Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Washington in pure sunshine

We visited old friends in Kirkland who gave us all their time and help devising a travel plan, and even a place to stay for a few days!

We delivered a finn fleece to someone in Renton-- it would've been easier to mail it, but it was a kick to be going to the state, right near where the fleece needed to go! So we saw a very nice suburban neighborhood, with lovely plantings.

We saw Pike Street Market, bought great fresh produce, ate salmon for lunch. . . and toured the Seattle Aquarium.

We took a ferry across Puget Sound from Edmonds to Kingston, then drove up to the top of the Olympic Peninsula, to Port Angeles. I KNOW we saw sheep farms, or evidence of such critter care. I suggested to DH that we move there and do the same; the green growth everywhere was just so beautiful.

A day on Dungeness Spit fooling around with the masses of driftwood; Dungeness crab for lunch-- a day hiking up Hurricane Ridge--
all in sunshine.

More to follow. . .
Have to learn how to load the new camera's photos into the new laptop!

Mt. Rainier from the plane, coming in

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Going to Washington

The state. For fun, soon!
Any of you sheep bloggers who see this, or even people who just TRAVEL and have good ideas, email me your suggestions about what to see, where to go, please? It will save me research time, and I'll think of you while I try your suggestion.

I spent a winter in Washington, once. Warm and rainy, much better than Minnesota's winter! I remember a rain forest in the north, somewhere. . . and picking shells on a beach in Puget Sound. . . and how people would say "the Mountain is Out today", meaning the skies were clear and Mt. Rainier was visible-- as though a mountain could ever be "in".

I prefer natural wonders more than museums or stores-- way more.
I could drag my fellow travelers to a sheep farm or festival, if I had one in mind.
I might fly there and buy camping eqpt. and donate it all before flying back! It'd be cheaper than hotels, and I LIKE the outdoors.

And what's the weather like now? What do I need to pack?

gvonbargen@aol dot com

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Camera!

DH is the real camera man here, so he bought me a new little camera with 10x zoom. He went out this morning to photograph sheep and sunlight and chickens, just a test run:
Poppy and Lily the orphan twins, almost 10 weeks old, down to a watered-down bottle of milk a day. Darling girls:

Our fine rooster. We used to have two; he won.

He's americauna: a crossbred chicken who sires green-egg laying chicks. I am still waiting for one of our golden Buff Orpington hens to go broody this summer. We need her to hatch some Ancona ducklings for us!

I'm off, now, to do farm chores. It's a beautiful day for working, and I swear, if you aren't cutting it, trimming it, weeding it or painting it on the farm, nature takes it all back while you nap!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Drenching Rain. . .

. . .Came this weekend, with cool, cool temps in the 50s. The heat is back on in the house, hard to believe. Emily is out of school for the summer and is an enthusiastic gardener, so on Friday, her first day off, she and I finished putting in the vegetable garden, at a leisurely pace, like this:
Peppers and tomatoes in, weeds pulled, beets thinned and replanted; let's take a break and pet sheep.
Bottle babies fed, let's put in two rows of peas. Now beans.
Emily loves to weed and putz. Thin kohlrabi, see if we can replant the little ones in a new row! More carrots in, too.
Husband's home. Now let's have dinner. Home-grown chicken that stewed in the crock pot all afternoon, with potatoes and carrots added, gravy made on the stove, umm-mm. Howard will help us pound in fenceposts to prop up a cute picket fence section to let cucumbers crawl UP on, to save room. How about zucchini over here, yellow squash there?
Take in chicken eggs, refill ducks' water.
Finish putting in a long row of wax beans.
Water vegetable garden, admire its orderliness and our hard work.
All Done!
Then the rain came while we slept Friday night. A soaking, quiet rain from the middle of the night throughout Saturday. Perfect.
Sunday, we three unloaded a hay wagon filled last weekend when it was dry. Our next-door neighbor is baling the hay from our land for us this year, so unloading was the easy part we had to do. We unloaded 80 bales last Sunday and moved a new wagon-full into the hay shed, and got around to unloading it this Sunday. 50 degree weather for unloading hay: it never happens. It's always 90 degrees, and at the top of the barn, where the hay is going, it's 100!
This was a blessing, and so nice to see and smell a big wall of that sweet alfalfa/grass hay that will carry over our sheep next winter.
We'll need to put up as much, again, and more, but we're on our way.
I saw another neighbor cutting hay last week and asked him if he wanted to cut and keep the meadow grass hay I have on about 3 acres, along with our ditch hay. He said he'd sure like that-- and I asked if he'd trade us for some time with his bobcat, cleaning out my sheep's lean-to. He agreed. I am so happy! These neighborly trades are just the best, feel-good arrangements when they work.
In order to get the entire north meadow free for haying, I next had to empty an over-large pasture that had two rams in it. My big-horned guys, the only two I have. Four other small-or-no-horns rams were in another pasture for their own protection.

I quickly made a butcher date for one of the horned yearling rams, July, and found two buyers for the meat. . . I took July in this morning, and tonight found me salting his hide for tanning. My husband was working nearby, and I said, "If you'd have told me 7 years ago that I'd be fleshing out a hide thrown over a fence, here, like it was just normal, I don't know if I'd believed it".
He smiled and kept an eye on the last big-horned ram, who found his place in the social order of the new pasture peaceably. Big horns = Top ram.
The sun came out just then, after 3 cloudy, cool days. I'm looking forward to summer and what our gardens will grow.

I'll close with pictures of Finnsheep, Lassi and Eino the ram lamb. Lassi lost her only (first) baby this spring, a crying shame. A pretty ewe with bolder splashes of her light brown color-- piebald, they call it in Finns. Lassi's gone on to be the nice auntie to all the lambs this spring. We really like her, but she is shy of us.