Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Shear Sheep

I am often asked if we sell the wool from our Icelandic Sheep.

The short answer is no, because there is no real market for wool.  If you're gonna try to sell it, you're probably going to be working at less than minimum wage.  If you have a passion for wool, that is one thing, but I don't have a passion for wool.

Among the benefits of Icelandic Sheep is that, unlike more domesticated strains of sheep, Icelandics will rub off their own wool, leaving it on the ground.

The birds returning from their migration and building nests are thankful.
Holy Rapture Batman!  

Now most years I do end up doing some shearing, not every sheep will do so complete a job but we've got one ewe whose already prepared for warmer temperatures.

And I've been Blaming the Kids

About ten minutes after running the swifter over the floor, the terrier wants to come in looking like this.

How the Hell did she even pick up that much litter?

Neither of us enjoyed the process of brushing off the dirt before she came in and nuzzled her way under the covers on my bed for her mid-morning nap.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stoic's First Hospital Visit

We don't interact with patients for the first few visits.  I want Stoic to get the opportunity to sniff the place and grow comfortable with it before we throw in the additional factor of fawning young people.

Stoic did great.  He didn't pee on anything.  He only suspected that one conference room was occupied by a monster of some sort.  He listened intently as the hospital staff talked to him of expectations.

Another visit or two and we'll start interacting with patients.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Compost Surprise

I've been known to throw a bit of anything vaguely appropriate into piles of composting manure: charred pieces of wood, bits of mineral block, bones.  The basic idea being, given enough time the bacteria and fungus will break it down and make it available for use by some future plant.

I also create more compost than I use as soil.  Consequently, I have time to let those solid pieces sit and break down.  If I start a new pile it is with the knowledge that I may never see the bottom of it again.  It is a good problem to have.

Every spring I send about four to eight feed sacks worth of aged compost home with my Mom for Mother's Day.  With the early spring, I sent it home with her this past weekend.  This year I was a little surprised by what I found.

Is it goat, sheep or deer?  Odds are sheep, though thinking about the age of this particular pile of rabbit manure, it could have been any of them.

I put a shovel of dirt back on top of it.  Young rabbits will be in the cage above it and adding strata of excrement to the topsoil soon enough.  Maybe it'll surprise me again in another few years or maybe it will have returned to dust before shovel goes that deep again?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Oak Wilt Casualties

An oak tree died next to the house, it looked like oak wilt.

Oak wilt spread through the roots from one tree to the next.  Since there was another oak right next to it, and it could be brought down at 20% the cost of the first due since it could be dropped in one piece as opposed to brought down branch by branch,

Now I have a mess to clean up, but we won't have to carry wood very far to get it in the woodshed.


Almost done.


Friday, March 25, 2016

The Sound of Silence


Pretty. Damn. Powerful.

Is there such thing as a "Bad Friday"?

I am by no means an anti-theist.  I spent too many years and have too many friends who are theists to be hostile to belief in and of itself.

I've also been a student of history since the days of sixth grade indoor recess when I was the kid in the back of the room reading the Encyclopedia Americana.

Believe what you will about the virtues of Christianity in the 21st century or even its contributions to the character of the nation up unto this point, but there are certain historical touchstones you can not re-appropriate for your own purposes.

The founding fathers had uses for religion as politicians but not so much for crafting the architecture of our life together.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Stoic and His Girl

Stoic is bonding more to his girl every day, and she to him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Winter is Coming

It has been a wonderfully mild spring so we are already moving the firewood forward and cutting/splitting fresh oak that it can start to cure.

With every piece of wood moved, Stoic searches for rodents.
When we take a break, Stoic climbs the pile for a better view and  remains on alert.

First Circle of Honesty

The first circle of honesty is the ability to be honest with yourself.

Then follows the few choice friends you can use as a sounding board as you learn to articulate that truth.

Then there is the world.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Just a Day in the Life

The first grade girl now knows how to plunge a toilet.

Palm Sunday Walk

This will be the first Easter Sunday that I have not worked in something like five years.  In those years I developed the tradition of putting bunny ears on one of the dogs and walking through downtown Minneapolis and use it as a way to talk bring some joy to the folks lingering downtown on a Sunday morning: mostly the homeless.

So this year we headed out on Palm Sunday as an alternative.  We headed down the Mississippi River for a change of pace.  Other than a few dog walkers and joggers, we had the trails to ourselves.

This was Sparta's second year with the ears and she did great.  A few reminders in the first mile that if she shook them off she would be put on a sit/stay while they were put back on and she walked with them perfectly.

We did about ten miles.  It was kindof an awesome morning.  We'll do the same later in the week when we drop in for a therapy dog visit.

Bulbs emerging from the ground.

Some who wander

Some who wander really are lost.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sportsmen Show

I am not a big fan of sportsmen shows: too much commercialism, too large of crowds.

But a friend who helped me train Sparta to track wounded game and fellow member of United Blood Trackers rented a booth and put on a seminar so we stopped by to show support.

I had hoped to check out some fishing kayaks.  There were four kayaks in the whole convention center, but none of them rigged out for fishing.  Still, the Benchmade Knives booth found a humorous way to edge men toward a sale.


I'm still trying to figure out Snapchat, but there does seem to be one use beyond teenagers sending revealing photographs to one another.

A friend who spends more time along the rivers of Minneapolis/St. Paul sent me this cool photograph of a coyote in the city.

At 42 I'm leaning into that age when I become harder to convince to try anything new.  I have my hands full with blogspot.  It does pay to have the app downloaded on a phone so that my younger, hipper, and more energetic friends can show me what they've seen.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Puppy Breath

The neighbors have puppies so I was more than thrilled when they had to leave town for a day and needed someone to check in on these two rascals.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Stoic: Therapy Dog

The paperwork is in and Stoic is ready to start making Therapy Dog visits.

Throw Back

That is me in the during the summer of 1995 during my one trip overseas: Indonesia.

Bon Jovi was about to tour through a number of venues so everyone wanted their picture taken with the American and everyone wanted to know if any of us could play the guitar.

They always looked a little disappointed when we broke into "If I had a hammer..."  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Not the Bones We're Looking For

Sunday night I laid a man-track which I ran Sparta on ten hours later.  She did great taking into account the time off she's had from the work.  Monday afternoon was a good time for taking both terriers for a walk, including a little detour while keeping our eye out for morel mushrooms and shed antlers.

We found some bones, but not the bones we were looking for.  Some others in the area are reporting finding their first morels, but I have to keep on looking.

A 500 yard man track.
Stoic checks out a log.

The modern farm as natural habitat: there was plenty of sign around this, a protected water source.

Not the bones we were looking for.

It could've come from a young buck or a calf, too little remains to tell.

Beware the Ides of March

I thought that, by this time, Sanders would have been down for the count.

I was wrong.
The true believers were right.
I will try to keep that in mind in the future.

Come Wednesday morning I  believe the headlines will be about the continued over-performance of Bernie Sanders.  The reasons for this are two-fold: his appeal and the revulsion of many moderates to Donald Trump.

I am surprised by the number of people just in my small social circle who consider themselves Democrats who plan on crossing the line and voting in the Republican primaries of Ohio and Illinois.  These moderate Democrats will not be voting in the Democratic primary.  These moderates are Hillary Clinton Democrats.  Her vote will be down.  The vote for Kasich and Rubio will be higher than predicted.

I'll learn how to spell "Kasich" when he becomes competitive in a state other than Ohio.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Happy Birthday Fred Bear


You've heard of social drinkers or social smokers.  Truth be told,I am a social fisherman.  It was a great time out with a friend.  Even better for him bringing the poles, bait, and local knowledge.  

Seven catfish were caught this day, my friend brought in four and I brought in three.  The best part, however, was the sharing of a few stories.

Just a couple of miles away from downtown Minneapolis, the green model of river management means nature and high civilization can live side by side: deer, turkey, coyotes, fox, turtles, a wide variety of fish.

With just a little planning and discipline living things and material prosperity can exist side by side.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Warmth is Relative

It was a nice sunny morning with temps in the twenties.  It would have felt heavenly just a few weeks ago but feels harsh only because we experienced highs in the fifties last week.

Not the most flattering picture of me but the dog looks good.

Making Peace

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Who is it?

Missing Chicken Found

A chicken went missing.

The man pup found it in the pasture, about 100 yards away and just over the hill.  Only one was missing so I would guess the culprit was a hawk.

Still, cool remains.