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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Green Acres is the Place to Be, Farm Living is the Life for me!

 Ok, so don't forget you can click on any of the pictures to follow and see them a bit larger.

Living out on a fairly decent sized plot of land, surrounded by large timberland, approximately 3 1/2 miles from a tiny town (population 624) and approximately 28 miles from a bit larger town (population 7,268) which is right next to a bit larger town (population 16,660) is wonderful.  What more can I say?  What could be better than living in this paradise I call home?
 City life is definitely not for me.  (Does that sound a bit Green Acres-ish?) 

My girls and I decided that, since we could hear the creek down in the valley roaring with all the recent deluge of rain, we should just walk down there and check it out.

You can see how muddy the road that leads to the valley is.  This is about halfway down.
 There's a bend in the dirt road here and you see the little  creek coming off the hillside near the second well.  Notice how happy all the ferns are!

We've been hearing frogs croaking, too.
 This is the only level spot, but don't walk there as the mud is a bit sticky.  Don't try to drive down here in the winter because even in 4-wheel drive you're not gonna get back up the hill!  (Everyone should scream right here as the vehicle slides from one side of the drop off to the other....)
 And here's the last stretch until we reach the valley.  The ruts are nasty this year, but my dear husband can smooth them out with his tractor when the weather finally dries out.....maybe in June???

It's lovely to walk down to the valley, but a long haul back up again!  (What's that pounding noise???  Oh,'s my heart.....)
 To the right is the corner of the first field.  Now, it doesn't look very field-like at the moment as it is totally flooded and the beavers have enjoyed the winter immensely and have taken down a good sized alder tree.  Of course they chose to fall it on the fence rather than into the creek.....
 This is another tree they've taken down.  You'll notice that after they felled it, they also gnawed the branches off and removed them to the creek.  I can't imagine how strong a beaver's teeth must be.  Go ahead, YOU try gnawing just ONE chip off this tree!
 This is usually a meandering creek.  It's still meandering, but it's WAY over its banks at the moment.  I think this one is my favorite picture.
 Up close beaver job here.
 This little bridge looks ancient here.  It's really not that old, but the dampness of our Washington climate really takes a toll on wood.  Incidentally, it used to be a bit farther to the left (about 8-10') but a couple years ago the creek was so high it carried it over to rest against the alders there.
 Walking back through the field to the road back up I spotted this little pile of fur.  Do you know what animal it came from?   The correct answer is elk.  We saw lots of other signs of elk, but I shall spare you pictures......

You got just a tiny tour of just one of the amazing woodland places to explore in these woods.  Did you enjoy the fresh air and the smell of the fir trees?
That's it for now.  I'm ready to start my day now and head out to milk the goats & feed my bunnies (see my new litter?).  Yesterday was an in-town-buy-groceries-pick-up-feed-eat-lunch-out-now-I'm-exhausted kind of day, so today I'm back at work here on the farm.  On the docket for this day - working in the greenhouse/rabbit house, repairing cages and getting ready for some spring planting!

More later...What did you think of my muddy valley?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Frogs are singing, Spring is springing and Espaliered Apple Trees

 I haven't seen any groundhogs around here, but plenty of mole hills, wild bunnies, deer and now dandelions!

The frogs are starting to sing down in the beaver dam, too.  Not a huge chorus of them yet, but individuals trying out their voices before joining in the choir.
 The Autumn Crocus are up, too.  Funny plants - in Spring they send up their greenery.  By Fall they will finally bloom. 
 These daffodils are on the North side of my house.  It stays pretty shady and cool over there but the daffodils are valiantly poking their heads up and if you look closely, you'll see the flower buds.  We live just up high enough in elevation that most of our stuff blooms/ripens about 2 weeks after the rest of the local area.
 We live on 81 very hilly acres.  Our house sits on about 5 or 6 cleared acres on top of the hill.  This road leads down to our valley where we have about 12 or 15 acres of pasture.  We usually herd our cattle (all two of them) down each Spring to finish fattening up for Fall.

The rest of our land is in Douglas Fir, growing for timber.
 If you walk down this road just a bit, you will come to our Bee House.  A couple of years ago, a BIG black bear destroyed all our hives.  The game department brought out a huge bear trap (looked like a steel drum on its side with bait inside and a trap door).  We did catch our bear and they relocated him.  We've worked to replace our hives and now have 5 good, healthy ones again.  This structure is now bear-proof.
 Paxton wanted her picture taken.  She did not freshen (kid) when the other two did, so I think she's waiting for Spring.
 This is an 'after' picture of my Espaliered apple tree.  I've enjoyed training it and answering interesting questions about it.  In the summer, when it has fruit on, I've been asked "Are those real apples?"  What?  Did they think I tied them on? 
 Here are two 'before' pics of the espalier.  The deer like to nibble on it, but they need lessons in correct pruning.  This is actually a Lodi apple.  Not the best for fruit production in an espalier mode as they are tip-bearers and, of course, I have pruned all the tips off to keep this shape.  It does bravely manage an apple or 6 each year.
Spring is coming and I've been working just a little outside.  This week it's back to a cold rain, so I'm spending a little more time in the rabbit barn, organizing, repairing cages and breeding rabbits.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to report new litters! 
Today was my mom's 82nd birthday!  She chose pizza (homemade) for her birthday dinner and a trifle for dessert.  She's battled cancer for over 4 years now, so each birthday is a real blessing to us. 

I was getting a little overwhelmed with making primitives for my Ebay store, so my daughter (the brains of the outfit) determined that I needed to raise my prices a bit to control sales.  THEN she opened an Etsy store for me also, to make sure I still sell enough!  Hmmm.  Seems like things are still selling, but at least I'm making a little more pocket money this way!   I do love to create things!

She (daughter) and I spent the weekend at a rabbit show and came home with a couple Grand Champion legs and a few new rabbits.  I now have Netherland Dwarf rabbits of my own!  I'll take pics and post them next time.  Enough for now, I sold something in my Etsy store so now I've got to get sewing!