Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘Penni the Great Dane’ Category

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……


…..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…


….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,


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.


June 2015

Many of my friends know of the, WHAT WAS THAT, moment of my day today.  It started around 4:15 a.m….the sounds were odd…really odd.  They were coming from the bottom of the gentle hillside leading away from our goat enclosure.  Penni, our great dane, was the first to hear and react.  The hackles along her spine were raised, creating a dark, rust colored line extending from her shoulders to the base of her tail.  I crawled out of bed, sat, and listened for more.  WHAT WAS THAT??!!

July 2015

By this time all the dogs on the properties around us were sounding the alarm, yet the noise continued.  Hard to explain, the was a hollow, somewhat high pitched cry….not quite a howl, not quite a scream.


The most concerning was the long, low grumble of deep, throated growl.  Ok…it was clear…it was definitely something of the carnivore persuasion.


As soon as I could, I googled sounds, and most of the day, though that it must have been a cougar, aka mountain lion.  However, I found the bobcat sounds this afternoon, and truly believe it was a bobcat.

Yeah kind of spooky.  We’ve yet to go exploring to find what we might find, but I’ll keep you posted.  And, yes, these guys and gals…

June 2015June 2015

…were all locked up tightly for the night….although, they did seem a bit trepidatious  stepping out into the big, bold world this morning…they seem to be fine this afternoon.

Okay….I’ll keep you posted!!  I definitely need more of these…..

Penni, the Great Dane

Penni, the Great Dane

….running about the place!!

Thanks for visiting the forest today….definitely a day in the forest!!  Stay safe out there!!

Your friend from Oregon,



A Study in White

Time for a study in color.  Last year’s choice was … A Study in Purple  This year we are looking at….

June 2015

In nature, the color white is found quite prolifically, especially in springtime.  In psychology, the color white has many meanings…. “In color psychology white is the color of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn’t stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive.”    The article from this website also suggests, “Too much white can cause feelings of isolation and emptiness; it can be too pristine and immaculate, making you feel as though you can’t make a move for fear of upsetting it or creating a mess.”  (more…)

The Full of Spring

Springtime in Oregon is gorgeous!!  The greens…..

May 2015

…are so vibrantly green.

The wild flowers bloom with ease……

May 2015

….and beautiful abundance….while some……

May 2015 IMG_9936 IMG_9938

….had a little help being seeded into this Oregon soil a couple of years ago.  California Poppies were just too beautiful to leave in CA…we brought a few seeds along for the ride.

Welcoming of new life……

May 2015

…is always a happy, springtime folly.

The sun…..

May 2015

…the rain…..

May 2015

….the long shadows…..

May 2015

….all lend to the beauty of this alluring season.  Oregon is beautiful in the spring.

Although work on the farm amps up as the sun lingers longer in the sky…..

Thanks, Justin, for helping out this week!!!  You are awesome!!

Thanks, Justin, for helping out this week!!! You are awesome!!


…..there is always time for a roll in the tall grass…..

May 2015

….day dreaming into the blue sky…..

May 2015

…..soccer tournaments.

May 2015

As springtime takes it’s journey into summer, there is much to anticipate…..

May 2015

……and possibly our first year of ripened fruit…..

May 2015

….and hopefully, a worthy suitor for our majestic princess, Penelopi … aka, Penni.

May 2015IMG_0261May 2015

Yes, spring is a wonderful season in the pacific northwest.  My heart and prayers go out to those in the southern states getting hit so hard by the recent drenching, flooding rains.  Please stay safe out there!!

Thanks for taking time in your busy day to visit the farm today.  I hope you have a wonderful day!!

Your friend from Oregon,







Peace of Mind

Peace of mind is a valuable thing.  It allows me to sleep…it allows me to…well…basically, carry on in life.  Recently, there has been this issue…I don’t really know if I should talk about this in such an open forum.  My thoughts run to, “Well maybe if I just get it off my chest.”  “Maybe then I can stop feeling so guilty about this thing?”  So here it goes…..

April 2015

……we’ve enlisted the help of a guardian…more powerful than even our big, Penni girl.  I know!!!  I feel a little guilty because this guardian has Penni on the run…literally.  Meet the Guardian…hot wiring around goat base camp..AKA – Candlestick Park II.

April 2015

Penni has been zapped…twice.  The first time, I believe she touched the lower line with her paw because her reaction was to bark…incessantly for a about 30 seconds while running as far from the fence as she could get…and then straight to Mom.  She needed comfort, and there was a totally confused looked on her face.  We cuddled for a moment and then hung out paying attention to chicken chores….Penni didn’t mind as long as we were far from the fence.

April 2015

Today,  curiosity was far too intense to be dismissed.  Penni just had to find out why the fence had bitten her.  As I glanced to the left….there I saw it.  Penni was slowly pushing forward with her nose, and just as I had yelled out, “Penni, Leave IT” ….. zzzzzap ….. and then a running, yelping, running, yelping Great Dane took flight.  She was zapped smack dab on the nose!  Obviously, that area is a bit more sensitive than a paw.

April 2015

Knowing that this type of incident would probably take place, and that Penni would not be injured….the importance to provide some protection for our youngest babies on the farm trumped the occasional “zap” that Penni may experience.  I think she is learning very quickly.

April 2015

And now, I have peace of mind once again.

Feb. 2015

Thank you for visiting the farm today, but please keep you hands, feet, and especially noses away from the black and white strings along the fence lines.  You may have a shocking experience!!

I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful day!!

Your friend from Oregon,


Great Strides

The Wolf and the Goat                                                                                                                                         A WOLF saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a steep precipice, where he had no chance of reaching her. He called to her and earnestly begged her to come lower down, lest she fall by some mishap; and he added that the meadows lay where he was standing, and that the herbage was most tender. She replied, “No, my friend, it is not for the pasture that you invite me, but for yourself, who are in want of food.”  Aesop’s Fable – Translated by George Fyler Townsend – Chicago, Belford, Clarke & Co., 1887

Penni April 2015

There is a look in Penni ‘s eyes, an instantaneous moment in time that predicts one action, yet is also that brief “you’ve got one shot at this” invitation allowing correction and redirection.  It is easy to recognize, if you can catch it….in one pin-pointed blip on the radar the entirety of a 130 pound Great Dane is focused, poised, energized….readied like a loaded gun….and then, as if the trigger has been pulled, the explosive energy forward is unstoppable.

April 2015

Penni has a passion for our new little kids, Montana, Clark and Lott.  She seems confused by her primal instinct to hunt and chase, and her desire to “mother.”   With direct supervision, she is off-leash now within the goat’s penned area.  Clark and Lott were the bottle fed babies, and they seem to have no problem with Penni ‘s sniffing and slobbering….Montana on the other hand, was raised with the herd and is much less accepting of Penni ‘s affections.  He stares at her … in Dane language that is the equivalent to, “You want a piece of me?” , which then causes the response back, “You want a piece of ME?” … and the chase is on.  If I can catch the stare, before the quiver of muscle just prior to take off, I can stop the chase with a stern, “OFF IT”….but it is a very brief moment, and the cue is ambiguous at best.

Penni and Clark 2015

All of this energy, the entire reason for the chase is that Penni needs to sniff, and slobber……but how can you reason with a strong-headed goat…..and how can you negotiate a warmer encounter with a female Dane driven by her desire to mother.  For safety’s sake, the use of a shock collar may be in order here.  I don’t advocate the frequent use of those, but in terms of a dog’s or goat’s safety, I’d rather Penni got a quick jolt than a pair of broken ribs from horns on Montana’s head….and if Montana is in a vulnerable position like his head is through the fence and his horns are preventing a quick pull back…I’d rather he not hurt himself because he is panicked.  He’s just too cute!!!

Montana April 2015

Everyday, Penni is calmer and more bored with the whole situation…especially when it comes to Clark and Lott…they don’t run…but the chase……..that is a hard game to give up!!

Penni and Clark April 2015

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

Your friend from Oregon,


Penni the Goat Mama

  –  Pay no attention to my shushing of my husband…LOL

Our Great Dane, Penni ‘s first introduction to Montana, Clark, and Lott was….well, shall I say, exuberant??!!  The excitement was immediate, and intense.  That of course, is Penni ‘s way.  She is big, her excitement is big, her movements are big, her voice is big, and her heart is huge!  Penni demands to be “Mommy” to every new baby critter she comes in contact with….the new Kids were no exception.

April 2015

Basically, the afternoon and evening were all about trying to welcome, and help make our little ones feel comfortable and safe….and allow Penni to get some familiarity with the little critters that she can see through the windows of the house.  If we wanted to have any peace at all, this was non-negotiable.  I knew that it was going to be the kind of day that would require a lot of patience, and a good, sturdy leash.

April 2015

As big as she is, Penni can still stick her head, all the way through to her shoulders.

April 2015

Getting her head out, is not as easy.

April 2015

Does this picture look familiar??


She is ever watchful…these are her new babies.

April 2015

Once a baby is smelled from head to toe, and slobbered on all over…they are hers.  Be it chick, kid, or poult…her motherly instincts are strong….either that or…..no, I don’t want to think about the “or.”  It’s never been the “or”….but sometimes it looks like the “or.”

Today, the leash came off….but NOT inside “The Stick” (Candlestick Park)….only on the outside of the fence.  Thank goodness for this reduction of intensity.  The exuberance is still there, but she has brought it in a little bit, and is more able to control the instinct to just mow everything down to get to the kids. They are responding with a little more calmness around Penni too.  Everyone is adjusting…WHEW!!!   Right now, the adjustment period is strictly for the big dog and the kids…the little dog’s introduction will be several days from now…after more of the exuberance wears off.

Feeder and Water Tub

Other than that, the kids had a good night….no surprises.  They seemed warm and cozy, and everyone seemed well….very well.  I think they slept just fine.

APRIL 2015

I think they are happy!!

Thank you for visiting today!!

I hope you have a wonderful morning, day, evening, or night…whenever you may be reading this!

Your friend from Oregon,


To Breed or Not to Breed

I realized the other day that it has been quite awhile since I mentioned our Great Dane, Penni, in a post.  That is really unacceptable, as she is the pearl…the gem…she brings a, well,….regal quality to the landscape.

July 2013July 2013

If you have been visiting our farm for awhile, you know that Penni is mother of all things chicken….hatchlings, to be more specific.  Every new chick hatched on the farm (or not) is required, by the overseer, to pass the sniff-lick-slobber resiliency test by the queen herself.  Once completed, Penni is bonded to the chicks, and keeps a very close eye on them….

I promise to watch over you... I may chase you, but I will protect you!

I promise to watch over you… I may chase you, but I will protect you!

…the downside of this is like any mommy, she becomes very protective of her chicks, and will let the other dog(s) know in no uncertain terms.  This is a very natural response, however harsh it may seem.

We’ve come to a  point of “decision” with Penni.  She is not spayed, and is a wonderful example of a classic, old school Great Dane.

Yeah, she thinks she's a mountain goat!

Yeah, she thinks she’s a mountain goat!

By this I mean, she envelopes all the qualities of Danes before there was the trend to breed taller and taller dogs.  This trend, and acceptance by the AKC, bothers me so much.  I don’t believe that this adds to the health of the breed, I think it weakens it.  I have seen danes with such long legs that they look spindly, the rear end is often higher than the shoulders, and the dog’s gait / strength appears off, weakened.  I don’t like it at all; our Great Dane babies are not Irish Wolfhounds or Deerhounds…they were not originally bred to be as tall as those.

Penni Jan. 2015

I think this breeding taller trend is what has also sparked the other current trend of breeding European Danes into the American Dane’s bloodlines.  This, in my opinion, is a good, healthy trend, as it is bringing sturdiness back to the breed.  Okay…I’m off of my soapbox now!!

My beauty!

My beauty!

Our pending decision…to breed or not to breed.  I know…this is a dirty word to many….I usually think that way too, and am a huge advocate of spaying and neutering.  In fact, this is the first animal I have ever had (besides chickens haha) that has not been “fixed” … she is the only four legged beauty that I have ever considered breeding.  Physically, she is amazing, strong, and adheres to the standards of the American Kennel Club ( http://www.akc.org/breeds/great_dane/breed_standard.cfm ) ….mentally, she has a great, loving temperment….not at all aloof (although a common quality of the breed) and is very intelligent.  Yes, I said it….I do believe that dogs think, and are not solely reactive…especially Danes.

Seriously...can't you see the problems of the world being solved right there in that chair!!

Seriously…can’t you see the problems of the world being solved right there in that chair!!


Why would you breed her while there are so many in shelters and rescue?  Beyond Penni’s safety and the safety of the pups throughout their lives, this is my biggest hindrance.  I have worked in shelters or with shelters most of my life…this is an issue that I have not been able to justify yet, hence, Penni has never been bred.  However, we have the acreage to take back any of our babies that may need to be rehomed.

Sleepy Puppy

Penni at 8 weeks old

Is Penni OFA certified?  This is an expense that we will put out if / when we decide breeding is what we intend.  She will be certified in heart, hips, knees, elbows, and thyroid… if and when.

Those are some great hips on that girl!!

Those are some great hips on that girl!!

Do you show Penni?  No, Penni is an amazing family member.  Although I thought, at one point, to show,  I have not gone that route with her.

April 2014

What’s the real reason you are considering breeding, Penni?  If her OFA certifications are favorable, her classic dane stature, strength, beauty, and demeanor would be great characteristics to pass onto the next generation.  If I could provide a few other families with a forever sweetheart like our girl, it would be a great gift….I know I’m romanticizing this very important decision…believe me, I’m looking at the issue with eyes wide open!

April 2014

Reason for discussion?  Penni will be three years old in April…at this point, she has been through five heat cycles.  I will not breed her as long as we still have our 15 year old little Karli with us, as I will not subject Karli to that level of stress.  For Penni’s safety, I don’t want her to go through too many more heat cycles if we’re not going to breed her…..hence, before her next cycle, I want to decide what to do.  There are risks associated with the fluctuation of hormones in our furry kids that are unaltered.

Karli & Penni

Karli & Penni

Bottom line, there is much to consider…financial, emotional, intellectual, and social issues surround this decision, let alone the health and safety of our girl and her pups.  Penni is depending on us to make the right choice.  Beyond that, a suitable male would need to be found….not an easy task.  I know this is a very controversial discussion for many…I highly respect your opinions, as I hope you will mine.

Thanks for talking with me today.  Animal management (livestock or pet) on the farm always requires thoughtful consideration.  It is never a light-hearted choice.

Your friend from Oregon,


Our 2014 in Review

WOW…I can’t believe that today is the last day of 2014!!  To say that this year has flown by would be quite the understatement.  In summary, here are my top five posts of 2014 that, the stats tell me, you all have enjoyed the most….

1  That Certain Age   Purple Aug. 2014

2  Morning Sunrise

3  Alien Invasion

4 Premature Chick Hatch

5  My Coyote Theory….

…followed closely by…..

Harvesting Walnuts


The top referring sites linked to this blog were:  Facebook, and http://www.adairhomes.com … our awesome builders.  The very beginnings of my writings here were all about the house-build in 2011, and it is amazing to me that I still get so many clicks from those early posts.

This morning, very early, people from….

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States  14
Brazil FlagBrazil 4
Japan FlagJapan 2
Argentina FlagArgentina 1
Malaysia FlagMalaysia                          1

….and throughout the year, readers from 94 different countries had clicked on my humble attempts to write, and somewhat, entertain those who would happen here.  It amazes me!!  A heart felt, “Thank you,” to all of you!!

I was thinking that we could take a walk through the forest today, through the year that has been 2014.  I have greatly enjoyed your company, and hope to see you back on the farm in the coming year.  There is much work to do in 2015…and hopefully, a few warm surprises along the way.   Please enjoy this journey in pictures…..

Just ’cause your legs don’t work very well doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a shot at life!! Little Austin Healey got stronger and had a good life as a free range rooster.

I so hope this works!

Whooooaaa, I'm not going out ther!!! Whooooaaa, I’m not going out ther!!!

Hey what's that?? A little spinach hung from the ceiling helps break the cabin fever!

Hey what’s that?? A little spinach hung from the ceiling helps break the cabin fever!

Claudio wondering, "What the heck is all that cold, white, icy stuff!"

Claudio wondering, “What the heck is all that cold, white, icy stuff!”

Our neighbors horses...so gorgeous!!!

Our neighbors horses…so gorgeous!!

We had a lot of snow in the winter of 2014.

IT'S A HUGE NEWT, OR SALAMANDER OR SOMETHING!!! And what's that thing next to it??

IT’S A HUGE NEWT, OR SALAMANDER OR SOMETHING!!! And what’s that thing next to it??

We had our own alien invasion in the spring of 2014…..

Benedict checking out his progeny!

Benedict checking out his progeny!

Beautiful Pear Trees

Beautiful Pear Trees

Penni watching over the youngest flock.

Penni watching over the youngest flock.

Jag....one of our Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red mixed roosters...very handsome!

Jag….one of our Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red mixed roosters…very handsome!

The Muppets and Chardonnay!

The Muppets and Chardonnay!

In late February the Elk returned for the first time in 2014.

Elk 2013



We cut down trees to rebuild our wood pile…had this one little “Whooops” moment.

Sizing logs for splitting1

Sizing logs for splitting1

We need to build this stack as high as the highest log, and forward to the front of the pallets!

We need to build this stack as high as the highest log, and forward to the front of the pallets!

The Captain of this ship....the mighty Benedict!

The Captain of this ship….the mighty Benedict!

Who laid the egg on the right???

Who laid the egg on the right???

We marveled at the difference in size of our hens’ eggs from day-to-day, and hen-to-hen.

Tito and Lilly

Tito and Lilly

The two surviving  Bernices.

The two surviving Bernices.

May 2014

Of the two orphaned wild turkey poults, one survived and escaped back into the wild….a little earlier than I had planned, but he could fly and was ready to go.  There was a group of wild turkeys in the neighborhood that I am confident he joined.

And our garden did pretty well, although, was in need of more actual sun-time throughout the day. We’re thinking where to move it for next year.

Sugar snap peas...TODAY!

Sugar snap peas…TODAY!

Beautiful Broccoli TODAY!

Beautiful Broccoli TODAY!



YES!!!  That's our Benedict!

YES!!! That’s our Benedict

Beautiful golden gems.

Beautiful golden gems.



A beautiful sunset!

A beautiful sunset!

Tucker in the summer of 2012

Tucker in the summer of 2012

In late July, we said goodbye to our dear, dear friend, Tucker.  We miss him a ton!!

A truly sad, heartbreaking day.

A truly sad, heartbreaking day.

Making jam...

Making jam…

Strawberry jam

Strawberry jam

We grew one successful artichoke!!

The mighty artichoke

The mighty artichoke

That’s either a BIG apple, or those are pretty tiny cantaloupe….you decide!!

Tiny Cantaloupe

Tiny Cantaloupe

July 2014

Salsa 2014

CHEVY'S ... Yummmm!!

September 2014

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

Tito August 2011

What a beauty!!

What a beauty!!


We had one, beautiful, summer hatchling….she was Mama Chardonnay’s shadow…

Sorry little girl!!

Sorry little girl!!

….sadly she was lost to a hawk, or possibly, a racoon or coyote.

The undeniable evidence.

The undeniable evidence.

UUUhhhhhmmmmm….Go Giants!!!! What an awesome season!!

Mickey and the Giants

Black Walnut Tree 2014

October 2014

October 2014

Walnuts 2014

The elk returned for a 2nd appearance this year in late November….

The Elk are early this season!

The Elk are early this season!

….and our forest turned into a beautiful ice castle…

So beautifully encased in ice.

So beautifully encased in ice.

It was a good year!!  Thank you all for sharing it with us.

Happy New Year to you all.   Here’s to an amazing 2015!!!

Your friend from Oregon,


29 Hours on the Farm

I’ve come to realize that my life is all about the chickens…and of course Sir Benedict.

October 2014

They tell me, under no uncertain terms, when to wake up. On those rare mornings that I have not gotten out of bed before sunrise, Benedict loudly calls from his high roost, and the hens squawk and complain….and poop…everywhere. Since I clean their roosts, nesting boxes, and platforms in front of their nesting boxes every morning…it’s a good idea to get them out just as the sunlight crests the darkness. I fudge this timing, just a little on the weekends, but still need to get out there before the hens have need for their time of privacy.

No more rooms at the Inn!!

This flock dictates how late I can stay out at night…somebody has to close the door to the hen house after dark!! Predators in the forest = a definite need for security.

Moonlit Night Oct. 2014

The flock and I have a symbiotic relationship…..they poop…I pick it up. They eat…I buy more food. They get blown by the wind….I cover up the drafts…. (this will be the last time I do this….more on that in my next post.)

The UPS guy told me that that was the most "Red Neck" chicken coop he's ever seen...hahahaha!

The UPS guy told me that that was the most “Red Neck” chicken coop he’s ever seen…hahahaha!

…..they poop…I pick it up (yes, I said that twice…I spend a lot of time picking up chicken poop!) My flock free range. They follow their natural food sources, and always end up back in their house at night. Sometimes that means this……

Hey, get off the porch...that water is for the dogs!!

Hey, get off the porch…that water is for the dogs!!

….and this…..

Seriously...that is chicken poop...That's ridiculous!!!

Seriously…that is chicken poop…That’s ridiculous!!!

….so, I follow them around picking up their…not so golden surprises. In the end, I believe the flock is healthier (I know we are!) and happier.

If you have 41 seconds….take a look at our little video, 29 Hours on the Farm , …. this is the reason I let this flock run my life ….

….next stop….well, we’re looking at goats (any ideas?), but I think I need a trip to Disneyland first!!! I’ve definitely got the bug!!

Thank you, for visiting the farm this morning!! Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Your friend from Oregon,

That Certain Age

Within these past several weeks, I turned that certain age. I’m not giving that age up, but most people who grew up with me, or have known me in these adult years have a good idea what age I am. This is that year in which I am forced to reflect on my life a bit. It is that age I have kind of dreaded…that I have watched my brothers reach and surpass, and when brought to mind, prayed for, earnestly, keeping in mind that lightning rarely strikes twice the same way…but knowing that sometimes it does.

August 2014

There is just enough irony in life that the nagging of the unknown around that certain age sometimes settles in the way the fog lingers over the Golden Gate Bridge.


Sometimes the fog looms, and my fears grow. I pray, I hug my dog, I take a walk, or busy myself with simple chores that take me outside and into the grandeur of the land around me. Other times I write…I write to you whom have become part of this journey…I write those stories that are the “maybe someday, somehow” unpublished pieces…and I read…I read the words of many others who have stories to tell, who ask nothing but to be read. They are out there…stories…wonderful stories baked in the lives of so many…when the fog settles in, these things help me to remember that the truth of this certain age is not necessarily the truth of that same certain age of another.

September Sunset 2014

I am that age…the age when my father died.

Daddy - 1990

My dad was a young man…he seemed older to me, at the time, than I feel now, but since I am that same age I realize how young he was, really. He died suddenly, his body failed him. That’s what bodies do…some earlier, some later, but they all fail. That Sunday morning left ripples, waves in my life lasting the entirety of these past 23 years.

Sept. 2014

So this year, the year of that certain age, I’m focusing on health…this little homestead helps with that, along with you, as I read your words and learn from your wisdom and recipes…and from new friends who have recently introduced me into the delicious world of squash, beyond zucchini…. 🙂 I’ve never been to this world before. Then there’s this TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein…..hmmmm, that’s a maybe.

Butternut Squash and Spinach

Mostly, I know that this body will fail at some point. Greater yet, I am assured of this….

John 10:27-29 (Jesus is speaking at the temple during a dispute at the feast of dedication)
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Sunset June 2014

….my salvation through Christ is rock solid, nothing can snatch me from His hand!! When I actually do reach the age in which my time is done, I know where I’m going. That assurance makes being this certain age a much happier place to reside. In the meantime, life is good……


That's my Penni in the orange collar.

That’s my Penni in the orange collar.




August 2013 006

Don John

Tito August 2011

Sourdough Heaven



My sweet girls, Penni and Karli !

My sweet girls, Penni and Karli !

September 2014

July 2014

AND YOU…all of you..who walk through this forest, and visit this farm. Who’s words inspire, teach, encourage, and fill my kitchen with wonderful fragrances from delicious new recipes. As my thoughts turn inwards…you help me to look out from the window of this certain age, and I, once again, move away from my apprehension. And since the SF Giants are one step closer to getting into the World Series….October is looking pretty darn good!!!

Thanks for sharing this certain year with me!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Nope, Not Moulting

You may remember this guy…..

Benedict....our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

Benedict….our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

….big daddy, Benedict….our gentleman rooster. Always polite, never asking of his hens without the traditional dance. He doesn’t eat of the discarded kitchen goodies until his family has had the chance to partake. This boy keeps his eye on the sky and warns the flock of any impending dangers…Yes, he is the stud of the farm.

The past couple of months, Benedict has become somewhat of a bully to a few select hens. Oddly enough, these are hens of his roo-hood…the full Rhode Island Reds, all of them…except mama hen, Chardonnay. He will literally chase them down, not necessarily to mate, but often times just to, well…stand on them. Really, at this point, I know the difference..hahaha! Their backs are bare, or in various stages of feather regrowth.

Poor little Reisling's bare back...FYI she had just gotten up from a dust bath, her back looks dirty.

Poor little Reisling’s bare back…FYI she had just gotten up from a dust bath, her back looks dirty.

I’ve read about this. Their feather loss is not due to molting, there are even thick wing feathers that have been broken off, not pulled out. And I’ve witnessed it…I’ve seen the intentional chase..mount..stand, just standing, no rooster duties going on. Sometimes, Claudio, our Buff Orphington hen, gets in the act with Benedict, and will run over and start some weird kind of hen attack…plucking at the other hen’s feathers while Benedict stands on them. Is this common behavior??

Benedict and his harem...including the 4 bare backs.

Benedict and his harem…including the 4 bare backs.

As the colder weather approaches, I’m a bit worried about these girls. At the advice of our local feed store, the flock is now getting supplemented with Purina Flock Raiser which is higher in protein and fat than regular chicken feed (Purina Layena.) It seems to be helping with feather regrowth, and since the cold weather is currently knocking on the door, I’ve made this their primary food. As the feathers attempt to grow back, those thick shafts stick out, and it seems much more painful for them when Benedict does…whatever it is he is doing. I’ve become, Alpha Rooster, and chase him away from these girls when he pursues them…he does seem to be listening. I’ve read about hen jackets that are made for this reason, however, you run a greater risk of a mite infestation with the jackets….I don’t think I want that…but I also don’t want my girls to be cold. The only thing I know is….there’s a lot I don’t know!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

Thanks for checking in on the farm today. When I tell the flock that you’ve been here…they get very excited!!!

Your friend from Oregon,

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,

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,

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,

Morning Sunrise

I’ve taken a bit of an absence from writing lately, a time to clear my head of old thoughts and to see if there is still room for new ideas. That step away brought a type of solitude, an inward look into the entire last three years raising questions in my mind.

I have been missing my home of 22 years,

So many beautiful memories made in that house.

So many beautiful memories made in that house.

and the San Francisco Bay Area…the place of my entire existence up until our big move three years ago. To say that I never look back would be completely untrue. Something usually strikes a chord in me, however, bringing me back to this place.

As I sit here drinking my coffee and watching the morning sunrise,

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

I am taken by the unique beauty that is all around me. The sun’s light rises in the east, yet casts its first warmth on the western hills behind us slowly erasing the shadows of the night.

Sept 2014 Sunrise

The diurnal wilds of the forest are awakening, yet the nocturnal are taking their last look around within the shadowy places. I know this because I hear the “hoot-hooting” of an invisible owl to whom I am probably well in focus, yet to me remains stealthily hidden.

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

A cacophony of birds, all different in their song, resounds in the background, the foreground, all around me. The neighboring farms are awakening with sounds of crowing, braying, gobbling, quacking, and the ever present, “Hey, I’m laying an egg here” repeated clucking of hens giving of their provisions.

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

I may have left my heart in the San Francisco Bay Area (seriously, this is true),

Beautiful San Francisco

but my soul finds peace in this little slice of Oregon. Well, actually, my soul finds peace in Christ, but as I look around me, the brilliance of the Creator envelops my very being. That is what has drawn me to this place from the beginning…I see God’s handiwork all around me, and in that there is great peace, contentment, and a huge desire to be here…to be right here!

Beautiful Oregon Home

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday! And hey…Go Giants….and Niners!!! Both play today!!!!
Giants & Niners!!

Thank you for sharing my morning!!

Your friend from Oregon,

My Least Favorite Time of Year

Do you like summertime? I do! I like harvesting, sharing, and eating the beauties from my garden….

Summer Corn 2014

I like the long days that stretch into the later hours…

July 2014

……and the hot summer night sounds from my neighbors Peacocks

I like the warmth of early summer….

June 2014

…..when the ground is still green…

Happy chickens in the warmth of early summer.

Happy chickens in the warmth of early summer.

THEN…..August thinks it can just come along and spoil the goodness of my green summer days……my least favorite time of the year!!

What's that???  Hey who invited, August, to our summer party??

What’s that??? Hey who invited, August, to our summer party??

August brings the heat, and the dryness to the land. It is the time for getting poked from stickers that get stuck in your socks as you walk through the dry grasses.

August 2014

August 2014

Unfortunately, a bolt on the mowing implement attached to the tractor was broken for awhile at the end of June. Burn restrictions went up on July 3rd…since we have rocks, and metal blades against rocks can create sparks…sparks against dry grasses can create fires…mowing season ended earlier than usual. I didn’t have a chance to do the final cutting…so, unfortunately, the weeds are larger, and uglier than I am happy with…



The chickens get hot, and scrounge the dry grasses for bugs and seeds. I hooked up a fan in the chicken house for relief of the hens while they conduct their “business”…then I turn the fan in the afternoon toward the roosting boards so they can find some relief as they need it.

August 2014

The pond has receded….thankfully it has never gone dry! But this summer…actually, the past two summers, have really tested our little pond….

The pond is way down...this "green" area is usually not as large.

The pond is way down…this “green” area is usually not as large.

See the green ridge above the water line? This is where the pond usually recedes too…the ridge above it is where the pond sits when it full…I call that the NORMAL part of the year!!

August 2014

Saturday, August 30th, did bring some relief…

Fall can’t come too soon!!

Thank you for sharing the first day of September with me. I hope your Labor Day is spectacular….put one on the barbie for me, and I’ll add a burger on my BBQ for you!!

Your friend from the NW,

Creating Boundaries

Harvest 2014

Fencing….the sport of fighting with swords, especially foils, épées, or sabers, according to a set of rules, in order to score points against an opponent.


Wait a minute….not that kind of fencing…this kind of fencing…

Not our farm...just an example.

Not our farm…just an example.

…lots and lots of fencing!! Three hundred and sixty seven feet to be approximately exact.

I think it is safe to say that every farm has fencing…lots of fencing. I am in the conflict stage of needing fencing, and wanting to keep the forest that merges with the farm in smooth transition. However, there are realities in the relationship between wildlife, farm production, dogs, and neighbors…the latter becomes the biggest issue.

We have neighbors…one of our neighbors has goats..see my earlier post https://haveadanehill.com/2013/10/27/my-neighbor-has-goats/ This same neighbor, has two big, white farm dogs that protect their goats. I like my neighbor’s dogs, they bark…often…but they are very nice dogs. Recently, however, the intact male has grown up. He has become a dominant boy, and adamantly protects the fence-line between us. Unfortunately, this means that the friendship he and Penni have had since his puppy-hood is now in contention. His mama dog,

which is now his wifey dog (yeah, it’s complicated…not really…just weird) is still friendly, but the boy dog – her puppy now her stud dog (I just think those are questionable breeding practices) does not agree with these friendly neighbor relations. Thus the need to create a secondary fence line buffer zone. It’s needed both for the safety of all three dogs, but for peace of mind. Do I really want to worry every time the dogs are out what might happen at the fence line? NO!!

The thing with fencing is when you start one line, it gets you thinking about other lines…where can you go from there? With the occasional coyote (or possibly coywolf – see my previous post https://haveadanehill.com/2014/05/29/my-coyote-theory/ ) and who knows what else (we are in Black Bear and Cougar country) we decided to create an area of 3 plus acres wherein the dogs can run freely, but still be controlled.

May 2014

It’s a big project, and takes a ton of muscle power to sink the wooden posts into this rocky ground. Thank goodness for a tractor sporting a post hole digger. Thank goodness even more for a husband who is willing to spend the past 3 days of his vacation breaking up rock where the post hole digger couldn’t get through…and the next 2 – 3 days pounding metal poles, stringing fencing, and hanging gates. He’s had some help from the male offspring when available after work. My assistance has been nonexistent due to my work schedule. So here’s a standing applause for the man on this farm…

…for a man who works hard to make sure we (including our animals) are safe, and is willing to work really hard at everything he does!!!

The work is in progress…and Penni is waiting very patiently…with bated breath…waiting to get off of her restriction…

"Whyyyyyyyyy do I have to have this stupid leash on?  I'll just lay here then."

“Whyyyyyyyyy do I have to have this stupid leash on? I’ll just lay here then.”

…and once again able to stretch her legs freely. It’s so wrong…34 acres, and nowhere to run…for the moment.

Hope you have a wonderful day…thanks for popping over and visiting the farm.

Harvest 2014

Your friend from Oregon,
***RETRACTION…I have been informed that the actual feet of fencing being constructed is 1063…not 367. My apologies to those who may be taking note…hahahahaha****

The Beauty of Summer

The beauty of summer presents in many forms. Just look around you!! Do you see it??

This is what I see when I look around our forest – farm in the summer….

Two big dogs catching some shade in the heat of the day.

I can see the future…salsa, salads, tomato sauce…….

The deep blue of a beautiful Oregon sky.

A basketful full of a friend’s Beagle puppies.

At the cusp of spring into summer, the first & last of the cauliflower.

A visit from our neighbor’s peacock.
IMG_6321 2

OMGosh…how gorgeous is this??!!

My Penni girl basking in the warm sunshine.
IMG_6201 June 2014

“Red sky at night, a sailor’s delight…..”

Strawberries on the vine.

A cute little visitor…I moved her to bushy young oak growing from a stump.

Dark blue of the night-time sky.
July 2014


The last of the broccoli; the first onion and sweet pea harvest.

Baked beans from scratch for the 4th of July barbecue!

The beauty of a summer wind against the tall summer grasses.

Sometimes, we wait to cut the grasses just to watch the “amber waves of grain,” if just for awhile.

I hope you find beauty in your summer…look for it, it’s all around you! Thanks for taking a walk in the forest with me today!


Fir Chips in the Garden

Remember my attempt to squelch the inevitable…??

That empty container is waiting for watermelon.
The Douglas Fir mulch lining the garden.

The Douglas Fir mulch lining the garden.

…You know, those dreaded parasites that continually steal water, minerals, and sunlight from their rightful heirs. What are they called? Oh yeah, malas hierbas, les mauvaises herbes, bagīcē mātama, …. weeds…garden weeds. Two months or so later, here’s how things look…

Uuugghhhh the invasion is on!!!

Uuugghhhh the invasion is on!!!

I'm glad the good stuff are in pots.

I’m glad the good stuff are in pots.

…well, I guess my experiment in Douglas Fir chips was a wash. Not exactly the results I was hoping for, but easily fixed….

Now that's better!

Now that’s better!

I can see the fir chips!!

I can see the fir chips!!

Lookin' purdy!

Lookin’ purdy!

…thank you Mr. Weed-Wacker!!! Nope, I didn’t get the roots, and yeah they will grow back. Mr. Weed-Wacker and I will have a few more dates this growing season, but you know, it’s easier than trying to pull them up, and healthier than using a weed killer. Anyway, there is more exciting news

The zucchini is blooming!

The zucchini is blooming!

Wee little strawberries.

Wee little strawberries.

The peas are awesome.

The peas are awesome.

Future bad boys...my Jalapeños are blooming!!

Future bad boys…my Jalapeños are blooming!!

And did I show you these beauties??

Look at those little red jewels!!

Look at those little red jewels!!

And the most important…. Penni’s happy!!

My happy girl!!

My happy girl!!

Thanks for taking a walk with me through the garden. Have an awesome day!

Tag Cloud

Our French Oasis


House by the water.

From blank block to new home in Mandurah, Western Australia.

Chantel Mickaela


A Bright Ray of Hope

I'm a temporarily staying-at-home mom of two living in Oregon, learning all over again (after 15 years of city life) how to garden, harvest, and put up food. You might see posts about baking, parenting, crafting, organization - anything that strikes my fancy!

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