brooktrout3

brooktrout2

brooktrout

I found these brook trout feeding at one of the high lakes.  I crawled to the edge of a boulder overlooking the water and zoomed way in.  Then I began waiting for a fish to spot a insect and make a lunge for it.

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radical radishes

french breakfast radish, one of the first things other than greens to ripen up in the spring. Very tasty if i do say so myself.

no work!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the back to the land books that I found in that shed Awhile ago was the Ruth Stout NO-WORK-GARDEN BOOK (secrets of the year round mulch method).  Erica Picked it up, read it and said “why aren’t we mulching?”.

icky scooop

We fed the goats out of the green house and the barn all winter, now we are taking the hay and other organic material from there pen and putting it back on the garden to suppress weeds and hold in moisture this summer. Notice the beautiful spring weather for gardening.

half covered

Erica also is trying it in part of the greenhouse.

ruth

info about ruth stout here

ground level

super fun

watch the video become a STOUTATARIAN!

spring thaw

 

Late winter is the hardest time to be a herbivore in the county.   Spring is coming, for some it comes to late.  When the temperature stay’s below freezing for several months all decomposition stops and when it begins to warm up we have a stock pile of deer that didn’t make it,  re-emerge from under the snow.   On the other hand this is the best time to be a scavenger/predator.

goat furnitures

March 23, 2013

I am a pampered goat

The goats were in need of some furniture when the weather started to turn cold.  I built the feeder and shelter from a few old pallets that I have a never ending supply of and decorated them with some salvaged wood to make them fit the aesthetic of the barn yard (because if it’s not worth doing stylishly it’s not worth doing at all).  Winter still is not quite over yet it was somewhere south of 16 degrees last night, Princess Butter Cup and the Triva seem to be enjoying the comforts that the title of most pampered goats in the county comes with.

this way we don't have to eat mud

crane view of goat feeder

the house is stuffed with straw occasionally to protect from wind but with both of them wedged in there they seem to stay cozy and warm even on the coldest nights.

goat shanty

All that straw makes really good summertime mulch and fertilizer to put on the garden.

dance/dance/dance

winds blow snow

March 18, 2013

cheif jo blow

cold as heckfire

brrrrrrrrrr

High winds in the mountains have been redistributing this winters heavy snows.  Click the above photos if they are not moving for you.

ruby peak

Okay, I know I’m lame. I haven’t posted anything in nearly a month. Unacceptable. This is an extremely busy time for me and mine, blah-dippity-blah. Moving on.

I wanted to say hurrah for the Wallowa County Farmer’s Market 2010. It’s over for the year, but it was a splendid season. Some of my dear market buddies are featured here:

Emily Cooper of Short Season:

Emily is rad. She decided to start her own pickle making business and jumped through numerous hoops to make it happen. Our government is very concerned that small-scale pickle makers such as Emily might destroy us all and they make it close to impossible to satisfy all the various requirements needed to sell people pickles. Nonetheless, Emily persevered and started Short Season, which has been doing quite well. Every time I look over at her booth someone is walking away with a jar of pickles. She makes awesome beet, garlic scape, green bean, and cucumber pickles. And she grows all the produce herself. Rad.

Joanie, Mike, Rhia, and Lexi of Fluit Family Farms:

I’m not sure I spelled their names right. Hopefully they forgive me. The Fluit family has a ranch in Wallowa County where they raise free range grass-fed beef. The girls Rhia and Lexi help their dad with the ranch and they do everything he does, as far as I can tell. The girls round up cattle, raise and race horses, do all the ranch chores, drive the forklift, help their mom at the market, etc. They are also the most down-to-earth, nicest teenagers I’ve met in a very long time. They rock.

Wendy McCullough of Sally B Farms:

You will not get by Wendy McCullough’s booth without buying some of her soap. My booth was right next to hers and I was consistently impressed at her ability to sell her (admittedly awesome) soap to every single person who walked by. As I recall, the PH of goat milk is very close to that of human skin, and it creates a luxurious lather which hydrates as it cleans. Most people give up lotion. She raises the goats herself and those goats who do not make the goat milk soap grade are sold for meat. Goat meat is tasty, I had some at a local Goat Roast recently. Goat milk soap is also nice and I use it daily. Yippieee!

Carol Bartlow: Kettle Corn RAH RAH RAH!

Carol and her kids make kettle corn and the smell always wafts directly towards my booth and makes me deliriously hungry. Eventually I end up sprinting across the market to her booth, glancing over my shoulder every 3 seconds or so to see if any customers are waiting, throwing some money at her, grabbing a bag of corn and racing back. She’s used to this. She helps me pack up all my stuff, too, at the end of the market, and is really, really nice.

Me of Arrowhead Ranch Produce:

The intrepid Wallowa County Vegetable Grower Extraordinaire.

L to R: Elsa and Caitlin, apprentices for Beth Gibans of Backyard Gardens:

Beth Gibans started the farmer’s market here in Wallowa County and without her and her farm apprentices there’d be no market. They are the mainstays of the market and entirely reliable in their vegetable bounty, arriving every week with huge baskets of produce. I love them heaps.

There are other market vendors, too, but these are all the ones I know and hang out with. It’s nice to see them every week, find out what they’ve got, talk, endure difficult weather together, etc. We have many, many market stories, all of us.

Bye, market folks, until next year. I will only ever get to see you at barn dances, potlucks. committee meetings, parties, ice skating, skiing, and book club.

Not our favorite day, but once again it was time for chicken butchering. We did half of our flock (the big ones) and will do the other half in a couple weeks, after they’ve grown a bit. Warning, there are photos with this post that some people might not want to see. I’m going to post them, though, because… this is a farm blog. Don’t read further if you don’t want to see blood and guts.

We put the chickens in killing cones, and they become much calmer when they are upside down. We slice their jugular vein and they bleed to death. This is slightly less traumatic than chopping their heads off, but killing chickens is no fun no-matter what technique we use.

Next we scald them. We dunk them in 140 degree water for about 2 or 3 minutes, or until their wing feathers pull out easily when tugged on. Now they are ready to go in the chicken plucker.

Always our favorite part of the event, the Whiz Bang Chicken Plucker does its magic in 20 seconds. Not your grandmother’s chicken plucker, this state of the art contraption whirls the chickens around and rubber fingers pull all the feathers off the bird. Ain’t technology great.

Our super awesome crew: Trevor, Caitlin and James demonstrate the Whiz Bang’s wondrous result. We’ll pull the few remaining pin feathers off by hand.

Dad showed us the finer points of gutting a chicken.

We all gave it a try. It gets a lot easier with practice. There’s actually a lot of finesse in gutting a chicken, we discovered. Rule number 1: don’t bust the gall bladder or gross green stuff goes everywhere (we all did at least once though).

We buried all the guts and feathers in the garden, where they will become fertilizer. Then Dad took the chickens inside where he cleaned and washed them. We will keep the birds in the refrigerator for a couple days to allow them to tenderize before we freeze them. There will be enough for us to have a chicken a week for close to an entire year. Of course we won’t need to start using them up right away because the idea of roast chicken is somehow unsavory just now.

ball bustin’

July 23, 2010

There are some farm activities that are not any fun at all. One of them is butchering chickens, and another of them is castrating young bulls. NBC will be butchered in fall 2011. His name is short for “New Bull Calf”. We chose this imaginative moniker because we didn’t want to get attached to him. Yeah right. Now NBC stands for “No Balls Calf”, though. If young bulls aren’t castrated the manly hormones degrade the quality of the meat. So the vet came out and used the device above to put a rubber band around NBC’s man stuff. It does just want you think it does, and they will drop off after about 2 weeks. Apparently it hurts moderately for about an hour  and then goes numb, so NBC won’t be spending too much time worrying about it, we hope, but how do we know. Sometimes farm life is a bummer. Especially if you’re a bull calf.