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Hoten Holler!

A Northerly Wind

3 August 2017 – Sunny and 44° at 6AM – highs in the mid 60’s
Hey all you Florida people out there….how is the summer treating you?IMG_4003
Bwahahahahaha…..In case you didn’t remember, this winter while you were enjoying the warm temps of the sunshine state, we were freezing in a camper. Well, I really hope it isn’t too hot and miserable down there, after all it is only August and there is a lot of summer left. Hee hee….just getting my digs in while I still can. But it is REALLY nice here, perfect weather for working outside and while it is in the 40’s this AM, it doesn’t feel that cold because of the low humidity. Dave and I had coffee on the porch in our PJs. The cool weather is a nice break as we had a couple of hot weeks in July. The bees were so warm they had to come out on the porch and crab about the weather just to cool off.

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Bees cooling off on their porch on a hot July day

Thanks to the warm temps, the tomatoes are starting to ripen. We enjoyed a classic BLT with the L and the T from the garden. Everything else was from Lynn’s Dakotamart.

 

We even have raspberries starting to turn now.

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Berries!!

The corn is nearly chest-high. It has pink hair. Punk rock corn.

 

We have been busy putting up a second cutting of hay, working on some landscaping projects around here, and doing our level best to stay out of trouble. The month of August will be full of visitors here at the Holler. Dave’s sister and her husband will be here for a week, followed shortly by a visit from my cousins and a good friend of Dave’s for the eclipse. We aren’t in the “Path of Totality” but we are pretty close.

 

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We are located in the SW corner of South Dakota, just North of the Nebraska panhandle, not too far North of the Path of Totality

We hope it won’t be cloudy for the eclipse party, but even if it is, the Keystones will be cold and the company will be good. Hope all is well out there in the real world, and not too terribly hot and humid, especially in Florida. Ha ha ha!

 

Ideal Camping Spot for the Great American Road Trip

29 July 2017 – Cloudy and raining, highs in the mid 80’s
This week we had some old friends of Pilot Dave’s visit on their way home from camping in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. By old friends, I don’t mean they were old, just that Dave has been friends with them for a long time. They go way back to the early 80’s, which their kids all thought was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Anyway, there were two couples with two kids each in two campers. The families were really fun and they were all very nice. And they brought one sweet little dog.

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Tiki – Champion of the Multistate Camping Trip

 
They parked next to the driveway which was the most level place we could put them. They had been camping in the National Parks and we think this was a welcome reprieve for them from the crowded campgrounds. They did have some noisy neighbors, though (Cowboy Dave’s cattle!) but were able to get some peace and quiet. We were also grateful they brought rain with them each night, which we desperately needed.IMG_2613IMG_2601IMG_2598
The first night when they arrived, we gave them the tour of the property in the mule and by foot. They spent the next day enjoying the Black Hills and seeing Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, and the beautiful secret jewel that is Custer State Park. After their adventures, they returned to the Holler and we grilled burgers and dogs. The boys enjoyed some time shooting guns off the back porch, and one of the young girls showed them all up with her Dead-eye abilities and plinked a barrel 150 yds away with only the 2nd shot she had ever fired….EVER.
Their visit was short and sweet and we were happy to have the company. It always makes us happy to see dear friends, but especially to see families taking their kids to see the Great American West. There truly is no match to the beauty of the country out here. Photos, TV, or even virtual reality will never do justice to this beautiful place or the amazing parks that are not that far from the Holler.

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Buffalo in Custer State Park

 

The Road to Nowhere……YET

The Road to Nowhere…..Yet

27 July 2017 – Sunny and Highs in the Upper 70’s

Last Thursday was a busy day on the Holler.  We decided to piggy-back on Cowboy Dave’s gravel delivery he had scheduled and order a few loads of gravel for the road that will go around the front of the house to the future site of the barn.  Because we procrastinated (if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute!) we were rushing around trying to get the big rocks that remained from the house build to make a base layer for the road.

Pilot Dave used Babe to scoop all the rocks and move them to the site.  Cowboy Dave used Bob to smooth out his piles. 

A few hours later, the gravel-man showed up with a truckload of rock.  We explained what we wanted to do and he said, “No problem.”  He drove to the gate and started dumping gravel and about 5 seconds later we had a road. 

We think it looks pretty darn good!

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The New Road
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Another View of the New Road

 

We spent most of the afternoon doing what we always do:  picking up and moving rocks.  Dave used the tractor to add some “curbs” to keep the gravel from spilling out of the low spots.

I have been working on a stone pathway that goes from the west porch to the front porch.

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Rock Path

 

Dave isn’t too happy with me moving all these heavy rocks.  He is still on restriction from lifting anything over 30lbs and expressed his concern that I shouldn’t be doing so much heavy lifting.  I told him not to worry, my Indian name is “Strong Like Bull.”  He said it should be “Stubborn Like Goat.”  After working in the hot sun moving rocks all day we both agree my name actually should be “Smell Like Goat.” Anyway, I have the path in the order I want, I just need to put in some leveling sand and shift the rocks over to their permanent location.

To top off the busy Thursday, my new Bee-Mentor, Peyton, came over to look at my hive and tell me if it was going well or if I was screwing up royally.  Fortunately, he said the bees look good and healthy.

 I was a little disappointed when­­­ he said I probably won’t get any honey this year, but that is normal for a first-year hive.  He said I could take some honey but the bees probably wouldn’t survive on what they have so far.  If that was my intention I would have just bought a bunch of honey and not bothered with the bees.  My hope is to get them through the winter and if all goes well I can harvest a mother-lode of the golden stuff next year.  Until then, there is always something new and exciting to do here at the Holler.  Don’t forget to holler at us if you find yourselves up this way!

And Then There Were Five

19 July 2017 – Sunny and high of 95°F

Dave is feeling really good and almost 100% himself.  Thanks to everyone for the phone calls and emails, we appreciate it.  It’s difficult for him to stay in low gear but he still needs to take it easy for 3 more weeks so his internal stitches don’t come apart.  They will dissolve on their own, but meanwhile he isn’t supposed to lift anything heavy or do anything too strenuous.  We have been keeping busy with typical household chores, some gardening and light yardwork.

Our neighbor, Shari, had to work on Monday evening.  It has been really hot so she asked us if we could make sure her cows had enough water between 7PM and 8PM.  We were happy to do this, although we went over to her pasture around 6:30 thinking this wouldn’t affect the cow schedule.  The stock tanks were nearly full so we proceeded to top them off with the hose. 

At 7PM on the dot, her cows came running from the eastern pasture, through the underpass of the road, and right up to the stock tanks.  They pushed and shoved each other to get a good spot at the bar and in about ten minutes both tanks were nearly empty.  So, we stood there with the hose and tried to keep up with the water demand from the thirsty girls! 

At about 7:45 we had refilled both tanks and the cows had their fill and wandered back through the underpass and off into the other pasture.  We got in the truck and drove home.

When we pulled into our drive, Dave looked down the hill at the back yard and said, “What is that?!?”

There was an enormous hawk, really about the size of a standard laundry basket, hunched over beside the garden on top of a huge pile of black and gold feathers.  The hawk was eating our chicken, Sabrina.  Dave ran for the gun and I ran to see if she was still alive.  The hawk flew off and Sabrina was dead.  It looked like he got her just before we got home.  From all I’ve read the merciful thing is a hawk will kill its prey pretty quickly.

I looked in the coop and there were no chickens.  Dave and I proceeded to search and he found Farrah Fawcett under a small tree not far from the murder scene.  I found the four other chickens in a bush about 30 yards away on the other side of the fence.  They were terrified and I thought they were all dead because they wouldn’t move until I picked them up and set them on their feet.  They all ran back to the coop and up into their house. 

Dave and I are kicking ourselves because we knew the risks of free-ranging here in the country.  We just got cocky and we left them out while we were not here. Nearly everyone we know that has kept chickens has lost a few to predators, even those that keep theirs cooped up have lost a bird or two.  The poor chickens really are defenseless to hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, etc.

The best solution we could come up with is to move the coop closer to some trees for more cover and to only let them free range when we are close by.

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New location under trees
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Five Remaining Girls

Regarding the hawk, neighbors and family both say, “He will be back!” In fact, he was sitting next to the garden the next morning but flew off as soon as we opened the back door.  I guess he thinks we are KFC or something now.  He’s welcome to come back.  We are ready for him this time.

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HAWKS WELCOME HERE!!

 

On a lighter note, the garden is doing great.  We have been eating and giving away lettuce and spinach.  The turnips are delicious and we already have harvested a few banana peppers.

The potatoes looked pretty good but the yield was, well, small potatoes.  Each plant had a maximum of ONE potato, and some had none.  Plant a potato, get one potato?  Hmmmm….

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Small Potato Yield…..We should have just bought a bag at the store!

 

The tomatoes are looking good so far, but you never know if they will get bugs or rot.  We’re hoping for a bumper crop to make salsa, tomato sauce, and of course BLTs!

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Large but unripe tomato

 

The beets, corn, and cucumbers don’t look too bad either.

We will do some planting of more potatoes in the next few weeks, as well as some lettuce, spinach, and turnips in hopes of a late fall harvest.

That’s all on this end for now.  Hopefully everyone is enjoying the summer and keeping an eye on their flocks!

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R.I.P. Sabrina

 

One Day You’re Fine, the Next, Your Appendix Tries to Smote You

13 July 2017 – Sunny and high of 85°

So how was your Wednesday?  Ours was pretty exciting.  Here’s the story:

Monday, we baled and bucked hay bales pretty much all day for our neighbor Shari.  She is the one that leased us her baler and cutter in exchange for having her property cut and baled.  It was a warm day and we put up over 170 bales.  The bonus was we found a hay rake in her junkyard and she said we could take it.  Cowboy Dave pulled it over to the south pasture and he and pilot Dave went to work to get the thing functional.  We planned on cutting and raking on Tuesday……BUT….

Tuesday morning, Pilot Dave woke up with a bit of stomach ache and no real appetite.  This should have been a huge red flag because with all this farm work he always has a big appetite.  We figured he may have eaten something bad or got too hot on Monday and decided to hide inside from the heat most of the day until he got to feeling better.  However, the burning, aching stomach pain would not go away and he went to bed about 6PM Tuesday evening.

Wednesday morning at 2AM he woke up and said, “I think I need to go to the hospital.”  I said, “Let’s go.” But he wasn’t quite ready to commit to that and said he felt he could wait until dawn and wanted to try to sleep a little.  Dave’s stomach ache was like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.  “I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!!”  At 4AM we headed to the ER at the Hot Springs VA medical clinic, about 20 minutes away.  We stopped once so he could get out and contemplate throwing up, but he did not.

At the VA they ran Dave through all the tests for stomach pain, including an EKG, CT Scan, and blood work. Initially they were thinking it may have been severe acid reflux, a hiatal hernia, or even possibly heart related.  At shift change, a new doctor came in and started pushing on Dave’s stomach.  He said, “I think he has acute appendicitis.”  After pushing on his abdomen, Dave’s stomach pain shifted almost immediately from high center to the lower right portion of his abdomen.  The CT scan revealed he did in fact have an inflamed appendix and the only treatment for this is surgery.

The VA does not have a surgical facility so at 11AM they decided he should go to Rapid City Regional Hospital for the appendectomy.  Meanwhile, Dave had been laying around in the ER with severe and intense stomach pain since 5AM (not including the pain the previous night)!  They gave him a few small doses of painkillers, but they didn’t want to “mask the symptoms” as he was being transferred to a new hospital and they wanted the surgeon to be able to see his symptoms when he palpitated Dave’s abdomen.  Dave put on his war face, but I could tell he was quite miserable.

At noon, the ambulance finally showed up and drove Dave to Rapid City, about an hour away.  I took the truck and came back to the Holler for some overnight bags and met him there.  I was flying up Hwy 16 thinking I needed to hurry to get there before he went into surgery.  At the hospital, I found him in a room in the ER, quite happy and sleepy.  They had given him a large dose of a painkiller named Dilaudid and he was feeling no pain.  Dave’s spirits were up and he charmed all the nurses with his sense of humor.  He kept referring to his hospital gown as his kilt.  When asked if he had any drug allergies he replied, “No but I haven’t tried them all yet.”  And he was happy to have acute appendicitis as opposed to “an ugly appendicitis.”  Gotta love narcotics, or as the nurses called them, “I don’t care” pills.

Anyway, after a long, long day they finally took Dave into surgery at 7PM.  The surgeon was confident it would all go well and even gave me his prescriptions and wrote his discharge papers before they started the surgery.  Dave doesn’t remember any of the surgery, he was just happy they gave him a banana nut muffin, some tapioca, and some long-awaited water when he woke up. 

While they operated, I drove to Walgreens and filled his scripts and inhaled some fast food.  I was back at the hospital in 45 minutes and they called my cell and said Dave was in recovery.  They said if he was doing well he could go home in an hour.  That’s right – GO HOME IN 1 HOUR!  After being in the ER since 5AM (16 full hours) they finally got out his appendix and booted him right out the door.

Dave was raring to go an hour later and I picked him up in the front of the hospital and back to the Holler we went.  We got home around 10:30PM and he ate something and went to bed. 

This morning we slept in until 7AM and already Dave is feeling ready to go.  Doctor’s orders say no lifting anything over 30lbs for four weeks.  It looks like Dave’s summer of bucking hay bales and pounding fence posts is put on hold until late August.  Maybe I should have thought of that, an appendectomy to get out of haying! Hmmmmm…..

That’s it from the Holler this week.  I didn’t post any pictures because nobody wants to see the inside of the hospital and Dave didn’t want to be photographed in his kilt.  We are grateful for the VA and the Rapid City Hospital and all the great people that defeated Dave’s evil appendix, that stupid no-function piece of tissue is gone for good.

Here’s hoping Thursday is better than Wednesday!    

Freedom, Baby! Heck Yeah!!!

4 July 2017 – Sunny and highs in the upper 80’s

Today is my favorite holiday. I love reading about the Founding Fathers and the enormous risk they took to throw down that Declaration and say, “We don’t want a king, we want to be free from your rule and here’s why.” And the list is honest, eloquent, and timeless.  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  This is what it means to be American and this is what we celebrate today.  If you really want to refresh your patriotism and appreciate your freedom, here’s a link to the Declaration of Independence.  Read it out loud and you cannot help but be moved.  God Bless America!

Declaration of Independence

Out here in the free, wide opened spaces of the great state of South Dakota, we are celebrating today by going to the Veterans’ Parade in Custer.  It is a small town Fourth of July parade and will likely be full of locally built floats, fire trucks, horses, and the high school marching band. Oh yeah, and we get a B-1 Bomber low pass to start things off.  Cool!

We are cooking out this afternoon for some friends, likely drinking some Keystones and eating some burgers and dogs and watching the cows and chickens from the south porch.  What’s everyone else doing out there?

Now for the Holler update.  We finished bailing Shari’s property with 171 more hay bales.  Now all we have left is the oats once they get tall enough.  That is unless we get some incredible moisture and we hay again in August?  Here’s hoping for that…sort of!

The bees have been extremely busy.  There are so many wildflowers that I had to add another “super” or house on top of their main hive body.   Then, 7 days later, that box had 6 frames full of honey so I put another super on top of that!  I hope they can make enough honey to sustain themselves throughout the winter.  I read they need 70-90lbs; that is about one full deep box.  Anything they make beyond that I plan on keeping.  If they are successful and survive the winter I will probably get another hive next year.  Two hives won’t be much more work than one.

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Two “deeps” and one honey super…bees at the front door!

The garden is going gangbusters.  Dave and I have been eating spinach every day and giving some away as well.  Pretty soon we are going to have Pop-eye arms!

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Carrots to the left, spinach in the middle, onions to the right.

We are also harvesting lettuce for the burgers we will serve later today.

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Lettuce amongst the relentless weeds

We pulled this turnip out of the garden yesterday.  This morning the breakfast menu consists of “Hashtag-Hash” which is a diced turnip, spinach, onion, and bacon with a fried egg on top.

The corn is not quite knee high at the 4th of July, unless you have really short legs!

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Shin-high corn

The chickens are free ranging (under supervision) most of the day.  We like to sit out and watch them in the evening.  Chicken TV is better than anything on cable.  They truly are bird-brains and they have a lot of self-induced drama.  They are getting big and FAT, or we could say fluffy if we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

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The Islanders and Charlie’s Angels (Farah Fawcett is inside) mingling outside the coop.

 

Yesterday was branding day. We took 7 calves to the Vet and they got their vaccinations and their brands.  Cowboy Dave did the branding and Pilot Dave worked the calving table while the new Vet in town (an ISU grad!) administered the meds.  I got to work the gates and take pictures.

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A steer in the calf table
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Does anyone else smell grilled burger?
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Little Bugger says, “I hate Mooooo-ndays!”

Well, that’s all from the Holler for now.  We are wishing everyone out there a Happy Independence Day!  Freedom, baby!  It’s what it’s all about!

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Three Amigos at the Independence Day party.
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Rainbow from the back deck

 

 

Hay Fever

29 June 2017 – Partly cloudy and a high of 70°

We have been cutting a lot of hay.  We have 400 bales in the barn so far, and more to cut and bale.  I think we were all thankful for the forecast of rain yesterday that gave us a little reprieve.  We are expecting storms again this evening so we likely won’t start cutting again until tomorrow or the next day.

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Pilot Dave in Babe baling hay

 

We finished loading up 132 bales on Tuesday just before a YUGE gust front came blowing through the property.  Rapid City reported gusts of 70mph, and I’m sure we got that at least.  Dave and I were scrambling to get the garden covered and the chicken coop shut up before the storm hit and the wind came roaring out of Wyoming so much that it blew over rain barrels, lawn chairs, pallets, and nearly everything that wasn’t nailed down.  The beer can in the beer can tree remains.

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We put this beer can in the tree when we were walking the property and deciding on where to build the house.  It has remained and survived winter, blowing snow, hail, and really gusty conditions.

 

Fortunately, we didn’t get any hail, but unfortunately we barely got a sprinkling of rain. We need to work on our rain dance and get some water going up here!

Back to haying. For those of you who have never participated in this particular activity, let me offer a few pieces of advice from a novice in case you ever find yourself presented with the opportunity to cut, bale and stack.  For the rest of you readers that are seasoned hayers, I hope you will just get a laugh from my perspective.

Haying is fun….well, not that fun.  Once Cowboy Dave was finished cutting after hours and hours of driving around in circles and making windrows, Pilot Dave got to follow his tracks and spent hours and hours driving around in circles picking up the windrows and spitting out bales from the baler.  This is the part where Linda and I got to rake hay out of the corners that didn’t make it into the windrows.  Raking is fun…..well, not that fun.  Also, we had to ensure that the bales were not in Pilot Dave’s way so we did a bit of running and moving them out of his path.  Running is fun….well, you know!

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Windrows waiting for baling
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Pretty low windrows make long trips for each bale

Next, Cowboy Dave brought out the hay wagon and we went to work stacking. Pilot Dave heaved the bales up to the wagon and Linda and I tried to stack them so they wouldn’t fall off the wagon. Also fun. Then we unstacked the hay wagon into the shed and the barn.

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Stacked hay wagon
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Hay stacked in the shed

The worst thing about moving hay bales is they are prickly!  The first day, Cowboy Dave said to me, “You didn’t wear a long sleeve shirt?”  It was pretty hot and it hadn’t occurred to me to do so. I learned quickly why this is important.  My arms were torn up after stacking from all the prickles and stickers and just the hay in general.  Later that day I was talking to my Dad on the phone and telling him about our first day haying.  He said, “I hope you wore a long sleeve shirt.”  Thanks, gentlemen.  Information that would have been useful before starting!

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This is a sticker I pulled out of my shirt. It’s called “Needle and thread”. The left side is the needle with a nice little barb on it and the thread hangs out the back. FUN.

 

Other tips.  Take your allergy medicine early and often.  There is nothing more frustrating than sneezing 239 times in a row, barely being able to even shout, “Damn it!”  in between sneezes. Also bring Kleenex.   Make sure you wear sunblock and a hat. Oh, don’t forget the long sleeve shirt.

I have decided I’m going to invent a new article of clothing for haying.  It is going to be an easy to don garment like a surgical gown, only tough material that would prevent the stickers from getting through your shirt.  You would put your arms through and just have a strap to throw over the back of your neck, and a tie in the back like an apron.  This way you can stay semi-cool and protect your arms and torso. I would add a loop to hang a hay hook and a pocket for allergy medicine.  I’m going to name my new invention the HAYPRON.

Pilot Dave said, “No farmer is going to wear a haypron.”  And then after stacking bales all afternoon he said, “I could use a haypron right now!” Anyway, working outside in the sun all day causes you to come up with some wacky ideas.

We are back at fence building today.  We hope all is well out there in the civilized world. IMG_3710

 

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

23 June 2017 – Sunny and highs in the lower 60’s

The alfalfa, the oats, and all the wild grasses are about knee high along Stagecoach Springs, so it is time to do some haying.  We are working with our neighbors to get the job done.  Shari has the mower and the baler, and has offered the use of both in exchange for haying her fields too.

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Cowboy Dave’s “Bob” Bobcat Tractor and Mower followed by Babe and the Baler
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Same equipment, different view

Cowboy Dave and Pilot Dave greased up all the moving parts and got the mower up and running. Then Cowboy Dave used his tractor and the mower to cut his fields.

 

Meanwhile, Pilot Dave greased up the baler and attached it to our tractor (aka Babe…the tractor, not Pilot Dave). 

After letting the cut hay dry out for a day it was time to bale.  Pilot Dave used Babe and pulled the baler, Cowboy Dave, Linda, and I were the clean-up/pick-up crew.  We used the Kawasaki Mules to stack bales and put them up in Cowboy’s shed.  We also did a lot of raking in the corners of the fields to make sure none of the hay went to waste.

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Hay Wagon!

 

We ended up getting 149 bales of hay, 15 of which the twine broke and the bales became piles of hay.  Still, it isn’t a bad start for winter feeding. 

We are expecting rain, so we are going to cut and bale oats during the next dry spell, likely Sunday and Monday.  Here is where Pilot Dave sewed his wild oats… ha ha.

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Two farmers were outstanding in their field……

 

Now the oats are “headed out” which means they have actual oats on the tops of the stems.  They are over two Keystone cans high and will make some great food for the cows.

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Over Two Keystones High

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We have been working hard and eating a lot of frozen pizza as we have been finishing work around 7:30 at night and are too tired to cook.  We have a few more days of cutting and baling after we finish the oats; we will do Shari’s property and then we will likely try to cut some of the natural grasses on the northern part of ours.  We have Western Wheat and Timothy growing up there, but it has never been mowed so first we will have to go through it and pick up all the rocks.

Well, maybe not ALL the rocks!

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Rock (aka Hudson) in the center of the field we plan to mow.  I think we’ll leave this one there.

 

That’s all now from the Holler.  We hope everyone is having a good summer!IMG_3645

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Mid-June Already?

14 June 2017 – Sunny and high of 70°F (Currently 47 at 6AM!)

I can’t believe it is already the 14th of June.  The months, weeks, days, and hours are going by at the speed of light.  Actually, the days are getting really long as the sun came up today at 5:12AM and won’t set until 8:38PM.  That is about 16 hours of daylight which is really nice compared to less than half that in December. I have been waking up about 4:45 and I always think,”Rats!  I slept in and missed the best part of the day, it’s so light it must be 8 o’clock!” But then I realize how early it is and Dave and I go about morning chores (feeding chickens, checking bees, etc.) and we are done with breakfast and are more than ready to get to the day’s work by 7AM.

The weather has been really nice, windy, and cool.  That means we have had several good days to cut wood.  We had two really large bug-trees that needed to come down.  The bug trees have been infested with pine-beetle and are easily identifiable by their brown needles compared to all the green-needle trees next to them. We needed to remove them so the beetles won’t proliferate and take out neighboring trees.

Dave cut them down, and while he bucked them up I dragged slash into large piles. We will use a grapple on the tractor to pick the piles up and move them to a good burn spot away from other trees.  Next winter, we will burn the piles when we have enough snow on the ground.  It’s quite a process.

Because we are in the habit of naming things, we are calling these trees January and February.  We think we already have enough firewood stored for November and December so once these two get split and stacked we hope we will be set through February next year for heating the house.

We are dog-sitting Vito again.  He is a very good dog, but not so much help at dragging slash.  Every time I would grab a branch and drag it to the slash pile, he would grab the other end of it and try to play tug-o-war with me.  If I picked up sticks and threw them into the pile, he would fetch them and bring them back.  When he got tired of these games, he tried to eat every stick in the forest. I think he had fun and he slept for a LONG time last night.  Tired dog.

My Mom and Dad came up from Iowa for a short visit for my Mom’s birthday.  We drove to Deadwood to do some gambling.  It was a beautiful drive through the Black Hills. I made her a cake and Dave made homemade pizzas.  The next day we did a ranch tour, they got to meet Cowboy and Linda’s friendly herd, and then we had a picnic in the National Forrest.  It was great to see them and I think they had fun too!

Finally, the latest addition to the ranch is three new chickens.  We found pullets on Craig’s List that were about the same age as Lovey, Ginger, and Mary-Ann and we drove to Rapid to pick them up.  Going with the 70’s TV theme, we are naming them Charlie’s Angels: Sabrina, Jill, and Kelly. Casually we are referring to them as Sabrina, Farrah Faucet, and Smithy which is short for Jacklyn Smith.  Those names just seem to fit them better.

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Sabrina is dark chicken in front, Farrah Faucet hiding in the middle, and Smithy is the salmon color in the back

 

Sabrina is a Golden Wyandotte and will lay brown eggs.  Farrah Faucet and Smithy are both Faverolles that will lay light tan eggs.  The Faverolles are really feathery, they even have feathers on their feet and they have beards.  They have 5 toes on each foot as compared to 4 toes for most other breeds. They are all cold-hardy and easy-going chickens.  

We were nervous about bringing home new chickens since the Islanders (Lovey, Ginger, Mary-Ann) were just getting used to the coop and the run.  We heard adding new hens to the flock can be quite violent as the pecking order gets established.  Usually the larger chickens will pick on the docile ones and sometimes even draw blood.  Fortunately, all of our girls are about the same size.  There was some pecking from the Islanders on the littlest new hens, and the Islanders would not allow Charlie’s Angels into the coop so Dave had to shove them in there at night.  We have a lot of coyotes around so they definitely need to be cooped up at night.  We were happy in the morning to find that the Islanders were all sleeping comfortably up in the roost and the Angels were in a pile sleeping on the floor.  Several days later, they all seem to be getting along and the whole flock is going into the coop at dusk, which is the norm for chickens.  They are so fun to watch and we are looking forward to some fresh eggs when they get old enough.

Tune in next week, we expect to complete more fencing, get a mower and baler operational for cutting oats and alfalfa, and we would like to complete the walkway with stone in the front of the house.  What will actually happen depends on the weather, the wildlife, and the functionality of equipment.  Every day is a surprise.

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Storms rolling in from the West

 

 

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