Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Christmas 2007

Belated Merry Christmas and Belated Happy New Year--and Belated Happy Thankgsgiving, Halloween, Labor Day, ... whew, I have been remiss in updating our blog. I have had only two complaints, so I am not sure whether our readership is of the non-complaining persuasion or very few in numbers. For those of you that keep tabs, you probably know that I am prone to making promises to be better about communicating and then not. But, I do promise to be better. We have recently joined the fast-internet world, as of mid-December, so maybe that will reduce another hurdle, or not... Let's start this newsletter with the major events of 2007 for the Klingville Gierke clan, then if you make it through those, we will degenerate to the minor events:

Major Event Number 1: John's Deer

John was obsessed with getting a deer this year, more so than normal. He and Lynn and Mike hunted the first two mornings of season over at Michelle Danielson's property. John saw 36 deer over those first 2 mornings, but none had antlers and he lacked an anterless tag. Mike had a tags for bucks and does, but wanted to hunt with his mother, which I know sounds sweet, but it was a mistake because his ol'man was into the doe deer (irresistible to the ladies, eh). The two of them saw deer, even some with antlers, but nothing presenting a reasonable opportunity. Lynn and Mike called it quits after those first 2 days and John continued to hunt despite the dwindling deer sightings. He finally caught up with a standard-size, 1.5-year old, 4-pt buck on Thanksgiving morn, while his brother and family were here visiting. John was very pleased to arrive home still early in the morning with a dressed out buck in the back of the pickup. Nephew Jack was only mildly impressed, as he was party to an 8-pointer that John's brother got in the evening of opening day.

Major Event No. 2: Mike's first Duck and Goose

Mike was finally able to stay awake in the duck blind long enough to get a crack at a couple of ducks and a goose. He connected on the goose while his dad called it in to the decoy spread. He got his first duck (a mallard) shortly after. Daniel Saari, a neighbor of similar age to Mike but more like John in his obsession with all things outdoors, was successful that day as well. Daniel guided John on a short goose hunt at his grandfather's a few days later. Daniel was pretty successful at acquiring geese and John coached him on cooking them in a way that was pleasing to his family.

Major Event No. 3: Gierkes Add 2 Bedrooms and a Bathroom to the Farmhouse

Those of you who have visited our farm for an overnight quickly learned that space was a premium in the farmhouse. Mike outgrew the vertical span of his attic bedroom and Gen was tired of everyone traipsing through her bedroom to gain access to the bathroom. Lynn worked out a financial deal with the credit union and we embarked on our first ever building project--beyond housing for chickens and pigs, that is. Construction began with a flurry (by a contractor, had it been led by John, it would have started as a fog and grown to a drizzle and then probably turned to drought) in late June and continued through August. John's brother Jeff and family arrived to shingle the old parts of the house in August. The Tapiola Atens helped with the shingling for a day, as did Tom Figures. John's Dad came in late September to give unsolicited advice on tiling the bathroom to John and Gen. Gen not only was a big part of the shingling and tiling, but her and Tom Figures put laminate flooring in the new hallway and bedrooms in one 14-hr day. Gen's old bedroom is now a family office. Mike's old room is a guest room and "gaming" area, and Mike now resides in the bedroom previously used by his parents. The old master bath will be converted to laundry down the road. Visitors now will find more ample space if they choose to stay.

Major Event No. 4: There is a Queen in our Midst

Although not groomed for competition (notice the scabs/bruises on the right knee of Genny's picture at left), Genny competed for the queen in the Chassell Strawberry Festival (where she was sponsored by the Gierke Blueberry Farm) and the Houghton County Fair (where her sponsor was the Stoney Hedge Hog Farm--where we buy all of our piglets). The strawberry queen competition focused on poise and personality, and the competition was fierce. The Fair competition included a talent show. Having given up on instruments and dancing in her early teens and pretty much unable to sing, Gen used her creativity and wit (and likewise contributions from her father) to put together a pretty funny skit on fitting and showing a chicken (including bringing her favorite chicken, Speckles, to play a role in the skit). The synchronization of the sound effects and the act fell apart in the middle, along with a snafu with the electrical power to the main prop, but she persevered, improvised, plus hammed it up a little, and took home the tiara (and Miss Congeniality to boot). Pictures of her rein over the Fair are below (along with her sponsor and some of the piglets we purchased a few months prior. The one she is dragging backwards as a 40-lb piglet is the same one shown in the market photo at about 270 lbs.).