For the Love of Winter

The forecast predicted about six inches of snowfall over night. I don’t know how much we really got as it was “falling” horizontally this morning. Shortly after five I shoveled my way from the house to the barn. Everyone was fed inside the barn this morning instead of in their outside feeders. With the weather how it was I’m pretty sure the animals would have skipped breakfast if they had to go outside to get it anyway. The angry chicken (story here) had tucked herself into the goat house in the barn. Even the ducks were in this morning. That’s when you know the weather is bad; they don’t come in for anything but water usually.

On my way back to the house I decided it would be in my best interest to brave with elements for a while longer and dig out the vehicles we were going to need for the day. By the time I was done my hands were froze in my gloves. Probably because my gloves were ice due to the winter-cow-water-hose-thaw-procedure I use. (Stick the hose end in the stock tank to thaw, then quickly screw the hose onto the faucet until it freezes again. Turn on the water. Once water is spraying from the hose/faucet, continue to screw on the hose until spraying and dripping has stopped.- leaving me with a wet glove every time.) I shoveled through and we were free of hard snow drifts by the time I went in.

Mike left for work without a problem and my morning went as usual- feed the baby, feed the kids, clothes, clean, dishes, and so on. I shoveled once more and we were ready to go.

Well, the love I had for our old van that unrepairably died, has transferred to our “new” used van. (Van love found here.) Fifty miles an hour in reverse and we were going nowhere. I tried for a few minutes, got out a shoveled again. Tried again. Then called Mike. It took everything I had to not just start talking sailor gibberish when he answered. I don’t know what I said but he understood and told me to use the floor-dry in the garage for traction.

Through the blowing snow and drifts I stomped to the garage and grabbed the whole bucket of floor-dry and went grumbling back, “For the love of winter this better work! My phone just died and I’m going to be late for work.” I laid a heavy sprinkling of the stuff on the path I wanted to take and found the keys locked in the van. Of course! Why not?! It took some convincing through the back window to get the little boy to unbuckle and climb up front and open my door. He knows the rules and wasn’t too quick to break one.

Then followed a lot of spinning in reverse and dumping of floor-dry to try and get some grip. At one point the little boy piped up from the back seat “I’ll help push mama!” What a thoughtful little fellow. Had I been thinking I could have him drive in reverse while I pushed I s’pose.

A bucket of floor-dry and twenty infuriating minutes later I was flying down the driveway in hopes to not get stuck in another heavy drift.

One more episode like this and I’m trading the damn thing in for a snowmobile and a sled!

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Duck, Duck, Chicken

Okay, so we all know it’s “duck, duck, grey duck”, but for today it’s chicken.

I was out cleaning the coop this morning and right in front of me a rough looking little red hen pecked a shell and proceeded to eat a scrambled egg. I’m all for good chicken feed and a eggs are a great source of protein and other healthy stuff (especially ours). But I’m not about to let the girls start (or continue) to eat eggs. We are not buying feed for them to turn around and eat the eggs too.

So I did what any good farmer would do.

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Local Farmer Knocked Out by Cow Pie

That’s what the newspaper would title it. The whole thing would go something like this:

Local Farmer Knocked Out By Cow Pie

At approximately 5:30 am Mr. Lauer found his wife unconscious in the cow pen. “I usually stop out to say goodbye in the morning. I went out early because she forgot her coffee on the counter that morning. She usually has a cup with Caroline, her cow.” said Mr. Lauer. He found Mrs. Lauer laying next to her pitch fork and Caroline her cow was standing next to her looking very concerned. After assessing the situation, Mr. Lauer could see that his wife had finished feeding the cows and started cleaning the barn. The weather has been seasonably cold and the cow pies have froze. Judging by the size of the crater at Mrs. Lauer’s feet and the size of the pie next to her head it was safe to assume that she pried the frozen pie from the ground, which sent it airborne hitting her in the head and knocked her unconscious.

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Wheat Harvest

Dream big or sit on the front porch…or… Dream big, grab your hoe and rolling pin and make things happen!

I love that the eggs in our kitchen came from our coop, the raspberries in my scones came from our berry patch, the honey from our hive, the wheat from our field and ground to flour in our kitchen and if I were ever not pregnant when it came time to start milking Lucy and Sweet Caroline there’s potential for fresh dairy products from the barn. That’s just the bakery side of the farm. To say that we are blessed is an amazing understatement, to say we are thankful is the same.

This season was another season of ups and rained on hay but it was good. For the first time I can say that the bread I just took out of the oven is 100% homegrown and homemade. It started last year with the plowing of new ground to prep for the wheat field. Then in the spring, planting. We made it through a pretty dry spring and a wet fall but were able to harvest enough wheat for baking.

I cleaned the grain by hand and sent it through the mill. It was then mixed with water and set on the counter to ferment. Sourdough starter was made. The starter was added to more flour, water, honey and salt. Dough was formed into loaves. I hauled a load of “kitchen wood” from the barn to the house and started a fire. Bread was made.

The most satisfying loaves of bread I have ever baked were shared for supper. There is many thanks to be given for this bread, to my husband Mike, my dad Matt, my mom Dianne and our neighbor Mark. There was tractor work, babysitting, encouragement and support.

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Another One Bites the Dust

Louise “Wheezy”

Wheezy and I never really got along but we had an understanding. I was the boss and she would get feed and fresh water if she left me alone. She didn’t have this agreement with the rest of the herd though. She was pretty sure that one day she would be queen if she kept running the others out of the feeder or out of her way in general.

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