When Simon Pigeon saw his tree, he was SOooo anxious to open his presents.


Bald Eagle breaks record... Sits in same tree for 137 years without moving.

141227 (NE of St Paul MN about 25 miles).
 S of Lindstrom MN Eagle in dead tree.

Pic = 141224 S of Lindstrom Eagle in lone tree in field.JPG
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Grocery store prices have gone up since 1937

My parents bought a grocery store in 1937.
Prices have gone up a bit since then.

141229 Biolite Camp Stove

141229 Biolite Camp Stove
I finally got to try my Christmas Camp Stove. ... Report.
Works as advertised. Boiled water quickly.
The blower really does produce a very hot flame.
Finger to thumb size sticks burn longer than twigs.
The outside does not get very hot... can touch?
The blue device is MY Volt/Amperage meter plugged into the USB port... it works.
Cools fast and is easy to clean.
The outside Stays totally clean.

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They take 40.1 MPH very serious in Minneapolis Minnesota


Have you ever heard a Pigeon swear?
.. (10 sec vid)
Simon will never get used to this... ... ... every time the same.


141124 Chicken Mini Coop

This very small Coop is modeled after my 10yo larger coop and is somewhat of an experiment although it is a very real usable Chicken coop. I intend to measure it's efficiency and performance thru the winter (NOTE: I did, ... very successful)
It's 4x4, enough for 2 or 3 Chickens but CAN be made in ANY larger size for dozens of Chickens. My existing much larger coop/aviary is plenty large enough for me to walk inside, and the Chickens can fly. Short sleeve shirt is all you need and be warm on a sunny cold winter day.

.. This is NOT the way I would usually build one. This one is built in 3 detachable pieces so I can bring it to my "The Art of Keeping Chicken Classes" in my van.  One built to not be portable would have much less material and would look less complicated and it can easily be made to look "cute".
The idea is to gain as much energy from the sun as possible while at the same time make the coop very efficient to maintain with Chickens in it. Even with NO sun the aviary portion is usually 15 degrees warmer (free)  than outside while the coop is always above freezing. The angles and proportions are important.  The ventilation, fans, sizes, timers, lights, etc are also very important. Many other details are also very important to it's success. It's mouse-proof also. Snow usually slides off of the solar surface, if not, a gentle tap usually causes the snow to slide off.
. . The solar surface area ratio to the cubic feet is much smaller than my other coops so it will likely cost about the same or more in electricity to heat as my MUCH larger coop (maybe $5? per year for the small one?).  Other aspects of the coop are the same as my larger coop (Easy to clean, etc).
NOTE - It actually only cost 24 cents to keep this mini coop above freezing for the entire winter.... my large 20 Chicken walk-in coop only costs $5 to stay above freezing.
Most of my Chicken keeping methods and techniques are not apparent from the photos.

. . In winter the entire outside area is covered with inexpensive 8mm clear plastic (shown in the photos) over the 1/2" wire cloth.  That retains the solar gain and protects the Chickens from drafts of any kind.  In summer, the solar surface is covered with foil backed foam panels to give the chickens the coolest place they can possibly be on hot summer days.

It is almost December ... about 25 degrees outside, but quite warm in the aviary (100 in sun). That excess aviary heat gets drawn into the Coop warming it for the night. In summer the solar surface is covered with a cheap reflective panel making it the coolest place the Chickens can be.


141123 Pigeons Egyptian Swift

NAMING CEREMONY today ... My two beautiful Egyptian Swift Pigeons
Meet Cleopatra (Cleo), and Nile, a matched pair.
I won them at a pigeon show recently and I'm thrilled to have them.
. . Egyptian Swifts have been bred in Egypt for 4,000 years but only introduced to the rest of the world in 1925. They are still rare outside of Egypt.
. . They are sleek and small, 10", 3/4 pound but have a 30" wingspan.
. . They are similar to Homers in performance, up to 60mph, but only have homing abilities of about 50 miles vs Homers many hundreds, and they fly quite high, 600 feet for 2 to 4 hours then return home.
. . Cooper Hawks and Falcons are their biggest threat but they have learned to make abrupt maneuvers and can usually survive an attack (I hope).
. . They are very gentle and calm birds, very beautiful, I'm in love. Just today I finished their quarters in the outdoor aviary. I won't release them to fly for a few months, to make sure they know where home is.


Dear Diary - Nov 7, 2014 Harris snowblower on tractor

Dear Diary - Nov 7, 2014
. . There were no mosquitoes at out cabin today. Went up to put the snow blower and chains and cab doors on the tractor, and some minor fixing at the cabin. Installing the 300# blower is a bit challenging, took us about 2+ hours. It was cold ... nice to have a heated workshop in the pole barn. Simon Pigeon was bored waiting for us.
. . Stopped and saw my neighbor Kevin. He's the one who fell off the 3 story farmhouse roof, broke his back (Would have died if not for his cell phone) and now mostly paralyzed from the waist down but is doing better and better each time I see him (He bought my old farmhouse and 10 acres).... ... . You and I have it made compared to him. The hardships and difficulties he has to endure just to exist. He lives there alone and happy, with his wonderful German Shepherd .. don't know how he manages staying there alone (Blog coming some day about this amazing guy Kevin).
. . Kaffee Stuga - We stopped at our favorite restaurant in Harris MN on the way back home to town. It was crowded. Two older fellows in bib overalls let us share their table. Interesting fellows. I love small towns ... so casual and friendly. Turns out they want to attend my next "Chicken Keeping" class. I have new friends now. BTW the $6.95 Clam dinner was delicious.
. . It's the Day before Deer hunting so the traffic heading north as we headed south was bumper to bumper for all 50 miles... commuters and deer hunters. Didn't see any deer at the cabin.
. . In two weeks going up again to help a neighbor clean a 3/4 mile drainage ditch that was entirely on my land. Over the years, there is nearly a forest along the ditch from the lake now. Must cut all the trees and clean out the 30 foot wide ditch. If a wet year, about 7 acres of my crop land and about 20 of his can get flooded. He's going to rent a gigantic backhoe.
. . So back home now again... recovering.
Picture is the two back 40s with ditch in foreground on the front 40 (trees off pic to right), Lake beyond the trees in back.


Voting, Simon seems to be neither Right wing or Left wing.

Simon seems to be neither Right wing or Left wing since he tends to fly straight, not in circles. He wouldn't say, but I think he voted down the middle?


My Back Yard. A very very low cloud. There's a lake beyond the trees and the morning mist is spilling over onto my fields at my Harris MN farm.


141031 It was exactly (to the minute) 37 years ago today when I first met my lovely wife. ... 37 Halloweens ago.  This photo was this spring at Mall of America.


Golden Sunset above Harris farmhouse.

Saw this above my farm, jumped into my truck and drove out into the field to take this picture of the house. Just a few minutes later it was gone (not the house).
(Untouched photo... the way it was).


141021 Martha on cliff Bayfield

Martha Mutt. I just love this pic of my sweet Martha from decades ago. She was the ideal dog, so smart and clever.
Picture is on Stockton Island overlooking Presque Isle Bay, Apostle Islands, Lake Superior.


141019 Orbs with flash.
These pics were taken seconds apart, 1st with no flash, 2nd with flash... dust floating by.
I see the same inside the Chicken coop. Natural light, no dust orbs, with infra-red nite lite (simulates a flash) TONS of dust orbs. And we don't see it, but we breathe all this dust all day every day.
(Some serious remodeling at my Daughters house).


Bert Made This.

Bayfield looking down driveway

Looking down my driveway (right of center) at my Bayfield Wisconsin Fruit Farm last weekend.
Whatever I eat or drink, Simon always wants to sample it. He didn't like it (It's an alcoholic drink). He likes wine better.

"Contraposition at Dawn"

One of Berts early art works from 2006

con·tra·po·si·tion definition
noun: contraposition; plural noun: contrapositions

"Contraposition at Dawn"
conversion of a proposition from all A is B to all not-B is not-A.
mid 16th century: from late Latin contrapositio(n-), from the verb contraponere, from contra- ‘against’ + ponere ‘to place.’
Translate contraposition to
Use over time for: contraposition


Chicks with headbands

 Chicks with headbands... Olivia Newton Chicken, and Karen.
Sophia (Polish white) couldn't even see well enough to find food on the ground. Solution = Headband. It works, Now she even does some flying, and she can now find her way to the coop at night instead of bedding down where ever she happened to be at dusk.
. . Her feathers are so very very fine and brilliant white, unbelievably soft... you can't even tell when your hands are touching her feathers.



"The Point" - Central MN Tiny Cabin built 1995.

 The sole purpose of this 10x12 + loft (no permit required) Tiny Cabin is to provide year-round shelter, comfort and convenience not afforded by a tent (we used to tent "Camp" there)... It "could" be lived in ... we can stay there for weeks, winter and summer even at 25 degrees below zero. It's located by the creek on my Minnesota farm, 1/4 mile road down the hill from my Pole Barn to the cabin. We drive down in summer, snowshoe or snowmobile in winter. The cabin is located on a 2 acre wooded island / peninsula (a "Point"), surrounded by water except for the driveway, and the creek is right in front of the cabin. With the wrap-around windows there's a good view from the cabin, hundreds of feet up and down and across the creek. It's so isolated, even my neighbors don't know it's there. Once a deer walked by within 2' of the cabin, didn't see us ... lots of deer, geese, ducks, herons, cranes, otter, turkeys, pheasants, coyote, etc.

We buried (30" deep)  #6 wire from the pole barn to the cabin. It has a inside well and hand pump, but no plumbing. The cabin foundation is of 12"x12" creosote timbers from a railroad bridge.
. . The gambrel roof makes the cabin and the loft, with plenty of headroom and a queen sized bed, feel fairly spacious for it's small size.The wrap-around thermopane windows around the entire front also adds to the spacious feeling. The loft and lower windows all tilt inward from the bottom so give good ventilation even during rain. It has a 30,000 btu mobile home furnace. All the lower windows are shuttered with no glass exposed when we're not there. The front shutters bi-fold at an angle so do not block the view when opened.
The "kitchen" is like a closet, with bi-fold doors to conceal it. The swing-up stair allows unobstructed full use of the entire main floor during the day.
A couch provides additional sleeping if desired.

Sometimes we have to dig it out (The back door has a "porch").
Looking down the road back toward the Pole Barn.  

There was a pair of them for 2 hours, just 50' in front of the cabin. 

Simon Loves to be at the cabin.
The road off of the island, back to the pole barn.

Electrical trench from pole barn to cabin ... 30" deep, #6 wire.
View of road to pole barn, from cabin window. Sometimes we ski or snowshoe pulling toboggans, sometime snowmobile. The snowmobile makes a hard packed trail like a sidewalk by the next day.

It's very peaceful there... very very isolated but just 50 minutes from St Paul. Even my neighbors don't know I have this cabin here.


Checking out the intruders, Quail in the Dove Aviary

Checking out the intruders. First time for the baby Quail in their new home in the Doves Aviary. The Doves are most curious, but don't seem to care. Seem they will get along fine together.

Pic = 140929c 2731 Quail in Dove Aviary


140927 2731 Quail babies

Anyone know what these are? They are 1 month old. VERY calm and mellow. If one flies away you simply go pick it up. Not afraid at all and make no attempt to escape. They are going to live with the Doves in the indoor aviary. They Can fly quite well but stay on the ground mostly. They will not get too much bigger. They make a sweet chirping sound, almost like a sound from someones cell phone.