Tuesday, July 28, 2015

News Flash! Birds identified!!

And I didn't even have to dress in camo and sit in the raspberry patch!! After much sneaking around I finally caught a bird leaving the nest one day but didn't know what she was, she would sit in the tree and go "Tick, Tick, Tick." while I was in the vicinity. Most of the time the babies were in the nest unaccompanied but growing and feathering so I knew they were getting fed.

 Early this morning we had a 'gully washer' rain, along with booming thunder that about knocked me out of bed and lightning bolts that lit up the sky. I had to dress in water gear and go divert the rain barrel but not before water came in the basement, I also ran to the barn to close the door but not before water poured in.

After doing chores this morning I tiptoed out to the nest to see how the babies fared and it was EMPTY!!! OH, NO!!!

But then there was a flurry of feathers and a tiny bird flew to the top of one of the raspberry canes and an Indigo Bunting pair flew out!!!!! The male is a beautiful dark blue, the female brown. I got the heck out of there, the babies are safe in the warren of berry thorns and the pair can take care of them.

It's so EXCITING!!! They are not a bird we see very often, it made my day!

Giving a cow a pedicure, caution, do not try this at home!

When both Bovine and Equine animals over eat, they develop a condition called laminitis, an inflammation of the feet which causes lameness and makes the hoofs grow upwards. If not kept trimmed, the animals will become crippled and unable to get around very well. We had a young cow that over ate last fall when they were turned out into the cornfields and over the winter her hooves started pointing skyward, Bruce called her 'Old Ski Foot.' He finally made an appointment with the vets to get her trimmed before it was time to go to the pasture.

These are not the eyes of a gentle cow, these are the eyes of a cow that is vowing to get revenge.

At the vet's office she was run into a headgate and haltered, then Clayton gave her some tranqualizing pills.

They didn't help.

It took two vets and Bruce to get her up against the tilt table, squeezed by a gate....

....pulled by her tail....

...belted around the flank and behind her front legs.

"Going up!"

She was trussed up like a Thankgiving turkey, head strapped down along with her feet, she wasn't moving.

She had a lot of time to plot her revenge.

This is what her feet were beginning to look like.

"Just go to sleep now."

Clayton started by nipping off the big points....

.....then worked over the hooves with the hoof knife, digging out any bad places.

The final step was done with an electric grinder, YIKES!!!!!

After shaping and primping all four feet, "Going Down."

Clayton and Jarod released her from all the trusses....

....and she immediately went after Bruce.

"You, YOU are the one who did this to me!!"
She had no interest in getting in the trailer, she was still out for revenge, then Jarod climbed in the front to create a diversion.

She leaped in the trailer but wasn't fast enough, Jarod was out the side door to safety.

Back home she tries out her new pedicure but she still wasn't happy.

Perhaps because she didn't get them painted in the new, hot summer colors, like 'Moola' or 'Alfalfa Green', I'm not sure what color goes best with manure.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Welcome Bruce and Julie French to the 21st Century!!"

Well, we did it, we have a Smart Phone!! We can Google, we can Text (Say it isn't so!!), we have unlimited minutes, we can check our heart rate and how much exercise we are getting, we can zero in on any place in the world to see what is going on, we can even take pictures, if we are only smart enough to figure out how to use it.

We have struggled with lack of service in MN with the little cheapo flip phone, but the $30 monthly fee was a big draw for my frugal hubby, who carried the phone. He was limited to 300 minutes and no texting, which was fine with us. We did not use the phone for the primary contact and Bruce seldom ran over the minutes, when he did there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Did I say he was frugal?

When Bruce was in MN, he has been fishing with John and we relied on him to keep us connected but that was aggravating. Thursday we were driving home from Storm Lake and I was trying to call but the phone refused, "Action Failed", time and time again. I was tempted to throw it out the window! (It was a good thing I didn't, as Tami had to use it to retrieve our information.) I was wailing and gnashing my teeth about the "Piece of Crap Phone...." when Bruce suddenly said, "Maybe we should upgrade?" I wasn't sure I heard right but he pulled into Meriden and drove to CML, our local telephone coop.

We walked out 2 hours later, well that may be a slight exaggeration, with this lovely beauty.

A Samsung Galaxy s5, that will do everything but clean your ears and there may be an app for that. Tami gave us a crash course and transferred our phone contacts, she even set it up with the Bluetooth in our car. We have unlimited talk and text (say it isn't so!), we have made it clear to everyone that WE DO NOT TEXT! For one thing, it cost us every time someone sent us a text and besides, can't you just talk on the darn phone!! (Case in point, after 7 texts back and forth since last night to a young man in SD who was coming to pick up something, Bruce finally called him to find out he wasn't coming after all! What a waste of time!)

It is mind numbing what these electronics can and will do, the big test will be when Bruce is in MN, will it work?? He did take this picture of the cows and calves feeding at the bunk in the pasture Friday morning, the sun was shining on them and they look so pretty. And I was able to figure out how to email it to us!!


Friday night we decided to go to Paullina to eat and called Janet and Foof to see if they wanted to come, they did. While we were there, Brian and Christine and all three kiddies showed up also so we were telling them about our leap into the 21st century with our phone, come to find out, it's the same one that both Brian and Chris have. 

Suddenly I looked around the table and everyone, kids included, had their phones out, looking at them, showing things they do and I realized we have become those annoying people who are out in public and everyone is engrossed in their phone!!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Calling all birders!

When I was picking black raspberries I came upon this nest made completely from insulation, woven into some raspberry canes. I didn't notice that my picture came out looking so green, the bottom two shows the true color.

The nest was empty when I first found it but soon some eggs appeared, first only two but there ended up being four little blue eggs. The only bird I ever saw hanging around was a wren, so I assumed this was a wren nest. I picked black raspberries for a couple of weeks, still only the four eggs and never an adult bird. I came to the conclusion that the nest had been abandoned.

Today I walking by and peeked in and to my surprise, some newly hatched baby birds were in residence, I saw three sitting up with their mouths open, waiting for food.

Still no adult bird in residence! I asked Mr. Google if wrens lay blue eggs and that does not seem to be so, they have brown speckled eggs. Robins, of course, lay blue eggs, as do bluebirds, but to me these eggs were much too tiny to be robin eggs and blue birds are cavity nesters.

So I'm stumped, am I going to have to put up the game camera to find out who is responsible for these baby birds?

I will say one thing for whoever built this nest, they were brave and tenacious, messing with black raspberry canes is not for the faint at heart, they like to grab on and not let go!

Maybe I'll have dress up in camo clothing to stake it out.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.

The Good. 

I had my carpal tunnel surgery done on Tuesday and I'm already sleeping better. 

Bruce had another fishing trip planned and decided to sell the fat cattle so I didn't have to do chores one handed. 

Thursday morning he had his good buddy, Grassy, help him load cattle, it was going to take two trips. 

I got to sleep in. 

The Bad. 

I got to sleep in until 7:15 when the phone rang. 

"We've got trouble," were the first words out of Bruce's mouth, " the walk in door on the trailer did not get closed and when we got up here, we only had seven head of cattle." They loaded nine this time. "Would I please go over to the farm and see if I could find them?" 

The Good.

On the way to the farm, riding the four wheeler, I could see two steers across the pasture fence from the herd. I left the four wheeler and walked through the wet beans, praying that they would go willingly back to the barn. My prayers were answered, one went into an open pen, where I quickly shut the gate. 

The Bad. 

The other steer spooked when his partner in crime was locked up and raced back to the pasture. I could see there was no way he was going to go willingly, and frankly, knowing where he was going, I didn't blame him. 

The Good. 

I drove back to the house to call Bruce and tell him all was well, which he was very relieved to hear. If the cattle had gotten into the corn field, we would never have found them. He said they were home, parked by the bins, so I drove back over to help with the roundup. Bruce decided to just turn him out into the pasture with the rest of the cattle because it would be nearly impossible to drive him back to the barn and we might lose him in the cornfield. Besides there were 10 left if the barn and that would fill up the trailer. He was able to get the gate open and it took very little encouragement for the steer to join the herd. The last we saw of him, he was running alongside some cows kicking up his heels, "Yippee!"  

Back at the barn, I double checked that the side door was locked while Bruce and Grassy loaded the last of the fat cattle and drove to Sheldon. I packed the cooler and cooked some dinner while Bruce showered and packed his suitcase. Shortly after noon the red pickup was headed north to Minnesota where he would meet up with his brother in law, John. John sent me this picture of Bruce out on the water. 

The Bugly.

Zoe and I spent the afternoon snoozing in the gazebo, we had 1 1/2" of rain early Thursday morning so I decided to pump water from my big rain barrel into my holding barrels to make room for more water as rain was predicted. I saw this little critter on the rain barrel.

It is an immature lady beetle, they look like a little red and black alligator.

She crawled around on my bandaged hand while I tried to get pictures, she really struggled on the cotton gauze so I finally let her go. I don't see them very often as they are so tiny so if you see one, don't squash it.

The Really Good.

I saw my oncologist, Dr. Rao, last week and she declared me "Very Healthy!" I will begin two years of maintenance treatment on Sept 10 and will be able to do the first one in Cherokee. So that made my day. It's a beautiful morning on the farm and Zoe and I are headed to the gazebo with our iced coffee, well, she isn't getting any, she's too little. I hope you are all having a great day too.

The Good!

I came in to find this picture from Jean of her hubby, John, with a nice bass!

Well done, well done!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Garden Tour

Finally, after several months of hard work, well, that might be a wee exaggeration, several weeks of hard work, Saturday dawned with a sudden thunderstorm. I was ecstatic, that meant I did not have to drag the hose around and water all the pots!! Instead I indulged in a leisurely cup of iced coffee with International Delight York Peppermint Patty creamer, YUM!! Starbucks got nothing on me!!

I strolled around to see if there were any last minute changes then fed the animals. Bruce made quick work of his chores, changed clothes and was ready to attend to his parking duties. There was a bit of drama when I discovered Lacey was colicking, she's 29 years old and living on borrowed time. A call to the vet and then she had to be walked so she wouldn't lay down and roll, that can result in a twisted intestine and a painful death. By that time Rosanne, Peter and Kaiza had arrived so Rosanne offered to do the walking. She pooped before the vet got there, a good sign that things were moving and twice more after that. Bruce's duties included being a pooper scooper so some unsuspecting guest would not step in a steaming pile of dung, and she kept him hopping. I was finally able to return her to her stall to rest and checked on her throughout the day and was happy to report all was well.

The tour officially started at noon but people were arriving before that, so many were enthralled with the chickens, the woman in the green top took way more pictures of them than she did the flowers.

Maybe next year there can be a chicken tour?

Leo and Kathy Hupke checking out the chicken coop, they were so complimentary about everything. They just thought we had the nicest place here, and we tend to agree.

Monica and Betty and, who the heck is that grey haired woman?? Ye Gads, that's me!!!

The porch swing is always a popular place, plus we have the most unique stand for it, an old engine hoist cut down to size and sunk in cement.

Everyone is amazed that the cats don't go after the fish, Simone is drinking and they swim right up to her in case she has some food for them.

Bruce and Peter hamming it up by the pond.

It was an exhausting day for the dogs, you can only greet so many people before you need a nap.

I walked around Sunday morning snapping some pics, the pond is beautiful, worth all the work of re-doing it.

I absolutely love the new rock water fall, so much better than the hokey plastic one.

Of course the water lilies waited till Sunday to bloom, party poopers.

This is my Mom hanging out in the garden. I found her in Long Prairie, MN, she looked just like my Mom so brought her home and hung her in Mom's garden, I'm not sure she ever appreciated her. When Mom died, I got her back and she seems very happy out there among the hollyhocks.

What better flowers to plant than Cocks comb in a chicken feeder by the chicken house?

My little peeping guy checking out the lilies.

A baby buggy frame combined with a baby bathtub out of Leo's shop.

Kim made me this very cool succulent frame to hang on the garden fence.

The old farm cart filled to overflowing with colorful annuals. I've only had it about 3 years and always envisioned it would look like this - but I was too cheap to spend the money. I was afraid I wouldn't have much blooming so went to Rhoadside and spent the big bucks and I'm not sorry a bit. Now I am hooked.

An old ladder decorated with watering cans filled with flowers.

The patio filled with more colorful containers, note the tea cup made out of tires in the back ground. Bryan and Laura Petersen made it for me last year, they said it was one of a kind because they broke so many reciprocating saw blades.

Mollie is still trying to rest up, I know how she feels. Murphy is watching for the people to come again to play with her. She will be disappointed.

And old bike, a calf bucket, I plant anything that stands still. I had a lot of compliments on all my unique containers and people wanted to know where I got them. Little do they know there is a farm full of them next door.

My sister in law, Sue, made me these little birds after I saw some on Pinterest, they are adorable by the pond and everyone was envious of me.

I love window boxes and what better thing to use than a set of old washtubs.

I don't know how many people came, I should have had them sign a book. It was a beautiful day, after everyone left we had a cookout in the back yard. Sue and my other sister, Sara, came and hung out for the day. My good friend, Kim, who was so helpful getting the gardens ready, she came after work and weeded, helped me figure out the waterfall, arranged containers and brought some from her house that morning, was here with her mother in law and friend, Becky, showed up. Sue made 'Bob Dogs' and I flipped burgers, Rosanne brought the most decadent cheesecake with homemade cherry topping. I ate the last two pieces, Burp! A little later friends, Delmer and Cindy, showed up so we threw some more meat on the grill for them. It was such a fun day!!

I always wanted to be on the garden tour when they used to have it every year in Cherokee but by the time I was ready, they quit doing it. So I guess you could say I have filled one of my bucket list wishes, it was a lot of work but so worth it.

I might consider doing it again, in a year, or two, or three.....let me sleep on it.