Thursday, August 27, 2009


It can STOP raining any day now!!

This is all too close to the way June 2008 started, down pour after down pour and then the flooding started. On my way home from work today they had State workers stationed on Hwy 30 watching the water come up to the edge of the ditches. I'm sure they were waiting to see if they were going to need to close the highway for awhile. I don't think they've even done that before and they didn't have to today. Thankfully!

Of course "Weatherman Bill" had to check out his rain gauge when he got home. It's a 5.5" gauge and it was overflowing with water. That can't be good!! Living in the country, sometimes your 'biggest' thrill is checking out the waterways and how much the creek has risen. Yep, it's up!

It's not as high as in 2008, but not too far off either.
You can tell by the way the grass is laying that it had dropped a good foot
by the time we got down there.

Down by "Hail Mary" corner it was fast approaching the
road as well. Again, it was starting to recede, but
boy was it soft!

The ditches are pretty deep here, but the water was collecting too fast.
Check out the line of grass, that's the edge of the road. YIKES!!!
Good thing we live on a MOUNTAIN!!

Of course that doesn't mean we don't have low spots.
We are now sporting a couple of small lakes!
Don't break out the fishing gear yet, as
hopefully they'll be gone in a couple days.

At least that's what the weather people say,
but we all know how often they are correct!
We were just suppose to have morning showers today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meet Chatter!!!!

Yep, I don't have dogs....I have CATS!!
Four of them to be exact.
Chemi - 10, Cher - 6, Cougar - 2,
and the newest 'addition'
Chatter - 2?

Chatter just showed up in the barn one day last winter/spring.
That seems to be how we get our cats.
He had a cute personality, which consisted of
Talking.....A LOT!!
Which is obviously how he got his name.

He's lucky he has a personality as he
doesn't have looks.
His ears are a bit frost bitten.
His eyes are a funny shape and color.
He has too much white for my taste.

(Chatter and Cougar)

He was leery of people. Well, let's be honest, just me.
Bill doesn't really like cats.
In fact, I can't imagine him out there trying to catch or pet one.
The feeling seems to be mutual, as they don't search him out either.
When I'm outside, the 'boys' are usually close at hand.
Not helping, but supervising as only cats can do.

So, after feeding him for awhile I was able to pet him, then pick him up.
As soon as I could pick him up, into a carrier he went to get neutered!
Now that's LOVE!!!

He wasn't very happy with me.
He wouldn't let me near him for
awhile after that. Ungrateful cat!

Now we're all happy again.
Although it looks like he could use some
ear mite medicine!

Yep, he'll LOVE me for that!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Of Moles and Men

Hey, wasn't that a book or something?

No, I'm not talking about the kind that your doctors asks if it's changing color!

I'm talking about the cute, but rather annoying and
destructive kind.

The common MOLE!!!

Our moles are not this black, like this one, more a mousy gray.
They are cute and fascinating little animals.
Just NOT in our yard!!!

They are only 3-5 ounces in size and eat
almost their body weight everyday!
Gee, I think I want to come back as a mole!
Some days I think I already have!

They don't believe in 'over crowding',
so 3-5 moles per acre is crowded!
I wish I would have known this before
my relocation of the others.
Oh well!!!

The last couple years I'd taken to
catching and live releasing them.
I'd tell you where...but then... know.

Let's just say...they had a nice happy home.

This year, we'd HAD IT!!
No more sitting around with a 5 gallon
bucket and a shovel at 4 O'clock in the afternoon.
No more, MS. NICE GAL!
Enough is enough!
It was open mole season!

Exhibit A - A mole borrow.

Oh, it doesn't look too bad right now, but give it a few days.
All that green grass die and turn brown.
You end up with a maze of brown lines through
your yard. It gives the appearance of someone
loosing control of the round up sprayer.

It's a mess!!

Thus the traps!
(Rilda, there are 4 pictures -
don't look at the last one)

These little beauties are scissors in the ground.
You place it along their run.
You step on it to set it.
You leave and if you don't have a
"bite" in 24 hours you set it somewhere else.

Once the mole runs through it, and it snaps, it looks like this.

I know, not a grassy area. The picture is from June when one mole
decided it would be fun to live in the chicken's outdoor pen.

And the finished product.
One dead mole.
Hopefully, that was the

But I'm not counting on it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shiny Objects 'N' Red Necks.......

Sophisticated People VS. Red Necks

You can check your e-mail and listen. I love Jeff Foxworthy!

Wait until you get to 'we like shiny object.
Hits a little TOO close to home!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crop Dusting

Yes, this is one of things on my list to do before I die.........


Does this look like fun or what!!!

Just Back and Forth.....Circling around.

Yes, that's an electrical pole!
I wonder if it's equipped with barf bags?

That's Julie's riding area!

Look, there's Julie's PONIES!!!
Hi Nellie and Caballo!!!

This 'bucket list item' could turn out to be a bit challenging.
It appears to be a ONE SEATER!!! LOL

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bourbon Reds

The Bourbon Red Turkeys are four months old now.
They are getting more adventurous on their outings and get along with the
young hens they've grown up with very well. Put them with the adult chickens and it's a different story!! YIKES!! The largest Tom thinks he needs to boss the others around, hen or rooster...he doesn't care! So, no more freedom with the other birds!

Have you ever looked at a turkey close up? I'm mean, other than the breast
and the drumsticks! The big Tom is very funny looking! He puffs himself up
- "I'm the big bad turkey!"
He's very pretty when he does this. His head turns a purple blue,
like he's holding his breath.
Maybe he is?? Take a look! You can see me with the camera in is eye!
The fuzzy thing is his ear!

I'm always amazed at how 'reptilian' they look.
If you've watched Jurassic Park (the movie), they've obviously used bird
calls for the dinosaurs sounds.
Or...are the birds making dinosaur sounds?


Here's the top of his head.

Crazy bumpy huh?? Another ear shot.

If you didn't know it was the top of a turkey head,
you'd think it was ... well, I'm not really sure.
That might have been a more interesting post.
What is it???

Finally, the bead and snood.
I always wondered why show dog people called those ear cover things on spaniels, snoods.
Now I guess I know why. Wait....I'm still not sure why!
What the heck!! G

The snood is a fleshy appendage that attaches just above the beak. When the tom relaxes, the snood is short — maybe half an inch long. When the tom struts, the snood engorges with blood and extends to hang down over the beak. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the snood has no known function.

I'm going to just have to trust the NWTF on this one. It is very weird looking.
Sometimes I wonder how the heck he breathes!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Canning Time!!!

Seems like it's feast or famine when the tomato time comes. You're waiting all spring for them to finally get ripe enough to eat and then you're rushing to get them canned before they crack or spoil. So this morning I thought I'd better get started since we had a whole pile of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness.

So, first you need to core the tomatoes and put them in boiling water for a minute or so, then into a cool bath so the skins will come off easily.

Here are the happy little tomatoes 'skinned'. I'm using all heirlooms this year. In the bowl are a variety of German Pink, Gold Medal, Italian Heirloom, Tasty Evergreen and my favorite, Cherokee Purple. I love the variety in the colors.

I cook the tomatoes down, this is called a 'hot pack' method. You can also 'cold pack' them, which means you don't cook them down. Isn't this pretty? Okay don't need to answer! G

While that's cooking I'm going to fill up my coffee mug!

Then they are packed into jars and put in the water cooker. I've learned to use less liquid and more tomato meat. Otherwise I think they have too much liquid when you use them. The left over liquid, which is tomato juice, I'll freeze and use in a minestrone this winter. YUM!!

After boiling for 40 minutes they are ready to be taken out of the hot bath.

Here's the first batch of this summer's canned tomatoes, cooling and getting ready for storage!
Just like Grandma Humbert use to do!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rock Hunting!

(My collection of rocks on the rock toting board)

Everyone's got to have a hobby, right?

Today I went rock collecting.
In the rain!
It wasn't raining when I started at 7:30 this morning.

I spotted these rocks yesterday in a ditch while
returning from a 6 mile hack with Adam.
There's a guy down the road that ties his horses
in the ditches to graze. Well, look what was under
all that grass!! ROCKS!!

They were only a half mile from home, so I
figured I'd get up early and get them all picked up.
I didn't need to provide the neighbors with
any more entertainment!!

I'm up earlier of course, but it's raining!
So, I wait for it to stop and off I go in our
trusty pickup. I'm figuring there are about
6-8 rocks. At least that's what I thought.
Turned out there's 23!!

I knew this would be a 'dirty job', so I
dressed appropriately. Rubber mid high
boots, old sweatshirt, sweat pants and
leather gloves.

I parked along the gravel and
walked the ditch line. Stepping over
and in, multiple piles of old pony
poop. As I found a rock I'd carry it
up the steep ditch to the gravel shoulder
and drop it. I figured it was easiest to
back up and pick them all up at once.

Of course, just as I'm starting to pick
up rocks, it starts to rain! HARD!! G
No big deal, I like playing in the rain.
It's not like it was lightening or anything.
It was actually rather refreshing.

Of course there's bound to be at
least ONE stubborn rock. In this
case there were two that needed more
muscle than I was able to provide with
my now soaked gloves.

So, I picked up the first 21 rocks and put them
in the back of the pickup and went
for a shovel and my trusty ole
rock towing board. This use to be a
door to the corn crib and I've attached a cable,
also from the old corn crib. This is looped
around the hitch on the pick up and you
drag your rock. Of course you have to get
the rock on it first.

The first stubborn rock was fine once
I could get it lifted out of the hole with a shovel.
I carried it up to the top of the ditch and dropped it.

The second rock was another story.
This one LIKED living in the ditch.
It didn't want to come out and it was HEAVY!
By this time I'm totally soaked. My gloves
will never be the same, my boots have taken in
water, my sweatshirt has gained 6" in length and
my sweat pants, well, let's just say the crotch was
down to my knees. It WEREN'T PURDY! G

The plan was to roll this rock onto the
board and pull it up out of the ditch.
I might add, the county dug out these ditches
a couple years ago and to say the banks are
steep is an understatement.

So, I managed to get it rolled onto the board
and tried to pull it out. Of course, it rolled
off and back into the hole. It was obvious that
was NOT going to work, it was going to take
brute strength and perseverance.
Luckily if you look up my name in the
baby books you'll see a picture of a
mule right next to it. Yes, I'm
more stubborn than even that ROCK!
I was NOT going for help.

I rolled that darn rock up that
embankment, only to lose it as
it slipped out of my mud covered
gloves and landed with that mud
sucking sound back in it's original hole.

Second try, well third if you count the board failure.
I'm literally within 3'. I'm thinking, weight lifting,
exhale when you push. I can hear my heart
pounding in my ears. This can't be good!
Where's Martha with her heart meds
when you need her???

I start to doubt that I can get this up
over the lip. I'm having conversations with
myself now, this can't be GOOD!
Okay, positive thinking!

It's landed!!!!

Now's the easy part. I hook up the
board to the truck and drag my board home.
Yep, I left a 1/2 mile of drag marks in the gravel.
So, let the neighbors try to figure that one out!

When I get home, Bill's still in bed.
I knock on the window and tell him to
come see what I brought home.
Of course I get the "eye roll" and

He was a pretty good sport.
Took my picture and helped
me roll it into the wheelbarrow so
I could put it in it's new home around
on of the hosta planters.

Now I need to ride Adam up the gravel further
East so I can see if those horses exposed
any more rocks!!

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moving a House

No - Not Ours!!!

Here's an old Iowa house that's being SAVED!! Isn't that GREAT!!
I love old houses.
This one is 125 years old.
The former owners built a new home and were going to
tear this old house down.
When the "new" owners caught wind of it and asked if
they could move it. YES!!!!

It will need a lot of work, but once it's returned to it Grandeur,
it will become a bed and breakfast.

A TV crew was on site for the 5 mile, all day move and it
may might be made into a documentary to be
shown on the TLC network.
Of course it won't be seen by cable or dish here!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Provisional Judging - PWD - Water Work

I had my first 'Provisional' judging assignment over the weekend in Coon Rapids, MN.

It was a lot of fun! The only thing that would have made it better is if MORE Dogs had PASSED!!! I had 4 - Courier Entries, 2 - Working, 9 - Apprentice and I believe 7 -Junior Certificate. Winnie and Katie were the only ones to qualify out of Working Class, CONGRATULATIONS! Many of the others were SO CLOSE!

I enjoy going to the MN Water Trials. The people are so supportive of each other and they clap after each performance, no matter the outcome! They are a laid back group and there's never a shortage of someone willing to jump in and help out.

The site is really nice too, although the water level isn't what it should be. They have been very dry this year. The up side is we had more sandy beach than last year. The down side is it's a challenge to get dogs to swimming depth when it's no very deep. That might not sound like a huge deal, but the whole point of a water trial is to have the dogs SWIM!!!! Imagine that!!

The club had a judge from Seattle, WA and she judged on Sunday. I judged on Monday.
For provisional you have to be 'supervised', so needless to say I was on my BEST behavior.
Or, I was most of the time!

I had a beautiful sunny day! The weather couldn't have been nicer. This of course resulted in a lot of 'public' traffic as the day progressed. This results in distractions not only for the dogs, but the judge as well! Can you say, FOCUS ESTER!!

Overall the public and the dog club did very well together. The ring area was about 50' wide and then another 25' or so taped off on either side of that. Most of the people and dogs were totally fine with all the distractions. Of course you must always have ONE! LOL

During a warm up of one of the "Apprentice Dogs" (this is the lowest titling class), a man decided to push the limits and swam right through out trial site. Now, I'm not sure what possessed him to do such a thing? If you saw a bunch of pop up tents, caution tape and markers set out in the water, would YOU swim right through the middle of it?

Water trial scoring is pass/fail. You either did it or you didn't. There is a time limit factored into each exercise. Weather conditions can be taken into account, but I didn't have to worry about that on Monday. Each Titling level has 5 exercises and the Junior Certificate level has 4. You're not required to get a certificate in order to move into the titling classes.


Junior Water Dog (JWD)
1. Retrieve Dummy from Shore 1 minute
2. Board Boat and Ride with Handler 30 seconds, 30 seconds
3. Call Dog from Shore to Boat 2 minutes
4. Measured Swim with Handler 2 minutes

Apprentice Water Dog (AWD)
1. Underwater Retrieve 1 minute
2. Retrieve Dummy from Shore 2 minutes
3. Dummy Carry, Boat Ride and Recall 30 secs, 60’ boat ride, 30 secs
4. Retrieve Floating Line from Shore 2 minutes
5. Measured Time and Distance Swim with Handler 20 seconds, 2 minutes

Working Water Dog (WWD)
1. Gear Bag Retrieve 1 minute
2. Retrieve Dummy from Boat 2 minutes
3. Retrieve Overboard Articles 3 minutes
4. Retrieve Dummy between Two Boats 1 minute
5. Blind Retrieve Of Floating Line from Boat 2 minutes

Courier Water Dog (CWD)
1. Courier Pouch Exchange 2 minutes
2. Blind Retrieve Of Floating Line: Boat to Shore 3 minutes
3. Directed Double Retrieve From Boat 3 minutes
4. Retrieve Fishing Net 3 minutes
5. Buoy Ball Placement 3 minutes

Courier Water Dog Excellent (CWDX)
Dog and handler will qualify two more times at the Courier Water Dog level.

Every level seems to have one exercise that's consistently more challenging than the others.

The measured swim was the 'bug a boo' for the majority of my JR and Apprentice dogs.
For Working it was the 3 articles overboard. This is where the water depth and really come into play. If you have a larger dog that can put his front feet on the boat and be touching down, he can decide to just "let me on already", vs. going back out to get the rest of the articles.
In Courier, it's either the retrieve line from shore or the Buoy Ball Drop.

Water work is fun and I enjoyed judging. Luckily, the time commitment isn't huge, as you have to have warm weather in order to have trials! So, you don't have any January assignments. Most of the water trials fall in the months of August and September.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rockin The Beer Gut

Hanging with my 8 and 12 year old Niece and Nephew over the weekend was quite an adventure.

From "Fart Spray" hidden in the kitchen cupboard, (Vaughn, it's with the candy sprinkles), to messing with the Cattle...we had some fun. Along the way I learned that my Niece really likes County Music. I didn't even TRY to get her talked into trying "Biggie". Maybe in a few years??? When Mom's NOT looking.

So, here's one of Daphne's favorite songs. I must admit, it is rather cute.

Boy, kids sure do provide a LOT of blog material!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Swimming Party!!!

Our 'lap' swimming group, or about half of us and their spouses got together at Wilma (she has the key and the whistle to the pool) and her husband, Larry's house to have a potluck dinner. It was AWESOME!!! Rilda, you should warn Roy that the Amana Brats were AWESOME!! I now have two kinds I'll eat.

Larry and Wilma have two dogs. A nice, older, a bit overweight, mixed breed name Lia la, and a black/tan Afghan hound named, Saphira! NO WAY!!! So, I told Wilma that I have a pony named Saphira. She looked at me with surprise and asked, "Where did you get the name?" I explained from the book Eragon. She told me that I'd have to ask Larry where he got the name.

So, Larry comes out and explains that when he turned 65, he realized that there were still things he wanted to do and acquire. On of those things was to get an Afghan Hound, however they were very expensive to buy. Not to mention that they are members of an animal rescue league and how would that look to go out and purchase a dog. So, he started checking websites and found this afghan hound down in TX. She was owned by a women that had gotten ill and was no longer able to keep her, she was returned to the breeder. Thus, Larry got his dog and he named her after a famous belly dancer in Washington D.C.!!! LOL

Here she is!!!
The Belly Dancer...not the dog! G

They have a wonderful variety of flowers and plants. A very nice garden that's well kept with weeding and such daily. When someone asked Larry how he kept his garden so nice, he gave the weeding credit to Wilma, as it's organic you see. All I could think of was, "Oh NAY NAY!! I believe in chemical warfare". Luckily, my internal voice wisely kept this to myself.

So, then we started talking about swimming and of course the synchronized swimming topic came up. Okay, so maybe I mentioned it MONTHS back in one of my e-mails to the group, but we all had fun with it. So today when I get home I have an e-mail from the group.


Greetings Everyone!

At our picnic there was some discussion as to whether or not we should switch from lap swimming to synchronized swimming. After viewing the attached, I think this would be a good idea. Let's all thank Jerry for finding the perfect choreography..

Everyone please study and practice the routine below. If you are a lap swimmer, you are REQUIRED to participate. The only exceptions are those over 65 and/or those with a key to the pool. If you have a SO who is a non swimmer, he/she is expected to attend at least three rehearsals to critique. (Ron is expected to attend every single rehearsal.) I have scheduled our first performance in six weeks--providing I can find an audience!!!


(I responded......)

Alas, I would LOVE to participate, however, there are several things that prevent me from doing so.....

I lack the nose plugs required.
I don't think I can get my legs to go that many directions at once.
I can't understand the coach.
I don't have eye shadow that color.
If those reasons aren't good enough......

A couple times I thought for SURE they needed a life guard! WILMA!!!!!!

Luckily, I have a key. Right Wilma? wink wink..

Monday, August 3, 2009

Give us a KISS!!!

Cows are funny....they like to lick things!!

Their tongues are rough and STRONG!!!!

Daphne's 'little' guy is no different.
Little #75 is trying to suck her finger right off her hand!

After she gets her hand back.....
he's licking her arm!!!

Of course I was a little late with the click....

But yes, he licked her in the FACE!! LOL

Come on Daphne!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clean up the BEEF!!!

Washing, blow drying, spraying and clipping of the cows could be rather fun. IF you knew what you were doing. Martha said they are called Cattle Fitters, um....I'll just call it groom. If you're a fitter it sounds like you KNOW what you're doing, I did NOT! It was fun to putz with the spray, brushes and clippers however. Daphne and I are going to practice a bit before next year's fair. At least, that's the plan!

Some of Daphne's grooming needed to be done in the barns this year as she shares a chute with her cousin. In this picture it looks like she's doing more VISITING than DRYING!!

Here's one of Daphne's friends that ended up with a bit too
much tacky spray in her own hair!!!
Desperate times call for desperate measures!

It really was NOT in her eyes when they were done!

Vaughn at the Fair - 2nd grade bucket bottle

This County Fair offers a "pre-4-H class" to kids not yet old enough for regular classes.
This is a GREAT way to keep them involved until they are old enough and
gives them the ring experience to boot!

This is Vaughn's second year on 'pre-4-H'.
He'll have one more year to perfect his handling skills!
He's already doing an AWESOME JOB!!!!


Before they bring their calve to fair they have to work on a
project book. This book explains what they had to do to take care
of their newborn calf. It might also include day to day feeding,
cleaning and watering of their animal.

At the fair they having a one on one interview with the judge.
During the class the judge also asks them a few questions in
regards to the raising of their individual bucket bottle calf.

What a great way to learn responsibility and self confidence!
Not to mention a blue ribbon and $5!

There's nothing cuter than the pre 4-H bucket bottle classes!

Carcass Class - Preview of what you're buying!!

This was the first year that the DM County fair offered a 'Carcass Class'. It's a class you have to pay a nominal fee for, $15 and it tells you what your 'beef' looks like on the INSIDE!! They had a pretty good entry for their first year, with 46 entries. Since you have to pay to enter, not everyone did it. Hopefully as they continue to offer it, more and more people will enter. They were very pleased with the first year turn out.

Well, how in the heck do you do that, BEFORE.....well, you know. Apparently it's pretty easy, you use an ultrasound! Who would have thought! I guess it makes sense.

When the kids came into the fair with their cattle on Wednesday, the did the weigh in and then went over to a chute where a person ran an ultrasound over them to judge the quality of the carcass. They provide you with information on, beginning weight, final fair weight, Average weight of gain (that's how much weight they've gained each day on average. Daphne's was 3.84 lbs...I do NOT want to stay at their house long!! It also gives you the area of rib eye, fat cover, USDA Grade and other information that's outside my grasp. It's actually very interesting. I'm probably one of the few that think so...but if you want more information you can look at -
(no icky pictures Rilda!!!)

Both of Daphne's steers are home grown and her returning bucket bottles from last year. These are calves, that for whatever reason their mothers didn't want them. The smaller of the two actually had a broken leg as a newborn that Chris "farmered up".
Apparently he did an awesome job!

Here's Daphne's #4 weight of gain and #4 Carcass Class Steer

540 lbs started weight
1365 lbs finished weight (215 days later)
Ear # 84


Daphne's #7 rate of gain and 13th in the Carcass Class.
This is Daphne's 'baby'.
496 lbs started weight
1250 lbs finished weight (215 days later)
Ear # 85

Why ear tags and No name??
Well, after naming her first few calves, Daphne thought she
would get so attached if she just used an ear #.
She realizes now that it doesn't matter, in essence, the
ear tag becomes their name.
It doesn't sound like she'll be switching back to
names any time soon.

Mule Jumping!!!

There are a LOT of fun things at the fair.

One of the highlights was the Mule show.
Yes, this included "Mule Jumping".
Now if this event doesn't make you want a mule, NOTHING Will!


The next event was the "egg and spoon' class. You have to ride your mule around with an egg in a small plastic spoon. No, you can NOT bring your big one from home. I'm sure someone has already tried that. There were 16 participants, those that have lost their eggs go to the center.
The last two had to put their spoon handles in their mouths and ride.
Below is your winner in her victory lap!

There was a VERY cute 5 month old available.
I didn't bring her home...I didn't want to get in
THAT much trouble!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

GOT BEEF??? DM County Fair

Just back home from the DMC Fair.

Above is my niece's returning bucket bottle calve from last year.
He's thinking about slipping her the "tongue"!!
Aren't they CUTE!!

He ended up 7th in "Rate of Gain", and 13th in the 'Carcass" class.
Yes, that IS what you think it is!!

Her other Steer ended up 4th in "rate of gain" and,
4th in the Carcass Class.
Yes, she is LAYING ON HIM!!!

Check back tomorrow for ALL The details.