Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Hiking in Oregon’

Fun With Goats

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

November 2015

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


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


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


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


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

Your friend from Oregon,


Tracks in the Mud

I hope all within the United States of America had a wonderful Independence Day weekend……Happy Birthday to our beautiful country!!


What do you think made this…..

July 2015

…..impressions in the mud surrounding the pond?  If you guessed racoon for the tracks on the right, I think there is a very fair bet that you are right!!  The tracks on the left, however, are not as apparent.  These tracks were part of the results of our great expedition in search of creatures unknown….creatures who make odd, foreboding sounds in the forest….creatures that….oh well, if you don’t know what I’m talking about…take a look at my previous post.. What Was That??!!!

July 2015

We searched high and low, with Penni ‘s nose leading the way, but found nothing.  Nothing, that is, until we reached the pond.  TRACKS!!  Due to the unusually high temps surrounding most of the month of June, and into July…and the lack of rain….our pond has receded a lot already this year, leaving a good muddy base to capture a picture of those that visit for a quick refresher.

July 2015

Tracks are very difficult to capture in time…especially when one is using a cell phone as camera…but these are big impressions….and without a marker….I think they appear bigger in the picture than at the site, but they are large, none-the-less, large….and probably somewhat spread out due to the soft mud.

Captured from http://www.bear-tracker.com/coyote.html  This is a really cool site to check out with a lot of good info.

Captured from http://www.bear-tracker.com/coyote.html This is a really cool site to check out with a lot of good info.

The picture above, captured from http://www.bear-tracker.com/coyote.html is the closest example that I can find.  Both have suttle nail impressions, indicating a canine paw rather than a big cat paw…..

…..such as the cougar track above from http://www.bear-tracker.com/cougar.html.  You can see how much wider the “palm” pad is from the cougar track, as compared to the coyote track.

July 2015

Although, I’m fairly certain the sounds just before dawn on the early morning of July 2, 2015 are not related to the tracks we found in the mud of the pond, I am reminded that this place wherein we have created a home…a small farm…is actually home to so many others.  We are truly living within a forest, and the creatures of this forest are sharing their home with us.  Most of the time, although on the same land, we live in very different worlds….however, I suspect that they know our activities much more than we know theirs.  Also, we have water around us…in the pond, and in the creek…..with the unusually early, dry conditions this summer the critters are getting thirsty….something to remember.

July 2015

Thank you for visiting the forest today.  Have a great day!!

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,







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,

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,

A Study in Purple

Do you like the color purple?? According to http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/personality-color-purple.html , “Having either purple or violet as your favorite color means you are sensitive and compassionate, understanding and supportive, thinking of others before yourself – you are the person others come to for help – being needed motivates you but sometimes people take advantage of you.

Purple Aug. 2014

You are a gentle and free spirit. Your feelings run deep and you can be quite sensitive to hurtful comments from others, although you would never show it…you have a peaceful and tranquil quality…You are usually introverted rather than extroverted and may give the impression of being shy although this is not the case.”

We’ve had a lot of purple on the farm lately, mostly propagated by those things that I spend hours mowing down. They are spiky, intrusive, and relentless in their pursuit to dwell on this land. However, there is beauty, if just for a moment….

Purple Aug. 2014

Purple Aug. 2014

The purple dot in the middle of this abundant weed tells me this is probably the versatile Queens Ann’s Lace….

See the purple dot?

See the purple dot?

…as opposed to this, very similar looking weed, which is highly toxic (hemlock??) The lack of that purple dot is a HUGE red flag!!

Poison Hemlock?? No purple dot!!

Poison Hemlock?? No purple dot!!

This purple bed (and the two furry babies next to it) are missing the furry guy who used to lay upon it. (See https://haveadanehill.com/2014/07/29/morning-has-broken/ )

RIP Tucker...we miss you.

RIP Tucker…we miss you.

The purple flowers of wild blackberry bushes…

Purple Aug. 2014

…bring a bowl full of deliciousness!!

First wild blackberry harvest of 2014

First wild blackberry harvest of 2014

The beautiful sunset on a night full of thunder and lightning. Gorgeous!

A beautiful sunset!

A beautiful sunset!

Purple is a beautiful color…don’t you think?!!! Do you see purple in your area of the world?

Thanks for sharing my morning…I hope yours is fantastic!! Tami

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 Cool of the Morning

In the cool of the morning life again starts,
In the cool of the morning nature becomes art,
In the cool of the morning something departs,
The cool of this morning has broken my heart.
by Tami

It started as a normal summer day. By 6:30 a.m. the first of my morning chores were completed…the chicken house was opened and cleaned for the morning’s egg-laying activities…

No more rooms at the Inn!!

No more rooms at the Inn!!

….Benedict and the hens were out to free range for the day, as the patriarch of the flock danced and strutted to remind the ladies of his presence…chicken feed was scattered about to supplement their free ranging…the dogs were fed…and so on, and so on. Finally, it was time to sit with a cup of coffee before starting out for the rest of the morning chores.

As I was pouring my cup, WHAM!!! A loud, familiar, yet more striking, noise came from the windows facing northwest. The man who really tames this forest, looked out and confirmed a bird had flown into the solid illusion of open space. It was laying on a cushion from our patio swing. Any bird that flies into the window is an urgent concern to me. Given time, and the safety of a secluded environment, most get over the confusion of what is probably a massive headache, and are able to be released back to their avian lives. Unfortunately, this beauty was laying on its back, feet curled….lifeless.

As suspected, it was a big bird. Normally the beauties hitting the windows are more like finch size…this one was dramatically larger…and so beautiful!!

A beautiful, beautiful tragedy!

A beautiful, beautiful tragedy!

How gorgeous is this!

How gorgeous is this!

God is quite an AMAZING artist!!!

God is quite an AMAZING artist!!!

She was called a Flicker. She was an ant eating woodpecker. She was a welcomed friend that I would frequently see, and hear on our trees. I marveled at her beauty from afar, and am totally amazed at her stunning beauty at close examination. I will miss seeing my friend in the mornings, and the early evenings. I will miss the familiar knocking that causes me to look up and seek a glimpse of her. I hope she doesn’t have young ones in a nest somewhere waiting on her return, it is later in the season so hopefully her young have left the nest.

Photo by Dennis Paulsen, posted on Slater Museum of Natural History website.

Photo by Dennis Paulsen, posted on Slater Museum of Natural History website.

If you want to read more about her, check out this website… http://slatermuseum.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-ant-eating-woodpecker.html

Goodbye my friend!!

Thank you for sharing my morning!

Your friend from Oregon,
****UPDATE***** I realize I left you all with the sadness of the morning…let me add a little encouragement with some light-heartedness…how about the newness of life beginning with this cute little critter….

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!


An Enemy Among Us

There are times when I am hiking through the forest, and the presence of impending doom lurks over the delight of the hike. I don’t like those moments, as I know there is an enemy lurking, in fact, its tendency is to be very bold. I call to my trekking companions hoping to pull them close, out of the danger area. Caution will need to be utilized the remainder of these next summer months, as this prolific enemy will be lurking in many different areas. They are not shy, yet they are silent. Part of the danger lies with the fact that it prefers to hunt its prey in groups.

My knees shake whenever encountered. I have trouble looking at them straight on, rather I view them with a sideways glance hoping they won’t see me, or rather my companions. These feet…

Tucker's furry feet!!

Tucker’s furry feet!!

and these ears….

Tucker's fuzzy face and ears.

Tucker’s fuzzy face and ears.

….attract this enemy with a passion. Have you guessed the name of these dastardly, defiant, dang-there-they-are predators yet?? Maybe this will help…

Brilliantly skilled, opportunistic hunters.

Brilliantly skilled, opportunistic hunters.


I absolutely hate them….hate them!! They work their way into ears, inadvertently get sniffed up into the nose, wedge themselves between toes, burrowing into the skin, working their way within the tissues causing pain, redness, and infection.

I decided to try to rid the mound area in front of the house (totally wild, weedy area right now) of these spiky fiends. In my brilliance, I thought, “Hey, why not take the Shop Vac and just vacuum them up” (I had previously weed-wacked the area so they were laying loose on the ground.) Actually, it was a great idea….in the beginning.

The machine.....

The machine…..

The hill (mound) I have to conquer.

The hill (mound) I have to conquer.

June 2014
I hate these things!!!

I hate these things!!!

As I went, it was harder and harder to suck up the foxtails. I would shake the hose once in awhile, and it seemed to help…so I kept going. It started to become apparent that I probably had made a mistake….

Uh - Oh...that doesn't look good!

Uh – Oh…that doesn’t look good!

….so I took off the top of the vacuum to see if anything was going into the container…..

Not near enough debris in there.

Not near enough debris in there.

….okay, now I know I have a problem. I took the Shop Vac back into the shop to try and fix this…situation. My first thought, use the air compressor….

Hoping this works!!

Hoping this works!!

….maybe high pressured air, in combination with the vacuuming power will move the debris clog through the hose. Well that didn’t work. So I got a long pvc pipe, turned on the vacuum and proceeded to shove the pipe into the hose. It seemed to work to one point…then the wall hit. I think what I accomplished was to make one huge, compacted foxtail brick that was totally stuck within the hose. I mean at that point in the hose, it is totally solid…I mean solid!! Whoops!!! Maybe water will work, since it is a Shop Vac water is completely safe…I guess I’ll try that next.

As I left the shop, totally defeated…I saw the other Shop Vac hoses on the wall…there was a short, wide hose that would have been perfect…well at least I can finish vacuuming the mound. Wish me luck!!

At least the area that I was able to vac…the area that is now clogging the hose….is clear of those seasonal enemies.

Can you find a foxtail..I hope not!

Can you find a foxtail..I hope not!

Hoping your summer is starting out wonderfully!!

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!

Guinea Pig Ranch..Hmmm

As I was mowing…mowing…mowing this past Friday, I so envied our neighbor’s goats. I could see them from across the far fencing..chomping, chomping, chomping the same green growth that I was mowing, mowing, mowing!!

Automatic lawn mowers.

Automatic lawn mowers.

After 3 hours, I stepped off the tractor looking at the finished product….

June 2014
June 2014

…it always looks nice when the grasses are shorter. If we had a small baler, the cut product wouldn’t go to waste…right now it just lies on the ground and degrades over time.

A small pile from one portion of a cut line.

A small pile from one portion of a cut line.

As I gathered up the little pile above, I thought about a guinea pig we had named, Edgre,

Cute, little Edgre

Cute, little Edgre

Edgre 2005

…he could have made easy work of that pile of grass! Guinea pigs eat a ton…really, they eat so much more than it looks like they should. What if there were more of him? What if we had our own little gathering of guinea pigs that we housed, and securely moved from pasture to pasture…eating their way through the grasses and weeds? Hahahah…can you picture that?? Look at the pile below…it’s bigger than our little Karli.

The pile grew like a snowball as I moved it along.

The pile grew like a snowball as I moved it along.

So my mind wanders… Are there ways to securely pasture a guinea pig? I think they would burrow. How would one prevent the great escape by a rogue, burrowing guinea?? A little house to provide warmth and protection from the weather and predators, weatherized to provide the support they would need through the winter…HHMMMM… cute idea!! The following image is not mine…it is from: http://www.guineapigcages.com/photos/data/516/medium/237play_pen_2.JPG , notice how nicely trimmed the grasses are!!

HHMMM...could this work??!!

HHMMM…could this work??!!

Goats would probably be easier!!

My Coyote Theory….

The coyote incident made me start thinking, “What if that wasn’t a coyote at all?” Okay…so here is what a coyote looks like that has a range within the Pacific Northwest….



….notice their thin style build, and pointy nose.

There is another carnivore in town, and no, it is not the grey wolf…however…..! Meet the Coywolf…

The Coywolf!

The Coywolf!

Although the link below talks about this hybrid originating in Canada and migrating down the eastern United States…as I have researched, I have found that they have migrated out west. There have been many sightings (sounds like I’m talking about Bigfoot, haha) in the Pacific Northwest…and I’m thinking right here in our little part of the grander forest that sits behind us.


Every year since we moved to our home in Oregon, we have experienced about four daytime coyote sightings from spring through the end of summer. However, many times I have thought that the canine running by or away did not quite look like a coyote…in fact…they have looked more husky…more like a wolf. Others that I have talked to in the area, have also noticed the same thing.

Granted, the only coyotes that I have seen (before seeing them on or near our property) have been in zoos. Maybe in the wild they look different…beefier….with a heavier coat and head; I don’t know. The coloring of their coats have basically been the iconic lighter brown with dark brown/grey ticking of a coyote…but they just seem larger…heavier…with a more rounded nose, and a very bushy tail. Could this be a coywolf rather than a coyote?

I’m ready with my camera if it decides to show up again…we have heard their calling…they (yes, more than one) are still near! Penni, our Great Dane, ……

Penni...protector of the flock!

Penni…protector of the flock!

…..once in awhile, lately, barks at the fringes of the fence lines, which are lined with 2 – 3 rows of Douglas Fir trees. Kind of creepy!! I’ve cut down the pasture grasses so if one aims to come out from the trees…we should readily see them…and then I’ll get a picture!

Rude Awakening

It was like any other morning. The air was cool and filled with the melodic symphony of the many different song birds that make their home in the forest. The resident bullfrogs croaked their low drone-like percussion, and the neighboring peacock rang out like the clash of a cymbal, carefully placed within the orchestra. Benedict, our resident rooster, added the occasional trumpet-like excitement as the song continued. There is just no better performance to be heard than this early morning ensemble.

Benedict...the mighty trumpet boy!

Benedict…the mighty trumpet boy!

The flock was happy that morning, the air was cool, but the sun was shining. The hope for the day was warmth to bask in…add a comfortable dust bath, and their day would be awesome! I opened the door, and the flock filed out in line. After cleaning up around around the nesting boxes, and taking a quick look, I left my feathered friends to do their early morning dance as the symphony played on.

The flock during a calmer day.

The flock during a calmer day.

About 20 minutes later, the melody changed. Rather than the calm, continuous song, the tension had risen. Benedict’s trumpet had become urgent, and the hens were now chiming in loudly. The dogs, who were inside the house, ran to the windows barking excitedly. Opening the door, the sound was deafening. I ran out to see what was going on.

As I approached…there it was!! It had already turned to start its retreat. It was close to the house…right up on the chicken house. It was a coyote!! It casually trotted away. I ran out to the flock…yelling and raising my arms towards the retreating coyote…it picked up its pace and ran down the hill toward the creek, and out of site. Everyone was accounted for…and I didn’t see any sign of pulled feathers. Thankfully, I hadn’t let the “Littles” out of their area at that point,

The Littles!!

The Littles!!

so they were still safe in the house. The flock had dodged another bullet!

The Great Adventure – finale

(continued) “My attention now needed to be turned to helping the three in the brooder grow to the point of being released back into the wild. My daughter decided that little project belonged to her, and named them all Bernice.”

Would the three Bernices eat? That was the most critical question. Not having immediate turkey feed available, we used chick feed granules, soaked in water. They were not interested in the least. At 3:00 a.m., my daughter, Roni, woke me up concerned that they hadn’t eaten or drank…time for a little forced nutrition. Using a syringe, no needle, we worked together getting a soupy mixture into their mouths….waited for them to swallow, and added more. The next day, I stopped at the feed store and picked up flock raiser feed for turkeys.

Not completely soupy yet...but you get the picture.

Not completely soupy yet…but you get the picture.

The littlest poult, the first one we found after mama turkey had returned, was still quiet, but swallowed the food as the others. This little Bernice seemed to need a little extra attention, and was very happy to snuggle under a towel in Roni’s arms. The other two Bernices were less receptive to cuddle time, and were huge wiggle worms.

Littlest poult Bernice.  Believe it or not, she is fast asleep here...she loved to cuddle in Roni's hands.

Littlest poult Bernice. Believe it or not, she is fast asleep here…she loved to cuddle in Roni’s hands.

One of the other Bernices...fat and sassy!

One of the other Bernices…fat and sassy!

Every 2 – 3 hours we went through this feeding routine, taking shifts to support our differing schedules. Roni liked to take the poults outside to feed them. They seemed to perk up when taken outside. One of the three has a wing (or wing feathers) that sticks out away from its body. This may be the little one that Penni picked up by its wing when she originally found them. Hopefully, it is just a feather, cosmetic issue…it seems like it.

Two of the three Bernices

Two of the three Bernices

On the second night, Roni again woke me up afraid that the littlest Bernice was dying…it looked like she was. Her head was floppy, and she had no significant strength to her legs. I thought about my little rooster, Austin Healey, and how sugar water helped him to bounce back and ignite his appetite…it was worth a shot. The littlest Bernice readily swallowed the sugar water from the syringe…and we waited. A couple of hours later we fed her turkey feed softened with the sugar water. By morning, she was much stronger! She looked like she had turned the corner…one more meal, and I went off to work…by noon time, the littlest Bernice had died. 😦 It was very sad. She just never was as strong as the other two.

Still sleeping...her tummy was full, she was warm and safe. Notice the food crumbles on her beak.

Still sleeping…her tummy was full, she was warm and safe. Notice the food crumbles on her beak.

The other two Bernices gained in strength, and within a day of each other started eating and drinking on their own…YAY!! They are definitely wild birds, and do not look forward to human interaction…this is great news for their eventual release. We’ve had a couple of escapes…twice outside, once in the garage…and they immediately run and burrow under whatever they can find..it’s not easy to retrieve them.

Bernice and Bernice

Bernice and Bernice

One's a blur, the other showing off her long neck and legs. Notice that wing, it should be tucked tight against her body.

One’s a blur, the other showing off her long neck and legs. Notice that wing, it should be tucked tight against her body.

Within this first week, their legs are longer, and their necks are stretching. They are able to jump out of their brooder if the top is off, so feeding has become a bit of a challenge….but, today…they have graduated to eating turkey feed granules…no more soaking!!!

It’s a new, fun challenge…like many we are experiencing out here in the forest and on the farm….but wait, there is more….

Can’t wait to tell you of the early, morning wake-up we had a couple of days ago, opening up a new chapter to this year’s spring – summer management on the farm. Never a dull moment!!

Hope you all have a wonderful day….see you tomorrow as we walk through the forest.

The Great Adventure part 4

(cont.) “We watched from a distance, but it was hard to tell when a poult would reach her. Not wanting to affect the reunion we carefully, and quietly backed off. Nature was now leading the reunion…….”

The hardest thing to do was to walk away, but walk away we did…completely away….for about 45 minutes. Leaving the dogs in the house, I quietly walked out to check on the little wild family, hoping to find their absence. All was silent except the sound of the wind through the trees.

Here is the actual reunion…listen closely, you can hear some peeping, and at about :17 – :21 you can hear a faint call from mama turkey. The sounds in the background (besides the wind) are our neighbor’s Guinnea Hens.

Crouching down to make my profile as low as possible, I watched. There was absolutely no sign of mama turkey. Watching for movement within the grass was really a wasted effort as the wind kept the grass in constant flux. As I slowly approached the area where we had set the poults on their journey back to their matriarch, sadness bestowed my eyes. There lying in the grass was a little poult, right where we had set it free…it hadn’t followed mama turkey’s call. I wasn’t sure what to do…leave it in the grass or pick it up? My protective instinct won over, and I picked it up. It didn’t protest, and burrowed into the warmth of the pocket I had created within my shirt. This little one was tiny. Feeling that she needed to be warmed up, I quickly set up a small brooder with a heat lamp to warm her up.

Young little poult warming up in under the heat lamp.

Bernice, the young little poult warming up in under the heat lamp.

About 2 hours later, around 7:30 p.m. I decided to take one more look and listen. We had a little over an hour left of light, if more babies missed the call, I wanted to find them. As I stopped and listened, my heart sunk as I heard a familiar peeping. Peep, peep, peep…three in succession…peep, peep, peep….it was calling for mama turkey. What I heard in return was not the adult’s call, but a return peep, peep, peep from a different direction. They were trying to find each other. It was getting cold, they needed each other for warmth…I decided it was time to help them…I didn’t believe they would make it through the night with snakes, racoons, skunks, owls, and who knows what else, out on the hunt as nighttime fell.

I tried following the peeoping…but everytime I made a move in that direction, it would stop…and then I would hear the other call leading me in another direction. I stopped and watched the grasses for any sign of movement different from the rhythmic dance caused by the wind. All of a sudden I saw a tiny poult head pop up out of the grass, stumbling unevenly. I quickly swooped in and gathered the little poult up out of the grass. The I listened….the seconded source of calling was coming from behind me.

Staying still, the third little poult showed itself in the same stumbling-about manner. The two siblings were reunited. Another 20 minutes of quietly watching and listening resulted in no sign of additional little turkeys. Walking back to the house to add these two little ones to the brooder, I worried that there were more orphaned poults. I went back two more times that evening and found no signs of additional babies. My attention now needed to be turned to helping the three in the brooder grow to the point of being released back into the wild. My daughter decided that little project belonged to her, and named them all Bernice.

And two more make three.  Bernice, and Bernice.

And two more make three. Bernice, and Bernice.

To be Continued….tomorrow…find out about the challenges of supporting three wild turkey poults.

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day…thank you to all those current and past who have protected our great United States with their many, many sacrifices in military duty. My family and I are forever thankful and grateful for you! May God richly bless you, and your families!

See you back in the forest tomorrow…

The Great Adventure part 3

(continued) “Hoping that mama turkey would not be afraid to come back another time………By this time, my daughter had gotten home and joined me in the quest to reunite the family. She held a couple of the poults in her sweater, while we sat behind a tree….and we waited……”

The poults burrowed into their hiding place, nestled within our clothing.

Burrowing in for safety

Burrowing in for safety

They totally came alive, however, whenever the possibility of freedom enter into their sites. This was a great thing! Their quietness was instinctual, their flight response was crucial to their survival once released.

One of the poults jumped from my grasp into the tall grass. Even though I kept my eye on where it landed and the direction it headed, almost instantly it vanished…completely disappeared.

A hidden poult!  With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

A hidden poult! With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

Very carefully I searched…only me, we didn’t need two sets of feet potentially stepping on the invisible young turkey. All of a sudden, there it was! I scooped it up, hoping that mama turkey would soon return.

My daughter and I sat quietly, looking for any movement through the grass, which was a bit of a challenge since it was a windy day. All of a sudden, off to the right at about 200 ft. was the beautiful, bobbing head that we had been looking for.

This photo taken by http://www.caryinstitute.org

This photo taken by http://www.caryinstitute.org

As mama turkey reached the general area where Penni had found the poults,
May 2014
she called…our little ones woke up. We let them go, hoping they would find their way to her. This was a difficult. What if they didn’t find her, would we be able to find them again?? We wanted to walk up to mama turkey and say, “Here they are,” but we knew that wouldn’t be possible…she would leave again…would she then come back? We just had to let the poults go and hope for the best.

Getting close to release time, mama turkey is calling.

Getting close to release time, mama turkey is calling.

We released, and they ran. Mama turkey called,

the young poults chirped as they moved through the grass. We watched from a distance, but it was hard to tell when a poult would reach her. Not wanting to affect the reunion we carefully, and quietly backed off. Nature was now leading the reunion…….

(To be continued)…the story gets bigger…come on back for tomorrow’s chapter!

The Great Adventure part 2

The underside of a felled Douglas Fir tree.

The underside of a felled Douglas Fir tree.

(cont.) I gathered up these little babies, and out of the corner of my eye…I saw mama turkey carefully approaching……

….so did Penni, just fractions of a second before I did..but that was enough time for her brain to excite her body into “chase mode” and off she went. Mama turkey immediately took flight. I looked around the area, checking carefully before each step. Wild turkey poults instinctively hide, low and silent in tall grass. They are very difficult to see. Knowing that there were hidden babies right around me, I had to be careful not to step without caution.

A hidden poult!  With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

A hidden poult! With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

Penni’s distraction away from the hiding poults gave me a chance to assess the condition of the little ones I had been holding. If you will remember, Penni is a wanna-be-mama-dog. She has helped raise up all 4 broods of chicks, protecting them from hawks, and if Tucker or Karli got too close (she let them know in no uncertain terms that they shouldn’t get any closer to her chicks.)

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

I was confident that these beauties were perfectly fine. They were very young, and were still sporting that fashionable egg-tooth.

Still sporting a prominent egg tooth.

Still sporting a prominent egg tooth.

They were playing "possum" hoping I wouldn't see them.

They were playing “possum” hoping I wouldn’t see them.

My shirt was doing double duty, acting as, well, a shirt…and also a catch for the poults. They lay quietly in their cocoon, huddled together looking at me with their big eyes…I was surprised at how much larger their eyes are than chicken chicks eyes.

Wild Turkey poult #1.  The first little one found by Penni.

Wild Turkey poult #1. The first little one found by Penni.

Kermit!!!  See how much small her eyes are compared to the wild turkey poult.

Kermit!!! See how much small her eyes are compared to the wild turkey poult.

Following her nose, Penni came bounding back directly to me and the poults. She nudged the buldge in my slinged shirt, indicating that she needed to check on the babies. I let her take a quick look, and big sniff into the pile of young poults…and as is Penni’s style…she gave them a lick (No, not to taste them!!)

May 2014

Hoping that mama turkey would not be afraid to come back another time, I walked towards the house. My plan…as long as I had the poults, Penni would follow…she did! Securing her inside the garage, I headed back. In the background, Penni shouted her protests…loudly! By this time, my daughter had gotten home and joined me in the quest to reunite the family. She held a couple of the poults in her sweater, while we sat behind a tree….and we waited……

May 2014

(To be continued)….please come back tomorrow to read the rest of the story.

Hoping you have a wonderful weekend

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Our French Oasis


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