Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Towards the end of February the weather turned towards what was really seeming like an early false Spring,warmer and sunnier weather that had me a bit puzzled so I chose to sit on my hands when it came to gardening. But the weather has held and I was noticing that the really nice gardens in town were looking like they were being worked on. Following the lead of those gardens Chance and I got busy.
 Since our new garden area is way bigger than our whole back yard was in Beaverton we made the choice to rent a rototiller for around $40,Best.Money.Ever.Spent! It took Chance about an hour and half start to finish.While he tilled I followed behind picking up rocks,black plastic ( ick,dislike that stuff so much.) and whatever else popped up.When we were finished Chance said to me, "An hour and half was much better than 8 hours of digging."  My reply was, "Ummmm wait don't you mean 8 days of digging? I mean come on think it through."

The next day while I was at work Chance went and picked up a load of Llama manure for free.There is a local farm that is more than happy to share. I guess the lady farmer was very nice and told Chance if we need more just to call and we are welcome to come get it even if she isn't home.
There was plenty so Chance spread it out over the garden and the flower beds in the front yard with some to spare.

I am curious to see how the garden does with the Llama manure,AKA Llama Beans because it looks like little beans. I tried to find a good link to share without much luck,most of them were farms selling their beans. But from what I understand it's some of the best manure out there,right up there with rabbit manure. Since it is not a hot cooking manure you can use it to top dress at any time without burning your plants. One idea I want to try is making some manure tea with it. Growing up my parents used rabbit manure tea with really good results so I will be looking into this project soon.

I have done some early planting,sweet peas,a few gifted flower plants and hops. According to the OSU Master Gardener site we are still too early to get much in the ground directly. Their website shows that the growing season here is only a couple of weeks off from the season in the Willamette Valley.

There are also several plants like squashes and cucumbers that we will have to have starts for instead of directly sowing like we used to. Luckily we do have the green house here which is Chance's temporary shop but I can use one end to get some seedlings started. Another new project for us. In Beaverton we just did not have a good window to do seedlings in so we never bothered. We have been saving toilet paper tubes to use for our seedlings.

 Yesterday as Chance and I were heading into Bend to do our weekly grocery run Chance asked if I would like to stop at the feed store to look around (he takes me to the best places.). I am always willing to stop at a feed store so of course I said yes. Well..that fellow of mine he's a sweet man who knows me best knew that the feed store had chicks in. He also knew that although we have tried to get chicks from local farmers with ads online we kept striking out. And we need new chicks if we are going to have eggs ever again. So of course when I spied they actually had Ameracuna's  aka Easter Egger's, 6 of them came home with us. I still want a few more chicks or ducklings,we are still on the hunt for them.

Which brings me to this morning. Our little dog Sparrow is small yet mighty,knows that protecting the coop and hen's is her job and it's serious business of hers. This morning Sparrow is patiently sitting near the tub where the chicks are,watching over them like the good dog she is. The only fuss she is making is she can't see over the high sides of the tub to check on the chicks if they are fussing.How  is a girl to do her job with such high tub walls?

This is where Win comes in. Win is afraid of the hens,he has been told sternly they are not for him to play with,those are Mama's hens and it's Sparrows job to care for them. But Win follows Sparrows lead whenever there is something new he does not understand. He has been laying farther from the chicks than Sparrow but dutifully watching and learning. Win realized the issue with the tub sides.So Win has been very slowly and quietly creeping over to peek in the tub when the chicks and Sparrow are fussing.He then gives Sparrow a look that says " I think they are ok".  Then everyone settles back into watching.

It's a funny little story of two dogs I know but I am pretty happy to see this.It shows that Win is starting to understand his place in our pack,that Sparrow is above him in order and maybe a bond is forming between the two.

I am feeling like our little home is bursting full of life again. The energy of a younger dog has been a really good thing for all of us. For now a tub full of chicks in a corner of the kitchen is so sweet.I know I will change my mind on that one once the chicks are almost too big to be in a tub but for now it is a good sweetness. It's a good thing that at least for now the weather is good so we can spill some of that energy outside into the sunshine.

Part of me is hopeful this early Spring will stick around and make it until Summer is here.But part of me knows it will make for a dry summer leading to higher fire dangers and the need to worry about our well drying up.

The last thing to share from house and home is this not great photo. All over the property are this large patches of little tiny bright yellow flowers. I love coming across them,when the sun shines on them they are like these moments of summer,cheerful and bright after the colorless winter months. I wish I could have captured their glow when the sun is on them.

Anyone else getting their gardens going? Have any exciting plans for new things to try this growing season?

Best regards until next time

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Introducing our new family member.

This is Winston Silvershanks,aka Win. He joined our family a few days ago. He's an eleven month old German Shepard, his colors are called Silver and Black. He adopted him from a local shelter. We have really lucked out with this young fellow, his former owner had already put lots of work into him, he's fully house trained, great manners and smart as a whip. He is even very good with Little Sparrow and looks to her for direction when he not sure about what to do next. The people at the shelter told us Search and Rescue had considered him for training but he turned away because he is too centered on people, he's smart but too loving. That's ok with us, we want exactly that in a dog.
We had been talking about getting a young dog before Thora passed away to bring some energy into the house. So far we are totally head over heels in love with him.
Yesterday we took him up into the woods to see how he did off leash and see what kind of adventure dog he might be. His off leash manners are good, he stayed fairly close to us. When we came to some spots where we had things to climb over he watched us and then watched Sparrow then followed right along.It didn't take long for him to catch on to scrambling and to our whistle commands.
The photo above is of him after our hike, three miles of running a trail made for a sleepy pup once home.

Friday, February 13, 2015

It's been a while since I have been here hasn't it? Well, you know has been that post holidays quiet around here.That waiting time of year.That time of year when it's nice to just winter into the house,not that it has been overly cold or snowy,just winter. But to just be home being homey,no place to really go,just doing ordinary things.

 Then February comes, so do the seed catalogs and those false spring days. Suddenly you are awake from the nap that is January with the urge to dig in the soil,to be outdoors and the itchy need to be moving has you pacing the floor.

But remember I used those words "false spring". It's too soon for many tasks. Too soon for seedlings to be shipped,too soon for chicks and too soon to put even the seeds that like it cool into the soil.

So what is one to do? I try my best to sit on my hands,perfect my seed list streamlining it down to a manageable amount. I am going to say having triple the garden space with room to push out for more is making the sliming down of my seed list really,really hard. Especially since there  are folks in town who will buy my surplus,a farmers market I could sell at and we could have a very full pantry next winter. Ahem,Rois remember to be realistic here,one acre of garden doesn't mean you have to use all of it this year.

And I am chick dreaming. That list was quick and easy-ish,I know I want all heavies that can take the cold and will lay farther into winter. I also know that by having them shipped to us we will very likely lose a few in transit and within a few weeks of having them.This time I can order more than I really want and it will come out about right in the end.

There is also our yearly Outdoor Tasks List to make. Chance and I like to make a list of outdoor projects we would like to get done some time between Spring and late Fall. Each project also lists what materials we may still need to get if any. We then make a very flexible timeline to get them done within.We have it flexible so we can see how much time or funds we have that week and if need be shuffle projects around.Sometimes we do have things that are more rigid,like we will need the new coop built before the chicks are ready to live in it. Over the growing season a majority of it gets done,some things we think better of  or realize it was a big folly.

All of this business like things feed our enthusiasm for the garden and holds us over until we can really get busy outdoors. I always feel like I am still on task but not risking losing anything I may have foolishly planted. I need to be really mindful of this here,this climate is going to be a big learning curve and only fools rush in.

This year with us having moved we are starting all over.A task that feels a little huge at moments.Not only are we going to have to build our garden but we have to learn how to go about things here.Deer,frost,rabbits,heat,dryness all of which can all happen within a few hours of each other.

Ok I am going to side track here for just a moment.I am going to add coyote to that list above.Today I went to leave the house and right out my backdoor near my car was a large male coyote. I am assuming it was a male,kind of large and I wasn't about to say "Excuse Coyote,could you lift your leg or tail so I can see if you are a boy or a girl." I had to chuck a chunk of firewood at him to get him slowly moving.I was on my way out to go to town, before I left I checked on the hens.They were all roosting in the coop as high up as they could get and silent which leads me to believe the coyote was over by the chicken yard too. Now I , the not anti gun just don't want to personally know anything about them soul that I am is now thinking,maybe just maybe I should at least learn how to shoot the pellet gun. Sigh,at least I am too old to be drafted so don't have to worry about learning to shoot keeping me out of that kind of mess. But I am not sure I want to go that route.I think a slingshot and a bucket of rocks would be more my style.

So we are organizing ourselves here making lists,plans and maps of the land.Soon I will have plenty to write about that will most likely give me the feeling of deja vu since the beginnings of Hrafinstaad  is how I came to be here blogging away.Now we are starting again,I am looking forward to seeing what becomes and how they compare to before.

One last thing before I go,a sad thing. Our old faithful forever by our sides dog Thora Gooddog passed away a few weeks ago. We had the feeling she was getting ready to leave us,she was pushing on 18 afterall and slowing in every way. Chance and I woke up one morning to find her coma like and her breathing slowing down.It was way to early to call the vet and an hour later she was gone.It was like she waited for us to get up so we could all say see ya later.We buried her on the backside of the property under some trees.Originally she was from this side of the mountains,so glad we could bring her home when her day to go came. She had a great dog life and we were lucky she found us.

Must be going but it's the time of year where lots of news is about to happen so I won't be long.


P.S Well it's one of those days.Went out to check on the hens a while ago only to spook off a hawk from the body of my favorite hen.Jerk.