Friday, February 17, 2017

First paper towels and windex...

We had a beautiful day yesterday with a temperature of 58 degrees and sunshine!  Wow!  I decided it was time to give the front room's windows and doors a good washing-up.  Between kids and dogs and weather and barn grime, the windows were really disgusting.  I decided to go back to the Good Old Days when I learned how to use newspaper and vinegar for washing windows.  I call it The First Paper Towels and Windex.  And do you know how effective these tools are?  Very!  No streaks.  Just clean and shiny.  I always make sure I'm drying the windows with a dry piece of newspaper for a streak-free shine.  The only downside to this method is that your hands will have some of the inky residue from the paper, but it washes off.  I don't know why the ink doesn't come off on the windows, but it doesn't.  Newspapers are also great for cleaning the glass on the wood-burning stove and car windows. Growing up at home, we used newspaper and brown paper bags for draining fried foods and for cooling cookies.

Here we are -- clean and shiny windows!  I feel like I just cut my bangs!  I can see!  Do you have any tips for washing windows or for any other cleaning chore?  What are some of your favorite cleaning tools or cleaners?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chinook wind...

 From blowing, drifting snows... this on 2.10.17.

The Chinooks (as we call them on the Northern Prairies) blew warm and hard, cutting ice and snow in just a night and a day.  Chinook is an American Indian word that is translated as "snow-eater."  We went from a daytime high of 15 degrees to 45 degrees in less than 24 hours.  The Chinooks continued into the next day and warmed us up to 55 degrees.  With all that wind and warmth, we've now got mud and puddles of fresh water everywhere.  The cattle and sheep are so happy to be able to walk away from deep snow and find little sprouts of green grass to graze and snow-melt to sip.  Yesterday it even rained here a little bit.  It just feels like spring is arriving, but I know we are likely not out of Winter's grasp yet.  The thaw is a nice reprieve though!

Lots of baby lambs are arriving daily.  
This one below was exceptionally BIG!

Do you have warm winds that blow in your area?
Is there a name for them?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Flower Doodle in February...watercolor play

Playing with my Sharpie marker
and watercolor.
(no pencil)
It's fun, it's quick, it's impromptu,
and it's satisfying.
Making 4x6" paintings feel do-able and takes little time.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Sheepies & Lambies...

 A group of singles.

 Eating while they wait.

 This little ewe lamb is getting bottle fed.
Her mama has been sick and has no milk.

Just born...all wet and not yet licked off.
She's yelling for her mama and trying to stand up.
She's one of a set triplets born this morning.
We're dragging them in as soon as they're born due to cold temperatures.
It's just 8 degrees at 1:00 pm.  Brrrr!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Today it begins...

From wild and woolly... domestic and well-coiffed.

It's been a busy couple of weeks with Littles staying with us for a week, a new grandbaby being born, and then came shearing on January 29th.  The herd produced a gross of 3125 pounds of raw wool when weighed at the Wool Warehouse.  A couple days after shearing we bagged the ewes (checking to see that they are making a milk bag) and sorted off the late, May-lambing ewes.  We branded the ewes that will lamb now with red paint and branded the bucks, late ewes, and yearling ewes with green.  Hubs applied the insecticide as we counted each group out of the gate.  
199 ewes to lamb in the Lambing Barn
93 head to Buck Pasture:  12 Bucks, 55 Yearling Ewes, and 26 Ewes.

No sooner did the men have the Sheep Barn cleaned up and bedded with a thick layer of straw and set up the lambing jugs -- BAM!!  --  the first lamb was born -- TODAY!

Although it is not spring here AT ALL, our spring season has begun.  Today on the bleak prairie we made it up to a chilly 19 degrees with a stiff breeze and a skiff of snow that blew around. We still have a good, deep, crust of snow on the level that refuses to melt with ice underneath.  We're not exactly "pushing up daffodils" here.   We start our spring season on the ranch with early lambing and just a week or two after we complete that job, we start calving heifers and then cows and on and on it goes until pretty soon we are in the field sweating and making hay bales for all our critters.  The "spring" seems to go by so fast once it begins.  And today it begins.  I'm pretty excited!

In honor of the first lamb born, here are pictures!


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fresh from God....

She has arrived!
Claire Jo
born on
January 27th
7 lb. 4 oz
She's our 7th granddaughter
and our 9th grandchild!
She's home now with her big brother, Chief, and Mommy & Daddy.
We are all excited about her arrival! 


The Three Little Girls are still with us and they were very entertaining for Chief since he stayed with us while his sister was born.  It's been a busy household these past few days!  Today grandgirls, Peach and Toodles came over to join Bee and Rootie Tootie while the rest of the cousins took naps.  We baked My Mom's Sugar Cookies and decorated them with icing and sprinkles.  My favorites have the red hots!  Yummy!  We will be sharing with the nappers soon!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Three little girls are coming...

 Three little girls are coming to stay with their Papa and Grammy
while Mommy and Daddy go on a trip.
We will do lots of good things like baking cookies.
 The girls have their own babies, so they will come too!

 I'm sure there will be plenty of toys around the house.

 Since there is snow, we will dress like Eskimos and play outside!
The cousins live next door so there will be lots of outdoor fun!

 Grammy will ask the girls to help her sweep and dust and pick up.

 There will be extra clothes to wash and fold.

Outdoor play and work will make our hands and toes cold!

We will read lots of books.

 Before bedtime, we will say our prayers and sing our songs.

And hopefully each little girl will sleep all night!
(Pictures by illustrator, Eloise Wilkin)

Monday, January 23, 2017

National Pie Day! Yay!

It's National Pie Day so....
I made pie.
Did you have pie today?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wood & rawhide snowshoes...

Today!  Today!  Today!
I received my used modified bearpaw snowshoes in the mail, and I'm quite pleased with the condition of them.  I think they might need a fresh coat of polyurethane on them, but they seem to be tight with no loose webbing at all.  I took off the old leather bindings that they came with and put on a rope binding.  It worked amazingly well, but I think I'm going to get a rougher, more aggressive nylon rope and try that, or I might try nylon strap. The traditional binding is made of lamp wick.  I don't have any of that, but it is available online if I should want to try it.  I'm linking to a rubber binding that I am going to try next, especially for the wet snow.
How to use rubber bindings  &  How to make rubber bindings.

I took my first "spin" around the lower area back behind the houses where the snow is very deep and soft.  We've had a warm-up this past week, so I knew the snow would be softer and wetter than it has been which can cause more sinking so this was a good test of how well the snowshoes would float (or sink) in the snow.  I was quite pleased at how much more float these shoes have over the modern aluminum snowshoes.  I've read that this style is not the best for breaking trails which I will do in them, but I didn't have any trouble with them today.  You can see the picture above of my track next to a deep Ranger track.  I only sunk in a couple inches and the Ranger track is about a foot deep.  Along with walking in deep, wet snow, I tried walking up and down the hard, crusted snow in our shelter belt.  They were a little harder to walk in uphill, but I did manage it.

To me, the wooden snowshoes felt lighter in weight than the modern shoes.  I'm not sure if they are, but the snow sifted through the webbing as I walked and didn't stick at all.  Modern, aluminum shoes will collect snow and pack up underneath the boot and particularly on the cleats when walking in wet snow.  That didn't happen at all with these.  I'm excited to try them in different areas and on different kinds of snow.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Snow walking...

 This is our gravel road --six miles to the highway.  
If we get more snow and wind, it's blocked.
Right now, it's warming up, so the road is a little better!

 Snow walking in the Breaks Pasture.

 A lone antelope was paying more attention to Sue than to me.


 See, the fence is buried.  
There will be lots of fence to fix this spring & summer.
Hi Sue!

Long shadow.

I'm getting all excited about the fact that I have a pair of used snowshoes on the way.  I ordered this pair of traditional wooden snowshoes with the rawhide lacing from Ebay.  I've never walked in this style before, but have wanted to try since deep, powdery snow or even wet snow can be hard to walk in with the modern aluminum snowshoes.  You tend to sink in with the moderns, whereas the traditional style snowshoes have more float due to more surface area.  It'll be a fun experiment.  Since I got shoes used, I'm not out a lot of money compared to buying them new if I don't like wearing them. I'll be sharing my experience with you once they arrive!


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