Thursday, November 21, 2013


Note to self: The first HARD freeze of 2013 was yesterday, November 21st. Today was even colder. The growing season is officially, completely done!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Puttin' it Up

My boo had the day off from work. The plan was for him to go salmon fishing in the Sound, just down the road a piece. Well, some bozo's boat had come untethered in the night and blown ashore at the boat launch, preventing Bill from putting in until the tide came back in, allowing the bozo in question to move his errant boat back where it belonged. And so, the day meant to be spent slaying fish was out. Instead, he came home and helped me do some serious catching up and putting up re: our garden landslide.

Socked away/made today -

Chelle -

Processed (washed, cut and froze)
*5 gallon bags of carrots
*6 gallon bags of summer squash

Picked and thrown in the dehydrator
*1/4 cup +/- bread poppy seeds
*1 cup German chamomile
*1 cup calendula blossoms

Bill -

*1 pound goats milk mozzarella
*1 pizza dough
*1 beautiful Apple Pie (with our apples, of course)
*1 gallon apple cider (fermenting now)
*1 loaf white sandwich bread

Bill's homemade apple pie, bread and pizza (with his mozzarella)

Tomorrow I need to make a decision about what I want to do with our 10(ish) pounds of rapidly-ripening pears. Maybe jam, cider, pear sauce or ???

The pumpkins and tomatillos cometh SOON so I need to get ready for a wallop.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Sixteen pounds of them!

Among them, this... er... showpiece -

You're welcome 

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Indelible Taste of a Fish Lost

"The Longest Silence" is one of my favorite books.  The writing is fantastic, reminding me of Schweibert and Haig-Brown in it's practical love of fish, the places they live and people who they meet while chasing them.  I especially though love his months long description of trying to catch a permit, one of the hardest to catch fish on a fly.

I read that section again and again sometimes because it reminds me of learning to fish.  For whatever reason I seem to find the hardest way to figure it out.  Fly fishing was like that, salmon were like that, steelhead were like that and now Puget Sound is like that.  What's weird is that I can remember the first one of those fish hooked and lost as easily as if it was yesterday.

My first big fish on a fly was on the little Deschutes where I clambered down a steep bank into a slowly deepening run with overhanging alders.  I roll cast a Clouser Minnow into the current and let it roll along and then pull up tight and stripped it back.  I had about decided to leave the run and had just let the fly dangle in the current when a big Cutthroat took it.  My line ran off of my little reel and the fish jumped twice and was gone with my fly.  I can still remember the sun shining on the fly right before that trout decided to kill it.

My first hooked steelhead on a fly was in a very very long run of cobblestone.  I had recently started tying spey flies and had landed a dandy 19 inch Cutthroat on a Lady Caroline and had switched to a homemade contraption of copper colored dubbing and a duck flank.  Steelhead fishing makes your casting better over time and I remember casting about 45 degrees downstream and thinking that was a nice cast.  Bam, Tug, Tug and it was gone faster than it took me typing those words.

I've been trying to figure out Puget Sound since I got my boat.  I've fished for Kings off of Lilliwaup and Bald Point, Chambers Creek and everywhere else I could think of.  I've caught a few Chum and Pinks so I know how to pick them up at times but the big Kings keep eluding me.  This morning I went out, armed with some new knowledge from a friend of mine and started fishing not long after first light.

I was trolling in shallow water with a cut plug herring and a 4 oz weight.  I don't have a fish finder so I had to check for bottom by holding the rod every now and then to feel for bounces.  I had just done than and put the rod back in it's holder when it started bouncing back and forth like mad.  I killed the motor and got the rod out of the holder and set the hook in time to see my line taking off of the reel and the fish splash on the surface.  I started playing it in and then reached for the net to make sure it was handy.  Right then the fish ran straight for the boat and by the time I reeled up tight, no fish was there.

Like those other two fish, I will never forget this.  The astonishment at seeing the rod bounce after getting it in the rod holder and the gutting disappointment when I reeled up to a 4 oz weight with no fish.  The quiet hum of my trolling reel when it's letting line out and the solid head shaking weight of a big king.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today's Take - 8/28/13

I've been doing an atrocious job of keeping track of our garden haul these past two weeks. And of course, it'd be just when we're getting tons of stuff too. Figures!

Zucchini - 11 pounds
Yellow squash - 4 pounds, 4 ounces
Eggs - 4
Goats milk - 1/2 gallon
Chamomile - 1 ounce
Tomatoes - 1 pound
Sweet corn - 7 pounds (weighed after I shucked it)
Scarlet runner beans - handful
Peas - handful

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today's Take - 8/18/13

Zucchini - 3 pounds (another 2 or 3 were thrown to los puercos)
Yellow squash - 3 pounds
Pattypan squash - 10 ounces (just one squash)
Tomatoes - 8 ounces - mostly cherries
Yukon Chief sweet corn - 2 pounds
Chamomile flowers - 1 ounce
Sweet basil - 2 ounces
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 6

We have two visitors in the goat pen this next few weeks - Fritzen & Oreo! They are here for "pregnancy camp" and Buckley is ON THE JOB.

The pumpkins and summer squashes are taking over the garden! The flower/botanical bed is getting invaded by the naked-seed pumpkins and the strawberry bed is being taken over by the sugar pies. I've had worse problems. ;)

Still only the one sunflower open. Seriously - what's it gonna take?!?

Bill harvested just enough corn for dinner tonight. It is GORGEOUS!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Today's Take - 8/16/13

Pattypan squash - 1 pound, 2 ounces
Yellow squash - 4 pounds, 8 ounces
Zucchini - 10 pounds
German chamomile - 1 ounce
Tomatoes - 4 ounces
Peas - handful
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - I dunno :(

We had 2 1/2 days of rain this past week, which gave my sprinkler a much needed break. Now we just need a 2-day scorcher to get everything popped and ripe.

The corn is about ready to harvest, but I'd like to leave it on the stalk for another day or to, since the rain got everything good and wet. The cantaloupes are coming along, but unfortunately, they're not looking like they'll be ready in time for the market. The tomatoes.... it's anybody's guess, but a hot couple of days sure wouldn't hurt their chances any.

The first sunflower opened completely today - a Miriam Edible. It's one of the shorter ones, at about 7 feet tall. The tallest ones are probably around 10 feet high, but none of the big 'uns have popped yet.

We're down to 8 days to finish getting all of our stuff together and ready for the LoL Market, which means that besides those 6 hours (or less) per night that I slip into a coma-like sleep state, I'm constantly trying to do something productive with my time - knitting, cutting & wrapping soap, harvesting herbs and veggies, putting up said herbs and veggies, feeding the pigs non-stop, back to school shopping, trying to finish a few last minute upcycle projects to offer at the market, etc...

I'm exhausted and I still have 34 bars of soap waiting to be wrapped, another 3 dishcloths to knit to meet my minimum goal, apples to pick, salmon that need catching... you get the idea. ;)

A far more experienced farm chick than I said that Farmers spend all Winter planning for Summer, and all Summer scrambling to get ready for Winter. Yup.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today's Take - 8/13/13

Zucchini - 18 pounds, 8 ounces! (Maybe I'd better switch to picking these guys every day instead of every other?)
Yellow squash - 7 pounds, 8 ounces
Pattypan squash - 7 ounces
Tomatoes - 8 ounces (YAAAAY!)
Blackberries - 2 pounds, 2 ounces
Eggs - 4
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

I saw that one of my Miriam Edible sunflowers had just begun to open up today - finally. The cantaloupes have set a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half fruits that I can see. Anything smaller that golf ball sized probably won't ripen in time, so if I even end up with 10 or 12, I'll be thrilled.

The pumpkins are still setting fruit, and some of the bigger fruits are probably already in the 10 pound range, easily. I can't wait to see what our total numbers are at season's end. :)

Planning to put up this week/weekend -
Basil (freeze pesto, basil compound butter)
Zucchini (zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini muffins, freeze grated zucchini, freeze sliced zucchini for stir fry)
Blackberries (fruit leather, freeze whole)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Today's Take - 8/11/13

Zucchini - 4 pounds, 8 ounces
Yellow squash - 12 ounces
Blackberries - 1 pound, 13 ounces
Peas - 5 ounces
German Chamomile - 3/4 ounce (These little flowers weigh practically nothing!)
Strawberries - handful
Cherry tomatoes - handful
Eggs - 5
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Crab - 3 Red Rock, 1 Dungeness :)

P.S. - Note to self - Chardonnay looks to be/is acting like she's in season again, which would mean a mid-January due date if she took. Oy...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Today's Take - 8/7/13

I've started harvesting just every other day as of late, but judging by the size of the zukes I pulled today, I might need to rethink that.

Zucchini - 5 pounds, 6 ounces
Yellow squash - 2 pounds, 4 ounces
Pattypan squash - 6 ounces (Our first two!)
Peas - ? Bill ate them as he picked, naughty boy.
Chamomile - 2 handsful!
Eggs - 3 (worrisome)
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today's Take - 8/5/13

Zucchini - 6 pounds, 12 ounces!
Yellow squash - 3 pounds
Peas - 2 ounces
Chamomile - big handful
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 7


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Today's Take - 8/3/13

Zucchini - 3 pounds, 6 ounces
Yellow squash - 2 pounds, 8 ounces
Chamomile - handful
Peas - handful
Eggs - 8
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

There are several cantaloupes that are now baseball sized, and quite a few more that are golf ball/kiwi sized. I can't wait to finally try one!

The sunflowers are all about 7 feet tall, and still forming their buds. When are these babies gonna bloom?

Bill said that one of the turkey gobbled at him today. Just when I was starting to suspect that we'd ended up with a pair of hens too. Well, at least one of them is a boy!

The LoL Market is creeping closer, and my perparedness-mania is just starting to kick in. Will the tomatoes be ready for market? Not at the rate their going now. Will the soap be cured in time? 99% yes - whew! Should I knit more? It can't hurt. Tomatoes, squash, beets, corn (maybe), cantaloupe, eggs, apples, soap and knits - will it be enough? Man, I hope so!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Today's Take - 8/1/13

Holy crap, it's August already!

The pumpkins and squashes are all starting to really go nuts all of a sudden. Our Cinderella pumpkins have a few good sized fruits started, and the Williams naked seed pumpkins have a few 5-pounders already going. :)

Zucchini - 2 pounds, 4 ounces
Yellow Squash - 1 pound, 13 ounces
Peas - 2 ounces (a measurable amount!)
Blackberries - 14 ounces
Strawberries - handful
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 3 (Boo!)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today's Take - 7/31/13

Zucchini - 15 ounces
Yellow squash - 1 pound, 5 ounces
Sweet basil - 6 ounces
Garlic chives - handful
Eggs - 6
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Today's Take - 7/30/13

Zucchini - 1 pound, 13 ounces
Yellow squash - 1 pound, 8 ounces
Snow peas - 1 ounce
Strawberries - handful
Blackberries - 1 pound, 8 ounces
German chamomile flowers - handful
Eggs - 4
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

The Guinea hens have either abruptly quit laying, or have yet again decided to move their nest. It seems like they will only lay in a given spot for 2 weeks or so, before finding our daily raids bothersome enough to warrant moving on to a new, increasingly difficult to reach location. If and when we do find a trove of Guinea eggs somewhere, the piggies will be getting a whole lotta eggs for their supper.

Speaking of piggies, the count down to bacon time is officially, unofficially on. We're hoping to get them finished in the next 6 weeks, but it'll depend on whether or not they gain well in that time, and whether or not we go bankrupt trying to keep these porkers in food. :\ Seriously, between the three of them, they can devour a 40-pound bag of pig grower, half a dozen loaves of stale bread and anything weird/bug eaten that comes out of the garden. Lately they've been getting 5-gallon buckets of some beautiful Yellow Transparent apples from a friend of ours' yard, and they can and do lay waste to that in under 5 minutes. They are eating machines!

So, come mid-September harvest time, our checkbook will finally get a well deserved break from both buying endless quantities of pig chow, and from spending in the neighborhood of $10 per pound for organically raised pork every week. I'll be sad to see our piggies go, but the freezer full of pork and the dollars saved will be awfully nice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Today's Take - 7/26/13

Blackberries - 2 pounds!
Zucchini - 1 pound, 3 ounces
Yellow squash - 14 ounces
Chamomile flowers - handful
Lavender - handful - I think I waited just a little too long to try and squeeze one last harvest in. :(
Eggs - 7
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

I was so happy to see my German chamomile finally start blooming that I gave myself a case of over-analysis-paralysis about when/how to harvest it. Today I googled the heck out of harvesting chamomile and as it turns out, it's just like anything else - try to pick them on a warmish, dry day, just pop the flowers off and set them on screens (or paper towels) in an area that has good air circulation and that's that. And just like pretty much every other plant, the more you harvest, the more it stimulates it to produce more blooms. So we may just end up with fair amount after all.

The honeybees were thick on the chamomile and borage this afternoon. I was going to bring in a few borage blossoms as well as the chamomile, but thought better of it when I saw the bees working the heck out of the borage. I didn't want to take food from their hardworking little mouths.

We're hoping to have the farm stand open this Sunday, to coincide with the first day of blueberry season. We should have zukes, yellow squash, kale and eggs aplenty, and maybe some basil as well, though it has started to bolt. I'm thinking of have some homemade scones on offer as well. We'll see if tomorrow feels like a baking day or not. ;)

Today's Take - 7/24/13

Zucchinis - 1 pound, 4 ounces
Strawberries - handful
Peas - handful
Eggs - 10!
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Blackberries/Marionberries - 3 ounces

The corn has both tassels and silks out now - hooray! The sunflowers are officially taller than me, and Scarlet and I spied two kiwi-sized cantaloupes on one plant today. The garden is happy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today's Take - 7/23/13

On my garden walk today I noticed several of Bill's Italian bees working the heck out of the borage. :) I'm glad that they like it, because the stuff is threatening to take over the whole flower bed! The lemon cucumbers are setting fruit like mad, though none have ripened yet. I hope they keep pumping them out until market time in August!

Zucchini - 7 ounces
Peas - handful
Golden beets - 2 pounds (These are the last of them. They were too small to harvest, but had been so ravaged by slugs that I thought I'd pull them and feed them to the piggies before the dang slugs could eat them completely.)
Eggs - 6
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

I heard a pair of ravens gwawping just outside today. I find them and their intellect fascinating, but my interest is tempered by fear for my poultry. I have heard more than a few stories lately about ravens flying off with eggs, young birds, etc., and our Brahma-caunas are still petite - maybe 2 pounds each - which sounds like a reasonable serving size for two hungry ravens.

Speaking of birds, last weekend when we were out in Budd Bay, fishing and crabbing for our supper, we got to see a bald eagle up-close and personal as it swooped down to grab our discarded leftover crab bait, some freezer burned flounder. It's easy to forget how massive they are when you ever only see them high above you against a scale-less sky. we do get to see them here at home fairly often, being as close to the water as we are, but when wearing my figurative farmer hat, I am generally less inclined to just sit back and appreciate their size and beauty, and more likely to fret over whether my animals might catch a hungry predator's eye.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Today's Take - 7/22/13

Russian Red kale - 2 pounds, 14 ounces
Basil - 2 1/2 ounces
Golden beets - 2 pounds, 2 ounces (I really need to just pull the rest of these. The slugs seem to love these the best. :\ )
Bulls Blood beets - 2 pounds, 14 ounces
Blackberries - 3 ounces
Eggs - 8
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

Today was the first day selling our goodies at our farm stand. I wouldn't have chosen a Monday to start, but the girls were very keen to sell their marionberry lemonade to passersby, so I figured, what the hey? They didn't sell a thing, and ended up drinking all of their own lemonade, but then again, it was a Monday, soo... better luck next time, I hope! If the blueberry farms open this weekend we should see tons of traffic, so hopefully we'll have at least one customer.

Aim high! ;)

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I noticed a bud had formed on one of my Hungarian Blue bread poppies. I don't know why, but growing your own poppy seeds seems so badass to me! I hope that I manage to get a worthwhile amount out of them, or short of that, that they at least self-sow and bring a bigger crop next year.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Today's Take - 7/21/13

As you may have noticed, daily dispatches have been... less than daily. My record-keeping has never been stellar, but I really was hoping to get a whole month straight of farm product on the official record. Guess not. :\

Anyhoo, today's today's take is even better than usual, because we took the boat out in the salt and brought home a few crabbies. Yum!

Fisherman Bill with one of our soon-to-be tasty crab. 

Red Rock Crab - 3
Goat Milk - 1 gallon
Eggs - 9
Blackberries - 4 ounces
Zucchini - 7 ounces
Yellow squash - 5 ounces
Peas - handful (are these things every really going to take off or not?)
Russian Red kale - 8 ounces
Oregano - 1 ounce

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today's Take - 7/16/13 & 7/17/13

Goat milk - 1 gallon plus 1 pint
Eggs - 12
Bulls Blood beets - 3 pounds, 14 ounces
Cylindra beets - 1 pound, 4 ounces
Cocozelle Zucchini - 3 ounces
Russian Red kale - 2 pounds
Marionberries - 2 ounces
Blackberries - 2 ounces

Golden and Bulls Blood beets, about to go in the oven

Corn & Melons - The corn hasn't grown much taller as of late, but the tassels are finally starting to pop out and open. Our cantaloupe vines have grown long and beautiful and are blooming like mad, but so far, no fruit has set. :\

Squash - The zucchinis have just begun blooming sporadically. I've picked two small zucchinis every other day this week. The Yellow Straightneck squash have just started blooming and fruiting too. I think I'll have a few ready for picking as soon as tomorrow.

Beets - I've been harvesting a few per day this week, mostly because the slugs are trying their level best to eat them before we can. I've been roasting them in small batches and freezing them. Hopefully they won't turn to mush when they're thawed. I've been giving the greens to the pigs, but am going to start socking away a few for us soon too.

Greens - Still harvesting upwards of a pound of kale per day, lately, I've been sharing it with the pigs, since our freezer is already well stocked with kale. They pigs go nuts for it!

Berries - They're just starting to ripen, so I've only managed to get a handful here and a handful there so far. Something about this year's weather has them growing like mad right now. when they finally do come ripe, we're going to be buried in them!

Herbs/Botanicals - I was so happy to see that my German Chamomile have finally started blooming! My coneflowers aren't far behind. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's Take - 7/15/13

Zucchinis - 4 ounces
Golden beets - 2 pounds, 10 ounces
Eggs - ?
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon + 1 pint (The girls always seem to have a little bump up in production when they eat mostly pasture, rather than hay.)
Lavender - 7 ounces
Hollyhock blossoms, borage leaves (for soap & tea) - a few handfuls

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Today's Take - 7/14/13

Russian red kale - 1 pound, 12 ounces
Leaf lettuces - 1 pound
Snow peas, cherry tomatoes - handful
Eggs - 7
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

Today's Take - 7/13/13

I thinned the Cylindra beets a little more today. I think that my "helper" at the time may have decided to put in two seeds per hole, because that's what I'm seeing a LOT of. So we may have some slightly deformed beets coming up. Oh well, it's all good!

The pigs managed to completely undo their string of hot wire, so lucky Mr Bill got to go out there and straighten that mess out, a task for which I do not envy him. The smell down by the pig pen is getting intense. I'm wondering how exactly we determine when they've reached slaughter weight. Do you just eyeball it, or use a weight tape, or...? when the time comes I know that I'll miss those squeaky little pigs - stink and all - but I also know that their meat will come in mighty handy in the coming year. Organically raised meat is crazy expensive and I can't wait to take a break from having to buy it for a while!

The Turkey Boys seem to be settling in fine. In the evenings when I go out to water the garden, I can hear their little ascending whistle-y peeps coming from their run inside the coop, floating all the way over to my little ears in the garden. :) Here is a video of some young Bourbon Red Turkeys that sound remarkably like our Midget whites -

Tomorrow is scheduled to be our first soapmaking day of the year. Bill pasteurized and froze the milk this afternoon, tomorrow, it's go time. I'm 99% sure that we're going to do a double batch of Homegrown Lavender, since if we can only get one type of soap made in time for the Love our Local market, we want it to be one that is sure-fire awesome. ;)

Busy, busy!

Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 8
Cylindra beets - 2 pounds, 12 ounces

Friday, July 12, 2013

Today's Take - 7/12/13

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 12 ounces
Sweet Basil - 1 ounce
Snow Peas - 1 ounce
Eggs - 7
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

I spotted my first baby zucchini today. YAAAAAY!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

And so it begins... teeny harvest at a time. :) 

Those there 'maters are the sum total of my pickings, (minus one) for the past two days. The tomatillo was accidentally picked by a very eager helper.

We have 30 tomato plants in the ground, 28 of which have only just begun to bloom. According to a few different sites, the average yield per plant can be anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds of fruit per plant. So, if our plant performance only reaches the bottom of that curve, we should still be looking at close to 250 pounds of tomatoes. I know that number should terrify me, but it doesn't, I'm excited!

Talk to me again in 60 days or so and we'll see if my enthusiasm has waned any. ;)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today's Take - 7/10/13

Once again the peas needed picking today, in spite of my plan to let them go until the weekend. I think I'll leave off picking them from now on though, unless they get redonkulously big, in which case I'll keep on pickin'.

I had my first ripe cherry tomato straight off the vine today - heaven. I have a few more sitting in the kitchen windowsill ripening, and quite a few more still on the vine, all in varying degrees of greenness.

The tomatillos are blooming and fruiting like mad, though none have reached harvest size just yet. I anticipate that we'll be able to make another good sized batch of verde salsa if the plants keep on kicking them out like they are now. Speaking of verde salsa, that reminds me that I need to add more apple cider to my vinegar jar, so that we have enough for canning salsa when the time comes. Note to self: Get your ACV going!

The only other thing that I picked today were a handful of borage flowers. Bill and I hope to make a batch or to of soap this weekend, so I set some borage in olive oil to infuse. I think we're going to make a batch of Homegrown Lavender soap, and maybe a second batch of something else if we have the time and gumption. I don't know just yet.

By the way - we saw one of Bill's honeybees (one of the Carniolans, I think?) in the garden today, checking out the beet greens for some weird reason. At least we know that they know that the garden is there, I guess.

So, the pickin's were slim again today, but everything is still steadily moving in the right direction. :)

Peas - 1 ounce +/-
Borage flowers - handful
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 7

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Today's Take - 7/9/13

I had meant to forgo harvesting anything between now and the weekend, when we're hoping to have the farm stand open for business. what I didn't count on, however, was that my sugar snap peas, who are not used to having 2 days in a row unmolested, would spaz out and grow 4-inch long pods, like, overnight.

And so, between Scarlet and I, we picked 20 some of the biggest pods which ended up weighing in at just over an ounce and a half. Snow peas weigh practically nothing. :/

I also went ahead and harvested some kale, just because I want to keep it happy and growing, and hopefully stop it from bolting in this heat. Tomorrow I'm going to go and give the lettuce what-for in the hopes of keeping it from bolting as well, though it may already be too late, in which case it shall be piggy salad.

The 'maters are looking lovely! I predict that our tomato landslide is about 2-3 weeks away. I know that I'll regret saying it once I'm up to my eyeballs in red orbs, but right now I say - bring it! Our basil is also doing beautifully, so I anticipate being in for an epic spaghetti sauce canning season.

I know that our paltry harvest isn't much right now, but the garden is right on the edge of it's tipping point. Any day now the zukes, cukes, corn, melons and tomatoes are going to positively explode. :)))

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 2 ounces
Sugar Snap Peas - 1 1/2 ounces
Eggs - 9 (Plus a few under the Policauna hen known as "Bitey Pants" that will have to wait until morning to be retrieved. D'oh!)
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

Monday, July 8, 2013

Today's Take - 7/8/13

Nothing from the garden, except two strawberries and one cherry tomato. I'm letting things beef up between now and the weekend, since we're hoping to open our farm stand up then. The eggs are fewer today, which is always a disappointment. I wonder who is not holding up their end out there? Hmmm...

Anyhoo -

Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 3

A picture of my lovely farm stand, pre-paint job -

we've already had a few passersby inquire about what we're up to. :)  I'm hoping that between word of mouth and the impending blueberry season, which brings tons of folks from all over the area to our little out-of-the-way place, we'll do a fair bit of business. The girls have decided to throw a lemonade stand in the mix to fully capitalize on the warm weather. Keep your fingers crossed that folks will like what we have on offer!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Today's Take - 7/7/13

On our garden look-see today Scarlet and I spotted a garter snake between the strawberry and sunflower beds. Wikipedia says that they like to eat, among other things, slugs. Carry on, brave fellow!

Two of the kale leaves that I harvested today showed insect activity. One had the characteristic tiny, bright yellow eggs of a cabbage white moth on it's underside, while the other had something that looked more like aphid or thrips of some sort. Lovely. I wonder if our snake friend has a thing for caterpillars and moths as well?

It looks like the verdict is in on my most recent transplants - the German chamomile is hanging tough, while the calendula went belly up. D'oh! Oh well, next year I'll try direct sowing them instead.

Red Russian Kale - 12 ounces
Sungold cherry tomatoes - 4 (You have to start somewhere, amIright?)
Lavender - 1 ounce
Lettuces - 6 ounces (Just enough for dinner)
Cylindra beets - 12 ounces
Sugar Snap Peas - handful
Eggs - 4
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

About half of the measly amount of lavender that I harvested today went to make a few glasses of my boo's favorite, lavender lemonade. After all, he did spend his Sunday building me a beautiful new farm stand (pictures soon). A farm stand so beautiful, in fact, that before he was even done building it, some guy drove up and asked Bill if he could have it. Uhhh.... no? But thanks, I guess.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Today's Take - 7/6/13

Nothing pulled today except dinner veggies and a few sugar beets, just to see how they're coming along. They're still pretty small but their greens are massive! I hope that the piggies like enjoy their little after dinner sweet. ;)

Lettuces - 8 ounces
Cylindra beets - 13 ounces
Sugar beets - 6 ounces
Sugar snap peas, Alpine strawberries, Garlic chives & Sweet Basil - a handful for our salad
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 4

Friday, July 5, 2013

Today's Take - 7/5/13

Lettuces - 12 ounces
Basil, thyme, lemon balm, chives - Just a few sprigs, enough to make an herby viniagrette
Beets - 8 ounces? I didn't weigh them, just thinned a few, then incorporated them into our dinner plan.
Eggs - 10!
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Today's Take - 7/4/13

Happy, happy Independence day to you, 'Murica!

I spent much of my day of freedom bushwhacking Scotch Broom and blackberries in the chicken yard, followed by a few hours spent curled up in a ball of pain because I accidentally ingested the teensiest bit of coconut oil in the form of a dollop of canned whipped cream on top of my fancy coffee beverage. Coconut and palm oils are the darling of the Paleo/GF diet movement, and therefore are now showing up in EVERYTHING. Booo.....! :\

Anyhoo, before agony struck, we managed to haul in -

Russian Red Kale - 15 ounces
Eggs - 7
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Basil - 2 ounces
Oregano - 3 ounces
Rose petals, Hollyhocks, snapdragons, borage & lavender (for soap, tea & potpourri)- Handful of each

 The greens bed that giveth and giveth :)

First Minnesota Midget Melon blossoms! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Today's Take - 7/3/13

Nuttin' fancy today, but the Kalepalooza marches on!

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 6 ounces
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 7

By the way - I noticed the very first blossom on our pumpkin plants yesterday. Wahoo!

Today's Take - 7/2/13

Besides taking from the garden, I gave a little too, finally putting in the chamomile and calendula that I started indoors Way back When. 

(By the Way, if the text/font in my posts looks Whacky, the sudden death of my dubble-you and kyoo keys are to blame. I'm having to past letters in When auto-correct doesn't catch my drift. Oh, bother...)

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 12 ounces
Lavender - 4 ounces
Goat Milk - 1/2 Gallon
Eggs - 6

Monday, July 1, 2013

Today's Take - 7/1/13

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound (2.99*)
Buttercrunch Lettuce - 11 ounces (2.49*)
Romaine - 12 ounces (4.99*)
Basil - 1 ounce (2.49*)

Eggs - 10 (found those hidden Guinea eggs, 2 days worth anyway...) (4.29*)
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon (Chardy still sneak-feeds Bramble, so her output is pretty slim.) (10.38*)

*Prices based on similar, comparable, organic products at Ralphs Thriftway (, our neighborhood grocery store. $27.63! Not too shabby for a day's take on a little hobby farm. ;)

Today's Take - 6/30/13

Russian Red Kale - 14 ounces
Lavender - 6 ounces
Greek Oregano - 4 ounces
Eggs - 4 (Somewhere there is a hidden nest of Guinea eggs that runneth over. D'oh!)

Oregano, Lavender and a lone little volunteer Hollyhock flower 

I'm hanging the herbs and flowers to dry this week, as it is too durn hot for this Washingtonian girl to even consider firing up the food dehydrator. So I have half a dozen little rubber-banded bundles of lavender and oregano hanging on on unused picture hangers and oddly placed nails here and there around the living room and pantry. 

Six ounces of lavender isn't all that much of a harvest, but Billy's honeybees are so digging the stuff right now that I was reluctant to take any more. Maybe next week if the plants are still going strong.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Our First Harvest of Summer 2013!

It wasn't the most exciting or enormous haul, but I'm still glad to be growing (and eating!) my own food again. :)

Today's Take -

French Breakfast radishes, greens included - 5 pounds, 2 ounces
Cherry Belle Radishes, greens included - 6 pounds, 9 ounces

My mighty haul!

The biggest single radish of both varieties weighed in at 7 ounces! These babies were beasts, I tell you!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Garden Update - 6/18/13

Well, things are finally getting going out there!

The radishes are ready to harvest, in fact we had a few in our salad this past weekend. The flavor difference from a packaged salad radish (or for that matter, any grocery store radish) is insane. They are crispy and sweet, and even the greens are good in salad. Hooray for tasty veg that grows in just 3 weeks!

Our lettuces and red kale also are really filling out. It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I was fretting pretty hard that we wouldn't get much of anything this year. I'm very glad to have been wrong.

The corn and sunflowers are both about 6 inches high, and still need to be thinned. Same goes for the tomato bed, I need to reduce the plants in there by about half. The zucchini also need spacing out. Somebody went a little nuts and planted like 20 plants. I sure hope the pigs like zucchini!

Several of the purchased tomato plants have started setting fruit, but none are ripe yet. I'm drooling over those Sungolds though - can't wait for them to color up.

Our beets - golden, bulls blood, cylindra and sugar (fodder) - have all grown exponentially in the past week. Which means that I'm going to have to make some goat cheese soon so that we can enjoy a whole lotta beet salad this Summer.

The cantaloupes are still on the fence. They may make it, they may not. I still don't know why they took the transition so badly, but oh well. Maybe next year I'll just wait and direct sow them.

Anyway - overall, things are looking really good! Man, have I missed having a proper garden. Thanks to my boo for busting his booty to build us one this year. xoxo

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New in the Garden Today - 6/8/13

Mostly stuff that I bought at the school plant sale that I have had sitting on my back deck for about a month. Oops-a-daisy!

Just planted -

Scarlet's bean tee pee, the structure of which was with some hazelnut bush/shrub prunings. Climbing up the side, soon to provide us with beans galore -
Blue Lake green beans - 2
Scarlet Runner Beans - 3

Elsewhere in the garden -

Garlic Chives - 1
Sea Holly - 2
Daylily - 1
Rosemary - 1
Rhubarb (Victoria) - 1
Lemon Balm - 1

Needs thinning and dividing -

Yukon Chief Sweet corn (2 beds worth, soon to be divided among 3 beds)
Cocozelle Zucchini (1 bed, soon to be 2)
Sugar beets (thinned)
Carrots (thinned)

Slowly but surely, it's coming along! :)

In other happy news - our Guinea hens are finally laying! Or at least one of them is. Bill noticed a couple of smallish, pointyish eggs scattered hither and yon, just outside the run where our beautiful but misunderstood rooster, Sir Roscoe Peckins used to live. The Guineas have had a major crush on Peck since the first day they arrived. Alas, their dreamboat left today for a happy new life at A Stones Throw Farm. Bon voyage, Pecky-poo, and - be nice.

And now for something completely different, for my last outdoorsy chore of the day, I am going to go and attempt to draw something magically beautiful on our new, coop chalkboard.

Scarlet says that we should write "Welcome to Boggy Hollow", but I think it might be nice to write a welcome note to our soon to arrive house guests. I guess we'll see who wins! ;)

Friday, June 7, 2013

How Does My Garden Grow? Organic & Slow!

Being under-experienced and a little slow on the draw in terms of getting the garden infrastructure in has pushed back our garden progress a bit this year. Nonetheless - we do indeed have some progress to report!

New in the garden this week -

*Everbearing Raspberries - 2 (The deer always eat these, so I don't know why I bother. They were an impulse buy at the school plant sale.)
*Scarlet Runner Beans - 6

Just popped up/now in bloom -

*Pumpkins, Zukes, Cukes, Carrots & Sweet Corn
*All 4 apple trees have teeny baby fruits on them, as do the pear, the plum and the sour cherry trees. Yay!
*Marion berries are just now blooming.
*Roses are all in bloom.

About to bloom -

*Hidcote (English) Lavender

Still need to plant -

*Rhubarb - 2
*Sea Holly - 2
*Bald Hip Rose - 1
*Lemon Balm - 1

It remains to be seen if any of those will get into the garden before the houseguests arrive. We have a crap ton of cleaning to focus our energy on first!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

April/May Crafting Totals

Dishcloths - 11 ($4/ea)
Baskets - 1 ($4/ea)
Re-milled, homemade lavender goats milk soap - 4 bars ($5/ea)
Key hook - 1 ($15/ea)
Coat hook - 1 ($18/ea)
Engraved silver spoon plant tags - 18 ($3/ea)

For a grand total of.... $155. Not bad, but still just barely half of what I'd hoped to knock out in 61 days. What can I say? The garden took every spare minute we had. Maybe when things settle down again after the early Fall harvests I'll finally get my soap-making, dishcloth-knitting, spoon-whackin' booty in gear?

New in the Garden - 6/2/13

After a long day spent up in Puyallup at the Mother Earth News Fair learning about farming and gardening, we came home and... farmed and gardened. Here's what we got in the ground today -

Cantaloupes, Minnesota Midget Melons - 14
Borage - 1 seedling, plus 1 pack of seeds
Hungarian Blue Bread Poppies - 1 pack of seeds
Yarrow - 1
Coneflower - 2
Calendula - 1/2 packet of seeds
German Chamomile - 1/2 packet of seeds

Planted last week-

Yukon Chief Corn - 2 beds
Assorted Carrots (Atomic Purple, Nantes Scarlet, Little Fingers, etc,) - 1 bed
Assorted Squash (zucchini, Burgess Buttercup, Yellow Crookneck, Lemon Cucumbers) - 2 beds
Assorted Pumpkins (Small Sugar, Cinderella, Williams Naked Seeded) - 1 bed

Just popped up -

Sunflowers, cylindrical beets & sugar beets.

Newly murdered -

3 radishes, 1 pea plant and one red kale, courtesy of Blue, the pigheaded goat. Grrrr...! : (

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Garden Grows

Today, between rain showers, I planted:

Tomatillos - 2
Tomatoes - 20 +/- (It was A LOT)
Sweet Basil - 7
Russian Red Kale - 6
Buttercrunch Lettuce - 6
Red (something?) Lettuce - 6

I also noticed that a few of the lettuces and kale that I planted from starts were bouncing back a bit - thank goodness. I feel like the mistake I made was to plant them on too sunny a day, near mid-day, and the poor little buggers just couldn't hang in there until the sun was low enough for me to give them a hearty watering. Hence the replacements/supplements that were shoehorned in today.

I also noticed today that some of my radishes are starting to pop up. Hooray for near-instant gratification!

Yesterday I planted a bed full of sunflowers - half Miriam Edibles and half Giant Greystripe. That makes 4 1/2 beds planted, 11 1/2 left to go. OY.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we'll get the bean teepee in (Scarlet runners and blue lakes), and possibly the cantaloupe as well.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Getting the Garden In - A Looooong Work in Progress

On Mother's Day weekend, we moved the (not terribly helpful) pigs back to their pen from the garden space. We'd moved them in there the week previous, hoping that they'd root up the grass in the garden space in a jiffy. One week later, a little bit of nothing had changed. So we powered on ahead. Bill & Olivia dropped the 18 raised bed frames in to place and attempted to smother the remaining grass within the bed spaces with a thick mulch of goat poopy straw.

The "garden mix" soil that we bought (1/3 topsoil, 2/3 mushroom compost) was delivered last Monday, and the laborious task of hauling it, one wheelbarrow at a time, from the front yard to the lower pasture, has been s-l-o-w. We've got four of our 3'x12' beds filled with soil, and just two of them planted. An underwhelming amount accomplished, yet I still managed to get a sunburn.

So, for the record, we have the peas, radishes, greens and beets in now. We also have a few strawberry plants in, but I hope to eventually fill a whole bed with them, so I'll need another good dozen to get the job done. Looks like I'll be hitting up the Farmers Market this weekend for the strawberries, basil and other starts which I didn't/couldn't start myself. The one year that Spring arrives on time and we're running late - d'oh!

Monday, April 29, 2013

On the Excitement of Installing Package Bees into Hives

Chelle was kind enough to get me my veil, smoker, gloves and hive tool for Christmas this last year and I've been reading everything that I can ever since.  I built my own hives (not works of art but serviceable) and covers, fenced in a spot up the hill where there would be plenty of sun.  I watched every Youtube video I could find on beekeeping for top bar hives, went to a talk at the library and attended a meeting of the Olympia Beekeepers Association.  But, in many ways like fishing, nothing prepares you like doing it.

The bees look very small in their package on the way home from Tarboo Valley Bees.  Scarlet talks to them and we spray them with sugar water from time to time to keep them calm and they sit on the front porch while I install the hives and wait for the weather to warm up.  After a beautiful warm and sunny week the weekend turns cold on us and the bees don't really care for the cold.

So the time comes and I take the bees up the hill with two mason jar feeders and my smoker.  I have my veil and gloves on, start the smoker and give the bees a couple puffs.  The drone of their buzzing goes up a few notes and notches in the volume department.  That's when my heart starts.  I take one package to the hive on the right (since named "Sweet Combs" by Scarlet) and remove the can of sugar water.  Some bees invariably fly out of the package.  I then carefully move over the queen cage and pull it up and start brushing bees off of the queen cage with my gloved hands.  The gloves are a bit too big but I'm kind of grateful for that at this point.  My heart is hammering but I'm telling myself to go slow, breathe through my nose and be calm.

I hang the queen between bars four and five and then turn my attention to the rest of the bees.  I try to just set the package into the hive but it doesn't really fit so I do what I've seen on Youtube and wack the package firmly against the ground, lift it over the hive, turn it over and start dumping bees into the hive.  Now they are flying everywhere and I'm trying to get the top of the hive closed without squishing them.  I'm anxious and excited.  As small as they look in their package now they seem huge, buzzing around and hanging from their wings in the air that's threatening rain.

I put the cover on the hive and go over to the second hive (Named "Honey House" by Olivia) and with a little more confidence go through the same procedure but upon taking the queen cage out I'm saddened to see that the poor girl is dead.  This gets my attention not the least of which because I've heard that a queenless colony is often grumpy so again my heart gets beating.  I stay calm though, shake the package into the hive and close up shop.  Later that day I would retrieve a new queen who we would keep under a cardboard box, in her cage with attending bees, in the kitchen.  The next day I went back up the hill and took out the old queen cage (which I put back in on the advice of the folks I bought her from) and replaced it with the new queen.  Everything went pretty smooth so I felt pretty happy with myself and closed up shop and then remembered what I forgot.

That is, to take the cork out of the new queen's cage so that when they eat the candy they can get her out.  At this point I'm glad I still have smoke in the smoker and dive back in again.  The bees weren't so happy this time though and though I tried to move quickly by the end of it they were dive bombing my helmet and telling me that they were unhappy.  I got things closed back up after fighting with the cork to get it out and sighed with relief a bit walking down the hill.  I had accidentally squished some bees in my haste and know that I can't do that again, you don't want to accidentally kill any bees and especially not the queen.

I learned a few things from all of this.  First, make sure you go up the hill to work the bees with a plan.  They have enough patience for you to work with them if you're confident, focused and soft of working WITH them.  If you make a mistake they are liable to get a little testy.  Second, I didn't get stung so they are as docile as I have heard, at least for now.  It's very very hard to describe the sense of anxiety associated with the thought of being stung.  I'd almost rather it just happened and got over with.  At the same time though after going through hell to get to WA from CA you can tell that they welcome your presence and help.  If anything they have been very very patient with me at the start of this adventure.  Here's to hoping that continues!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today's Take & Seeds Started Indoors - 4/27/13

The first three flats of veggies that I started on the seedling heat mats (tomatoes/tomatillos, peas and lettuces/kale) have graduated off of the mats and are now under the grow lights without any supplemental heat.

In their place on the mats I just started one flat each of German Chamomile, Calendula and Minnesota Midget Melons (cantaloupes). The melons are a big experiment. We've never had much luck with the traditionally Southern, sun-loving crops like melons and peppers, but decided to gamble a whole three bucks on this short-season variety. They're supposed to take just 70 days from seed to fruit, and I figure that if folks in Minnesota can get these badboys to grow, I stand a decent enough chance at having at least a few make it.

As for the flowers - those are primarily for tea and soapmaking. I hope that they both make it, but I'm especially excited about the Calendula. Orange is my absolute favorite color for flowers. I challenge you to look out on a patch of verdant, colorful veggies, surrounded by sunny orange flowers and not feel happy. Can't be done. ;)

On a completely separate note, today was the day that we said goodbye to sweet misses Hop & Hope, Chardonnay's two "big girls".

Liberty & Hope, February 2012

Hop & Barley, February 2011

The girls went together, to a wonderful little family in a home on some acreage. They will provide companionship, entertainment, weed eating services and delicious fresh milk, hopefully for many years to come. 

The gals' leaving us means that we have just two more kids who will be moving on before too much longer, leaving us with our new, lean and mean herd - Blue, Chardonnay, one of Chardy's doelings who is not yet named, Sidney, Sophie and Buckley. We were hoping to sell Buckley, but we've had no interest yet. Maybe in the Fall?

This Spring has been a real doozy, full of goat-centric drama, so as much as we'll miss the sweet faces of our babies that have moved on, we are also pretty relieved to have scaled the herd (and the feed costs) back to a manageable number.

As if all that weren't enough excitement for a single day on the farm, today is also the day that we finally picked up our honeybees!

We now have two hives of Italian honeybees in our waaaaay back forty. Upon installing the bees in their hives, Bill discovered that one of the queens (you get one per colony) had died. Not good. 

We were fortunate that the folks who sold us our bees are good, honest people who stand behind the critters they sell, and had no qualms at all about giving us a replacement queen, which Bill picked up this evening and will install in the morning. The reason that the queen died is unclear, but it isn't a super uncommon occurrence, so we're not going to sweat it. 

So - minus two goats, plus 40,000 (give or take) honeybees and plus three flats sewn of future fruits and flowers. That, my friends, is one heck of a productive day in these parts. Time for farmer Chelle to kick back with a well-earned (in my humble opinion) bowl of ice cream and a Netflix. ;)


Meet the newest residents of the Hollow, 40,000 honeybees. :)

We're installing them in their hives now. The rain is not ideal, but we're hopeful that we've made the transition as easy as possible for them. As soon as the weather clears, these gals had better get busy visiting our fruit trees!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Critter Update - 4/20/13

Today four baby goats went to new homes! Both of Sophie's kids, Sidney's boy and Hope/Liberty's (I can't keep them straight) girl. The folks who took the goaties brought us a few chicks too. We now have six Light Brahma/Americauna chicks being fostered by our silver-laced cochin, Lacy.

Since kid-fest '13 began, we've sold 1 doe in milk and six babies so far. Hop & Liberty are on hold for another family, pending Hop's little guy's successful weaning, and one little wether and one little doeling are earmarked for one of the hub's co-workers, who will be trading us turkeys for the two kids.

Since Sid & Soph are still well in-milk, we'll start our much-anticipated milking tonight. Chardonnay, who was the last to deliver, is still nursing her twins for another few weeks, but will eventually also be a milker for us this year.

I can't wait to make cheese, soap and cajeta again with our milk, and I'm sure the pigs are looking forward to having a belly full of milk-soaked bread and pastries each evening for dinner too.

Besides the joy that is the influx of milk made available to us by weaning off and selling a few babies, I also  very much appreciate the reduced feed and hay bill, and the lessened impact on our pasture. At our fertility/baby boom peak, we had 20+ goats on this little piece of property, which is waaaaay more than it could sustain. We're grateful to the babies for bringing their Mamas into milk for us, but we don't plan on keeping more than one this year. It'll be one of Chardy's babies, who are so identical that I can't tell one from the other. Pictures forthcoming!

Friday, April 12, 2013

First (Late) Veggie Starts of 2013

What can I say? The fact that anything got started at all is pretty close to miraculous at this point. ;)

Germinating away on the seedling heat mats -

*One flat of mixed greens - Mervielle d'Quatre Saisons lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, Cimmaron lettuce and Russian Red kale

*One flat of assorted tomatoes/tomatillos - Tomatillos Verde, Black Cherry tomatoes, Roman Speckled Paste, Silvery Fir Tree

*One flat of peas - 12 of Mammoth Melting. 12 of Lincoln Homesteader.

...and that's it, so far. I'll have to start a lot more inside if we don't get a break in the rain soon. Urggg...

Update 4/15/13 - Peas & greens are starting to pop up! We only spotted one lonely little tomatillo sprout so far though,. Hopefully we'll see more sprouts tomorrow, and by this weekend we'll be able to move them off the seedling heat mats and put them under the lights. Yay for homegrown! :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

February/March Crafting Totals

Knits -

Fingerless Mitts - 2.5 pair ($18/ea)
Bike Helmet Earmuffs - 3 pair ($15/ea)
Dishcloths - 5 ($4/ea)
Small Baskets - 2 ($5/ea)

Total - $120

I missed my goal of $5 per day by kind of a lot, but considering that most of the last half of February I was zonked out from knee surgery, I suppose it's not really all that bad.

The Easter bunny brought me a few cute skeins of yarn, so we'll have to see what those end up telling me that they want to be. ;)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Seeds for 2013

...or seed candidates, anyway. We'll have to see how many of these badboys make the final cut, since, regrettably, we do not have infinite garden space.

Tomatoes - Paw Paw, Speckled Roman Paste, Silvery Fir Tree, Black Cherry

Tomatillos - Toma Verde

Melons - Minnesota Midget Melon

Flowers - Calendula, Rocket Larkspur, Borage, Hungarian Blue Bread Poppies

Herbs - German Chamomile, Mammoth Dill, Bouquet Dill, Thai Holy Basil, Slow Bolt Cilantro

Carrots - Nantes Scarlet (guess who picked that one!), Royal Chantenay, Atomic Red, Red-Cored Chantenay, Little Fingers

Peas - Mammoth Melting, Lincoln,

Radish - Cherry Belle, French Breakfast

Beets - Cylindra, organic sugar

Cucumbers- Delikatesse, Homemade Pickles, Lemon

Fennel - Sweet Florence

Beans - Golden Wax improved, Kentucky Wonder, Cannellini

Corn - Yukon Chief

Summer Squash - Early White Bush Scallop, Cocozelle (zucchini), Early Prolific Straightneck

Winter Squash/Pumpkins - Small Sugar Pumpkin, Cinderella, Burgess Buttercup, Williams Naked Seeded, Hokkaido Stella Blue

Sunflowers - Giant Greystripe, Miriam Edible

Salad Greens - Arugula (rocket), Cimmaron, Buttercrunch, Merveille de Quatre Saisons, Rouge d'hiver, Red Romaine

Hardy Greens - Russian Red Kale, Chinese Kale, Pak Choi

These are all of the seed packets that I could dig up, yet this seems like not quite enough to be my whole stash. Hmmmm.....

In addition to all of these, it is pretty much guaranteed that I will pick up a few starts from the Farmer's Market, once it's open. I guess I can't control myself. :\

Friday, March 22, 2013

Today's Take - 3/22/13

We had a hard frost overnight. Just when you think Winter is really gone...BAM!

*Eggs - 6
*Foraged - a handful each of stinging nettles and dandelions

Monday, March 18, 2013

Today's Take & Critter Update

Well, it appears that we may have two goat mamas left to kid instead of just one. Brother...

Scarlet & her bud, Thea, were checking out the baby goats and new piggies, when they saw Blue sitting all by her little self in the middle of the pasture. They went by to say hi and said that they swear they saw kicking in her ever-rotund belly. My knee is well enough now that I can take an occasional hike up to goatlandia, and so off I went to check out my Bluey girl. I wish I'd taken a picture! Her girth alone might not have been enough to convince me that she was pregnant, but a gander at her lady-region has me feeling pretty confident that she's extremely pregnant.

Our permanently portly, Princess Blue

She didn't have any discharge happening, but, as happens with most extremely pregnant animals, it looked like her bum-bum was going to explode. :\ We definitely didn't plan for her to ever kid again, but if all of this is just fat, well, then I'm really worried about her, because then the bulging-bum-thing would require a visit to Dr Natalee to see what on earth is happening inside of Blue.

Chardy is also nice and fat, and pretty well bagged up, but no discharge yet, so, going by her history, she has at least another 24-48 hours to go yet.

The piggies have settled in well. In less than 24 hours they managed to root up all of the grass that had been growing in their pen. They also inhaled the slops I made for them, which featured such culinary delights as Kid Milk Replacer, freezer-burned apple slices and onion bagels. Yummmm!

The Guinea hens have settled in well too. They are in their own closed section of the coop for now, until they know for sure that this is home. Some websites suggested that I leave them in for up to 6 weeks before letting them out to free range. Boy, that seems like a lot to me, but then again I'd hate to see them up and fly off on their first time out. We'll leave them in for a few more days at least. No eggs yet from the Guineas either. I sure hope that we get a few before Easter. How cool would that be? ;)

Today's take-

*Eggs - 6

Piggies, Birds and Disbud-a-palooza

This was a very full weekend for the residents of Boggy Hollow. First of all, two of us turned a year older, which, hot on the heels of a knee replacement surgery does not tend to make one feel Spring Chicken-y, generally speaking.

In addition to the clicks on the odometer, we managed to cram a whole lot of farm stuff into those 48 hours.

Firstly, Bill finished building a pig pen and pig house on the site of our first (completely flopped) garden, in the bottomland. Plants didn't grow well there, but we're hoping that piggies will.

Secondly, we bought ourselves some piggies. We got two gilts and a barrow, also known as two girls and a castrated male, 6 1/2 weeks old and already weighing 30-odd pounds apiece. They are mutts, essentially, being primarily Berkshire/Duroc crosses, with a little Yorkshire somewhere in the mix way back. They're fairly mellow little things, who managed to root up the grass in their newly built yard in a single evening.

Against the advice of some, Scarlet has decided to name this motley lot Baykin, Porkchop (Choppy) and Prosciutto (Shootie). I personally have no doubt that any inadvertent sentimentality for these gals & guy will go out the window just as fast as the first whiff of frying bacon (or Baykin) finds its way to my kids' snoots.
These will not be the first animals that we have harvested for food on this farm, but these will be the first that we will have raised for expressly that purpose. I certainly hope that knowing that going in will make it that much easier to harvest and eat these lil' oinkers. For the record, the pigs cost us $95/each. 95x3= $285

As if our dances with pork weren't enough for one weekend, we also were gifted a pair of strikingly pretty/odd Guinea hens. These gals are useful in guarding and alerting our chickens to the presence of the nasty coyote who killed Cotton and who keeps dropping by. I'm not sure if they'd defend our flock or just raise the alarm about a predator in the vicinity, but either way, these gals are a very welcome addition to our rag-tag flock.

Per Wikipedia, Guinea fowl are voracious consumers of fleas, ticks, lice and other insect pests, and will keep your coop and garden relatively bad bug-free. That's a pretty sweet deal, no? I have to admit that I'm also quite in love with their super-cool polka dot plumage. I think that Bill could tie some really cool flies with those feathers!

And as if that weren't enough to fill up a weekend, we also enlisted some help getting our 9 baby goats vaccinated, disbudded, and (where applicable) castrated. The gal who came out to do the deed was kind enough to show Billy the ropes, so that maybe next time we can do the disbudding and banding all by ourselves. For the record, the gal charged $15 per kid for the disbudding/vaccination (with our meds)/castration. x9= $135

Just to clarify, because I feel kinda like I need to justify our descision to disbud, we personally do not care at all whether our goats have horns, but since we're looking to sell these kids to folks, possibly within Olympia city limits, where horned goats aren't allowed, we thought it prudent to go ahead and have the babies dehorned. We also went ahead and castrated all of the bucklings, since one uncontainable buck is plenty for this little farm, thankyouverymuch.

So, that was our weekend. Even with having had goats and a whole mess of chickens for years now, something about bringing pigs and exotic birds into the fold makes this farming-thing suddenly seem super legit. I am going to do my level-best to keep good, accurate records about how much this pig adventure costs us, and how much meat we end up with for our trouble. I'm really, really hoping that between excess goat milk, bakery outlet scores and garden/kitchen scraps, that we'll be able to feed these pigs up, on the cheap. Come harvest time, which we guesstimate will be in August or September, I'll have to crunch the numbers and see how much this experiment cost us. More importantly though, will be whether or not this pork tastes ho-hum or crazy delicious.

Only time will tell!

Today's take:

Eggs - 8

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Today I finally managed to work myself up to making the trek to the goat yard, so that I could eyeball the lassies for myself and see if I could figure out who was pregnant.

Bill thinks that they all look a little too thin, which tends to happen after a cold Winter eating past-its-prime hay. To my eye, they look in fine flesh, especially blue who is built like a barrel.

My best guess (because it is only a guess) about who's pregnant - Chardy looks pregnant, but not "ready to go", Hop is *maybe* pregnant, and Sidney looks pregnant, though not bagged up, but I did see a little discharge on her lady bits, so I don't know whether she's pregnant and getting close (though not yet bagged) or just fat and in heat.

Time will tell! Between 8 does, I can only hope that we end up with at least one milker!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


We're definitely, finally raising a few hogs come this Spring. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about pig breeds, husbandry, nutrition, etc., which is unfortunately a woefully small number of books. Our local library system had a whole four books on the subject, two of which I'm reading, and two of which I have on hold. I'm surprised and bummed by the lack of information that I've been able to find locally.

With the reading that I have been able to do, I've hit upon a few breeds that really intrigue me - the Kune Kune, the Saddleback and the Chester White. Not that we'll end up with any of these breeds! Looking at Craiglist, it appears to be a sea of Yorkshires, Hampshires, Berkshires or some mixture thereof available in my area and not much else. So I guess we'll get what we get!

Anyhoo - if you have a favorite breed or a hot tip on raising pigs for meat, give me a shout. I'm hungry for more information (and also, some bacon.) ;)