Friday, July 11, 2014

A Birthday Party for Geraldine

My little town is a pretty special place.  At least some of us think so.  Over the Fourth of July weekend we had us a reason to throw a party.  The town of Geraldine turned 100 years old!  The town was scrubbed, painted, spruced up and fixed up like it had a hot date!  Long empty flower beds were filled, streets were swept and just about everyone put a coat of paint on something!  Then we had a parade. Of course we had a parade!!  Summer in a tiny, Montana town just wouldn't be the same without parades!

We had our fire trucks and old tractors and vintage automobiles....

Hired Man Jim at the wheel.

Of course there were cowboys.... and mountain men.  Like, real ones.

We had some floats of a variety you wouldn't see, say in San Francisco or Seattle....

There were something like a hundred entries in the parade this year.  Which is amazing considering there are usually about seven.

Where there are cowboys, you also find cowgirls.  Of all ages....


But my very favorite.... has to be the draft teams!  I love them!!

So there you have a little view of our small town party.  We also had a concert with the Bellamy Brothers, which had to be the biggest name to ever make an appearance in Geraldine.  Then we had a street dance and the best fireworks show this town had ever seen.  All and all I think we showed our small town pride just perfectly and here's hoping we will see another hundred years for Geraldine.

Bye for now,

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blooming Tulip

I didn't think this story would get written. I don't like to write sad stories and I didn't think this was gonna end well....
Ten days ago Miss Ivy had her babies.  Twin girls that came just a bit earlier than expected.  Sadly, one baby did not make it.  I don't think she even took a breath.  But one tiny, precious thing was alive.  She was the oddest color for a goat.  In the sunshine she almost looked pink with a black stripe down her back.  Immediately I knew her name was "Tulip".
Tulip's first hour of life.
 I quickly noticed that Tulip wasn't in perfect health.  She had a very large, abnormal swelling in her throat. She was weak, cold and had no interest in momma's milk.  Not a good sign for a baby goat.  If they don't get momma's colostrum milk within the first few hours of life they usually die.  Colostrum is how most baby critters get their immunities. And she wouldn't eat....

I reached out to a network of Farmgirls for advice and information.  I also read on the internet about "goiters" in goats and how they are caused by the mom not getting enough iodine. It said the Boer breed is particularly susceptible to being iodine deficient and Tulip's daddy is a Boer goat.  The prognosis was not good.  But I am a "never say die" kinda girl.  While I know that losing animals is a part of ranching, I refuse to just accept that.  I'm stubborn and I hate it when any kind of critter in my care dies.

So I tucked tiny Tulip into my lap on my 4-wheeler and led her momma across the farm to a warmer place in my main barn.  Then I fashioned a make-do goat pen inside the feed room, moved the feed to a safe spot, bedded it deep with straw and hung a heat lamp from the rafters. I used two different ropes to secure the heat lamp because hate those things and the risk of fire associated with them.  But they are a necessary evil.  After getting the heat lamp to just the right height, I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket for a chair and sat with tiny Tulip on my lap, soaking up the heat.  After an hour or two, I milked some colostrum from Ivy and fed Tulip, one drop at a time from a syringe.  She still had no desire to suck and would not even try a bottle. The swollen thyroid gland made it difficult for her to swallow.  I wanted to cry....

Finally, late that night she had an almost normal body temperature so I tucked her into the straw, said a silent prayer and left her and Ivy to themselves.  I really didn't think she'd last the night, but to my surprise she was still hanging in there in the morning.  She ate a bit more from the syringe, protested the iodized salt I mixed into the colostrum, forgave me when I rubbed molasses on her gums.... the day went by and she was still here.

On day three she started to come to life!  She even gave a few half hearted sucks on a bottle!  More syringe feeding, lots of time under the heat lamp but she was ok.

Day four she finally nursed on her own!! Just a little bit, but she did it.  She started with just tiny sips and still needed the syringe but she was getting stronger and her swollen thyroid was shrinking!  I started to allow myself to have hope that she'd live.  I finally allowed my little boys to see her and pet her.  Up to that point I hadn't because I didn't want their hearts to break when she died.  She did start to develop a slight fever and raspy breath sounds so I began an antibiotic treatment right away.

Today, I am pleased to tell you that after 4 days of doubt, 5 days of antibiotics and Prairie Granny and I watching her like a hawk, Tulip is thriving!

Her swollen thyroid continues to shrink.  The pneumonia symptoms are completely gone and she is a happy little goat!

There is nothing cuter than a happy, baby goat!  I think they are even cuter than puppies!

I'm kinda glad I'm stubborn.... and I'm really glad Tulip is too. Stubborn enough to live against the odds. 

Bye for now,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Knitting Group

Yesterday I got a wild hair.  I decided to grab my knitting projects and head down to the senior citizens center and join in on the knitting group that meets every Tuesday.  I had some new yarns I was pretty excited about and looked forward to being able to knit and talk to some grown-ups for a couple of hours.
This is the scarf I finished at the knitting group.

I did happen to be the youngest woman in the room by and average of maybe forty years.  I think the ladies were a little surprised to see me plop down in a recliner to join their group.  A couple of the ladies knew who I was but the others I had never met before.  So I gave a short run down of who's place I had bought and that my knitting was strictly out of fleece from my own little fuzzy critters.  Then I just listened mostly....

One lady in particular had me fascinated.  Her name is Katie and she has lived all of her life right here in Chouteau County.  I believe she said she was 83 years young.  She grew up on a homestead up in the Highwood Mountains, on Shonkin Creek. 

Her dad was an immigrant from England and her mom had immigrated from Scotland.  She told me how her dad came here, homesteaded the place and was raising sheep up on the Shonkin.  Until the wolves, (yes wolves!) the coyotes and the harsh winters decimated the sheep.  Then he became a sheep shearer and would travel around each spring, shearing hundreds of sheep by hand, in a time before electric clippers. Anything to help make ends meet.

Geraldine in it's early years.

Katie's mother was one of 10 children back in Scotland.  When one of her siblings came here to Geraldine, she ended up following.  Her sister's children had both died within three days of each other, during the scarlet fever epidemic.  The sister was just six weeks from delivering a new baby when she lost her children and sent for Katie's mother to come help with the baby and also work in the general store they ran here in Geraldine.  She was here for a couple of years before Katie's dad came into the store one day.

A friend had told him, "There's a young lass down at the store you outta meet."  So he made the trip to town with the excuse if needing to buy a bar of soap, just so he could meet the "lass".  They met and then courted for about a year before getting married.  He was 47 and she was 28 when they married.  He moved her to the homestead where sometimes it was six months before she even saw another woman.  But Katie says they loved each other and were the happiest couple on Shonkin Creek for all of their marriage.

 I don't know about you, but their story just tugs at my heart.  What a legacy of love to have!  Now Katie's son runs his cows on the homestead place.  They are one of the families that have been here in Geraldine since the very beginning of this place. All because two people fell in love....

I warned the ladies at the knitting group that they might end up on my blog.  I have their blessing and it is my hope I retold Katie's story without errors.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mr. Goat's Horrible Not Very Nice Day

We have had a "guest goat" for a few months now.  He is hanging out at our farm until Miss Ivy has her babies.  Or maybe just "baby".  We're not sure.... Anyhow, Mr. Goat is here to keep her company because goats really much prefer to be in the company of another goat.  I didn't want Miss Ivy to be lonely!  I'm not exactly sure of Mr. Goats real name, I think it might be Butternut....or Buttercup...or something like that.  But I just call him Mr. Goat.
Today, Mr. Goat had one heckuva bad day.  I don't know why.... and I don't know how.  But Mr. Goat managed to get himself into this little pickle....
As my big boy and I were walking around the farm doing the chores this afternoon, we found him in his pickle.  I usually don't do the chores until my son gets home from school.  He's my official gate opener and I need his help.  So Mr. Goat looked to have had himself stuck like that for quite a while.  A few hours at least, maybe longer.
The obvious thing we needed to do was remove the panel from the fence and give his poor little kisser some breathing room.  But of course we had walked down to do the chores and my hammer was all the way  up at the house.  (Note to self: Put hammer in big barn, near goat pen.)  So this cowgirl had to hoof it up to the house as quickly as possible.  I tell you what, I am not in shape for a quarter-mile run, uphill, in muck boots.  But I made it without passing out, grabbed a hammer and drove the pickup back down to the goat pen.
I yanked the fence staples out and freed the panel.  Then my big boy pushed his behind forward while I did a twist and yank procedure on his head to fit his horns back through the fence squares.  His little head is gonna be sore for a day or two!  And his lips were chaffed and swollen too....

But a minute or so after being released from the goat trap, he was happily in the feeder, chowing down.... that's always a good sign. 

I think I'll call Mr. Goats owners and let him know he would like to come home soon.... he doesn't like my fences.

Bye for now,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How About A Glampout?!

Prairie Granny and I had another crazy idea.  We get a lot of those!!  It's not easy for us to get away to take our cute little glamper out glamping.  So we have decided to host a glamping rally here at the farm!!!  For those of you who think I am speaking some other language:  Glamping is, Glamour + Camping = GLAMPING! We have been fixing up our little vintage camper.  It now has pretty pink floral upholstery, a pink chandelier etc.... Now I just need the perfect glamping, vintage dress!  I'm thinking something very colorful and glitzy....


So far, we hope to have everyone pull in on Friday afternoon or evening and share a bonfire, meet-n-greet on Friday night.  Saturday is open for adventuring around Montana and we are looking forward to a potluck on Saturday night. 


So next June 6, 7 and 8th we are hoping that lots of ladies will bring their glampers and enjoy our little piece of heaven. We'd like to see a donation of $25 per camper for the weekend to help cover the costs of setup.

One of the painted sunsets from last summer.

The old truck loves to be a photo prop!

Square Butte from my back porch  03/18/2014

The mighty Missouri River is minutes away for those that love to fish.  There is a charming ferry that crosses the river to a jewel of an antique store in the town of Virgelle. 

 Nearby Fort Benton is a very historic, darling community.  There is an interpretive center and the actual "Fort" that eventually became the first town in Montana. The Fort is open to the public from the end of May through the end of September.  Visitors to the Fort will see rooms filled with period furnishings, the trade store with buffalo robes, beads, trinkets, blankets and other period trade goods, the warehouse with its fur trade era collections, and the blacksmith & carpenters shop.

My little farm is home to horses, calves, alpacas, goats, chickens and piggies.  There should be plenty of cuteness to go around!

Shoot me an email at for contact info and to RSVP.

Bye for now,


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hello March

Ok, it's the first day of March.  Almost spring.  Could it please, please start to act like it??  It's -14 this morning.  We have a good six inches of snow.  This has been the coldest, snowiest winter in about 15 years. I'm over it. So, I am going to reminisce.... Just to remind myself spring will eventually get here.

I took these last spring and summer.

Here at the farm or just down the road....

Mostly just as I wandered around my yard in my bare feet with a coffee cup in one hand and a camera in the other....

Or from the porch....

Sometimes I had to set the coffee cup down.....

Ahhhh.... I don't know about you, but I feel better.  Maybe I'll go lower all the window shades, crank up my heat, put on some capris and a tank top and pretend it's spring.

Bye for now,

Friday, February 28, 2014

While The Sun Shines

I think we have all heard the expression, "make hay while the sun shines."  Well, I'm gonna add to that.  Haul hay while the sun shines!  Yesterday was a gorgeous day for February in Montana.  Somewhere around 30 degrees and not a breath of wind.  But that has changed.  It's 3 degrees now and snowing.  There's a storm heading our way that is supposed to bring more snow, high winds and temperatures back down to -20 or so.  The wind chills will even be worse than that!

I never used to pay any attention to the weather.  Not much any way.  Boy, has that changed!  Now I have learned that watching the weather reports can mean being prepared for nasty storms or being caught out in a blizzard.  Kind of a big deal out here on the prairie.

So in preparation for this storm, I decided to haul hay all around to the different parts of the farm where I feed each bunch of critters.  I normally load a few bales each day, off of the stack and deliver them around the farm.  Now I have bales stacked up near each bunch of critters.  Some near the goat/lamb pen, some near the horses and calves pasture gate and some up in the alpaca barn. Now I won't be hauling hay when it's -20 below and the wind is trying to blow me off of the haystack!  Instead I was hauling hay in the sunshine, in shirtsleeves no less! 

Shirt sleeves and overalls. In February!

The alpacas were out frolicking and hoping all that hay was for them!  They love their groceries!!

"No really, you can just leave all that here." ~ Cricket

I also got some things cleaned up around the farm, fueled up the tractor and trimmed the pony's hooves.  The snow kept balling up under his feet, making it very hard for him to walk.  I'm hoping a hoof trim helps a bit.  A good brushing made him a happy boy too.

All of us seemed to be soaking up the sunshine while we could.... I'll let you know what tomorrow brings.

 "Paris" the barn cat.

Bye for now,