Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weather Update

We have not been above freezing all week. The nights have been down in the teens, daytime in the 20's. They say we should get above freezing today, we'll see.
This is highly unusual weather for these parts. I still like it!
It has made me extremely "home"sick for MN, wanting SNOW to go with the cold. It's just wrong to get this cold and not get any snow.
We do have a SLIGHT chance of snow this weekend when we transition back to the warmer, wetter weather. But it never stays and that is because we are warming up when the clouds move in. I do hope they are wrong and we get hammered. :)
We have had to bring all the water buckets to the house to fill because my outside water source is frozen solid. That's been the hardest part.
But I still love it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Life on the farm these days!

The sun is back!! It is glorious, beautiful and emotionally uplifting! I have missed the sun more than words can say. Since the beginning of October we've had approximately 18 inches of rain here on the farm!!! We've been keeping track in our rain gauge for school. We drew a big huge chart that hangs on the wall, it was created and started on September 1st. But I know that in September we only received an inch or 2 of rain, our chart says 18.9inches of rain since September 1st. This means we've had anywhere from 17-18 inches of rain since October 1st! You might say, "You live in Seattle, that's normal!" But let me tell you, it is not! At the airport, the official measurements of anything weather, they've officially measured 14.5 inches of rain since Oct. 1st....the normal? 9.69 inches!!!!!

So, suffice it to say, I've missed the beautiful sun and I'm completely and utterly tired of the rain and clouds!

For 3 days in a row we've woken to the 20's! I love it! Why? Because that tells me it is clear! It is clear and the sun will shine! Yes, it's cold but it's bright!

This is beneficial not only for me but also for the chickens! They no longer are traipsing through ankle deep mud, but they are walking ON the mud (it's frozen). Maybe production will rise again now that the real sun is shining and it is not so gloomy out all day long.

How about those new chickens? They are now 13 weeks old! I am busily getting their nests ready because they'll start producing in about a month! I cannot wait! Today we'll finish hanging the rest of the new roosts and finish the last 8 foot section of fencing so that can go outside. Hopefully I'll get the last piece of wall up in the barn as well to extend their coop a little bit. I still have 95 birds in there but should be down to 80 by the time they start laying.
I'm selling some off.

Sorry it is so long between posts, but life is just crazy busy these days. Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chickens, Wind and Rain, OH MY!

We've had an incredible week of weather! Just this week (the last 5 days) we've had over 5 inches of rain. I don't think it is a secret any longer, I do NOT like rain! Yes, I know I am living in the wrong place and not like rain. It never used to bother me but 5 inches in 5 days makes for an incredibly muddy barnyard. The old chickens have a very large garden they get to eat through before January and they are now walking in mud up to their ankles. (Do chickens have ankles?) It's gross.
We've had 4 or 5 high wind watches over the last 10 days but they didn't amount to much. Big gusts and some flickering lights was about all. I'm thankful.

The new flock of chickens are growing in leaps and bounds and need to get outside. So I've got the chicken wire to surround the old goat yard with and hopefully they can get outside this week. The goat fencing holes are just too big and they can sneak out so I need to put up the poultry fence first. It'll be easy since the goat fence is in place. We are also going to finish up the interior of the barn for them. This means getting their nest boxes in place and more roosts up. As well as putting up higher walls between them and the storage section. They are "flying the coop" quite easily these days. The other night I found one in a most peculiar place! Check it out below.

Monday, November 16, 2009

11 Weeks Old

The chickens (technically they look nothing like chicks so it's hard to call them "chicks") are 11 weeks old now. We think we have a rooster, his comb is much bigger than anyone else. We should start seeing eggs in about 7 week or so! EGGS! Lots of EGGS!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I had no idea how long it had been since I last posted until Sherie asked me where I went? Thanks, Sherie, for asking.
Life is just so busy. I can't keep up with anything anymore and really feel like I don't have much to say about anything anymore. I don't know how much talking I need to do on here but I will try to post pictures now and again. As we grow our little egg business I might just turn this into a Farm Website for information, rather than an online journal. We'll see.

The chicks are 7 weeks old tomorrow. They are nearly all feathered. Surprisingly, I have only lost one to death. I gave 5 to my sister-n-law and I'll be selling 5 and giving 12 to Abbot Tryphon at All Merciful Savior Monastery to help them get their start in chickens. So when all is said and done I hope to have about 78 hens to start laying eggs for us in January or so.

The laying hens have free range of the garden now. We picked all remaining produce over the weekend and had our first hard frost Saturday night.
I was excited to dig up 74.5 # of potatoes!! It was like digging for buried treasure. Now to store them. I would like to freeze them into french fries but it takes so much time and space (when you flash freeze them).
So the garden is done. But now comes the fun of reading and planning for the next year to come. I have big plans for next year. Every year gets better and bigger. But I have lots of reading to do. I want lots of herbs next year and flowers. I've never really done either so we'll see what happens.
So anyway. There is the St. Brigid Farm update.
Have a lovely October!

PS...I realized after posting that the new picture of the chicks at the top of the post, is perfectly placed under the blog header which is the chicks at just a couple days old. Look how fast they grow!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Contest at Organic & Thrifty

Win Some Counterculture

Go over to Organic and Thrifty to enter the contest to win 3 starters. (click link above)


Today we picked up our 100 chicks from the Post Office. They are the cutest, fluffiest creatures. The kids were giggling as they started to climb on their feet and legs. It was fun.
We have now begun the expansion of St. Brigid Farm egg production. Yeah!

There are 100 chicks piled in this box!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Today's Harvest

Today I had to stay home with a very sick Charissa. So...while she slept I picked,

and picked,

and picked,

and picked! Joseph helped out a little.

And now I'm going to blanch those 2 big bowls of beans for the freezer, steam the red potatoes for dinner and bake a dessert with the blackberries. Maybe Kelsey can bake a pie when she gets home from Church.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Some may think it odd that I'm from the Western WA and my blog post is titled "Rain...Finally!" Well, we think it odd as well. It's been 84 days since we've had any significant rain. In the past 84 days we've had rain once (in mid June) and it was only 1/4 of an inch. I don't think it counts for much. It started raining yesterday and it's rained on and off all night but I went out to the rain gauge to find we've gotten only about 1/4 of an inch! They say it's suppose to rain on and off all day and we might get another 1/4 of an inch for a total of 1/2!!! But we have another chance of rain on Thursday. So maybe between this today and Thursday my garden will be well watered. I can only hope and pray!
Otherwise the sprinkler goes back on.

We've had records set now for the hottest week ever in WA (records of 102 I think at Seatac Airport) and for the driest summer EVER...84 days and only 1/4 " of rain...will the dry spell continue?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Starting a New of Phase

We are now goatless. Saturday we sold the last 2 goats to a wonderful woman in Graham, WA who has a LOT of animals and they are all her little children. She has goats, sheep, llama, dogs and cats. She loves animals and they will be loved and spoiled. She was so excited to get them.

Now we move on to our next phase...converting the barn to hold chickens and add to the flock. I hope to order 75-100 chicks by the end of the month. This flock will be in the barn and we should start seeing eggs sometime in January. After that the old hens will start going into the freezer.

On another note the garden has started really producing now. We picked our first bunch of beans yesterday and that should increase a little everyday. I think we might actually be able to get some in the freezer this year.

We picked up our 1/4 side of beef on Saturday (just in time for the Dormition Fast) and it is in the freezer. I'm looking forward to pulling out the first package on August 16!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Fruits and Dying Dreams

Today I picked these few veggies from the garden. We have 3 yellow summer squash and 1 zucchini plus 10 pickling cucumbers. I'm going to fill my first jar of pickling cukes tomorrow. I'd like to do it the old fashioned way with good old natural fermentation. Nourishing Traditions has a recipe for just a quart so maybe I'll try that.

We had inherited a rooster awhile ago and I decided early this week that instead of butchering him as we've done with all our roosters I would take advantage of having him here and learn how to hatch my own chickens to increase the size of our flock. It all sounded wonderful and a perfect way to save the $1.80 per chick price (plus shipping). I even figure out how I was going to build an incubator out of apple boxes. But things don't always turn out as we hope.
Yesterday I was taking my daily walk through the garden and came upon a dead rooster! No idea what happened. He just up and died. We did hit 104 degrees yesterday so maybe he didn't drink enough and died from dehydration. So I guess I won't be hatching my own chickens this year.
My worry though is that he was diseased because just the day before we lost another chicken in that flock. The day before she died she was bleeding out of her vent. I thought since I separated her she was doing better because she looked better, the bleeding stopped, etc. But I was wrong.
I hope and pray there isn't a disease attacking my flock.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The farm in the heat of summer!

Seattle has record highs forecast all week. It's pretty amazing actually. This story explains why.
I refuse, though, to complain. I just need to remind myself of the cold rain, the mud that one needs to trudge through day in and day out when working on a farm in PNW in March. No, I'll take this heat any day!!! Here is how the farm is LOVING it or how some are staying cool.

My favorite thing to grow in the garden, green beans!! This year we have LOTS of plants. They are about a month ahead of last year and I am thrilled!! If you look closely you can see the tiny beans forming. The plants are covered in them and with this heat I anticipate we'll be picking beans by the weekend or very shortly thereafter.

I took this picture looking straight ahead at the corn! Corn loves heat! They are taller than I am now! A year ago on July 12th they were only maybe 6 inches high or so and we didn't get any. We hope for bountiful blessings this year. James counted 50 stalks. We probably could quadruple that for our family of 6 but we don't have room.

Summer squash in full bloom with a few ready to pick. I have 2 of these plants called "super pik" and I hope we'll get to pick a lot!

Zucchini loves heat at well and is going to town. I just love these squash plants. All the varieties. They are so majestic looking!

Here are 2 of my volunteer tomato plants. Full of blooms and loving the heat. I pretty much gave up on tomatoes for preserving so I only have a few plants just for fun and eating at the summer dinner table but I tell you what, these are the best plants I've produced yet. I have 8 plants of various kinds in pots and several volunteers in the garden that I've let go. They all look awesome!

Here we have the animals trying to stay cool. The barnyard where the goats are is continually under shade so they just dig some dirt away to cool earth and lay there.
The chickens, below, hide in this one little corner until relief comes. As the sun moves across the sky their shade gets bigger.

And last but not least, the human animals on the farm cool off in this manner.

I just hope and pray that this blessing of sun and heat sticks around for another month. Oh yeah, don't get all uptight you PNWers who hate. I could stand for 20 degrees cooler than today's 101.2 registered at the nearest weather station to our house (about 2 miles up the road).
I just don't want another blog post like this one in late August of last year titled "Mud, garden and eggs". No, I'm not ready for the heat of the summer to be over and I surely am not looking forward to fall and all the rain that comes with it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Decisions are made

I have made the decision to sell the goats. This was huge! But now that I've made the decision and we've talked it over with the children it is all accepted and everyone is fine with it.
The farm plans have just changed. We've not "given up" on the farming idea we are just changing our focus. After a lot of thought and research I've determined that where I really would love to put my focus is in the poultry business. We've got a real niche market it seems and if I expand the flock I am certain that I can actually earn a decent part-time income. We are going to get our business license and register our name, St. Brigid Farm, and apply for an egg-handlers permit (which really doesn't involve anything but filing a form with the state).
I will be somewhat sad to see the goats go but am I very excited about the future of the poultry business.
I have sold 3 of the 5 goats already and we have Brie and her baby left.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Goodbye Singeli and Jack

Singeli and Jack went to a petting farm not far from here. They'll be loved. Joseph will miss Singelo (as he calls her). He cried. I'm glad the other children are gone all week (although they did know they were going).

Got Milk?

I often have an abundance of milk and so sometimes will just dump some out to the chickens who love it!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm working through my thoughts these days on whether or not I want to keep goats any longer. I've given this adventure 2 years now and it hasn't been something that I feel that I have fallen in love with. Yes, you may think, based on my blog posts, etc., that I love my goats. It may appear so. But as with anything blogged about we can make anything look good. It's the downside to blogging. We think everyone else has the perfect life. Life here is far from perfect. I love my farm and I love the chickens, but I haven't fallen in love with the goats. The babies are amazingly adorable! But then they grow up. The kids like the milk, I don't. My husband loves the cheese and he loves to make it. I don't and he works 12 hours a day! Yes, I've blogged about how cool it is to make cheese, etc., but I just can't seem to get into it. It might be the fact that I am having a hard time fitting it in on a regular basis. There is just so much one can do every day.
What I'd like to do is expand my egg business. I KNOW I love that and I know I can make money on it. We are constantly turning people down. So, right now I'm working on a "business plan" to expand that part of the farm. I'll probably start out by selling all but 2 goats and and then we'll think about it, pray about it and move on from there.
So if anyone wants a Nubian doe in milk, who gives a gallon a day of fresh, amazing goat milk let me know. I also have a doe and whether that are 8 weeks old and ready to go.

From left to right you see Singeli, Pepperjack and Butter. They are enjoying a branch of maple.
Butter is a very friendly goat. She loves attention.

It's a very hard decision for me to make because everyone else enjoys the goats. But no one else does 95+% of the work like I do. I just don't want to feel like a failure. But one of my friends pointed out that I'm not failing because I want to focus on another aspect of the farm that I know will bring money in. My focus is just going elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Farm Photos

Me and Singeli
I love her coloring on her face! She'll be hard to get rid of if we decide to do that. I need to decide soon, she's of weaning age this week.

Killick intently watching the ducks.
Several weeks ago.

This is more recent. They love water! They are getting their feathers now and their coloring is wonderful! They are also AWESOME slug eaters!

Heidi and her mama, Brie. She is a nursing pro now!

From across the garden, this is my view.

The rooster we inherited. He's beautiful!


Pepper "Jack"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

morning project for kids

Grandma decided it would be fun to help the kids make slingshots.

Thanks Grandma Faith!!

Actually, this project is probably in their book Dangerous Book For Boys. It was bound to happen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Brie kidded today!

We had a very exciting day. After 2 1/2 weeks gone, James returned home from Uganda today. And approximately 6 hours later Brie gave birth to a beautiful little doeling that has been named Heidi! She was 2 days early!
She is a perfect mother! She took right to her baby and has been very attentive.

Here she is just seconds old!

These 2 pictures are beautiful pictures of bonding. My other 2 goats that I have experienced birthing with didn't take to their babies. Last year both mothers rejected their babies. With Firefly I think she was just overwhelmed with triplets. Butter, well, maybe we didn't try hard enough. And this year with Butter I purposely separated her from her babies because she had a terrible rash on her udder that I was unsure about. So, this is our first experience with a mama letting her baby nurse.

Brie is a very proud mama!

Here is Heidi latched on perfectly!

When I left the barn at nearly 10pm she had suckled several times and they seemed to be doing well together. I'm hopeful all will go well in the night.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Slugs must go!

The slugs here in the Pacific Northwest are ferocious! If you haven't heard my story of how I collected over 200 in one evening last summer then I'll spare you the disgusting details. Especially the part where I left them in the coffee can on the front porch the next day in the sun.

Anyway, I fight slugs. I've not done too much up until now (except the incident mentioned above). But I'm determined to have a full garden this year so I'm off to slug war.

My arsenal?

Beer and small containers.

We take the containers out and dig a little into the ground so they are flush with the ground. Buy the cheapest beer possible! Fill the container.

Watch the slugs come from miles around. They can't resist!

This picture is actually kind of cool if you click on it to enlarge.

I found about 40 slugs total in my 7 traps the first morning.

I changed the fullest ones the next night but left the others. I got a bunch more in the 2 traps I changed out but didn't count. The others need to be changed. I don't think the slugs are out full force yet, I expect this is just the beginning of the battle!

More gardening update soon.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Animal Updates

I started out writing a general farm update but then decided that it was getting too long. I needed to break it up into smaller segments and add them to the blog a little at a time.

Today we'll talk animals!

Our newest addition to the farm arrived just a week ago yesterday...5 Khaki Campbell ducklings.
In one week they have almost doubled in size! It's amazing!!

These ducks are Kelsey's. She will raise them and try to earn some money from them selling their eggs. They will make GREAT garden protection against slugs. Sometime soon I'll show you my great slug traps that I am using until the ducks can go outside, in another week or so.

With just a little help from me, Kelsey is building a duck house out in the goat yard. We choose the goat yard because it's already fenced in and they'll be protected from the dog. We hope to train them to go to the garden a couple hours before sunset when the slugs are just coming out of hiding. Ducks don't need much in the way of shelter just protection from predators. In fact, we read, that they prefer to just be outside. But we thought that if they would meet a masked bandit in the night they'll be happy to have the shelter.

The goats are doing great. Butter is doing much better and seems very healthy now after her feed mistake and illness. She back to giving over a gallon a day. My mom (she's here visiting while James is in Uganda) and I have been fine tuning my cheese press and hope to get to making cheese soon. I'll have pictures of that when we get to it. I did make yogurt in my crockpot like Arielle talked about on her website. I pretty much did it like her, even bought myself a digital thermometer. I've been meaning to do that anyway because it will be very handy when making cheese! We made the Thienes Family Power Smoothie for breakfast. I used frozen blueberries.
Singeli and Pepperjack are 3 1/2 weeks old now, or maybe it's 4! wow! Time flies. Before I know it they'll be ready to ship out. Anyone want a pair of goats...Singeli will make an excellent milker some day. The picture below was taken by Kelsey and is awesome!!! Pepperjack is on top and Singeli below.

The chickens continue to lay an amazing number of eggs. My customers are very happy that they are. I'm constantly trying to device ways of making it possible to add more.