Thursday, February 25, 2010

More lawnmower blues...

My lawnmower, which I HATE, seems to have finally bit the dust. I had a pro out to look at it yesterday and his conclusion was that the crank was hosed due to overheating - apparently the mower used up it's oil on the last mowing session, and it got low enough the engine overheated, causing the crank to get bound up. So it turns, but just barely. He said I might get it running again, but he couldn't recommend spending much money on it.

So now I'm looking for a nice used mower, hopefully not as used as this one was, to hold us over until we can afford something newer, or we sell the place and move ;) Whichever comes first. Having a working lawnmower would certainly help push back the second option!

Tough Decisions - Copper moves on

Don't send me away, I'll be good!

Tough decision time - I like Copper, he's been a very nice rooster. He is big and beautiful, and well behaved. He gets on fine with the other rooster too. Only problem is, he loves the ladies! A little too much. The ladies are getting tired of getting attention from two roosters. Every time I go check on them I find hens sitting on the chair, or up in the trees, trying to get away from him!

 
He can't reach me up here!

So I decided eight hens just wasn't enough to spread out the attentions of two roosters, so one had to go. Since Copper is related to a couple of the hens, I decided to keep the unrelated rooster, Big Blue. Plus Blue is a cochin and I'm getting cochin chicks in March, so that will give me the opportunity to produce more pure cochins next year.

Surprisingly, I found someone on the Portland Chicken List who has 30 hens and a very tired old rooster, and wanted a vigorous young rooster. So he is boxed up and ready to go to his new home. Hopefully he'll fit right in there, and be making friends with all the new ladies in no time ;)



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Airstream at the Home Show


We went down to the Portland Home & Garden show to check out our Airstream on loan to the Pendleton Woolen Mills for the National Parks Blankets display. They have a wonderful area set up, with lots of neat product, I didn't know they made so many different things, plus lots of wool displays and raw wool. Makes me miss my sheep! But there in the middle is my little gem...



Inside was decorated with blankets and a little dinner set on the table to make it look cozy and inviting. They did a great job!



While we were visiting people were peeking in the trailer, and saying how cute it was. One of the ladies working the booth asked where the bedroom was :) No hidden bedroom in this little trailer - what you see is what you get! The couch pulls out into a bed.

I left them a list of which park blankets I wanted and she said they would leave them in the trailer for us when we come to pick it up on Monday. So it has a long week ahead of being admired! Also the blanket you can see mounted on the wall above it was measured on Tuesday for a world record for the longest blanket. So there have been news crews there filming it. I'm going to watch the local news to see if I see my trailer on TV!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting ready for spring!

I finished installing the new gate to the pasture, did some more work on the fence between the garden and the shelter, and installed a board with pegs to hang my garden tools from under the shelter.

I also went down to the feed store and put a reservation on 10 assorted (buff, red, and blue) cochin chicks :) They don't come until the end of March, so I have time to build a better brooder box for them than my turkeys had last year. More projects, what fun!

And best of all, tomorrow a professional mower repair guy is coming over to try and get the cursed riding mower running again. Instead of finding myself swearing at it when the grass is a foot tall and needs to be mowed yesterday, I thought I would get a head start on it. This way if he says it will never run again, I can start shopping for a good used mower to take it's place. Every year we fall behind when the mower won't run, not this year!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Garden 2010


For the last year or so the paddock area has only been used as a pathway to take the dogs out into the pasture to play fetch, and I have set a little table and chairs under the shelter and I like to sit out there and read and watch the dogs play and watch the world go by.  I decided it was time to make some changes. Since I don't anticipate having livestock again anytime soon, I rearranged the shelter. 

 

I removed the boards off the pasture side, and put them on the paddock side.

 

So now the shelter is open to the pasture. Which leaves the paddock area shut off from the pasture, except for the gated entrances. So that area will be my garden this year, and if all goes well for the next few years.




It's kind of a grassy weedy mess right now, but it was well fertilized by the llamas and sheep so I'm interested to see how this works out. I think I will have better luck planting directly in the ground than I have had in previous years planting in pots or doing an intensive garden. I plan to give my plants lots of room this year.



It doesn't look like much to write home about, but the turned over area along the fence is my row of peas. I planted them there so they could climb up the fence without having to add extra support for them. 
Luckily it's still early in the season, so I have time to get the rest of the area in order. I'm planning to just work up rows where I need them, and kill the grass in the pathways and put down bark chips to walk on. I'm going to use organic fertilizer where needed. I'm hoping to get a good winter crop in this year as well so we can have Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli and Chard, and, using a cold frame, lettuce and spinach all winter. We'll see how that goes. Big plans for someone who can barely produce a few tomatoes every summer!




I opened a section of fence from the main yard into the pasture for doggie access. It's funny how this makes the front yard feel completely different! Look how happy Barclay is to fetch a ball out of the pasture :) I'm going to put a metal gate there so I can still have control over their access. Otherwise they can be real pests about going out in the pasture and barking at the neighbors.

New tires for the van

Last Thursday I drove the van into town to meet my husband at the theater and thought 'boy this thing is riding like..uh..poorly'. Yes, that's what I thought ;) But when I got downtown and Dave and I walked around it, we didn't see anything wrong. So I drove it a couple more days, and then Saturday I drove it to work, and walked back outside to get something out of it and saw this on the inside of the passenger side wheel!


Holy crow! I've never seen a tire do that!!! As you can see it doesn't go all the way around, so you only see it if the van is parked just so. Well, actually...

 

This is what it looks like when you roll it over - it's even bigger! I knew it was getting bald, in fact we were at the tire store on Wednesday and they pointed out that they were getting bald, but the tires we want to put on it had to come from the warehouse, and we can't go without the van on a workday so we scheduled to have the new tires put on tomorrow. Just a week too late! Thank goodness this didn't cause an accident. Tomorrow the van goes in for all new tires all around. Plus some suspension work, new shocks, oil change, etc, then we'll be all ready for another summer of hauling toys and trailers around.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chickens in the sun

 

We've had a couple beautiful sunny days! Yesterday I secured the fence to the backyard so Barclay couldn't squeeze through it anymore, and decided it would be nice to let the chickens out to peck around in the lush grass back there - their chicken pen is looking pretty picked over.

 
So I threw out a few handfuls of scratch and opened the service side of the coop and let them come out through the shed. The roosters were on patrol the whole time. 




I was watching from the other side of the fence, taking pictures. I didn't want to disturb them, and I didn't want to get sneak-attacked by a rooster while I was busy looking through the camera :) Then a funny thing happened. Big Blue was watching me closely. Then he waddled down towards the shed and made a funny noise, and the other rooster, Copper, ran down and joined him. They appeared to have a conference, clucking at each other, then Big Blue called the girls and everyone went back to the shed and he took them through the coop and back out to the regular chicken yard! Even though there was still scratch on the ground! I guess he decided the new area was too scary, especially with me hanging around staring! 

Chickens are so amazing!



While I was taking pictures of the chickens this guy kept flitting around. I think it's some kind of Oriole. I see a lot of them, but he's the first one I've noticed this season. 




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kestrel


I snapped a picture of this kestrel while his head was turned (he was watching out over the field, and when I stepped closer he noticed me and took off). He was sitting at the top of the sequoia down by the paddock.

Last night we got home from grocery shopping at dusk, and I pointed the sliver of a moon out to Dave, and as he turned to look where I was pointing, I looked back at the moon and an owl appeared out of nowhere and slowly soared overhead, heading for the woods behind the neighbor's barn. So cool to see an owl flying by! I love living out here in the country! Lately we've been talking about finding someplace cheaper in town with less land to take care of, but I don't know that I could live in town again. Not yet anyway.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Around the farm

I got up this morning and took the dogs out, and went out to feed the chickens. My big buff rooster looks so much like his dad! (he's in the back). I threw some scratch down in the coop for the girls.They gave me six eggs in return!


One of the girls was impatient waiting for her scratch while I was filling the feeder and she ran out into the 'service' area, and scared Barclay. She had such a determined look as she ran up to him he turned tail and ran!



Then he stole the scoop. He thought this was a sure-fire way to get me to chase him, but he forgot I have two scoops now.

 

We came back in and Jack was in the mood to get rowdy!

Woo hoo! Running through the house!

 

Wheeeeee!
Then it was time for doggie breakfast. And people breakfast.

The other day I made Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot for dinner, and I made extra so there would be leftovers. It's like an asian beef soup. So this morning I heated up a small pot of the leftovers, threw in some ramen noodles, and had that for a hearty breakfast - yum!



Then off for another exciting day at work...


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Double Yolk egg


The girls are laying again and one of them popped out this huge double-yolk egg! Yum! It's so nice to have fresh eggs and eggs to share with our friends again!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Lee the HorseLogger

Today Barclay and I were coming back form the dog park, and as I'm driving up the highway towards home, I see 'road apples'. Although we live in a very 'horsey' area, road apples on the highway is still a pretty unusual thing! So as I'm approaching the next light I look ahead and see what appears to be a wagon. I missed my turn so I could keep going and get a closer look...


Yup, a horsedrawn wagon!


Wish I could have gotten a better look, the horses harnesses were pretty impressive.


What an unusual sight to see in our little town! A sign on the back of the wagon indicated to check out this website  Lee the HorseLogger. Apparently he is a simple man, living a simple life and traveling the country in his wagon with his beloved horses and dogs. I'm sure it's a life of hardship, but a living life your own way has it's own rewards as well. Good journey to him!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Red bellied Sapsucker

 

This cute little guy showed up in our yard today. The cats were very interested in him as he hopped around the orchard, going from tree to tree, hanging on the trunk and pecking at it. 

 

I took a LOT of pictures of him trying to get a few good ones. He moved a lot and it was already getting dark out so I needed a slow shutter to get enough light, so a lot of the pictures came out blurry. It was also raining on me (and my camera) the whole time. I'm so sick of winter! It was worth it though, I got a few good shots, and the colors look right on. 


 

Cute little bird! I've never seen one of these around before!


Monday, February 01, 2010

Must ..resist...temptation...

 

Must not..turn on.. treadmill!!