Monday, January 31, 2011

Bird Watching

A snowy, blustery day in SD.  We watched a lone bird at our feeder today.  We could not identify the species, so looked in my Birds of the Dakotas book.  We determined it is an American goldfinch.  The males are bright yellow in the summer, but in the winter, the male looks like the female, a pale brown breast, a little darker brown head and back, black tips on the wings. There was a very slight yellowish tinge to the breast, and those feathers were very puffy against the cold and wind.   They are year round in  South Dakota, and also summer in North Dakota.  We see these, especially in the spring, and they are so very pretty, did not realize they wintered here, as they are not yellow in the winter.  We had quite a few this past spring, wonder where the rest of the crew is hiding out?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dad's 96th Birthday

We had a party for Dad's 96th birthday.  He and Mom live in their own home in town, and manage quite well.  I have 2 talented nieces who prepared the main dish.  Crackers and dips were munchers before the meal.  We started with an appetizer of provolone cheese dipped in egg and bread crumbs, and lightly browned in olive oil, served with homemade salsa.  Dinner followed with fruit salads, delicious roast vegetables and Italian beef sandwiches on French bread rolls. The bread was filled with tender roast beef, cheese melted over the meat, and dipped slightly in au jus sauce and warm from the oven.  Carmen  made Giardiniera relish. It has finely cut up marinated vegetables, including hot peppers for some zip. This topped the meat and cheese.  The meal was a delight to eat! 

We ended with ice cream and a decorated chocolate cake, made by Mom who is 95.  And of course, we had a cup of coffee.
Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


A little reprieve today.  Temp this PM was 36, which means some of the snow and ice were melting, hopefully enough to clean off the roads a little.  This also might put a crust on the snowbanks, so when the wind comes up again, the snow will not blow willy nilly, creating a mini blizzard.
Just have to report on the wind towers again.  They, all 107 of them are up now, and many of them have red lights on the top.  (They don't all have to have lights, but enough that they do not create a flying hazard.)  At any rate, there are a LOT of red lights.  They blink off and on, all at the same time, and can be seen for miles.  Our farm is lower, so we can only see a few from here, but when we came home last week from Miller, a town north of here, we came to a rise in the elevation, and there they were, blinking and stretching along the horizon for miles.  We were more than 30 miles away when we saw them.  We tease our neighbors that live close to the towers that they now live in the Red Light District!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Women in Blue Jeans

WIBJ was held this week, giving farm women a couple of days to relax, listen to great speakers, and attend short sessions on a variety of subjects pertinent to life on the farm. This 8th annual conference was held on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University in one of their great facilities. (The conference was not held last year due to the weather SD experienced in 2009.)  WIBJ was a time to, as their slogan this year stated, Renew your friendships, Recycle your knowledge and Regain your spirit.
The key note speaker told us we were Super Heroes, and gave us some tips about Balance, Endurance, Strength and Flexibility, and she was not talking about the physical things those words mean; rather gave us suggestions on how to use these attributes in our busy lives.  The committee gave us a fun little Farm Fashion Show, and provided a Spa Night with various providers giving chair massages, facials and hand care.  Delicious meals and lunches were provided, and vendors were in attendance to answer a myriad of questions.  Hats off to the committee of women who worked so hard on this event!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tie Dying

I met my sister, cousin, and 2 friends for lunch at a neat little sandwich and coffee place in Mitchell.  After lunch, we went to Flavia's B&B for a tie dying lesson.  Lelia had previously dyed silk scarves, 60 inches long, with a dark, pretty blue.  We folded and retied them with rubberbands, and then put them in another color dye.  Two twisted scarves went into the magenta, the rest into yellow.  We cooked them for 60 minutes and Lelia showed us many dyed pieces, done on all kinds of fabrics.  We had a tour of this very large 1880's house, its many rooms and interesting history.  We finished up by rinsing the scarves in clear water.  The magenta came through the dye as expected; and the yellow color on the other scarves which should have been green at the end, was more a brownish green, rather than the forest green we expected.  What a fun day!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Here we are in SD on January 10 with lots of fluffy snow, about 6 inches, that came yesterday, and an inch or so today. It was kind of like someone was up there with a sifter, sending it downward.   Luckily, we did not have our typical SD winds, so it has come down and pretty much stayed put.  Of course this means that farm yards and calf pens are retaining a lot of snow.  I scooped off the back step twice, the second time, the snow was harder, and will get harder as the wind picks up tonight.
When Roger fed cows this AM, he noticed in the tree belt south of us, there were a lot of pheasants, mostly roosters. Some were on the ground, but mostly were in the trees, which is not very usual.  As he unloaded his hay, he noticed a very large coyote, rather mangy looking come running out of those trees.  This explained the pheasants in the trees, so I'm guessing some of the birds got wise, and others made a good meal for the coyote.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seed Catalogs

January, and the seed catalogs are in my mailbox with their beautiful, colorful pictures of flowers and vegetables, enticing me to think of spring, while the wind howls outside and the weatherman is promising very cold weather all next week.  Never mind the weatherman.  I will sink into my soft warm chair to browse the catalogs and dream of black soil on my fingers, what I will plant and in which bed,  and look at ideas for something I have not tried before. What worked last year, did I have too much of something, not enough of some other plant?  Should I plant some new flowers?  What should I put in my herb bed?
I have time to plan, after all it is only January, and this is SD, where the garden soil will remain cold well into May.  Dream on!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Of Bees and Mists"

The Undercover Page Turners book club met tonight to discuss  the book, "Of Bees and Mists".  It is a fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree, a mythical town, spirits and spells, clairvoyance and prophets, witchcraft and demons.
We agreed we would not have picked this book if given a choice, but nonetheless, after you started reading, and put the book down to absorb what you read, there was always the urge to pick up and  read some more.  The author, Erick Setiawan, certainly knows how to spin a tale and keep one's interest. 
We had a lively discussion about life and how these families lived, died and survived.  It was, as the book cover promised, touching, truthful and memorable.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year--2011

Happy New Year to my friends out there.  Roger spent the morning moving snow, then I went out in the calf yard to be the guider, as he tried to clean off the cement "apron" that the calves stand on to eat silage.  The calves had it so packed and frozen, he was only able to take 4 or so inches off, but it will help.  Don't want them to stand higher than the cables that keep them in the yard.  The wind had gone down, so only my feet got cold.  I am not used to the cold anymore!!  He loaded and filled the bunks up again, so their stomachs should be full to stand the cold, which is going to be with us all week.  We got about 5-6 inches of snow, but the northern part of SD got much more, 12 and over in some places.