Tuesday, December 30

2008 is almost done

I think I have a new New Years tradition figured out... see, I have 10 rabbits waiting to be skinned at this moment, and each of them takes about 30 minutes to skin, and 15 to 20 minutes to butcher. What if we got everyone involved and saw who could do the most work with the fewest mistakes. That would be fun! (?)

The MN Trapper's Association midwinter meeting is this weekend. I will let you guys know how that goes. Due to the lack of demand for fur at this time by fur buyers and countries that are our primary consumers of wild fur, mainly Russia and China, and the global economy at this time, I am not going to sell my fur. There are plenty of people selling more than enough fur to cover the current demand, and the more extra unused fur there is, the lower prices will be. I think I would do better to wait to sell fur until things start improving so that the prices will go up again. Until then, I am donating my fur to the Tanned Fur Project in MN to help educate people about trapping and go to scholarships that the MTA gives.

I saw something interesting the other day in a trapping book I got for Christmas. It had fur prices back in 1925 and they look very similar to what most people are getting today. The dollar now has 1/12 of the value it had in 1925. This means that most of the fur has dropped in value to 1/12 or even a smaller fraction of what it was worth back when we had a local market, when we had more people in the United States who were willing to make garments out of American fur, and when there weren't a bunch of bunny huggers crying about the animals as if they were little people in furry little jumpsuits.
Muskrat: $1.50 for large
Skunk: $3.00 for large
Possum: $1.25
Large mink: $10.00
Small mink: $6.00
Raccoon: $7.00
Otter: $30.00
Northern beaver blanket: $20.00
Red Fox: $8 to $12
Gray Fox: $2
Fisher: $75
Marten: $25
Weasel: $1.50
Coyote: $7

Here are fur prices as they were expected for this fall/winter. It turns out most of these prices were wishful thinking as nobody is willing to pay these prices the way the economy is looking.
BEAVER: Best at $45
MUSKRAT: $4 or slightly better.
WILD MINK: $16 to $18
RED FOX: $22 to $24
RACCOON: $22 to $24;
COYOTE: $20 to $24.

Here is what I have observed people getting for the furs not mentioned above.
Skunk: $4
Possum: $1 (although I have heard rumors of them getting up to $60, I don't believe them.)
Otter: $30
Gray fox: $10
Fisher: $35
Marten: $40-$45
Weasel: $3

A lot of those 1925 prices are looking really appealing right about now. I was born a century too late.

I will apply for the MN Conservation Corps this year, and applications are coming out in the next few days so I'm really excited about that. If I go, then I will be busy for 8 weeks of the summer fixing up state parks and things like that. I will be pretty busy when I am finished, but I think I will be able to go to the MN Trapper's Association Rendezvous next summer since it will be around August 14th and hopefully MCC will be out by then.

I'm looking forward to getting my driver's license this year. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to get my license while I am in MCC, so if I want to drive myself to the Rendezvous this summer, I will need to take my tests for that on the first Thursday that I am out of MCC before I go to the Rendezvous, so I will be in a hurry!

Friday, December 26

A Minnesota Christmas Season

Around here, we encourage the kids to shovel snow for fun. This little girl went out in her blanket sleeper, wearing her mom's stylish scarf, just so she could shovel. We now have a big snow pile at the bottom of our back steps which will remain until sometime next May, but if she continues to enjoy shoveling, it's well worth it.
I have reached the point where I no longer need to control every aspect of the decorating. This year, the family adorned the tree without me. For smiles like that, it's totally worth it.
That got Lynae in a festive mood, so she modeled some clothes she received in a package from Grandma Martin.
One day this month, the roads were particularly treacherous. I sent Toby to take pictures of the drama outside our door. I'm not sure why he inserted himself in this picture, but his expression just invites speculation, doesn't it?
Christmas morning. What a thing! The children dug into their stockings long before we started opening gifts. One of the first presents Grace opened contained these beautiful hair clips. She doesn't need a mirror to perfect this style! And just look at that face... wanna guess how much sugar she's had?
When she lost her other front tooth a few days ago, you know what song we taught her...

Toby and Lynae received a joint gift. "Uh... Mom, it's Norton Utilities. Isn't Norton that stuff you'll never put on any of our computers?"
"Oh, whew! It's just the box. Look at these amazingly awesome compasses we got instead!"
Here's our ragtag bunch at the end of the day. This picture tells a dozen stories, not all of them blogworthy. But get a load of that weird patch on Mike aka Camo Boy's head.
That's not Photoshop, folks. It's Curad.

Let me back up, just for a sec. For many years, the unique nature of our family has required that we take a break in the middle of opening Christmas gifts. But we're making progress. This year when things were getting out of hand I mentioned taking a break, but we recovered (snicker) and kept going.

Five minutes later, Lynae brought over a gift for her and me and began to open it. As she did, Michael darted away. A split second later, I heard a thud in the next room. Mike aka The Storyteller came back, holding his head. "Ow, ow. I was just walking along, and I bumped into something." Uh-huh... turns out, in that split second he ran through the dining room, around the corner, through the foyer, and up the stairs, where he slipped and hit his head on the newel.

We then took a 10 minute break while we cleaned up the blood trail, assessed the damage, and ran through the likely scenario if we drove him to the ER, got the 2-3 stitches in his forehead, and returned home to the rest of Christmas. Then I replayed in my mind the portion of the drive where I second guess my decision to make the trip to the ER, stop speeding, and wonder if I should turn around and get out the butterfly bandages instead. (For the locals: It starts at the cemetery on 43 and ends at Two Sons Road, by which time I have cell reception and have gotten necessary assurance from my dear husband that we are, indeed, doing the right thing.)

We've gone in about a half dozen times over the years. Each time, the doctor agrees it's an "iffy" sort of wound, but it's good that we came in for this reason or that (or that or that). Today, we decided that this was one wound that would do just as well with home care as it would with stitches. Sure, stitches might leave a less noticeable scar. But on the forehead of a rough and tumble young man, a scar does not seem inappropriate. So I patched the boy up, and covered it all with a honkin' bandage.

We returned to the living room to continue opening gifts. Lynae finished unwrapping the book we'd received: Natural First Aid. How timely is that?! I quickly checked the Table of Contents for anything glaringly appropriate... ah! The Recovery Position! Turning to page 18, I was able to see that Michael had naturally chosen to lie on the floor in a very similar position. We adjusted him to match the illustration, and then were able to carry on with the rest of the gift opening.

As you can see from the photo above, he is recovering nicely. Well, we don't know about the dreaded scar yet. But I'm sure he'll be fine. Heck, even with that bandage, he looks better than some of us at the end of the day.

Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

I hope your Christmas was full of blessings.

I will be spending the next week preparing for a fresh start with the new year. My shopping list includes Hefty bags for the clutter we've been overlooking that's got to go. The dusting that's been put off for too long (you know, in those rooms that didn't get the Christmas makeover) can now take place -- tissues have been restocked.

And I have a great blog entry in the works, chock full of pictures.

By the way, Ree's Christmas Rum Cake... yum. Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, December 17


Well, it's that time of year when the weather turns cold, road conditions get bad, and everyone is out and about. With parties to attend, gifts to buy and wrap, treats to make, and decorations to hang, most people have little time left to spend enjoying a mug of hot chocolate as they watch the snow fall. Many people become so involved with commercial things that they don't enjoy what we naturally have.

Sayings like ''Merry Christmas'' and ''Peace on earth'' are written and said everywhere, but although it might be merry, Christmas is anything but peaceful.

And on the day after Christmas, people flood the stores to find bargains. By New Years Eve, we have become so cranky and exhausted that we don't bother staying up 'til midnight, unless we have to.

And then comes February, when everybody gets cabin fever, and wishes it was Spring. The holidays are over and there isn't anything to look forward to.

So I would encourage you to go sit down near a window with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snow. If it's not snowing, put out some seed and watch the birds. Just take some time to relax and think. It will be worth it.

Sunday, December 14

Snowed in

We're getting a "blizzard" today... I don't suspect it will amount to much this far south of the lake, but we'll see. Loren has made it into work for the night and will stay until the roads are clear. The snow will be followed by some Minnesota cold. I thank God that we're as prepared as can be to stay safe and cozy here at home.

I've got one sick child all bundled up and sleeping it off in the other room. Hopefully we won't pass the germs around with the Christmas cheer.

Now it's time to shut down the computers, put on some Christmas music, clean the house, and make some goodies. Fun!

Thursday, December 11

I feel so special!

We have a pileated woodpecker who has included our place as part of his hangout. Actually, we probably have a pair. I just haven't seen them together yet.

This picture shows how much bigger they are than downy woodpeckers.

Tuesday, December 9

Long ago and far away

In a state called Kentucky, there lived a little family of four. There was Mom, Dad, Toby, Lynae. Mom and Dad wanted their son and daughter to have some more siblings, so one day, they all sat down in the living room and discussed foster care.
''It might just be for a little while, or they might stay with us forever.'' said Mom, ''Either way, you would have someone else to play with all the time.''
''You mean we could like, go to the post office with them, and play outside with them, and stuff?'' asked Toby.
''Yup, sure could!'' said Dad, who had been sitting quietly.
''Yeah!'' said Lynae, '' That would be cool, cuz' then I could be a big sister!'' who was the baby of the family.
So the next two years were full of classes and exams and paperwork, until finally one day they received a call from a social worker. A half hour later a car came rolling down the driveway, and the social worker and a little boy got out. The social worker proceeded to take a baby boy out and talk to Mom while Toby and Lynae showed the toddler all around the house.

Since that day, we took in their little sister (who was born after the boys came to us), adopted all three, and hauled them up to Minnesota. The novelty of being a big sister has worn off, and I sometimes find myself wondering what it would have been like if we hadn't adopted, but I love all three of my little siblings more than ever, and find it hard to believe that they've been a part of the family for over seven years already.

Saturday, December 6

Back in business

This is a picture of a pine marten. I got it off Google. You will want to look back at this picture if you have never seen a pine marten before.
I have not been blogging too much recently because I've been on Trap Talk. Where friends hang out and talk about stuff. Well, as some of my readers may have guessed, I put some stuff in my profile when I logged in. One of the things I put in my profile was that I do some taxidermy. And since this is a place where trappers hang out, there were some people needing some taxidermy done.

So a few weeks ago I started getting customers. My first one came in the mail yesterday. It is a beautiful pine marten from Alaska. So as soon as I get the supplies I need, I will be mounting it in my new fur room.

Pyrex explosion

I just heard a loud noise in my oven. The Pyrex pan I had supper in was broken into dozens of pieces. Thankfully, I was cooking large items and not a casserole or something, which would be even messier to clean up!

I'm also thankful that tonight, I did something I NEVER do: I prepared two chicken dishes for supper. So we will still be able to eat a hearty meal. I even wondered, as I prepared them, why I was doing such a strange thing (for me). I'm so glad I followed the urging of the Holy Spirit!