the barn is changing

April 15, 2010

The barn (built in 1890) was due for a paint job so we are going to return it to it’s semi-original color , white.

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We had some aspens down that needed to be chopped up, not the best firewood but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

we dig a big hole

March 30, 2010

When Bruce said we were going to rent a track-hoe Immediately I thought the worst “warning- only. funny. to. Drew (O.F.T.D)”.  I Got really excited though when he explained to me that it was to dig/renovate an existing stock pond.

Erica’s uncle Max came down to do the digging while Bruce ran the tractor and I assumed a management position.  It took all of  four days to make a huge mess and create a really big puddle.  The pond is fed from one of the springs in the wild area and has two different levels because the ground sloped a lot more than we thought (Who needs a transit? these suckers).

My personal favorite event was plugging the leaking dams for the ninth time just to have all the water leak out again in the morning.

The day after it finally filled with water, some mallards took up residency, wildlife in action, hooray!

false spring

March 12, 2010

We new that 40 and 50 degree days couldn’t last forever, especially in march.  A surefire way  to induce the wrath of the snow gods is to prune tree’s or have guest rent the cabins.  Well, we did and it did.  It’s doing it right now in fact and tomorrow morning we should be knee deep in this white nonsense.

When the icy claws of winter take hold here on the farm, we retreat inside and attempt to pad our fat reserves by manufacturing and consuming that greatest example of edible warmth, chocolate!

we are in the process of obtaining a certified kitchen in which to work. When that happens we will dominate the world of  chocolate manufacturing in Wallowa county.

Right now Erica and I are still in the training phase of chocolatierhood (Bruce and Wendy tell us  ancient magic chocolate recipes then we swear oaths of  secrecy and stuff).

as of right now we have dipped gingers several kinds of nuts, made cocoa bars and 7 different kinds of truffles in both dark and milk (cherry, raspberry, caramel, peanut butter, marzipan, mint, and mocha).  We are trying new recipes every day in order to find the best possible combination.

dipping truffles like a pro in the video below.

wild area bridge

dripping with calculations

While Zack was here we put him to work on building a bridge.  Bruce and I stood back as mathematics flew fast and furious in the design and building of a very nice foot bridge into the wild area.

54 tons of grass

July 12, 2009

as far as the eye can see

The term “ton” gets bandied about quite a bit, but I mean a ton as in 2,000 freaking pounds.  I have never seen so much hay in my entire life.  Since we believe in good clean living we decided to pick it all up by hand.  While our neighbors in the fields around us picked up 5 ton loads with heavy equipment in a matter of minutes we toiled away day after day handling each 58 pound bail as many as three times before getting it in the barn.

pretty sweet setup

The whole family (grand dad would have but he had other commitments) helped and our friends Cari and Wynn lent a hand also.

up the shoot

I am in awe of the old timers who had to use horses instead of tractors and pick up hay loose with pitchforks before piling it in the barn up to the rafters.

more hay than this barn has seen in fifty years

If anybody reading this is interested in some high quality timothy grass (race horse hay) we will give it to you for the screaming deal of 160 bucks a ton.  I’m looking at you drew, isn’t about time you got another bunny, bunnies like hay!

fishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhennnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

baby deer rescue!!!!!!

June 27, 2009

watch out they bite

It’s haying time in the valley and it is also happens to be newborn deer time.  The safest place for a doe to leave her fawn is apparently in our hay field, that is until Bruce comes through with the swather and cuts off everything taller than four inches.  To avoid this unfortunate experience both for Bruce and the deer.  Erica, Luke, and I went on a kind of super Easter egg hunt with the eggs being fifteen pound spotted fawns.

deer shaped land mine

We would walk in front of the tractor and try and herd them to the edge of the field out of harms way.  Several hours after the hay was all cut we saw several does leading fawns away from the field hopefully none of them were to tramatized by the experince.

erica on fawn patrol

there is a lot of flowing water somewhere under there.

Just under six miles from the farm is the remains of what some say is the biggest avalanche to happen in the area in the past ten years.  If you look in the upper right of the picture above you will see Erica and hopefully be able to fully appreciate the size of the slide.  The Hurricane Creek canyon got it’s name from the first settlers comparing the destruction from the avalanches to that of a hurricane.  The slide happened three or four thousand feet above the creek in a small tributary canyon.  Gaining speed and debris as it fell, the slide slammed into the stream went across the canyon up a small ridge and over it, flattening trees and destroying everything in it’s path.  When it finally stopped it had completely covered the stream for more than two hundred yards.  Our first view of the slide was hurricane creek flowing out from under it.  We then hiked up the drainage where the avalanche started and found where a waterfall had been carving away underneath the ice.  Climbing down the waterfall to get to the stream bed was a little scary but being underneath the avalanche was amazing.

amature geologist at work

While I crawled around underneath it Erica was inspecting the rocks that the avalanche had unearthed and found what appears to be some copper.  For a seven mile round trip this hike this was pretty cool, we also found some morels and a bunch of what must be mountain goat hair.  The trail head is at the end of hurricane creek road just five miles south of joseph.  This trail is a great and lesser used way into the wilderness area (for those of us who don’t like to see other people on our pristine hiking experiences).

basalt vein