Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Sprungs

It's been a while since I've posted but a lot has happened.  We took a quick trip to North Dakota to pick up this, the cutest most gentle little white mare named Jeannie.  She is shedding and the sparrows love her as she is providing plenty of nest material!  When I take the shedding blade to her, it's like it's snowing.  And she closes her eyes and sighs.  It must feel very good.

I think the grandkiddies will like her and I love her!  Jeannie reminds me of this:

Heidi was my first pony.  She was my birthday present for my seventh birthday and she was only about 9 months old when I got her.  She started me down my 'horsey' path.  I was devastated when I lost her 18 years later, she had gotten tick fever and just couldn't recover well from it in spite of numerous trips to the vets.

The trip to North Dakota was interesting and we really enjoyed it.  We discovered we are only about 7 hours drive from the Teddy Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) and we are thinking we need to go ride the trails there one of these days.

Spring sprung early in Wyoming,  early and dry!!  We had some moisture this weekend but not near enough.  We did not get our usual big snowstorm so the grass is really struggling to come up.  The drought monitor doesn't look real good for our neck of the woods predicting we have over a 50% chance of being abnormally dry in April, May, and June.  These are our critical months for pasture growth.
This is after the rain and look how dry it still looks!
Plans to buy some more cows has been postponed indefinitely.  We are now hoping we don't have to sell what we have!
My three guienas have been hard at work hunting all day every day.  I have noticed a huge reduction in mice this spring so between poison in the house and barn and the guienas it appears we are winning the 'mouse war.'  Thank goodness.
Odie is now officially a gelding and I think he is much happier.  He isn't escaping out the gate when we leave trying to get to the mares anymore.  We will finish breaking him this summer and then may offer him for sale. We really don't need another gelding and I have both Trystar and Ember to ride.  My mare, Tyrstar, is 23 this summer.  My goodness!  Odie is very nice and very gentle when we started him so he should make someone a nice saddle horse.

Bound and determined to have chickens and have a coon-proof coop; I set 6 posts today.  My goodness, who made cement so durn heavy?  I feel like my shoulders were going to pull out of their sockets hefting those bags and buckets.  Next will be cement floor on the 4 x 12 coop.   4 x 4 will be for the guienas to separate them from the chickens.  Then 8 x 4 for the chickens.   I have six guiena keets ordered for mid-June and I already have my golden-laced Wyandotte chickens but they have to stay under the brooder for a while yet.

And not last and certainly not least, we almost lost our Dubber to snakebite.  I didn't get a picture of him while he was so swollen but he spent a day at the vet's and had garden hose up both his nostrils.  I'm sure if we had not done that we would have lost him.  Horses cannot breath out their mouths, just their nose.  If it swells shut from snakebite; you lose your horse to asphyxiation.  

Dubber today singing "Nobody Nose the Trouble I've Seen!"  He is feeling much better and his nose is almost down to normal.  Although he is NOT happy about the medication in his oats and refuses to eat them.

And that's the News from Sixty Miles North of Nowhere!  

I am hoping to find the time to sew this spring but it ain't lookin' promisin' is it?

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Wisconsin Oleo War

I saw a post on facebook the other day claiming oleomargine was originally manufactured to feed turkeys; and when it was discovered it actually killed the turkeys, it was then manufactured for human consumption.
I couldn't find where it killed turkeys but I did discover that to my surprise, Oleo isn't a new 20th century product, originating clear back to Louis-NapolĂ©on Bonaparte III  who offered a reward to anyone who could invent a tasty substitute for butter.  Apparently even in the 19th Century people though real butter was expensive. Click HERE for the history of oleomargarine on Wilkipedia.

What I do know is my mother was involved in the Oleo Wars in the 1950's.  Yes, my own quiet sweet Mother was a Butter Rebel.   Although we lived in Iowa, we crossed the Mississippi River over to Prarie Du Chein, Wisconsin to shop at the Piggly Wiggly. (remember, in previous genealogy posts my mother's family were French-Canadians who came down the Mississippi River)  I think mother thought the Piggly Wiggly was much cheaper except for...............

Butter!  You HAD to buy Butter in Wisconsin, as oleo margarine was outlawed.  Apparently the dairy industry in the 1950's had a HUGE clout in the policies of Wisconsin and clamoring housewives be damned.

So Mom would pile us into the car and head the car for the short drive to Prairie Du Chein.  When we got to Marquette where the bridge over began, as you went up the incline right before the actual bridge started, there was a Mom & Pop grocery store. 
Main Street of Marquette,Iowa.  If you look above the shorter building, you can see the guard rails on the approach to the old bridge my Mom used to take to drive to the Piggly Wiggly.  The bridge has since been replaced so I think this is the now the approach to nowhere.
The store had a huge sign (up on the bluff over it if I remember right but I was pretty little but apparently old enough to read) that said "LAST CHANCE FOR OLEO" and in much smaller letters under that "Green Stamps".    Mom was always careful to stop at this store AFTER the trip to the new, modern, huge (and very small by today's standards) Piggly Wiggly in the Butter State.  Years later I came across a partially filled book of green stamps from this store but I don't know what happened to it.  I also don't remember what my Mom redeemed her green stamps for.  Probably a gravy boat or something!

So Mom never bought butter in Wisconsin and we always stopped for Oleo in Marquette and whatever else she thought was cheaper on the Iowa side of the river.  I do remember the oleo was white and it came with a coloring packet you stirred into to make it look like butter.

I dunno; maybe it did kill those turkeys.