"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Time !

 " October is the jewel set in the hand of time."  Gladys Taber
 October finally brought in real autumn weather here in north-eastern Washington , here at our new home, in our fields, our forest, our gardens. I remember anew why autumn is my favorite season.
 Look at all the pumpkins and squashes we've harvested ! The pumpkins and squashes in the pictures are just a few of the pumpkins we harvested from our own vegetable garden.
 Here is the garden this month. The cornstalks are dry and ready for us to cut and use to decorate porch posts but before they dried up they produced a great amount of very sweet corn . The corn was truly the very best sweet corn I've ever eaten. Maybe it is true sweet corn fresh-picked from the garden and cooked right away IS the best .

You can see our fields and woods in the background. What you cannot see are the wild turkeys, pheasants, and deer we see in the fields every day from our windows. We have a hard time tearing ourselves away from the windows in the mornings as we sip our coffee while watching the wild life. We can also watch our sheep and chickens from the windows. And we watch the seasons change ...
 ...now turning green fields gold and brown, coloring the leaves bright orange , red, yellow, and brown before they're blown away making way for November's dark wet freezing ways. The pumpkins are frosted every morning and just a few days ago we had snow on the hills across our gravel road.
 I picked all our pumpkins and squashes last week to save them for our own use. We grew all our pumpkins and squashes from seed of the pumpkins and squashes we bought last year. I am particularly fond of the blue 'Meat Eater' squashes. They last for many months if stored in a cooler dry place and are quite tasty. ( I store them in the loft in my wool-working shed.)
 I decorated our front porch with a few pumpkins and squashes. During the afternoon hours our front porch is the warmest place around our home and our Viszla Hawk chooses to nap here. In the summer this porch is the perfect place for my husband and I to sip our morning coffee while watching my sheep and gazing at the hills and low mountains across the gravel road. ( The hills that had snow a few days ago.)
 " Pumpkins were a staple food for early Americans , who inherited the vegetable from the Indians, and learned many ways to cook it from the Indians , too. In those days pumpkin was cut in small pieces, strung on a cords and hung in front of the fireplace to dry, then stored for year-round use. Everything was made of pumpkin, from beverages to soup , from pie to bread, from custard to cake, and even a kind of flour. The pioneers tired of their diet of pumpkin, but they were saved from starvation in many a lean, cold winter."  from 'The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac by Mary Mason Campbell

My husband and I are especially thankful for our abundant pumpkin and squash harvest because not only do we love good baked squash smothered in butter and brown sugar, our chickens and sheep love the pumpkins and squashes cut up and raw. This helps us immensely with the feed bill and also provides them good nutrition to carry them through the cold winter months.

We are loving our new home and the very distinct seasons here and right now it is PUMPKIN TIME! 

" He causes the grass to grow for the cattle , and vegetation for the labor of man, so that He may bring forth from the earth , and wine which makes man's heart glad..." Psalm 104: 14,15

Friday, September 22, 2017

Porch Weather

 
Summer weather left us this past weekend. Our area has had a record 80 days without rain ! As much as I miss the rain ( it is back now ) I do love being able to sit on the porch with the dogs and spin wool while I watch the deer and wild turkeys in our pastures and along the edge of our woods. ( Here is an old enamel ware pot filled with plantings I had on a table top on the porch.)
Lazy days in the heat were spent enjoying the rockers on the porch while the dogs napped.
Beatrix will be 13 years old next month. She is my constant companion and if I am spinning wool outdoors she will be laying nearby. The summer was very hot, fires from Canada, Montana, Oregon , and some areas nearby in our state gave us many weeks of  hazy air so thick with smoke we had to limit our time outdoors. This past weekend the rain and cold weather moved in. Our pastures need it, but even more so do our forests. The weather here now drops to the low 40's and high 30's at night and we are expecting frost soon. I still sit on the porch and spin wool , but now I am wearing a warm jacket and wool socks. Beatrix has begun to grow her winter coat and her fur serves her well. She is just happy to lay nearby.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bird Houses

We brought a lot of our bird houses from Cedar Pond to our new home here at Laughing Dove Farm. This bird house is now on our front porch wall. This spring there were some swallows checking it out , even going inside the middle hole but I suspect my cat Miss Marple scared them off by staring at the bird house and twitching her tail at them as she watched them indoors from the window very near the bird house. She didn't fool them at all, she was easy to spot from outside. Poor Miss Marple , smart birds.
We bought this bird house at a Spokane garden and craft fair and hung it up over the front porch. Almost immediately the swallows moved in, built a nest, and raised a family or two. Only a few feet away from the previous bird house shown but immediately bird approved. Maybe because there was no twitching cat staring at it ?
 
I bought this bird house at a Yelm Christmas craft show. The lady who built it set up her table with about 20 different versions of this birdhouse and was sold out immediately. Birds love it .We had both sparrows and swallows raising families in this bird house all summer.

This bird house was originally hung in an old stump at my husband's youngest sister and her family's home. When they moved we adopted it and brought it with us to our new home. The birds here seemed to think it was a nice place to raise a family, and again, sparrows moved in. This bird house overlooks the sheep pens and paddocks , apparently a popular place with many birds.
One of our granddaughters helped build and paint this birdhouse beloved by Western Bluebirds. Yay, we finally have bluebirds on our place, and in abundance. Bluebirds lived in 3 of our birdhouses and we love watching them.

Unfortunately this bird house was taken over by cow birds, but that is O.K. They ate a lot of bugs and since this bird house is perched on a corner post of our ram pen, that was a good thing. The cow birds also ate the seeds that fell out of the hay I tossed to the rams. The cow birds never became a big problem so I let them be and they raised at least 2 families here and moved on.
I bought this bird house at the local supermarket because I could not resist it. I bought it too late for it to be taken into consideration by the swallows and sparrows that kept checking it out after they'd already settled in other places. Maybe next year. The cool thing about this bird house is it has a nice back door that is easily opened for cleaning and just as easily secured.
I love bird houses, I love birds. I have a collection of bird nests, bird books, and love bird watching. The creativity of birds and how and where they choose to build their nests or make their homes often goes against what is  written about them by the experts in the bird books. All I have to do is watch and observe the birds outside my window and back door to discover there is way more to the average wild bird than what you'll find in your bird books. Birds are truly amazing and I am thankful God has filled His creation with them and sometimes birds will find a few of my birdhouses worthy of raising their families in.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Man is a Super-Gardener !

 Just look at this garden with fruit trees on the side. My husband planted all this since this past March. We had snow and deep freeze until early March, our new veggie garden is now situated and planted on ground that was previously used as parking space and hard as pavement. My husband also prepared the ground and soil for our fruit trees shown here ( right of garden). They were also planted on ground previously hard as pavement.
 This view shows the garden from my sheep pen. Look at what my amazing husband has done with this piece of land ! ( Our house is in the upper right of the picture.)
 You can see my sheep grazing in their pasture on the other side of our new veggie garden, and further away you can see our woods & forest.
 Radishes ready to pluck from the soil.
 Squashes and pumpkins are flourishing and threatening to take over the veggie garden !
 It is hard to believe that only last year this piece of our new land was barren except for weeds and hard-packed soil. My husband has already turned the barren wasteland into an abundant vegetable garden ! Fruit trees are already providing fruit, vegetables enough for us , our family, and to sell at the local market....
 ...pumpkins, squash and corn ready to take over the garden plot,
 harvests covering our counter-tops , filling our fridge and begging to be eaten and preserved.
 Guess what, my husband even decided to can his hard -worked -for produce. He started canning !
Took this picture this morning of my husband standing in his garden. Look at the sweet corn , it's taller than him and the corn will soon be ready to pick.You can see our pasture and woods in the distance. Yes indeed, my man is a super-gardener !

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Selling at Our Local Farmer's Market !



 We've been selling our home produce and crafts at the local Farmer's Market every week since the end of May. Usually I put up my vendor's booth next to my daughter-in-law's. She sells items she's welded from the horseshoes her husband , a farrier ( and our youngest son) removes from the horses he shoes before putting new shoes on them. The blue pumpkin shown above is one of the items I bought from her to use in my display at the market.
 Ordinarily I set up my booth and sell hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn, wool fiber, and other wool crafts I make. But my husband has created an amazing vegetable garden at our new home and his veggies are growing gang-busters ! We have too many fresh lettuces, summer and zucchini squashes, beets, and cucumbers to consume ourselves.
 We've  been giving them away to family and friends . The chickens, geese, and sheep are enjoying the bounty too.
 I suggested he set up a booth at the Farmer's Market and he did. He sold out of lettuces  ( at least 30 bunches ) both times he's been a vendor at the market, plus most of his beets and squashes have sold too.

 I decided to sit with him in his booth instead of setting up a second booth. I just put a few 'Wee Little Sheep' on the table and kept him company. ( I sold some of my little sheep too.)

The crop of vegetables is still growing abundantly and the kitchen counters are crowded with fresh vegetables, freshly gathered eggs, and jars of home-made pickles too , but more about the pickles later.

My husband has always loved his gardens, especially the vegetable gardens. Our new home has a different growing season than our last home. The summer days are perfect for most crops and it looks like we'll actually get a big crop of tomatoes, pumpkins, and sweet corn too. I will be posting pictures of his vegetable garden in the next post, showing the progression of the plot of land he's turned into our vegetable garden here at Laughing Dove Farm.

" While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Few Residents of Laughing Dove Farm

A few of my Jacob Sheep grazing in the front pasture between the house and the gravel road.
A mama hen with chicks she hatched out and tends.
One of my ewe lambs. I had 19 healthy lambs born here this year , doubling my flock of sheep !

 This little curly mama hen hatched out her brood of chicks under our new chicken house. They are tiny bantams and will be tiny when grown up. She and her rooster are very protective of their chicks. The rooster / father of the chicks is a self-blue d'uccle I got from my oldest grandson a few years ago
Whimsy, one of our 4 dogs. She is my constant companion and protector.
Life is so good here, especially because I am blessed to share it with people and animals I love.

"Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts." L.M. Montgomery ~ ' Anne of Green Gables'

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Goth-Gawking

I took this picture late this afternoon. It is my old ram Goth who spent a week of his life almost every year at the Western Washington State Fair in the Animals of the World barn . Our exhibit was directly across the aisle from the zebras, zee-donks, yaks, and reindeer. Many thousands of people saw him and stared at him over the years and I watched hundreds of people photograph him.

Now that we've relocated to the other side of the mountains Goth is retired and enjoying life in a pasture situated in front of our new home. The gravel road that fronts our property is actually a well traveled road between our home and the hills and mountains across the road. Often I discover a vehicle parked in front of our place and see , yes, people gawking at Goth ! Goth still attracts attention even in his old age. ( Goth is 13 years old.) I hope he lives for many more years, I am quite fond of this old ram.