Hiking Trip Planning in progress & Cairn box opening

After my family went up to Lutsen, and we went to Devils Kettle falls, I have wanted to hike the Superior hiking trail. I have read SO much about it and it just makes me want to do it even more.  I would love to be able to get up there before my 50K since that will be on the superior hiking trail.  My race is May 20.  I’m also extremely excited for that!

I would love to go out with Aaron and my dogs and get away for a couple of days.  We need some supplies, like a good backpack and sleeping bags.  I’m trying to slowly get all the supplies I need!

So in my search for things that I need, I found Cairn! Cairn is a subscription box that is geared for things for the outdoors.  It cost from  $22/month and you get 3-6 items in the box and most of the time you get some coupons too!  There is also a bigger box that comes quarterly.  It looks like fun, but I can’t afford that much! I thought why not try it out! I love the outdoors and I know that I need more items to take on our hiking trip! They said that it has at least $35 of Retail value in every box plus free shipping!

So let’s start with the box!

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Cairn means a mound of rocks or stones built as a memorial or landmark and it’s normally on a hill or peak of a mountain.  I had to look up what it meant, since I didn’t know!

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I thought this saying on top was so cute! “One Hall Pass – Good for getting out of here and going out there.”  Love it!

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So here is all of the stuff that came in the box:

Salazon Chocolate Bars – I read about them and it said that they were made by hand using fair trade, organic, cacao beans.  I’m not one for organic, but I know a lot of people are.  The two flavors were Dark Chocolate with sea salt and caramel and then just dark chocolate and sea salt.  I tried the one with caramel and it was really good.  I like sweet and salty, plus the good thing is these bars only have 110 calories.  I’ll probably just be eating these, but it’s nice to know I could bring a sweet along with me on my runs.

RV for the two: $2.50

Home School Socks – These are supposed to be really warm.  They have what they call 37.5 technology.  It’s supposed to be able to wick away the sweat you produce, while keeping your toes warm.  They are tall socks and I’ll use them when I go snowboarding or when I am out with the calves for a long period of time.  Maybe if we hike the SHT in the next month, I’ll have to wear these too!

RV: I couldn’t find out where to buy them.. even the website wouldn’t say anything

Hex Flex adventure tool-  I have a close up picture of this.

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I thought this tool was really awesome! It has 2 Phillips, a Flathead, and several hex ends.  PLUS a bottle opener and it can be used to tighten bolts, as you can see in the middle of the “snowflake” it has 9/16 and 1/2.  I was really impressed by this and even Aaron thought it was cool!

RV: $24.99

So that’s it for the box! Even though I couldn’t find the price for the socks, with the tool and candy bars that’s over $22!

If you’re interested in getting one here is a link for cairn.

http://rwrd.io/h6b5wqu

If you sign up for a 6 or 12 month plan use code: HIKE17 for $25 off!

 

 

One step closer to sheet rock!

This past weekend, Aaron and I had a company awards banquet (we both work for the same company). We hung out with some friends, I made donuts and Aaron worked on his friends car! It was a lot of fun because we went to the banquet with them as well! They are very good friends of ours.

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Aaron gluing the plumbing together! I’m so lucky to have him!

The next day Aaron and I decided it was time to put the tub in! After a finishing some stuff before we could move it, we put it where it was supposed to be… and the plumbing was off. Aaron had worked on this plumbing for a long time and I’m so grateful that he worked so hard and it.  Aaron is REALLY smart and he can fix just about anything.  He made the plumbing work where it was and we got the tub in! We did have to move it back and forth a couple of times to make sure that everything fit, but it’s in now! I even sat in it for a few minutes after!

 

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Measuring the plumbing to make sure it’s right before we put the mortar on the floor for the tub to sit on. 

 

It looks so good in there! I promise the tub is not blue.. it’s a protective film.  We will take it off after sheet rocking!

 

Now we only have a few more things to do before the sheet rock guys can come in.  We figured we saved a lot of money doing most of this ourselves, that we would hire out people to put up sheet rock.  They will get it done faster and Aaron doesn’t like to mud and tape it haha!

 

 

 

 

After the tub was put in, Aaron and I sat on our porch(since its 50 degrees here in MN in February) and made a list of everything that we wanted to get done by the time we have our big Lewison Thanksgiving in 2018.  A year and a half may seem like a long time away, but it goes by so quick when you have projects you want to get done!

I have it hanging up on our fridge now so we don’t forget!

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The tub is in!

 

 

I’ll keep you up to date on all of our home projects and my training! It’s been a couple weeks and I don’t have any more knee pain than normal, so that’s good.  I am continuing to run as well as weight lift.

Non-stop work!

As many of you know, I have a full time job at a local cooperative here in Minnesota.  I put in about 45 hours per week there, more if it is spring or fall since I work in the fertilizer plant.  Then I come home, and like everyone else I have a house to clean, laundry to fold and put away(it’s a miracle if this happens), and dogs to take care of.  I don’t have any kids yet, but my dogs are my babies.

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My little family

I am also, now, in training for a 50K that I will be doing in May, during the week that takes about an hour or more depending on if I am doing a hill workout or not.  I also have a long run on Saturday that will range from 10 miles to 26 miles.  Then an hour long run on Sunday to get used to running on tired legs. Below is my route for my first 50K up in Lutsen!

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So with all of this going on, I also have to find time to take care of my calves.  Every morning I get up about 5 and go out and feed them.  I fill up a big pail of warm water in the tub, carry it out to the shed, and put some milk replacer in and mix it up! I also make sure they aren’t sick, if they are then they may get some medication.  If they have scours(diarrhea) I’ll most likely skip milk for a feeding and give them electrolytes, this helps keep them hydrated.  Then back in the house to feed the pups, eat breakfast, and get ready for work.

When I get home from work I’ll feed the calves again in the same process as the morning.  Then I’ll go for my run or workout and then back to normal household chores.  When it’s time for the farmer to take the calves back, I have to clean out the pens.  We don’t have a skid loader, so I do this all with a pitchfork and the truck.  Getting straw and throwing it onto the truck.  When the truck gets full I gotta back it up to the pile of straw we have and shove it off the truck.  Straw in general in not heavy, but after 2 months of being peed and pooped on, its heavy.  Luckily, when it’s really thick and heavy (like this past group because it was so cold) we borrow my husbands uncles skid loader.  He lives about 4 miles away so my husband will go and pick that up, drive it over, clean the barn, and drive it back.

This is what we did on our anniversary, cleaned out the shed so I could get more calves.  Romantic, I know.  I appreciate when he helps me though.

Last night I got a new batch of calves, all bull calves (so I am out numbered again!).  The farmer that we got them from wasn’t able to get to our place until 10:45.  I was tired, but set an alarm to wake up (I am much more of a early bird than a night owl).  my husband stayed up with me until they came.

So later last night 4 new bull calves came.  This morning they did NOT want to drink.  One picked up on it right away, but the other three took some convincing and two still did not want to drink…. Below is me training a calf how to drink.. Sorry it’s not the best video!

After a couple of days, they picked up on drinking from a bucket.  One of them got sick and I had to tube feed him (this is NEVER fun) but if that’s the only way to keep one of my calves alive, I’m going to do it.  Basically I have  bag full of liquid, in this case it’s water and electrolytes (think of a salty Gatorade)  This bag has a long tube attached to it and that gets put down the calves throat.  I let him swollen it so I know that it’s in his stomach and not his lungs.  I squeeze the bag slowly so that the electrolytes get put there. Although  the calf does not like this, it helps save their life.  This guy pulled through with the tube feeding and a shot of medicine in the morning and at night.

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FINALLY Got my sick calf to drink from a bucket!

I know other farmers and other people are a lot busier than I am.  I like staying busy, but sometimes it gets frustrating and I get tired.  Especially when a calf doesn’t want to drink and I have to get to my full time job.  Oh well, if this is my dream I gotta put in the time to do it!

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Mia, Archer, and Marge(the one laying down)  Marge is actually Archers real sister! Our friends bought her from the same litter as Archer.  They love spending time with each other 🙂

 

 

 

 

One year down, a lifetime to go…

This post is not so much a farm update, but a life update.  This Monday, January 30 will be our first anniversary.  This past year has had it’s ups and downs. We started off on our honeymoon to Whistler, BC. If you haven’t heard of it it’s beautiful and I would go back in a heart beat.

P.S. – those were all taken from my phone, so yes it’s that pretty! 😉

My sister got married (twice) so we got to celebrate with her and Ian in February and in August!  We started working on our upstairs, bought a new car, got calves(!), and got a new puppy (mia). img_4295

I got to run another marathon which was up in Duluth and it was a trail marathon!  It took my about 5 hours to complete but it was a lot of fun and I would do it again! I also ran the Zumbro 17 mile race! That was my first ever trail race and it made me fall back in love with running!

I also went to Florida with my sisters! It was a lot fun and good sister-bonding time.  My older sister, Dresden, is moving to Guam with her husband in March and will be there for 3 years :(.  We went to Universal Studios, ate at a bunch of restaurants, and had a lot of laughs!

We went up to Lusten as a family for a Christmas trip and that was a lot of fun too! We went snowboarding, hiked to devils kettle, and stopped by split rock lighthouse on our way home!  It was a lot of fun spending time with the family!

We are also coming along nicely on our remodel.  This past weekend we put in a closet at the bottom of the stairs so that we would have somewhere to put our coats and shoes.  Up until now they have been on the landing going to the upstairs, which is alright when it’s being remodeled, but it won’t be good when we have people living up there.

 

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already since Aaron and I got married! What a fun year it has been.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.  I love you to the moon and back Aaron! Thank you for being the best husband ever!

Working on the barn and the house!

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while!

So we’ve almost had calves for an entire year! I can’t believe it’s been that long already!

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I started out with bull calves that I bought from a local farmer.  My first batch I sold to my husbands uncle and the second batch I sold to my father in law, so I get to see how they are doing whenever I go to their house! It’s a lot of fun to look at how well they are growing! The picture above is one of my bull calves, he’s the biggest one of the herd! So fun seeing him continue to get huge!

 

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I am now living my dream of being a customer calf raiser! I am weaning calves for a local dairy farmer, which is a lot of fun! I really like working with this guy, he’s very nice  and also extremely helpful!  Here are my heifers, the first batch that I had in October.

We are working on the barn so that we will be able to house more heifers! My husband, Aaron, has been super helpful and I couldn’t do this with out him! Thank god for a hard working husband!

We are also continuing to work on our upstairs.  We tore out all of the plaster, took out the chimney, Aaron is finishing the plumbing, got new electrical, got it insulated, and this week we are putting in a closet at the bottom of the stairs so that we have some place to put our coats and shoes! I’ll get some before and after pictures in here once it starts to look nicer!

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Before we started removing bricks. We were figuring out how we were going to do this! Leon and Ben came over to help get it out! Leon told me “I think we’re going to do something stupid today!” and I got really excited 🙂

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Before the chimney was taken down, this is taken from one of our bedrooms.

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Front side of the chimney out in the hall. It is leaking, one of the reasons we decided to take it out.

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Working on getting the chimney below the roof line. That’s my father-in-law, Leon, and Aaron working on removing the bricks. I was carrying the buckets over to Ben.

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Ben was taking the buckets of bricks down the ladder and into the bed of the truck.

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Got the Chimney below the roof line. Aaron is in the attic our friend Ben was helping us.

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Up stairs is all insulated! Yay for not being freezing up here any more!

Happy Dairy Month!

  1. I love dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt, ICE CREAM, anything
  2. I went to school for animal science with an emphasis in dairy production
  3. I love cows

What can I say! This is the PERFECT month for me!

I am now up to 8 calves, I picked up 2 more on memorial day! One was not doing so hot, but I helped him drink milk and gave him some electrolytes and he is currently doing a LOT better! I am so happy that he is okay and will probably pull through it!

On the same day that I got the 2 calves, I also put new bedding down for all of my other calves! You just HAVE to watch this video! So cute!

They love when they get new bedding! I also put new bedding in with the older calves that are all in one pen right now! I think I said this before, but if not, we are planning on opening up the back of the pole barn and having a fenced in area out the back so they can go outside when they want to!

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Before this they were jumping around, so excited to have new straw! It makes my day when I put new bedding in their pens!

Now that its summer, we get to go to the lake.  My mom lives on a lake and my in-laws have a camper on another lake (actually pretty close to my mom!).  I also have some family members that have a cabin on a river and a lake up north so, needless to say, we love being on or around water! Who doesn’t in Minnesota?!

Memorial weekend we took Archer to the camper.  At this point he was used to the water, but at first he did not know what to think! It was so funny watching him try to understand what was going on!

Now that he is used to the water, he loves being in the lake! Not as much as his cousin Edna, she’ll be in a lake ALL DAY LONG even if it’s chilly out! (she LOVES the water!) Edna is my brother and sister in laws black lab mix!

Anyway! We took Archer to the lake and Aaron and I went fishing, Archer had never seen a fish before.  We got him last September and it was too chilly out to bring him to the lake plus we were moving into our home! So we were really busy!

Archer loved watching our bobbers and wanted to take the fish off of our lines too! It was so funny to watch him wonder what was going on!

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It was really nice being able to get a way for a little bit, I had my father in law take care of the calves while we were gone and I appreciate it so much! One of our friends took care of them one night as well and it was really nice of him!  I had to drive back before one of my longer runs, I got to run with Mankato Area Trail Runners, there are some pretty awesome ultra marathon people there and I learned a ton!

So Sunday afternoon I drive home and stayed home to take care of my calves.  Monday I was busy all day long, getting calves, bedding calves, mowing the lawn.  I was pretty tired when the day was done!

It’s summer now in Minnesota and we love going to the lake(as you can see) but I love my calves and what I am doing with them as well.  Sometimes its frustrating when you can’t leave or can’t stay at the lake when you really want to but you have to take care of the animals that you have at home.  I knew what I was getting into, but it’s summer and I love being on the water! I still LOVE LOVE LOVE what I am doing and still hope that it can be a major part of my life, for the rest of my life! I hope you enjoyed the videos! I know I love watching them! 🙂

 

First Encounters

I just had to share this video of my dog, Archer, when he met the calves for the very first time.  He did not know what to think when he saw them.  We waited until they were already in their pens before we let him see them.

Now after having calves for a couple of months, he LOVES going out to see them and is excited every morning when we wake up to go feed the calves!  He even helped ‘herd’ the new calves into their pens.  It was super funny to watch! He is such a goofball!

 

Calves are here!

I should have published this when I got my first round of calves, but I got busy! So here we are, 2 weeks after getting my second round of calves and I am still LOVING it! We got 4 calve the first time and they’re doing good!

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Before we went to get the calves, we got everything all set up!

When we brought them in the trailer it was cold and we had about an hour drive home.  We blocked the openings on the trailer with cardboard so they would be a little bit more protected.  I also put a TON of straw in each pen(as you can see above and below!) so they would be really warm!

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The calves are all settled into their pens!

The calves get fed twice per day.  I’ll go out to feed them about 4:30 AM (no sleeping in on the weekends!) and then again around 4:30 in the evening.  With my second group of calves I pushed it back to 5:15 AM and 5:15 PM.  They get milk replacer both feedings.  About an hour or so (normally right before I go to work) I give them water.  I don’t give them water right away or it would dilute the milk that I just gave them! Not good!

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Archer doesn’t know what to think of his new friends, now he LOVES them!

The calves also have access to starter grain, a mixture that contains molasses to help them start to eat solid food! At 2 weeks I gave each calf Enforce 3.  This is put into the nostril (like the flu for people who don’t like needles),  it basically helps to improve the immune system of the calf and help with some common diseases. We had one calf that wouldn’t stop coughing, not a good sign, but I gave him some antibiotics and it cleared up within 48 hours and he is now healthy and happy!

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So happy that this is actually happening!

I started weaning the calves at about a month old, they went down to one feeding of milk a day. I would give them water in the morning and the milk replacer at night.

When they were completely weaned, my father-in-law and I castrated them, you need two people to do this(One to hold the calf still, the other to place the rubber band)!  All we do is put a little rubber band at the top of the scrotum and they eventually fall off.  The calves aren’t hurt at all.  About a week later I had one of our friends brothers come over, they have a diary and had a de-horned, I do not like doing this. It hurts the calf for a little bit, but it is good in the long run. If we left the horns on they could hurt the other animals they are with or the people who take care of them.

A week after the calves were de-horned, we moved them into the other side of the pole shed.  They are all 4 together now and have a big bucket for water and a big bucket with hay and grain in it! They REALLY liked moving into a bigger pen and being with the other calves.  I wish I had taken a video, they like bucking around for a while after they are moved!

We recently (about 2 weeks now) go 2 more calves from the same place.  They are doing very well and will start to get weaned in another 2 weeks.  Once they are weaned, castrated, and de-horned they will be moved over to the pen with the other calves.

We are hoping to put a fence up around the pole shed so the calves can go outside when it is nice out.  I would like to move my pre-weaned calves (still drinking milk) into our barn and then have the whole pole shed for the older calves or keep it divided, one half for oldest calves and the other half for the newly weaned calves.

Only time will tell what comes of this adventure that I am on! My husband, Aaron, has been nothing but supportive, he has helped with TONS of projects and even has feed the calves for me once or twice! I could not have done this without the help of our family and friends.  Ben and Val (two of our closest friends) have come over and helped out a lot.  I ask my father-in-law, Leon, tons of questions and he answers them all without making me feel dumb! He helped with castration and also getting me some antibiotics.  He brings over my grain (he works in a feed mill!)! Ben’s brother, Brody, for de-horning my calves because I am not a fan of doing that! Of course all the rest of my family who has been so encouraging and supportive.  I love you all and I hope this shows you how grateful I am ll and I hope this shows you how grateful I am for all that you have done!

Happy National Ag Day!

As someone who didn’t grow up on a farm, I get excited about days like today! National Ag Day is important to me because I am getting into agriculture and it’s hard to do that. It’s hard to start from scratch. So below is our first step in getting ready for the calves! 

This weekend we worked on getting the pole shed calf ready! To say I was excited was an understatement! We had a couple friends over and my father-in-law to help put up boards.

Here is our pole shed before we started working on it. Archer wanted to be in the picture too!IMG_3852.JPG

After this picture was taken, I started moving out the smaller stuff that I could carry by myself. The pictures on the right and the mirror. I moved the old satellite dish that was sitting in front of the 1st drier we had in the house (we’re on our 4th one and we moved in September 30th!)  Archer wanted to be included in on the fun.  I was raking the leaves out and he was jumping in the air trying to catch them!

The next day, after a 10 mile run, Aaron (my husband) and I went to town to go get all of the material we needed! It’s safe to say I was more excited than he was!
 
 We decided to divide the pole shed in half. The right side would be for pre-weaned calves(calves that are still drinking milk) and the left side would be for the older calves.  We will be putting a gate on the left side along with the trough so they can eat. It will be inside the shed so that it will not get wet and gross when it rains.  
  
I think they did a pretty good job of putting up that wall! It’s super sturdy and tall enough so the older calves won’t be able to lean over and touch the younger calves. 

   

I was worried about all the wood for the younger calves, they are really susceptible to getting sick and wood holds a lot of bacteria. I’m hoping that the way I have these stalls set up I’ll be able to clean it really well. It’s not the perfect set up, but I am very happy on the progress so far!  

 
Here is the other side of the pole shed!  We will be putting separators between the pens so the calves can’t touch.  Don’t worry, the calves will be nice and warm when we get the bedding in the stalls! We will be cutting holes in the front to put buckets for milk and feed! 

I am so excited to be getting the calves!

One Step Closer

I have some great news! (partly I why I started the blog when I did)

Let me start from the beginning….

I work at United Farmers Cooperative as sales & marketing support.  My boss wanted me to ride along with some of our salesman (because he wants to turn me to a sales(wo)man). So I went on a ride along with a salesman and he took me around to a couple growers for the day.  We stopped at a growers house who also raised heifers (female cows who have not had a calf yet) and we got to talking that pre-weaned calves was what I loved and what I was very passionate about. He thought I was nuts (as most people do), but I told him that everyone has to be passionate about something and this is what I was passionate about!  We left and I never thought about that day until…. the salesman called me and asked if I remembered the man we had talked to that day. He, apparently, got a call from a dairy up there and they wanted him to raise their pre-weaned calves. He remembered me and when the salesman had gone out to talk to him again, the man asked about me.  He had said “no” to the dairy to raising pre-weaned calves, but he takes their bull calves when they are still on milk and he thought I would be the right person to wean them!

This was the step that I needed.  I called the man that night and we talked some stuff through.  At first, I was going to raise pre-weaned calves for him, but now it sounds like I will be buying the bull calves from him and selling them, either after they are weaned or when they are about 300 pounds. I have had a lot of people helping me during this VERY beginning phase of my dream.  It’s been so exciting, my passion is about to become something I get to do everyday!

I’m so extremely excited to have some animals out on our farm.  My husband is getting pretty involved in the planning as well (he even said he would help with chores! EKK!)

I’m hoping this blog will help me remember what I went through for my dream to come true and help others to see that if you’re passionate enough about something, you can make it happen if you work hard enough!

I will be getting some before and after pictures, and some during the whole process of us getting everything ready for the calves.

Although it’s just one step, it’s a big step for me and I CANNOT WAIT to see what the next couple of months bring!