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CharlieWishboneI had not planned to end up with 13 turkeys this year. My intention was to raise 3 for ourselves, sell any extra as babies, and then butcher 3 in the fall for our own use, leaving 3 to carry over into next year. So I incubated a batch of eggs in April and thought I was good to go. The girls, Gracie-mae and Peggy-sue, had other ideas. They kept starting nest and brooding, and brooding, and brooding. I did sell a few, and we lost a few to predation, but we ended up with 13 mostly grown turkeys by the time Thanksgiving rolled around. Read the rest of this entry »


A new Japanese maple, planted this summer. The little light dots all over? I call them the blue fuzzy butt gnats. There are about a million of them around right now.

Well, we had the final killing frost on Tuesday the 15th. Tomatoes (which were already cracked from the rain), done. Peppers, done. Summer and winter squash plants, done. Cucumbers, done. Melons, done. Farmer, done.

So here’s the warm season crops I planted this year and how they did (minus the squash and gourds, which I cover in this post, in more detail than you could ever want). Read the rest of this entry »


Pie pumpkins, Spaghetti squash, and a few Sunshine kabocha.

Alternative title – More about Squash than you EVER wanted to know.

Well, we got our first kiss of frost the other night. Just enough to take out the squash vines and make the tops of the pepper plants a little upset. The season really IS almost over. The frost prompted us to pick all of the remaining winter squash, (planted May 13th – hello 4 1/2 month growing season). Frost on the pumpkin might be the romantic image of fall’s arrival, but in reality, more than a light frost can damage the crop you’ve spent the last 4+ months growing. Better safe than sorry.

Read the rest of this entry »

After living in a climate where I was lucky if I got 100 frost free days, it’s such a strange thing to have an entire extra MONTH of growing season here in Walla Walla. And that’s just frost free days. Of course, there’s at least an additional month of growing cool season crops like lettuce and spinach that can take a light frost. Which means that when we do finally get a frost sometime in early October, rather than running around covering everything and trying to eek out a few more days, I just let it come, say “phew” and breathe a sign of relief. Let’s face it, after starting onions from seed indoors around March 1st, I pretty much just keep gardening and after 8 months, I’m bloody tired. Read the rest of this entry »


  • Sometime during the previous fall, haphazardly spread some fresh chicken manure under the trees.
  • Hold onto the perpetual farmer wish for a Goldilocks spring, with not too much and not too little rain.
  • Watch leaves emerge in March and flowers emerge in April. Ponder that you grew up with these trees, yet never noticed until now what the delicate green flowers looked like. Read the rest of this entry »

We bought a new American Black Belly ram last Saturday. We also bought two additional ewes. So we now have 8 females and 1 male, and hope for lots of bouncing baby lambs around mid March next year. We’ve named the ram Pasco (after a local town – we’ve decided to name new sheep after streets and towns in our area).

Charlie, the Tom Turkey, quickly figured out there was another set of rather large testicles in the barn yard, and he wanted to make sure that Pasco knew who was in charge. My husband shot this video. Note how Pasco eventually puts the ewes between himself and Charlie. Wuss. I’m sure he was thinking, “man, that friggen turkey is crazy”. Read the rest of this entry »


A finished chokecherry wine. One of the better wines we’ve made.

For the past 20 years or so, I’ve been lucky enough to live in quite a few towns with microbreweries. Boulder, Fort Collins and Durango Colorado, Missoula Montana, Spokane and Walla Walla Washington. In fact, it was a small brewery in Boulder that taught me that I actually liked beer. Read the rest of this entry »

duckeggsFinally! We found our first duck egg on the morning of the 20th. I had hoped they would start laying around the 9th, but the information you read on when ducks start laying is always given as a range. It depends on the size of the duck and the time of year. For our Ancona ducks, it turned out to be almost exactly 5 months (they were born on April 22nd or 23rd). The next day, we found two eggs. And so far, that’s it in terms of who’s laying, but we have gotten two eggs every day since then. Read the rest of this entry »


Lots of codling moth larvae holes (I didn’t spray anything this year), so not much good for eating, but with the bad parts cut out and the good parts run through the apple grinder and juiced, they will make a fine Perry Cider.

A friend of mine (who I swear is a sister from another mother we are so alike in thought) was lamenting the frustration of wanting every seed to germinate and every seedling to survive, and then the angst of having this not be the way of nature. I would add to this the wish to harvest every single thing you have grown and savor its fleetingness or turn it into something lasting. I mourn every tomato and green bean that has been nibbled on by a slug, even though I have too many tomatoes already, and the green beans are small and not-so-tender and pretty much done for the year. I kick myself for every overgrown cucumber I missed, even though both the chickens and the goats love them, so they don’t go to waste. Read the rest of this entry »


Some from old hens, some from new.

I successfully incubated and raised up 15 new hens this year, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to start laying eggs. I have two customers who buy three dozen eggs a week from me, and in an effort to keep them supplied so I don’t lose them as customers in the winter (once the farmers market ends and I don’t have another outlet to sell eggs), I’ve hardly had any eggs for myself these last few months. So it was with real joy that I found my first “pullet” egg on August 9th. I had expected, based on previous experience, to find new eggs sometime around the 19th, so a few of the girls are ahead of schedule. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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