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Robin Eggshell Find

I always feel a bit like a small child who has found a small miracle when I find one of these. From a just hatched robin nest, no doubt.

Today was a perfect day to be a farmer, and a homesteader, and a business woman, and a human alive on the planet. Read the rest of this entry »

American Blackbelly Triplets

Cocoa’s Triplets. Because she is half Soay sheep, her babies tend to have more variation in coloring.

Babies. Boy do we have babies. We have 12 ewes of breeding age, and we ended up with 21 lambs, born from March 2nd through March 23rd. Five sets of twins, two sets of triplets(!), and 5 singles. We weren’t expecting the triplets. One mama, Cocoa, is doing just fine with her three, but the second mama, Maggie, has rejected one of hers. So we have one bottle baby. Of the 21 lambs, 17 of them are male. SEVENTEEN. Seriously?! We have no idea why our sex ratio is so skewed, though something very similar happened the first year we had lamb babies (10 out of 13 were male), and they too were also all born in March. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC08493watermarkWe’ve been working on a lot of spring projects as we wrap up February and move into beloved March. The break is over. Let the craziness of spring begin.

When we moved into this house, built in 1995, it had a front and back deck. The inspector mentioned in his report that both of them needed to be replaced. Well, not only was that obvious (you could see the wood rotting away in places), but in an effort to bring new life into them in order to sell the house, they had been painted a color that I can only describe as mauve. They were poorly designed, not to our taste, and downright hideous. But…so were a lot of things IN the house. Like every single light fixture, and the 1970’s wood stove, complete with orange and avocado green tiles. So it has taken us some time to get to the decks. But this winter, my sweet sweet husband tore off the old front deck (some of it literally using his foot), put in new piers and framing, expanding it considerably, and when the weather and money permitted, worked on getting the new decking in. This one is even attached to the house with actual concrete anchors rather than just nailed into the siding. Read the rest of this entry »

Calamity Jane

Terrible picture with my phone as she wouldn’t let me get close. Calamity Jane in garden.

So I knew Jane (our half wild half domestic turkey named after Calamity Jane) was sitting on a bunch of eggs under the Chinese Cabbage out in the garden. Just about the time I was thinking I needed to check the date to see when she was likely to hatch them, I heard peeping! She only managed to hatch out 5 (out of about 15 eggs) but given the 100+ degree heat in the last month, she did OK. They hatched around August 7th. I’ve left her and the babies out in the garden, away from the rest of the flock. I put out food and water for them, and hope that they all eat squash bugs until there are none left! She’s down to four as of yesterday. It’s not unusual for them to lose a few in the first few weeks. I often think they quite literally lose them as they wander through the tall grass, while the little ones try to keep up. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC07720watermarkIf you’ve been following along for some time now, and have a good memory, you may recall that one of my many other job incarnations, back 15 years ago now, was bird field research. This went on for several years, but it started in the mountains of Arizona, about an hour out of Flagstaff. I (along with about 20 other people) was tasked with “nest searching”. This meant watching birds, figuring out where their nests were, and keeping track of said nest to document success or failure. One of the 26 birds nests we were searching for was the House Wren. I came to love this little bird over the course of the season. Tiny. Boisterous. Nesting opportunistically wherever they could find space. Males and females impossible to tell apart. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20140510_084748watermark

Soaps and toiletries side. First market of the year in May.

Well, June is turning out to be a busy month. I started with the Downtown Walla Walla Farmers market on Saturdays in May. Then on the 4th of June I added the Milton-Freewater afternoon market on Wednesdays and the twilight market on 2nd Street in Walla Walla on Thursdays. Sales have been great. But doing three markets a week is a lot harder than doing two. Especially when my booth at the Walla Walla Thursday market was on the sunny side of the street, on heated black asphalt until the sun dips behind the buildings at about 6:00 pm. Read the rest of this entry »

GarlicSprout

Garlic is UP!

You know, I’ve lived in a lot of different climates, from the ‘over 100 degrees for 5 months of the year’ Arizona desert to the ‘barely a 100 day growing season’ of 7,000 ft Colorado to the balmy languid growing season of Northern California. And no matter where you live, spring can not come fast enough. I’ve been pacing like a large cat in a small cage for weeks, waiting for sunshine and temperatures out of the 40’s. And it’s finally arrived. And it’s not even the middle of March! Read the rest of this entry »

GingerBabyGirl

Ginger, with Beulah, (a girl!) born on the 27th.

We have 9 baby lambs on the ground, from 7 mamas. Only two sets of twins this year, but a better ratio of males to females (4 girls, 5 boys vs last year’s 3 girls and 10 boys). We have one more older sheep, Sin, to go (she was the last one to give birth last spring too). And then we have the three girls that were born last spring, who should also be pregnant. They should be giving birth in late February, at the earliest. Read the rest of this entry »

Butter&BeanJustBorn

Just born. If I saw the ground looking like this, I’d figure there wasn’t enough to eat too. Not sure which one is nursing here. We DO think she fed him for the first day or so.

The title of this post is in honor of all the football playoffs happening today. As in “Da Bears”. This is Bean. As in Little Bean. As in Beanie Weenie. As in the cutest little sheep baby you’ve ever seen. On January 8th, Wallula gave birth to twins, one girl and one boy. The boy was the smaller of the two. At first, everything seemed fine. But after a day or so, we started to see her push him out of the way when he tried to nurse. We put her and the babies in a stall for a couple of days, and secured her head so the little boy could eat 3 or 4 times a day. But she still wasn’t interested in him. Read the rest of this entry »

MaggieBaby5

Newly minted. You can still see the umbilical cord.

On December 28th, we were finally going to make a trek up to Spokane to see my husband’s mom. We were out feeding critters in the early morning before we left, and I look over and see four new little feet. Maggie, one of our American Blackbelly/Soay sheep, has had a baby, and its a boy! We weren’t expecting any babies until late January. Surprise!

MaggieBaby4

Penned up and safe. Shortly after this picture was taken, I watched this little guy make a nest in the hay and lay down. How’s that for instincts!

Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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