Thankful Thursday – North Dakota

What? I’m thankful for the state I live in? Really? You betcha!

Yesterday North Dakota (and to be fair, South Dakota) celebrated their “birthdays,” or the day that they were signed into the union. And although I complain about the 40 below temps, 100 inches plus of snow and other wonderful issues that come with winter, I truly love my state.

First of all, we have a budget surplus. For those that don’t understand what that means, it means that we take in more money than we spend. Shocking. I know.

Second, we have more jobs than we have people to work. No, this doesn’t mean we have NO unemployed people, but there are definitely employment opportunities that are open, for many, many people. The key would be work ethic, responsibility and eagerness to actually work. It’s part of the reason that while much of the country is slipping backwards, we’re actually looking to the future and planning ahead. Another shocker. I know.

Third, I feel safe where I live. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t dangerous areas in ND, but right now, we’ve got it pretty good. And if you come in my yard, let me warn you that my two black labs will lick you to death if you’re friendly, but harass us, and they’re on their guard. And I hunt…if you get what I mean.

Our new puppy, Maggie, and our old foster-dog, Junior.

 

 

Fourth, I know my neighbors. Sometimes that’s not such a good thing, but for the most part, I feel blessed to know that if my kids are doing something they shouldn’t be, someone will tell me. It used to drive me nuts as a child, now I dig it.

Speaking of digging. Did I mention snow?

Now THAT's a snow bank!

 

 

Once upon a time, I tried to escape ND. I thought it was a mind-suck and a place that people came to die. I despised it, and everything it stood for. Thanks be to God that those times came and went quickly! I love my rural life, I love my prairie-dwelling companions and I wouldn’t trade it for the world…well, except for maybe a week or two.

Love sundogs and sunsets on the prairie!

 

 

Why Do I Hunt?

I’ve posted several times about my love for hunting. I was raised with the hunting tradition, it was something that my family did together…and it provided food for our family. But that’s not ALL that hunting is about.

Apparently being a mom that hunts makes me weird. I can live with that.

 

 

Through hunting, I have actually learned a lot about caring for wildlife, conserving their resources, and what can happen when the number of wildlife is left unchecked, and not enough resources are provided for them. In fact, last year we lived through one of the worst years ever for wildlife issues on our farm.

As the deer eat away at the bottom bales, the whole stack becomes unstable.

 

 

It started off innocently enough. One afternoon, there were a few deer in our hay yard. My husband has no issues with a few deer. He realizes that when the winter’s get tough, wildlife needs to find feed somewhere…and we were convenient. We did our best to encourage them to leave. I walked through the hay yard often, we drove through the yard, our dog roamed the yard, etc. Yet, before we knew it, the numbers skyrocketed. We went from a few deer, to a few hundred, to probably over 1,000 deer. We called our state Game and Fish officials, and received little help. We called neighbors and local wildlife enthusiasts, but little was done.

That isn't just dirt on the horizon. Those are hundreds of deer, still making our yard home.

 

 

Our yard was a popular place for people to come looking. They drove through and watched the deer, some wanted to hunt for sheds (the antlers that bucks lose in the winter), others just wanted to see what it looked like. And then the deer started to die. It wasn’t one or two. More than 180 deer died in our hay yard. They pooped, they peed, they made a mess and destroyed our hay…and then they had the audacity to die. It was another mess to clean up.

We learned a lesson or two last winter/spring. Hunting is not just a “sport.” It’s not just a way to provide food for a family. It’s necessary to provide balance and keep wildlife healthy. Too many animals in one area is not a good thing, for the animal or for the landowner. We will do more this year to keep the problems at bay. If we’re expected to bear this burden, then we will do so on our terms.

Already we have had two deer taken on our land during the youth season. It was a great opportunity to introduce some young people to hunting, and it started early pressure on the deer in our area. In just three days, regular deer gun season starts…and I’m hoping that it’s a successful one (meaning that a majority of deer tags are filled).

And if you happen to be a North Dakota hunter, and you happen to have a deer tag, but you happen to not need, nor want, the venison (deer meat)…then let me remind you of the Feeding Families, Meating Needs program available. You can donate your meat to local food banks, which will provide that food to people in need.

When I think of the amount of meat that was destroyed and wasted last year, it makes me almost ill. Add that into the amount of hay we lost, the amount of time it took to clean up the mess and the resources that were used…no one can afford those types of springs.

Wind of Change

Today has been a windy day on the prairie. And not just a little windy, but Wizard of Oz, there’s-no-place-like-home windy.

It’s been a rough 24 hours for the Wagner boys. First of all, yesterday a gentleman came in the yard to buy hay…and he had a pickup load of dogs (four to be exact). Just before they left, the dogs attacked and killed EJ’s kitty. He handled it pretty well, but the older boys took it pretty hard. *sigh* One of the dangers of farm life, I guess.

Then this morning, we woke up to this:

Uh oh, something doesn't look right here.

 

 

This time, it's not going to be a set-it-up-and-go kinda fix.

 

 

Yep, that's a doozy.

 

 

This horse may have to be put down.

 

 

I’m a little concerned about our garage (you know, the one without doors, thanks to this summers wind storm?), but I guess time will tell. May these winds settle down fast!

Just another Manic Monday

School starts here tomorrow. And as bad as I feel for saying it…I can’t wait. I need some routine, some down time, some “regular” stuff. You know?

Just when I thought a week of plane crashes, hospital stays and sick little boys was looking up, fate stepped in. Big Bro was bit by a dog at the local park. Said dog had no vaccinations. It all adds up to Big Bro having to be on a round of antibiotics for the sore, and the dog being quarantined for 10 days to watch for signs of rabies. Even indoor pets need vaccinations. (Let’s not even get to why an “indoor” pet was at the park.)

For those that don’t know…let me explain to you what rabies all entails.

  • Rabies attacks the brain and spinal cord. If it is not prevented, it WILL cause death.
  • This year, more than 55,000 people will die from rabies. That’s one person every 10 minutes.
  • Rabies is 100% preventable. There are vaccinations for animals and treatment for humans that are in contact with infected animals.
  • It can only be passed through saliva, not blood.
  • More than 40% of the people bitten and affected are children under the age of 15.
  • Dogs are the source of 99% of human rabies death.
  • There are no tests available to diagnose rabies infection in human prior to the onset of clinical disease.

Well, enough of that, I think you get the point. Rabies is serious, rabies is deadly, and it’s simple to prevent. This is all a situation that didn’t need to occur. So please, have your pets properly vaccinated and cared for by veterinarians. If you can’t afford to do that, then do your animal a favor, and find them a new home.

I will know within 10 days if we have to go through the rabies series with Big Bro. Sooner if the animal dies between now and then. Is it likely that the dog has rabies? No, but even “indoor” pets can have contact with disease-carrying animals. Is it likely that the animal will get sick? No, but with a 100% fatality record, it’s not worth the risk.

What a way to start the week…and the school year!

Wordless Wednesday – Weather…nothing new

The storms keep coming, the sky keeps turning sickening shades of green…and I keep shooting pics.

Here’s the latest batch from July 26, 2011:

Is it a blizzard? No, just rain. As in 1.75 inches in 25-30 minutes.

 

Starting to clear up, right?

 
 

The sun is there...somewhere.

 

As my 4-year-old says (EJ), "These clouds creep me out!"

 

Tired of the storms...

 

Even when they bring beauty.

 

The Littlest of Blessings

A few weeks ago, I received a great surprise in the mail. The boys were so excited because it came in this HUGE box…

So COOL!!!

It wasn’t what they expected, but I was still really stoked about it!. It’s a beautiful garden bench plant stand from Avant Garden Decor.

I LOVE IT!!! It’s so beautful, and fits in with any outside decor.

And it’s tough. (But I’ll get to that in a minute.)

First, I purchased some flowers to plant, and prepared my area.

Getting everything ready to go!

Then, I got to work and it turned out wonderfully! I was so excited about my planter!

It fit in so nicely!

It was growing to well, and the flowers were really taking off…and then the storm hit. I thought for sure that my beautiful little planter would be toast, gone with the wind, vanished into thin air. For pete’s sake, the wall to our shop was caved in, how could a little plant stand stay put???

But it did.

A little rough, but still standing...hope for us all!

The flowers were a little rough around the edges, but they’re coming back. My precious little planter withstood winds that our great cottonwoods couldn’t stand up to…and it taught me a lesson.

Sometimes in life, it’s not the largest, strongest that survive. And sometimes amid destruction, you can find a little beauty.

If you would like to win a Hanging Basket of your own head over to the Real Farmwives of America & Friends Blog and sign up for their giveaway!

Avant Garden Decor did provide me with this product to review, however the thoughts, opinions and photos shared about this product on this blog are my own.

Wordless Wednesday – The Beauty Behind the Storm

This storm passed by our farm on Sunday.

 

 

If you remember, we were hit by 125+ mph winds just a week before.

 

 

Thankfully, we sustained no damage this week...

 

 

although communities just to the north of us sustained tremendous amounts of damage.

 

 

My attempt at a full-rainbow picture. Mother Nature can be difficult, but there's beauty in it all.