Our Prairie Nest: A Simple Life

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

We’re… baaack!

I know. I know. Two years. That’s a long time for us to have skipped out on you without so much as a postcard.

We’re sorry.

But, now we’re back and it’s going to be even better than before! Okay, probably more of the same, but work with me here.

What you’ve missed:

We’ve moved! We left the valley and my grandmother’s farm and headed for the hills. Literal hills just thirty minutes west in my dad’s old stomping grounds. There was a lot of reasons we moved and really, they’re not worth sharing. We just knew it wasn’t right for our family to stay. Thankfully, the opportunity to move here, to my great-great grandfather’s farm presented itself. Now, here we are!

The second big change was the birth of our sixth child. Another happy, baby girl, she entered the world with much fanfare and a mother pleading for her to stay put another 4.5 weeks so we could deliver get at home, like #4 and #5. Unfortunately, some of the family willfulness was past to her and she was born early. Someday soon, as we now approach her first birthday, I’ll share get birth story here.

So, what prompted this return? It certainly isn’t that I’ve found some spare time. In truth, it was because work asked for a bio to accompany my photo on their new website. In it, I included the links to our farm Facebook page and this blog. Only… oops! Someone hadn’t updated in forever. So, here we are.

(nervous chuckle)

(Mama Hen) has been a reporter since 2008. No awards to date, but her mother finds her articles riveting. She enjoys shining a light on the great people and events in the county and had aspirations to someday write a about them.

When not writing, she happily spends her time raising a family alongside Joel, her husband of 18 years. She homeschools their six children and does her best to ensure domestic bliss. She is an advocate for conservation and homesteading and operates Liten Dal Farm, where the family raises dairy goats, pastured poultry and hogs, alpacas, a few steers, and horses. Hobbies other than juggling include the outdoors, reading, vegetable gardening, cheesemaking, fermenting various things Ball jars, and making everything from scratch despite the fact that it pobably costs more.”

People will finally see what a collosial dork I am, but it’s likely no longer a secret anyway. Besides, I’m hoping writing here will also get me back on track on finding more joy in the simple things of our lives.

Mama Hen

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Happy New Year

2015. Yikes. How did that happen?

The idea of typing out a blog post is admittedly daunting. Partially because finding the time gets more difficult, but mainly because trying to gather my thoughts is as easy as trying to herd goats… hungry goats… with just one bucket of feed in your hands. You goat herds out there know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s as if I’m moving forward, but being trampled, pawed at, bumped into, and finally run down by a hunger-crazed lot.

So much happened last year! So much, in fact, that it didn’t get talked about on the blog. There was no time! Numerous projects (which are all waiting for their turn in the tutorial sun), livestock additions, livestock reductions, changes to the homestead itself, and changes for our family.

As 2015 rolls in, my resolution for the year is to simply life, removing those non-necessities and get back to the things which keep us whole. Part of that is sharing our stories and life with you.

Happy 2015, dear readers! May your year be blessed abundantly!

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A Glimpse Into My Head

My best friend sent the following article to me and I wasn’t sure whether to cry or shake my head in excitement. Fortunately, I was distracted by a chicken and I didn’t need to make the decision.

ADD humor. Gotta love it!

I was honored, not only by the title and mood of the piece, but by her email note, along with the link, asking me how closely it relates to my ADD. It was like a little squeeze of encouragement from her and frankly, it made my day that she stopped her own busy life to check in on mine. She’s awesome like that.

For those who casually toss the disorder around, as in, “Oh, gosh! I’m so ADD,” I have to admit that while I often overlook it, it sometimes hurts. ADD, for both children and adults, is a bonafide condition, despite having heard from someone in my own family that it’s “not real” and “in their heads.” Ouch.

I can say, with absolute certainty, and as a skeptic of the medical world, that it is real. Frustratingly real. Painfully real. I’m anxious, sensitive, intuitive, generous, overwhelmingly controlled, uncontrolled, brash, shy, afraid, distracted, unfocused, hyper-focused, procrastination-prone, over-detailed, and utterly neurotic at times. Occasionally? That’s all in 10 short minutes.

As the author states, these are “20 things to remember if you love someone with ADD.” And if this doesn’t apply to you, at least use the information to offer a little more patience and understanding to someone who may be suffering from it. Believe me, we need it.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/20-things-remember-you-love-person-with-add.html

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10 Things This Mom Does at Target

Over my morning coffee, I found myself reading random internet stories and blogs. One posting, “10 things moms do at Target” caught my eye.

“Why, yes! I’m a mom! And yes, I shop at Target!”

Recent realizations have indicated to me that mothers love to identify with other mothers. Collective groups make us feel included and validated. Enter any gathering and you’ll find women comparing hobbies, birth stories, or any other life-defining character.

Me, too! Me, too!

So, like a fool, I read the post. Turns out I am not those moms and momentarily I slumped in my chair. Then, I remembered the blog. I could write my version of what moms do in Target and surely some mother would be like me. At the very least, my crunchy sister-in-law would. So, I quickly wrote it up (It’s at the bottom of this post, just for you.).

Then, I wondered, “Why do women feel this urge to belong to something even if it’s not a critical piece of our daily lives?” It’s not like men do it (so far as I can tell).

“Hey, man! Did you know I have a job? Seriously? You, too? And a wife and kids? We are so much alike.”

So, I’m asking you, women. Why do we do this? What’s in it for us? Do men do this, too? Is it good? Bad? Let me know your thoughts, because frankly, I’m puzzled.

Okay, so now, my hastily written original blog post: 10 Things This Mom Does at Target

  1. Park out in the vast beyond. Remind kids that exercise is good (even if I’m huffing by the time I get to the door, realizing I’m sorely out of shape).
  2. Glance at Starbucks immediately upon entering. Desperately crave that grande caramel latte. Then, remember the recent studies that came out about what’s actually in Starbucks coffee and vow to look up a homemade recipe when you get home.
  3. Glide completely past the clothing section. Why that top costs $15 and was likely made for pennies, you don’t know. Grin like the Cheshire cat remembering the top you picked up at the thrift store for $2 when you were buying boys jeans for the thousandth time that year. Grin more when you remember how it camouflages belly flab.
  4. Consider workout gear while walking past. Does one truly need special moisture-wicking pants? Wonder if sweatpants are still made and then remember you promised the kids you’d take them on a hike that afternoon – in jeans and a hoodie.
  5. Skip toy section or stop briefly for kids to ogle. Realize it was a ridiculous idea to let kids ogle and choose nothing. Explain true suffering to children and remind them to be grateful. Grab appealing German-made educational game on the way out.
  6. Giggle at the pet food prices and cringe at the pet clothing. Feel grateful for your local feed and seed cooperative and that Spot and Fluffy aren’t subjected to wearing clothing.
  7. Arrive at food section. Consider adding the following: organic crackers and reduced-price oatmeal. Put the crackers back after realizing you’ll probably eat the entire box of gluten goodness on your way to the car. Put oatmeal back after locavore guilt makes you aware that it’s $.15 cents cheaper than what’s offered by the store in town owned by people who live in town.
  8. Browse housewares section for no apparent reason. Remember to look on Pinterest later for home décor DIY.
  9. Look at contents of cart. Realize you’ve selected one educational game on impulse likely due to a bad case of homeschoolitis. Remove game and set next to stackable crates. Consider buying stackable crate.
  10. Walk past registers and put cart back. Feel simultaneously proud and horrified that your spent nothing in the store and that you just wasted 20 minutes of time with kids in tow. Vow never to return, knowing you likely will on the next “Piano Lesson Thursday”.

(You can find the original post here: http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/family/10-things-moms-do-at-target/ar-AA3gChB)

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Farm Funnies

Farmer humor #7845:

I apologize in advance as I suspect only some of you will understand how farmer normal, but societally-not acceptable this conversation is.

Your child excitedly tells you that a goat breeder friend called while you were outside. Her buck’s poop is no longer volcano-shaped, but slightly clumpy, to which you respond, “Yes! Praise, God!”

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~ Snapshot (July/August) ~

Hey! Nice to see you again! How’ve you been?

Me? Oh, you know. The same old stuff…

Farm – We’re down three head of cattle, by choice. This brings our herd headcount to… uh… zero. *sigh* Chuck and Mignon, while originally destined for our freezer, were each sold to folks wanting to finish them off for their own freezers. This might seem a bit odd, to sell something raised for our consumption to someone else with less than four or five months to go until finish, but it was a reasonable decision in my mind.

A) Pastures are d-r-y, dry, and I am not about to start feeding cattle hay in August  B) We’re not into pumping grain into our animals  C) While Mignon’s blindness didn’t cause us problems, Chuck’s blockheadedness did and   D) Prices are high and I got a 650% return on an animals I put just shy of two years’ time and very little else into. Besides, November is almost here and we can stick it out without beef in the freezer as long as there is venison.

Hershey, our yearling heifer, was also sold, but to a fellow raising registered Angus. Having received her for next to nothing, but out of a great herd, we’d planned on using her as a foundation cow. But, one year in and we decided she wasn’t what we were looking for. I don’t feel too bad for her though, her new farm is posh, with a fancy-pants fly repellant system, mineral feeder, and modern watering system. Oh, it also has a private man-made pond, stocked with fish and outlined like a park, complete with docks that I wouldn’t put it past Hershey to sunbathe on.

The goats have  also seen a reduction in herd size. We’ve made our culling decisions and have begun to market our wethers. Most are either paid for or have had a deposit placed on them, which is a great place for us as the end of the season approaches. It looks like we’ll be going into winter with five senior does (four of whom are in milk), five doelings, a buck, and one companion wether. It’s not the “6 or 8” I was touting to all those people who think I’m nuts, but it’s comfortable, especially based on this year’s genetic results. Have I mentioned their udders? Gorgeous! Breeding season for 2015 kids starts in just three weeks. Bring on the goat romance!

The first batch of 100 broilers went to the processor yesterday. Yea! So glad we’re done with them this dry, predator-laden season. And… then we had another 50+ broilers ordered at last week’s farmers’ market. The newest batch will be here in a week. Meh. As for the layers, they’re finally cooperative again, now that our annual mid-summer collective bargaining negotiations have taken place. They’ve conceded to lay their eggs where and when they’re supposed to and I’ve agreed to let them live. We do have too many, as early August often proves, so we’ll be reducing the flock next week. I’m leaning towards giving a talk at the farmers’ market on keeping backyard chickens and it’s likely that could segway into, “Why, yes! I have some chickens for sale!”

The turkeys, Broad-Breasted Whites this year, are adorable and wonderful, as always. Given the money, I’d raise a thousand turkeys before a single broiler. Cleaner, smarter, and better at foraging naturally! They’ll hopefully be ready the week before Thanksgiving. We never did order Rouen and Runner ducks, or guinea fowl, this season, but there’s always next year, says my eternal optimist and time-denying self.

The horses and alpacas? Yup. They’re horses and alpacas. Not much else to report, thankfully. I’ve decided not to breed the alpacas this year, largely because I still have 18 bags of fleece downstairs and I want a market for the fleece first. We’ll see where the leads and inquiries I’ve gotten take me.

The house – Can you believe it? We’ve actually painted! Nearly two years in, and still waiting to put final purchase behind us, and I couldn’t take it anymore. The paint was calling to me! Rooster’s dad had sold us eight gallons of untinted paint that he’d gotten ridiculously cheap, so earlier this spring we had it tinted. We started with the ceilings, which needed some “clean and bright” after 53 years of wood smoke from the three fireplaces. Now, four gallons of Kilz primer (with a capful of bleach in two of the bathrooms to ward off mildew from humidity – great trick!), six (or was that eight?) gallons of “High Hiding White” ceiling paint, two gallons of “Chalk Beige,” six gallons of “Bone,” and two gallons of “Airway” into the project and I’m both exhausted and exhilarated, sad and happy.

It’s been over two weeks of painting (and we still have three more bedrooms to go!), hence the tired, but it looks amazing. Bright, welcoming, and yes, neutral. I’m not a big fan of “beige” all over the place, but it accentuates the large limestone fireplaces and the woodwork. Besides, I can always jazz it up with crazy textiles. Yes, I just said, “jazz” and “crazy textiles.” Stay with me here. Am I the only one who drools over a chance to room the craft and fabric stores with a blank canvas in mind?

While I can stare at the changes for hours with a dopey grin, I am sad to see the changes. This is my grandmother’s house, where my aunts, uncles, and mother grew up, and it’s always been this way. Change is good, but not being able to look around and feel like a kid at Grandma’s anymore makes me feel, well, like a grown-up and Grandma is at her new place at my parents’ house, instead of here. Is there therapy for missing harvest gold walls?

August To Do List – Blog, read, visit friends, go canoeing. Yes, there’s much more, but I’m keeping my list underachiever short. 😉

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~ Snapshot ~

And the award for the most inconsistent blogger is… me! Fortunately, I’m not brimming with readership and to date no one has complained for lack of postings.

So, what’s new on the prairie? I’m told there are several critical worldwide events taking place (World Cup, a controversial Taliban prisoner swap, and something called Kimye), but my days have been awash in things far simpler. Here’s a rundown:

The Chicks – In 2014, I became the mother of two teenagers. Two female teenagers. After immediately apologizing to my mother, we embarked on the balancing act of letting them spread their wings and holding on for dear life. It’s balanced out by our little man and the mischievous, Cheshire-grinning little girls.

“Sumatra,” the oldest, is now 15 and has no interest in boys, driving, or make-up instead opting for reading, riding, and desperately wanting a job baling hay, helping train horses, or having a surgical internship at a vet office. (Insert sigh of relief)

“Dominique,” 13, is still the mother-hen of the brood and is teetering on rough and tumble farm girl and confident, young woman. She’s put a lot of time into crafting and gardening and is often found reading or bizarrely sounding a lot like her mother.

“Barnevelder” is now seven and is one part Rooster, two parts Jedi, a dash of Lego, and a heap of the only boy in the flock,  deprived of brotherly support. He begs us for a brother to play hammers, climb trees, and build machines with. We’ve been told that it doesn’t matter if we adopt three boys his age or have a new baby boy. What matters is him getting backup against the league of sisters. Thankfully, he’s taken his younger sisters on as apprentices and is teaching them all things boy.

“Chantecler,” 4, is the little lady. Still wispy and squeaky-voiced, she’s confident, snuggly, and very much into sparkles and poofy things. The apple of almost everyone’s eye, she’s only recently learned how to put up resistance, but can normally be swayed into cheerfulness by the swing set or asking for her help with cooking.

“Sebright,” the baby, is now 21-months old. Either we’re way more tired this time around or she’s giving us a run for our money. She’s the first of five to attempt and carry out crib escapes, stripping off her clothes, unlocking and opening doors, toilet/toilet paper-related shenanigans, stairs, and getting past baby-proofing. 95% of the time she’s utterly delightful, grinning from ear to ear, passing out bear hugs, putting on and changing shoes, and showing you her belly. The other 5% of the time, she keeps us on guard wondering what she’s thinking.

School’s Out – We finally gave up having homeschool lessons year-round, instead relying on “life skills” classes beginning in late April. We’ll head back to the schoolroom the third week in July with a rousing activity called, “Standardized Testing.” It’s the bomb, yo. Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I just typed that! Lying is just not my thing. Testing is about as fun as having the stomach flu while on a roller coaster, but it’s apparently a necessity in life, despite the kids testing out as college equivalent by grade 4. No, I’m not disenchanted at all. Thankfully, when it comes to actual learning, the chicks are proverbial sponges, drawing in as much as they can. In a word, they are thriving.

Gardens, Gardens, Gardens – We expanded our growing room this spring past the 100×25′ vegetable garden, the eight 4×4 raised kids’ beds, and the sunflower/bean house. We’re now the proud, frenzied weed-pulling caretakers of an additional 20×4′ pea/spinach garden, a 100×25′ Three Sisters’ Garden (sweet corn, pole beans, and pumpkin), a 40×40 squash/melon patch, a 30′ bed of asparagus, and several miscellaneous supplements of veggies planted around the house foundation among shrubs and perennials. Yes, we’re crazy. Thanks for checking.

The Orchard – Last fall, we planted three new apple trees along the north lawn and two plum trees just north of the garage, adding to our two existing apple trees in the yard. This spring, we finally got around to purchasing a fair amount of fruiting plants and trees adding six blueberries, four cherries, ten raspberries, six currants, and 72 strawberry transplants in new beds to the also existing 14 rhubarb plants and 10×10 strawberry raised bed.

So Fowl – While we haven’t added Guineas, ducks, and quail back into the mix yet this year, we’ve still got plenty of poultry appreciation going on. After selling off a few of the ladies, 6 Dominiques, 4 Minorcas, 2 Lakenvelders, 3 Silver Leghorn, and 3 “Hamrock” hens make up the laying flock. 10 Speckled Sussex, 14 New Hampshire, and 4 black Java, and 1 white Java are in the up-and-comer flock and a bantam rooster and hen round out the group. We’ve incubated four sets of eggs, and #3 has just hatched, while #4 is due to hatch July 6. We successfully brought 19 of 24 heritage Bourbon Red turkeys through early incubation, but none actually hatched, much to our chagrin. Guess we’ll be buying turkey poults again this year!

Goatapalooza – We successfully bred seven of the eight Nubian does, including four yearlings to our new buck. January through April blessed us with 13 kids (eight doelings and five bucklings), despite winter’s icy grip on Minnesota. Fencing off the south part of the property, a steep, protected woodlot, we sent the herd to do what goats do best, browsing on several species of plants including several invasive species. This left the pasture paddocks for the buck and his wether companion to graze.

Oh, Alpaca! – Remember how I never wanted fiber animals? I love me some alpacas. Seriously, the giraffe-necked, communal pooping (a greater feature than it sounds), soft-trodden, gentle grass clipping animals might be the greatest thing to roam our land. Having had them only six months, it’s been a learning curve, but we managed to get them sheared successfully in May and have already found several interested buyers for the prized fleeces. Of course, I did have ambitions of carding, spinning, and knitting it all myself, but then I learned I’m completely delusional. Even so, at the going rate, my alpacas can pay for the feed for the rest of the farm critters, therefore they stay.

Cultured European Farming – Sometime around May, winter finally beat a hasty retreat and I was able to cut the need for feeding hay to the multiple herds. The cattle, a steer and blind heifer we’d received for free in the fall of 2012 and a calf we’d purchased for next to nothing in late 2013 have slowly been pressing their luck with me since then as I try my best to keep them rotating enough to give paddock grasses enough time to recover from grazing. On 200′ of sand, our pastures are definitely lackluster  and at some point, we couldn’t keep up. Rather than continually pump them full of feed, we (and by we I mean Rooster) had the genius idea to move the cattle to the lush stands of grass in the roadside ditches. Grazing them like this as the Europeans do, we tried to pass ourselves off as cultured. The neighbors likely laughed at this notion and saw our cattle, tethered to the tractor via halter ropes, as perhaps slightly more than redneck. The next plan (which I hope to share as a Tuesday Tutorial in early July) is to cut, rake, and then hand bale the ditch grass on the steeper portions. The goal is to send the steer and heifer off for butchering by August.

Horsing Around – Horses. Somewhere deep down, beyond the excessive eating of grass and hay, I enjoy them. Unfortunately, I get horse amnesia a lot and all I can think is, “Three purposes. Everything has to have three purposes.” While the three oldest of my chicks ride the 7-year old sorrel Quarter horse and 19-year old gray POA every walking moment, I still really struggle with horses. Pros: Leisure time spent riding, showing in 4H, the pony and his adorable little cart, animal husbandry, training and experience for the oldest who wants to pursue a large animal/equine vet degree. Cons: Equipment, hoof trimming, worming, vaccinations, Coggins tests, and all that grass and hay. It’s a wash. Then, in a weak moment, Dominique conned me into bringing the neighbor’s 10-year old bucksin Quarter horse mare onto the property because she’d outgrown the pony. After word got out that I’d gone soft, the elder chick convinced me to lease a 2-year old taffy-colored Apaloosa for the 4H Horse Training program. Four. That makes four horses on the eight acres available. Needless to say, we’ve been grazing them anywhere we can put up a fence. Word has it, we’ll be fencing off Papa’s place soon or selling a kidney or two to pay for the upkeep.

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho – Rooster is still very much enjoying his three days a week at work as a pressman. The environment is incredibly clean and organized, which has been great for his health and wish to “5-S” everything into order. Working three, 12-hour shifts, he’s free to spend the rest of his time inventing amazing gadgets for the farm and home, playing working on the tractor for my cousins mowing, discing, or whatever needs doing, playing with chainsaws, and lighting things on fire. He has been too busy so far this spring to enjoy many campfires, fishing, or other outdoor pursuits, but we’re formulating a plan to invite his entire crazy-wonderful family down for a week of fun. We get frequent visits from his sister and her family, whose inspiration always gets his mind turning on new projects he can do.

Write, Right? – I’ve been fortunate in picking up three more regular articles per month for the county paper, bringing my workload to six a month, plus occasional extra feature stories. The company and staff are amazing, which always makes work more pleasant, and the meetings run the gamut from mundane to soap opera which keeps me on my toes. I like to think that my writing makes a difference to at least three people in the county… my neighbor, who says she always reads my articles, my BFF (do 30-somethings get to call them that?) who will occasionally bring herself to open the paper if she sees my name, and my clever grandma, who is up on all the news and always knows more than I do, before I do. Someday, I’m going to write a novel, preferably not about council and board meetings.

To Market, To Market – Still reeling after a decision to get a farmers’ market off the ground in the community, I find myself putting in anywhere from 10-30 hours a week in our second season with planning, insurance, calling vendors and presenters, managing a Facebook page and website, advertising, writing press releases, and eventually making products to sell. It’s often tiring, but hearing how happy it’s made people, being out and about and seeing their neighbors, it’s completely worth it. Pinterest and I, however? Oh, we are through. Too many good market ideas!

Now, that I’ve written a novella about where I’ve been the last two months, what’s new with you?

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N + O = “Okay. Sure!”

It’s not news that I am likely the most no-challenged person. Ever. I can’t help but help, give, make something, or take in critters. I am a bleeding heart for any cause. In other words, a sucker.

Case in point, is today’s phone call from a farmer friend of ours who has a small hog operation. From ‘farrow to finish’ for you homesteaders with compulsion towards big vocabularies and excessive terminology. Yes. That’s me, too, but that’s another story. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Hey! How are you?”

“Good! You?”

“Good! (pause for effect) Say… I’ve got this piglet who’s a little weak. I think he’s getting picked on and got dehydrated. Are you interested in taking it?”

“Um… (pause for window of thinking, but slam the window shut before it actually happens) Sure! Is it in okay health otherwise?”

“Oh, yeah. I think it just got dehydrated. I’m gonna tube him just to rehydrate him. Do you have penicillin?”

“No. We don’t use antibiotics on the farm.”ME

“Okay. Any chance you can come and get him today?”

“Um… (pause, but kill thinking before it sets in) Sure.”

End scene.

 

See? What did I tell you? Sucker! As if the words weak, dehydrated, and penicillin weren’t enough! Since hog prices are on the rise, and we have toyed with the idea of raising a few hogs anyway, in my mind the worst case scenario is we have a hole to dig (Sorry folks, that’s farming). Moderately successful situation? We have a piglet that we can raise for a little while then sell off for a minor profit. Actually successful? We’ll get a free hog, raise him to finish weight, and successfully bring home our own bacon. Time will tell.

In the meantime, if anyone else has an opportunity for me, say an oceanfront home in Minnesota, by all means, let me know.

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Run, Rover!

In just a little over two weeks, the season of mini-marathons, triathlon, bike and foot races in the area will kick off. New this year is the Rover Run, a 5K put on by our local farmers’ elevator and benefitting the local humane society. Musings on the idea of farmers putting on an event aside, our little prairie nest is all aflutter with excitement. The older two chicks and rooster are planning on registering and decided they’d better start putting in some serious time on the pavement to prepare.

Jog 1A 7 a.m. run? Why, of course the chicks and dogs were in. Rooster? Not so much. He enjoys running, but when it’s spring and there are mountains of tasks on the farm, his mind is definitely focused on the latter. Still, he was a supportive father and took the chicks and pups out for a run. “Lady” our Border Collie, who is just over a year old and suffers from severe dog-ADD was a bit of a hindrance, but “Shiloh” our Golden Retriever, surprisingly recalled some of her 4-H Dog Obedience training and was a champ. They all intend to go running together at least once a day and hope the Rover Run is just the beginning. The chicks are also eyeing up the Tri-City Challenge/Conquer the Bluff, the Nanotek Trek, and the Turkey Trot. I think it’s fair to say Rooster’s reaction was about at eager as his face in this photo.

Oh, and I just can’t help but share this morning’s funniest picture.

“You have to stretch first!” Rooster cautioned.

I think it’s fair to say, the looks on their faces in the photo are priceless. “What?!?!?”

Jog 2

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Perseverance

Winter has had its icy grip on Minnesota, but despite that, our returning pair of Killdeer have laid a nest out in the middle of the pasture. Mama sits on her nest, in the blowing cold, hail, and even snow, leaving it only to lead us away from it, should we venture too close.

It’s easy to protest the weather with our cries of frustration. We have gardens to plant, animals that need pasture, not more expensive hay, and we are utterly disgusted at having to continue bundling our kids into coats, hats, glove, and boots just to step out of the house. Then, I think of that Killdeer.

Perseverance and patience.

She knows spring is around the corner. So, she does what she can and what’s most important and doesn’t worry about the rest.

EGGS

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