Friday, December 28, 2012

Pyrenee Puppies!

As I said in my last post, we have been watching Princess on our surveillance camera.  She wasn't eating and was sleeping most of Christmas day.  But every once in a while she would stretch out and kick her legs like she was having contractions.  When we would take her out to go to the bathroom and put her in with Captain, she would head straight for the dog house and hunker down.  She did not want to be bothered by playful Captain.  So we would bring her back to her whelping box.
The day after Christmas we were all in the kitchen, and we could see on the camera that Princess was very restless.  She was whining and pacing back and forth.  Then she would sit in her whelping box for a couple seconds and get up again.  Up and down and back and forth she went.  As Emily and I watched we knew it was getting close, but we were eating at the time, so we weren't paying super close attention.

Then a few minutes later, we glanced at the screen.  "Is that...?", Emily said.  Princess was licking something in her box.  "It's a puppy!!!", I shouted.  The whole family went running out the door and into the garage where her whelping box is located.
It was 11:21am when the first puppy was born.  At 11:43am number two was born.  By 12:38pm she had had five puppies.  We were ecstatic!   Five puppies!  WOW!  Then by 1:34pm she had had seven...SEVEN!  How many more could she have?  At 2:16pm she had number eight!  Number nine arrived at 3:13pm and number ten at 4:14pm.  We were in shock!  I guess I felt half excited and half...well, concerned.  I thought to myself, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" :)
At 4:30pm Princess had number eleven and that was the last puppy.  All day long I was texting my friend who raises another breed of dogs.  She has been a great resource for us.  By puppy number eleven, she texted and said, "Yep, you guys are going to have your work cut out for you!"  I called her.  "What exactly do you mean by that?" I asked.  And she said, "Do you know how much poop you are going to have to clean up?"  WOW!  I had never thought of that! :)  Eleven dogs pooping and peeing is a whole lot of mess!!  Well,  here we go...  :)

The first puppy

Princess in her box with puppy number two.

There's eleven there!!  Can you find them all?

Isn't he cute?
Princess had five boys and six girls.  Eleven lucky people will get to take one home in about eight weeks. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas on the Farm

Emily and I got up at 5:30am on Christmas morning to start preparing our food for the day.  We were both excited to bless our boys...and ourselves :) with yummy food as we celebrated the birth of our Savior.
Our first course was homemade doughnuts and coffee.  Yummy!  It is time consuming to make doughnuts, but boy are they good! :)

Ben enjoying his coffee and doughnuts.

Once they were finished, they all headed outside to do chores.  Then I got our breakfast going.  When they got in, we opened our gifts.  By the time we were done with that, breakfast was ready. 

Breakfast consisted of Quiche Lorraine, lamb sausage, fruit salad, and sparkling orange juice.  While we ate, and throughout the rest of the day, we listened to Handel's "Messiah".  It is an incredible oratorio about our Lord.  The rest of the afternoon was filled with a nap, a vigorous game of hockey, dinner, and a Christmas movie.


Dinner - Leg of lamb, cheesy potatoes, and salad.  While we ate, Mike read the Christmas story from the Bible and other passages.
For dessert, we had homemade ice cream, strawberry sauce, and a gingerbread cookie.  Thanks, Joe, for the ice cream!  What a great Christmas gift that was!  And it was the BEST ice cream!! :)

Princess in her whelping box.

All day long, we watched Princess on our surveillance camera.  She was due that day.  We could see that she was working on delivering puppies, but it is a long process.  As we watched the clock, we hoped that she would have them on Christmas day, but at midnight, we had to give up that hope.  But the next day... :)

Farmwife's Journal - December 27th

I can't believe it has been over a month since I posted!  So much has happened in that time, and I am not sure where to start.  I guess I'll start with the very end of November when I had a Christmas tea party.  I had hoped to have four tea parties, one every Friday before Christmas, but time only allowed for one. :(  My dear friend, Brenda Rydberg, came and shared a Christmas devotional with us.  We had a great time!

We kicked off December with a day of farm chores.  The boys covered the garlic while Emily and me made apple sauce, dehydrated apples, and froze squash.

Hauling straw bales...the fun way! :)

Spreading the straw.

Drying apples

making apple sauce

Squash ready to freeze

We spent one afternoon at the Forest City Stockade.  It is always fun to walk around and look at all the buildings and see what is being made.  Jonny and Ben enjoyed taking turns driving the team on our horse-drawn wagon ride.  Below are a few pictures from our day.

Nice fur hat, Ben!

In the chapel, Jonny took a turn on the mandolin
Emily played some Christmas carols on the pump organ.
Since the ground is frozen, my boys are done digging their underground fort.  So one day I got this crazy idea that they should build a cabin.  Their Papa and his twin brother built a "shack" in the woods when they were 12 years old and lived in it every summer until they left home to go into the navy. 
With much excitement, we spent a day watching YouTube videos on how to build a log cabin.  The pictures below show how far they got before the big snowstorm hit. :)

Clearing a spot for the cabin

Chopping down the first tree


...the second tree, with a saw

four logs for the base

fitting the logs

snowstorm hit

Mike and the children planned a little Christmas program for the residents of Dassel Lakeside.  They played the piano, mandolin, and harmonica.  We snacked on cookies and had fun singing Christmas songs together.
Christmas program at Dassel Lakeside
 Here are some pictures of the kids piano recital.  They all did an awesome usual! :)  I will get the videos posted soon.

December 19th was an exciting day - Mike was sworn in as a county commissioner!  His parents joined us for the special occasion.  We were all so proud of him! :)

Me and Mike's parents

Getting sworn in by the judge

The four other commissioner that Mike will serve with.

Celebrating the day over dinner with the commissioners

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Farmwife's Journal - November 29th

Now that the election is over, Mike is getting ready for his new position as commissioner.  He has been meeting with the heads of different departments to get to know them and what they do.  He is going to be a great commissioner! :)  We are looking forward to the swearing in ceremony, and the kids and me plan to attend as many of his meetings as we can.  I want my kids to learn the ins and outs of county government...for better or worse. :)
Last night Jonny helped me make some Gingerbread cookies.  These are my favorite Christmas cookies.  Tomorrow I am having a tea party for some friends, so I have been making treats the last few days.  The recipe is below. 
Gingerbread cookies
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp.  ground ginger
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
Dried fruit for decorating.  We use raisins, cranberries, and apples.

Stir dry ingredients together.  Then mix the wet ingredient together and add to the dry. Mix well.  You can refrigerate the dough for an hour, or just start rolling it out, like I do. :)  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  So yummy!

Today's snack - raspberry, cinnamon, oat straw, and peppermint tea with undecorated Gingerbread cookies. :)

Enjoying our snack while reviewing states and capitals
Today I got my pumpkin butter canned while the kids were off at music lessons.  Below is the step by step process.  We enjoy pumpkin butter on our waffles, toast, and pumpkin or banana bread.

Here I am adding my chunks of cooked pumpkin to my blender.

20 cups of pureed pumpkin.  This was from two medium sized pumpkins.

To my 20 cups of pumpkin puree, I add 6 cups of sugar, 2 cups of apple cider, 4 tsp. of cinnamon, 2 tsp. cloves, 2 tsp. allspice, 2 tsp. nutmeg.  Then I mix it and heat it.

Once the pumpkin butter is good and hot, I start canning it.

Here I am adding my jars to my steam caner.

Process pint jars for 10 minutes.
 That's it!  It's really easy.  Canned pumpkin butter also makes a great Christmas gift. :)

This evening we played our first hockey game of the season on our pond.  Along with a couple friends, we enjoyed some good exercise and fresh, night air.  Family hockey is one of the things our family loves most about winter. :)