Monday, November 21, 2011

Well, well, well...

Country living has so many new aspects including, well...a WELL.  On Friday, we were running water outside to fill up the horse tank and the water was, well, black.  Ewwww!!  So we let it run awhile and it eventually cleared up.  However, the water pressure wasn't working very well...very low both outside - and inside (read as "no shower since Friday"). 

So, I'm telling a friend about this on Saturday while we're eating lunch at Chipotle and who do you think walks in?  Our plumber!  So I ran the situation by him and he recommended we call our "well guy", to which I replied, "Who is our well guy?"  Both my friend and my plumber recommended the same "guy" so we called him today.  He took a look at the pressure gauge and said, "We need to pull it up."  So out they went.  When they pulled it up, they found a pipe was completely corroded and leaking.  They fixed the pipe and also put in a new pump so we are back in business!

And now the really exciting news...they are coming back in two weeks to run a water line to the barn!  This is going to be incredibly wonderful given that the only current way to fill the water tanks is to run a hose from the house...not so fun in a MN winter!  Just in time for one more animal friend who is coming to live with us soon...stay tuned :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Chicken Palace

So...we've been "winterizing" the chicken coop.  Perhaps "remodeling" would be more descriptive.  Ok, let's be real...our chickens now live in a palatial chicken palace.  Ready for the before and after?


This is BEFORE.  It was a little unnerving knowing the previous owners of our home lost their ten chickens when a pack of coyotes dug under the fence.  So we've been a bit nervous with the flimsy chicken wire. 

Another issue was that the box where the chickens slept at night (to be safe) was too small for them to be cooped up in all winter.  We also needed a heater (ok, "need" is probably a bit strong...we thought a heater would be wonderful for our beloved birds) and a light so the birds will continue to bless us with their egg-cellent eggs throughout the winter.  And, the ceiling had low hanging beams that were always bumping into.  Oh so many opportunities for improvement!

Enter...Brennen and his father Jerry!  The dynamic duo who remodeled the Super-8 into the Ritz-Carlton!

These two professional craftsmen usually work on kitchens and basements.  I told them they should start billing themselves as "Kitchens and Coops" after the bang up job they did in the Bendickson backyard. 

Check this out...

Now THAT's a chicken coop!  Isn't it beautiful?!  I can't wait to add window boxes in the spring.  And don't you just love the little chicken door? 

Come on inside...

The birds are loving their nifty new nest boxes:-)

And when the temperatures start dipping down, they will appreciate their "Sweeter Heater"...
Much safer than a traditional heat lamp.  AND, it is plugged into a "Thermocube" (you learn all kinds of things when you start poking around :-).  A Thermocube looks like a powerstrip, but it has a built-in thermostat which will turn the heater on when it gets down to 20 degrees...and off again when it hits 30.

They even got rid of those nasty head-banging beams so we can walk in without knocking ourselves out:-)

That's the latest.  The goats are growing babies (hopefully) due April 3rd and 5th.  The chickens have a beautiful winter home.  And Joe, the horse, has adjusted to Ashley's plan to whip him into shape. 

That's what's happening in our neck of the about you?   

Friday, November 4, 2011

Never say never

I did something yesterday that I said I'd never do.  I know other people do it.  And I don't blame them for it.  I just didn't think I ever would.

I put a goat in my car.  (Yes, Sarah, I did it.)

Why? Because one of our goats (Nellie) was in heat and that calls for desperate measures.  Well, not really.  One has 48 hours or so to load up the goat and bring it to the buck...if you want babies in the spring, that is.  And we do.  So we did.

Meet the buck.  He will be the dad to our babies.  His name is Stone.  And he stinks.  Really bad.

If all went well, Nellie is due April 3, 2012. 

We are gearing up for round two tomorrow...this time it's Betsy's turn to ride in the car and visit the stinky boy.  And this time it's Rich's turn to do the driving :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mystery stain

So, I noticed Ashley had a stain on her jacket. 
Anyone want to guess what this is?
Ok, now this was a new one. 
It just never happened in suburbia.
But it happened here in hobby farm-ville.

This is what happens when you put an egg in your pocket and forget to take it out and it gets smashed all over the inside of your pocket. 


Thank God for washing machines :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Remembering Anastasia

Anastasia, age 2, died suddenly Wednesday night for no apparant reason.  She was a good bird, an excellent egg-layer, and a leader of her flock.  In fact, she was at the top of the pecking order.  Was there a coup in the coop?  We may never know what transpired that night.  All we know is she filed into the coop with the rest of the flock on Wednesday evening, but by Thursday morning she was...welll...dead.  Arrangements have been made with Randy's Sanitation.  A short service was held outside the coop with all flockmates in attendance.  For more information, please watch the following interview with the farmer who discovered poor Anatstasia.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


The latest tally:

11 chickens

2 cats

2 goats

1 dog

1 horse 
Yes, as of today, we now have a handsome 17 year old quarter horse named Joe who came to us from a friend who was incredibly gracious to bless us with their very first horse. (They now have several more). Joe is a very gentle gelding and, as you can imagine, Ashley is head-over-heels about him already. Joe is hanging out with the goats and they seem to be getting along so far.

On another note, my 99 ½ year old Grandma Gustie was down to visit this week. She enjoyed meeting all the animals. So good to see her, my aunt, my cousin, and my sister on Friday night.

As of last weekend, we have entered yet another new season. We traded in our mini-van for...a pick up! Now we can "haul stuff".  Can you even imagine?

Life has changed a lot in the three months since we moved from suburbia to a more rural setting.  We feel incredibly blessed to live in this beautiful place and to care for these unique animals.  God always seems to be providing opportunities for us to grow. What new adventure is He inviting you to experience?  Leave a comment...we'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Goodness, its...goats!

As of today, the Bendickson barnyard is now home to 16 animals.  One dog, two cats, eleven chickens...and two Alpine goats!  These two sweet babies were born this spring at the Stone farm and they've been saving them for us until today.  We finally got our fence "goat-proofed" - if there is such a thing.  Believe it or not, it actually takes more voltage to keep goats than a bull!  They've been here for five hours now and so far, so good :-) 

Macie's not sure what to think...
Oh, and we went to the State Fair this week too.  I know most people love to eat cheese curds and deep-fried anything, but we just haven't developed a taste for such delicacies.  So, we're overjoyed that French Meadow (one of our favorite organic restaurants) has a beautiful place right there are the great MN get-together.  Egg Croissant Sandwiches and mini-scones!  It doesn't get any better than this :-)

The chickens are doing well, but they are not laying much at the moment.  Molting, perhaps?  Hopefully the seven younger ones will kick it into gear pretty soon.  There's a chill in the air and school starts next week...but we're hanging on to summer for as long as we can.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The chicken or the egg?

What came first the chicken or the egg?  In our case it was the chicken.  Or perhaps I should say "chickens".  Hold on to your hats folks - yesterday we got chickens.  Eleven of them to be exact.  And today we have three beautiful eggs! 

We significantly increased our animal population in one fell swoop!  On Friday we got a call from our friend Patsy who was keeping a flock of backyard chickens.  Unfortunately, one of her neighbors complained (it’s a long sad story) and the chickens had to go…on Saturday.  So we mowed down the weeds in our chicken run (thank you Fraser kids for all your help!), swept out the coop, and on Saturday we adopted 11 chickens! 
We have four two-year-olds referred to as "the big girls".  Anastasia, Penelope, and Repunzle each lay an egg each day.  Clara, well, she just eats bugs :-)  

The "little girls" are 12 weeks old and will start laying in a month or two.  

Whew!  We were planning to have chickens…next spring.  But there’s no time like the present.  Isn’t that just the way it goes?  Our timing is often not God’s timing.  But His timing is perfect, so here we go!
The kids are LOVING these birds!!
We're working on the coop...

The adventure continues...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Green Acres


23 years ago we got married.
14 years ago we became parents.
3 years ago we hit the road in a motorhome.
1 week ago we moved to the country.

Yes, you read that right.  Two small town kids (emphasis on town) who spent 23 years in suburbia (except for the two years in the RV) have embarked on a new adventure complete with septic system, well water,  barn, pastures, chicken coop, garden, orchard, vineyard, and yes, a farm house.  Well, maybe “farm” is a bit of a stretch.  It’s 5 acres, our driveway comes off a cul-du-sec, and there’s a paved bike trail across the road.  Our orchard has three apple trees (so far).  Our vineyard one vine (plus a bunch of wild grapes), and our farm house…well,  its not exactly “vintage. ” However, we’ve already tripled our animal population.  Macie now has two very sweet barn cat friends:  Callie and Johnny.  Callie (on right) is the mom and she’s blind.  Johnny (on the left) is her son.  We inherited our rodent extermination team from the previous owners.  

Ashley’s been busy cleaning the barn. (Stay tuned for what will eventually inhabit said barn).

Jake is breaking in the basketball hoop.

Rich is mowing (the rider arrived on Tuesday).

And I am attempting to restore order to a house filled with boxes of “stuff” while marveling at the wide open countryside, listening to the birds sing, and thanking God for blessing us with such a beautiful place to be.

Our neighbors brought us brownies.

Grandpa and Grandma worked like crazy helping us weed the garden (in 95 degree heat).

Fresh raspberries from the garden...

Life is good.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Heaven is for Real

It’s been three months since our last post. In that time, we’ve had the joy of celebrating my mom’s life – twice. First in Maple Grove where she lived for the last 20 years, and then in our hometown in northern MN where she was born, and raised, and raised a family. It was a joy to be there to honor my mom with her mom (my 99-year-old grandmother), as well as my mom’s two sisters, extended family, and friends. Her ashes are now buried right next to my dad just as they should be.

In May, we took a road trip which gave us an opportunity to read a book aloud together in the car called “Heaven is for Real.” It’s a true story about a young boy (3) who had an emergency appendectomy and while he was in surgery, he visited heaven. I know it may sound far-fetched, but as the details unfold, it becomes very clear that this boy had an amazing supernatural experience. It starts a little slow, but stick with it and you won’t be able to put it down. Suffice to say, it is incredibly exciting to know that my mom and dad are now in heaven, enjoying life together with Jesus for eternity. For Christians, there is no fear in death with heaven on the horizon. Want to be encouraged? Read this book!

Have you ever visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky? What a blessing to experience a museum that teaches the truth that life was created on purpose by a loving God. How wonderful to hear all of the scientific evidence for Noah’s flood. And how encouraging to know that science lines up with scripture! Evolutionary theory is a huge tragedy because it devalues life. If all I am is evolved pond scum, what value do I have? But if I am a unique person, created in the image of God to love and be loved, hmmm…that is completely different. Suddenly life is valuable, worth living, and exciting!

There are some new adventures brewing here at the Bendickson house. Let’s just say we’re in purging and packing mode again. The details aren’t nailed down, so stay tuned as the journey continues. There are a few hints in the slide show in case you’re curious :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Mom is with Jesus

My dear sweet mom is now dancing on streets of gold. No more pain. No more suffering. I stayed with her at the hospital on Wednesday night. After sleeping a couple hours, I was up holding her hand again at 4:30 am. I read Psalm 23 and annointed her head with oil. She went peacefully to be with Jesus early Thursday morning.

Carole Yvonne Grovum of Maple Grove, MN, died Thursday at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with cancer.   She was born in Thief River Falls, MN, where she graduated from high school, was married, and raised her family.  She and her husband, Wally, owned The Club Café and worked together until his death in 1986.  She then relocated to the Twin Cities to be near her two daughters.  Carole worked as an insurance agent for many years prior to her retirement in 2005.  Carole was a loving and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.  She lived life to the full and her smile was contagious.  Her grandchildren were her pride and joy.  They loved riding around with her in her notorious yellow bug.  She was preceded in death by husband, Wally; father, Henry Thorson & brother, Miles Thorson. Survived by children: Connie (Rich) Bendickson & Vickie (Steve) Woehrle; grandchildren: Ashley, Jake & Ellie; mother, Gustie Thorson; sisters: Olive Eckstein & Annabelle (Jim) Sullins.  

A celebration of Carole’s life will be held at Kozlak-Radulovich Funeral Chapel in Maple Grove (13745 Reimer Dr.) on Monday, February 28, from 4:30-7:00 PM with a service at 6 PM.  A memorial service will also be held in Thief River Falls this spring.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thank you for praying!

Just a quick update to THANK YOU all for praying for my mom these last couple days. She was in surgery for five hours and the surgeon said it went very well. She is in Intensive Care until Monday, but she is doing incredibly well - talking, eating, moving her arms and legs, and sat up all day today in a recliner. She has no pain and isn't even taking pain medication! She's in great spirits joking around with the nurses and looking forward to getting home (hopefully Wednesday). I attribute all of this good news to the incredible power of prayer. Thank you so much!

This is a picture of my mom in her hospital gown before she was wheeled into the operating room.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


It’s been three months since we moved out of the RV and into this house. Everything felt very spread out at first – too big – like a young boy putting on his father’s suit with the arms and legs way too wide and way too long. But we have adjusted and are really enjoying entertaining friends and family. We are grateful to be living in such a beautiful place and so blessed to be close to my mom who has been battling lung cancer for almost a year now.

She was diagnosed last February, went through chemo and radiation last spring, and has been feeling well and enjoying life. Last week, however, after enduring a headache that lasted for two weeks straight, we discovered that the cancer has spread to her brain and there is a golf ball-size tumor in her cerebellum. The doctors are astounded that she isn’t having problems with coordination given the size and location of the tumor. We would very much appreciate your healing prayers as she is scheduled for surgery this Friday (January 21).  Thank you for praying with us.

In the midst of a season filled with many unknowns, there’s a song on our hearts that overflows with praise and thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Café Diasozo

Dear Friends and Family,

Just a quick note to invite you to the grand opening of Cafe Diasozo - my new health blog.  Check it out at  

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!