Peeping Chickens

We free-range the chickens, in part because it cuts down on their feed consumption, and in part because it’s better for them and the eggs are just that much more scrumptious. But really, the only reason I’m willing to put up with their mess in the yard (and on the porches) is because the bug population in the house drops dramatically when they are allowed in the yard. When you live in the middle of a farm, some things are unavoidable, and the occasional 6- or 8-legged house guest is one of those things. My grandmother managed to keep ahead of them, but I’ve decided that she cleaned house all day every day in order to do so, and I have to work at least a little bit.

Anyway, back to the point of the photo. When we first moved in, Steve built a lovely and sturdy trellis for the very old trumpet vine that grows outside the dining room window. This trellis extends the entire width of the house, and the eventual plan is to plant additional trumpet vines to cover it. So far that hasn’t been successful, but we keep hoping. In the meantime, the chickens are pretty sure that this trellis was put in place just for them, and they have developed the habit of peaking in the windows. I’m not sure it they are hoping that we’ll come out and give them a treat, or just trying to figure out why they can’t come in. Either way, it’s occasionally a bit startling. I guess that’s the price I pay for bug control and great eggs. All in all, I think it’s a pretty decent bargain.
PS – Steve is off working, so this was posted by Ann Marie. Steve occasionally refers to himself as Raisin, a nickname from when he was in the Navy, but I just can’t bring myself to call him a dried up grape.

digging the barn

This is going to be an ongoing theme. I moved some feeders around and tossed a bunch of broken wood out of the barn so I could dig some more. Annmarie’s father always told us that if I dug the barn out the animals would fall through the floor. I have found two different floors and some beam that sticks up four inches from the floor!! Not sure what it is there for. The stink is something awful!! The barn crap never composted because it was under cover and dried out. So now the front part is wet because the roof blew off. It stinks to high heaven!!! Nasty smelling. I did get some more crap done (yep). I have to work the next two days at my paying job so it will have to wait. I did not go get my planer and jointer today. It was pouring down rain most of the day and I didn’t want them to get wet. I have the old house all ready. I cleaned a spot in the middle of the room!!!!! They will sit there nice and pretty for a while.


Eggs for sale!!

Rusty from the Oregon Dept of Agriculture just called back. We are golden!!! Don’t have to have an egg permit if we are selling directly to the end user. So as long as we sell to consumers from our farm, delivered directly to them or selling them at a farmers market directly to the consumer we don’t need a permit!!! He gave me some tips on cleaning the eggs but we are already doing that. Just need to submit a business license to the State of Oregon now.


I had to go out to the old house and clean a spot for the new woodworking equipment. This is a good thing!!! I need the tools, now mind you they weigh in at around 500# and 350# and are not small. So while getting ready to work with a small detour to the chicken coop. My 14 year old daughter had left the outside hose running all night in the chicken yard. So I had to deal with that first, then thought I better check to see if the chickens have food. They didn’t. So I fed them, and played with the baby chicks!! Purely farm reasons (If you have ever played with baby chickens you know I am lying here)! Although, they are much easier to handle and deal with when older if you pay lots of attention to them when they are babies. So anyway, I am out in the chicken yard and our chocolate lab, Bailey is eating something. Since there is no dog food outside it is probably something she is not supposed to have. I tell her to drop it and low and behold it is a small black and white lower leg to a sheep!! When I went outside to potty the dogs last night, I heard the coyotes howling pretty close to the house. So another one of the sheep had a baby and we didn’t know it!!! Annmarie keeps telling me the sheep are always looking for a way to die (her family raised sheep for 3 generations then got out of the business 15 years ago). This is the 3rd baby so far and we only have one live wether!! Two have died, one froze to death in the middle of winter and then this one. The only one to live, his momma kept throwing a fit in the middle of the night and I had to go look for the baby. Couldn’t find it and almost went inside but the momma sheep would not leave the creek. So I dug around in the tumbleweeds in the creek bottom and found that baby. We dried it off, got it warm and put it in the wood shed with its mamma for a couple of days.

The dog found another leg and I remembered that I had seen the cats gnawing on something black and white last evening while I was cooking dinner, they were visible out the kitchen window. I thought it was a magpie!! I went over and there were the last two legs. just the lower bony part, nothing else left!!!
So now the push is on to dig out the barn so I can move a wall and we can lock up the sheep at night. Of course this would all be easier if I could just tell when the sheep were pregnant!!!
This learning as you go is painful!!! The US dept of Agriculture guy for the state of Oregon called me back this morning. We are trying to get an egg permit # so we can sell our eggs direct from the farm. With 32 laying chickens and 24 more coming up, we are gonna have lots of eggs available.

woo hoo

My wife, Annmarie, found 2 of the 3 pieces of woodworking equipment needed to complete our window trim!!! She found a 15 inch planer and a 8 inch edger over the weekend while I was at work. We went and paid for them today. Tomorrow, I get to pick it up!!! Now I just need that table saw!!! Of course, I need to clean the old house out, wire the power, level the house, fix the doors, windows and then set up the equipment!! NO Problem…