New Tractor Arrives Tomorrow

Finally broke and did it. We’ll see if it is worth it in the end.

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Just Ramblin’

Not a lot going on here on the homestead.

I admit it, I’ve just been a slug all week. I’ve mostly played around with my GoPro camera seeing if I can maybe make some video blogs to share with you. I’m definitely going to have to work on my brevity. I took the camera out for a walk around the farm and talked and talked for a half hour. 🙂

I won’t subject you to it! Hahaha!

We went to the Washington State Fair this past Monday afternoon. I saw my first live Lowline Angus – I am seriously intrigued. May have to forego the Dexters in favor of this little beef cow. I may have to forego all cows if I don’t get off my duff and fix the fences around here!

We also met people from our local beekeepers association and made plans to start attending their beginning beekeeper classes in October. I’ve downloaded plans for a Langstroth hive. I plan to build two as a winter project and stock them next spring. I seriously can’t wait to harvest some honey!

Speaking of downloadable plans, I visit the MSU Cares webpage first when I’m looking for ways to build my own stuff. They have plans for everything from a farmhouse to this low cost beehive. I can spend a whole evening just browsing through the files.

If you have a favorite place to find plans or inspiration for your homestead I would love to hear about it.

Happy Mabon!

Lamb

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I had lamb while in the Iceland airport. It was pretty good but still not my favorite. Does anyone know how to cook lamb so it doesn’t taste like lamb? I’m also wondering what goat tastes like?

A Crystal Sunday

IMG_1856This morning every arachnid in the pasture was lord or lady of a jeweled palace.

I have to say this morning was probably a perfect fall morning. The temperature was brisk but not biting. The mist was just thick enough to be beautiful and lasted just long enough to not be annoying. The light was clear and it was IMG_1863perfect weather to pick grapes.

So that’s what I did.

I harvested a little under 10 gallons of bunches. After stemming and sorting this is what we were left with. I didn’t measure but that is my water-bath canner filled with purple goodness.

IMG_1866We didn’t really have time to make jelly today so we just juiced them. We’ll put two gallons in the freezer and the rest we’ll go ahead and sip on. I’m pretty sure these are Concord grapes. They look like Concords but more importantly they smell like the 1970s.

After picking grapes I attacked more english ivy and Don mowed the yard. Slowly this place is starting to come back to life. Perhaps an apropros realization on this crystalline Sunday.

A Very Good Saturday

IMG_1848Today was supposed to be all about mowing the yard but as so often happens I got distracted.  In my defense I started out the day on course – my task was to weed eat the ditch and in front of the fence. Well… let me justify my actions.

The fence in the front yard has been a sore spot for us since we moved in.  All the fences on this place are in extreme disrepair but the one in front was just awful. Sagging woven wire hanging on broken fence posts. In most spots it wasn’t possible to tell whether the post was holding the wire up or vice versa. As it turns out, in many spots neither was true. The real structural element was the english ivy.

The pic above is the corner post, or what was left of it. The post had almost completely rotted away and the only thing supporting the fence was the gargantuan ivy trunks. That branch is an ivy vine. The ones at the bottom that you can’t see were even bigger.

8 hours later the fence and the ivy (well most of it) were gone and the lawn was still not mowed. Doesn’t matter, tomorrow is another day and a sore spot has been removed. All in all, a good day still.

The Mountain In The Dark

Tonight we had a goulash made with tomatoes we grew followed by homemade pound cake topped with ice cream and glazed pears from our trees. Then we sat IMG_1832outside and watched the stars come out. It was a very good Friday evening.

I’ve been fascinated by the stars since we’ve moved out here. It was only tonight that I realized I haven’t lived anywhere dark enough to really appreciate the stars for a long time.

I remember nights in the Oklahoma panhandle where the stars were sprinkled like sugar across the sky and my aunt pointing out constellations. Now I can only find the big and little dipper. But I will find more.

I’m finding myself more comfortable in the darkness.

Nostalgia

IMG_1828Don indulged me in this little bit of nostalgia. Today we installed plain ol’ screen doors. They bang and clang and bounce around each time someone crosses the threshold. I don’t know why they appeal to me so much, probably some childhood experience. We’ll paint them someday but for now they suit me fine.

Crows

IMG_1816Yesterday these branches were loaded with pears. Sometime last night or today something took them all.  I think it was crows. We’ve chased crows out of the tree several times.

When the pears were green they never did any appreciable damage. But yesterday the pears had reached a buttery yellow perfection. Now they’re IMG_1817gone.

This is all they left. If you look closely you can see beak marks.

A group of crows may not really be called a murder. But if this happens next year a murder will happen.