Filed under: Ag education, Animal care, cats, dogs, family, Farm, farm animals, food, food safety, friends, Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture education, animals, dog, family, farm, farm animals, Food, nature, pig, pigs
I am constantly amazed at the folks that turn up their nose at the slightest smell, and those that cannot stand the least bit of disarray, life is messy, deal with it!
We are conceived and born in a rather messy way. That’s how life starts out. We eat, and the leftovers leaving our bodies are anything but neat. To top it all off, for anything of any size to live, something must die, it’s a fact of life. When we die, despite the nice cleaned up corpse the undertaker provides for our friends and relatives to see, we decay, it’s a fact of life. We must join the circle of life, we are born, eat to live, perhaps pass on a few of our cells to create a bit of life to follow us or two, then we die.
Where is this all going? Back to the farm of course. We who are left on the farm are being told how to do our job by folks that turn up their noses at the least smell. We have a messy job, and know how to deal with it. Some famous person, with a fur person in their house, thinks all farm animals are just like their furry companion. Folks, a cow is not a cat, a pig is not a dog, a chicken is not a baby.
It seems all too easy for those with extravagant life styles to make the world better. Out of guilt for the huge amount of money they have, they promote legislation that is supposedly better for farm animals, all the time putting farm folks out of work and making food more expensive for those who cannot afford it. Because of “feel good” regulations, it is getting harder and harder for young folks who love the farm, to stay there.Those of us who love the farm know what to do with pigs, cows, chickens and other livestock. We want them to be healthy and happy despite the fact that we know we will eat them. Leave the mess to those who understand the mess. If you want to know how things are down on the farm, please ask a farmer, not a news anchor.
Filed under: cats, Farm, food, garden, make a difference, Trees | Tags: environment, farm, Food, garden, nature, recycle, South Africa, trees
I don’t get it! Why is everything so throw away today. This week I found a perfectly good cooler in the trash. There are constantly cans and bottles being thrown into the ditch. Doesn’t anyone care for Mother Earth?
I was raised to recycle. My parents both grew up just after the Dust Bowl and were children during WWII. They lived with rationing here in the U.S. that was nowhere near as bad a in Europe, but significant. You just made do. They went to the hog lot to pick up the corn cobs after the pigs ate the corn off of them to use for fuel to cook their meals. Living with little is how they were raised.
Still today we keep metals aside to sell for scrap. Cloths get patched not ditched. Yesterdays going to town jeans are todays work cloths. Buildings that are no longer usable are torn down to be used in new construction. I rarely saw my dad buy new nails, we just straightened the old ones. If it could be used for something else later, it was.
I’m still a reusing person. I walked the yard today to pick up the tree branches that came down in the recent wind so they could be used to heat my house and shop. I have more than enough wood from fallen trees to heat my buildings. My cats eat the household meat scraps and other food scraps go to the compost for garden fertilizer.
I know it’s harder to live like this in the city, but at least more people could recycle rather than throw away. We have so much here and we are just using it and land filling it, or buying it and then forgetting where we put it.
A few years ago on a trip to South Africa I saw people who lived off of the money they could earn recycling plastics. It takes over a cubic yard of plastic to earn a few pennies, pennies that we would not even pick up if we saw them on the ground.
I don’t get it. We have a lot to learn from people who have less than we do. One of those things is making use of the things we no longer need.
Filed under: cats, cold, fish, Minnesota, pond, winter | Tags: cats, cold, Koi, leaves, Minnesota, pond, snow, trees, winter
I thought after my experience with my goldfish pond I had it all figured out. Obviously not.
My new, larger, Koi pond has had more than a few problems. One of the worst has just surface now that winter has truly set in. I’ve been losing koi.
During the fall, the falling leaves fell freely into the pond. This has never been much of a problem before, so I ignored it. The water that once was so clear, turned brown and started to stink as the leaves rotted. I netted wheel borrow loads full of dead leaves out of the pond. Every time the wind blew, more leaves blew into the pond.
The first cold days came, with the pump hose threatening to freeze up, I turned off the pump and drained the hose. The pump was removed and stored in the house. I added a heater to keep the water open, and fish started to die.
Today I have a small air compressor running to pump air into the bottom of the pond. My theory is that the rotting leaves were using up all of the oxygen in the water leaving none for the fish to use. With four large koi and several small ones dead , it is emergency time. I’m not sure how long I will have to run the compressor. It is not meant to run constantly, but I hope that with the cold weather it will not over heat. As long as the air filter stays clear, it should run for a while.
It has been an expensive lesson. The two largest koi were the first to die and they cost me $50 each. But nothing goes to waste here on the farm. My cats have been eating well.
Filed under: Animal care, cats, cold, dogs, family, Farm, farm animals, Minnesota, school, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: car, cars, cold, farm, machines, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter
The temperature was eleven below as the school day started this morning and some high school boys were coming to school in shorts and no socks, they did have a long sleeve sweatshirt on. I know of several men who will not wear long pants unless they have to, no matter what the weather. Today’s high will be 18 degrees, and for some, coats are optional in Minnesota. Minnesotans have been known to leave home for a three hour or longer drive in the winter and not even bring a coat or boots. Yes, we raise them tough here … or do we?
I also see cars warming up outside houses for ten minutes so that the owner can make a five minute drive to work. Heated garages are a requirement for any new house built today, and apartment buildings with underground heated garages are common. Most folks here in the north are able to go from heated house, to heated car, to heated business and rarely do they experience the weather. Are we tough in Minnesota, or have todays modern conveniences made life so easy for us that we do not have to dress for the weather.
We take pride in Minnesota in our good roads. Our winter road crews are second to none when it comes to keeping roads open in nasty weather, but this has lead to the illusion that you can drive anywhere at any time. I grew up on the prairie, not in town, and I know better.
The last few winters have taken a toll on snow removal equipment on the farm. There are days you seem to be doing nothing else other than moving snow, and if you have livestock it can be worse. The animals have to be cared for. Free range is not possible when the wind blows snow into the yards every day, our animals need shelter. Larger cattle and horses can survive cold up to a point, but pigs and poultry need to be indoors. Sheep, goats, dogs and cats will make it in the cold, but will benefit from a place out of the wind and food and water every day.
The real tough one here in Minnesota is the livestock farmer, always making sure that his animals are cared for. Newborn calves in the shower stall, baby pigs warming on the oven door, these are what the livestock man does to keep his animals alive. Waterers freeze and he has to fix them despite the temperature. Feed must be delivered and if the tractor does not start, or something breaks, it can mean many hours of unexpected labor even if there were family plans. Yes, the tough one here in Minnesota is not the kid who comes to school in shorts in below zero weather, no, it’s the guy bundled up until only his eyes show, out feeding his animals. His sacrifice for the animals he raises is a true sign of being tough.
Filed under: cats, cold, fish, garden, pond, water garden | Tags: cats, flowers, frogs, garden, goldfish, Koi, pond, turtles, water garden
Although some areas near by were affected by the early frost this past week, our ponds remain healthy and blooming. The Sedum is in full bloom and a few other flowers continue to bloom near the pond daily. I was surprised to see the Blackie with a pale purple flower hidden in the leaves one day. Sorry, I missed taking a photo of it.
The baby Koi continue to grow.
Trying to get a picture of them in the water is a challenge. Most of them are just darker spots against the sand bottom. A few have already become colorful, but most are a dark grey to black in color.
It is obvious that we had two hatches since they are of two different sizes. Even the large adults are hard to see in these pictures, so finding the young ones is really a challenge.
Most of the time the baby Koi hang out under the plants, but when I feed them they will come to the surface to grab a chunk. They have a tough time getting the big pieces of food in their mouth, but they try. Mostly they work the bits of algae off of the rocks and floor of the pond for food.
There are still a few frogs around the pond but the weather has been cool and they don’t come out much. I think the cats have been lunching on them.
The Hyacinth are not growing so well in the cooler water of the big Koi pond, but are still thriving in the smaller Goldfish pond. Most of the water plants are slowing down and could use some warmer days.
We only got a few blooms on the water lilly in the Koi pond this year, but rarely missed a day in the Goldfish pond. There is one there yet today. The water lilies seem to prefer to be open when the sun hits them and close up when they are in shade.
I’ve not seen a sign of the turtles since the hatch. I don’t even know if any survived. The old nest was cleaned out by some creature just last week.
There’s the pond news for the week, come by and see them for yourself some time.
Yesterday as I walked to my shop door I heard a mewing from under the leaves. The bush had been pruned back last fall and is still low to the ground and loaded with branches and leaves. when I pushed back the branches I found this under the bush.
One of our female cats had deposited her newborns there. Since every other cat we have is grey with very little in either white or black to show a difference, this little pile of cats is a delight to see. One white with just a few grey spots, one almost black with just a bit of grey and one grey one. It is a bit late in the year so I’m not too sure if this litter will survive, but I’ll give them what help I can. As long as the weather stays dry I’ll leave them be, but if we should run into some cold, wet weather I’ll move them into the nursery. Right now they just need to be left alone.
A bit later in the day I was not too pleased to see a stray tom cat hanging around. This is the same tom that was around when we lost our earlier litters. He was not a welcome sight and was sent packing with a lead chaser. May he never return. He may have been the father of this litter, but when he sired this litter he was not at all nice to the mother. I consider him pussycat non grata.
Filed under: cats, dogs, Farm, farm animals | Tags: cats, children, dogs, farm
For non farmers pets are a member of the family. Some consider them children and treat them as such. Farmers have an interesting relationship with their farm animals. Consider….
Farm cats can be a real comfort when you have a chance to sit down and they snuggle up to you. They are wonderful with children, with life lessons at so many stages of their life. Cats keep vermin on the move. But to me a cat can never be a dear friend. You can say you own a cat, but they really own you and stay at their pleasure. I’ve never known a cat that was truly domesticated. They stay for the easy food, but when other urges lead them to wonder, they seldom come back. Cats on our farm are transients, coming into our lives for a while, then leaving before they can make too big of a space.
Dogs on the other hand are more than a friend. Dogs live to please. Dogs are helpful. Dogs will fill your heart and stay their whole extended life. I have enjoyed the company of many dogs when I lived at my parents home, but none where I live now. You see, I think dogs belong out doors, and we live too close to a major highway. Dogs need the space and freedom to run and I never have seen a dog in a kennel or at the end of a chain that I did not feel sorry for.
I’ve buried more than my share of cats and kittens, but only one dog. I’d like to keep it that way.
Filed under: cats, cold, Farm, farm animals, house, Minnesota, rain, summer | Tags: cats, cold, farm, Minnesota, porch, rain, summer
Our momma cat delivered her trio of kittens to our porch this cold, wet July morning. I can understand her a little bit. They are getting bigger and the nest where they were born is small, so it’s time to move to bigger digs where they can get out and see the world. The problem is that our porch has no place for scared little ones to hide. This meant that there were some really pitiful meows just out side the office door.
At this stage kittens really don’t know much. They creep around looking for comfort, usually momma, and sleep. To be taken out to an exposed area is not safe. It’s no wonder that so many young cats don’t make it. We’ve lost so many through the years at this stage. I’m sure this is how the first cats came to live with humans.
Just this week I’ve seen two half grown cats dead on the road. Following momma is what they do as they get older, it’s how they learn. The death toll has to be terrible.
This is the third litter I know of that was born on our farm this year. The other two did not make it past two days. Newborns are subject to the predations of male cats as they look for females in heat. I’ve done my part to keep down the number of feral tom cats in the area. I need to protect those babies.
Lest you think me insensitive, you must remember that these are farm cats. They have a job to do, killing rodents, and having them in the house defeats the purpose. As long as toms are friendly and cooperative they can stay. Females usually don’t leave but stay to keep the farm cat population alive. We usually have at least two cats here at all times, but the number varies, we’ve had 4 or 5 cats here (2 females) for almost two years. Accidents and larger predators have kept the number of cats on our farm from getting too big. If we ever run out of cats it is not hard to find someone else with some farm cats they have too many of.
We have an old chicken house that is home to our cats. With no hay shed, and all livestock buildings buttoned up tight to protect the animals, farm cats need their own place. Since I always have a large stack of wood around for winter heat there is always a place for cats to hide out. This new trio was born in that wood pile. It was great protection for newborns but now they are older and it was time to move. Since momma didn’t find a good place for a play house for her babies I put them into a dark box in the cat shed. We’ll see how long they last there. If she becomes too insistent on keeping them in harms way I’ll have to lock them all in the nursery. This is a special area in the cat shed that is hard for kittens to get out of and can be locked to keep momma cat in too if needed.
It’s nice to have kittens around the farm again, now I wish I had some little girls around to keep them friendly.
Filed under: cats, cold, family, Farm, frost, Ice, Minnesota, seasons, snow, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, farm, ice, Minnesota, snow, Thanksgiving, water, weather, wind
This mornings temperature was 9 degrees. Baby it’s could out there. My morning bus trip got me thinking about how the cold affects water ponds of different sizes and types.
As an example my small (200 gallon) fish pond was frozen over, with ice thick enough to hold a cat on sunday, with only 30 degree temps. The cat was looking for a drink and found the ice in the way. I got out my pond heater and we now have an open water pond again.
Many of the ponds and small lakes were showing ice on their edges on Sunday. Until we had the cold this morning it did not take too large a body of water to resist the freeze. Last night the temperatures went down and a cold north wind blew all of the smaller bodies of water to ice covered by morning.
The river has been interesting lately. There have been some areas of ice on the edge that formed in the last few days. Today small icebergs had broken loose and were floating down the river. In places. where a river bend or bridge could capture those ice chunks, the whole river had been covered with ice. A few more days like this and we’ll have ice on all of our water bodies.
This is shaping up to be an early freeze up. The ground is getting a good depth of frozen earth now. I don’t have my snow fence in yet, but it looks like I had better get those posts pounded in soon or not at all.
A cold Thanksgiving is forecast. We still have some ice covered roads and the weather tomorrow will not help. We could get more ice and snow wednesday. Be careful as you travel for thanksgiving.
Filed under: cats, Farm, garden, Minnesota, Wildlife | Tags: blueberries, cats, garden, rabbits, roses, spring
I’m at war with rabbits. They have been after my bushes and I want them gone.
Two years ago I planted a hardy climbing rose. This rose has few thorns, but great blooms. Unfortunately the rabbits took it down almost to the ground the first winter. This last fall I fenced the rose and managed to save most of it, but they still managed to eat off a few stems.
Last spring I planted some blueberry bushes. I did get a few berries off of the bushes, but some rodent got most of them. Yes, the rabbits trimmed my blueberries almost to the ground.
A few days ago the rabbits decided to play in my yard. My cats love rabbit, but are not fast enough to catch a full grown cottontail. My .22 slowed down three of them this week. I’ve seen at least two more. My cats now want rabbit and are turning down cat food until they are really hungry.
I know I cannot totally eliminate the cottontail population here on the farm, but I’m hoping to slow them down a bit so I can raise a few nice things. Besides, right now they are breeding like, well, like rabbits.