Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bunny Hunting

Well yesterday was a first for some members of our family, we went bunny hunting, all of us.  Last year Scott and Adin took Freya out on her maiden hunt, just once. 

We got a call from a good friend who hunts rabbits to see if Scott wanted to go and we all went, 2 adults, 3 kids and 3 beagles.  I had never done this before, but I was so excited to go.  Shayna did great.  She was in the heat of the chase with Ben (our friend's beagle) barking up a storm when they found a fresh track.  Freya followed and so did Nikki somewhat.  I think that they were in it for the love.  Every time Nikki saw the girls she would come for love.  Goofy dog. 

In the end, Scott got 2 cottontails and I got one.  We got a total of 5 in our group.  Now we are aging them much like we do our deer to tenderize the meat.  I look forward to trying rabbit for the first time. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

4 More Days

This Saturday I am walking/running the Whistlestop Half Marathon in Ashland with my sister.  I am very excited to do this, even though I am no where near as ready as I was hoping to be.  That is ok, I will cross that finish line, come hell or high water. 

I decided to do this to get more "in shape".  Which that thought brings me back to days of old when I worked on summer staff at camp and we were playing an all camp game and I over heard a conversation between a camper and a counselor after the counselor tagged the camper.  It went something like this...
Camper:  "No fair!  You are in shape." 
Counselor:  "Round is a shape!" 
Yes Round is a shape.  One I was hoping to shrink.  That little incident a while back, leading to the drowning of a little girl threw me off my plan.  Well, plan or not, T minus 4 days!

Sis and I already decided that we are going to do it again next year and we haven't even started the race yet.  We'll see what happens comes Saturday afternoon, but I am guessing we will do it again.  Us "Klevgard Girls" can be pretty darn stubborn at times.  ;)

Friday, October 5, 2012


Today is a tidbit day, nothing big, just tidbit thoughts.

1.  You know it is getting colder when I dig out and put on the long johns before the jeans go on.

2.  Went to check the nest boxes last night and this is what I found.  Gotta love this crazy little egg.

      We have never had an egg that small from a Buff before and we all thought it was super cute.  A wonderful lady over at A Farmish Kind Of Life and The Hmmm...schooling Mom did an experiment with some different sized eggs that they had on their farm.  I may just have to try this also.

3.  You know it is going to be a rough day when you dump water on your pants and shoe as you are refilling the chicken's water in the morning.

4.  I still need to put the kid's pool away, but today may not be the best day for it, as it might just turn into a hang glider and who knows where I will end up.  That wind is a whipping out there.

5.  When chickens need more protein to help them regrow feathers, feed them beaver.  That is if you just happen to have some beaver handy.  They love it! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Saving Salamanders

When I got home from work today, the kids came bolting out of the house all chattering at once about saving some salamanders.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  At first I thought they were confused between salamanders and skinks (which we have a ton of around the homestead and I had yet to see a salamander.)  Scott assured me that indeed they were talking about salamanders.  He found them in a log that he was harvesting for firewood that afternoon and we needed to find them a new home. 

So we all hiked out to the current and soon to be former home of said salamanders.  After moving a few of the log pieces we found 5 beautiful little salamanders.  The contrast of their black bodies and their bright blue spots were so awesome.  

Now where to locate them to?  There is a nice downed, semi rotted out log next to our bow target that we won't be using for fire wood so we hollowed out a couple of little wholes underneath it and carefully set them down and watched as they scurried into their new home. 

We then covered up their doorway so they are set for winter.  I hope that they like their new accommodations and the kids sure had fun learning a bit about these shy little creatures that you don't get to see everyday.

Monday, October 1, 2012

House Guest

This is one of our kitchen/dinning room windows.

This is one of our fake window shutters,
purely for decoration purposes only, or so I thought!

Here is the tiny little crack between the cement board siding and the shutters. 
This isn't just a tiny little crack, this is a condo. 

A condo?  For what?  For our friendly neighborhood bug catchers, bats!  I have always wanted to make a few bat houses around the homestead, but haven't gotten around to it.  I knew we had some local residence because early in the morning when I would go out the front door and head to the coop, these little guys would be flying around the light outside the front door catching bugs.  I have always enjoyed watching bats fly. 

It wasn't until just this week that I discovered this nice little condo.  I was in our sunroom with the windows open and heard a bunch of squeeking.  I tracked down that sound to behind the shutter and low and behold I could just barly see him/her moving around back there.  Cool - just so they don't move into the actual house, they can live behind the shutters all they want.

Wisconsin is home to 8 different species of bats.  Three are solitary most of the year and then migrate south for the winter.  "Snowbirds".  The other 5 species form colonies and will hibernate here over the winter.  Now I can't tell you forsure which species has become out House Shutter Guest as I haven't gotten a good look at it yet, but I am guessing it is a Little Brown Bat as they are very common in Northern Wisconsin.  If I do get a good look and I can tell which one it realy is, I'll be sure to update.  Until then, I will just enjoy knowing our little bats will continue to eat mosquitoes and other bugs for us.  They are so great.

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Chicken First Aid

I guess that it is a good thing that I am going back to school for Nursing next fall or this spring, because I seem to be doing a lot of first aid lately.  On Saturday our chicken complex acquired 5 more laying hens.  These lovely ladies are spending the winters with us and the summers at the near by Bible Camp that I work at in the office and used to be the Program Director of.  The ladies have a summer residence by the campground and Tree House Village, but no where for warmth in the winter, so we invited them to stay with us.

When they came to camp they had recently been picked on by a rather nasty roo as I was told, so they were all missing big areas of feathers on their backs.  Over the course of the summer, two of them (Lady Cluck and Phoebe - we named them that) regrew their feathers.  The other 3 have not and I am suspicious of Lady Cluck and Phoebe being bullies.  Once a chicken has a weakness, others tend to exploit that, we here on our corner homestead have never experienced chicken bullies before.  So I went to the store and bought some vapor rub (this is a sure fire remedy according to my sister) and lathered up Red, Camilla and Baaky's backs.  Chickens don't like the taste of vapor rub, why would they?  Ish!  So far, the redness on their backs have gone and we will keep up the treatments and hope that before the snow flies we will have some feathers on these lady's backs. 

These 5 new ladies do need to learn that it is best to sleep in the coop at night when it is so chilly.  Saturday night, they didn't do this and were dancing around on chilly feet Sunday morning.  Last night the kids and I corralled them all into the coop and locked them in for the night.  Hopefully we won't have to wrangle them again tonight. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Acorn Flour - Part 2

OK - Making acorn flour is not that easy!  Well, it isn't that hard either, just time consuming.  On Saturday, Adin and I sat for a couple of hours while watching a movie and cracked acorns.  I am no where near the end of my cracking shells.  Maybe I should hire the gray squirrel that is eating our back door to help crack the shells.  That would give him something else to do other than eat the door.  That door must be tasty - this squirrel isn't the only one who has nibbled on it in the past.  Check out this other goofy critter.

Anyways, I need to invest in a padded handled pliers or something.  I have blisters on my right hand.  During the 2 hours or so, I only found 3 worms (this is good) but a lot of black insides.  I still have an ice cream bucket and a gallon Ziploc bag to crack.  I will keep you all posted if this ever gets done.  It better be darn tasty flour for all of this work.  Yikes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chickies Go to Preschool

It was an exciting day today in the coop as some special chicks got selected to go to school.  I wish I has pictures that I was able to share, but because of privacy for the children who go to my preschool (not the chickies) I am unable to post any.  So I'll just share some of the highlights.

* 6 chickes arrived and made their debut at 10:00 am

* They were immediately engulfed by little faces peeking into the crate.

* At times the noise from the kids was a bit more than the baby chicks were used to.

* Turns were taken at petting and holding chicks on their laps.

* One chick was taken into the baby room to show the younger kids.

* One chick had to potty so bad that a teacher got pooped on. (not this teacher) Sorry Cara!

* Many chicks were lulled to sleep in the soft hands and laps of the kids.

* Seeing it is color week, we talked about what color the chicks are and what color they will be when they grow up and some colors of other chicks/chickens also.

* 6 tired little chicks packed up to make the trek home about 10:50 am with lots of little children looking out the window and shouting their good-byes to the chickies.

Thanks to my wonderful Hubby, Elle and Lizzy for making a special trip down with the chickies. 

Now I just hope that these chickies don't make the others feel bad that they were not chosen to go to school. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Acorn Flour - The Begining

Today the girls and I decided to pick acorns and try and make acorn flour.  I knew we wouldn't actually get to the flour making part today, but I at least wanted to get some picked.  Adin didn't want anything to do with it, he was going "red squirrel hunting" with his bow. 

After about a half and hour/twenty minutes, the girls gave up and joined their brother (he had given up on the "hunting").  It was pretty tough sledding under some of trees as there must have been an acorn party with the deer and the squirrels last night because all of the acorns had bites out of them.

This is really what the kids ended up doing.... sledding.... under the trees, on the grass.  Have I ever mentioned that I have strange children sometimes?  Gotta love 'em.

After searching half of the yard I collected 5 lbs (an ice cream bucket full) of acorns.  Now I just have to toss out the squishy ones and the ones with worm holes in, shell them and look for more worms and start the grinding and the boiling. 

Updates later to follow.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Kids On The Block

No, I am not talking about the boy band from the 80's,
I am talking about our 28 new fluffy little chicks who call our coop home. 

 They arrived bright and early on Thursday morning to our local post office, just a peeping away. 
There are 1 Buff Orpington named Gold Finch, 
1 Australop named Fancy (from the Fancy Nancy books that my girls love so much) 
and 26 Cornish Crosses all named "Nugget."  I am not going to individually name them all, only to eat them in a couple of months.

Even at just 5 or 6 days old they are already acting like "Big Kids" and getting the hang of roosting. 

The kids love to spend time just hanging out and chatting with these little fluffy guys and gals. 
This next week, a couple of luck little chicks may even get to make a trip to my preschool to visit my class.
It is colors week and would be a fun thing to add to the rest of out stuff.

The big girls and roo next door keep trying to catch a peek at the new neighbors. 
I keep telling them, all in good time.  
I am always amazed at how fast they grow, especially the meat chicks.  They are already showing signs of being bigger then the 2 layers.  Fancy has taken to napping in the feed dish to insure she never gets left out when it comes to food.  I think that is pretty smart when you are the smallest. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School

Today is a big day at out house.  (Yesterday was also.) 
Our girls, Elle and Lizzy, start 4K today and Adin started 1st grade yesterday. 
I can't believe that all 3 of them are in school.  I am sure that all parents say this at some point,
and I did on Adin's first day of 4K, but where did the time go? 
It seems like just yesterday they were all babies. 

This picture is from the girl's baptism.  Palm Sunday 2008.
Adin had just turned 2 and the girls are almost 3 months old.  Oh how little they were.

I can't wait to hear all their stories tonight when they get off the bus.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sweet Smell of Line Dried Clothes

Photo from

The other day I was looking through Pinterest (yes - it is very addicting - but full of great ideas) and I found this picture of a homemade clothesline.   I have been wanting one for a long time.  We had one at the old house that was too big - metal - to move and I have missed not having one here at the blue house.  So I thought, this looks simple, I can do this.  I figured out what I needed for it and stopped after work the next day to pick everything up.  When I got home I showed DH what I was planning.

When I got home the next day after work, I was all set to start in on my clothesline, only to find out that DH had it all cut and put together already.  Wow!  All I had to do was decide where I wanted it, dig the holes and put the eye screws in for the line.  It was done and cemented in before dinner.  DH did mention that if it hadn't been such a hot day he wouldn't have gotten it done, as he would have been out cutting wood.  :)  He is so great!  The kids even pitched in and helped dad put it together.  They all like to "build."

Now that the cement has set and I have the line up, there hasn't been a day without laundry hanging.  I love it.  There is nothing better than that sweet smell of line dried clothes.  Glorious.  Now I feel just a bit more "homesteady" than before and I am saving $ on the electric.  Awesome!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken First Aid

A few days ago when I went to check on the chickens and refill their food and water I noticed blood all over the inside of the coop.  At first I thought, "Ok - who is beating up on who?", but then I realized that it was a foot.  Somehow, Cricket punctured the bottom of her foot.  So first responder me, scooped her up and took her to the house. 

Adin and I dug out the first aid stuff (neosporin, gauze and coban).  We cleaned of her foot, put some neosporin on the gauze and worked that in good. Than took the bright pink coban that was left over from our days of showing cattle when I was a kid - it was still unopened- and wrapped up her foot.  Ms. Cricket, who hasn't liked to be held since she was a chick, just snuggled into my arms the entire time. 

I didn't know how long the pink bandage would stay on, but to my surprise it stayed on with no one bothering it.  Cricket perked up and was her normal self the next day.  Tonight Scott helped me take it off.  I needed assistance as I said, Cricket was back to her normal not wanting to be held self.  When we took it off, she was all healed up and ready to go.  Yay for bright pink coban. 

I know, I am a crazy chicken lady who bandages up her chickens.  I didn't want to lose another one, especially since I could do something about it.  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tragedy In A Small Community

Ever since Wednesday August 15, I have not been myself.  Life has become empty feeling and very emotional.  I have not wanted to do much of anything, although I have been forcing myself to do somethings. 

Being a part of our community's EMS as a volunteer firefighter/diver and former EMT and also a First Responder instructor I have often talked about, taught about and experienced CIS or Critical Incident Stress.  Different incidents effect different people in different ways, but I have never experienced it like this.  YUCK! 

I have seen death and severe injury in many ways from heart attacks and car accidents, to drownings.  I have been on rescues and recoveries.  This recovery was not my first dive recovery of a child, but my first since I have been a mother and to help in the recovery of a little girl about the same age and size of my girls has left me shaken.  There are so many things that I want to talk about, many are frustrations and anger but others are hope for how the community came together for a little girl. 

A little girl that I had never met before went missing on the evening of August 14.  I missed the original page that night and woke the next morning to it all over facebook.  We made a few calls and got up to speed and then got the page for help that morning.  We spent the entire day searching.  I have to admit, I had a bad feeling right from the get go that this was going to end in recovery and not rescue.  I have no idea why, maybe just mother's intuition or something else, only God knows but I hoped that I was wrong. 

Once she was found by a fellow diver and I held that little body, I could actually feel the other diver's heart beat through her still body. She had been in the water for somewhere close to 24 hours or so.  My heart broke as I held her, thinking of a life cut short and of the 3 little lives back home that were waiting for Mom and Dad to come home.  I held myself together, as I knew I would, saddened at the fact that this had been a recovery and not a rescue.  The next few hours were spent setting up to drain the canal and thinking.  Thinking about the actions of the parents and how this tragedy happened.  Now I will be the first to admit that kids disappear in the blink of an eye, but some of these actions really sent up red flags in my mind and sorrow and anger in my heart. 

Sadness and anger have followed me as I have heard stories and comments from others regarding these events.  This originally brought a community together and now is tearing things down.  People gave up their time, energy, resources and emotions for this cause and still others feel they have the right to belittle and tear them down.  I have heard of people saying that our Fire Dept. did not do enough to help find this girl.  Excuse me!!!!  We found her! It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but it wouldn't have changed that outcome if we would have found her earlier.  She was gone before officials even knew she was missing.  There have been people pitted against each other demanding justice, but not being patient enough to actually wait for investigations to be completed.  People, please let the officers do their jobs.  People tearing down the parents for their neglect.  I don't condone their actions or lack their of, but they did lose a child and that is something that a parent should never have to experience.  This is a time to band together as a community to be able to heal, not tear each other down.

I am thankful for all those who came from everywhere to lend a hand, a prayer, a bottle of water, what ever it was.  This was a community with a common goal, find a little girl.  I am thankful to say I am a part of this community, in spite of those who see the need to be negative.  I am proud to call many in this community "family" even though many have no blood relation what so ever.  We will get through this, I will get through this, all in time.

Rest in Peace little Reena.  A life cut short and a soul now with God.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A New Boy

A couple of weeks ago we received a new face around these parts and boy is he a beauty.  At least I think so, our feathery girls not so much at first.  "Swampy" is our newest coop resident, who came to us by way of my Sis.  Seeing as he is very talkative she figured country life was better suited for him.  Swamp or Swampy is a Golden Laced Wyandotte who is very "gabby." 

Until this point there had never been an "intruder" enter into this now flock of two until Swampy came along, so we never had any chicken fights.  Boy did we find out who was the queen of the roost.  Cricket was not happy about this new boy, but Lucy was very intrigued and follow the new Mr. Swamp everywhere he went.  The first morning as I went to check on them, all 3 residents had feathers out of place, but seemed to be getting along much better.

Now that it has been a few weeks, the girls are getting used to the new resident (he and Lucy hang out all the time) and Cricket is at least being civil.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Thoughts

Our little corner no longer has Internet...
So my thoughts and updates that I have wanted to share have been piling up....
I have not been able to share them...
Until now.  So much has been happening.

1.  The weather has been a bit indecisive this winter/spring/summer.  Early warm up then cold led to no maple sap harvest and no blueberries on our ridge. (there were some blooms, but now no berries - could also be bear related.)  Super HOT temps for a few weeks have bolted many of my veggies and I have once again experienced tomato blight.  Wish I could get rid of that.

2.  The chickens have been through their first year on our little homestead (at least some of them made it a year.)  Over the winter they lived happily in their palace that Scott built while dining on beaver carcass when they were let our to free range, which was often due to the mild winter.  The closer to spring we got and the more snow we had, those silly birds didn't stray far from the path that lead between the barn and the coop.  :)  Sadly over the summer we lost 4 of our 6 layers.  Dora (a Red Star) was taken first by a critter, than Arcee and Honey (both Buff Orphs and my favorites) we lost on the same day due to critters and then Alicia (our last Red Star) died in the next box and had not shown any sign of illness or injury.  Very strange.  Now Lucy and Cricket rule the roost and are not happy on days we are not home so they can free range.  We also ventured into the world of raising meat chickens.  Just last week we butchered 9 that were very large birds and have now just ordered 26 more for a second batch.  I was shocked at how fast they grew and to be honest, how ugly they were.

3.  The yard has begun to take more shape around here this spring and summer.  We (Scott mostly) have put in 3 rock retaining walls (2 around the barn and 1 in the back yard).  The walls are finished, but some of the back fill is not.  Our way of doing things around here tends to be finding ways to do things for free of very inexpensively (not cheaply).  All of the rocks we used were hand picked from a friend's field before planting and the digging, that was all done by hand.  The kids even got into the swing of things.  The girls went with Dad on his days off (I had to work) and picked rocks and Adin helped us do a lot of digging and even got his own real shovel.  Big stuff!

4.  The greenhouse is still in the works.  Yes that is still a dream that is slowly being realized piece by piece as we have extra money.  The footings are framed and waiting for concrete. 

5.  Our 4 legged friends have been well loved and have enjoyed happy and sad times.  Early this summer we adopted 2 more beagles.  They are Shayna (about 6 years old) and Nicki (about 3 or 4 years old) and they have now adapted well to being in a kennel with Freya who is just now 2 years old.  It took the new girls some time to get used to the idea of not being chained and able to play with each other and getting used to being loved and played with by us, their family.  Nicki is a lover who will sit for a long time and snuggle.  Shayna loves playing with Freya and fighting over their newest toy or stuffed animal (which never stays stuffed too long.)  Sadly we had to say goodbye to our long time dear friend Maya.  She turned 13 this year, which is pretty darn good for a pure bred Chessie.  Over the last month we have watched her lose weight and start having "accidents" and had to put her down.  This was really hard as Scott had here since she was a pup and for the kids she has always been there and for myself, well, I always get attached to our four legged friends and still miss her dearly.

6.  Our future hunter Adin got a bow for his birthday in March and has been working really hard to be able to draw it back.  He has now accomplished that challenge and is so excited and will spend hours practising if we let him.  We also discovered that he is left eye dominate and right handed just like his mother.  Darn.  Now he just has to decide if he is going to train himself to use his right eye or shoot left handed.  Only time will tell.

7.  Future 4 legged friends, ok not friends but friend, may be arriving next summer once it's home is built.  What kind of friend may you ask, well it is a pork kind of friend.  This is one step closer to growing more of our food and depending less on the grocery stores.  We may be getting just one pig to raise and then butcher come fall next year.  I have been consulting with my dear inspiration Carla on the best ways to raise, butcher and preserve this livestock.   It has been very informative and interesting all at the same time.  She is such a great read.

8.  Spring fishing adventures were a wonderful weekly family excursion for a good chunk of the spring.  They kids all got chances to catch different fish (albeit small, but some were "keepers" as the kids say).  We have been collecting them until we have enough for a good meal.  The best part was just spending time as a family out of doors and in nature.  It was also a great way to whined down at the end of a busy work day.

9.  School is just around the corner and this year all 3 kids will be going.  Mister Adin will be a first grader and the girls will be in 4K.  They can not wait to go to school like their brother.  They grow so stinking fast.  Just yesterday they were babies. 

Well, now we are off to family time and then our monthly (I think it has been 3 months) shopping trip.  Should be fun.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Leap Day Storm - Another Winter Wonderland

What a day Leap Day was this year!  The Meteorologists predicted snow and we got it, almost 2 feet of it.  I knew we were going to get snow, but I was hoping the amounts were off, anything over 5 or 6 inches and I was not going to get to work.  Scott woke me up before he headed to work in the 4-wheel drive truck and said I wasn't going anywhere (this was at 5:15 am and we already had 8+ inches).  I do have a few pics, but I'll have to add them later. 

The road we live on didn't get plowed out until after 2 pm.  Adin and I shoveled and I did some plowing with the 4-wheeler (have I mentioned before that I love that thing?).  After 2 hours of braking trail and plowing, my arms were jello and I had to call it quits.  Once Scott got home he finished and as the temp dropped he said it got easier.  :)

The kids have been loving actually having snow and today Adin tried to ski using my cross-country skis.  He did good, seeing as they were just a "tad" bit to big for him.  The chickens on the other hand have NOT wanted to come out and free range.  I guess I don't blame them.  The area between their coop and the barn made a wind trap and the snow was way above my knees back there.  The poor things would have gotten lost.  I am also glad that door on the east end of the barn opens in or it would have been difficult to get it open. 

Next week we are supposed to be in the upper 40's to 50, I don't think that the snow will stay around too long.  Maple tapping is getting close.  I am going to try and trudge through the woods this weekend and set some taps.