Tag Archives: moving

Farming in June

It’s always a splendid idea to move residences just as farm season ramps up for the summer.  I have done it three times now.  You’d think we’d learn.  Needless to say, it’s been a busy month but we are having all sorts of fun!

This is sort of a photo-dump but here’s what has been going on at the farm in the last week:

 

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We’ve been breeding cows (artificially inseminating) up at Carol’s ranch.  She selects good bulls for sires and hires someone to come AI the cows. The Spring 2014 calf crop is percolating as we speak!

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The weather has been nice, so our broiler chicks have been heading out to pasture at precisely two weeks of age.  They still have their fluffy chick down, but they much prefer being on grass to being in the brooder.  They really forage a lot even at this age.

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We have been happy to see the variety of grass and forb, species that are coming up in the fertilized area behind our broiler pens.  Now that there’s been a bit of rain there is quite the diverse landscape. This is a picture of selfheal (prunella vulgaris) in bloom.

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We are even seeing some wild strawberries (fragaria virginiana) ! They are tinier than the tip of a finger, but they look just as delicious as their domestic counterparts.

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Emmie picked a fight with a tougher dog than herself and ended up with a few war wounds.  She was bedridden for a few days but the first sign of life was her intense desire to go with me to the farm when I’d put on my boots in the morning.  She can’t stand being left on the sidelines while I’m working.  It’s been said of Border Collies that each dog has the energy of a small nuclear reactor.  That’s very much true of this one.  I’m glad she bounced back quickly. I hadn’t realized how attached I’d become to my sidekick til I had to do chores without her.

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We’ve been making hay up at the ranch.  I have been assigned baling duty.  I straight-up love it.   It’s hot, the dust makes me itch and sneeze,  the baler is old, and the fields are rugged.  But the scenery is terrific!  We’re making hay in the foothills of the Coastal range, with covered bridges and vineyards and rivers on every side.  I’d rather be out there making hay on a sunny weekend than doing pretty much anything else in the whole wide world.

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Carol and James first cut the grass down with a swather.  The swather incorporates a conditioner (or crimper) which crunches the grass a little bit to make it dry faster.

Then they come along with a “tedder”, which has tines that fluff up the hay and accelerate the drying process.  Getting the hay to dry quickly is important in the Willamette Valley where mornings have lots of dew and it could rain at any moment.

The next step is raking the hay into windrows.  This puts the grass in nice, straight lines so that the baler can pick it up.  Raking also helps with drying, as it turns the grass and fluffs it up to get more airflow.

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We check the grass by hand and with a moisture meter and when it’s dry enough, we fire up the baler and I get to work.

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James comes along behind me with the bale wagon and scoops up the bales.  When he gets a full stack, he drives up to the barn and and deposits them for the winter.  

And with that, I’m off to go bale some more hay.  We are expecting rain in the early part of the week, so we’re getting it up as fast as possible.

 

 

 

 

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We Bought a House!

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Keith and I are still pinching ourselves to see if we’ll wake up from this dream.  But it seems it’s real and a bank has really agreed to loan us a shit-ton of money to buy a beautiful 1905 farmhouse, so I guess we’re really grown-ups now.  Or something.

Today was the first day I put my key in the lock and pushed the front door open.  I got a little tingle of delight.  Doors open differently when they belong to you, did you know that?

This is the part where all you experienced home-owners are going to step in and tell me I’m going to be getting a different kind of tingle when I realize the roof needs to be replaced.   Just shush your mouths and let me wander around my gardens  and gaze in rapture at my wisteria for a while before you make me be practical.   Plus, the roof is new.  And so is the plumbing and the electrical.  So there.

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The house is so cool, you guys!  I just can’t wait to have summer bbq’s and invite you all over!  It’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath farmhouse built in 1905.  At one time, I assume it was the farmhouse for a large tract of farm land.  But now that land has been built up into neighborhoods in Philomath and the house is just on a residential street.  So, no we don’t have any acreage.  But we keep savin’ our pennies and one day soon we will have some land of our very own!  In the meantime, we will happily live in this farmhouse, with its original apple trees and walnut trees in the backyard, and imagine the fields that once surrounded it.  There are so many great things about this house and it was kept in excellent condition.  The original fir floors are still intact all throughout the downstairs and there’s new carpet in the upstairs rooms.  The ceilings are original beadboard – one of my absolute favorite features.  The kitchen island is lovely original hardwood.  We have a clawfoot tub in the main bathroom.  The whole freaking house is straight off a Pinterest dream home board!

And then the yards are just full of every type of flower and plant imaginable – clematis vines (Keith got confused and called them Chlamydia and now I keep getting confused too) winding up the porch posts, wisteria trailing over the backyard patio pergola, peonies, roses, lilacs, figs, pears, apples, walnuts, bleeding heart, lavender, grapes, artichokes, asparagus, raised beds for vegetables, you name it.  I had to write it all down because I started losing track after about 20 non-stop minutes of Beverly naming plants for me and telling me how to take care of them.   It’s been well-landscaped, so it shouldn’t be too hard to keep it looking nice, even for me.  I’m much better at taking care of animals than plants, but I’ll try my best.

I’ll have more pictures of the actual inside of the house soon.  Right now, my life looks like this:

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It’s not crazy or anything to try to move house just as farm season is picking up momentum for the summer.  Totally sane.  Butcher a few chickens, pack a few boxes.  Take time to stop and smell the chlamydia flowers.   It’s all good.

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On the Move

This farm is on the move!   This Sunday, Keith and I loaded a couple of our brooders onto a flatbed trailer and hauled them up to their new resting spot at the ranch.

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These brooder houses are pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself.  Each one cost less than $200 to build and they’ve served us through 4 different farm seasons at 3 different locations and have (mostly) held together well.

Please excuse my “migrant farmworker” husband in the straw hat.  He found the hat in an old refrigerator and spent the afternoon wearing it and dancing a jig to Irish music as he worked.  I can’t really explain any of that previous sentence in a way that makes any sense whatsoever.  Whatever makes him happy, since I took him away from his precious Mt. Bachelor to help me on the farm this weekend.

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Here we are, about to hit the highway with one load of brooders!  We’ll transport the other two next weekend if I can peel the migrant farmworker off the ski slopes again.

 

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Welcome to Provenance Farm

I feel like I just emerged from a whirlwind of activity.  It’s been an exhilirating past couple of weeks mainly defined by a bunch of really hard work!  I won’t lie – life lately has been very stressful but also incredibly satisfying. Allow me to take you along on a recap of our journey…

In the past three weeks we:

  • ripped the floors out of our trailers, and hired a friend to do some major cutting and welding.   We welded expanded metal to the floors to allow waste to drop through as fertilizer for the pasture.  Then we got busy with hammer and nails and framed the coops – a solid week of dawn til dusk work!  I feel so empowered by this project…now I can build anything!
One wall up

one wall up

all framed and ready to go

all framed and ready to go

no electricity means sawing by hand

no electricity means sawing by hand

  • Put up corrugated metal siding and roofing
    the fun part - swinging from the rafters

    the fun part - swinging from the rafters

    finished!

    finished!

    shining beauties

    shining beauties

    back of the coops

    yeah i know the roofs are hokey. live and learn.

    • Got 320 chickens of diverse breeds.  We have Silver-Laced Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, and Black Australorps.  They all lay brown eggs…or will once they finish molting and start laying again.  The chickens have a huge yard surrounded by electrified netting and we move them to a new location every 1-3 days.  They eat chicken pellets as well as all the windfall apples, insects, grass, and forage they can find!
      the girls

      the girls

      Heading inside to roost for the night

      Heading inside to roost for the night

      sleepy chicks

      sleepy chicks

  • While all this was going down, we found a house on 5 acres to rent.  So last week we packed up and moved.  I’ll post pictures of our new place soon.  It’s great and we have so much more space!  No more farming from a duplex, as fun as that was.

I kid.

  • Last but not least, we named the farm!  We are now called Provenance Farm.  ‘Provenance’, from the French provenir, “to come from”, means the origin or the source of something.  At the heart of the concept is the idea of farm to fork, or being able to trace your food back to its very place of origin. In a society that celebrates half-rate, highly-manufactured foodstuff, my desire is that our farm will encourage people to value the provenance of their meat and eggs.   Our goal is to provide great food that brings health and happiness to your home.   I’m so looking forward to getting it from the field to you!

Thank you for coming along with us on this journey.  To all our friends and family – we are so thankful for your support.  We could not do it without you!

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