Friday, February 27, 2009


Not much of a post, but here is something I just thought of. Over at Farmer's Daughter they are talking about naming a horse. How exciting, by the way!

Anyway this got me to thinking - I've never clarified how to say my name. I was forever being called Jean-a by substitute teachers so some of you may think of me as Jean-a. However, my name is Jen-a. That's Jen, and then an "uh". Thank my Mom for the original spelling! :)

So what assumptions might we have made about all of you that you could clear up?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Euthanasia and Eagles

This was brought to my attention last night at a chapter meeting of the Michigan Vet. Med. Association. Apparently there is a link between the improper disposal of euthanized pets and the death of eagles and other wildlife that may consume the pets later on.

At the same time there comes the proposal of Davie's law. From just skimming the bill it appears that this law would require injectable euthanasia of shelter pets in place of using gas chambers or other means. I don't disagree with that law for shelter pets only, and if they are being properly disposed of. However, at the vet meeting they suggested a similar law would expand to require injectable euthanasia of all animals. I don't see that ever happening due to rights of owners to do what they want with their own pets. I can't find any information on such a proposal so I suspect the vets were overreacting to Davie's law. Obviously such a requirement would make the incidence of accidental deaths more common and could ridiculously affect the safety of our food supply.

In any case - please be aware of this issue. I know it isn't pleasant to think about but it obviously happens and could be prevented.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Life!! (Updated)

Here's what I came rushing home to find!

I was going to write "he was mostly dry..." and just realized in all my excitement I never even looked to see whether it was a male or a female! I'll get back to you on that! Anyway, it was mostly dry already. Mama was doing a good job standing over him so he didn't get injured by the other ewes moving around. Every thing I've heard has said to let them lamb with the group, then move them to their own little pen or "lambing jug". I had a little pen set up for her already so I gently picked up the lamb and carried him, at eye level for the ewe, to the new pen. They can still touch noses with the ewes and with a calf on one side. The goal is to give them a few days to bond on their own.

My only concern right now is that I haven't seen him nurse. I've seen him nuzzle around back there but not latch on. He did urinate but I'm not sure if that could be from his time in the uterus or is from nursing earlier. They need colostrum within the first few hours and he could have been born as early as 9 AM. I tried to hold him up to her udder but Bonnie wanted nothing to do with it. I'm going to check again in awhile, he was sleeping when I left and seems alright.

Off to check blogs and then see what this thing is: boy or girl!?

BTW, thank you everyone for your good luck. :)

I was just thinking, based on where I saw the urine coming from, it must be a girl! Duh! I'll still double check though.. lol


Update 6:30PM:

She's eating! Yahoo! I was not looking forward to dealing with it if she didn't eat. Also, she is definitely a she, I looked this time. Sorry for all the gates in the way, I was using zoom so I didn't disturb them too much.

You can't see it in the picture but her little tail was just a waggin'. I tried to video it but couldn't get enough light. I'm thrilled that it is a ewe lamb, that means we'll get to keep her if she's anything decent. She's the first lamb ever born on this farm. *big sigh of relief*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prepping for Lambs

Lambing is imminent, I do believe. We'll see whether it happens tonight, tomorrow, or Tuesday. I do have to work in the morning but only half the day. I hope it happens before my full work day on Tuesday! Bonnie's due date is officially tomorrow, the 23rd.

I've borrowed Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep and Raising Sheep the Modern Way from the library. With the knowledge I gained from the books and the recent MSBA Conference I have put together a few supplies:

-Clean, dry towels to assist with drying off the lamb, if necessary.
-7% tincture of iodine to dip the navel
-Dull scissors to snip back the cord. 2" is the recommended length.
-Glass bottle and nipple (we don't have any pop bottles!)
-60 cc syringe and size 8 french red rubber catheter, for tube feeding. I hope we don't need this one!
-Elastrator and bands. I won't use these until 2-3 days for tail docking and again around 10 days for castrating.
-(not pictured)We also have an ear tagger and tags to ID each lamb before they leave the lambing jug. That way we can know for sure who's who.

I've been crawling around in the pen like a fool trying to get a good look at her udder. Wednesday I noticed it starting to swell. Now it is huge! Tonight she didn't have much interest in grain and walked away from the feeder. She was scratching at her side with a hind foot. I know kicking at the sides is significant but I'm not sure if the scratching was unusual. She is "talking", making little grunting sounds every so often. There is no obvious discharge or contractions yet.

I think she is quite enjoying playing this game and having me dote on her. Brian has forbid me from checking on her again right away so I'm waiting rather impatiently for the next check. Wish me luck or say a prayer for me - I'm way more anxious than the mama ewe! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Me & My Valentine

Okay this is a little late for V-day but I saw it over at Farmer's Daughter and thought it looked like a lot of fun. Play along if you like!

Me and My Valentine

What are your middle names?
Brian's is Keith. Mine was Marlene but I changed it to Rose (my maiden last name) when I got married. I figured I was lucky to have a name that could work either way and I wanted to keep it. No one uses your middle name much past 8 years old anyway.

How long have you been together?
I think we started dating in September of 2006. So let's see... 2 1/2 years. Married 6 months on Monday!

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Almost a year. I thought we were just going out as friends, who knew I was slowly being seduced!?

Who asked whom out?
Well, actually my cousin asked Brian if he would take me out, but I was standing right there at the time. I wanted to go to the John Deere dealer's grand opening and you had to be invited. Carrie knew that Brian had an invite, and he was nice enough to take me as his guest. Pretty generous considering I was dressed in full Carhartts and a huge red furry coat so all he could see was my nose (I dressed nicer for the party).

How old are each of you?
I'm 22 and Brian is 26 now.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
None. Brian's brother passed away in 2007 and my sister lives about an hour away so we don't see her much. Brian has some great stepsiblings that we see more often.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
I would say just that we both work full-time at jobs we don't like and want very badly to find a way to make this farm support us. We do pretty well together though.

Did you go to the same school?
No. I graduated with around 125 students and Brian graduated with 25, in districts about 45 min. away. It took me awhile to realize that is how he knows everyone 3 years ahead of and behind him in school plus all their siblings.

Are you from the same home town?
Nope! And I'm glad. It is so nice here, people are much friendlier than where I'm from. I love it here!

Who is smarter?
I'm more book smart but Brian has more hands on skills and more common sense. He's good at pointing out the obvious when I'm so busy analyzing that I missed it.

Who is the most sensitive?
Me, I think. I get overwhelmed much more easily. Brian has had some rough things happen in his life so he's really good at being tough and not showing emotion. I'm glad he's a little more open with me at least.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We were going to a local place, Angie's, for fish every Friday night for a long time. Lately we've been trying to stay home.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Well we went through Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin on our Honeymoon. The western end of the U.P. is probably just as far I guess and we do go visit Brian's uncle there. We don't get out much. ;)

Who has the worst temper?
I'd like to say Brian, but we both have our moments. We're really good at, "Remember what you told me..."

Who does the cooking?
We used to be pretty even but I think I do it a little more often now. Brian does start dinner a lot of nights and usually makes breakfast on weekends, so it is still a close call.

Who is the neat-freak?
More so me. Although he lived alone when I met him and that place looked okay.

Who is more stubborn?
We're pretty equal. Both bullheaded!

Who hogs the bed?
Me! I love to cuddle! He used to complain but has since given up. He does admit to enjoying the middle of the bed when I'm gone.

Who wakes up earlier?
Brian. I get up when he leaves. We found it was too crowded in the kitchen and we got crabby with each other that early. I usually stay up a little longer reading or watching TV.

Where was your first date? J&D Implement grand opening dinner. Next was Applebee's and a walk around Media Play.

Who is more jealous?
Definitely me, unless Brian hides it good. I just don't trust girls, and there are a lot of them around here that don't think twice about sleeping with a married man. I do trust Brian, but women can be pretty convincing...

How long did it take to get serious?
Almost a year. I was dating someone else and Brian would take me out "as friends". Finally I realized that I was wasting time with the other loser when the nicest, sweetest guy was right in front of me. About that time Brian invited me up to the Semi Truck Show at the Mackinaw Bridge. After a whole weekend of diesel fumes I was in love!!

Who eats more?
Brian, for sure. I snack a lot though.

Who does the laundry?
Me. He used to know how...

Who’s better with the computer?
Me! He's getting better though. Damn craigslist.

Who drives when you are together?
Brian likes to drive.

Include a wedding picture or a picture from your early dating days!

Here's us that weekend at the bridge:

Christmas 2007, newly engaged:

And on the honeymoon:

Pillow Thief

Brian went to bed early, he's still not feeling well. I stayed up until after midnight cleaning and reading. I finally woke up at 9:15 this morning thanks to a barking puppy. I knew the cat had been sleeping on my head and when I turned around this is what I saw. Apparently my head had been on that little spot there between his front and back legs. Thanks buddy, I didn't really need my pillow anyway! :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Knitting Socks

There has been a long running joke, or at least a funny saying, going on between my Mom and I. She tells everyone that her daughter is "growing" sheep, and she is learning to spin yarn and make socks from their wool. Everyone laughs and thinks that is the cutest thing, but it is true. My Mom took one step closer to her goal by attending a spinner's meeting and learning the basics of that art. Now she really wants a spinning wheel but they are quite expensive. As another step on her path I surprised her with a gift certificate for Christmas. It covered the cost of a class where we are learning to knit socks! My best friend got the same gift and was also very excited to learn with us.

The first class was last Saturday and we had a blast! At first we all felt like fools as we tried to piece together the information we had learned from books, the internet, and each other. It is nice to learn all those little tips and jargon you can only get from a real professional. Our teacher, Faith, is just wonderful, and so is the shop where class is held.

In the above picture you can see how much progress I'm making. When I got the first sock to the stopping point I took a leap and started the next sock on my own. I'm not sure that it is perfectly right, but I'm enjoying the project even if I have to redo some of it. I'm quite sure that the second sock is one stitch wider than the first but I suppose that will be okay.

I told all my friends and family to expect gifts of homemade socks from now on. We have been to about a dozen weddings in the last couple years so when the dozen baby showers start up I'll be all ready with lots of little baby socks. I'm already interested in another class on making slipper-type things, I'll keep you posted.

What do you like to knit? Were you surprised at your abilities? How did you learn your hobbies?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Checking In

I'm still here, I promise! :) I've been a little busy this week but will have a more substantial post up soon. Work for me has been very busy this week due to the schools' mid-winter breaks. Brian isn't feeling the best, and last weekend was full of things to do as well. I have a few posts up my sleeve: I want to share about the knitting class I'm taking, talk about joining Farm Bureau, and post about how we're preparing for lambs. Hopefully I'll have some cute lamb pictures to share before too long!

As for mid-winter break, forget that. I think it should be spring-is-on-its-way break, because if we are only midway through this mess I'm moving!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tracking Paper Usage

Our second order of Seventh Generation 500 sheets/roll 100% recycled toilet paper came yesterday. We split the first order with a friend so started with only 24 rolls. That was on November 19, 2008. Not bad, eh? I had signed up for the subscribe and save option on and set it at 6 month increments to give myself plenty of time to cancel before the next shipment, in case we didn't like it. The hubby hasn't complained too much and it is way cheaper than the recycled TP at the store so we're sticking with it. Since we were getting low on our supply I requested our next shipment right away.

Anyway, I wanted an easy way to track our usage so I designed the following sheet in Excel. This is just a preview so you can either make your own or I would be happy to attach my sheets in an e-mail for you. If you would like copies just e-mail me at OneRoanPony at hotmail. This shows the second sheet I made to track paper towels and tissues but shows the same fields.

It is hard to see in that picture but here's what I wrote:

11/19/08 - 24 added - ? left - New total rolls 24
2/12/09 - 48 added - 2 left - 83 days - 22 rolls used - .26 rolls/day (1 roll/4days) - New total rolls 50

The math is pretty easy:
# Rolls used/# Days = # Rolls per day
so 22/83 = .26 rolls/day

1/# Rolls per day= # Days per roll
so 1/.26 = 3.8 which I rounded to about 1 roll every 4 days

Get it? Like it? Let me know what you think about it, or how you track your usage. I can see charts like this cropping up all over the house. The next one I think I'll tape up in the laundry room to track laundry soap usage. Hopefully this will help us cut back even more!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oreos and Rain

Most of the snow is gone now and it has been raining since sometime last night. Once lunchtime came at work all I could think about was coming home and cuddling up with a book, a movie, 3 dogs, and a cat. Brian is working late tonight as he is on lookout for flooding across the roads. After working my way up the wait list I was able to pick up Multiple Blessings from the library on my way home from work.

I did chores and got attacked by the mean Leghorn rooster. I am so fed up with him I'd like to make him dinner but that would be a lot of work for 1 rooster. Plus, I just don't like the idea of the hens being out there without him. Today was the first time he's managed to get me good with his spurs and my hand was bleeding the prove it. Oh the joys of farm life!

About the oreos: I just love oreos. I think they're great. However, I sacrificed my oreo habit when I started trying to eat mostly local and mostly without HFCS. I found this great homemade version online and use it to get through the cravings. For some strange reason I wandered down the cookie aisle last night while shopping and somehow a box of double stuf (on sale) managed to get in my cart. I don't feel great about, and that is what I'm going to remind myself tonight. As I eat them, one by one. With milk. :)

Let's see... what else is new? Oh, I also got a couple of good books from the library about sheep so I've been studying up on lambing. Bonnie is due on the 23rd and although I am very excited, I am also about as nervous as a mama hen! The tentative plan is to let her lamb in the pen with the other ewes then move her and the baby(ies) to a separate, adjacent pen to allow them a little bonding time. We'll see how it goes.

How is the weather where you are? Have you, or your animals, been fooled in to thinking it is spring? What do you like to do on rainy days to pass the time? Or, how about this: what is your favorite guilty pleasure? Keep it decent!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Stroll

Today I did some more painting around the windows and Brian took down the old trim in our entryway. I did venture outside long enough to take some pictures. It was over 40 again today so a lot of the snow melted away.

The garden and the little red barn. I hope we can tear it down this summer, it is in major disrepair.

Here you can see the stone landscaping in front of the porch. I did two sides of the house last year and will finish the other two this year.

Our fields

The piles of snow from plowing all winter are melting fast.

The end of our driveway. I added more stonecrete to the list of future improvements.

The last of the round bales.

This wheat is growing!

The flatbed all loaded with round bales. We have enough left to sell these to a friend.

Especially since the barn is still full of square bales!

The end of our pasture and a big part of the next field always flood.

Angel, of the ewes. They were hilarious jumping over and playing with this bale.

I was trying to catch a picture of Bonnie chewing on my pants. She is due February 23rd and will be our first ewe to deliver. She is also the one who had the scabbing on her face. It is almost completely cleared up now.

Be sure to visit everyone else's Sunday Stroll over at Quiet Country House!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Git 'Er Done

When we have slow days at work I make mental lists of all the things I could be doing at home. Then when I get home I'm usually tired or just don't feel like getting much done. Well, the last few months I have been taking advantage of most weekends and gettin' it done. Here's a sample of what I've done so far today:

I replaced the mildewy, moldy, gross white curtain in our shower with a piece of navy shower curtain. I had to buy it new but I saved the rest for another project someday. It looks so much better!

I cleaned up 3 dozen eggs and sent them with Brian to some of our friends and neighbors.

I taped off and painted a couple windowsills and some trim with some Opps paint that I found for half off. I've been putting up new trim in the kitchen but the windowsills and window frames would be really hard to replace so I did this instead. Below you can see what it looked like after 1 coat. All that white trim will be replaced with new eventually.

When I went back to do a second coat I found this. Apparently Baxter was looking out the window. I went to find him...

I took a break and had the last piece of cheesecake for lunch, right off the pan. Then Brian came in and stole that last half of it!

Finally, I tackled the sink area. We stripped and stained the cabinets when we moved in, and we also rearranged where they sat in the kitchen. While doing that we shortened the sink cabinet which meant the doors wouldn't fit back on anymore. Someday we'll figure out a way to alter the doors and make them fit - Brian pointed out that we will want them back on by the time we have kids. In the meantime, I sewed this curtain for the front and hammered in the top piece.

The curtain matches the one I made to hide the trash can. We left the overhang on the counter on purpose so we could store the trash can there, and I love how it turned out.

Then I put the kickplate on the bottom of the dishwasher (I found it in the bedroom closet!?) and scrubbed the whole thing so it looks like new.

I also went outside (it is over 40 today!) and played fetch with the dogs for a bit. I found my 3# bag of grass seed and spread some out in the lawn's bare patches so it will grow in the spring.

I got the mail and in it was my confirmation letter from Sand Hill Preservation Center!! They said the 1st possible ship date for my order is May 5th. The good side of that is that I have more time to set up a brooder area. The downside is that those chicks will expand our laying flock so now it will be a little longer before we have more eggs.

Now I'm off to finish hemming some of Brian's pants and start on some new scrubs for myself. I have seasons 1 & 2 of Jon & Kate + 8 on DVD so I'll pop that in and start sewing. Brian has been keeping busy all day getting just as much done outside and in the shop. Between the two of us this place will be nice one day! :)

I might even make this a regular post to keep myself on track and remind me of all the progress we're making. When do you get things done around the house? What do you hope to accomplish in the near future? I'd love to hear what you all are doing to improve your homes.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dogs Days of Summer

Since we all miss those nice warm summer days I thought I would share some warm weather pictures. These are some of my all time favorite pictures. I love the teal blue colors of the water and of course I have great memories of all the fun we had that day.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our 1st Farm Truck

I try to plan for big purchases. This year it was going to be a toss-up between a loader for the JD 4010 (or a separate loader tractor) or a farm truck. Brian found a pretty decent farm truck for sale nearby and we were planning to test drive it this spring. It is the kind with the cab and the box all on one chassis, I don't know the length.

Of course things never go as planned. Brian talked to my cousin on Christmas, heard about a different truck, and went and bought it this week. We didn't think about it nearly long enough for my taste but it was quite a deal.

The truck has some sentimental value for me. My aunt and her husband were killed about 5 years ago and this truck belonged to them. It has been in a storage yard since then and my cousin finally got all the paperwork done so he could sell it. It is a '98 Freightliner and came with twin 28' flatbed trailers and a dolly. We have the trailers and dolly for sale and think we can sell them for at least half of what we paid for the whole thing.

The truck is in excellent condition. It is newer than we needed but cost less than most older trucks. My cousin set the price low because he didn't know if it would run after sitting so long. Brian determined that it needs a water pump and a couple small things, but it does run.

Brian said it is a genuine "Michigan special" which means the frame is reinforced and will hold up really well even if we drive it right in the field. I can't wait to see our logo on the door! I'm also excited to learn to drive it. I didn't want to try it with our friends' trucks but now that we have our own I'm determined to learn.

So I can cross one thing of the list... of course we have nothing to pull behind it! ;P

Sunday Stroll

L to R: Rocky, Pistol, Pooh, Shady

Can you see the little tracks?

This is Lily, our boldest sheep. She climbs up on the feeder to say hi!

Our two calves. They are doing pretty well.

Still cleaning up. I'm sick of looking at it!

Those who saw our logo here will recognize our motto on the big tarp. This is what we put up to block off the good end of the shed. We joked that night about using "Building On Tradition" as our motto and later decided that it really does fit perfectly so we're keeping it! We really are building on what Brian's family has done here in the last 120 years as we try to make this place more sustainable, and make it turn a profit! Whoever thought we'd find inspiration on an old billboard. :)

Check out who else is doing a Sunday Stroll.