Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Penni the Great Dane’

House Breaking a Puppy in Winter

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


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,



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,








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. (more…)

And the Sun Emerges

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

Your friend from Oregon,


#lighterversionofspinachartichokedip  #spinachartichokedipwithgreekyogurt

Adventures in Cast Iron

Do you cook with cast iron??

November 2015

I don’t, never have, but I want to.   I need your help!!!!  For some reason, I am really compelled….couldn’t be all the cooking shows I watch….The Pioneer Woman…..no couldn’t be.  I don’t know, everything that I see cooked in cast iron just looks over-the-top delicious.  Maybe it’s the char…the carmelization that occurs on EVERYTHING…Yum!!

November 2015

It was inevitable….I bought my first cast iron skillet!  But here’s the thing….I’m totally afraid of it!!  I mean, it’s a beautiful skillet…its is already seasoned, and ready to go.  I’m so afraid that I’m going to mess it up when I wash it.  I can already see this metallic piece of art rusting, having to be cleaned, seasoned again, and hope it doesn’t continue rusting.  ARRRGGHH!!  Seriously….why did I buy this skillet???  Determined to face my fears, I decided today was the day.  I had bacon….I had eggs (I always have eggs…LOL)….I thawed a sourdough loaf….I was jumping in!!!

November 2015

As you can see, the first few pieces (on the right) of bacon got a little darker than I usually like, but once I allowed the skillet to come to an even temperature, the rest came out pretty nice.  Then I opened a can of pinto beans, because who doesn’t always need an opened can of pinto beans…..poured the beans in a strainer and used the can for the bacon grease (no unique revelations there.)

November 2015

Two eggs went into the skillet with the remnant of oils from the bacon coating the skillet….then I realized that I wouldn’t really be able to flip the eggs for a good over-easy fried egg.  It worked well to just kind of roll the egg over.

November 2015

The eggs were covered in charred, bacon-y goodness!!  And you know, there was something strangely satisfying in cooking with metal against iron…the scraping of the metal spatula against the iron skillet was a really, oddly comforting sound, and feel.  Just so much more of a happy sound than silicon against teflon.

November 2015

Afterward, the livers and hearts from two roosters recently culled were grilled up for our Great Dane, Penni ‘s, dinner tonight.

November 2015

So now it was the part I feared the most….washing.  Uugghh!!  I’m still hoping it all will be okay.  Some people say to never use soap, others say use soap….both say no abrasive scrubbers, but a soft brush is good.  I first washed with soap (I’m not ready to not use soap yet…still a cast iron rookie here) and a sponge…there was a blackened film that I could scrape off with my nail still on the pan.  Oh shoot….I needed a soft brush…so I got a new toothbrush out of the drawer and scrubbed with the toothbrush….it got most of the char off, but a bit remained…different though than at first.  I decided it had to be something like a wok wherein you don’t scrub until you get a shiny surface…you keep it seasoned.


Is that correct???  I patted it dry with paper towels and lightly oiled it with vegetable oil (same as a wok.)  Time will tell…keep your fingers crossed…no rust!!

Two of our own farm raised roosters cooling before the freezer.

Two of our own farm raised roosters cooling before the freezer.

Thank you for visiting my kitchen today.  As we learn about homesteading the outside of our home…I’m also learning about cooking and getting back to basics of food preparation inside my home.  Since moving to Oregon, we eat-in so much more than eating-out…it’s probably been three weeks or more since I had a meal in a restaurant….so different than life back home.  It’s a good thing…a very good thing….unless I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking….LOL!!

Please have a wonderful, restful Sunday!!  Your friend from Oregon,


Welcome to my Chaos!!

May 2015

Yesterday, was a day of chaos reminiscent of a black & white silent movie.  Things were moving in fast forward, and none of the participants seemed to care.  Not one paid attention to the part I played of the ever-present traffic cop, standing in the middle of the busy intersection, blowing my whistle for everyone to just STOP!!  They didn’t; they kept on in their chaotic quest to…do whatever it was they had a mind to do.

May 2015

Goats were running a-muck…outside of their two acres of enclosure.

May 2015

They have been pushy lately….well one has been pushier than the others….this guy…..Lott…

May 2015

….has been trying to breach the boundaries of the gate…not the fence line, the gate.  He sees me leave…and I think his goat mind goes to…”well, I must leave also.”  So he RUNS to the gate to get there before I can get through and close it so that he can put himself in the gap and just push forward like the stubborn goat he has become.  Yesterday, he and Montana worked in unison, while gentle, little Clark …

May 2015

…stood close.  They saw their opportunity…pushed behind me, and they were out.  I held the gate open so that Clark would not be left out of the grand adventure.

Trying to get them back into their enclosure was a comical scene…two goats would follow the goat treats,

Lott & Clark May 2015

while one preferred the leaves of the oak tree just outside of their enclosure….

Montana May 2015

…I’ve truly come to understand the saying, “Stubborn as a goat!!”

May 2015

While the goats were in the chicken’s realm…

May 2015May 2015

…..the chickens were in the goat enclosure.

May 2015 IMG_9827

Then, mama hen, Kermit, at some point in the afternoon, decided that it was time to do this…..

…..okay, that is fine except…. it was very close (well maybe not as close as I originally thought) to the point in the day when the hens and Benedict start to gather before they move into the chicken house for the night.  My mind went to that automatic door, and what if those little chicks could not get back up onto the porch.  What if one, the littlest one, was still outside when the door closed, and she ran under the house where I couldn’t catch her?

May 2015

I decided to corral Kermit and the chicks back into their house.  The porch is elevated…one chick could jump up onto it, the other two fell short.  It took about twenty minutes of getting Kermit on the porch, followed by one chick, while the others called to Kermit, who then jumped off the porch followed by the one chick who was on the porch…gather up the babies and put them on the porch hoping for Kermit to follow, only to have the babies jump off the porch because Kermit wouldn’t cooperate…then placing a plank hoping for the chicks to walk up to the porch….NOT……trying to teach the chicks to walk up the plank…running around to catch the rogue chick that runs the other direction….corralling mama hen to get back on the porch….and FINALLY, timing it all where chicks and mama are in the same place at the same time…and then all walk through the chicken house door!!!  OMGOSH!!

Finally, everyone was where they should be…..

May 2015

It was time to feed Penni, so into the house we go…and see this….

May 2015

…..one of our neighbor’s peacocks…..the other one is running around on the roof.  And the chase begins…

May 2015

…..but then, finally, there was calm….and a beautiful sunset.

May 2015

Oh wait…I still had to close the goats in for the night………..

Thanks for visiting the farm today.  As chaotic as it can be, there is peace.

I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful Sunday on this Memorial Day weekend.

Your friend from Oregon,


Crazy Goat Eve

This day, April 6, 2015, will officially be known on our farm as Crazy Goat Eve.  Tomorrow is the great goat experiment.  It has been close to 4 weeks since we have seen them, soooooo…I’m not sure what to expect.  How big will they be?  Is the “base camp” area we have planned for them big enough for the next 5 or 6 weeks until we get the first real pasture and goat barn built?  YIKES!!  I don’t knoooooowwww!!  I’ve been just a tad…stressed….even had a few scary goat dreams, but I think those have passed…hahaha.  I hope so!!

Goat House 2015

The preliminary plan is to adapt the old hen house to support our little Spanish kids for 5 or 6 weeks.  I cleaned the place from top to bottom, and Tony enlarged the chicken door to fit our young charges.

Goat House 2015

Creating a temporary “base camp” was the main mission of the day, today.  We had to move the house, now known as Candlestick Park II (you will understand that tomorrow) about 15 feet.  This would allow us to put up the fencing and evade this beautiful, stomach upsetting tempting goat treat…..Camillia Tree flowers and bark….

Camillia Tree

….the blossoms are falling off now, which are not toxic, but apparently, can cause stomach upset in goats.

Okay, so the house did separate from it’s foundation a little…a lot, but it is fine now….we lined it back up just fine…

Goat House 2015

….it’s just a little off…..I thought it was lined up better….LOL.  No worries though because there is a large base for the skids to rest on.  I tested it out, and it didn’t tip over so it all good!

Goat Yard 2015

The fencing went up pretty quickly as the ground was soft from all of the rain.  It was so great to find that the roll of fencing we had left over in the barn was enough to encompass the entire area which is about 1500 – 1600 square feet.  These little guys are used to foraging over 250 acres with the herd, or staying in if they prefer….hopefully this area that seems large enough for a few weeks will keep them safe and entertained enough that they don’t push their fence boundaries.

Goat Yard 2015

There are stumps for climbing onto, and jumping off of ….. and a patch of cement to help keep hooves nicely trimmed….

Goat Yard 2015

…and of course, Penni took on the responsibility of checking the yard for and weak spots….after all, we all know that these little goats will be Penni’s kids.  I think she’s as excited as we are!!

Goat Supplies 2015

“Get goats”, they said.  “They take care of themselves,” they said.  Then, why does the back of my SUV look like this???   Well, I guess I needed these things anyway….right???  At least the two bags on top are for the chickens..LOL.  Beyond this, we have a barn to build……pasture fencing to pull…..and a whole lot to learn!!  I look forward to sharing it all with you along the way.

By the way, make sure you stop in tomorrow to meet the newest members of the farm….I can’t wait!!!  AND…there are now…

Geese on the Pond 2015

…four Canadian Geese (2 couples) on the pond!!!  That must mean something good.

Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope your day was absolutely wonderful!

Your friend from Oregon,



Got to Get Going

It’s just that kind of a Friday morning….wishing we could linger just a little longer!  We are close to the weekend….we are very, very close!!

IMG_8469 IMG_8604 IMG_8638 IMG_8679 IMG_8681 IMG_8620 IMG_8724 IMG_7743 IMG_7759 2 IMG_7859

Oh well…time to get going!  Hope you all have a lovely day!!

Thanks for sharing our morning!

Your friend from Oregon,


Vegetable Lentil Soup

The past four days our family has been entertaining that unwelcomed guest….the “Ick!”  It all began with a horrendous sneeze on my way to work on Monday morning….it went downhill quickly from there.

My sweet Penni...she knows Mama doesn't feel well.

My sweet Penni…she knows Mama doesn’t feel well.

I will spare you the….details except to say, I had not felt as horrible as I did on, Tuesday, and Wednesday, for several (probably at least 15) years.  I did manage, however, to cook up a pot of vegetable soup, which I think gave me the edge to get back to work today (which by the way is Thursday…depending on what time I post this, it may say Friday…but my time zone still says it’s Thursday.)  Today, I feel like I normally do on the worst day of most colds I experience, so I’m feeling pretty well in comparison, but now, it’s migrating through the family. 😦

The infamous, Alton Brown

The infamous, Alton Brown

Anyway, since I know many are working through a lot of the “Ick” this flu season, I thought I’d post the recipe for my hearty vegetable soup.  I used Alton Brown’s Garden Vegetable Soup recipe as my base…then added/deleted/exchanged a few things….. (and, NO, I do not presume to cook better than the infamous Alton Brown, hahaha  that’s too funny!!  I changed things to fit the taste buds of my family.) Those items in italics are my changes.

Garden Vegetable Lentil Soup

My Rating…A+
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/garden-vegetable-soup-recipe.html …..with my changes
Yield:  6 to 8 servings

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)

Make sure you soak them to loosen all the dirt.

Make sure you soak them to loosen all the dirt.

2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

Lots and lots of garlic!!  Keeps away vampires, and knocks out the "Ick"

Lots and lots of garlic!! Keeps away vampires, and knocks out the “Ick”

I obviously cut the carrots before the garlic...LOL

I obviously cut the carrots before the garlic…LOL

Kosher salt & Pepper
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
1 can Garbanzo beans, drained, but not rinsed

I left the skins on since I was going for the "kill the Ick" factor.

I left the skins on since I was going for the “kill the Ick” factor.

2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 quarts vegetable broth; Have extra on hand as needed
4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes  (I used 1 can of tomato paste instead, because my people don’t seem to like chunky tomatoes….except me that is!)
1-2 cups corn
1 cup, Bob’s Red Mill dry split Lentils, and Vegetable Soup kernels

Bob's Red Mill
1/4 tsp Cumin
Red Pepper flakes to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice                                                                                                              For a creamier texture:   Boil 2 plus cups of chopped cauliflower in enough water to cover (don’t forget to add a touch of salt)…once softened, add cauliflower and water into food processor with 1 tbls of olive oil, and pulse until creamy.  Add to soup.


Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.


Add the carrots, garbanzo beans, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add to Veggie Soup

Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, corn kernels, dried lentils/vegetables, cumin, red pepper flakes, and pepper.Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Vegetable Lentil Soup

This soup is hearty, chewy, and delicious.  Keep an extra quart of Vegetable broth on hand to add as you go along, depending on how soupy you want it.  If you try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…but if I were you…I’d tweak it to fit your family’s taste buds too!!!  Did it work to help me get well faster….well, I don’t think it hurt, but it’s definitely not a cure…just sayin’.

Hoping you stay healthy the rest of this “Ick” prevalent season!!  BTW, the beauty of adding the cauliflower is that you won’t have dairy products for creaminess, which, adds more congestion when you have the flu or a cold.

Waiting for Mama to come home.

Waiting for Mama to come home.

Thanks for visiting the farm today…next winter, my goal will be to have enough vegetables to can to make this soup from all my own, homegrown veggies!!!  Only the next couple of seasons, and this year’s garden will tell!!  I’m excited for this year’s garden!!!!

Your friend from Oregon,



Egg-zample of Diversity

Penni and Lilly

Penni and Lilly

Chicken eggs…keep me thoroughly entertained.  Really!  There is a kind of, “Treasure Hunt,” satisfaction that happens every time I go out to collect them.  I never really know what I’m going to find….well…I don’t usually expect to find dinosaur eggs or anything like that, but I’m always hoping to come upon that golden egg…..wait….that was Aesop’s goose.  However, in Laos, there is a similar fable with a hen being the giver of the golden egg….it could happen!!!


Our very first hens, remember them…the Untouchables (meaning, these hens and our rooster, Benedict, will never visit the stew pot…they are the Untoucables)…started laying eggs about a year and a half ago.  This was my very first experience with eggs not bought in a grocery store.  At first I thought, “Uuuhhmmm…..EEEWWWW!”  They looked different than store bought eggs….they weren’t…..perfectly sized and formed.  The shells had blemishes….this couldn’t be okay….could it?  Well, I quickly learned that they are very much OKAY….and delicious!!!

Here is a sampling of how free range chicken eggs can differ one from another…..

A Symphony in Eggs

A Symphony in Eggs

….pay no attention to the ketchup packets….hahaha…they provided structural support 🙂  As you can tell, I have all brown egg layers.  The difference in shading is quite remarkable.  I wonder what determines the shading from hen to hen or egg to egg….hhmmmm…..lots of things I suppose.

Eggs 2014

Home-grown, free range eggs come out spotty with deposits of pigment dotting the beautifully browned shell.  Notice the little warty thing on the egg to the left….those happen too.  I imagine those are little extra deposits of calcium.  It’s all good!!

Eggs 2014

Sometimes, the spots look like someone spattered white paint all over them.

Eggs 2014

Is this splotching pigmentation deposits, as well??  I don’t know…but it is common, and does not affect the integrity of the egg.  I will admit, the first eggs that I discovered with this kind of….decorative coloring…were discarded.  I just didn’t like them….I soon learned that the goodness inside was beautiful, perfectly formed, and perfectly healthy.

Torpedo Egg

Torpedo Egg

Some of my hens have a great sense of humor…..they lay torpedo eggs!!  Seriously, I think I have one hen in particular…not sure which one….that lays these extra extra large, elongated eggs.  I feel bad for this hen as laying these eggs must be quite the feat!!   Many times these eggs are more fragile…..

Egg 2014

…and their smaller ends come out a bit wrinkled…sometimes cracked.  The torpedo egg below….

Extreme Torpedoing

Extreme Torpedoing

Torpedo Egg cracking

Torpedo Egg cracking

….is an example of the cracking that can occur.  Only the outer shell is cracked, but the integrity of the egg has been compromised.  This egg either goes into the compost pile, or directly to our Great Dane, Penni.

Eggs 2014

Of course, my hens lay perfect eggs…why not…they, themselves, are incredibly perfect!!  Doesn’t that egg look entirely delicious!!  The goodness inside is like no other egg you’ve ever tasted, unless of course, you have the privilege of raising, or buying true, free range eggs yourself.  I can’t even order egg dishes in restaurants any more (with the exception of eggs benedict.)  My hens have completely spoiled me!

Eggs 2014

Just look at the depth of color that yoke has!!  It is fully of an amazing amount of omega-3s…truly, very healthy!!  One thing you may notice is how the yolk kind of separated from the white in this picture.  Many times, this is what happens when you cook eggs that are same-day fresh.  It does make it easier for the yolk to break if you are trying to fry it.



Making a tiny omelette with two tiny eggs.

Making a tiny omelette with two tiny eggs.

I usually have a supply in the fridge, and am generally cooking up week old eggs rather than same day.  It does make a difference in the integrity, especially if you’re going for that “flip” when creating over-easy yumminess.  I keep a carton of about 2 week old eggs for hard boiling, as the shell won’t stick as much to the white when pealed.  HHHmmmm….makes you think, doesn’t it….how old are the eggs we buy at the grocer….I never had a problem with shell to egg-white sticking in hard boiled eggs when I was buying them…..HHHmmmmm!!

Quiche 2014

How about that lovely beauty….my first quiche!!

I think it’s easy to say that my hens’ free ranging, farm fresh eggs are the star of the show around here.  If you’ve never indulged in a golden delight raised by one of your local small chicken farms…do yourself a favor and get a dozen….

Beautiful golden gems.

Beautiful golden gems.

….I think you’ll be hooked….so be prepared, there’s no going back!!

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

Your friend from Oregon,



Storms a brewin’

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

Polar Vortex 11-2014

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

Polar Vortex 11-2014

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

Polar Vortex 11-2014

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

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

Veg Chili 11-2014

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

Chili and Spinach Cheddar Bread

…and a nice warm fire!!

Fire Nov. 2014

Everyone seems to be enjoying it!

November 2014

November 2014

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

Your friend from Oregon,

Walnuts, Walnuts, Everywhere…

My life has been shrouded in the realm of walnuts. My earliest memories include my grandpa sitting after dinner cracking walnuts. Once I had the hand strength to squeeze the metal nut cracker hard enough to break the shell, I would sit next to Gramps, cracking walnuts along with him. After that, I lived most of my adult life in a home with a giant black walnut tree which stood 50 ft. tall, and had a span of branch width of at least that many feet if not 60. It was huge, and provided shelter for squirrels, raccoons, and opossum. I loved that big old tree. I still have walnuts in my life.

Black Walnut Tree 2014

These trees are dropping round, squishy things with a hard pit that threaten to twist your ankle upon a misstep.

Black Walnut Tree 2014

There are five of them, all abundantly dropping as quickly as the leaves are falling.

Black Walnut Tree 2014

They do resemble ornaments hanging in the breeze. I wonder how white twinkling lights would look strewn about the branches?

Black Wlanut Trees

After the last big rain, the trees are more devoid…..

Walnut Trees 2014
Walnut Trees 2014

…but now, the ground is covered. They do make quite the mess.

Dropped Walnuts 2014

After talking with a friend about collecting and drying walnuts, my curiosity was ignited. I Googled the process and found some good information. This year, we are going to try our hand at collecting, de-husking, drying, and harvesting the nut from the very hard, thick shell. Black walnuts differ greatly in shell construction than the English variety that are usually sold in grocery stores.

Black Walnut 2014

The shells are harder to crack, and instead of a two chamber contraption, it has four.

One older shell, and a new one that I cracked today showing the wet nut.

One older shell, and a new one that I cracked today showing the wet nut.

I have read that the meat of the black walnut, once dried, has a wonderfully nutty flavor. It is apparently, well worth the effort, and will keep well in the freezer for two years. I hope this works out, and will help cut the costs of enjoying these healthy, meaty nuts.

Thanks for enjoying the farm with me today!

Your friend from Oregon,

29 Hours on the Farm

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

October 2014

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

No more rooms at the Inn!!

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

Moonlit Night Oct. 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

….and this…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your friend from Oregon,

That Certain Age

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

August 2014

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


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

September Sunset 2014

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

Daddy - 1990

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

Sept. 2014

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

Butternut Squash and Spinach

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

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

Sunset June 2014

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


That's my Penni in the orange collar.

That’s my Penni in the orange collar.




August 2013 006

Don John

Tito August 2011

Sourdough Heaven



My sweet girls, Penni and Karli !

My sweet girls, Penni and Karli !

September 2014

July 2014

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

Thanks for sharing this certain year with me!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Nope, Not Moulting

You may remember this guy…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benedict and his harem…including the 4 bare backs.

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

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

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

Your friend from Oregon,

An Incredible Find

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

The Muppets hatching.

The Muppets hatching.

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

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

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

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

July 2014

That's one big egg!!!

That’s one big egg!!!

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

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

Look at this closely...

Look at this closely…

So completely incredible...

So completely incredible…

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

September 2014

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

September 2014

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

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

Your friend from Oregon,

Tule (Tooley) Fog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

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

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

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

The Guardian Sept. 2014

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

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

Your friend from Oregon,

Autumn is Fall-ing

I had help writing this morning…

Penni Sept. 2014

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

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

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

September 2014
Sept. 2014

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

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

Take a look….this was at 6:00 P.M.

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

Ready for Fall 2014

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

Tomatoes 2014

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

Watermelon 2014

Thank you for visiting the farm today!

Your friend from Oregon,

Morning Sunrise

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

I have been missing my home of 22 years,

So many beautiful memories made in that house.

So many beautiful memories made in that house.

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

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

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

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

Sept 2014 Sunrise

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

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

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

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

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

Beautiful San Francisco

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

Beautiful Oregon Home

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

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

Thank you for sharing my morning!!

Your friend from Oregon,

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****

Tag Cloud

Our French Oasis


House by the water.

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

Chantel Mickaela


A Bright Ray of Hope

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

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