Monday, December 27, 2010

Update on the Lambies :) (by Emily)

The lambs will be 4 weeks old this Wednesday! Wow, the time has gone fast, and they have grown fast! Unfortunately the littlest one, the girl, didn't make it. But the three boys are getting huge, and good grief can they ever eat! :) The biggest one hit 17 1/2 pounds tonight, and the others are just about caught up to him. As for their names.... well, I had named them Prancer, Rudolph, and Dasher... but then someone (not me!) came up with the idea of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh... and to be honest I'm not exactly in favor of the idea. Anyone out there wanna be named Frankincense!?!?!?! Anyways, that's just my opinion. Of course me and Dad, their caretakers, have our own "pet" names for them... Big Boy, Pretty Boy, and Floppy Ear. :) So obviously I'm sure those lambs don't have a clue what their names are! :)

This afternoon we had a Christmas Program for the elderly people at Dassel Lakeside Apartments with some friends, and we brought along Big Boy/Prancer/Gggggooolllldddd, complete with a red ribbon and silver bell. I was a little worried he might be upset or wild, but quite to the contrary he was calm and cute and sure seemed to enjoy all the spoiling attention... everyone just loved him. :)

Mary Christmas, the most recent lamb, born about a week ago, is also doing very well..... nursing well, frisky, and oh, so cute. And as for me???? ..... I'm "in my element", as Aunty would say.... lovin' every minute of it!!!! Me and Daddy go out morning and evening every day and have our "milk date" as I call it. I milk while he bottle feeds, then he feeds and waters while I finish bottle feeding. :) Life is good. :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mother and Daughter Christmas Tea

Here is a picture of the tea Emily and I hosted for some friends. We had a time of sharing, some food and tea, and then the girls went ice skating while the moms visited. It was a great day!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Christmas Recital

After many hour of practice, the dreaded Christmas recital arrived, and not without much emotion on the home front!! The kids were so nervous and were trying to convince us, on the way to the recital, that they were coming down with the flu. :) Of course they all did great, as they always do!

Jonny had been working particularly hard on his song. He was having a lot of trouble with it, and Emily was spending lots of time helping him. He really wanted to give up, but he kept plugging away at it (with lots of incentives from Emily). :) I think his piano teacher was a little concerned, but when he finished his piece at the recital, his teacher turned around and looked at us and said (with a big smile), "He nailed it!" :)

Jonny went to bed tonight with a sigh and said, "Well, I guess all that hard work paid off!" , to which I replied, "Yep, you're learning how life works, Jonny!" :)

(the kids and their piano teacher)

Lamentations 3:17 says that "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." In other words, it is good for young men to learn to work hard! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hunting with Grandpa

Here's a picture of Mike and the boys going pheasant hunting with Mike's Dad. They had beautiful weather for hunting! Ben is the only one that got a pheasant, but they were not able to find it......Jackson is a guard dog, not a hunting dog. :)

Us girls escaped to do some Christmas shopping while they tromped around in the slough. When we got back, we all enjoyed some white chili made with Housman Farm chicken, of course. And any time Grandpa is over, the kids cannot let him leave without either playing some games with him or listening to some of his hunting stories.......or both! :)
P.S. For those of you who are wondering where Brandon went......He is currently living on his own and working full time. That's why you don't see him in the pictures.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lamb Pictures

Here are a couple lamb pictures. The one is of Em and Mike using the "lamb saver".

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Skating with Friends

We have some friends that made a full-size hockey rink in their backyard. It's super nice! The kids and dads had a great time playing hockey together, while us moms twirled around on the sidelines. :) Here are a couple pictures of the time we had with our special friends, the Swensons.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Forest City Stockade Pioneer Christmas

Every December the Forest City Stockade puts on a pioneer Christmas. Each building houses a man or woman working a trade from that era. We saw the potter, the candle maker, the printer, the gunsmith, and the baker....just to name a few. It was such a pretty setting with the fresh snow on all the log buildings, and the horse-drawn sleighs were especially beautiful!

The kids enjoyed eating the gingerbread men from the bakery, but the horehound candy from the doctor left a little to be desired. They practiced dipping beeswax candles and learning how the printer sets his type. It was fun watching the potter working with the clay; he made it look so easy! We spent a lot of time in the church singing Christmas songs with the old-timers and playing the mandolin and the pump organ. It was a nice day! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Lambs! By, Emily ;)

The thing I LOVE about living on a farm is all the unexpected things that happen.... life is so exciting and never dull around here. We have a ewe named Nancy who was going to be butchered this fall, but was unusually.... large. Very large. Sometime last summer she got pregnant when she wasn't supposed to. We were expecting lambs, but didn't really have any idea when they would arrive. Nancy also has had mastitis, so her udder does not "work" any more. We bought milk and colostrum replacer and were all ready.

Yesterday morning I went out to milk and as I walked to the pen to get Milly, I heard this low "mmmmm" like the Mama sheep make when they're "talking" to their babies. I thought "maybe she had her babies" , but I figured she probably didn't because I thought that EVERY morning. :) Well I walked up to the pen, hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe she had popped. Looking over the gate, I saw Nancy, looking a little thin, standing facing away from me. I peered around her and saw a LAMB, standing up, looking for breakfast!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it!!!! I was SO surprised!!! I opened the gate and ran into the pen. I felt like screaming for joy, but instead I looked for more lambs. :) Over in the other corner was one.... it looked really dead. I picked it up. It was SO weird what happened! It's head moved a little, but the rest of it's body stayed in the same position!!!I It was FROZEN, literally!!!! I've never seen a frozen lamb... it was really scary. But it was alive. I ran out of the barn and looked around in the yard. There was another lamb lying by the door, looking a little more alive, but not much. I scooped it up too. Then I looked around the rest of the yard. Nothing else. I ran to the gate and yelled for Dad as loud as I could, but he was in the house still and didn't hear me. So I ran into the milk room and put them both on a towel next to the heater. Then I opened the door and yelled for Dad again. This time he heard me and I said "she had her lambs!!! But their really cold!!!" Then I got the other lamb, who was walking around and doing fine, and put it in a pen with Nancy. Then Dad came finally and had a big heater, so we warmed them up.

The one that was really dead-looking, her legs were literally frozen. They were cold and stiff and wouldn't bend or anything. It was SO weird. I held her legs in my hands to try and thaw them, and we were drying them off with the hair dryer, and eventually her legs could move. So about a 1/2 an hour later Dad went out to feed the sheep while we were still busy warming them up. He came back in a couple minutes.... HOLDING A LAMB!!!!! I couldn't believe it. He and I and BOTH searched the yard, in fact I had searched it twice!!! When he was feeding the sheep, Dad heard this little "maa". He thought it was one of the big lambs, but then when he was leaving he heard it again. He looked around, and then he saw it... it was stuck in between the water tank and the fence!!! I'm so glad we found it before it froze!!! It was still wet, and starting to get little icicles on it's wool. But it was doing really well... a 8 pound little boy. So three boys and one girl.... the little girl is 5 pounds, then the boys are 7, 8, and 10 pounds! Also, I must add that this is the first time we have had four live lambs born from one ewe.

None of them would eat from the bottle when we first tried to feed them, so for the first time in Housman Farm History, we used a scary device called a "lamb saver". It is basically a plastic cup with a long rubber tube that has holes in the end attached to it. Dad told me that we were going to have to use it, and showed me how to hold the lamb. As he began to slide the tube down the lamb's throat, I asked, "Is this dangerous?", to which he replied, "Not if you know what you're doing." So I asked him if he knew what he was doing and he said, "No!" :( The danger is if you slide the tube into the lungs instead of the belly, and when you pour the milk in it will drowned the lamb. But it went well, and we now have done the procedure several times with success. :)

We are keeping them in the milk room, in a little sectioned-off pen in the corner. There's a heater in there, so it's nice and toasty. :) I'm having a blast bottle feeding them! Me and Daddy have been getting up in the night to feed them, which is SO fun. Now we just have to think of some nice "Christmasy" names for them. :) I bought some little jingle bells to put on them too. :)

So thus concludes the latest adventure on the farm. :) I'm just LOVING my new job as a mama. :) They're just the sweetest little things ever. :) I'm SO blessed to live on a farm. :) Yahooo! :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Christmas Tree

Every year we go to the tree farm and the boys cut down the Christmas tree. This year we got our tree early - the end of November. Here are a few pictures of the event.

(The boys cutting down the tree.)

(Visiting the Reindeer at the tree farm.)

(Dad helping decorate the tree.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vacationing and other fun stuff!

Having the farm "closed" for the winter has not only allowed more time for school work (which isn't very exciting), but also more time for vacationing and other fun things. So here are a few pictures of what we have been up to lately.

(Swimming at Breezy Point)

(Out for lunch in Pequot Lakes)

(Playing soccer at Breezy Point)

(Christmas shopping in Pequot Lakes)

(Climbing the fire tower in Pequot Lakes)

(Horse-drawn wagon ride through Nisswa followed by a winter fireworks show!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deer Season By, Emily

Well, this deer season went very well, as everyone got a deer! :) Daddy and I went out opener morning and both shot a doe (2 minutes apart) ..... about 15 minutes into season, too! :) Then that afternoon Mom and Ben went out and Ben got a nice 3 pt. buck. It was his first deer, and he did a great job! It had a nice big body on it too.... lots of meat! :) Mom, the only one left, got hers on Wednesday... an 8 pt. buck! So now we have lots of venison in the freezer, as well as some deer-licious jerky drying in the dehydrator. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Housman Farm Team Finishes Out the Season

It was a glorious moment when the last turkey was thrown into the cooling tank! "We're done!" "We did it!" It was time for cheers and "high-fives"!
When I woke up Saturday morning (the day after our last market) to a snowstorm I said, "Thank God we're done! We finished just in time!" :)
"Thank you" to all our wonderful customers! We appreciate you all so much and enjoyed seeing you at our markets. We look forward to serving you again in the spring, Lord willing. :)
Enjoy those turkeys.....we will be thinking of you on Thanksgiving Day! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Ben!!!

Ben turned 11 at the end of October! We spent an entire Saturday celebrating his birthday. The highlights were breakfast in bed, (He wanted corn flakes of all things! :) Of course I found some that were Non-GMO and organic.), shopping at the flea market, going to a go-cart track, having lunch at an apple orchard followed by a wagon ride, playing tag at a park, shopping at Runnings with gift cards, and watching a movie while enjoying pizza, root beer, and cake. :)
Happy Birthday, Ben!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poor Tent!

Last spring we set up a tent that we had bought for hay storage back before we built our barn. We used it all summer for our Farmer's Market. For the most part it worked great. It was a little loud on windy days, but at least it kept most of the wind out. Fortunately it survived all the storms that passed through this summer. Many times we thought the high winds would destroy it, but it held steady.
Unfortunately is was not strong enough to withstand our last storm. With sustained winds of 30-40 miles per hour for TWO DAYS, our poor tent lost the battle. :( It is pretty much unrepairable. Thankfully the season is almost over. We held our market last Friday in our garage.
So when you come for turkey pick up and wonder where we went, just come to the garage. Looking forward to seeing and serving you for two more weeks! :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thanksgivin' Turkeys! by Emily

The turkeys are sure growing big and fat for your thanksgiving dinner! All summer they have been eating lots of lush grass and bugs.... one customer told his wife as they drove past the turkey pasture "now THAT'S the way turkeys should be raised!" :)

Mindy writes:
We butchered our first group of turkeys last Friday. It sure was cold out, but we managed just fine. We did have some trouble with our equipment due to the cold, and the process took longer than we would have liked, but all's well that ends well!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free Time

In my free time (yes, I do have some :) ) one of the things I enjoy doing is quilting. I have never really learned to quilt properly. Some day I would like to take a class. Many years ago, when Brandon was just a little tike, I made him a quilt for his bed. I just kind of guessed at how to do it and it turned out OK. Since then I have made many quilts, mostly small table runners or wall hangings. I like to experiment and be creative.

Here is a picture of a quilt I recently made as a birthday gift for a good friend. I cut the felted wool leaves and acorns in the center out and sewed them on by hand. I had so much fun making it......but probably more fun giving it to her! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010


This time of year my kale is growing beautifully in the garden. We planted Red Russian Kale this year, actually we've been planting and replanting it all summer. Greens are something we always try to have on hand for our customers, so it seems as though we plant them all summer long. :)

Kale is very rich in antioxidants, which are, as I tell my children, the good guys that fight all the bad guys in our body. Kale also has more beta-carotene than any other vegetable. Not only does it help regulate estrogen levels in the body, but it also fights colon cancer! Another one of God's perfect (and natural) remedies for our bodies. :)

The Red Russian Kale that we planted grows well in the summer months, but it can also tolerate extreme cold, which makes it a great choice for a cold frame. And that is exactly where we have our kale growing now. Last year we picked our last garden salad from our cold frame in the first week of December. I am hoping to beat that date this year! :)

(This is our cold frame made from glass patio doors. The greens that look like oak leaves are kale.)

There are many ways to eat kale. You can simply add it to a salad, which we have done, or you can dry it and then add it to everything. I dry my kale in a dehydrator at 125 degrees. It only takes my dehydrator a few hour to dry the kale. Once it is dry I just crush it an put it in a glass jar. Kale is wonderful in soups or hot dishes. I even added it to the egg bake I made for breakfast this morning, which everyone loved.

(Dried Kale. This picture is not very good...the kale is much greener than it looks here.)

If you attended either one of my herb classes, you have the recipe for "Herb Chips", this would be another great way to eat kale. For those that didn't/couldn't attend, the recipe is simple:

Coat the kale leaves with coconut oil, sprinkle them with garlic salt, and bake for 10 min. in a 350 degree oven. They are soooo good! In the class we used parsley and basil leaves, and they are almost as good as potato chips, in my opinion......well, not Emily's homemade potato chips! :)

If you are interested in ordering some kale for your garden next year, we got ours from Seeds Of Change. The kale actually comes in a mixed greens pack called Mesclun Salad Mix.


Go Greens! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jonny!

On Saturday we celebrated Jonny's birthday. Birthdays in our house always start out with breakfast in bed, with the recipients choice of food. When breakfast was over we went to the flea market, a fun place for boys! Jonny found a toy gun that shoots plastic BBs and a holster that he liked, so that was his gift from Dad. After the flea market we all went to a coffee shop and had a treat. Then we headed home to make a picnic lunch and go on a hike. The place we hiked was gorgeous! We ate our lunch on a high hill overlooking the countryside that was blazing with color. Then we hiked the trails, which looked like paths of gold. Jonny had fun shooting his gun at everything. :) After hiking we headed to the bowling alley, which provided lots of fun and laughter. We finished off the evening with a campfire. Roasted hot dogs, chips, root beer, and cake were Jonny's choices for dinner. Yum!! It was a great day celebrating our youngest son's birthday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Great Customers!

One day at the dinner table, our family was talking about what great customers we have. Sure it's fun to make money selling things you produce, but we are also blessed by the friendships we have been able to make through our market. It's so much fun to see your smiling faces every Friday! You encourage and inspire us to keep doing what we are doing, and we appreciate that!

I have posted pictures of some pumpkins a customer brought us one Friday. He carved each of our names into a pumpkin while it was still green. As the skin grew over it, the scar made the names "permanent" in the pumpkin. The pumpkin for Mike and I reads, "Mom & Dad". We were all so blessed by this thoughtful gift! :) Thanks so much, Steve! :)

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