Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘building a new home’ Category

Thawing and Greening

We are soaked!!  Gobs of water everywhere.  The snow and ice have melted very quickly as our temps grew to a sultry 45 degrees the last couple of days, and the water is flowing!!

The flow into the pond.

The flow into the pond.

The overflow out of the pond.

The overflow out of the pond.

This culvert takes the overflow from the pond under the driveway, fed by an overflow outet....

This culvert takes the overflow from the pond under the driveway, fed by an overflow outlet….

…..and a secondary overflow culvert when the main outlet gets overwhelmed…..

January 2017

…..it’s all about protecting the driveway.

The ground quickly turned to slush….and then very slippery ice as the slush refroze overnight, but continued it’s melting process (does that make sense??)  Seemingly, in one quick moment….the white was gone and the green had returned.

January 2017 January 2017

I'm melting.......

I’m melting…….

.......melting.....

…….melting…..

....melting!!!!

….melting!!!!

January 2017

January 2017

January 2017

Seriously, I do not know if this truly happens, but I am totally convinced that underneath the frozen white, the lush green continued to grow.   Look how long the grasses are as they appeared from their winter cocoon!!

January 2017

While it is good to have our feet on solid ground, the evidence of our gopher invasion…..

Busy little gophers.....this isn't even the half of it. UGGHHH!

Busy little gophers…..this isn’t even the half of it. UGGHHH!

……makes for sticky mud on shoes or paws….and those paws LOVE to dig into those muddy gopher mounds.

March 2015

Thankfully, the pond provides an automatic paw wash station….

January 2017

Happy AFC, NFC playoff game day!!!  It’s all about football!!  I hope you have a great day whether you are watching the big games (that lead to the Super Bowl) of not…try and catch a little bit of fun in your day today.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Managing the Wet

In an attempt to answer a couple of questions in the comments from Wednesday’s post, we need to shift to melting snow, and rain.  Managing animals in the many months of rain that falls in Oregon is a challenge sometimes.  The thing I have found that is really important is to keep up on the muck control, because if you let it go, it can and will get out of control, and spread quickly.  Eddy Winko, another blogger friend, had mentioned that they use straw to control the mud…that is what we do, as well.  Straw in the winter is a homesteader’s saving grace against the mucky mud, and walking over a layer of straw is so much better than walking with boots covered in sticky mud.  It is worth the investment, both time and dollar.

Okay, Penni, now pretend that the wind is blowing really hard!!

Okay, Penni, now pretend that the wind is blowing really hard!!

I also use large, plastic tree pots for collecting the muck when the weather hinders us from driving it down the hill to our manure pile…..which we are totally NOT managing properly.  I have a lot to learn about turning poop, straw, and hay into a product that will feed our soil.  Anyway, since we have only a few outdoor animals, and an abundance of tree pots, this collection system works for us during the wetter seasons of Oregon.  It contains the ick, unless a chicken decides to scratch around in it….which they do.  And really….goat poop is pretty easily managed….pellets vs. patties….pellets win.  Chicken poop…that’s a totally different animal altogether…LOL.

Frozen poop pots

Frozen poop pots

I feel that having barns or housing structures large enough for the animals to get in out of the rain, dry off their feet or hooves, and be able to manage themselves comfortably is really important.  They have to be able to get out of the water, and a structure large enough to house the number of animals, plus a food and water source is really imperative on our homestead.  We have not had any foot rot (knock on wood) in our herd partly due to them having the ability to go in and out of their barn at will to warm up and dry off.

January 2017

The chickens spend time in their house and the goat barn….whichever fits their fancy.  Except at night when they are secured indoors, they free range and manage themselves in the wet weather.  In the snow, they tend to stay indoors…but it seems that the rain doesn’t bother them, and they manage themselves quite nicely.

The flock no longer have access to the front porch...LOL!

The flock no longer have access to the front porch…LOL!

Mold and mildew are definitely issues that you have to stay on top of.  It’s one of those things that you can try to prevent, but when you see it you have to jump on it or it will grow quickly.  You see a lot of houses around here that have moss growing on top of the roof…not a good thing as moss holds a lot of moisture.  Insulation, and ventilation is really the key here.  We at least partially insulate anything we build, and we have added insulation to the existing out buildings, except the big barn which is a partially open structure.

January 2017

Allowing air to flow is huge in the prevention of mold.  If there are areas that we notice trap moisture, we fix it, and if we see any signs of mold or mildew, we clean it up.  The product that all this humidity abundantly grow around the property are mushrooms….lots of different types of mushrooms…some very dangerous, especially for the dogs.  So far, the dogs don’t seem too interested in them, nor do the chickens and goats.

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 the movie, It’s a Bug’s Life.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

Candy Caps??

Candy Caps??

Mushrooms 2013

So here is the nice thing about Oregon’s environment which brings the wet falls, winters, and springs…..because our temperatures don’t normally get below the teens, and we are normally not covered in snow….we usually have a lot of green on the ground.

The green of January

The green of January

The grasses don’t die off in the winter which helps to control the mud (except when old Mr. Gopher decides to build mound after mound after mound turning the ground inside out – ugghh.)  That being said, the places where the goats like to spend most of their time does get muddy and mucky.  We use straw to firm those areas up when they get too bad.  Our neighbor has horses, which is totally much harder on a pasture during the wet months….there is not a lot you can do except to rotate pastures, and provide a large enough covered space wherein the animals can dry off their feet from time to time throughout the day.

January 2017

Living primarily on hilly property is helpful because the water runs away from us, and since our soil is quite rocky beneath us, as soon as it stops raining for a few hours, it starts to dry out.  We dry out very quickly up here, except in the “valley” areas of the property….those areas hold a lot of water throughout most of the year, because all the water runs that way.  But there is enough moisture throughout the year that the only time the landscape turns brown is from late July into the first week or two of September.  And using a dehumidifier in our home is totally unnecessary because the wood stove dries everything out really efficiently…maybe too efficiently…LOL.  Sometimes we have to add a boiling pot on the wood stove, or open a window somewhere to add moisture back into the house.

January 2017

As far as mold in the hay….basically, we have to store it in a covered environment, enclosed by four walls, a roof, and vents for ventilation.  We tried housing it once in a three sided structure, but lost a bit of it due to mold issues.  Our goats eat the straw we put down as bedding, so that has to stay dry as well, but it seems that we can keep that in a three sided lean-to and it is fine.

April 2016

The hardest issue, I find, is keeping humidity out of the hen  house.  Surprisingly to me, chickens put off a lot of moisture….especially through their poop.  I battle the tendency for ammonia build up during the winter in the hen house.  Through trial and error what has worked for me is to keep just a very small amount of pine shavings on the floor…enough for them to kick around in and dry off their feet.  I have their roosting boards over a dropping tray, and I go in there every day and scrape their boards and the dropping tray.  By daily removing their poop, I take away most of the potential for wet air.  It is the most efficient way I have found to keep the mold and ammonia build up from happening with them.  I don’t use straw with my birds….the one time I did, I had a mite infestation.  Never again!!

Those boards and drop trays are clean...the residual "splat" marks are what is left from the day's cleaning.

Those boards and drop trays are clean…the residual “splat” marks are what is left from the day’s cleaning.

So really, the wet environment of Oregon is not a big problem….just a little inconvenient sometimes.  The resulting green that surrounds us, with the exception of late July and August, is really worth the amount of rain and fog that we live with.  What does concern me is the fact that this current snow will be sticking around for a few more days….

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…..then the temps rise with a series of big rain storms on the horizon….if a big melt happens at the same time, we may see some flooding going on in town and beyond.  It has happened before….according to our neighbors, in 1992, a portion of the long driveway that boarders our pond was taken out because the pond flooded over it’s banks.  There was three feet of snow on the ground in that event….we have about half that.

December 2015

It could happen again.

Thank you for visiting today.  I hope I shed some light on how we manage the wet, Oregon environment.  It has been, and continues to be a hit-and-miss….learn-by-doing lesson plan.  Thank you for helping me with your comments along the way.  It’s truly appreciated!!  And by the way….it is Day 14….we’ve had snow on the ground for two full weeks now….I’ve died and gone to Colorado!!!

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Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Living in Narnia

There is no way that I have the words eloquent enough to add to, or remotely describe God’s masterpiece in the form of a snow storm.  Literally, He wielded His mighty brush and turned much of Oregon white, with bits of green, and reddish brown peaking through.  With every flake that fell, the Artist painted a picture that, amazingly, I and several thousand of my neighbors, were painted into.  Upon my stepping “through the wardrobe,” I was enveloped in a new land, and whole heartedly expected to see Mr. Tumnus….

….running through the trees with an armload of packages (one of the most endearing scenes in, Disney’s, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.)  There was no doubting it, I had awakened in the land of Narnia.

 

January 2017

January 2017

January 2017

The land was quiet, insulated by the snow…have you heard the quiet….it is when God speaks the loudest.

January 2017

January 2017

January 2017

January 2017

January 2017

The beauty of it all takes my breath away.

Thank you for visiting today.  I hope that beauty, natures beauty, will surround you in some way today whether it be the simple sound of a song bird, or the flickering tail of a squirrel, or the magnificent beauty in the vastness of nature that surrounds you.  Look for it….it is there!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Hooves on Ice

I don’t know if we are doing this right.  I’d love some advice!!  By, Sunday afternoon, our snow turned to snow under ice as freezing rain covered the homestead.  Literally, everything was / is covered in a sheet of ice.

January 2017

While the goats don’t seem to mind rain or snow, ice is a different story.  Our goats are Spanish Heritage Meat Goats…they are large, about 100 – 120 pounds.   Imagine being a goat….walking around in life on high heels….their hooves remind me of heels.  What a weird design hooves are….anyway…..here you are, walking around on an icy surface in heels.  It would be a bit precarious, at best.  Remember, Bambi??

Call it experience, intelligence, or instinct……the goats do not venture out of their barn when they sense the ground is slippery and icy.  As the ice became a bit more brittle later in the day, they did eventually venture out.  I feel badly for them because they just stood around getting really wet from the rain that pooled on top of the icy covered snow.  I have to wonder if we should have done something different for them.  Should we have closed them in for the day?  Is it okay that they just stand out there and get thoroughly wet?

January 2017

They do have a thick, winter coat on….it does repel water and snow away from their skin, but will it eventually get saturated?

January 2017

Will they be chilled throughout the night?  Any suggestions or shareable insight out there??  I hope they were comfortable through the night.

The goats bedding is dry and very thick

The goats’ bedding is dry and very thick

The chickens seem to have more sense.  On days like yesterday, they stay in their house, or on their covered porch.  Ice and snow are not their things, and they know it.  Unfortunately, I did not build their chicken cabana, as in winters past this year.  I blame it on a certain puppy.

January 2017

Sometime in the very early hours of Monday morning, snow started to fall again.  These were big, chunky, fat flakes….they were the type that would land on the dog….and stay on the dog…haha!

January 2017

Quickly, our footprints were filled in by the fluff, and quickly the new fallen snow started turning into slush within the well defined grooves of tire tracks…..

January 2017

…..and footprints.

January 2017

As of Monday afternoon, the pond was still frozen, there was copious amounts of snow still to melt, and beautiful pictures yet to be taken.  It is so strange to be covered in frozen for this long….imagine doing this for a three, four, or even five month stretch.  Guess what??  There is more snow in the forecast tonight, and tomorrow.  Am I dreaming of spring….not yet.  I think I would like to take in the beauty of it all for just awhile longer.

January 2017

Thank you for visiting our frozen homestead today.  May you have a wonderful, tenth of January.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

The First Eight Days of 2017

I am so taken by the white fluffy stuff that falls from the sky.  As a child, a young adult, an….ol…..more mature adult, I looked to the skies of the Bay Area in California and hoped, wished, even prayed that it would snow….and snow it did….once, when I was in Middle School.  It was such a rare event that even though it was not even close to sticking on the ground, the school let us out of our classrooms to experience the joy of the numerous flakes fluttering overhead.  It was an event that I remember well.

If you were lucky enough to live in the hills surrounding the lower elevations around the San Francisco Bay, once every couple of years snow would fall and accumulate….for 48 years, I yearned to live in those hills…or hills somewhere (maybe Colorado….maybe Twaine Harte, CA….and later in life…maybe Oregon?)  Well, I guess we all know by now where my family and I ended up….LOL!!

This year, literally the first 8 days of 2017, we have had the most beautiful of winters.  There has been snow on the ground to some degree every day since January 1st;

New Year's Dayd....just a dusting.

New Year’s Day….just a dusting.

….not exactly a normal winter pattern.  The air is crisp, and cold, and biting.  When I drive back to town from the valley, the hills are white and beautiful, and I realize that I live in those hills.  I am one of the “hill dwellers”…. sometimes we are in the snow zone….sometimes we are in the clouds.  I have a sense of disbelief that the place I hang my dogs’ leashes are in those hills.  The weird thing is, when I see them from afar, I still look at them with a sense of longing to live there….and somehow, the car keeps moving forward, towards them….through the town….out of town….up the hills….into the snow.  I hope I never take this for granted.

2nd day of January '17

2nd day of January ’17

Still the 2nd day of January

Still the 2nd day of January

The 3rd brought beautiful clear skies, and temps in the teen and twenties.

The 3rd brought beautiful clear skies, and temps in the teen and twenties.

The snow decided to continue to stick around, and the skies added more to the landscape.

The snow decided to continue to stick around for awhile longer on the 4th, and the skies added more to the landscape.

Our goats frozen water buckets were a constant threat throughout the first 5 days of January.

Our goats frozen water buckets were a constant threat throughout the first 5 days of January, and beyond.

While the frigid air painted mosaics on the outer doors....

While the frigid air painted mosaics on the outer doors.

Lucky 7 brought more of the white, powdery, flakes.....

Lucky 7 brought more of the white, powdery, flakes…..

....and since the pond had frozen over during the days prior......

….and since the pond had frozen over during the days prior……

.....the snow deceptively accumulated on top of the frozen layers.

…..the snow, deceptively, accumulated on top of the frozen layers.

Currently, we have about 6 inches of snow accumulated over these first eight days of January.  However, the weather has changed to freezing rain which has been wreaking havoc from at least Eugene all the way up north past Portland.  The range is very wide encompassing from the coastal regions to the Cascades.  It’s not often that you see chains required on the roadways in these parts….the signs have been up since last night.  I love the snow…not so much the ice.  In fact, my daughter and I had a show to attend in Portland last night….

 

January 2017

…..her wonderful Christmas gift to me.  We were so looking forward to it.  The show was cancelled due to the weather.  Traversing the icy surfaces was not going to be something this girl from south of here, was going to attempt.  Tony’s job requires him to respond in these hazardous conditions as necessary….he’s had to go out twice so far.  Tomorrow – Monday’s roads may be very treacherous as the rains come in and freeze again overnight.  I do not drive over ice, covered in snow, covered in ice….not me!!

December 2016

An icy windshield from a day in December 2016

Managing the animals on the ice should be a “fun” experience today.  I’ll be sure to bring my camera.

Stay safe out there this winter, and thank you for visiting the frozen homestead.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Welcome 2017

I hope your New Year has come in with a kind of calm, peaceful hopefulness that exudes optimism for the year to come.  There are always things in life that seek to destroy these moments that most of us desire….my prayer for you all is that these peaceful thoughts and feelings might envelope your year more often than not.

January 2017

In general, I found 2016 to be a year full of violence, meanness, and very unkind intentions.   I wish we could go back and rewrite those stories.  I would have written in the presence of, Superman, swooping in and stopping the violence before it could occur.  I would have brought to present times, King Solomon, in all of his God-given wisdom to regulate the meanness that arose in our country’s political environment…..and I would have made it a requirement that each of us revisit our Kindergarten  years wherein we learned how to be kind and properly treat one another.   I think this might have made for a kinder year.

January 2017

Within all of this, there were some wonderful moments on the homestead.  There is much I have not spoken about, and there would be so many words, I might have to create a book rather than a blog post.  Since much of my “writing time” was taken up preparing for and writing about my Penni ‘s breeding and impending litter arrival, much of the other events of the year were not told.  I will try to catch up in photos…and a few words…….

May brought the first signs of grapes….

May 2016

…..while June brought the hazards or those darn foxtails.

img_3451 img_3453 img_3456

June also brought a little growth to the garden….

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….and new life to the homestead!!

June 2016

With July came the building of a new path across the creek.  It will be nice to now get the tractor across to beat down the tall brush, and revitalize the hiking trails.  I’m so happy about that!!

July 2016

The garden really tends to take off in July…..

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….and the grapes gained in size.

img_3597 July 2016

August brought a mature garden, and the first fruits of harvest….

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…..we had a bumper crop of cantaloupes this year.  They were so delicious.

August 2016

The dryness of early September is not one of my favorite times.  But as the colors start to change…

September 2016

….the grapes begin to ripen….

img_4312 img_4313

….and the first signs of fall, a green hue to the ground, is a promise of the rains to come.

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October was lost to caring for a Mama-dog Penni, and her sole surviving puppy.  What a great event to get lost in!!

September 2016

By November, the early rains brought a greener, environment…..and a different kind of beauty.

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November 2016

The last month of the year brought our first snow.  Unlike the rain, our little herd didn’t seem to mind the snow accumulating on their thick, heavy coats…..

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….and the little wild birds found food scattered on the patio.

December 2016

I am thankful for the distractions that our little homestead provided through the ugly times that arose during this particular year through the increased violence, and nasty politics.  To sweeten things up….I made a little video of our Great Dane puppy’s first 3 months of incredible growth….if you’d like a dose of sweetness to start your year…this little ditty may bring it.

Thank you for visiting the homestead today!!  May you find joy and many, many wonderful moments in this new year of 2017.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

The Sounds of Silence…..

…..except in my head!!  There are so many words I have wanted to write…so many times I have wished to sit down in a quiet corner of the room and just talk with you all.  There are seasons.  This has been a quiet one…..HA!!!  Silence is deafening.  It truly is one of the loudest sounds in all of creation, however, there is one that is louder……

If you have visited my website http://haveadanehilldanes.com you will know what we have been up to the past few months.  As we move forward, with our Great Dane, Penni ‘s, one singleton pup life is exciting!!  Life for me on the homestead is focused within the house….because puppy is mostly indoors right now.  She is just five weeks old, yet an amazing amount of development has occurred in her short life.  We are actively house training, and she is doing remarkably well….and then there is this…..

October 2016

Four Weeks Old

 

…..how did that happen already??  Penni seems quite happy with it!!  Hahaha  She is able to close up the milk bar more often….

October 2016

Four Weeks Old

….and she is pretty pleased about that.  This week will be about finalizing the weaning process, and hopefully by next Saturday, the pup will be fully weaned.

October 2016

Three Weeks Old

You may notice that I keep calling the little one, puppy or pup?  Much to my surprise, the hardest part of this whole process (after the whelping, that is) has been naming this little girl.  We have rolled around so many names, and nothing has seemed to stick.  The one name that will be part of her registered name is Esther….somehow I will work that in.  She was Esther from the time I first saw her, but as a call name, it is not working out well…..so……what to call her???  If I say a name here, somehow I think it is then official.  I did that once on Facebook and then retracted the name, and somehow, it was odd because I had publicly announced it.  So, am I ready to do that here???????????????

October 2016

Three Weeks Old

I have a name…..I’m liking it very much!  I need to just decide, because I am starting her training to focus on me already, and I need to call her something.  Soooooooooooooooooooooooo…….here goes……!!!  OMGosh……….I can’t believe my reluctance to settle on a name!!   But, I am ready…….this time it is in stone!!

Drum roll please………………………………………..

October 2016

Introducing, Penelopi Mae Buoy’s little girl, whose call name is……… Alivia……”Livi”  for short!!!  I’m still working on her AKC registered name….but at least we know what to call her now!!

October 2016

Four Weeks Old

BTW, her name means “Peace.”  In this day and time in our world, we need a lot of peace to shower upon us all.  The political environment this past year, and the violence throughout the world has brought so many sad, aggravating, and frustrating moments….and when I look at her, when I hold her…..all I can think about is how peaceful life is in that moment.  Her name means, “Peace” …. a rendition of the name, Olivia, it represents the olive tree, an emblem of peace.  The root of this can be found in the Bible, Genesis 8:11, when a dove comes to Noah with a freshly plucked olive leaf after the floods subside.  The olive leaf became a symbol of impending peace….. as when one “extends an olive branch” to another.

October 2016

Four Weeks Old

Have I ever given so much thought to a dog’s name……No!!  I don’t have any idea why this has been such a pain staking task….or why there seems to have to be meaning to this little girl’s name.  I guess I’m just overthinking it….but she was the one little survivor.  Maybe that is why?

 

Four Weeks Old

Four Weeks Old

I do look forward to the amazing growth that will happen in the next few weeks and months ahead, as it will allow me time to get out and help with the other critters relying on us out there.  For now, however, I am basking in the littleness of the moment…because that littleness is very short lived in the life of a Great Dane.  Just look at those legs already!!  <sigh>

Thank you for visiting the homestead today.  I hope you find peace in the different moments of your day!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Campfire Chat

I, uh…..I wish we could all sit down….cup of coffee in hand…..campfire roaring (obviously, this will have to happen in the fall because our late summer fire ban is up…no campfires right now)…..marshmallows on the skewers……and talk, share, and pass down the knowledge we have gained while trying to figure out those things called homesteading, cooking, raising a family, livestock handling, etc, etc, etc.  Much like a book club, we could change the “book”, or more appropriately, topic, and meet numerous times throughout the year.  You all have so much knowledge out there….how fun would that be?!!!!  So, on tap for today, a virtual campfire will have to do!!

Do you have your cup of coffee, tea, or whatever beverage you prefer??  Let’s talk!!!

As long we are having coffee, might as well have a delicious sandwich to go with it!!

As long we are having coffee, might as well have a delicious sandwich to go with it!!

Summer is a busy time on this little homestead.  You know, in some ways, the animal husbandry lessens, when you don’t have baby animals running around, and all the others are out and about most of the day.  Pooping and peeing outside is easier to manage than the more frequent pooping and peeing inside their shelters during the wet, rainy days….and in Oregon, we have a lot of those.  However, it becomes all about water; keeping the flock, and the herd hydrated is essential to their health

July 2016

Right now, I do that by filling up buckets of water and carrying them across the way to where they hang out.  It takes about 4 trips with a full, 3 gallon bucket to fill the goat trough.  Another 3 gallons will fill the main chicken waterer….and 2 more gallons for their water dish that sits out in the field in which they run about….originally for the chickens, the goats have decided they like the water in that dish best, so that one gets filled more frequently.  Water is the name of the game this time of year.  Carrying all those buckets is good for the triceps for sure!!!  Have you noticed that your livestock like to drink out of one type of trough, or dish more than the other??  My goats prefer the black, plastic dish over their galvanized steel 6 gallon water trough, and it doesn’t matter that both have fresh water.

Dogs water dish next to the house....same as the 2 gallon waterer out in pasture.

Dogs water dish next to the house….same as the 2 gallon waterer out in pasture.

Thankfully, late July up until mid-September, when normally we will have a couple of rains, the burn restrictions here in the Pacific NW prohibit a lot of tasks we might still want to do, like run the brush hog on the tractor one more time over the pasture grasses/weeds; any logging activity, etc.  So at this time of year, it’s about projects, gardening by hand, pulling up foxtail weeds, and keeping the animals cool and hydrated.

Walking with goats.

Walking with goats.

It’s also about taking walks with the goats to areas of the property that are not fenced into pastures, but have great nutrition.  Since we do not have a guardian animal that hangs with the goats, we are their guardians….they follow us where ever we wish to take them….

…..except back into their main pasture…which requires a little encouragement called, Wheat Thins.  Yep…the crackers….LOL!!  They will go ANYWHERE for Wheat Thins!  Hahaha!

Thank you for visiting today.  I have missed you all.  This time of year, days are long and time for writing is short.  There are events coming in the near future, please check out Have-a-Dane Hill Danes as we pursue the next step in our plans for our homestead.  Exciting times ahead!!!  If you have time, pop on over to http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com and check out the action….big news on the horizon!!  Much to tell about the homestead, the farm, the forest, our dog(s)…….I’ll be back!!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

 

Just a Quick Hello!!

Hello, Friends!!!!

June 2016

We have been busy up here on the hill this late spring and summer, but will be back soon for updates etc.  We’ve really missed you all!!

In the meantime, please check out our other location http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com for a HUGE update on our “Blog”  and “The Stud” pages.

Hope you all are well.  See you soon!!

#haveadanehilldanes  #chickeninabucket

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Move That Hen House

Some days the task is huge….and heavy…..and awkward.  Enter the need for the relocation of the hen house.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

Tony built the house on skids for just this occasion, but once again, this is not your average chicken coop.  It is large for a chicken enclosure …. 8 ft by 10 ft by 12 ft tall — it is heavy ….. built with full, heavy lumber, fully insulated, tar shingles, and a porch — awkward….something this large does not move without a lot of ingenuity.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

Why move a large, stationary, unyielding object such as this?  The flock seemed “just okay” with their house.  It was consistently shady, and dark.  Many of the hens sought out alternate places to lay their eggs.  They seemed to tolerate their home, but they didn’t love their home…hahah….as I write this, I do realize how ….quirky that sounds, but it’s true!!

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Other than that, we really want to control the chicken poop in the people living areas.  They are all over the place, and I want them off of my porch, in front of my car doors, and where my dogs run.  They are going to live in the pasture with the goats.

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The real story here, though, is in the process of moving this small, but large out-building.  The video below is just that.  It took a few hours, but it did eventually get to it’s intended spot.

Thankfully, the move was successful, and no one got injured. This project actually took place a couple of weeks ago, and I am happy to report that the hens are happy again!!  They are speaking loud and clear with an abundance of eggs….inside the nesting boxes….and now two broody hens!!  What more can you ask of a Saturday!!

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Thank you for visiting the farm today.  I hope your day is filled with the beauty, and warmth of spring

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#howdoyoumoveanoutbuilding

Happy Easter

Just a quick note this morning to wish you all a wonderful, and joyous day.   Our family has fun with Easter in the traditional, Easter bunny fashion , however, the real emphasis in our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls is the celebration of our risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  More so than any other day of the year, Easter, is the cornerstone of the Christian faith….sin, evilness, and death have been defeated.   And although these things still exist, Christ took the world’s sin….all of it…..from the point of his crucifixion forward….upon himself that we may live.  Sin cannot be present in Heaven, and through our faith in Jesus…through our acceptance of God’s amazing gift of salvation, our sins are forgiven, our hearts are changed, we are made ready for eternity with God.  No more sadness, death, pain, or sin.  There is no good work that we can do to earn our way to God, it has been done…Christ paved the way…..

Ephesians 2:8-9       For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Happy Easter!!!!!

For more on this story, please check out my other blog ….  http://haveadanehilldanes.com/2016/03/27/happy-easter-cont/

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#eastersunday2016   #whatistherealmeaningofeaster  #didjesusrisefromthegrave  #whatissospecialabouteaster

 

Time to Take Off that Winter Coat

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To say that we have a rag-a-muffin looking trio would be an understatement.  Our three whethers are in full, loose-the-winter-coat, mode.  The unwanted wool fiber hangs, dangles, and is deposited on anything and everything they rub up against.  You don’t shear these guys like you would a sheep.

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Some of it is so loose, you can literally pull handfuls of the stuff off of their backs….it’s kind of fun actually.  Since the loosening fluff makes them kind of itchy, they seem to like the feeling when the fiber is pulled.  Using their horns, they scratch their backs and sides in the hopes that they will rid themselves of their extra layer.  Some of the wool will gather on the tips of their back scratchers, and dangle.  Poor little Clark, the black/grey whether to the left in the video below, has horns that turn forward…his back scratching capability is a bit more challenging.

Don’t you just want to give that overcoat a tug….

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They have a bit to go….Montana (the brown goat) seems to have gotten a jump on the rest….but they will eventually get all that extra fiber off.  We hope to get some things around their enclosures that they can rub on…in the meantime,  trees and branches seem to do the trick.

I’m looking forward to their smooth, sleek coats of summer….and so does Lott!!

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I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!  Thank you for visiting the farm today!

You friend from Oregon,

Tami

P.S. Ever wonder what doing dishes on the homestead really means??

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This picture just doesn’t capture how dirty everything really was….maybe that’s a good thing!!

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All clean and tidy!! There were a few more, but you get the idea!

Quirky Little Rooster

Have I introduced you to our resident rooster #2?

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He is a great guy!  He understands the  importance of respecting the hens, and most importantly, respects Benedict….

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Benedict!!

….our #1 rooster, and leader of this active flock.  So here he is, the one, the only…..

…..Hunch Back (aka Quasimodo!!)  Let’s call him Quasi for short so I don’t have to keep writing the longer names, LOL.  Quasi was hatched this summer along with three other chicks in the incubator.

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About two weeks after that, our mama hen, Chardonnay, hatched a brood of three chicks.  We tried to offer Quasi’s brood to Chardonnay while she was still on the nest…that did NOT fly at all!!  Two of Chardonnay’s hatchlings became roosters, along with three of Quasi’s brood (including himself.)  Prior to these in late spring, we hatched seven chicks for some friends…three of those were also boys…it was the summer of little roo’s.

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Quasi in the front.  Look at the position of his feet, and how his chest goes to one side.

Generally, our extra roosters, and those we have hatched for others (once they start crowing) end up in our freezer, or on the dinner table….

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Pay no attention to the ugly butchering job on the tail-end!

….but not Quasi.  Once he started becoming somewhat bigger, we noticed that he was growing a little oddly.  His gate was a little unbalanced, and he seemed to be growing a bit sideways….off kilter.  He got around fine, and didn’t seem to be in any pain, so we took a wait-and-see attitude.

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The flock accepted little Quasi, well, even Benedict welcomed him to eat with the hens.  As the other roo’s became roosters, Quasi wasn’t showing the normal signs of maturity.  He didn’t chase the hens, and he didn’t crow.  Benedict and the hens continued to accept him, so while the other roosters completed their lives in November/December, Quasi lived on. Check out the size difference between Quasi and Benedict.

Today, Quasi is still with the flock.  He is doing very well.  He has a funky walk, is still sideways, eats like a champion, is smaller than your average sized rooster, and has never uttered a single cock-a-doodle-doo!  Quasi has a hen who loves him….

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…..and Benedict allows him that one hen.  It is a unique and kind of wonderful experience to watch how our flock has accepted this 2nd little rooster.  They never have allowed it before…

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…..he is a unique bird, and we love him…he is a quirky little rooster.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and will have a fantastic week ahead!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami          http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com

#Quasimodo  #quirkylittlerooster

 

 

And the Sun Emerges

Has it truly been almost a month since I have written on this blog?   Just about every day I think, “I’ve got to write about that,” and then I get distracted with life.  That being said,  you can catch up with us a bit on http://haveadanehilldanes.com as we walk through our days analyzing every droopy face, every burp, every ….. well, go check it out …. there may be new additions to the family soon.

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Okay, so where do I begin?  Winter is quickly fading into spring out here in the Pacific Northwest….really quickly.  The goats are getting “itchy”, literally, to loose their fluffy, winter coats.  They are rubbing on trees, scratching their backs and sides with their horns,  and enjoying laying down under the mid-winter sun breaks.

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The hens went into an egg shut-down this year, and virtually stopped laying.  Since late October, we have only gotten 1 – 2 eggs every couple of days….within the past two weeks….production has increased, and we are now up to 3 – 4 eggs per day!  Thank you increased daylight…with morning and evening combined, I think we are up to almost two more hours of light in the day than we were in the deep dark of late fall-early winter.

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My two young hens have even started their egg laying careers……

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…..these tiny eggs are perfect when you want to make a 1/3 of a cookie recipe or something.  Who would want to only make a 1/3 of a cookie recipe, you may ask….well it’s kind of like buying already made refrigerator cookie dough, and only cooking part of the package….but I wouldn’t know about that, because I have these little eggs and I just make 1/3 of  the recipe. HA!

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One of my young layers…her name is, Summer….she is very friendly thanks to my niece, Justine, who spent a lot of time holding her, as a young hatchling, this summer…and quite fittingly, she named her, Summer!  🙂

Speaking of recipes, I’m on a mission to “lighten” our lives a bit.  At this point, I’m not overzealous, but just making changes where I can.  I’d like to share with you this recipe I made for the Super Bowl….it is a lightened up version of Spinach-Artichoke Dip…

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….it was full of flavor.  It did feel lighter in texture, not as creamy, but totally okay because the flavor was there…..honestly, I did miss the creaminess a little, but I can live with that.  Here is the link to the recipe…. http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/hot-spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html

Thank you for visiting the farm today after our long absence.  We hope you have a most wonderful day.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#lighterversionofspinachartichokedip  #spinachartichokedipwithgreekyogurt

Rainy Days and Mondays

I would like to be a Weather Reporter in the Pacific Northwest this winter of 2016.  I know there is more to it than it seems….but, really, unless you are predicting a day of sunshine, you are practically guaranteed to be right.  Rain, rain, and more rain every day.  I am totally NOT complaining.

 

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An unexpected break in the rain

I like the rain.  I like how it sounds, I like how it feels, and I like the freshness that it brings.  Right now, we have had about 7 days of pretty constant rain with maybe a few short breaks on a couple of those days.  Otherwise, rain is the order of the day, as it has been for about a month.  As I look at the extended forecast….the next 15 days show rain….everyday….at 60+ percent which, up here means one thing….it gonna keep right on raining!!

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The goats are mostly hanging out, inside their house and do not venture out unless it is a very light mist….or less.  This makes for the need of a deeper kind of cleaning everyday.  Their bedding is deep in straw, and hay that they have decided wasn’t good enough to eat <sigh>.  We need to remove the wet, urine soaked straw mixed with poop…which makes like a poopy mud.  I do not like nor intend for my little herd to spend their days and nights housed in dirty digs.  So I rake out the wet straw in the places they seem to like to pee, down deep into the layers, until I hit mostly dry material.

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Sprinkling a product called, Zeolite, over the now damp…not wet….exposed areas helps to control the formation of ammonia.  This powdery product really does help.  By throwing down a new, thick layer of straw, our year old whethers have a dry place to bed down for the night….tomorrow afternoon, I will clean it all up again…and at least for the next 15 days….it will be the same routine.  When they stay inside all day there is more to do.  But, it makes me feel good to give them a clean, dry place to hang their hats at the end of the day.  This routine will ease up a bit once we build the small, but larger barn, hopefully next month.

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Sometimes, I wish they were chickens!!  Hahaha

Thank you for visiting on this rainy Monday.  I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week ahead.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami   http://haveadanehilldanes.com

#doesitrainalotinoregon  #dogoatslikerain  #spanishmeatgoats #zeolite #doeszeiolitecontrolammonia

 

Claudio / Goats & Christmas Trees

A bit of sad news on the farm (but keep reading, it gets better)…..

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Claudio, the Buff Orphington on the right.

……Our little hen, Claudio, went to the big farm in Heaven.  She had been ailing a bit for a couple of months.  We came really, really close to ending her rein as the Matriarch of the hen house a little over a month ago, but I brought her into the little “resting” enclosure we have in the garage, let her warm up and rest for a few days away from the flock, cleaned her up and she was better….slower than normal, but she liked to eat, walk around, and hung with the flock….but she was slow.

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Claudio, the one and only true Buff Orphington hen on the farm.

We kept a close eye on her….and apparently so did our resident hawk.  Seeing the vulnerability of our little Claudio, the hawk saw an opportunity.  I’m sorry, little Claudio…you and I had some great conversations….she was the talker of the hen house.

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“Are you listening to me?”  “Always, Claudio, always.  RIP my little friend.”

On a lighter note…..

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The other day, my brother, Steve, text’d me and asked if I knew that goats like to eat Christmas trees.   There were news reports down in the Bay Area about goats eating Christmas trees…..I think it is hysterical that this would be a news worthy item…HAHAHAHA!!  I’m not laughing at my brother….maybe a little…..I love you, brother!!!

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Anyway….it was ironic that he contacted me about this  because, litereally, I was forming my thoughts for this post, and just a couple of days before I video’d my goats……chomping down on our Christmas tree!!

It didn’t surprise me that they would like the Christmas trees….they had already attacked the wreath on our door.   Even as young little sprouts, they showed their affinity for fir trees by seeking out the low limbs of our Douglas Fir trees.  It was weird though….put in the context of chomping on our CHRISTMAS TREE….the revelation seemed new, and magical.

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I love my little herd.  They are so cute, and fluffy, and chunky!!

Happy Sunday!!  Thank you so much for spending part of your day with me.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Please visit my other site….  http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com

 

 

First Snow 2016

It’s always an exciting event when the first snow…or any snow for that matter….falls.  In it’s silent descent, the beauty unveils itself with a crisp, exoteric whiteness not often duplicated.  Like a gift, gently unwrapped under the Christmas tree.  It is calming, and gives one permission to settle in, and linger….just a bit longer.

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On the other hand….snow, the kind of snow we get is FUN…but we don’t live in it for months on end.  When it snows, it is an event for a few days…it may or may not snow again during that particular winter….but then again…..it might!!

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This is the goats first experience with snow.  They sniffed it, they tasted it….

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…they ran into their house…then back out.   The funny thing about snow….you don’t feel the wetness on your thick, curly, fur coat until it starts to soak in….I think.  So, they stand outside as the flakes fall and accumulate on their tops…they don’t seem to have the sense that they need to go in out of the “rain.”  Funny goats.

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The flock is more seasoned and are keeping their feet warm by staying under cover…except for this one adventurer.

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It’s a lovely day in the Pacific Northwest!  Thank you for visiting the farm today.  More of the fluffy white stuff is still in the forecast for this afternoon!  Happy New Year to you all!!

#Have-a-Dane Hill Danes

http://www.havadanehilldanes.com

 

Fun With Goats

And the forecast today is ra…… wait a second…. let me double check that!  This just into the newsroom ….. it appears an anomaly has made its way into the northwest Oregon region ….. all forecasting models predict a day of grey, no real sunshine, BUT… no real rain.  Let’s look at that again, Tom, YES…the current mapping is correct… NO RAIN IN THE FORECAST!!

November 2015

That was yesterday!!  I think the collective shown forth in a happy dance!!

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Although quite cold, Tony and I took the opportunity to get the goats out, and to stretch their legs a bit with a hike through the brush.

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I think they appreciated the change of flavor from basically hay, and their nighttime grain.

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The rain has returned, the goats are keeping dry in their house, and I am continually perplexed as to given the choice of nice green hay and yellow, pale straw….Why does straw always win out?????

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Thank you for visiting the herd today.  I hope you have a wonderful, safe Sunday!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

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.

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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

Animal Management

 

October 2015

In the stark darkness of the early morning hours, on a day in which the shine from the moon is blotted by the thickness of the clouds passing between the dirt and the heavens, without a moments notice, two young, rogue roosters are suddenly plucked from their warm roosts.  Their world is literally upside down as they are carried in that manner to their interim home.  Confused, they sit quietly in the darkness of their enclosure, waiting to see what the light of day holds.  At least they are together, as they have been from their day of hatching.

Movable for sunny days.

Movable for sunny days.

These, young brothers, so to speak, hatched underneath the hen, Kermit, who led them through tall grasses, and kept them safe from harm.

May 2015

They grew in to very handsome birds, but alas, there can only be one master for the hens, and these roo’s do not understand that.  Driven by intoxicating hormones, the hens were constantly on edge, frantically running to escape the unwanted pursuit to claim the flock.  To say that the hen house has been in upheaval would be to playcate the true sense of the drama infused into their recent days.

October 2015

Hens running to and fro, cackling, loudly cackling and calling out to their protector, Benedict.  As master of the hen house, Benedict is driven to protect the flock from threats such as these types of internal coup attempts.

October 2015

At this stage of the game, they are relentless.  In squabble after squabble, Benedict engages the young warriors in battle.  At this point, they back off…Benedict has the maturity of his adult talons, size, and experience on his side.  The time has come for intervention.

October 2015

In a swift, stealth like moment, the whisking away of the young roosters was part of the necessary evil that comes with animal management on the farm.  It is imperative that peace return to the flock.  What will come of the insurgent duo, you may ask?

October 2015

They will be confined for a period of time, given shelter, dirt to scratch around in, and plenty of corn and scraps to……shall we say, fatten up a bit.  They have had a good life, free ranging in the best possible way…

October 2015

…they will have plenty of good food….and then they will have one bad day….just one, in a life full of excellent days.  In the meantime, peace will reign once again in the life of the flock.  Those hens that were stressed to the point of hiding in the small, dark spaces of the hen house….that would only eat or drink if I stood beside them, with food and water, will emerge from their safe places into the open spaces that they so greatly love.

**UPDATE on how the day went…. The flock was on edge in the first morning hours.  They could hear the young roo’s, and this continued to raise the stress in the hens.  By noon, I think they realized that the dynamic duo were separate from them, except one hen…

September 2015

…the most stressed hen, Chablis.  She has been waiting for me in the hen house everyday until I can walk with her to her food and water…she continued to do that today because she did not leave the hen house, and did not see that she was safe.  As she ran to my feet, I picked her up and took her outside to the rooster’s new digs.  It seems she understood, as I was able to walk away from her without her running back to me or back to the hen house.  She stayed outside for the rest of the afternoon, and a calm was over the flock.

Animal management isn’t always easy, but it is necessary to prevent diseases and injuries.  It’s important to keep ahead of the curve!

Thank you for visiting the flock today.  Please have a wonderful day!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

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