Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hay is for horses here on the old farm

Some of you wondered about all that hay in the last post. Here on the farm we have 9 equines, eight of which are horses and one of which is a mule (his daddy was a donkey and his mama was a mare). Here is a picture of  "The Colonel".

The 230 bales you saw in the last post will last about two months depending on the weather. Nina wondered, and Kelli, too,  about the grass we have. They both live in pretty lush climates. It is okay grass when it grows, which is about May through September, at which time it becomes dormant before freezing solid later on. At that point it is normally buried under a couple of feet of snow. The ground thaws and it starts to grow again sometime in May. The first week of May is about the average time the ice goes off the lakes of which we have about 2500 in this county. We have about twice that number of people. We look at Duluth as being the gateway to central Minnesota and Minneapolis as "down south". In fact, Minneapolis is So far south that I have actually heard people down there say "y'all". It is only a couple days drive down I-35 to Texas, after all. Here we almost speak Canadian, eh? We sometimes go oot and aboot for the afternoon. We build our house foundations knowing that the average frost depth is about 4 or 5 feet. If we don't, this happens.
See how the porch is sagging? This was built in 1915 (when this farm was originally homesteaded) and we lived in it for a year and a half back in 1993-1994 while I built a new house. It is storage now. The foundation was minimal and they had a dirt floor for the first few years. We met the woman who grew up here shortly after we bought the place. She was in her eighties at the time and told us about their first Christmas here in their very own home. " We went out in the woods and cut a tree, brought it back and stuck it in the living room floor (yes, it was dirt). We dug a root cellar the next year." Eventually they put in a full basement. Plumbing and electricity came many years later and now the place is slowly settling into the ground. It is a combination of vertical and horizontal hewn log construction underneath those old shingles. They made due with the materials available at that time.

It was a cold week here on the farm. Even the icicles had icicles. A couple of days didn't get above zero F (-17C). This morning, however was plus 23F which is nearly 40 degrees warmer than yesterday morning.Yippee!! Of course, when it warms up that much it can snow, so I will be clearing the driveway later on. Now we are a month past Winter Solstice. When you spend a fair amount of time outdoors in the winter these are things you look forward to. It may seem pathetic to some, but it keeps me going.


  1. Pathetic is people who don't know what a solstice is and have no awareness of the cycles of the moon. Pathetic is a nation of people so far out of touch with Mother Nature that they literally have no idea where the food they eat comes from and certainly no clue of the sacrifice Mother Nature makes to provide it. You may be a lot of things, but pathetic is definitely not one of them.

  2. Ah yes, SPS- the saggy porch syndrome. I had to jack up the side porch twenty years ago but the floor is still a couple of inches off level. It's reasonably stable, the front porch is cement, I have to patch the cracks every 5 years or so.

  3. Wow! You do get some cold weather up there. But what a beautiful slice of heaven. Nice photos.

  4. I, too, appreciate that we are one month past the solstice! We had a gorgeous sunny day yesterday here in Bergen and we took a walk. I felt like I was on a beach in Florida there was so much light. :) Fascinating about the frost depth -- wonder how the early pioneers handled it!

  5. We were four years in Alaska, so your weather has a familiarity to me, including the thrill of a day in the twenties and the surety of cranking up the snow blower along with it.

    The good news about being older is that the time between Winter Solstice and the noticeably longer days toward the end of February--that period shrinks, too. Mixed blessing, wot?

  6. How interesting to hear first hand about the history of your house like that! I'd love to know about the people who built ours.
    I can see a real change in daylight here. I always see February as a turning point where you start getting some nice days.

  7. Keeps me going too, I can't wait for daylight until 5.30 in the afternoon! Walking the dog in icy winds is no picnic either, I am an old lady, after all.

    I thought oot and aboot was Scottish? But then, what do I know? I'm only a bloody foreigner after all.

  8. Mr. C, maybe they can't see the moon for all the lights that surround them.

    Professor, SPS is a great term and very applicable in our fair state.

    CD, The cold keeps out the riff raff, but not all the whackos.

    Jena, I like how it's warmer way up north where you are.

    Nance, you definitely understand!

    IrbiI, I like history more now that I have lived through a little.

    Friko, you have given me an idea for a post. My parents were both immigrants.

  9. Reminds me of a joke.

    "What do gay horses eat?"

    (with heavy emphasis)"HEEEEAAAYA!"

    I think it's a joke better told in person. :)

  10. It seems like an awful lot of work to live on a farm. Hell, I gripe if I have to mow the lawn every 10 days... and this is only less than half a year!!

  11. You are definitely an honorary Canuck! :) (And probably farther north than me -- we're smack in the middle between Ottawa and Montreal!)

    The Colonel is VERY handsome.

  12. Bobert, yes, it is, but that is the only way I get some exercise and fresh air.

    Knatolee, I am just a little south of Thunder Bay. When people think I am far north I remind them that there is a very large country between me and the North Pole.

  13. Dr. P., Guess I had to be there. A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says,"Why the long face?"

  14. Hi again! Did you get my comments on your art from the Hungarian medievalist? I had trouble posting them (tried 3x).

  15. Jena, Yes, but it got filtered out for a while. I check things more often now. I'm still relatively new at some aspects of this blogging stuff. And thank you!

  16. It's very clear that e Colonel is the boss. Word. ;)