Barn Update!

We are getting closer to being done with the barn. The inside stalls were framed up and need padded to keep the deer off the metal, and one more roof section needs finished. We’ve got the fencing ready to put up and should be doing that next weekend.

I attended my first deer rehab class by Magnolia Fawn Rescue and it was very informative. The barn may look small, but it is only for initial intake of little ones or ill deer. The other half of the barn is in a run-in sleeping and feeding area. We may add a lean-to as well. We are starting with 5 fawns for our first year to build slowly and learn the process.

To donate supplies:

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Thank you ❤

Deer Barn

We purchased our first materials for the run-in deer barn. Planning on 10×14′ with room for a medical table and intake stall, with the rest of the space covered for the deer shelter and feed. Very excited this is our first big step for the rescue!

Part 1 – Yellowstone

Yellowstone was an amazing 7 days and 6 nights. It was excellent and vast, scenery like I had never seen before. Not quite ready to move on out there yet, but it was definitely wild and I can see the appeal to moving out west. We didn’t camp, but were glad we did not with how bad the weather was.

In the next couple of posts, I’ll post photos from the trip, and with details of the various routes we took and the wildlife we saw. I did weeks of research before this trip, and still felt like we forgot a few things, or could of planned it differently.

Here’s our approximate loop in green, with where we stayed each night labeled in blue, I’ve also included prices to help anyone else plan their trip, until I had really researched, it was hard to tell how much the entire trip would cost.

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Flights: $668 total into Bozeman
Bonus: Free first class on United Premier auto upgrade all flights, lucky us
Airport Parking Park N Fly: $63 (30% off parking coupon applied)

Car: $42 – 3600 Enterprise points
Bonus: Free upgrade to giant SUV 4×4 with nice tires, so that was helpful in the sleet

Food: $300 or so, we packed a foam cooler in Bozeman and that saved us a ton of money.

We were happy to get away from the crowds and picnic all over the park for lunch and breakfast. A nice bottle of wine made picnics more fun. We could also get on the road long before all the other tourists and stay in the wilderness longer with picnic foods.

Average nice dinner in park restaurant is $60, sometimes we could find a restaurant somewhat cheaper. But by the time you are done hiking all day, you’ll want some warm food. Sometimes it was great food, other times it was not. I suggest reading reviews and making reservations at Old Faithful Inn, it had the best food.

  1. Bozeman, MT – Free Hilton Stay – 30k points
  2. Mammoth Springs – $90
  3. Canyon Lodge – $228
  4. Cody, WY – $120 HomeAway Homes
  5. Old Faithful Lodge – $162
  6. Big Sky, MT – $172 HomeAway Homes

It snowed, hailed, rained, sleeted, and got down to 18 degrees when we were there. Everyday was different, I felt like we were constantly shedding layers, adding layers, and putting chap-stick on every 10 minutes due to the wind and dry air in the basin regions. A solid water resistant jacket, and shoes are a must.

Some of my favorite photos I took on the trip:

 

 

Snakes and Updates

Things are slowing down a little bit around our place, I have started my MBA program at SWU and Clay is working extra hours at John Deere. We were both sick with upper respiratory problems for a week and are now pretty much healed up.

The garden is finishing out for the year due to the extreme heat, and we are getting closer to canning salsa. This year I would like to document the process of canning and make a special post dedicated to the several varieties of salsa that we produce. We picked the hot peppers, and those are in the photo below:

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After careful consideration, we sold the Ford 2000 (in pieces no less, buyer was OK with this) for what we had in it,  it just wasn’t worth the rebuild time for the money. If the oil pan had not been left off so long, in the elements, it would of been a less time consuming task. It has found a new home though, where it will be either rebuilt or parted out into other Fords.

We can now focus on the Ford 4000 and the Massey 2135, both which are industrial models with much more capability, power and value.

This year has been particularly bad for snakes at our house. We have one snake policy, and that is, it dies if it’s near the house, barn, dog pen, or chicken coop. Regardless of venomous vs. non-venomous, or old wive’s tails of black snakes killing cooper-heads. I will believe that when I see it in person!

We encountered our first pretty aggressive black snake in the chicken coop. Horrifying to me of course to find it in there. I didn’t get any photos sadly, when Luke and I found it, wrapped around the door handle and wedged inside, we ran back to the house to get Clay.

None of the chickens were harmed, although a bit spooked. It took Clay several minutes  and two shovels to drag it out of the coop. 6 ft long, which is about the max size for a black snake. It struck out at him over and over as it tried to get back into the coop. Most of the time, the black snake curls up, or moves off. This one was definitely more dangerous than others. RIP black snake. This makes probably the 6th snake this summer.

We are going to set a few minnow traps, like the photo below, out with eggs to see if we can catch anymore, just to get them out of the coop area. Maybe we will relocate them, if they are in a live trap.

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Several spots in the coop were sealed up with expanding foam, just in case that is how it got in. It may have come in through an old electrical outlet.

On a better note, kitties are getting along, and a rare moment of Bear actually being nice to Milo. Link below to video of kitties.

Milo and Bear getting along

Have a happy summer’s end,

Erika and Clay

 

 

 

 

Busy Summer

The Deere engine swap is completed, and it’s running pretty great. Clay still has a few adjustments to make overall to get a little more power to go up our steep back hills easier.

Link is a video below of Clay running the new mower: Caution – slightly loud!!!

Dirty Deere Mower Test Run

Other than mowing, we’re producing at least a basket of tomatoes a day now, with Romas being the best producers. Chickens are enjoying their new rustic roosts throughout the run. Sussex (right) and gold Ameraucana with puffed cheeks (left) pictured below.

 

 

Have a Happy 4th of July!

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-Erika & Clay

 

 

JD Engine Swap – ‘Dirty’ Deere

I’m really impressed with Clay’s engine swap, he’s successfully swapped the good engine in the grasshopper, Kubota 25hp diesel, into the John Deere. There was almost an issue with the driveshaft, but he was able to machine new holes for the mount. All of the electrical had to be reconnected/rewired. Too many switches.

John Deere commercial mowers with a diesel are pretty rare used, and expensive, (think 10k-20k) so this has worked out great. It’s not really a JD anymore, but a frankenstein mower – the Dirty Deere

We’ve ordered new tires, Carlisle HD Field Trax ATV Tire – 24X12-12

The turf tires were dry rotted, so all in all we are about $700 in this mower.

And a new 120″ belt for the deck, 10 ft of belt!

Some photos of the progress; seat is off

 

As for the homestead, we’ve got the three amigos of destruction, Milo is tolerating them. I call him the big fluffy babysitter and they think he is their mama. This photo is pretty much their personalities, Bella is sleepy, Bear is crazy wide-eyed, and Milo is just wore out.

We’re starting a new venture with our newly found plum trees – wild plum wine. I’ve got the fermentation process started and we’re excited to see if we can get some wine – or vinegar, whichever happens 🙂 More photos of that process next week.

 

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