Monday, March 31, 2014

A Rainbow Kinda Day

From an evening rainshower a few days ago.  Sadly, only cow pies at the end of the rainbow in our pasture.

Hoke knows exactly how to deal with rainy days

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Photo Spectacular

Ah, so spring has arrived, more or less.  I know that in a lot of places, it sure as heck doesn't look, smell or feel like spring, but I'm sure it will eventually.  In the meantime, I went on a major photo safari today, kind of a first day of spring tradition.  The weather, as always, was unsettled; cold and frosty to start the morning, then patches of warmth whenever the sun found a break in the clouds, then the wind would get up and it would get cold again - in other words, a normal spring day in the Pacific Northwest, without any actual rain falling.
Don't forget to click the first picture to start the slideshow and enjoy!
 A bit of a frosty start to the first day of spring
 The bright yellow forsythia always put on a show
 A sea of blue muscari
 Of course, the daffodils along the north end of the maternity pasture
 The bee girls getting busy
 And, of course, the weeds (major league thistle in the maternity pasture here)
 Overview of the garden.  I am finally getting the feeling that it's about where I always envisioned it being, finally
 The new raspberry bed, with starts of 'Fall Gold' yellow raspberries that I pulled from around the mother plant
 Hard to see, but asparagus 'Jersey Knight' standing tall in the first two rows, with later roots in the last three rows not quite up yet
One of the tilled and ready to receive beds with some intruder prints and a hole, courtesy of Hoke.  Thus, the green fencing just installed today, some of which you can see to the left
 Greenhouse, and yes, that does say 80 degrees on the thermometer
 Spectacular new primrose 'Blue Zebra'
 Geranium 'Peppermint Twist' I think
 We grow our paperwhites outside
 The pretty camellia and the out of control rosemary blooming like crazy
 Should have warned you there were some artsy shots.  Forsythia, black walnut and spring sky and cloud
 One of the first tulips to bloom, and no, sorry, don't remember the name anymore

Monday, March 17, 2014

Up Scale

Another long term project finished (well, okay - almost finished).  Our old method of weighing cattle, using 2 of Dale's corner weighing car scales, was woefully inadequate.  You had to glue your eyes to the numbers and hope that you got the biggest one as it flashed by, which was the correct one.  Otherwise, even if the cow stood stock still (which never happens) on the platform, the very act of nerves firing would cause it to fluctuate wildly.  So last year, we finally ordered a real cattle scale, and yesterday we installed a whole new platform for it.  It, as always, ended up being a bigger project than we anticipated, but in the end, we had a really nice set up.  The last thing to be done before using it for the first time is to build the hanging sideboards for the bottom of the alleyway panels.  This will keep the baby calves from getting their feet and legs stuck between the platform and the bottom rail of the alleyway panels, which they can easily do, being little, busy calves dancing around in the alleyway.
BTW, anyone in the market for a full, 4 scale set of computerized corner weight scales, we just happen to have a set for sale, battery powered and rechargeable.
 A mess o' wood, waiting to be turned into stuff
 Setting the 'backbone' of the platform was a nightmare of digging, leveling, redigging and releveling the 8 4X4's before the first platform 2X8X12 stringer could be put in place
 Bottom deck in place, scales set approximately where we think they should go
 Top stabilizing deck in place

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Very Special Visitor

Yesterday, as you can see from the picture, was an absolutely gorgeous late winter day up here.  Thus, I was out in the garden, getting more cauliflower and peas and such planted and tending to that which was already up and going.  I noticed a minivan I didn't recognize doing a slow drive by; not unusual, many folks stop to look at the house, especially this time of year.  It went down towards the mill and I gave it no more thought.  About an hour later, back it came, and this time it pulled into the driveway.  A lovely, older lady popped out the passenger side and I went to see what she needed - I figured they were lost, which is also not unusual around here.  Instead, I got the surprise of my life.  She said she hoped she wasn't intruding on my day, but she just had to tell me how wonderful the old place looked - and then she said "I'm Evelyn Baker.  My mother was Dorothy Baker.  I lived in this house."  Thus began a visit like no other in the nearly 8 years we've lived here.  We knew that the Bakers had bought the ranch from the Cheeseman's back in the 30's.  Evelyn was born in 1936, same year as my dad, and she went to school at Bellfountain, along with Don Oakes and a bunch of other pioneer family children.  Evelyn, with her daughter Valerie, led us on a thoroughly delightful tour of our home, and it was quite a history lesson!  It's amazing how much has been changed over the years and owners, and how much was still the same.  Many questions we'd always wondered about were answered by the delightful lady, who bounded up the stairs to show us how it used to look, where her room was (Dale's office) and the 'haunted' room (sorry everyone, that would be the guest room).  She talked a blue streak about how it was growing up here, the dairy life (kindred spirits), the people and when it was time to go, more than a few tears were shed by everyone.  She lives fairly nearby, in Canby (NE of Salem), and we hope to see her again.
Evelyn and daughter Valerie pose in front of the old homestead
Here are two links to the home when Evelyn lived here:

Alfie, Yearling Pictures

Since I had the camera out anyway for the new twins, and Alfie is in that same pasture, it just made it easy to finally get some yearling shots of our young junior herdsire
 Yes, that IS a nice set - 38cm nice
 I see both momma LeeLu and daddy Roar in that face

Late Winter Colour

A few miscellaneous flower shots from the ranch gardens
 I love this hyacinth - what stunning colour and the fragrance is just intoxicating!
Native pink flowering currant

Daffodils for Sue

So, my pal Sue on the other coast and I were comparing garden notes yesterday, when she bemoaned the fact that while she had plenty of snow and some more, along with sleet on the way, her daffodils weren't going to make an appearance until around April.  Thus, I grabbed the trusty Canon S110 and went out and shot all my daffodils for her to enjoy while she awaits her own.
Don't forget to click on the pix to start the slide show.  You'll just have to imagine the fragrance, until technology catches up

Bull and Daffodils.  Either a great name for an English pub or a rock band.  Apologies to the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy.  Heart fans know of what I speak

Welcome to the Wild Ones

There is a reason I kept back my two old, reliable ewes Twyla and her sister Flossie when I sold off my flock last year.  And Flossie, good girl that she is, delivered her twin ewe lambs at noon today, under perfect conditions - freshly washed green pasture, blue skies, gentle breezes and plenty of sunshine and warmth.
Same lamb sire - Rango - and both sisters, yet the difference in their lambs is amazing.  Twyla had a red/white and a pure black ewe, while Flossie had two wildly marked black and white ewes.  The good thing - all ewe lambs this year, from my good momma ewes.  I'll be keeping them all, of course
 Older sister up and at 'em about 20 minutes old.  Younger sister just flopped down as I took the shot

 A few hours old, dried and fed and ready to run

 Ya just gotta love the tongue on Flossie here!