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18 lambs and counting…we have one ewe who hasn’t given birth

We try hard to not have our lambs until the weather warms up a bit here in Walla Walla. We don’t really have an enclosed barn for our ewes, just a few open ended horse stalls. And the ewes don’t want to be in a horse stall anyway. They want to be out in the far end of the field when they give birth. And catching ONE ewe right before she gives birth is nigh impossible on our farm. We want them to have as natural an experience as possible, keeping ourselves out of the picture and letting nature lead the way. But that means NOT having babies in January, when there is snow on the ground. 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 »

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 »

PearHarvest

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 »

I’ve become like a crazy cat lady, except for I’m a crazy turkey lady. I stand in the poultry pen and talk to Charlie, and tell him to show me what he’s got. And he does. So fun.

FancyFeathers

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Can you find the chicken in this picture?
bluesprucechicken
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IrisRoseColor

I’m personally a big fan of traditional blue/purple iris, but this one is just stunning. It’s been fun to see what all the colors in the yard are. Evidently, Walla Walla had a famous Iris breeder for a lot of years, and many yards here locally bear the results.

Yup, right now everyone seems to be living in peace and harmony. We’ll see how long it lasts. No one has gotten stuck in a fence this week.

We managed to trim the feet of Elmo, the one goat who we will keep (as a gift) from my friend whom the other goats are on loan from. Elmo (recently renamed Molly) was a rescue and her feet were way overgrown. Trimming feet is definitely a two-person job, and we’ll have to do it every week for a month or so, removing a little bit more each time, until they are back to normal. She took it pretty well.

The young sheep are growing fast! Soon it will be time to ween them. Read the rest of this entry »

Rabbits and ducklings and goat (heads), oh my.

Here’s an update on the goings on at Miles Away Farm.

AnconaDucklings

Seriously, could we be any cuter?

The three turkeys (Bourbon Red’s – heritage breed – same species Barbara Kingsolver raised in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) and 16 Ancona ducklings (they sent one extra) arrived last Wednesday. I bought them from Strombergs, and they mailed them out Monday morning from Minnesota. The Post Office called me about 9:00 am Wednesday morning to say “come get them”. They were all fine, and hungry, and seemingly none the worse for wear, which never ceases to amaze me. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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