Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

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

Green on the Horizon

On this 16th day of walking through piles of snow, I am a cauldron of mixed emotions.  We are literally on the cusp of the big melt…..part of me looks forward to having my feet firmly planted on the ground, rather than sinking into the powdery accumulation….

January 2017

…..or slipping on the beaten-down snow that has turned to solid ice…..the other part of me is not ready for it all to go away.  There is so much more involved than just the desire to walk on solid ground.  Accumulated snow hits all of my senses….in a good way. When I am inside, I love the coziness of the wood stove fire while taking in the beauty of the white against the greens and browns.  When I am outside, it feels playful just to walk in the powder, and comical when I and those around me change our gate to that of a penguin when walking on ice.

Thinking of returning to green has gotten me thinking about the garden.  The plans are to move the location, and make it much larger.  Our plans don’t always seem to come to fruition though, so it will be interesting to see what actually happens.   Somehow we get lost between the idea, and the action.  Besides the fact that Tony and I both need to stay employed to make any of this possible, our plans are kind of loosely woven, and we lack the extra hands it takes to get some things done.

July 2016

We tend to try to do things ourselves, and we are not connected with other homesteaders or farmers to barter with or benefit from their knowledge.   The past several years, we have not been great with “community,” and that doesn’t work well when you relocate your life, and all of your prior resources from where you were born and lived for 48 years, are gone.

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I didn’t intend for this writing to go this direction, but there are opportunities on the horizon and I don’t know if we can or will make them happen.  I think I get stuck in the, “Why make plans if we’re not going to follow through” , or “Seriously, we’re not zoned for that?” kind of thinking.  I get mad because the mind and spirit are willing, but the body continues to say…..”Mmmmmmm, maybe not.”…..

August 2013

…..the heavy physical stuff hurts my hands and shoulders these days.  Running this homestead, doing projects on this homestead are very physical in nature….if we can’t pay to help get it done, we have to do all the heavy lifting…..there is not enough time in the day.  Sometimes I feel like the dreams I had are slipping away….one major dream, seemingly, already has….but never say never….right?

September 2016

I’m sorry to go in this direction today.  I am committed to being honest with you in my writing, which means it’s not always posies and roses up here on the hill.  If I planted those they’d get eaten by the deer anyway so…..hahahaha!!  I’m just in this transitional place wherein I need to decide if it is enough for me to just enjoy the environment and forget about trying to grow our homestead, and earning possibilities that it could bring.

January 2017

That was not our plan when we bought it, we had a direction, we wanted the land to work for us….but plans, I have learned, are mostly just guidelines in life.  There is so much you can’t see on the horizon….best to be fluid and not static.  Maybe I’m short on vitamin D…LOL

March 2005

In any respect, I / we have a lot to think about….what direction should we go in?  If you will let me, I will include you all in the thoughts and “plans.”  I’ve kind of mentioned all of this in the few months prior to now….it is laying heavy on my mind and heart, but I really feel that we have to narrow our focus and lose the diverse functions of this homestead….there just isn’t enough time in the day to continue on that road.   But there was enough time yesterday to do this…….

"Do you want to build a snowmaaannnn??"  Sorry...I just had to say it!!

“Do you want to build a snowmaaannnn??” Sorry…I just had to say it!!

……I hope he sticks around for a few more days!!!  I hope you will stick with us as we “Redefine Our Lives in Oregon”…it’s a continual process.

Thank you for visiting today.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

 

Last night it was cold….really cold.  Temps were in the low teens up here on the hill…that is cold for us.  I felt bad that my doggies had to go out there to do their business….but go out they did

December 2016

…..even the puppy…..for whom I can confidently profess has reached the stage of being officially house broken….potty trained….doin’ the dooty in the great outdoors consistently without fail, and even asks now to go out!!  You’ve gotta love Great Danes….they do not like going potty in their house….

January 2017

…..this little girl is only 3 months old….

January 2017

….no more wet spots accidentally discovered!!!  She has managed success while battling:  rain….

Alivia at 8 weeks old

Alivia at 8 weeks old

…..wind, freezing rain,

January 2017

snow, big heavy rain, temps into the teens, snow that has turned to ice…..she figured it out even in the coldest of nights….

She looks so cold out there in the dark.

She looks so cold out there in the dark.

….battled her desire to run back inside (okay that happened a couple of times)….

Doggie potty area.

Doggie potty area.

….and went out there anyway and got the job done!!

Mama and Pup ... Little Alivia - 3.5 mos old.

Mama and Pup … Little Alivia – 3.5 mos old.

This award goes to little, Alivia!!   Gooood girlllll!!!

January 2017

THE ENDS!!!!!

P.S.  I wrote about house breaking puppies a little while back on my other site….https://haveadanehilldanes.com/2016/09/02/puppy-basics-go-potty-outside/  It has been an intense several weeks of the get-up-and-run-for-the-door-at-a-moments-notice over and over again time of Alivia’s life….but it is so worth it to have a 3 month old house broken puppy!!

Have a great Sunday!!  Thank you for visiting 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

Snowy, Winter Questions

I love how a simple comment can spark an entire conversation to have with you all.  My blogger friend from https://willowcreekfarm.wordpress.com/ posted a comment regarding my comment on not being able to imagine people who live in snowy conditions for months at a time.  They live in the Rockies and not only have snow on the ground for many months….they get into the negative temperature numbers.  How do you all do it??

January 2017

 

Staying Warm and Power Bills

The money saving item we utilize everyday in the late fall and winter is our wood stove.  We would be broke without it.  I mean truly….what do you all do in the bitter cold to stay warm?  I know there are different ways to heat your homes.  What do you find makes the most financial sense??  We have no gas options up here on the hill, unless we want to truck in propane…at this point we do not do that because we have a forest full of trees that provide us heat free of charge (besides the fuel for the chainsaw and tractor.)  Basically, if we run the wood stove, the forced air heater/heat pump (electric) never comes on.  The peripheral rooms get a little chilly, but blankets and a little portable electric heater in one room, takes care of that….getting out of the shower can be a little chilly…LOL.

December 2016

Work, School, and Driving

Maybe it’s because we don’t really experience the accumulated snow here in the Pacific Northwest (at least west of the Cascades) but it seems that schools close, buses stop running, and people (including myself) make other arrangements in their work day when it snows.  How is it managed in those areas where snow and ice stay on the ground for months?  Remember, I am a California girl who came to her senses and moved to this beautiful State of Oregon.  I brought with me zero snow/ice skills….totally zero!!  So do you all just leave chains on your tires all the time??  Are huge traffic jams that last several hours just part of your regular winter driving life??  What are the tricks you all could share in maneuvering when the roads and sidewalks turn white?

January 2017

Livestock and Chickens

I’m getting the idea that livestock / chicken chores are just messy tasks in the winter.  In a lot of ways, it is harder.  Freezing water is always an issue, and you just can’t really avoid muddy, poopy muck…it goes with the territory.   When there is snow, however, the outdoors is cleaner….until it melts.   So what do you do with the muck??  Is there anything you can do to minimize it?

January 2017 January 2017

Well there are a thousand more questions I could ask, but guess what….it snowed again last night….big time.  It is totally Narnia everywhere you look….we need a lamp post!!  So I have pictures to take, and ideas to gather….let alone dogs to run, chickens and goats to get cleaned up and settled in for the night.  I hope I can get off the hill for a Starbucks….if they only had their red, holiday cups still stocked….<sigh>!!

November 2016

Thank you for visiting on this cold winter day.  I hope you are warm and doing wonderfully today!

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

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….

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….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

First Snow of 2016

I wasn’t sure it would happen this year, but in the last month of the year, Jack Frost decided to visit the Pacific Northwest and allowed a bit of Christmas cheer to fall from the skies.  It was beautiful….and still is as the frozen white lingers upon the grounds of the homestead.

This morning, the same as yesterday….the small finches that we are fortunate to share this forest with, are visiting the snow covered brick patio that we have scattered with wild bird seed.  It is beautiful to watch them dance from the trees, to the patio, into the barn…..scittering to and fro.  It makes my heart so happy!!

December 2016

Mine is not the only heart who gets happy watching the little birds…..

December 2016

…..his does too!!  Hahaha

There were two, “firsts,” with this snow…..his first……

December 2016

……and her first……

December 2016

…..paws in the snow.  They loved it, as I thought they would.  Penni has always loved the snow!

December 2016

Following the snow, came the freezing rain, and everything turned to ice.  We lost power for several hours, and it became very quaint and cozy with the wood stove providing our heat, light, and coffee!!

December 2016

December 2016

At least when there is snow, ice, and 30 degree temperatures outside one doesn’t have to worry about the perishables within the fridge…..haha

December 2016

The cold does create some beautiful, natural ice sculptures…..

December 2016

December 2016

….but I am thankful when the ice turns to slush, and the roads aren’t so scary to drive on.

Merry Christmas!!  I hope your day is filled with joy and beauty.  I think our weather is headed to the east of us, so be careful out there!!

Thank you for visiting today.

Tami

The Great Egg Hunt

I have some devastating news…….

A Symphony in Eggs

A Symphony in Eggs

 

Last Sunday, I used the last of the eggs…..we are egg-less!!   This is traaaaaaagiccccc!!  We have not been without eggs from our hens since they started laying four years ago.  How did this happen??

November 2015

There are a number of factors working here that could possibly be affecting our lack of eggs….

  • most of my hens are over three years old
  • the hours of daylight has decreased by about six hours from the height of our lighted hours.  Conservatively, during the summer, we have light in the Pacific NW from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  This time of year, light shines upon us from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (and that will shorten.)  Light drastically affects egg production.
  • the hen house and free range acres are in a different location this year….more rustic, less domestic…maybe they have more of a wild-hen mindset this year??  LOL
  • they are laying somewhere other than their nesting boxes (highly likely, for some, but I don’t think it would be 100% across the flock)
  • the predator that attacked the hen house this summer, knows that the eggs are there and takes the opportunity to grab them when the hen’s door is open for the day??
  • they miss me!!!  Hahahaha!!  Since the puppy was born, I haven’t spent much time with them….Tony has taken over the hen house duties for a couple of months.
Those are some beautiful girls!!

Those are some beautiful girls!!

The fact is, I have about 4 birds that are 2 yrs or younger.  Even with the lack of light, I should be getting at least 1 or 2 eggs every other day….so, we have an egg mystery….

November 2016

What dug this hole?? Is this a den??

I removed the shading, and then sharpened this photo to try and get the interior of the hole to show.

I removed the shading, and then sharpened this photo to try and get the interior of the hole to show.

….coupled with the mystery of this dug out hole!!  What dug up this hornet’s nest??  Did they make a den out of this hole?  We set up our field camera to see if something comes and goes from this hole….unfortunately, the camera is apparently malfunctioning because it took no pictures over the three days it was set up…it would have taken something, even movement from the wind, if it were working properly.

imag0319

 

Oh well….everyone needs a good mystery, but when you mess with my eggs….you’ve gone too far!!!  So I think step one will be to add a few hours of artificial light to the hen house to stimulate egg laying and see if that helps.  The Holidays are upon us…..I have no eggs….it is baking season!!  UGGGHHH…..that light is going in today…..I just cannot bring myself to buy a carton of eggs.  Oh no…..I think I’ve become an “egg-snob!!”

Ohhhhh.....the good old days!! October 2014

Ohhhhh…..the good old days!! October 2014

Thank you for visiting the homestead today.  I hope you have an amazing Sunday!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

It is still Halloween on the west coast….so, I’m not totally late with my yearly….Scary Things on the Farm video.

Here it is…..enjoy!!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Weather and Predators

Summer, the real heat of summer arrived in the Pacific Northwest this week.    Temps in the high 90’s and low 100’s permeated the State of Oregon bringing with it skies……..

August 2016

Our Oregon sky!!

…..as blue as any sky you’ve every imagined.  Thankfully, this summer, there has not been any large fires proximally close enough to cause smokey air, or dingy skies.  The air has been clean, warm….well, hot….and easy breathe.  It feels good, actually, as the humidity that can sometimes accompany the heat, is really nonexistent this time of year.  Well, let me clarify that….sitting, sitting in the heat feels good….working out in it beats you down pretty quickly.  This really has been a lovely summer.

August 2016

Okay….don’t laugh at my scrawny watermelon…..hahahaha!!

Something else arrived on the homestead this week…..something less desirable, something lying in wait, opportunistic in nature, watchful and observant….waiting for a chance.  I let my guard down, and it turned it’s instinct into an opportunity…and, without hesitation, ran with it.  The chicken house was the intended target…..cunningly, or more like a rushing train, “It”, the predator, took advantage of my unwarranted trustfulness in what I had not yet experienced…a predator had broken into the chicken house.

June 2016

See the screen….these guys ripped that screen one day when they roagly entered the, Chickens Only, yard. We keep the chicken feed in this area…the goats L-O-V-E chicken feed!! See the empty feeder on the ground…UGGHH!!

Due to the heat, I had opened that little window, from the picture above, on the chicken house to create a little air flow through the night.  One larger window we leave open in the summer, but it is covered by mesh wire (not a window screen.)  This window had a screen, however,  it had been torn away…..so no screen, no wire mesh.  I had placed a fan in the window and held it in place by wooden dowels, thinking the sound of the fan and the supporting dowel structure would keep predators at bay.  It had worked for numerous nights, but not that night.

March 2016

I heard commotion from the flock, it was about 2:30 a.m.  It woke me up.  The flock was upset.  Sometimes, Benedict, our rooster will call out in the middle of the night….that is not an unusual sound.  The cackling that was going on that night, was not that sound.  Half asleep, I got up, and listened….Penni, my Great Dane, barked just a single bark…..I was in the process of thinking, “Should I go out there?” …. I did not instinctually run out in my jammies and bare feet ….. I listened, and the sound rescinded.  I listened a while longer, and all was quiet.

I had already cleaned up here a bit before snapping this shot.

I had already cleaned up here a bit before snapping this shot. Notice the struggle in the sand. 😦

Morning chores revealed the struggle my birds went through that night.  The first clue was noticing that I did not see one hen or rooster, anywhere.  Seeing the open window, no fan, or dowels remained within the open space.  Opening the door of the chicken house….there were feathers…there were many feathers.  In the corner of the droppings tray lay the body of a Rhode Island Red hen.   My heart sank.  I checked her legs…..she did not have a red band so I knew it was not Chardonnay, our #1 broody hen for hatching chicks.  Chardonnay is a sweet, sweet hen.  I was happy to see that.  So, this meant it was either, Don Pedro, or Chablis (I only had three true Rhode Island Reds at that point.)  Her head and neck were gone…the rest of her body untouched, but still I knew….this was Don Pedro.

Don Pedro....hen in the foremost of the picture.

Don Pedro….hen in the foremost of the picture.

Don Pedro was the lead hen of the flock….she ruled, second only to Benedict.  Sometimes she ruled with an iron beak, but one thing is for sure, she was respected among the other hens.  We will miss, Don Pedro!!  She had the largest, floppy comb of the hens, and I could always tell which of the hens were her actual offspring…they were the ones with the larger floppy combs…but none of them as grand has hers.  RIP, Don Pedro.

Foot print in the sand

Foot print in the sand

 

It seems that this was probably the work of a racoon.  There were suttle foot prints among the signs of the struggle within the sand of the droppings tray.  Also, a Google search told me that if just the head and neck are missing, the predator is either a mink, a racoon, a hawk or an owl.  I’m pretty confident I can eliminate all three except the raccoon…I don’t think we have mink up here…I’m not sure….but I’m pretty sure an owl or a hawk would not enter the hen house through a partially blocked small 2 x 2 window.

A claw mark, I think.

A claw mark, I think.

Needless to say that window will remained closed until I put a wire mesh screen over it.  On a good note, when the flock emerged from their hiding place, we found that only the one hen was taken from us that night.  It could have been so much worse.

Don Pedro showing off her personality as a young chick.

Don Pedro showing off her personality as a young chick.

Don Pedro….she was quite a character!!  Hahahaha!!  I’m glad I knew this funny, demanding hen!

Happier news on the homestead…..our Great Dane, Penni, has a confirmed pregnancy!!  Puppies due Sept. 21, 2016.  Check out http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com

Thank you for visiting today!!  Have a wonderful Sunday, and an awesome week!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#racoonattacksonchickens  #whatanimalwillonlyeattheheadandneckoffachickenandleavethebody  #predatorsagainstchickens

 

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

 

I Just Had to…….

……Post this Recipe!!  It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try it!!  From the blog of  https://belikewaterproduction.com/2016/04/09/roasted-vegetable-macaroni-cheese-recipe/  …..

 

Roasted-Vegetable-Mac-and-Cheese-Recipe-1

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 yellow squash, de-stemmed and diced
1 small head of broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 (8-ounce) package button or baby portabella mushrooms, quartered
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled
1 (12-ounce) can 2% evaporated milk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne
12 ounces elbow macaroni (or any shape of pasta)
1 Tablespoon butter
8 ounces freshly-grated smoked or sharp white cheddar cheese (do not use pre-grated cheese)
1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Prepare a large baking sheet (or two medium-sized baking sheets) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, toss diced vegetables with olive oil. Season with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet(s). Place the garlic cloves in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil, then wrap the foil around them to form a sealed packet and place the packet in the center of the baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and have begun to brown a bit around the edges, giving them a stir halfway through and checking on the garlic to be sure that it doesn’t burn.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, and then return the pasta to the pot and toss with butter over medium-high heat until melted.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, egg, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne until combined. As soon as the butter is melted with the macaroni, pour in the evaporated milk mixture and stir until combined. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2-4 minutes, or until the sauce comes to a simmer.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the grated cheddar and Parmesan until melted. Then gently stir in the roasted vegetables and roasted garlic cloves until combined. Serve immediately, topped with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

Credit: Gimme Some Oven

 

Don’t forget to check out the happenings on https://haveadanehilldanes.com .

#amazingpastarecipe  #whatshappeningonthehill

 

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

A Farming Mindset

May 2016

It’s times like this that I feel like we are actually doing this.  By this, I mean farming, ranching, homesteading…whatever label you wish to attach to it.  I am reluctant, almost embarrassed to call ourselves, or what we do any of these titles.  I have so much “city” engraved in every part of me that I cannot shake the feeling that although my soul lives and breathes here on these forested acres, I don’t quite belong here.  I’m a misfit to this beautiful land that I meld into with every piece of me; I don’t have the knowledge it deserves.  I don’t know how to do the farming things that I really want to do here.  My feet have been girded in concrete for all of my life (well except for the sand of the awesome CA beaches) but this dirt, this dirt that holds so much potential and promise is a mystery to me. Read the rest of this entry »

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!!

IMG_2957

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.

IMG_2974

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!!

IMG_2883

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

Did I mention Barns?

September 2014

Barns can be addicting….seriously.  They are these structures that hold an amazing amount of potential….a big empty space…..a blank canvas….interior walls that are moveable and forever interchangeable.  The older the better.  They hold a history of past lives from a simpler time.  They protect and grow the very animals that sustain those of whom share the soil from which their sustenance grows.  Mud stained wooden walls point to where animals lived….they are a thing of beauty.  Our main barn was probably built in the late 80’s…not terribly old, but still holds a history.  I feel it….I think about it every time I walk into it….the evidence is clear.

September 2014

Tony is our resident builder.  He, amazingly, takes pieces of wood, measures, cuts, and nails them all together.  He places each piece of the puzzle squarely in place….and it fits!  He is so multi-talented, I think he can do anything…..Tony for President!!!  Do you think I’m kidding??  Not at all….this country could use someone in the white house who understands a few callouses on your hands and dirt under your nails is good and healthy.  No more politicians running this country….let’s get true, working Americans into those offices!!  Okay, off my soapbox…..back to barns.

February 2016

Question…does size matter when it comes to building a barn??  Seriously, how do you determine if a structure is a shed, a little house, a coop, or a small barn?  Is there a standard dimension that says this is a chicken house, rather than this is a chicken barn?  How about a goat house vs. a goat barn? It’s a dilemma, it truly is.  I want to get the verbiage right, and sometimes in one sentence I will call an enclosure a house, a coop, and a barn….never really knowing what the heck is right.  I mean….I don’t want to sound like a rookie….a farm rookie, but I so am!!

February 2016

So Tony recently, over the last few months, built a barn to add to his collection, starting with the starter hen house that doubled as the kid’s (goat kids not people kids) first home, graduating to a larger chicken house.   The hoofed trio had rather cramped quarters this past winter, and now that the sun is out more often, they not only get to stretch their legs outside, but inside as well.

February 2016

As the barn was being raised, I offered a different use for the new, solid structure.  I mean, really, do a bunch of goats truly need such a beautifully constructed building.  They will poop and pee in it…they will ram the walls, walk in with muddy feet, and cause much mayhem within those walls.  I, on the other hand, could design a beautiful guest cabin with a structure like that.  Heck…it even has a loft!!

April 2016

Think of the potential!!  But alas, the little herd won out….and rightly so – I – guess!  Look at me, jealous of a goat…or three in this case.  But it’s a really beautiful little barn.

The people space to the left.

The people space to the left.

Since the picture above, Tony added two window cut outs covered by wire mesh along that wall for better ventilation.

The livestock space to the right.

The livestock space to the right.

I think it needs a good coat of paint…what color would you paint it?

The door on the left is for people, the door on the right for goats.

The door on the left is for people, the door on the right for goats.

Once the goats are in pasture, we can open that gate on the left all the way to the poles on the right blocking out the herd.  Very beneficial for cleaning without three sets of horns trying to participate.  Goats are like dogs in a lot of ways, but in other ways, they are all goat….big, undisciplined, obnoxious goats that like attention and treats…and if you don’t offer it to them, they will take it…one way or another!  At the same time, they are incredibly lovable!

They are definitely good little Whethers!!

Lots going on…it’s that time of year.  Thank you for visiting today!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

 

#smallbarns  #okaytheydeserveit

 

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