Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘Autumn’ Category

And the Pond Floweth

After months of the absence of a mist, a “spit”, or even a mere drop of rain the flood gates (literally) have opened.  Beyond the sogginess, and slight inconvenience this might prove for our farm chores (more than slight if you poll the goats) there is a real concern of flooding, road closures, sudden gaping sink holes, and landslides.  Our prayers are with those in Oregon and Washington who may be affected by these types of events.

IMG_1688

So far, with the exception of some low-lying street flooding, our town has fared pretty well.  The wonderfulness that the rain brings to our little homestead is the freshness, and running of the pond.  The cold weather ducks that stay around for the winter, are enjoying it too.

If you have a couple of minutes, please enjoy the video below….it’s always a welcome sight when the pond starts flowing again.

Thank you for visiting our water-logged homestead today.  I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami     http://haveadanehilldanes.com

Autumn in Oregon

Autumn, in Oregon, is my favorite time of year!!  There is a crispness to the air….but it is not cold; …. the stiff tan and white grasses from the dryness of the summer green up from the beginnings of the return of moisture….but usually does not need to be mowed; …… the wasps and hornets of late summer are less abundant….and start to die off; ….. and the sunrises are truly amazing!!!

September sunrise

September sunrise

As all of us on the west coast know, the long, dry summer of 2015 was one for the record books.  Fire ravaged so much of the terrain in the western states…the damage was enormous.  If you will allow me one quick moment on my soapbox….. I believe that if the Federal and State governments in our great nation would allow more logging and replanting of our forested lands (with extra protections of old growth trees) in turn cleaning up of dead, fire promoting, trees and brush….it makes sense that many of these uncontrolled, massive fires would become more controllable as fire breaks from logging would then exist thus promoting natural breaks from fire advancement, as well as, providing many more jobs in our struggling logging communities!!!  Okay…..back to topic!!

(photo. KGO News)

(photo. KGO News)

On a more personal scale….the damage we see in our forest from lack of water this summer speaks loudly….with that being said, according to our personal weather station, the rainfall we’ve experienced on our land, to this point in the year, is 53.40″.  More than a drop in the bucket!!  However, the rain stopped the first week of June….that’s what hurt us.  The Douglas Firs and other coniferous trees around us have dropped a massive amount of needles….

Fallas 2015

…and look really thinned out.

September 2015 IMG_0687

Also, there are quite a few trees that have died….

September 2015

…..or are showing signs of great stress through dying branches.

September 2015

Our black walnut trees are also feeling the stress of summer.  Take a look at the abundance of walnuts from early fall 2014 ……

Black Walnut Tree 2014

…..now take a look at this year’s crop…..

IMG_0683 IMG_0682 September 2015

….NOTHING!  Either the squirrels are taking what little nuts the trees have produced, or they have left for greener pastures.  I think it’s the latter, as Penni hasn’t performed her beloved, “squirrel run,” for several weeks now.  No wonder she’s been looking a little……

SEPTEMBER 2015

…..lately…haha!  Back to the trees…. One grove of trees that have survived quite well through the summer, and actually show new growth are these little cuties…

SEPTEMBER 2015

….our young Giant Sequoia trees.  We watered them from our well…I guess they are pretty important little trees!!

So, Welcome Fall…..the southern migration of Canadian Geese (here they come California,) ….

September 2015

…. and the beautiful skies full of God’s handiwork!!

September 2015

Thank you for visiting our little Oregon forest today.  Please have a beautiful, first Sunday of fall.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

P.S….need a puppy fix????  Go to http://explore.org/live-cams/player/great-dane-service-puppies-indoor-puppy-room and watch live as, Service Dog Project, bring in and trains the next generation of mobility / balance Great Dane service dogs.

Storms a brewin’

As much of the country falls under the influence of the most recent polar vortex, Oregon sits on the western edge…still within its boundaries, but on the edge.

Polar Vortex 11-2014

It wasn’t until about 1:00 p.m. this afternoon that outdoor water dishes began to thaw. I didn’t even think about freezing water dishes last night…but it makes sense seeing that temps were down to 27 degrees at 5:00 this morning. More than a little distressed, the chickens looked for their morning drink…and I had somewhere to be. Thankfully, there was one little indoor water dish that had not frozen inside their house. The rest of the frozen bowls would have to wait until I got home.

Polar Vortex 11-2014

Alerts of a harsh, winter storm have been flooding the news reports the past couple of days. As I looked into the sky, the approaching storm was becoming apparent.

Polar Vortex 11-2014

Within an hour, the clouds moving through had a bluer, darker gray hue…the kind of cloud that carries ice, or snow. They are distinctive. A myriad of things can come from those clouds from ice, to icy rain, to snow….no one is really sure what to expect from the impending dropping of this polar vortex. Tomorrow morning’s commute should be exciting!!

Right now, it’s 8:15 p.m. on the west coast of Oregon…it is 33.4 degrees (according to our little thermometer) not a real common event in mid-November. So to keep warm…crock pot vegetarian chili,

Veg Chili 11-2014

and Spinach and Cheddar Bread (homemade) http://myfavouritepastime.com/2014/11/04/spinach-and-cheddar-bread/

Chili and Spinach Cheddar Bread

…and a nice warm fire!!

Fire Nov. 2014

Everyone seems to be enjoying it!

November 2014

November 2014

Thank you for buttoning up your jackets, putting on your mittens, and braving the cold to visit the farm today!! Prayers and hopes that you all stay safe out there, please be careful on the ice!!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

The Green of Spr, Uhhmm, Autumn

Click “PLAY” if you’d like an added ambiance to this post.

Spring is not the exclusive season for new growth. Turns out, Autumn’s early rains are amazing for springing life back into the lifeless, dry, landscape of late summer. This year, the long, hot, dry summer caused more dryness to the land than we have experienced in our three short years of living upon it, and an additional six of visiting it. Seriously, it’s true … but my heart goes out to California where the long, dryness of summer has lasted through too many seasons. Hopefully, this will be the year that the mountains get a great snow pack, and the reservoirs fill back up. Praying for that!!

Take a look at the magical qualities that just a few days of rain can have on a landscape pleading for a drink of water….a 6.68″ glass of water….

September 2014

October 2014

September 2014

October 2014

September 2014

October 2014

September 2014

October 2014

Can you see the rain??

October 2014

I hope you have a fantastic Monday!! Thanks for walking in the rain with me today!!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

An Incredible Find

Have you ever seen the artistry in the routine? Birds nest….an incredible, yet routine event in their lives…

The Muppets hatching.

The Muppets hatching.

Chickens do not really build a nest, they find a cozy, quiet spot. Many of the flock will then lay their eggs in that same location, resulting in this…

Six nesting boxes....this one was the hot spot today!!

Six nesting boxes….this one was the hot spot today!!

….that was all from one morning. Where is the artistry in a nesting box full of eggs? If you look closely, each egg is very different…size, shape, color, decorative “freckles”…they are each very unique….

July 2014

That's one big egg!!!

That’s one big egg!!!

That being said, I think the true artists reveal themselves every spring with the creation of an incredible piece of workmanship. The structure is amazing, and the question that usually arises in me every time I, happily, encounter one of these delicate yet strong, masterpieces of construction is …. “How did the bird build this without the use of hands?” You will not believe the incredibly gorgeous piece of true art that I am so blessed to have come upon while hiking with my Great Dane, Penni.
September 2014

It must have blown out from the trees this past week…. are you ready…..

Look at this closely...

Look at this closely…

So completely incredible...

So completely incredible…

Look at this closely…imagine the time it took to build. The supplies used were ingenious…feathers from the chickens supply softness, hair from the mane or tail of our neighbor’s horses provide structure, and a little peacock feather for a splash of color….completely, insanely gorgeous!!!

September 2014

By the size of it, my guess is a hummingbird nest. Truly amazing…

September 2014

I feel like it is truly a privilege to have found this little beauty, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you!!

Thank you for taking a walk with me this morning, I hope this little gem of the forest will help to make your day just a bit more special.

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Tule (Tooley) Fog

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Okay, that’s pretty much true…unless I have a chance to sit on the couch and cuddle with this sweetheart…
Penni Sept. 2014

…..uuuhhhmmmmm, I mean this sweetie…
My Sweet Guy - April 2014

As if scripted by a professional screenwriter, Autumn rolled in, in the form of the very familiar covering of ground level fog…in the SF Bay Area, it’s called Tule (Tooley) Fog.
Oregon "Tule Fog" Sept. 2014

I called the valley fog here in Oregon, Tule Fog once…..I got blank stares accompanied by a smile or two…hahaha…nobody seemed to know what I was talking about..hahaha! So, I don’t really know what to call it…I guess just fog..haha. I had no idea that that particular weather terminology was specific to California.

Rain is in the forecast, in fact, it drizzled much of the day, and has now rained throughout the night. So at the great advice of two of my friends from work (thank you Sabrina and Angie) I picked the rest of my tomatoes. Many were immensely green, but off the vine they came.
Green Tomatoes Sept. 2014

These will, hopefully, ripen in a paper bag, and be no less than the quality of a tomato bought in a grocery store. At least I will know that these were grown without pesticides, and unnatural fertilizers.

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

The corn stalks came down today, as well, to keep them from molding. I like to use them for outdoor decorating…they don’t usually last very long…the chickens like them too!

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

While we wait for the rain, Penni promises to keep watch over the tomatoes.

The Guardian Sept. 2014

Thankfully, they don’t taste like blackberries…that bucket would be emptied by now!!

Looking forward to sharing this wonderful season with you….thanks for visiting the farm today! 🙂

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Autumn is Fall-ing

I had help writing this morning…

Penni Sept. 2014

We’ve been seeing the tell-tale signs of the wilting and turning of leaves…some are starting to drop. The season is beginning, yet summer is giving its best effort to hang on. Yesterday, the last day of summer, Se˜or Verano, decided to flex his muscles for one more day here in the Pacific Northwest. Take a quick look at this comparison to areas that are typically on the hotter side this time of year……

1:40 p.m. PST (time that I looked at it )... 3:40 p.m. EST (actual time of temp.)

1:40 p.m. PST (time that I looked at it )… 3:40 p.m. EST (actual time of temp.)


September 2014
Sept. 2014

……What….doesn’t everyone have Disney World and Disneyland programmed into their phones?? Typically, the Bay Area gets hit with a late Indian Summer in Sept…uhhmmm, hmmmmm. In contrast….

Take a look....this was at 6:00 P.M.

Take a look….this was at 6:00 P.M.

it seems since we moved up to Oregon the sustaining heat followed us….don’t laugh too loudly!!! It’s been a hot, very dry summer. We, on this little farm including our fine feathered friends…

Ready for Fall 2014

…have had a collective, sigh, as the forecast shows dropping temperatures and RAIN in the forecast. For the flock this means the emergence of bugs, worms, and a bit of fresh, greens growing up out of the dry soil….for the humans it means sweaters, warm coffee, an eventual lift in the burn restrictions equaling in the ability to mow down those darn weeds, and the chance to build outdoor / indoor fires…yes, we are ready!!

Tomatoes 2014

While we wait, there are tomatoes to harvest, watermelon and pumpkin yet to ripen, a new hen house to build (that’s a different story), and hopefully one more blackberry harvest. I do hope the watermelon ripens!!

Watermelon 2014

Thank you for visiting the farm today!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Freezing Chicken Fix

By Friday the temp fell to 19 degrees...brrrrr

By Friday the temp fell to 19 degrees…brrrrr

I think it is safe to say that the late, fall weather has arrived! I still find it fascinating when I leave for work and puddles are frozen…then when I return, those puddles are still frozen. Two days later, still frozen…obviously these puddles are shaded throughout most of the day, but I’m still amazed. In the Bay Area, it is a rare event when it gets cold enough to freeze a puddle, and even more rare for it to stay frozen the length of a day. I don’t think the beauty that the cold brings will ever get old for me. Since we now live at a higher elevation in the foothills surrounding our town, our temps can be 5 – 10 degrees different than what the phone weather apps, like the one above, display. Sometimes I will call down to my Mom who lives in town when it is snowing…we may be getting a bunch, while in town it is more of a slushy rain.

This puddle stayed frozen for 3 days.

This puddle stayed frozen for 3 days.

Mostly or partially frozen for 3 days.

Mostly or partially frozen for 3 days.

With the onset of the colder weather, my thoughts ran to the chickens. I know they wear their own down filled “jacket”, but I worried that their house wasn’t going to be warm enough through the night. We still had some issues with drafts, which, I have learned through my blogger friends of whom I hang on their experienced wisdom, is bad, bad, bad for chickens. That first cold/rainy/windy night about 3 weeks ago, I kept waking up thinking about my freezing birds. I apologized to them as they stepped out onto the wet ground of the morning, fluffing their feathers and cackling at me (do chickens swear, cause I’m sure they were…) Needless to say, when I got home from work, I hopped into action. I can’t have a bunch of angry hens and a rooster on my hands…not since they’re producing these….yes, that’s one day’s collection.

Seven chickens, seven eggs...life is good!

Seven chickens, seven eggs…life is good!


Everyday, we’re collecting 6 or 7 beautiful eggs…from 7 hens. It has definitely helped with my dog food bill. 🙂

I just really love our chickens, I don’t want to think that they are cold or can’t get out of the rain. #1 – I decided that they needed a cabana that would give them cover as they stepped out of their house. I took the paneled wire fencing from around the garden, and with the help of my son, set up a three sided frame, attaching it to the chicken house for stability.

They already like it!

They already like it!


Looks like a good space.

Looks like a good space.


At this point, then, I was alone with the rest of the design and build of the cabana. We always seem to have a supply of plastic tarps, so I threw some of these over and attached them to the wood framing with a heavy duty staple hammer. This was the first level of protection against the winds that come over the mountains behind us and funnel through on their way into the valley.
First level of protection, insulating against the wind.

First level of protection, insulating against the wind.


I then found a ground tarp that we used underneath our tent for camping. I hesitated on the thought of punching holes with the staples through this tarp, but I figured our flock was more important than a piece of plastic. This tarp was large enough to provide protection from the rain. It was a great fit, then I realized that I had to pitch the roof-line or rain would just accumulate on top and cause all sorts of problems. On my hunt for a solution, I found items like a stand alone wire shelving unit, boards, and boxes that as I lifted, shoved, and somehow moved around, creating a pitch…we had a pitched roof. I stretched the tarp tightly, and tacked it down to the wooden frame. I was stoked! It really came together! As I stood back to take pictures to send to hubby who was away on business, I realized that as I created the roof pitch, the tarp had shifted…leaving the wind/weather side of the cabana shorter than the other side. UUUUGGGGHHHHH!..it was that Charlie Brown moment….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ-t4DhAfrs

It ain't purty, but it works!

It ain’t purty, but it works!

I wasn’t about to go through and remove all the staples, so I used Shoe Goo on the seams of the white tarp, and it seems to work just fine. It’s quite cozy, and the chickens really seem to like it. With the addition of a heated water bowl to keep the water from freezing, I think they’re doing pretty well! I’m glad I liked to build forts as a kid…and with my kids when they were younger…I think that helped!

Cozy and dry

Cozy and dry

Cozy and dry...that's their heated water bowl.

Cozy and dry…that’s their heated water bowl.

#2 – I needed to fix the drafts and provide some sort of “insulation” since their house had none. As you can see in the previous pictures, I tacked on some large, flattened, cardboard boxes to add a line of insulation on the outside areas corresponding to their indoor roosting branches. Then hunting around the shop, I found some cans of foam insulation….PERFECT!! Being afraid that the birds might be attracted to the yellow, hardened foam, I insulated from the outside. It’s not that pretty, but it completely cuts that draft from those areas I applied it. Basically, I just followed the gap lines between the boards, trying to keep a straight line..haha.

Can you see what's roosting behind the windows?

Can you see what’s roosting behind the windows?


Canned Foam Insulation 2

By the time I finished, it was getting quite dark, but I couldn’t let them go one more night in the cold. The result is that the flock is happy, I’m happy, my dogs are happy because of all the eggs they get to eat…all is well, and I’m not waking up thinking about freezing chickens.

I feel good that our chickens have a dry place to go from the rain.

I feel good that our chickens have a dry place to go from the rain.

Images of Fall Mushrooms

After a relatively dry October (with the exception to the first few days of the month,) November 2nd brought the rain to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I say “relatively dry” October, well, because I guess it was, to the locals (of which I can not call myself yet as I am a short-timer here still.) Although I’m not sure if it hit the record books, the weather reports all talked about how dry the month was. This is not to say, however, that it wasn’t wet…at least to this Bay Area transplant. The morning dew of the fall seemed to be enough at our elevation to keep the ground moist. The dogs’ muddy paws while digging in whatever critter hole that got their attention can attest to that. Ever see a Great Dane dig a hole? It’s a thing of beauty…quite the ankle breaker! Our little Rat Terrie/Poodle mix gets in there and adds fineness to the freshly dug casm, while our old guy, German Wirehaired Pointer who’s back legs can’t support his front legs digging anymore, directs the entire excavation project…it’s really quite comical to watch. Everyone gets red, clay, mud stuck to their paws and nails…my light colored carpet is now more of a rust color.

To get back on track…November 2nd brought the rains. Basically, if it hasn’t been raining, its been drizzling. If it hasn’t been drizzling, the fog has moved over everything and engulfed our place in a cloud. In other words, it has been constantly wet, with periodic spurts of sunshine. It has been chilly, but it hasn’t necessarily been cold. Due to the nature of the weather, we have been indoors more lately than the past few months. One and a half year old Great Danes don’t really appreciate this…so, it is outside we go. We like to take hikes this time of year since the brush has started to die back. As we walked through the canopy of Douglas Firs, Maple, and indigenous Oak trees something became very apparent. The initial rains of October, then the mildness of the weather the rest of that month, followed by the constant moisture of November and the cloud cover keeping the temperatures chilly, but not cold resulted in a veritable cornucopia of visual stimuli. Mushrooms!! A varietal abundance of mushrooms. As we went along, Penny followed the scent tracks of whatever went before us, and I took pics with my phone. I realized how much I don’t know about wild fungi, so I treat all of it like it’s poisonous. I’m not touching any of it, but it sure is pretty!

Maybe these are what the ants used for lamps in It's a Bug's Life.

Maybe these are what the ants used for lamps in It’s a Bug’s Life.

Mushrooms 2013

Big, gross, slimy, and ugly! Possibly a King Boulet??

Big, gross, slimy, and ugly! Possibly a King Boulet??

More of the big, gross, slimy, and ugly King Boulet group.

More of the big, gross, slimy, and ugly King Boulet group.

Like a beautiful flower.

Like a beautiful flower.

Oddly round.

Oddly round.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

I thought this was some sort of wild animal poop...turned out to be a mushroom.  Black Elfin Saddle?  YUCK!

I thought this was some sort of wild animal poop…turned out to be a mushroom. Black Elfin Saddle? YUCK!

Mushrooms 2013

Like a delicate flower.  Japanese Parasol?

Like a delicate flower. Japanese Parasol?

Bell-Cap Panuelos?

Bell-Cap Panuelos?

Candy Caps??

Candy Caps??

A delicate cluster. Fairy Rings??

A delicate cluster. Fairy Rings??

Mushrooms 2013

Beautiful yet....I don't know if it's poisonous.

Beautiful yet….I don’t know if it’s poisonous.

Mushrooms 2013

Mushrooms 2013

Uhhhmmmm.....enough said!

Uhhhmmmm…..enough said!

And this weird thing…what the heck is this………..

Not even sure if this is a mushroom...it's some kind of gelatinous blob!  Gross.

Not even sure if this is a mushroom…it’s some kind of gelatinous blob! Gross.

It is really hard to try to identify these different types of mushrooms online. Good lesson as unless I am 100% sure what they are, I’m not going to touch them. Thankfully, my dogs don’t seem to want to either. They are pretty though. Since it is fall, I added a few pictures from our walk that aren’t mushroom related. I thought they were nice, although they don’t compare to actually being out there, exploring, and coming across these things that show it is indeed fall in Oregon.

That's my foot on the right....one BIGGGG leaf.

That’s my foot on the right….one BIGGGG leaf.

The fog creeping down the hills behind us, eventually covering us in a cloud.

The fog creeping down the hills behind us, eventually covering us in a cloud.

Penni and I found a friend.

Penni and I found a friend.

Such a cuite!

Such a cuite!

Hello little California Newt.

Hello little California Newt.

A beautiful canopy.

A beautiful canopy.

This one lone Maple Tree, surrounded by young Douglas Firs, dropped all of these leaves.

This one lone Maple Tree, surrounded by young Douglas Firs, dropped all of these leaves.

The pond is freshly full again.

The pond is freshly full again.

I hope you are enjoying the fall, it is a gorgeous time of year.

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