This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.
So our day started off early with Ryeleigh desperately wanting outside first thing. She must have seen something out of the bedroom window. Next thing I know she is freaking out over a peahen in the garden. She was howling very loudly and grabbing the rickety fence with her teeth trying to find a way in.
I caught Ryeleigh and put her on the back porch, with her practically screaming in protest. I am sure the neighbors loved this at 6:45 of a holiday morning. I had to get Tom up to help me get the peahen back to the barn.
Then came the animal chores. The white midget turkeys are sure developing. I decided that they were big enough to move to a pen in the barn. Hopefully they will stay in the barn and not become eagle food. I am most worried about the one female we have as she is smaller.
So then I moved the Narragansett turkey poults out to the “pheasant pen”. This is their first time on greenery for us.
I moved the 25 hatchery chicks out to the pheasant pen too. I figured if I moved the turkeys in first and then moved these chicks in that they would not attack the turkey chicks like they did before. So far my plan is working. Here they are slowly emerging from the kennel I moved them in.
The turkey chicks did not seem to care. A peahen is checking them out.
And more chicks emerged into their new home.
With the “weasel-proof pen” now available, I moved the 16 hayloft chicks and their mother into this space. It is a much larger space for them. The hen is so protective, we were getting attacked daily changing their food and water. Hopefully it will be safer for all of us this way. Here they are just being moved in and a little freaked out.
So then I did the garden chores. And guess what?!? We are barely knee high!!! Honestly I am happy to have any corn growing this year after our “spring”.
Tom picked the Rainier cherries. The birds had left us some. I then picked some pie cherries as well.
And with the pie cherries, I decided to make a pie. It seemed appropriate for the holiday. I used the recipe in my old Betty Crocker cookbook. I used up the last of my lard though so then chopped up more pig fat to render. Here is the pie.
I also made Pancho’s sauce for BBQ ribs. The recipe is on the last photo of my Shortsnorter post. I didn’t have much fennel seed though, but I remember this was really fennely before so it is probably for the best. Here is the sauce.
And Tom is using it in smoking some of our pork ribs. They are looking and smelling amazing.
Now we are hunkered down in the house with our dogs in the afternoon, watching the Mariners and listening to the bombs that our neighbors are exploding in the air. It is like a war zone again.
Happy anniversary of the Continental Congress approving the final wording of the Declaration of Independence.
So Tom went on his annual motorcycle/hot springs trip with his son and my father this last week (My brother missed out this year). So I was left to manage the farm on my own. I worked Saturday so he left after I got home on Sunday morning. Monday was hot so I rotated the pasture animals, did the normal chores and hid in the house in the afternoon.
But here are my lists for the rest of the week.
Tuesday morning I started with Zoom spinning. I have been spinning roving from my two mioget katmoget Shetland ewes, Jemima and Ewegenie. I am almost done with a huge amount of fiber. The plan is to ply it and make an Aran style hooded cardigan sweater with it. The wool is basically cream colored so I think would work perfect for this type of sweater.
I also made more bamboo bean poles (as there are a ton of beans suddenly growing in our garden), weeded the garden, washed wine bottles, washed eggs to sell in our produce stand, made coleslaw for 5 lunches, trimmed the goats’ hooves (which was incredibly late due to my Covid infection), did my special laundry (that which requires careful treatments), and made bath bombs. On Wednesday I fed the bees sugar water, mowed three pastures that were being badly overgrown with swamp grass, froze local strawberries, picked, prepared and froze peas, and transplanted starts from the greenhouse in the garden.
On Thursday I changed and washed bed sheets, paid bills, cleaned the house, got the barn ready for the farm sitter, and brought the drinking water jugs to the back porch.
In addition to these tasks I also made Lemon Balm wine. Here is the balm about to be boiled in the preparation process.
I took the opportunity of Tom being away to make a recipe that he would not like. It was Grandma’s Roasted Duck. This is from a wonderful To Ukraine with Love zoom event that I participated in recently. Unfortunately I could not find a whole duck locally and getting a frozen one shipped was quite expensive. So I ended up purchasing 4 duck breasts thinking that this was a reasonable substitution. Here are the breasts with orange wedges between them and rubbed with pounded salt, peppercorns, orange zest, and sage. This then sat refrigerated for 4 hours.
I placed apple slices and the orange wedges in this dish with the duck breasts on top. This was then roasted, mostly covered, for 2 1/2 hours.
Here it is coming out of the oven.
It ended up being too salty and too peppery. I think my whole duck to breast substitution was not accurate, and I could have done with a lot less seasonings. This did get me wondering about raising ducks again. Our previous experiments with this failed due to the eagles eating them. But I saw some Pekin ducks when I bought the most recent turkey poults, and they were pretty good sized. They may be too big for eagles to fly away with which is their M.O. Plus our slugs in the garden were vicious this year. Tom is not a fan of the idea, but I am warming to it, particularly if I could try this recipe again correctly. And duck eggs are amazing.
I have also been making cocktails from my You Can’t Eat Mount Rainier! cookbook. Rather than my usual one cocktail per week, I made one per day at happy hour during my farmcation. If you would like to know more, check them out at my other blog.
Other farmcation events:
The chicks continue to grow and develop.
The garden is growing like crazy.
I watched Bridgerton Season 2. Again something that Tom would not be fond of but a guilty pleasure for me.
I even shucked peas to it.
The young peacock finally has two proper tail feathers.
The white turkeys continue to grow.
The bee hive appears to be thriving after it appeared to be failing earlier. Feeding it seems to be helping, plus the warming weather.
The cherries on two trees are ripe. But I decided that climbing up a tall orchard ladder when I am by myself was not a good idea. I have been prone to some falls recently and falling off a ladder without Tom around seemed like a bad idea. I do have an Apple Watch now, partly for this reason, but I didn’t quite trust it enough. So, for now anyway, the cherries are going to the birds.
I got the water jug dispenser going again on the back porch. This is essential when the weather gets warm, especially now with my adrenal insufficiency. Hydration is crucial!
I continued to do at home Covid tests. Per the CDC, since I am immunocompromised, I needed two negative tests 24 hours apart to be consider no longer contagious. And I finally achieved that on Thursday!!!! So for the first time in many months I was able to wear surgical masks rather than N-95 masks. It was such a joy to be able to breathe a little better. This is likely temporary though, but I will take it.
The security camera caught this squirrel on the front gate. This squirrel loves to torment our poor beagle incessantly.
At the mountain Boles Aero, that camera caught some deer this morning.
And finally, our Highland bull is enjoying scratching on fence posts. Unfortunately this is hard on our fencing, but he sure likes it. I noticed that he has lost his coat recently, as have the donkeys.
I worked yesterday so our great farmsitter Dani looked after the place for us. This morning I had to rotate the pasture animals again which is a lot of work. Steve was not helping me get the cows moved.
I have been noticing that Vanessa, Donna’s sister, has been hanging away from the sheep flock. This is what Donna was doing before she died. So I decided to bring her to the barn so I could spoil and watch her better. Isn’t she beautiful?
I also have learned that Big Orange can’t fly. I accidentally got him in a barn pen and found him still there the next day without access to food or water. So I need to be extra careful that he doesn’t get stuck again like that. He must just be too heavy to fly.
So now I am truly exhausted. Tom is heading home today which is really good news. I miss him like crazy, more so than usual. He has become part of me, and part of me is missing when he is gone. I do look forward to hearing about his trip.
I was actually able to plant my pathetic tomato starts in the hothouse. They are still small but at least growing still.
I heard a turkey gobble for the first time the other day.
Unfortunately I could not capture it on video. But it appears we have three males and one female White Midget turkeys. This is not good news for peace on the farm.
I notice that the dogwood in our front yard is blooming and looking quite pretty.
The pigs continue to grow. I noticed that Starsky’s tail curls to the right and Hutch’s curls to the left.
I have been watching the Mariners, including the brawl with the Angels. It was clearly pre-planned by the Angels. It is a shame that these professional baseball can behave so poorly especially in front of young fans.
Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance. It is limiting what I can do in the afternoons and evenings.
With the warm weather, I was able to wash another fleece. This is Wendel’s fleece from 2018. I have been long contemplating what to do with this gorgeous fleece. As he gets older, his fleeces are not as nice. I finally decided that I will spin it and make a long cardigan using the neck fibers toward the top, the trunk fibers in the middle and the britch fibers toward the bottom. So the first step was washing the fleece.
The grass continues to grow like crazy. You can barely see the sheep.
Rory continues to develop. He is getting feisty.
The grass in our back forty is insanely tall. It is more than twice as tall as our cows!
Our beagle continues to mature. We have noticed that she has stopped chewing up our clothing and rugs. For some reason, the only animals we have that she is upset about is the peafowl. I am not sure why, but she continues to howl at them.
The roses are blooming. I noticed a bee pollinating one of them.
Our first Peace Rose bloom of the season. How gorgeous!
These birds showed up while I was mowing one of our fields. Unfortunately the photos are not great. But I am not sure that I have seen these birds here before.
The garden is sure growing, finally. The peas are blooming, but also have pods that are almost ready to pick. I am letting some of the radishes go to seed. I also planted some flax seeds from Sweden in my garden this year. The blooms of these plants are quite pretty together.
So these are the plants and animals that are growing up on our farm, while the humans do not seem to be.