Sunday, August 24, 2008

Everyone Is Hurting!

It has been quite a trying week here at Good Shepherd Farm.We got up late yesterday morning because we had entered a Karaoke contest the night before, in Tracy. I was in place for 3rd, because of singing in a previous qualifying round. But there were REALLY AWESOME singers there, and I did not make the cut. That is fine with me, because we had a great time listening to the singers and visiting with friends Blanche and Paulette. Aunt Lorraine came along as well, thus getting her out of the house for a while. Lorraine fell last Monday night and got hurt. Lorraine just turned 88 years old this past week. She was coming out of the bathroom and she got her foot hooked in the hallway runner rug and down she went. Her leg and pelvis is hurting her pretty bad, and I am afraid that she cracked something again. So, there will be a trip to the doctor for Lorraine this coming week!!!Anyway, when we finally crawled out of bed yesterday, Don decided that we were going to move some of those big round hay bales to another place here on the farm. They weigh about 1,000 pounds each. My job is to stand behind the bale as he is lifting it with the bucket on the tractor (it is Arnie’s big tractor, and it does not have forks). I get my back up against the bale and push with all my might so that the bale does not just roll out and bounce ahead of the bucket, thus causing us to starting all over again. Well, it is really hard on my back. I have 2-ruptured discs, and 1 or 2 that are bulging. I have deteriorating discs in my back and I am limited as to what I can do. So, during this whole operation, Don got one bale started up in the bucket and it was in such an awkward place that the bale came out and started rolling and pushing me to the ground. When I landed, I was half-twisted and flipped over and started to “belly- crawl” as fast as I could. The bale did miss me (praise the Lord) except for my left leg, which I managed to pull out while crawling. But I lost my shoes in the process and twisted my back pretty bad. Didn’t find the shoes ‘till later on near evening. After this incident, I decided to go off and pick a bushel of tomatoes and YET ANOTHER bunch of summer squash. We will go no further on that subject, thank you!Towards evening Don took the borrowed tractor back to Arnie’s house and I followed him in the Toyota so I could bring him home again. We were sitting in the living room visiting and watching the Vikings on television (they eventually lost – as usual), and Don looked out the window and exclaimed, “The neighbors steer is in your yard, right by the bay window!” I thought he was just joking, and stood up and- holy cow! - There stood the largest bovine I have ever seen in my life! I swear it to you! He was huge and RED, and had little horn buds on his enormous head.I still do not know why, but for some reason I got up and ran outside, and and started calling to him and talking to him. Well, he threw up his head, and started running at me! And I tore around the Toyota and got inside and slammed the door, just as he made it around the car - and started licking my window.Weird! I thought, and rolled my window down a little bit. He stuck his tongue in the window and uncoiled it, and tried to lick me. “Well” I thought, “he’s kinda friendly after all.” So I rolled the window down some more and petted him. He seemed to really like that and put his head down further so I could scratch his head. So then I decided that maybe he would follow me if I started up the car and backed out the driveway and tried to ‘lead’ him back home again. ‘Home’ was down to the corner, and just down the next road to the right, maybe ¼ of a mile away.So I backed out and started heading out the driveway, and ‘Big Red’ thought this was a real fun game and started sort of bucking and bouncing around, and then he got behind the Toyota and started PUSHING ME DOWN THE ROAD!Holy Cow!After a few false starts, and Arnie and Don getting in Arnie's pickup and driving ahead of me, we managed to lead ‘Red’ home again. Then the fun started. He did not want to go back to his pen, and Don went over beside the pen and started calling to him. But (as we find out later) ‘Red’ thinks that he is a great big dog, and he decided at this point that he wanted to ‘play’ with Don in order to avoid going into his pen. He went over to Don and he started out by pushing Don against the fence with his head, but suddenly, he started ramming him. And he rammed Don right down into the ground. (Later, Don stated that he thought that his life was over at that point.) I was parking the Toyota, and jumping out and running towards him. And then, everything started happening in slow motion. I just could not get my legs going fast enough. I noted that Arnie was blowing the horn on his pickup and charging that Chevy right towards the beast. Don was pulling himself up on the bars of the pen, and trying to lift himself, only to be bashed into the ground again. The beast was still pummeling him, but strangely enough, backed off for a few seconds. Don managed to take that opportunity to pull himself upright, and make another attempt to pull himself up the fence. He started pulling his legs up in order to climb the fence (sometimes he cannot lift his legs, due to his paralysis – he has to manually ‘lift them’ with his hands) and he got halfway up and the steer again rammed his head into Don’s legs, crushing them and pinning him against the fence. By this time I had managed to reach them and started screaming at the beast and charging towards him. And Don was screaming, “Stay away! Stay away!” And I climbed the fence and started swatting at the steer’s head and continued yelling, and finally he allowed Don to climb up the fence and get over to the backside where I was.Meanwhile, Arnie's wife had called the owner of the steer on his cell phone, and after an eternity (after maybe 40 minutes of trying to convince ‘Red’ to go back into his pen) the owner, Barry, arrived. It took him awhile to get Big Red – actually, his name is CHESTER – back into his pen, and then we all talked for a while before everyone left to go home. It turns out that CHESTER weighs in the neighborhood of 2,500 pounds. Last time he was weighed, he was 'only' 2,250, but he has ‘grown’ since then.We got home, I pulled Don’s pants, socks, and t-shirt off and got his pajama tops on, and stuck an ice bag against his leg, gave him a Vicodin and a muscle relaxer and some warm supper, and went outside and cried for awhile. And then, I took a muscle relaxer too, for my own back. Don fell asleep in the recliner. And this morning (it is after 11:30) he is still sleeping peacefully. I would well imagine that he will be very sore today. Last night he told me that he once rolled a truck 1-½ times, and he felt like it had happened all over again. I am sorry that I do not have a picture of Chester at this time, but I will include one in a future post. He is truly the largest steer that I have ever seen in my life. And I thank GOD that Don managed to live throughout the whole ordeal. He seems to have more than nine lives. I just hope that, one of these days, his luck does not run out. So keep praying for Don – he really seems to need it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Letter To The Dog

I have some wonderful friends in Wisconsin. I did not meet them here in the United States: I met them in London while we were doing a tour of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. What a wonderful trip! And I have been blessed to meet such wonderful friends!

Laurel seems to share my twisted sense of humor over certain things, one of them being our pets. Here is a 'letter' that she sent to me this morning. It is so cute and shares my sentiments exactly, so I wanted to share it with all of you:


Dear Dogs,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm!

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, bark, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog’s butt. Rather than the other way around. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:
1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it 'fur'niture.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less

2. Don't ask for money all the time

3. Are easier to train

4. Normally come when called

5. Never ask to drive the car

6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends

7. Don't smoke or drink

8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions

9. Don't want to wear your clothes

10. Don't need a 'gazillion' dollars for college

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.


Sasha and Jeremiah, 'looking pretty' on mom's couch at Christmas time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It Will Never Be Quite The Same

As many of you know, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is an event that I attend each and every year. I have been attending since the mid-seventies, and in that time, I have only missed 2 years. Ren Fest is in my blood - it is a part of me. I have worked there, and loved every minute. It is my own personal "Brigadoon." It appears for only a short time every year (August thru Sept, 7 weekends, including Labor Day), and then disappears again... vanishes, into the mist. And the very first show that I attend, each and every year, is the comedy duo of 'Puke and Snot.' Today – August 12, 2008 – I received some very sad news. Yesterday, Monday August 11, 2008, 'Snot' (aka: Joe Kudla, of northeast Minneapolis) apparently died of a heart attack while at home. He was 57 years old. Ren Fest begins the 2008 season this coming Saturday.

I have been watching Puke and Snot since the mid-seventies. I can remember watching their show when Hubert Humphrey was touring the Ren Fest grounds. My brother shook Senator Humphrey’s hand! Every year, for over 30 years, I sat in the stands watching as some lucky lady received “the rose” during their show. But three years ago, I was the one that got that rose! I have carefully dried it, and that rose will go into my casket with me when I die. I made my family swear to it!! It was a most memorable day, one that I will never forget as long as I live. (I might add here that my daughter went to see the show all by herself one year, and she got that rose on her very first try!!! Brat! ;)

I will take my mother to the Renaissance Festival again this year, along with my daughter and my very good friend, Kenny Schmitt. He may be what some folks call 'handicapped,' but he is a lot smarter than many people I know that supposedly are 'normal.' And the four of us will go to all the familiar booths for all the familiar food (spinach pie, oh! to die for!!) and all the familiar items. But it will never be quite the same, without the familiar face of one of the funniest men we've ever known.

Thanks for all the good memories, dear friend...May you rest in peace.


Mom, me, and Melissa, 2007 MN Renaissance Festival


Joe Kudla as his character 'Snot' onstage, 2007 (White shirt)


Mom, Melissa, Kenny, Dan (Don's son), and Don


Kenny and the Scottish tortoise


Mom and Kenny beneath an archway of branches. I want to make one of these!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer Squash!

I have just one thing to say.......


Friday, August 8, 2008


Don has finally chosen a building design, and signed on the little dotted line. The building should begin in about 4 weeks, if everything falls into place.


We are putting up a 40 x 112 storage shed. The workshop will be insulated, and the shed will have 3 service doors and 2 rollup doors. We need a building this size, because (in case you have not yet met him) Don is what you call a hoarder. He hates to throw anything away. Seriously. His most famous phrase is: “ I could possibly incorporate that into a metal sculpture.” And so, it gets saved. In yet another pile, someplace. You see, he does metal sculpture with a welder and scraps of metal. Sometimes he adds braise - his work is beautiful. He is a retired Industrial Arts teacher, and has taken up the sculpting as a hobby. Last year, he won 2nd prize at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis... in his very first time in a contest! I was so happy for him! Once we get settled, we will offer his sculptures for sale at various craft fairs nearby.


We were fortunate enough to meet a highly capable young man while attending Amo Lutheran church, just ¼ mile away. His name is Kody (I so much like his name :) and he is 13 years old. He is so capable and strong that he is able to load the bucket on the tractor with very heavy rocks, and then drive the tractor across the barnyard and dump the rocks into the rock pile! He is so careful when he drives, so as to not run over those crazy chickens who try so hard to help him as he works.



Meanwhile, the flowers that I planted just this spring are happily blooming. Everything at the farm is at its peak now, just about ready to BURST due to its fullness. The corn, the blooms in the gardens, even the grass. I saw a few fallen leaves from the Cottonwoods today. Summer looks – and feels – like it is starting to wind down. It makes me a little sad. I love summer so much! But, like everything else in life, we enjoy it while we can. And then, move on.




Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's A Boy!

Holy Cow!! Did we ever have exciting news when we got home from shopping in Windom today. We drove into the barnyard, and THERE HE WAS! Right alongside his momma, already dried, standing, and walking, was this teeny-tiny little baby yak!


Momma (aka: Starlight) let us come right up and stand and watch. He walked all around his mom, and ate his lunch, and then laid down right underneath her and took a little nap. Don called momma into the pen to have some pellets and a long drink of water, and then - after locking the gate! - we went over to inspect the little guy. And at that point we found out that he was actually a little boy. Don was hoping so badly for a little girl, but, as you can see, he is delighted with his little boy:


Here are more pictures of our 35-pound miracle:


Have you noticed something odd about the shape of the spot on his little forehead?


Remember when we had a Red Dawn this morning? It really did act like it was going to be stormy for awhile, but no bad weather actually happened. Just a little wind, and some gorgeous clouds. You know, I have never been to Hawaii, and I hear the sunsets are beautiful there…but I don’t see how any sunsets can compare to the ones that we have out here on the prairie. I’ll share with you tonight’s sunset:


The view from our front steps of the Amo Lutheran Church just down the road. See the rainbow next to the church? Cool, huh?!!


We hope that you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Blessings to you all….


…from Good Shepherd Farm!

Red Dawn

This morning at 6:05, I looked out the window and saw the most beautiful sunrise! I ran out next to the dog run, and took a picture of the sky. I thought that “red sky in the morning” meant it was supposed to be a stormy day, but the weather forecast is for sunny and clear. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess


Only a few things of interest to report today, but this one is so exciting! On Monday morning, we had the Rainsoft Reverse-Osmosis water purifier refurbished. The man, all the way from Spirit Lake, IA, replaced a cracked canister, all the filters, some hoses, and I had to buy a new faucet as well. All in all, the bill was a little over $300.00, but that is OK, because the unit itself is $1,590.00 new. And it came with the house!!!! And it is guaranteed forever. Now that it is registered to us, we will get free parts, and if we die and the kids buy the house, they get free parts forever, and so on. It is SOOOOO nice being able to drink reverse-osmosis water from my own faucet! My dear friends Connie and Norm (see her blog on the right-hand column of this page-cpthegreat) have been supplying me since April, and I am most grateful for their generosity. Thanks, Connie!


Speaking of Connie, I also need to say a great big THANK YOU for helping me set up my blog. Connie is a computer wizard. She is one of those people that need to drive around town in a little black and white Volkswagen with “Geek-Squad” written on the side. When I rave about her computer prowess, she contradicts with “Someone once taught me! I had to learn once, too!!” But learning, and retaining, and being able to teach are three different things, my dear friend! And so I publicly and officially THANK YOU for being so kind as to share with me!

Also, I purchased a yearling Boer buck goat on Saturday. He was just one year old in July. He is an absolute sweetheart! They called him “Little Billy,” but since we already have a Billy, I want to change his name. I have not thought of anything yet. Have any suggestions?? If so, write them in the comments for this page!


We had fried green tomatoes for dinner – Lord, have MERCY! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Oh, how I love fried green tomatoes!!!


Don and I had a wonderful bonfire last night. The stars were out as well, and you even could see the Milky Way. Lovely!


Y'all have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This Year's Garden

I don’t know the real cause behind the growth of this year’s garden: could be all the weeding I have done, or the few times I have watered during the few dry periods. Could be the prayers I say over each plant just as I put it into the ground. But whatever the reason, I hope we can duplicate it next year. This has truly been the most phenomenal garden I have ever grown. Now, I am 51 years of age, and I have been gardening since I was 19 years old, so… that is 32 summers of gardening! Holy cow, that should be grounds for some sort of worthy notice!!! Well to tell you the truth, Don has been tilling in some very old pig-pooh from a pile that has been sitting out near the grove for at least 5–10 years, as well as some cow-pooh that has been in the barnyard for about the same length of time. He has kept on adding pooh twice yearly, as well as tilling every few months for the past two years. This has kept the weeds tilled under and the pooh turned over and over. So, by the time we planted the garden seeds this spring the soil was well worked up and wonderfully fine, crumbly, and fertile. That man is a master gardener if there ever was one!

We promised both the kids and one another that we would “CUT DOWN” on the garden size this year. We have worked far too hard on the gardens the last few years and gotten little else done. So, with that in mind, we purchased only 4 teeny-tiny tomato plants in a little tiny 4-pack. Problem is, there were two tomatoes in each little square, and so we ended up with 8 tomato plants. OK. So here I am, standing next to ONE (mind you) tomato plant…


It nearly comes up to my shoulders! Now, multiply this times 8!!!

And that is not the end of it! Here is just one small section of what each and every tomato plant is producing:


I don’t know how many bushels I am looking at for canning, here, but I have a feeling that it is going to be unreal. It is just amazing what a little crap will do. Speaking of crap, Don is giving me crap all the time anyway. Why, just the other day I was checking out the corn, and I found this staring back at me:


This is broomcorn:


These are squash and pumpkins:


And the darned summer squash and zucchini have gone crazy


So much for "CUTTING DOWN!!!" If anybody wants anything from the garden, please, PLEASE feel most free to come on down and partake of the garden’s abundance! And if you do, you may want to lock your car doors upon your arrival… otherwise, you might return home just to find a trunk or back seat full of zucchini and summer squash!!


(Year-old raspberries, and broom corn)

Here’s hoping you’ll have a great day!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Those Crazy Chickens

I don’t know what to think anymore about those chickens.

I have always known that my animals are weird. From cows that let me ride them, to dogs that understand what I am telling them without having to utter a word, to sheep that run into the house and leap on a specific chair and ask to be fed…you name it, they are weird. And the chickens fit right into that category. Our Gold Stars run right up to you and ask to be picked up or petted. They enjoy being carried around, and ride ‘shotgun’ on the four-wheeler. They peck at your shoes, and fly up on your shoulders for a ride.


We have a total of five hens. Three Gold-Stars, and two Leghorns. The Leghorns are getting to be over a year old now, and their production days are over. I have not seen a white egg in over a month. This past Friday night I went into the hen house to collect the eggs. I found only the brown variety. I looked at the two Leghorns sitting on the roost, and asked, “Has either one of you ever heard of dumplings?” One of them issued a very loud “ba-GOCK!!!!” And flew down off the roost and tore out the door. I just laughed.

Well now the Gold Stars have started acting weird, in the egg-laying department. I don’t know if this all has to do with the hot, muggy weather, or they all think this is just one big, happy joke…

On Saturday night I went in to gather eggs and shut the chickens in for the night, and when I reached into the nest box I found a surprise waiting for me…

A regular sized egg, and an “Eggus humongous

And right beside the Eggus humongus was this:


Is it their idea of a JOKE???


Even Don is astonished.

My friend Connie has Americana’s. They are the rainbow-colored egg layers. She gave me some of her fertilized eggs (totaling eighteen) to put in our new incubator, and I added eleven Guinea eggs as well. Yes, I know. I AM a glutton for punishment. I am hoping that they are mostly all females. Enough of that “Kung-Fu” crapola…


Well, I hope that you all have enjoyed the weekend and are refreshed and ready for the week ahead. Here on the farm, it will be more mowing, hauling round hay bales for the winter, and adding a string of barbed wire to the top of the goat fences. Somebody - won't mention any names - keeps getting out!


Y’all have a good one!