Sunday, April 10, 2011



Well, even though spring is a busy time of year, we are still able to take some time to do things we enjoy. For me, one of those things I enjoy doing is playing guitar.

Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to purchase a Blueridge BR-160 guitar at a discount price! It's retail value is $995 according to one dealer. Having a high quality insrument has inspired me to play more now, and I can tell it has made a difference in the smoothness of my playing.

Here's a short tune I played this afternoon. Enjoy!

Amanda's Reel from Bartlett Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Preparations

Well, spring is getting busier all the time! After a few very busy weeks of traveling to the homeschool convention and going to Carlton Minnesota, it is good to be back to a routine and be able to get things ready for the season ahead.

We have some new additions to the farm that you have probably heard about from the other blogs. One of them is the new pigs. Blackhock the gilt had a litter of 13 half Hampshire and half Berkshire pigs. We have taken one in the house to feed since it didn't grow fast enough for some reason and it wasn't getting a chance to nurse.

I'm back to milking now, since Della delivered her calf. It's a heifer and she is doing really good. We separated the calf from her mother soon after she was born so that we wouldn't run into problems keeping them apart later. The weather was nice too so there wasn't the threat of it getting chilled. It was an easy and fast delivery.

My days now include about an hour of horse training with David and Darla. It is a pleasure to work with an animal that tries really hard to do what you want. She is learning very well and will be all set to ride by the time the snow has melted.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Done milking


I just thought I'd let you see the brochure up close. Here's the links to the images:

Early Saturday morning, Jonathan and I packed up and left for Minot to instruct at the Appleseed at the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club's indoor range. We got a call from the shoot boss the day before saying that he was half way here from Iowa and that he had to turn and head back home for a family emergency. Jonathan was already going to be trained in to be shoot boss, but it was a surprise to us to hear that we were the only full instructors to attend. It all went very well and we had 15 shooters on the line on Saturday, and about 10 on Sunday. One other Instructor In Training was there and helped us out on Sunday. We didn't get any riflemen out of the weekend, but two of the shooters got 208 and 206 points of the 210 needed to score Rifleman or "Expert" on the AQT.

I milked Sandy for the last time on Friday evening. She will be dry now until April 27th (Lord willing!) and then the other cow is due on March 21st. So for now, I have a break from milking! The evening of the first day of the Appleseed, we stayed at some friends place in Minot, which for me, was the first night away from home since December of 2010. I do miss going out and bringing in a bucket of milk though.

Until next time,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Check it out!

Hi there,

Well, it's been a very long wait for me with lots of time and work involved. I began planning this out last fall, so I was really exited to have it arrive here in the mail today. Check it out below
Yes, it's what it appears to be -- a brochure! I spent many, many hours writing and revising the contents, and so far I haven't found anything I would change about what is said inside. The topic is Real Milk. "Taste the difference, Experience the Benefits" as the front panel says.

You may be able to read a little from the picture but it would help to have the .pdf version of the page. I will post a link to that full color file as soon as I can. Right now it is stuck on the laptop computer that crashed.

The brochures are not cheap to print. They cost about $.50 cents each so I will be giving them out to very interested people only. We used the company VistaPrint for printing these brochures and the business cards. I highly recommend them for their service, accurate printing and professional products.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

17 Years . . .


On the 27th of January, I turned 17. It doesn't seem like it was very long ago that I turned sixteen, but it has already been a year!

I had a enjoyable morning and received a few gifts from family. David and I shot a couple AQTs before lunch while Dad and Jonathan delivered eggs to town (it was Thursday, our weekly delivery day).

Usually, we have pizza for supper on a birthday, or lasagna, but I asked if we could have tacos instead. And we did! Very good ones too with plenty of tomato and lettuce, refried beans, chips and salsa and good fresh milk too.

I appreciate all of the gifts I received and one was really exiting to me. It's a book called "The Milk Diet As A Cure For Chronic Disease" by Charles Porter. It's a small reprint of an old book written in the early 1900s by a doctor who used a strictly milk diet to cure thousands of patients of various chronic diseases including arthritis, diabetes, and asthma. The book was written to his patients who were to read it before the treatment so it explains what and how to complete the cure. I talked to one person that might be interested in a cow-share, that was probably following this treatment since she had regained part of her kidney function because of raw milk.
Another creative gift was from Andrew. He put together this "dairy award" for me for my "valuable contributions" to Bartlett Farm. See below>>

It's a mini wooded milk tote with the wooden ribbons and tags glued on.

Thank you Andrew, and everybody else! I am truly blessed.

No, those books aren't all mine. Dad gave one to each of the family.

The day after my birthday, Dad and Mom and Jonathan went to Minot for a check up on his jaw surgery. Everything looks good and so Jonathan is able to get back into work slowly. While they were away we had an incident here.

We hadn't stoked the woodstove as well as we should have so it was mostly out with only a few coals in the firebox. David spent about 15 minutes warming up the chimney with newspaper and sticks until it caught the logs on fire. He left the intake open and the flu wide open to let the fire get established, and then he would close it down.

Andrew came in from picking up a UPS package outside and noticed creosote ash scattered on the snow all around outside. He called David and I outside, and we looked for the source of the particles. Then we noticed about half way up the chimney, the smoke was pouring out between the cracks in the two sections of new pipes. Figuring something was not right with the wood stove, I came back inside and closed the air intake and flu on the chimney. I put my boots on and grabbed a jacket and gloves and went outside again to look at the chimney. Now it was billowing out of two joints of pipe! Andrew and I ran to the shop and retrieved the long ladder from it's storage place. We rushed up to the house and ran the ladder up a few rungs and leaned it onto the edge of the roof. I didn't think of it, or tell him to do it, but David had a bunch of buckets of snow ready and waiting for me to take up to the roof. I took one with me and climbed twenty feet upwards to the edge of the roof. After safely footed on the dry shingles (thanks to the snow-tread on my bunny boots) I ran over to the top of the chimney and found pretty much what I expected. Sparks and ash propelled out of the pipe and a roaring sound. That confirmed my suspicions of a chimney fire. I dumped the bucket full of snow into the pipe and it sizzled its way down. I peered down into the smoke-filled black hole and saw that the pipe lining was red hot. A few feet away, on the north slope of the roof was a wide snow drift which I shoveled into the chimney pipe with the bucket. My right hand being bare, since I had taken two of the same handed glove out of my bin, was freezing now so I pulled one of the knit liners I kept in my pocket out put it on. I do not recall the exact procedure for putting out a chimney fire, but I did remember that our good friend Steve talked about using snow to extinguish one. It worked and not too long later the smoke peacefully drifted out of the pipe and water dribbled from the cleanout below. I climbed down and we gathered at the base of the ladder and thanked the Lord for directing us in extinguishing a potential house-threatening fire!

Just another one of those exiting adventures that we have around here.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Bought a Cow


Praise the Lord! She's home safe and sound.

Yesterday, Dad and I traveled to Oak Hills Dairy near Fordville ND to look at some Jersey heifers for sale there. I had looked around the state (on the phone) and found quite a few farmers with Jersey crossbred cattle they wanted to sell, but only found this one dairy that had what I was looking for.

He had four heifers that he was selling, two had Holstein in them and two didn't. He milks about 36 mostly Jersey cows in a tie-stall arrangement that we got to see. Milk production is most important to him and he gets more money for his milk when the butterfat content is higher, that's the only reason he is milking mostly Jersey and Jersey/Danish crosses. He did have one big Holstein with an udder like a balloon that was milking out about a hundred pounds of milk each day! Poor cow.

Well, I brought my money along, hoping to find something that I liked. I like the Jersey breed the best, partly because that's what we have right now, but also because everyone recommends them for a grass-based dairy operation. They are smaller cows, and give milk that is the highest in milk solids (everything except water) and many people wanting to drink Real Milk are looking for a Jersey cow-share. There is debate among some people wether Jersey or Gurnsey is the best, but a local person here told us that Jerseys winter here much better Gurnseys because of our cold area.

The two Jerseys that had my eyes on were registered purebred Jerseys. The only thing I wasn't sure about them was that they were bred to a Danish bull. I hadn't heard about Danish dairy cattle until now, but I guess they are similar to the Jersey in butterfat content. The dairy was breeding to that since they are running out of bull selection for their AI-ing.

One heifer was due to calve in the end of February, and the other in the end of March, a few days before our cow Sandy due. Not having a warm place to have a cow calve, I decided that it was better to choose the one that was due later.

I bought her and we loaded it up without any problems. This morning when we unloaded her she seemed very gentle. I will be spending some time with her to tame her more, but at least she's not afraid of us.

No, I didn't end up with a perfect grass-genetic cow, but I will try to find something to start breeding to that will improve their offspring's ability to milk well without grain.

I'm happy! So is Della.