Shades of Ireland

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Who Was That Masked........ Mama??

You may recall that Adam had decided to try his hand at turkey hunting this spring. Being the very supportive Mama that I am, I was happy tolet him run with it. That is just the kind of gal I am...... He was busy on line using Google and YouTube to learn this new skill and that gave me...... relief!! LOL!! This new hobby required all kinds of new special gizmos and he was able to buy or talk his siblings into buying almost everything he wanted. Since his birthday convienently fell just before the start of spring turkey season, he is now probably one of the best equipteed turkey hunters in the midwest..... 

Unfortunately, he is not old enough to hunt by himself---- I don't care what the state of Kansas says--- I am not turning my 12 year old loose in the woods with a shotgun! That means I get to go along...... before the crack of dawn! Let me tell you a little bit about what is involved when you go off turkey hunting. Turkeys are wiley creatures with excellent hearing and sight. That means not only do you have to be very still and quiet, you also have to be in full camo gear......

Since I have no vanity at all, I will show you exactly what I look like while turkey hunting:

Camo Fashionista!!!

Please notice that I am carry friends..... the decoys are named Jake and Henny. Apparently they are supposed to strike jealousy in the hearts of passing Tom turkeys..... lust will get you in trouble nearly EVERY time..... this is one of those teaching moments when I share such pearls of wisdom while in the hunting blind.

He set the blind up right next to the creek in the wooded south end of our property. At the time, it was dry but after nearly four inches of rain, I really felt like I should be trout fishing in Colorado. 

Since he has nearly every turkey call known to man, he spent a great deal of time "talking turkey" trying to lure them in. I was never so surprised in my life when a hen turkey suddenly yelped back at him! Two curious girls walked in and checked him out and it was marvelous to hear their conversation. They seemed to know that they were perfectly safe since it is only legal to shoot Toms. It would not have mattered because Adam was trembling so much that there is no way he could have made the shot!

Those two have been the only turkeys that we have seen so far. The season is winding down and we have been too busy or too lazy to get up early enough to go. His enthusiasm has waned but I am not the least bit sorry. The entire time that I am sitting in that blind, I am looking for ticks crawling instead of turkeys!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Farewell to Friends...

I am a horse lover. I am the person that I am in part because of the horses that I have owned and ridden during my life time. When I was a child, I am quite sure that the only reason that I stayed on the straight and narrow was because of my horse.

This picture shows four of the six equines that live on our farm these days. These are the favorites who remain as memories of our glory days...... there were times that we had as many as a dozen hanging out in the pastures. My two middle children are horseman and they spent many happy hours roaming the countryside and competeing at saddle club playdays and shows.

My youngest son has ridden quite a bit but he is still learning.

The horses spend weeks and months just hanging out, enjoying each other's company. Occassionally, someone will get the urge to saddle up and take a ride or will use one of them when helping the neighbors to gather and work cattle.

The kids have decided that two of the remuda need to be sold. Doc and Spinner need new homes where they will be used and loved. This small herd of horses really is hard to work around. They can't go out with the cattle because they harass the calves. Equines, in general, are hard on pastures and even harder on fences.

So..... Salena has advertised them and people have started calling to ask about them. Supposidly, some folks are coming out today to take a look at them.

Secretly, in my heart of hearts, I hope that they don't show up or that they change their minds and don't want them. I won't deliberately sabotage the sale...... much...... but....

These gallant beasts have made us very, very, very happy...... we have wonderful memories of long rides and all sorts of adventures. They have given many times of very close bonding between my children as siblings and myself as their parent.

But most of can I betray them...... these ornery, wonderful creatures gave my children such courage!! Such confidence!! A spirit of freedom and most of all..... wings!! They gave them the idea that nearly anything was possible to accomplish....

My only consolation is that they will most likely do the same thing for another family......

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A New Approach...... sort of.....

If you own sheep, there is no escaping the fact that eventually, they will have to be sheared. Even if you accidentally end up with a small flock of woolly misfits, when it begins to get hot, they have to have relief.
I am sure that I could hire some hardy soul who does it professionally but ......he would probably want to be paid for the job and usually shearing 15-20 just isn't worth the hassle to a professional.

I have sheared sheep in years past and I even managed to get the wool off of Catherine and Elizabeth last summer. The sad truth is that they actually looked worse after the shearing job than before. They were cooler but looked as if they had tangled with a mountain lion.

I am an old pro at clipping goats for show and have even slicked off a few milk cows for the show ring. I have also totally humiliated a long haired dog or two and mangled up a llama pretty badly.

A friend loaned me her sheep clippers and I decided to learn how to do this so that the wool might possibly be used by other friends who are spinners and weavers. YouTube is your friend. My newest hero is a gentleman in England named Phill Hart. He has done a wonderful series of shearing videos that explain things just beautifully and makes it all look very logical and simple.

So after spending several evenings watching this and other how-to videos---- I was ready!

Today was the day and Catherine was chosen as my first victim. I thought that it might be best to have a "before" picture as well as an "after" picture......

This does not do her justice. Catherine is HUGE and I chose her to be first because she is carrying a fleece that is at least 5-6 inches deep when I stick my fingers in to try to find sheep flesh.

Seth reluctantly agreed to go with me for back up and act as photographer.

We caught her up and dragged her into where the cows are milked. I had swept it out so that it was nice and clean in hopes of keeping trash out of the wool...... very funny now that I look back on it!

Much to Catherine's surprise--and mine-- I flipped her over on her rump and held her head up to my chest and started clipping her belly. Seth was even slightly dumbfounded by this finesse move and very tactfully asked me if it wouldn't just be easier to put her up on the goat milking stand...... I puffed slightly as I explained that I couldn't get the wool off in one big piece if I did it that way..... not professional looking, you know.....

Not very flattering to either one of us...... but- it is what it is!!

I lost my photographer about five minutes after this as I was shearing up her left rump and side. By this time, I was really gasping for oxygen and needed Seth to help hold her front end......

We managed to get her twisted, turned and rolled around enough to get the wool off sort of in a big blob-ish sheet......

I rather creatively got it folded and rolled up and stuffed in a box.....

I had great plans of surprising one of my friends in Georgia with a box of wool in the mail....She is a spinner and knitter but...... on reflection of the last llama wool fiasco that I mailed to her, I decided maybe not......

When it was all said and done----

Catherine looked like this.....

And I looked like this!!

Seth rather casually commented, "We are only doing one today---- right?"

Only one today but about 19 more inthe very near future!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Starting to Sneeze!

I can hardly believe it after that long, cold winter but spring is actually here. Along with this incredibly warm, windy weather, my allergies are also here. I can't even begin to list all the things that have happened since the last time I blogged...... but I will try!

- Charlie has a new job as a deputy sheriff and has moved out. He manages to make it back a few times a week to do laundry.
- Salena has graduated and working full time. YAY!!
- All three of the older kids are beginning the process of looking for new ( to them) vehicles. We hope to do that early next year
- Planted all sorts of fruit trees in the new orchard.
- Set out somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 new asparagus roots.
- 8 new blueberry bushes
-Added 6 comfrey plants to the herb garden
- 50 strawberry plants
-Somehow, our sheep numbers have topped 20....and I have to get the poor things sheared VERY soon!
- I managed to start all kinds of seedlings for the garden and kill a good many of them by burning them with too strong of a fertilizer mixture.

That is probably the "Top Ten" homestead happenings during my blog vacation.

Today, we are gearing back up to start the pasture rotational grazing. We very successfully strip grazed a big plot of wheat for the steers and replacement heifers. That pretty much ended today when we loaded up the steers to go to the sale barn.

We worked all morning getting the electric fencing straightened back up, headed to town to see the cow sale and eat lunch. When we got back, I spent much of the afternoon, spreading Bermuda grass seed into thin or bare spots in the pasture. Fifty pounds of Wrangler Bermuda grass cost $325!! And I just threw it on the ground!!! While walking with the spreader, I made a lovely discovery!


I flushed a meadowlark from her nest. After I took the pictures, I quickly moved away and she came right back....... so no birds were harmed to get this picture!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Taking A Break

Still alive and kicking! Just very, very busy with farm and family stuff. Be back soon..........