February 28, 2010 – Tank Delivers!

There indeed was a reason Tank was getting so very large – she was carrying three good-sized lambs!

katahdin ewe with lambs

Here she is with two of them trying to get some milk from momma – two females and one male.

hours old katahdin lamb

Here’s the third triplet, just hours after giving birth – Tank did it all on her 0wn – we went to the barn and the lambs were all delivered, but still wet.  So far, so good on these triplets – they all seem to be nursing and we hope they continue that was so we don’t end up with a bottle lamb.

one year ago…”Sheep Bling”

February 27, 2010 – Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference

For the last few days we’ve been attending the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, WI. Each year it seems to get bigger. When we first started attending, it was at a convent, then it moved to UW-La Crosse, and now at the La Crosse convention center. Nearly 3,000 attended this year’s meeting, and the La Crosse Center now seems too small.

I thought I’d just put in a shot of the river right behind the conference center since few pictures are more boring than people sitting around tables or chairs talking.

For me, the best part of the conference is sitting down for meals. The food, is, of course, outstanding and without exception, the people you meet at your lunch table are interesting and likable. This year, we seemed to meet many people who were just starting out on their farms and there to soak up information, just like I was years ago.

I’m told be people outside the organic community, that this farm conference is rare in the large number of young people that attend. I got to speak a bit with a reporter from Successful Farming magazine, a mainline farm publication and he said he’s never covered a conference with so many young people – he said it was rare to see a person under 55 at any of the other mainline farming meetings/conferences.

one year ago…”What’s Your Type?”

February 22, 2010 – Snowbanks Along Hwy 20

This weekend Linda had a speaking gig in Storm Lake, IA. We’ve had a lot of snow, but up in northwest Iowa, the snow is even more extreme.

snowbanks on highway 20

Large stretches of Highway 20 west of Fort Dodge have long stretches with snow this tall along the north shoulder of the highway. With our current forecast of temperatures far below normal, the longer the snowpack stays in place and doesn’t incrementally melt, the more the chances of a quick meltoff and subsequent flooding are a threat. The normal highs for late February are in the mid 30′s and we haven’t seen that for a while, nor is it in the forecast for the next week or so – the danger is we’ll go from 10-15 degrees below normal to 10-15 above normal with rain and have a big, quick meltoff.

one year ago…”Claire to Girls State”

February 21, 2010 – Old House Problems

When you live in an older house, you enter in an unspoken agreement to trade old-time charm for sometimes strange features. We thought after 13 years of remodeling, we’d start to run out of surprises. We’ve replaced all the electrical wires and circuits, all the plumbing, new roof, new windows, and so on. Last spring, it was a new septic system to top it off.

So when “water” started backing up in the basement, it took me off guard. I then remembered the septic installer tell us that if we ever had problems, new systems require a filter at the outflow of the tank before it hits the drain field, and that sometimes it clogs and needs to be cleaned out. Alert to this possibility, I put a solar-powered driveway marker at the site of the lids for the septic last fall before the now flew.

So, when the “water” came up, I trudged out to the pasture to the tanks to see if the filter was clogged, grateful for the driveway marker out in the field of white snow, guiding me to the right place. After digging through the snow,I found the lid with my faithful helper Martin holding the flashlight in the darkness to guide me, we were able to get the lid off. About this time, the septic installer came to take a look as well, and we found everything was working as it should in the tank.

I’ll shorten the story here and get to the problem. Turns out that our main house drain and basement floor drains and kitchen plumbing are not connected to the septic. Evidently, when they built the house, the floor drains and kitchen were a greywater discharge and years later when they installed bathrooms, those went into a different system. So, when we installed the new system, the greywater drains must leave at a different place than the other newer system, so the upshot is we probably need to jackhammer up the basement and see if we can tie the floor drains to the septic lines, but will most likely need to install some kind of pump to lift the floor drain water to the new septic lines. An estimator is supposed to come out and look early next week. For now, our bathrooms and washer lines work, but we are washing dishes by hand in a vat in the sink.

one year ago…”Late February Snowbanks”

February 20, 2010 – New Blog Host

I’ve finally got the transfer of the web site and blog moved over to a different host. I’m not sure it’s all quite ready for prime time yet, as I haven’t done too much checking. If something seems amiss, let me know. The sidebar is quite different – there’s a blog search, quote, poll, blog categories, recent comments, news, and archives. Hopefully you’ll be able to find everything without too much trouble!

one year ago…”Hangin’ with the Ewes”

February 19, 2010 – Blog Meltdown

Oh so many days ago, I was presented with a simple choice and it turned out to be a mistake! I was uploading photos for the blog and was informed by Yahoo Web Hosting that I was out of room and would need to delete some items or upgrade my hosting package to the unlimited package that would “not affect your existing files or programs.” So I did – and immediately access to the blog was severely restricted, and available only for short periods of time. Over the course of a week and through 3-4 help desk people, the problem never was really resolved, so I underwent the process to move all the files and hosting to a new provider. I had recently changed my domain hosts for 4 parked domains I own after Yahoo suddenly stared charging $35/year instead of the $9. Now they are parked for less than $6/yr elsewhere.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #154″

February 17, 2010 – Snow Keeps Piling Up

Snow keeps piling up. Yesterday ended a streak of 12 straight days with some measurable snowfall.

If it doesn’t snow another inch, it will be the 5th snowiest winter in recorded history, and is already the snowiest February – all we have to look forward to is the usual snowiest month of the year – March.

one year ago…”Book Review in Wapsipinicon Almanac”