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Nothing much to say

December 1, 2009
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The weather has been incredible for this time of year – we are soaking it up.  Which means I haven’t completed my canning goal, or dried up the cow.  I’ll just wait for a rainy day, in Western Oregon you don’t usually have to wait too long for that.

Here’s our day through the camera lens.

Breathtaking December sunrise.


Sheep on orchard clean-up duty.

Red-tailed Hawk pair.

Back to the woods to get the rest of the firewood.

Sniffing coyote pee, no doubt…

Move the cows to a fresh paddock.

Harvest a few roots.

Must be good, the voles have been taste testing.

The end – just as colorful as the beginning.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2009 12:12 am

    Beautiful, Nita! What’s it all for if not to enjoy? I keep forgetting you have sheep…do you raise them mainly for the meat, or for the wool? Last question, Kaleb’s leg fringes keep picking up cockleburrs EVERY trip outdoors…do you have to brush M&T’s frequently to keep debris out of the longer hairs? Inquiring Aussie owner wants to know 🙂

    • December 2, 2009 6:21 am

      Robbyn, we raise the sheep mainly, for, uh, nothing. Too many things wanting to eat them that don’t want to pay. These girls get to live out their lives here, we decided to not breed them anymore, but they do a dynamite job of mowing around buildings etc, because they can eat the grass sooooo short. People really like to buy grassfed lamb, and if you don’t have predator problems, they can be pretty trouble free.

      As for the dreadlocks – Melvin keeps his groomed to a fault, and Trace looks like Jack Sparrow! Both get scissor jobs once in awhile, and occasional brushing – I know – bad dog owner!

      • December 2, 2009 12:25 pm

        LOL! Jack Sparrow! I’ve called them dreads, but that one takes the cake. Our little cocker mix is a mess. I too have to take the scissors to her. That’s pretty amazing that Melvin keeps his dreads groomed out.

        • December 2, 2009 1:28 pm

          Diane, Melvin grooms himself about every 5 minutes, and a cocklebur (the cockleburs here are burdock and are quite large) in his fur sends him into hiding. Sensitive guy! Trace could care less!

  2. Marcia in Wyoming permalink
    December 2, 2009 4:39 am

    Beautiful pictures…envy your cows still on pasture. We are feeding hay now at least to the sheep herd and Molly milk cow and her calf – horses still have some pasture. Enjoy your nice weather – we got a couple of inches of snow yesterday and it’s about 4 above now..no heater in the milk barn..darn! Marcia

    • December 2, 2009 6:28 am

      Marcia in WY, it’s been freezing every night but getting up to 40 during the day, I may start today taking hay with me, I am moving to the worst part of the pasture in about two days. Della has been getting hay every day for awhile while I milk, they are predicting snow this weekend – which I guess is inevitable this time of year. I’m glad we don’t get as cold as you – I think the worst thing here is the dampness, it feels cold. My hubby is from Montana and he thinks 25 here feels like about 5 there because our humidity is pretty high in the winter. I have no idea, since I am a mossback 🙂

      I have question for you – do you have to dig and store all your mangels? I switched to parsnips because they don’t have to be dug until I need them. I’m too lazy 🙂

      • Marcia in Wyoming permalink
        December 2, 2009 7:08 am

        We tried mangles this year for the first time – didn’t get them in on time and planted them way too close – but we did get a fair amount – some pretty good sized. We ended up pulling them all and feeding them this fall. Molly cow LOVES them – will bellow at you if you don’t get them to her on time. I think we will try again next year – earlier and farther apart. I have had success with wintering carrots and parsnips in the ground with at least 2 feet of hay/straw cover so I think we’ll try that with the mangels – do you think that will work? About sheep and predators – we have 29 (soon to be a lot less) Navajo-Churro sheep. Our guard llama is a very good protector against the many coyotes here but I don’t think he’d do too well against mountain lions (cougar to you – funny how that is), bears and/or wolves – which have been reported in the area.

        • December 2, 2009 7:19 am

          I wondered – we have plenty of grass in the fall, so I need winter feed for Della. But our mangels got too big with about a 10 inches above the ground. A huge mess, when they froze and too big to mulch. Also a little more diarrhea too, so I $h*#canned that idea – am still liking the snips and carrots better – although it doesn’t freeze that deep here, I can get away with hilling with about 6 – 8 inches of soil. Straw brings in the voles but you probably don’t have that problem there!

          Golden Eckendorf Mangel did extremely well here – I got the seed from Shumway.

          I never have gotten into the guard animal thing, takes too much extra feed (IMHO). The electric fencing works good with coyotes, but the cougars just jump right over – and they have too much cover here and too much protection from the wonderful voters of the state who feel sorry for them.

        • Marcia in Wyoming permalink
          December 2, 2009 3:06 pm

          Our llama “Ramos” is a very easy-keeper – just hay in the winter and pasture in the summer and he does earn his way..loves the newborn lambs and all of his girls. We have a hunting season (I think – it may be year-round) on mountain lions here also black bear – the griz and wolves are still on the protected list much to the dismay of the locals….

        • December 2, 2009 3:32 pm

          I wondered, as long as he is earning his keep, he’s a keeper 🙂

          The cougars aren’t protected, but are awful hard to find. The law was changed so you couldn’t hunt with dogs, since dogs will tree the big cats. So now the cats have really increased their numbers. The timber is dense here, with lots of cover. I get pretty ticked off when people tell me I need to learn to live them, which in case they haven’t noticed – I do every day. Over Labor Day weekend a cougar was spotted in the large park in Seattle, and the officials closed the park! I wondered why don’t they live with them too? So my family, or livestock is not as important as a town dweller or their pets…

          We do not go into the woods without the dogs, our early warning system.

  3. December 2, 2009 5:49 am

    What kind of sheep do you have? Are they for meat or fiber….I’m thinking that was a stupid question. It’s really beautiful there in your PNW. We are looking for our first snow this weekend! Yikes, I think it’s going to get deep this year.

    • December 2, 2009 6:30 am

      Diane, they are Katahdins, hair sheep, for meat only. But too many cougars around here – so they gals get to be lawn mowers. We are supposed to have snow this weekend too – hoping they are wrong!

  4. December 2, 2009 7:47 am

    Sniffing coyote pee is very, very important!

  5. localnourishment permalink
    December 2, 2009 8:16 am

    Oh, I so miss my Oregon sunrises and sunsets. And seeing the Milky Way. Someday…

    • December 2, 2009 1:53 pm

      Localnourishment, the skies have been absolutely gorgeous! Although the moon has been so bright the stars are barely twinkling 🙂

      • localnourishment permalink
        December 3, 2009 7:45 am

        Thank you for the snowflakes, too. This time of year my heart breaks for home.

  6. December 2, 2009 9:18 am

    What a beautiful day, beginning and ending! I’m sure there was lots of news out there for your puppy…don’t you just wonder sometimes what they learn? I’m sure its more than what we see.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

    • December 2, 2009 1:55 pm

      Linda, I always think it is like reading to them, that particular dog would make a good search and rescue dog – we play hide & seek with them and it is fun to watch their tracking abilities. By about the 3rd time in one day though he gets quite perturbed and lets us know! I guess I have too much time on hands…

  7. sustainableeats permalink
    December 2, 2009 12:22 pm

    Wow – how does a llama guard against mountain lions?

    Nita – do you ever have a problem with the carrots & parsnips rotting in the wet ground? I am hoping to leave mine in over the winter but I live in Seattle, and , well, it’s a mud pit here.

    I still have a bed and a half of them but maybe I should pull ’em up and make kvass and pickles instead. Better safe than sorry. What say you?

    • December 2, 2009 1:36 pm

      SE, I think Marcia meant the llama only protected against coyotes, but I am not sure. Marcia?

      No they roots never rot in the ground unless they freeze, so I cover them with about 6 inches of soil. We get at a minimum 75 inches of rain, so I don’t think rain is the problem. The only thing is that the nantes type carrots (Nelson, Mokum, Napoli)tend to split in the rain. It doesn’t make them rot, but they are a little less appealing to work with in the kitchen. I leave beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, salad turnips, and daikon in the ground with the soil treatment. You could try leaving some, and harvesting some just in case, because I know how bad the worrying can get too 🙂

      ETA: potatoes do rot here in the ground but in the Willamette Valley some CSA’s harvest potatoes too from the row.

      • Marcia in Wyoming permalink
        December 2, 2009 3:19 pm

        No, unfortunately the llama would be no match for any of the big felines or ANY of the ursus family. I have a friend who lives closer to the forest boundary who lost 9 sheep and had a severely injured llama due to a grizzly bear attack. Our llama does however, chase, kick and bite at smaller canines, felines (barn cats) and procyon (raccoons – had to look that one up).

  8. December 2, 2009 7:58 pm

    Don’t have to say much with pictures like those!

  9. Kristen permalink
    December 3, 2009 5:47 am

    Ok…I have a question about the sheep. In the past you have mentioned how you use them to mow for you….do you do anything else with them? Are they for meat as well? Been thinking about getting a couple to add to our farm but not sure what purpose I would use them for besides mowing. I sure don’t want/need a pet…lol :-)..but boy are they cute!

  10. Kristen permalink
    December 3, 2009 5:50 am

    Oops..sorry…just read through the comments and you had already answered the sheep questions. 🙂 It pays to read it all first I guess 😉

  11. December 3, 2009 6:33 am

    gorgeous photos. just gorgeous. especially love the woods… but then, I feel way too exposed here so am hungry for those views. Have my woods nearby, but wish this place wasn’t cleared border to border. Time cures all.

  12. Vicki permalink
    December 3, 2009 12:59 pm

    Hey Nita, Could you share with us what you do about milk products during Della’s dry period?? I think I remember seeing you post something about freezing? What type of containers do you use, how well does raw milk hold up frozen? Just curious.
    Thanks a bunch. I so enjoy your posts, photos and such helpful info. 🙂

    • Kristen permalink
      December 3, 2009 5:35 pm

      I would love to know all of the milk questions as well. I read somewhere to freeze in plastic containers…but isn’t that bad for you?

  13. stinkyfungushands permalink
    December 4, 2009 5:09 am

    Yay yay yay! The snow is back on your page 🙂

  14. December 7, 2009 4:25 am

    I just wanted to say thank you for letting me live vicariously through your blog. I’ve been lurking here for about a year and find your posts motivating…and encouraging. Now that I realized you’re the same throwback from KFC, I had to comment. THANK YOU!

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