. It is very intricate, precise, and time consuming. And frustrating. The idea is to load only half of your teeny tiny paintbrush, and allow other colors to gently blend in, allowing them to be somewhat opaque. If I am ever able to grasp the control of my loading and my brush movements, it should be more pleasurable. Right now, it is something akin to plucking the leg-hairs off a gnat.


And then my bff Connie was roped into teaching a mitten-knitting class, so I felt sorry for her and went along. :) She was teaching the 4-needle knitting technique, which ends up every once in awhile using 5 knitting needles all at the same time. Connie, why isn’t it called 5-needle knitting???


So that’s it for now. I will send more pictures of the shed as it is being built over this next week. They tell me that the roof will be on by Tuesday!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Miniature Llama Play-Day

Last Saturday (the 27th) my friend Connie invited me to a farm near Windom to help demonstrate weaving while she wowed the crowd with her marvelous job of spinning llama fiber on her beautiful, double-treadle spinning wheel. I think that her theory was “If Jody can do it (weave), then anybody can do it!” I enjoyed the weaving very much. Connie brought her little two harness loom, already strung with the white and brown ‘warp’ threads. My ‘weft’ threads were brown, and the design was quite bonny, indeed! Poor Connie! She has the patience of a saint, I swear to you. But I only broke the loom one time, and my table runner actually was beginning to look pretty decent towards the end of the day.

But the day was not all spinning and weaving. I got to spend quite a bit of time with the miniature llamas and ‘their people.’ Wow, are they ever cool! They have the most beautiful, enormous eyes with long lashes, and their little llama lips are just so kissable! And besides falling in love with them, I learned a lot of llama facts. Did you know: that llamas are pregnant for 11 ½ months and they only have one baby (while standing up!?) They ‘hum’ as a means of communication, they can be used as pack animals, they make great guard animals, they can live up to 15-20 years. And (last but not least) their fiber may be used for spinning and weaving. It is incredibly soft, and it does not itch at all!

And no, I did not get spit on, but I did hear one of them ‘hum!’ I got to lead one of them around through a small obstacle course, and pet many of them. I even got to feed a beautiful appaloosa stud a cob of corn. Take a look at the pictures of the Miniature Llama Play-Day, taken by Connie. I was so absorbed the whole time that I did not even know that she was taking pictures! Thanks again, Connie, for a fabulous, fun day!

Hey everybody! Look! I'm actually 'looming!"

Doesn't Connie take amazing pictures? Take a look at everything going on in this next photo: I am kneeling on the ground in front of a miniature llama, getting a lesson in 'llama raising' from Bill (owner and breeder of award-winning miniature llamas); other people are leading llamas through the obstacle courses; Bill's wife is taking a picture of Laura, owner of the 'kushing' (kneeling) llama in front of me; and in the background is the beautiful cornfield, a grain storage bin, and the wonderful blue sky that shone above us all day. What a perfect fall day in southern Minnesota!


And here is the most beautiful male llama of the day, as far as I am concerned. Look at his little spotted legs! He is the stud of this farm. Can you just imagine what it would be like to take that (shaved), spotted fiber, and spin it into naturally colored buff- and brown- yarn? How cool is that???


FOOT NOTE: I just looked at friend Connie's blog (Ash Lane Farm, at the top of this page on the left) and she is showing a picture of the little table runner that I made on Saturday!!! I was amazed that it took such a small amount of time to do it, and yet I accomplished so much. I feel like I spent most of the day goofing off with the minature llamas! Weaving on the loom goes very quickly. One could whip out a rug, or a table runner, or a set of place mats in a day. The part that takes the longest amount of time is putting on the warp threads. I am keeping my fingers crossed until 2:00 today, as I am so hooked on weaving (I prefer to call it looming!) that I bid on a loom on ebay, and I am the only one that has bid, so far!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh, well (Again)

Life on the farm, it seems, is not always the way that we expect it should be. Especially when it comes to life, itself.

We woke up Monday morning to find that our wonderful tame chickens, Ruby, Tuesday, and Friday, were missing. Upon further investigation, we also found that two of our half-grown Guinea keets were gone, as well as my best friend’s brooder hen – the one that has hatched and raised all the little baby Guineas.

We found a pile of buff-colored feathers (that would be Connie and Norm’s Buff Orphington, the momma hen) and a pile of Guinea feathers. But after searching hi and lo all day long, and calling periodically for the chickens, we found no ‘bodies’ to go with the feathers. It remains a mystery as to what happened to my beloved chicken-pets. Lord, how I miss them! I picked beans yesterday, all by myself. I didn’t have the hens pecking at my clothing and remarking oooh! and ahhh! over the bugs that I stirred up amongst the plants. We worked together as a team, those chickens and I. And I loved them! Who would a’ thunk it; me falling in love with those chickens?! Especially knowing that, when their time was up, they would end up in a bubbling pot, surrounded by homemade egg noodles! Yes, I am very sad about the disappearance of the chickens.

After conferring and commiserating with Connie, we have decided that the most logical explanation is that the family of fox that live just down the road from us made a midnight raid on the hen house. Though, how they got my beloved pets and not those worthless, white, non-laying Leghorns is beyond me! That would explain how all of the chickens would disappear all at once, and the bodies could not be found. If it were an owl or a hawk, there would come up missing only one at a time.

I will not buy any more chickens this year. Winter is sneaking up on us, and I should just wait until spring when I can start out with new little baby fuzzy chicks. I am leaning towards the Buff Orphingtons, but I may settle for those Gold Stars again. They are the friendliest chickens I have ever had, ever. If I get them in the spring, they can grow big over the summer (if nothing eats them, that is) and they would start laying in the fall. Meanwhile, Connie has said that I can get some of those wonderful blue and green Americauna eggs from her.

And, my thumb is slowly recovering. I will take the stitches out either tomorrow (Wednesday) or the next day. I keep getting these little ‘electric shocks’ when I accidentally bend it, so I am trying to keep holding it straight all the time. It is hard, but once you have experienced those ‘shock’ things, you just learn really fast how to do it. I believe that it may be because the nerve was severed. It should heal, over time. And I guess my heart will heal, too. But none of us will ever forget those funny, friendly chickens; our very first chickens on GOOD SHEPHERD farm. They were truly 'one of a kind.'

'Ruby' and 'Tuesday,' working hard on the farm


'Friday' looking pretty for the picture


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh, Well

I got a new paring knife, as mine were so dull that you could slide to China and back and never suffer a scratch. Remember that little poem that says: "Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace..." Well, that is just WRONG!!!! I was born on Tuesday. And I have been known to walk down hallways, get my feet tangled up around my neck, and fall flat on my face. Yes, just ask my mother, it's true.

Well, last night I managed to attempt chopping an onion with my new paring knife, and severed an artery in my thumb and sliced a nerve. Except, for slicing a nerve, the darned thing sure hurts this morning! So, I probably won't be writing in the blog for awhile . The stitches come out in 7-10 days, and maybe after that happens I will write more. I am keying with my right hand and the going is very slow. I have taken a Tylenol for pain, and will go and lie down again. Enjoy this day...the sun is shining, there is no wind, and the excavation guy is here digging up the spot for the new shed to be built (thank you, Lord, for small favors).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Holy Tomato

I cleaned house all day yesterday. Washed 8 loads of clothes, washed floors, vacuumed, changed bedding, yada yada yada. All those things you do after company leaves you know the drill. Then, I went out to the garden. And that was my mistake.

I thought that I had spied a few red tomatoes when looking out from the bathroom window. I hadn’t been in the garden for 3 days, so I should have known better. What I found was: hoards and hoards of red, ripe tomatoes. Now, let us get this straight first and foremost: I am very grateful for the bountiful garden this year. It is by far the best garden I have ever grown. But I was quite unprepared for the first BIG picking of the year.

We have only 8 tomato plants. We bought one of those little 4-packs, and each little tray had 2 dinky little tomato plants in it. They looked sickly. I caught some carp down at the waterfall in Windom and brought them home. I dug 8 holes for the tomatoes, placing a carp deep in each hole. I planted the little plants, and watered them. I placed a cutout plastic milk carton over each one. Then I did my customary prayer over each individual plant. Well, whatever it was, it must have worked. One tomato plant gave me 40 enormous red, ripe tomatoes. Another plant gave me 32, and yet another gave me 30. In all, I picked 222 huge Beefsteak tomatoes, lugged them in boxes to the trunk of the Toyota, drove them back to the house and then lugged them inside. HOLY COW! They were sure beautiful! No cracks, no rotten spots. Just red, round, firm, HUGE tomatoes. I was so psyched!

Today, I made 6-1/2 gallons of spaghetti sauce. I only used up a little less than half of the tomatoes! I will try and get up early tomorrow and finish the others. I should end up with over 12 gallons of spaghetti sauce and a few more packages of whole tomatoes. Then, I can sit back and relax...

For 3 more days!!!


A sink full of tomatoes


A double batch of spaghetti sauce cooking on the stove


Finished spaghetti sauce cooling, and one of the three boxes of tomatoes


Look at the size of these Beefsteak Tomatoes!