Surprise Bounty on the Farm!!!

It’s been a long time since my last post. I am happy to say it is because I have been having too much summer fun… trips, weddings, a festival, visiting friends and lots of relaxation.

So, much to our surprise amid so many distractions…. our young ladies have started laying eggs!! Mitch found 14 eggs all at once in one of the nesting boxes, collected them and then we didn’t see any others for a couple days. After some rooting around, we found that they were hiding them in the corner of their run under Mitch’s tools. Why don’t they like the nesting boxes?

Between the eggs and the zucchini, cucumbers, snap peas, tomatoes… we have a ton of fresh stuff for this harvest season!

Here is a photo summary of this last month of summer….

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Summer is Here!!

We are so excited summer is here that we haven’t even had time to post! Farming (like anything) is easy in the SUN! I can understand the benefit of working hard in the spring. Now we can just sit back and watch everything grow!

Here is an update… in photo form of progress from Mitch’s hard work, as well as the inherited cherry and apple trees that we didn’t have anything to do with. We are already enjoying fresh greens. Lots more bounty to come soon… I especially can’t wait because, frankly the grocery store/produce situation out here leaves much to be desired.

Speaking of small-town living… when we moved out here, I did worry a bit about leaving the city. I was concerned that we would be lonely and that there wouldn’t be much culture. A sacrifice we would have to accept if we wanted to get more space. Little by little, we are being exposed to how untrue that is! Of course, we are new to the area and don’t know many people, but the more we get out, we realize what a fantastic community surrounds us.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited an open house at the Jennifer Sears Glass Studio where you can blow your own float, paperweight, even glass bowl! They gave us wine and snacks and we got to meet some amazing people, including Kelly Howard, who is an artist and glass art teacher, and also manages the studio. Across the street at the Volta Gallery, there are some truly incredible pieces. It was great to see all the working artists!

Mitch then planned an incredible day that actually served to redefine my idea of culture and richness. We went on a whale-watching tour with Dockside Charters and even though we didn’t get to see any whales, Captain Lars was the epitome of a soft-spoken, informative and wonderfully caring individual.

We followed that up with a visit to Oregon Oyster Farms on our way down to an Aveda spa experience in Yahats at the Overleaf Lodge. Where from the soaking tubs, we DID get to see whales! Since I was blind-sighted by this surprise… on arrival, I was thinking, ‘WHAT is a gorgeous spa like this doing way down here in Yahats??’ But I quickly understood. I feel sorry for the spas I am used to in the city who have no cliffs with crashing waves, no whales, no beautiful drive on the coastal highway to get there… nothing!

Lastly, we enjoyed a 7 course tasting-menu at Restaurant Beck overlooking the Whale Cove on Depoe Bay. Whoa. I don’t know how to describe that meal with my vocabulary. I’m surprised how speechless I am… seriously.

We finished out the night in the bus under the stars. I don’t want to gush, but we just LOVE living out here. There is always culture… it’s obviously just different everywhere you go.

Good morning!

Good morning!

Xo, K

All Moved In!

Just a quick little post before we hit the road to show off our baby chicks, who have grown up and moved out. Mitch made an amazing home for them and they immediately got straight to work acting like full-grown chickens! Pecking, scratching and roosting. They even taught themselves how to go up and down the plank and they go to bed themselves right when it starts to get dark!

Now, I have heard that this would happen, but I imagined that we would have to spend a lot of time training them what to do! How can these little dummies (seriously) be so smart! Talk about instincts. I am so relieved that this was such an easy process… we are heading out of town today and leaving everyone with our wonderful new house sitter, Tara. I can’t wait to hear how it goes and to tell you all about our Cali Road Trip when we get back.

Here is the chicken habitat gallery…

Xoxo, K

Our Expanding Farm

What a gorgeous week we have had! The beautiful sunny weather was the perfect chance to start on our next project… the garden! Mitch tilled a 17 by 36 foot space straight out from the coop…

Then we had the amazing, knowledgeable, incredibly helpful and so so friendly family at Blake’s Coastal Nursery deliver this beautiful black compost.

Delivery from Blake's

Delivery from Blake’s

Nate (Blake’s son) couldn’t have been more patient, answering (a million) questions and giving detailed advice about what to plant and how to make it successful in this coastal region. I picked out waaaaaay too many seeds to plant and Nate pushed us to make some better, more practical choices. He also directed us to some great resources, like OSU’s Newport Extension who have done all the work in figuring out what goes in this particular area and how to keep it alive.

Today, Mitch will start a Permaculture Design Certificate course online. The course will take him through an entire agricultural design plan. He will learn how to plan around any climate, and to build a plan of any size. I cannot wait for his updates on the course and what he builds as well as all the other student’s plans.

Before we can plant the seeds, we need a fence to keep the pests out (it’s like a broken record). Also, the chickens will be moving outside soon into a heated coop, with a clover-covered run (also Nate’s suggestion! Along with a genius plan for how to make sure it can grow before the chickens eat it… stay tuned). The run will lead to the garden so that we can easily let them wander through… tilling and composting for us. Although supervised so that hopefully they don’t have a chance to eat up all the new little seedlings. Farming’s biggest challenge seems to be trying to control the circle of life/food chain to protect all of our chosen plants, animals, pets and visitors from all of the many unwanted versions. We are thinking about introducing a new predator… a couple of barn cats! I hear that they are the most effective pest control for rodents and birds and that they are smart enough to keep themselves safe. But that will be the ultimate in self-control for me… making the kitties sleep outside?? It seems so mean! Guess you have to be tough to be a farmer. And patient… what am I going to do while we wait for the these seeds to spout?!

Xo, K

Chickies!!

These cute little guys arrived last week.

By special delivery in the mail (USPS is still pretty cool in my opinion…). We nestled them into their new, warm temporary home… the bathtub!

They’re all adorable and they are already growing FAST! We chose to get babies so that they would get to know us and so that the dogs would have some time to get used to them. I can just imagine the three dogs rushing outside everyday to bark in the poor chicken’s faces (jerks).

Well unfortunately, we already had an accident. Wilbur got one. WHAAAAH!!! I feel horrible and I can’t believe we let it happen. He rushed inside when the door was open before we could even think about it. Before then, I was letting him sniff them at a distance, with dual supervision and a grip on his collar. He was obeying, but definitely obsessed… way too worked up to be left unattended.

The ONLY good thing that came from the tragedy is the lesson learned… the dogs and the chickens are not going to be friends and definitely can’t be left together. I do want to try to make the existence between them peaceful, although separate. With barriers. Because the poor babies are never going to be able to defend themselves. And there are a lot more vicious beasts who will be trying their best to get at them… both by ground and by air. Mitch is going to have his work cut out for him reinforcing the coop to keep out coyotes, raccoons, rodents, hawks and obviously, dogs too. I am so mad a Wil, but I know this was my fault, not his.

Here is a peek into the peaceful past… before the ‘incident.’ When I was still a naïve and trusting mother.

Wilbur showing self-control

Wilbur showing self control

Chicago… the Windy, Snowy, Entertaining, Delicious City.

Chicago

Tuesday we returned from Chicago. This annual trip I take for the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting was made SO much better by the company of Mitch; who came along this time for some distraction and good fun.

Aside from the usual freeeeezing weather, we enjoyed doing some amazing new stuff that, until my sixth year in a row, I have never taken the chance to experience… mostly eating amazing food. An incredibly funny Broadway Show! And visiting iconic art, architecture and history.

Chicago is an awesome city. But as we reached the end of our 6 day trip… three days working and three days playing… grumpiness began to set in. I am anxious to finish settling in and getting a move on. So many ideas, to-dos, priorities… we need some uninterrupted farm time. But since I leave again in just a week for Germany, I need to learn to be patient. Luckily, at this point Mitch is the man with all the skills, the muscles and the time. He is also the one who waits till we have the appropriate materials, plans and forethought to do a project properly. I hate to admit that his week at home while I am in Germany will be just what he needs to get organized. A week without me pushing to get chickens, a greenhouse and in ground garden beds, the wood shop, new floors, a new kitchen, bathrooms, heating system, a dog fence…

Can’t we do them all this week?!

Ok… patience. One thing at a time. So… there are ten colorful chicks with our names on them headed our way next week. I’ll be patient, but a little extra motivation can’t hurt, can it?

There's a coop somewhere in those blackberries...

There’s a coop somewhere in those blackberries…

Stay tuned. For now, we are just happy to be home. Unpacking our bags and enjoying eating-in.
Xo, K

Home Sweet Home Cookin.' A little more New Haven than Chicago style...

Home Sweet Home Cookin.’ A little more New Haven than Chicago style…