Friday, December 2, 2016

November's happenings~

We sure have an interesting life!

November flew by super quickly. Besides just, you know, living life, there were lots of unusual things that happened last month.  I'll list the most unusual ones below:

My little brothers got another year older, Andrew turning:

and Jacob turning 21. I didn't get a nice picture of Jacob that day so here's one from just a few years ago. ;)

Here's just a random picture of my dear husband reading his Bible....
(That's my favorite of his shirts as it's the one he was wearing the first time we met. ;) )

6 of the 11 calves we've raised this year on Ivy's milk...

Ok, so, how many of you have ever butchered a moose?   I have helped, so that's why I ask...

Andrew was coming home with a semi load of corn (it was dark) when he hit this big creature. Thankfully, Jacob was able to swerve and miss it, as he was following Andrew with another semi-load.  
The Deputy Sheriff put the moose down and said we could take it home for the meat.

Sooooo, Michael cut out a couple steaks and I cooked them in French onion gravy and we invited the neighbors over for supper----to help us decide if moose meat was worth the effort of processing the moose.
It was.  My mom came over and helped for a couple hours, but other than that, Michael and I did all the work ourselves. It was a young female moose, so the meat is nice and tender. It truly tastes a lot like beef.
We are grateful to God for this meat and this experience. A lot of people travel a long ways and pay a lot of money in order to hunt a moose and then have the meat. This one cost us the price of the freezer paper and tape (which we used a lot of!).
We borrowed Zach & Paula's electric meat grinder, 
which made fast work of the meat we wanted ground into burger.  We were finished with the whole project (cleanup included) by 7:00pm that day, so I'd say it went pretty well.
November 19th through the 21st, Michael and I headed over and down to Hettinger ND to attend a certain school.  We stayed in a hotel near Lemmon, SD. I'd been to the Petrified Wood Park once before with Lauretta, so really wanted to take Michael and show him the wonders there. We got up and left the hotel extra early the one day so we could have a quick walk through the park before our classes started...
Talk about a lot of petrified wood in one place!

Me and my darling...
You might be wondering what kind of schooling we wanted bad enough to drive 3+ hours to obtain? 

Well, I took a class on classing. :) Classing wool, that is. Learning how to properly pick up fleeces from the shearing floor; to throw them; skirt them; then decide which USDA grade it qualifies as. These are the different categories they had there. (AA, A, A1, A2, A3 and A4)

I learned a lot in the classroom too, mostly about what qualities are desirable in the flock and what we should be culling out. I had 2 challenging written tests and then a practical test (grading 5 fleeces in front of our teacher).  It was a good experience.
 (See me?    *hint*  My favorite color is green.)

This was in Michael's classroom. The shearers and wool classers were brought together for certain parts of the schooling.  So, can you spot the 2 of us?

Meanwhile, Michael was taking the sheep shearing class!  He did shear our sheep and Heather's sheep this Spring but he wanted to learn tips and tricks of how to do it better/faster. A surprising amount of the success of the shearing has to do with foot placement. It was fun watching the professionals shear (one shearing a sheep with just one hand and later doing it blindfolded.)  I timed one of the teachers and he did a whole sheep in a little over 3 minutes.

Here's my sweetheart:

They had a really nice set-up...  They sheared something like 500 sheep in those 3 days.

On the way home, we drove on The Enchanted Highway. These are a few of the sights we saw...

We also drove up and saw Salem Sue---the world's largest Holstein. :)
We got home late Monday evening. Tuesday, Michael worked at Steele and I went grocery shopping and did laundry and packing and got ready for our next adventure.... and made these little pumpkins to take.
We were very grateful to my family (Andrew mostly) for doing our chores so we could get away.
Wednesday (the 23rd) we first went to Nicholas and Rachael's new apartment, both to see it and to have a bridesmaid-dress-fitting as Rachael had sewn the top layer of my dress and needed to shorten the bottom layer (which had been purchased and was 7 inches too long!).  When finished there, we went on to Dale & Kathy's farm for the night. It happened to be "Pie social and Bible study" night so we got to see a lot of the dear Cushing Baptist church people again.  James and Jenny came to the farm that night too so it was good to get to visit with them. The next day, James and Jenny rode with us down to Bud & Joyce's farm (Michael's grandparents, Kathy's parents) for the big Thanksgiving celebration. Lots of relatives to visit with there! The house and tables were plum full.

 Several of us gave Michael's cousin her baby-shower gifts there, since we won't be able to attend the shower.  Of course, baby Lilyanna got handed all around the room and we all got to admire the sweet little one.  Here Rachael is giving Dessirae the baby hat she'd sewn. Isn't it just adorable? 
Michael and James, visiting with Grandpa Bud...
We went home that night. The next day, we went to Jamestown for the Schlenker wedding reception for their 3 children who married out of state. It was good to visit with friends there, BUT it was very sad to say goodbye to my husband, as he left me there (I rode home with my mom and Andrew).

Michael went up to a cabin in the woods near Cook, MN to spend time with his cousin, Grant and another guy, setting traps for marten and fisher (and otter and coon and anything else they could trap). He was gone for parts of 5 days. It sure was lonely without him here. While he was gone, we had a 3 day blizzard...with a total of 11" of snow!  That made chores interesting----digging out feed and water troughs from snowbanks and uncovering hay to feed the hungry critters.
Now we have a few days at home before leaving again for a certain wedding. ;) Andrew headed for MI yesterday to pick up Marie and her sister, Lydia to take them to Kentucky to stay with their brother until the wedding. Andrew's staying down there, of course, to help with wedding preparations.  We're looking forward to meeting Marie's family and friends very soon.

Yesterday, Michael didn't have to work at Steele so we spent the morning in Napoleon. We talked to the banker about what paperwork we should be doing now so as to be in a position to buy a farm when, Lord willing, the right one becomes available. We watched the sale at Napoleon Livestock for quite a while, so as to get a good idea of where the cattle market is at now.  We plan to buy some bred heifers when we get back from the wedding, before the end of the year. :)  When we got home, we sorted out our sheep (white sheep and Shetland sheep) and goats and put the rams/billy in with the ewes/does.  5 months from now, there will hopefully be many little bouncy babies on our farm. :)  In a matter of weeks, there should be another kind of baby animal on the farm, but I'll leave you wondering about that for a while...

 Exciting times!