Thursday, April 20, 2017

War Canadian style


That's all I can say is .... Wow

So if you haven't heard (and this will be posted on BOTH my GGGems & my Gargoyle Gardens (farm) blogs) CANADA is playing POLITICS with our milk farmers.

For no stated reason I can find, they have suddenly decided to cancel ALL orders for US milk used for making cheese.

I ASSUME - and it is just my own assumption here - that it has something to do with President Trump's stance on NAFTA ... since it seems the US is getting the shaft from the Mexican side when it comes to many portions ... but then that might just be my American perspective ... 

Either way - Canada just went "Nope. Not taking your milk anymore"

AGDay, 2017Apr20 broadcast, had this issue as their main story.

Not only are these farmers getting hit by not being able to sell the milk to Canada - but now the SUPPLIER they were selling it to - Grassland Dairy  - has CANCELLED the contracts to collect the milk at all.

IMMEDIATELY.  Yup - the farmers got a very unpersonal form letter ... not even signed by anyone, just a general company name 

The company said they were only given a TWO DAY notice from Canada, so they just wanted to get a notice out.

Canadas statement on all this??

David MacNaughton


"Canada does not except the contention that Canada's dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States."

Letter to Wisconsin Governor

Canada seems to feel the US farmer is just looking for a scapegoat and Canada fits the bill at this point.  They blame it on the US over production of milk.

The company mentioned above, Grassland Dairy, would send 1 million gallons of ULTRA-FILTERED milk into Canada EVERY day - since they no longer have Canada taking the milk, 75 farmers in the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin have now been released from their contracts… Without warning… Without compensation!  In fact most farmers found out via Facebook before they even got the letter.

"We are working with our patrons to find a home for their milk, but we understand it's a challenge in these markets. The last thing we as a company want is to let farmers go."

Vice President of Business Development

Grassland Dairy

We are talking about farms that have been in the same family for generations – not just one generation, not just two generations… Sometimes up to eight generations!

This is really sad

This is really bad

This makes me very mad

The interesting part is – how can route retaliate against Canada?

I cannot name one important item from Canada that we can boycott!

All I can say is…

Buy more CHEESE!

Maybe if America eats enough cheese we as a nation can start using some of this million pounds of milk that would have gone to Canada, which is now sitting idle in the United States

We are going to be a bound up nation ...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rainy Days

When I was a kid I LOVED rainy days ... yup, I was a strange kid - but rainy days were a time to pull out the crochet.

My mom would just shake her head because I was starting on Christmas presents in April - like they ever made it to Christmas, they usually became birthday gifts since I couldn't wait to see how people would like them

But that is what rain meant to me -- worked great until about 9th grade, maybe 10th, when we had a MAJOR thunderstorm go through ... in the middle of the night the thunder was so loud it rattled my windows! Now I can't stand loud noises - didn't realize this until hubby took me to see fireworks over the lake, not a fun time was had, the lake is in like a canyon or valley so it echoes quite a bit.

So why am I telling you this?

Now I'm not only an adult but a farmer ... well, farmers wife

Rain is supposed to be a Good Thing, like the song says (although I only drink wine ... or tequila ... maybe some rum in daiquiris or piƱa coladas ... but that's all really really rare)

BUT ... rain makes the fields too wet for the tractor to work.  In fact it will sink to the axils and then whatever we try to pull it out with will get stuck ... it's a total comedy of errors, let me tell you - I think we had four vehicles stuck down there one year - the lawn mower, the Allis-Chamber, then the Ford tractor, and the the Astro van!  It was so sad ... finally had to call hubbys cousin to come over because his truck had a winch on it - no getting that stuck!

Now we have a permanent divot next to the long corn field where the van tires sunk down - so you have to be very careful when you check the fields or you could break an ankle.

We are supposed to get rain for the next 3 days ... we were going to put corn in at the beginning of May this year - I think we've been planting too late and that's why we have had such troubles but that's a different story ... that's still got a couple weeks yet.

POTATOES however ...

I bought 250 POUNDS of potatoes this year ... Yukon Gold, Norlands, Russets, and All Blues ... I think the Norland reds I got 100# of ... I do NOT want to pay the prices they want for potatoes at the store and more.  My seed potatoes cost less than $100 total, the store wants $1/pound ... I'm ahead, right?

After all, potatoes are supposed to be a 10:1 return ... for every pound you plant, you get 10 pounds back ... they say.

My potatoes will go at the end of the long field where the corn Simply will not grow -   E. V. E. R!!  My mother-in-law says that's where they would plant theirs and it grew great (we bought the property from the in-laws) so it should be okay..

Accept ...

It's at the bottom of a hill - means LOTS of water from run off, plus it's the last place to melt/dry from winter snow ... it is NEVER dry by Tax Day, not to mention May 1st.

Every thing I read says they are supposed to go in a month BEFORE the last frost - here, that's May 15th or so ... so ... Tax Day.

Hubby bought several pieces of equipment for the tractor to put them in ... I've been stressing that he needs to have no less than a foots length between the potatoes he drops in or they will choke each other out ... quite a bit of education over here...

BUT if we have to wait until the end of May like we usually do ... I'm thinking it's gonna cut down on the production.

Last time:

Hubby put them in the on the long side of the Triangle field, put in like 100# ... planted them FOUR INCHES APART!!!  I was sick in bed so I wasn't out there to supervise ... that's okay, the onion shoots went in with about 1 inch between them - if they were lucky - they were suppose to have no less than 4 inches between, they were Candy onions - like the big Vandalias /Vadalias (however you spell it) - huge, sweet, great for salads, French onion soup, cooking, freezing, dehydrating ... I admit, they would be great sellers too ... if we had any ... they are still growing - didn't dig up the tiny things last year so they are sprouting up again, small but ok, not quite as sweet as I'd like.


Hmmm, okay it's been 3 days now ... it's still raining and now they say it will rain tomorrow too ...

Those potatoes are never going to get planted :-(

Friday, March 24, 2017

Wild Fires

I just watched Tursdays episode of AgDay ... I DVD them so I can watch when I have the time ... it was a special episode - surprising because they usually save these for holiday weekends - and if you don't think ranchers cry, you are soooo wrong.

They don't cry because they lost darn near everything ... they weren't crying because some didn't have insurance on their cattle ... they didn't even cry because they will be having a very hard time for a while.

They cry because they are overwhelmed with emotion over the help they are receiving from people they didn't even know of.  

There are farmers/ranchers who do not live in the area but they are gathering things like hay and feed for the surviving cattle ... there are people who are donating whatever goods they can to help these people get back on their feet, if even for a little while.

The wild fires stretched from the Texas panhandle all the way up into Colorado as far west as Nevada and, I think, even got into Nebraska, but I could be wrong.

There was one man who told how he he was out of town and told his wife to take the kids to his brothers house .. he drove like the wind and got to the property as fire arrived, driving past a blazing tree.

His family and brothers family are fine.

He didn't mention the cattle so I'm assuming he lost them.

There was a major ranching family who were hit very badly. They had realized the dry condition would make it rough for their livestock to eat so they had spread hay bails all over their range ...

Yes the fire ate all that hay - jumping from pile to pile taking the cattle with them.

Cattle are not smart animals ... unlike horses, they will not leave a barn when it's on fire - they will simply stay there and burn to death.  

I'm not sure if it has been bred out of them or if it's just their gentle way ... either way, it's sad.

There have been several calves who lost their moms ... either by the fire or from having to be put down afterwards because of their wounds.

There are 4-H clubs coming to the rescue ... the kids (and their parents) are taken no the little ones in.  They treat the injuries and bottle feed the calves ... some make it, a few don't ... but it's all a part of life, especially on a ranch or farm.

You can go to the AgDay webpage to watch the full length episode (they are limited to 1/2hr on tv) and see if there is anything you can do, if you wish.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

Well it's been a crappy year ...

We've had chickens get attacked & killed, but not by the dog -- were thinking either coon or feral cat.

Crops never got put in or even started because it was too cold in April, although it was too warm in March (how crazy is that) and then n may it was too wet to get the corn in -- tractor kept getting stuck in the mud. By the time it dried out in mid-June hubby didn't think we'd have enough time before it got too hot and the corn would tassel ... So sad when it does that at ankle high.

So no crops at all ...

Chickens have stopped laying again.  We had a good month of laying in July but then they just stopped!

BUT ... But ... We are doing okay ... For now ...

Decided to do the yearly Halloween bonfire ... Hubby & son fixed the fire pit and started it.

The weather man said it was going to be nice ... 62*F and no rain

He lied

We had a misty rain going on and that made it seem really cold!  

The wind didn't help much either, didn't seem like we could find a spot where the smoke wasn't blowing

Then we decided to cook the hot dogs on the grill again - hubby hadn't used his grill all year so he was itching to get it out ... Too bad it wouldn't work properly, not sure what was going on ... The gas get through but it didn't seem to be enough to keep the flames lit.

So - Mummy dogs it was!

It's okay - we like mummy dogs ... With chips & soda


So not too bad, but we stayed in and didn't get to enjoy that fire

Sunday, October 18, 2015


We planted 100# of potatoes.

50# each of red Pontiac & all blue ...

Hubby dug them up today.

They (cause I'm ill this week, flu like symptoms) gathered them up.

We got about 50# total back ...


Well a couple of possibilities ...

Weeds: we had quite a few weeds pop up when the rains began, since the in-laws had to borrow the small tractor this summer we didn't have a good way to keep it under control.  I'm sorry, I'm still too much of a city girl to go out and weed on my hands and knees .... Plus, it was a really crappy year.

Weather: it was actually a pretty cold summer!  Global warming my butt!  The soil never really warmed up the way it was supposed to - even the tomatoes didn't ripen until late August/early September .... Then there was the rain.  It just could not make up its mind - too dry in the beginning, too cold, then downpours of 4inches or so at a time for a week then nothing again for several weeks. It!  This is the first summer I can remember where we NEVER hit 100°F!!!!!  Normally we get 3-5 in July.

Equipment troubles: First we did not have our little tractor, the Allis-Chambers, which pulls the weeded behind it, so when the rains came the weeds took root and grew along with the 'tators ... Then hubby said the potato digger attachment he got for the big tractor (the Ford) wouldn't dig into the ground - he wanted it to go in deeper, at least 1 foot, but it only went down about 4inchrs.  

Critters: yup I'm blaming the fauna ...  We lost soooooooo many tomato plants this summer because the DEER (aka venison) ate every tomato plant that did not have cages around them.  I had purchased about a dozen cages at Menards a few years back but we had so many more plants than that this year.  At least, BEFORE the deer came.  I'm pretty sure they got into my potato plants as well.
The deer are not the only critters we have either ... We also have rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels.  All these critters will eat the food in the field.  Oh, and RACOONS. ... We have an exploding population in Minnesota of 'Coons -- they sure do earn their bandits mask!  We have not seen them up near the house, but when we have sweet corn they leave the evidence of their picnics all over the side of our hill :-(. We did not have a corn crop this year (remember it sprouted at about 3ft tall) so they would have had to find something else to munch on ... I'm betting, my potatoes!

The Human Eliment:  we have found we have poachers ... I've always wondered if we had people taking the corn at night - actually no biggie as long as they don't clear us out - but I'm beginning to think they take other produce out there as well.  They may have, though not likely, taken some of those potatoes too.  Even if they did, I can't see it being 50# worth (even though I do know a couple of folk who might actually be able to take that much).
Actually I think the issue was PLANTING TOO CLOSE together.  Hunky decided to plant them while I wasn't available and he put them 4-6inches apart.  I had told him a FOOT apart .... twice the distance h,e did .... But once they were in it was too late.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Deeer Santa

Please bring me the head of the POACHER who is setting up on our land!

Yup - we've got a pacher ....

we are right next to a swamp, and we've got a corn field/garden, and we're pretty well located close enough to get to easily but far enugh away where the cops have a tough time getting to us unless called ... part ^ parcel of living country style.

we've opened our land to the POLICE force and ONE local BOW hunter to help cut down on the deer population .... these guys we know, they are good guys .... joke every year is we get the first one they take down - we haven't gotten any deer yet though.

although Jim (the local guy) has given us some f his kill from previous years as a thank you for letting him hunt.  very nice especially when he probably didn;t get a dang thing out there.

but poachers -- they piss me off!

at least stop by the house and let me know ... at least play by the rules

you dont set u a trail camera * a pole of BAIT corn to hold the deer in place!

thats what is RUINING the sport of hunting and 
, even worse, the action of THINNING A HERD!

It is ILLEGAL to hunt baited deer in MN ....

and <strikethrough> if yu want your TRAIL CAM back .... its at the POLICE STATION

the officer CONFISCATED IT right then & there!

Not my doing, don't blame me ...


I wonder if thats why i sometimes don't have chicken eggs ... I'm betting you're poaching them too :-(


Thursday, June 11, 2015

More In The Ground

I threw my back out Tuesday afternoon - teasing my youngest daughter caused her to jump on my back and zinged it ... Then putting a box under the computer table locked it up!  Too bad too, it was actually feeling better until then ...

So yesterday (Wednesda) hubby & the two youngest .... Kind of, but more on that later ... Put out hubbies new inventions & planted the starters for the slicing tomatoes, the watermelon,one & the canteloupes.

Told hubby to plant the tomatoes on the same side as the potatoes said nice both are of the Nightshade family -- when we do rotations they will move together as well.

It took a couple hours to get in nearly 100 tomatoes plants .... Hubby said that if I do them again next year he wants them started in rows instead of just scattered on the top of the starter trays ... LL ... Didn't have the heart to tell him that those ones WERE planted in rows, they just scattered when they got watered!  I actually don't like planting them either way - the roots get tangled and it's tough to separate them when planting.

Most of my watermelon & canteloupes died waiting to get into the ground .... They grow too fast - I had them in 2 1/2 inch pots, two seeds each, but they grew too fast to last.  I didn't have any 4 inch pots to put them into.  

So now we will have to wait for it to finish raining,then dry a bit so we can plant the cherry tomatoes, peas, beans, and pumpkins ... Maybe even some Hubbard squash -- have you ever seen that stuff?  It look like monster squash!  But it's what they really use in CANNED pumpkin in the stores (pumpkin Hubbard is a breed and meets the truth in advertisement qualifications)

I do have carrots -- and would love to plant more lettuce types, as well as cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips.  But they would all have to start as seed and we have way too many seed eaters around here!


We have corn and potatoes popping their heads out ... YEA!!!!

Hubby says if I get 5# of potatoes for every plant that has popped up - I'm in trouble!

Riiiiiiight .... Did I mention that we tend to go through at least 5# of potatoes a week when we have them fresh?

I don't think we will have issues eating them all.  In fact, the tough part will be saving seed potatoes for next year. 

Onions are looking pretty.  They are beginning to bulb out at the bottoms now but I have to thin them out so they can get big ... The whites are either walls walls or candys - either way, they should get between baseball & softball sized.  The red onions should get to be about 3 inches in diameter so I can leave more of them get her.  

I will pick some tomorrow to take to the cabin .... Even if the bulbs are too small, we can still use the tops as green onions.  My mother-in-law can't have onions though because of her gall bladder so I'm not sure if we can use them.  But at least I know she has friends who would like them.


The dog has been rather naughty ... Now she's a year old, she has discovered that her toenails are "can openers" for the chicken pen!  The furry pooper has been scratching thru the deer fencing to get into the chicken paddock and chase them around -- a few have attacked back but she hasn't been hurt yet and neither have they, but it would only take one to set a very bad pattern!

She does "herd" them when they get out on their own sending them back to the coop lickity split.